At least 10 senior principals have been appointed to head schools in the heartland from next year, as part of the Ministry of Education's (MOE) push to make "every school a good school" by leveraging on their experience.
They include two cluster superintendents who will helm primary and secondary schools.
The annual reshuffle announced yesterday also saw principals from established schools such as Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) and Maha Bodhi School redeployed to lesser known ones.
In all, 60 schools - including Raffles Institution and Methodist Girls' School - will get new heads next year. Of the school leaders taking up new posts, 25 are newly appointed principals.
In last year's rotation exercise, 59 schools were involved.
While there have been instances of senior principals helming newer schools in recent years, observers say the latest round of changes sent a strong signal that the ministry is serious about raising the standards and profile of heartland schools.
This was spelt out clearly by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who had said ahead of yesterday's announcement that he would be sending some of the "most experienced and well regarded" principals to heartland schools "to spread best practices and inject fresh perspectives across our education system".
Mr Tony Tan and Mr Loh Leong Beng, both cluster superintendents who oversee several schools in the north zone, will take over as principal of Northland Primary in Yishun and Zhonghua Secondary in Serangoon respectively.
Mendaki chief executive Moliah Hashim, also a former cluster superintendent, will head Princess Elizabeth Primary School in Bukit Batok.
Mr Richard Lim, who has been principal of Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) for nine years, will move to Si Ling Primary School in Woodlands.
The 55-year-old said every school has its strength, which principals ought to tap. "That is the first thing I will do, to look for the strength of a school, learn about the school culture, and the profile of its students," he said.
Mr Arene Koh, former vice- principal of St Andrew's Junior College, will replace Mr Lim.
Madam Chew Bee Lay, principal of Maha Bodhi School, will head Alexandra Primary School in Bukit Merah, which will take in its first batch of pupils next year. Mrs Elaine Quek-Lim from Chongzheng Primary will take over from Madam Chew.
Other high-profile appointments include Victoria Junior College principal and former Rafflesian Chan Poh Meng, 56, who will be the new head of Raffles Institution. He replaces Mrs Lim Lai Cheng, 49, who is believed to be leaving the ministry.
Mr Lim Biow Chuan, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, said: "MOE is giving assurance to parents that capable principals are in charge, and they are sending good leaders to schools in the neighbourhood to make every school a good school."
Civil servant Nor Aisha Noor Mohamed, 31, who has enrolled her son in Woodgrove Primary in Woodlands, agreed. "It also depends on other factors such as the commitment of teachers."