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Shirley Pendlebury: A multi-faceted leader exits the Children’s Institute
By Charmaine Smith, CI communication and knowledge manager
Prof Shirley Pendlebury’s career experiences were seemingly a perfect mix to equip her for the position as director of the Children’s Institute (CI). In the mix are academic qualifications in education with specialisations in politics and philosophy – and a post-graduate diploma in typography and graphics. Added to this are work experiences in her early years at a printer, as a teacher and as a library assistant (where she proved so competent in her knowledge about books that she was appointed to lecture to student teacher-librarians on the history of illustrated children’s books, and on book design and print, amongst other subjects).
The bulk of her professional life – first at the Johannesburg College of Education, and later as the head of the School of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand – gave her invaluable insight and know-how on the workings of academic institutions.
This background served her well in heading the Children’s Institute team who are known for their research-relevance to policy and practice, publications that translate complex academic evidence for multiple audiences, and education and advocacy on the situation and needs of South Africa’s children.