- Miss. Catherine Scott -1866-1883
- Miss. Sanderson -1883-1886
- Miss. Male -1886-1894
- Miss. Mary Choate -1894-1905
- Miss. G Parsons -1905-1908
- Miss. Ethel White -1908-1912
- Miss. Mary Choate -1912-1927
- Miss. Elsie Shire -1936-1938
- Miss. Helen Park -1939-1943
- Mrs. Gladys Loos -1944-1951
- Miss. Grace Robins -1951-1966
- Mrs. Marbit Gunasekera -1967-1968 (Acting Principal)
- Mrs. Shanthi Peiris -1968-1991
- Mrs. Priyani Fernando -1992-2002
- Mrs. Shanthi Dias -2003-To date
Miss Catherine Scott came out to Ceylon (as we were then called) as a missionary in 1866, sent by the Women’s Auxillary of the Methodist Church. In the same year a girl’s school at Colpetty was started, to which a boarding school was added in 1874. Miss Scott
Was its principal from the beginning until she left the island in 1883. When she left, it had been recognized as a High School and there were thirty two boarders.
The Scott Hall is a memorial to her as well as the Rev. John Scott her brother, and his wife. It said of Miss Scott that her best memorial is the lives of the girls whom she inspired by her gentleness and devotion.
The Following appreciation of her character is worth quoting, “She was a true saint with no censorious spirit, good but not austere, pious but always ready to admit mirth and sanctify it, wonderfully human, but above all devoted to God and the highest ideals’.
Miss Choate arrived in Ceylon in May 1894 and was principal of Methodist College from 1894-1905. From 1905 till 19.12 she stepped aside for Miss. G. Parsons (1905-1908) and Miss. Ethel White (1908-1912). In 1912 she resumed duties as principal which position she held until she left the school in 1927- a unique record of 33 years of devoted service to the school she loved.
When she first arrived she was regarded with awe by the girls but as time went on and as they got to know her better, she was looked upon with deep affection by all. Her outward sternness was really a cloak beneath which lay a kind and tender nature.
The senior girls her history and literature classes were a never ending source of joy and enlightenment. She taught them these subjects with great enthusiasm and inspired them with some of her own love and delight in good books. Her Christian character expressed itself in an abhorrence of all that was false or hypocritical. She always carried out her duties in a quiet manner, never getting unduly ruffled, no matter what pressing problem occurred – be it a depleted staff or threatened chicken-pox epidemic in the hostel.
She had a high sense of duty and a spirit of self sacrifice. Never for one moment was Miss. Choate idle. She would fill her hours with work for the school and girls.
Hers was truly a life selfless devotion to the school and the girls she had come to love.
She left Methodist College in 1927 in order to marry Rev. J. S. Corlett, and indeed the girls of Methodist College were sad to see her go.
Miss. Shire was a true missionary with a warm Irish heart, who yearned over the women and children of Ceylon, as we were then called.
In 1909 she came as a young woman to be the principal of the Girl’s High School in the Pettah. When the two Methodist girls’ schools were amalgamated she served as vice-principal of Methodist College for many years and later as co principal with Miss. Park.
Besides being at the helm of Methodist College she acted as Principal of both Newstead, Negombo and Girls’ High School, Kandy on more than one occasion.
At Methodist College Miss. Shire had two aims in teaching- first to grip the child’s interest and secondly to build her character. It was Miss. Shire who took the first steps towards higher education for women at Methodist College. She initiated the girls into the delights of the classics.
To her also goes the credit of forming the 1st (Colombo) guide company in Colombo at Methodist College in 1917.
It was Miss. Shire who helped in production of the Methodist College magazine right from its inception. Through the years, she was always at hand to help and steer the girls bringing out the magazine.
Owing to ill health Miss Shire was forced to leave these shores in 1942. She had given 33 years of her life to the school, which she had served selflessly and devotedly.
Miss. Park came to Ceylon as we were then called) as vice principal of Methodist College in October 1912 and left as principal in 1943, thus completing 31 years of selfless devotion to the school. She became Principal of Methodist college in 1927 after Mrs. Corlett (Miss. Choate) had left to be married.
She taught Mathematics, Geography and Science in the higher forms. In fact it was Miss. Park who introduced the teaching of Science into Methodist College. At the beginning she had only one little table and no apparatus at all, but this did not daunt her.
