Noële Hillen was born and educated in South Africa and has been the Principal of two independent preparatory schools over the last twenty-seven years. She was the founding Headmistress of Rand Preparatory School and remained there for five years. Rand Prep is an independent school, which was opened expressly to accommodate black children as an alternative to township schooling in the apartheid era. In the course of her work there she met several struggle heroes including the legendary Walter Sisulu, Adelaide Tambo and Limpho Hani. After the first historic democratic elections in 1994, Noële began to look for a school, which would be more representative of the normalizing social and political situation and she became the founding Headmistress of Beaulieu Preparatory School in 1996 with 101 pupils and 10 staff members. Noële is still the Headmistress at Beaulieu Prep, which now has 630 pupils and nearly 100 staff members. By 2020, Beaulieu Prep will be home to 700 pupils.
Noële holds a Bachelor of Primary Education (1983), a Bachelor of Education (Hons) in 1988 and a Master of Education (1996) from the University of the Witwatersrand. Noële has always been interested in multicultural education. In 2002, she completed a course in Cross Global Cultural Leadership at the Wits Business School. In 2005, she met Dr Joy Scott, by chance, whilst holidaying in the Kruger Park in South Africa and this meeting piqued her interest in Gifted Education and she co-founded the I-GET Network, an international teachers’ network for the teaching of Gifted children. Noële’s schools are both members of the largest association of independent schools in South Africa (I.S.A.S.A.) and she has been a member of S.A.H.I.S.A. (South African Heads of Independent Schools Association) since 1994. She is also a long-time member of the ICP (International Confederation of Principals) and SAPA (The South African Principal’s Association).
Noële was a founding committee member of the Core Curriculum initiative piloted by Gauteng ISASA Prep schools and served on the committee from 2001 - 2011. She has represented South African Preparatory Schools at two conferences in Australia and she chaired ISASA’s Preparatory School group for a two year term in 2005 and 2006. Noële believes in lifelong learning and continues her own professional development at every opportunity. She has had the privilege of learning from local and internationally renowned speakers including, amongst many others, Dr Michael Thompson and Dr Robert Evans on Headship, Edward de Bono on Creative Problem solving, Thinking Schools South Africa and Dr Eric Jenson on metacognition, Loretta Giorcelli on Educational support for children with disabilities, Anne Oberholzer on Assessment, Stephen Covey on leadership training, and Thuli Madonsela on ethical leadership.
A member of the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA), Independent Examination Board (IEB),
Southern African Heads of Independent Schools Association (SAHISA). Accredited by Umalusi
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