Our School
Student Development
Home > Newsroom > News Archive > News Listing > Principal To Take Up Senior Position In MOE

Principal To Take Up Senior Position In MOE

Principal Deborah Tan hosts Education Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat, on his visit to Singapore Sports School on 19 July 2012.

The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), announced on 11 October 2013 that Principal, Mrs Deborah Tan, will be relinquishing her post at Singapore Sports School on 14 December 2013 and assuming a senior position at the Headquarters of Ministry of Education (MOE) thereafter.

MOE rotates principals every few years. The process of systematically appointing and rotating principals allows schools to benefit from the infusion of fresh perspectives and enables experienced principals to share best practices in support of “Every School, a Good School”. 

Mrs Tan joined the Sports School on 15 December 2007. She has been instrumental in making the Sports School a premier sports school with an international reputation for excellence in student-athlete development, grooming “Learned Champions With Character”.

Under her stewardship, Mrs Tan spearheaded the development of the “School-Within-A-School” programme for select student-athletes who have both the performance and potential to be on the elite sport development pathway in badminton, golf and table tennis. SportSmart Skills, another innovation under her watch, was developed to give student-athletes fundamental motor and movement skills as well as a strong grounding in sport science education, for well-rounded athleticism. 

During her tenure, Mrs Tan led the Sports School Team in developing two extended education pathways for student-athletes by-passing the GCE “O” Level Examinations – a six-year pathway leading to the award of the International Baccalaureate Diploma and a seven-year pathway leading to a customised Diploma in Sports and Leisure Management in partnership with Republic Polytechnic. Both programmes are designed to allow student-athletes to attain broad-based and rigorous pre-tertiary qualifications widely accepted for entry into both local and overseas universities. These education pathways provide greater flexibility for student-athletes to pursue sporting and academic excellence concurrently, and offer a total curriculum anchored upon principles of Long-Term Athlete Development and rigorous teaching and learning.

MCCY Permanent Secretary, Ms Yeoh Chee Yan, who is also Chairman of the Singapore Sports School’s Board of Directors, said: “Mrs Deborah Tan has led the School through exciting times – the School was one of the competition venues at the  inaugural Youth Olympics Games in 2010, where 22 Sports School student-athletes participated in the Games, contributing two individual medals and a team bronze medal to Singapore’s total medal tally.

“Under her watch, Scott Ang Yiqiang, an alumnus of the School, was awarded the President’s Scholarship. Indeed, the Singapore Sports School has achieved much under her leadership. I thank Mrs Tan for her dedication in developing each young student athlete to be a learned champion with character. We wish her all the best as she takes up her new appointment in the Ministry of Education.”

Soon after the release of Mrs Tan’s letter to parents, several telephoned or wrote to the School. One of the earliest to respond was Dr Michael Koh, father of James Immanuel Koh Tze An, a Secondary 2 student-athlete in the Swimming Academy.

“Under Deborah's steadying influence, vision and nurturing leadership, the Singapore Sports School has grown into a premier institution with an international reputation. Today, the sports school offers a myriad of viable pathways to help the students discover themselves, answer their calling and become learned champions with depth of character. The exemplars can be found in the innumerable achievements of the current student-athletes and her alumni, too many to recount here,” said Dr Koh, who is also a member of the Singapore Sports School Board of Directors.

“Deborah has also left an indelible mark of kindness and passion ingrained in the school culture. No child is left behind and no stone left unturned in ensuring that every student-athlete has enough opportunities to help themselves realise their dreams. As a parent, I have the fortunate experience witnessing the transformation in my third child, James. I am so proud of him and so thankful for what the Singapore Sports School experience has done for him. It's turning out to be a great journey of life for James.

“Let me wish Deborah the very best in her new posting. I am confident that wherever she goes, she will touch lives and transform others to be Learned Champions With Character. At the Singapore Sports School, we have been privileged to have her as the principal; and with generosity we must let her go to where she will be needed. We also look forward to the next chapter for the Singapore Sports School and we welcome the principal-designate,” added Dr Koh.

Bowling Coach Catherine Kang Kim Hong, was a part-time coach at the Sports School for three years before she converted to a full-time staff. She also has a son, Jarred Lim Jia Le, in Secondary 1, in the Bowling Academy.

“When I was a part-time coach from 2008 to 2011, I saw that, under Mrs Tan’s leadership, there was a whole support network of teachers, coaches and staff who genuinely care for the student-athletes. Mrs Tan is a principal who always has student-athletes’ welfare at heart.

“When I joined as a full-time staff in 2012, I remember how Mrs Tan would constantly remind the coaches to pay close attention to those under our care because we spend long hours with the student-athletes. She would regularly ask for my feedback on the bowlers, such as how they are coping with training and whether they are able to keep up with their studies, particularly during competition periods. Hence, when it was time for Jarred, my younger son, to choose a school for his secondary education, Sports School was the obvious choice for me and my husband.

“Mrs Tan has a lot of love for the student-athletes and that has rubbed off on all staff,” said Coach Catherine.
Another parent who appreciates Mrs Tan is Madam Sim Kwang Huang, mother of national table tennis player Isabelle Li Siyun.

“Isabelle was travelling extensively in 2009 and 2010 for overseas competitions and training in preparation for the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Whenever Isabelle returned, Mrs Tan would make it a point to speak with Isabelle and find out how she was coping with sport and studies. Till today, she sets aside time to have a chat with Isabelle whenever she is in Singapore, even though she has already graduated from Sports School three years ago. As a parent, I cannot ask for a more caring principal,” said Madam Sim, who served on the Singapore Parents Network Executive Committee  from 2009 to 2012.

Singapore Sports School’s Principal-Designate, Mr Tan Teck Hock, will join the Sports School on 15 December 2013. He is currently Principal of the Physical Education and Sports Teacher Academy (PESTA), which he pioneered in December 2010. As the first principal of PESTA, Mr Tan has played an instrumental role in introducing a comprehensive suite of programmes for PE and Sports teachers to enhance their professional development and capacity for delivery of a holistic education.

Mr Tan is a dynamic leader and has been in the Education Service since 1992. He has led schools at both the secondary and junior college levels, serving as Principal of Yishun Town Secondary School from December 1999 to December 2005, and Principal of Serangoon Junior College from December 2006 to December 2010. He is credited with raising the quality of education in both schools. 

Mr Tan has been actively involved in the school sports scene throughout his career in the education service. He qualified for a Level 3 certification in the National Coaching Accreditation Programme (NCAP, Theory) while serving as the Head of Department of PE/CCA and coach of the Cross Country and Track and Field teams at Jurong Secondary School. Driven by his passion for sports, Mr Tan also volunteered his services to help promote physical education and sports by serving on the North Zone Schools Sports Council as Secretary and later as Chairman between 2002 and 2010.

Mrs Tan said in a letter to parents of current student-athletes: “I would like you to give Mr Tan your support, just as you have for me, so that the combined efforts of principal, staff, parents, sponsors and National Sports Associations can contribute toward the successful grooming of our student-athletes into Learned Champions With Character.”

Principal Deborah Tan receives her 5-Years Long Service Award from Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, at Singapore Sports School’s Awards Night on 30 January 2013.  

Principal Deborah Tan hosts Education Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat, on his visit to Singapore Sports School on 19 July 2012.

Principal Deborah Tan bowls for charity. Project Infinity 2013, held in conjunction with the Annual Parents Challenge on 11 May 2013, raised $30,369 for Club Rainbow (Singapore).

Principal Deborah Tan “takes a back seat” so that President Tony Tan Keng Yam can fully engage staff and student-athletes during his visit to Singapore Sports School on 23 August 2012.