Temba Tebogo Maqubela took over as Groton School’s headmaster on July 1, 2013; he is the eighth headmaster since the School’s founding in 1884.
Prior to arriving on the Circle, Mr. Maqubela spent nearly three decades at Phillips Academy, Andover. He joined Andover as a chemistry teacher in 1987, left from 1992-1994 to earn a master’s in chemistry at the University of Kentucky, then returned to Andover, where he chaired the chemistry department; directed (MS)2, a math and science program for minority students; and became dean of faculty. From 2006 to 2013, he was both dean of faculty and assistant head of academics.
Mr. Maqubela was born in King William’s Town, a small city in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. He attended high school in Umtata from 1972 until a few weeks before his intended graduation in 1976, when he was arrested—while in his mother’s biology class—and detained for anti-apartheid activities. Later that year, he fled South Africa for Botswana and ultimately finished high school in Nigeria. He graduated with honors from Nigeria’s University of Ibadan, earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. From 1983 to 1986, he taught physical science and A-level chemistry at Maru-a-Pula School in Botswana.
Mr. Maqubela arrived in the United States as a political refugee in 1986, living with his wife, Vuyelwa, and eldest son, Kanyi, in New York City; he landed his first U.S. teaching job at a public school in Long Island City. The Maqubelas eventually had two more sons, Pumi and Tebs; all three children graduated from Andover. Mr. and Mrs. Maqubela, both devoted educators, teach at Groton—he teaches organic chemistry, and she teaches Second Form (eighth grade) English and Upper School electives.
Among Mr. Maqubela’s many honors are a White House Distinguished Teacher Award in 1993, the University of Kentucky’s Lyman T. Johnson Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1994, and his 2002 induction into the Northeast Section of the American Chemical Society’s Aula Laudis Society, honoring excellence in secondary school chemistry teaching.