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EGNER, William Edward to Main Staff Index
born: 20-Feb-1911 (Jarrow)
died: cFeb-1997 (Berkshire)

joined: Sep-1955 (5th Headmaster)
left: Apr-1976 (retired)

Bill Egner was born on 20th February, 1911, in Jarrow, of German parents, George August and Kate Egner, who ran a pork butcher business while living in Monkton Road, Jarrow.

His secondary education was at Jarrow Senior School from 1922 to 1928 and his first university was Armstrong College, Newcastle, where he was awarded a BSc (Hons) in mathematics and physics. In 1931 he went on to St John's College, Cambridge, and in 1933 was awarded a BA as a wrangler (obtaining a first class honours in part II of the mathematical tripos). In 1934 he completed his Teacher's Certificate with Cambridge, and in 1937 was awarded his Cambridge MA.

His first teaching post (1933-1935) was at Holly Lodge High School for Boys, in Smethwick (near Birmingham), followed by two years at Hymers College, Hull, a boys' grammar school

In 1938 he became Head of Mathematics at Pocklington Grammar School and only a year later, in September 1939, became Headmaster at Easingwold Grammar School from 1939. This was about the time that he married Annie Young.

For the war years, Bill Egner registered for service with the RAF, and in 1941, whilst a teacher at Easingwold, was appointed a temporary scientific officer in the Ministry of Aircraft Production.

He moved to Derbyshire in 1946 to serve as Headmaster of Heanor Grammar School until he joined Ormskirk Grammar School as its Head from 1951 to 1955.

When Bill Lucas retired as Head of the South Shields Grammar-Technical School for Boys, Bill Egner was appointed Head from September, 1955. On his arrival, he made it clear that he wanted the school to become one of the finest in the North. He had high expectations of boys, parents and teachers and, in large part, they were fulfilled.

Even after just one year he observed "there has been a noticeable improvement in and out of school, in personal appearance and bearing, and in the outward signs of loyalty to the school". This may, in part, be due to his change of rules which made the optional school uniform compulsory.

He was aware that the school had a very good record in sports, but was keen to encourage interest in other pursuits, such as music, art and drama.

His hand touched every aspect of the school from the moment he arrived, and throughout his time as Head, the school introduced many innovations - the school was the first to have a sixth-form centre, and to operate a computerised timetable. He served on the committee of National Academic Awards, and the Schools Council, as well as being a Methodist Local Preacher, a JP and a Rotarian. As if these weren't enough, he was awarded a CBE in 1974, and his full title was impressive - William E Egner, CBE, JP, MA (Cantab), BSc, FSS, FIMA.

Despite all this, he did have some quirky ways. Keith Bulley recalls that during a teachers' strike around 1970:

... the "Boss" somehow kept 1100 boys in the school hall in order by sheer force of personality using one of those old mono record players and a recording of Kathleen Ferrier singing "Blow the Wind Southerly" and other favourties of his, amplified using the microphone which stood on his desk on the stage.

He was awared the CBE in 1974, and retired at Easter, 1976.

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