It was with her blessings and owing to her great organizing power that Methodist College launched out in 1930 on the house systems which we still follow today.
She was a thorough teacher, maintaining high standards and bringing out the best in the girls. Miss. Park was ever kind to those around her and she gave unsparingly of her best to the school. To her sound judgement , gentle wisdom and great gift of organization and financial acumen, the school owes much.
Miss. Park not only set alight the lamp of knowledge but her life amongst the girls set alight the lamp of service too. From her they and every succeeding generation has learnt that they too should trim the lamp and take its light into places where they serve.
Mrs. Gladys Loos was the first Old Girl and first Ceylonese to become principal of the school. She is an Old Girl whose scholastic career Methodist College can look back with pride. On completing her final examinations she came back to her alma mater where she was a valuable member of the staff until her marriage to Mr. A. S. de Winton Loos in 1921.
In 1926 Mrs. Loos returned to Methodist College as a member of the staff. She was a great source of strength to Miss Park when Miss Choate left to be married. In 1929 she left Methodist College and went to St. John’s Panadura. Methodist College was sorry to lose her yet again. However, once more she returned to Methodist College in 1939 as vice principal, and later became principal in 1944, when Miss Park left.
Mrs.Loos is remembered most for her infectious enthusiasm and her sincere interest in whatever she put her mind to. As a teacher Gladys Loos was a genius. Whatever the subject, be it Political Science or Mathematics, Scripture or Literature, History or Essay, she made it seem very interesting. Many teachers are brilliant in their field of study but lack the art of communicating such knowledge to their pupils. Not so Mrs. Loos – she had this gift in abundance.
During her period as principal she encouraged the student to take part in Amateur Athletic Meets and founded different societies in school. She also encouraged extra curricular activities. Oriental dancing was introduced into the school’s curriculum during her time.
Mrs. Loos besides having academic brilliance was a principal with kind and tender heart. The girls loved her for her understanding ways and guidance and there were many among the seniors who used to refer to her as “Mama Loos”. What more fitting tribute can one bestow on one’s principal?
Miss Robins, a missionary from England, first came to Methodist College in 1934. In 1937 she left Methodist College to go to “Southlands” in Galle. She returned to Methodist College in 1951 succeeding Mrs. Loos as Principal. She was a deeply religious person. It was during her principalship that Methodist College became a Grade 1 school and the two new houses, Park and Shire were inaugurated.
When the mission schools were taken over by the State and the parents and teachers decided to make Methodist College private unaided school, she valiantly undertook to steer Methodist College faithfully through this most difficult period of her history.
Like the other missionaries who had come before her, her devotion to duty was remarkable. Besides this she set the girls a high standard of conscientiousness, of integrity and reliability.
During her tenure of office she contributed considerably towards the expansion and the progress of the school. She provided for the increasing demand for accommodation by the construction of first, the Park Hall and next, the Science Block.
Her academic distinction and considerable teaching experience were assets to this situation.
Miss. Robins was quiet and soft-spoken but at the same time a stern and rigid disciplinarian. Her life at Methodist College was a labour of love.
She left in 1966 after completing 15 years of her devoted service to the school.
Mrs. Shanthi Peiris, an Old girl of Methodist College and honours Graduate of the University of Peradeniya, joined the staff in 1958 and was appointed principal in 1968. Methodist College was at that time, still a private, non-fee levying school; high priority had therefore to be given to fund- raising for its maintenance and daily functioning.
The school was annually accommodating greater and greater numbers, while changes in staff were frequent and often sudden. In addition, there were periods of crisis and tension owing to civil disturbances, when classes were disrupted, facilities curtailed and even danger threatened.
All these problems, Mrs. Peiris addressed with calm efficiency and clear thinking, drawing inner strength from her firm Christian faith.
A strict disciplinarian, she has yet a great depth of understanding and concern for students, parents and members of Staff. While maintaining traditional values , she is keenly alive to liberal and progressive ideas. She encourages students to be aware of current affairs and trends and to participate in varied co-curricular activities.
The construction of the Hall Block, the Auditorium and the new four-storey block of class-rooms and improvements in the Primary School, owe much to her initiative, enthusiasm and hard work.
Herself a young mother at the time she was appointed Principal, Mrs. Peiris has combined with duties of home and school, the added responsibility of taking a leading part in Church activities, particularly with regard to women’s affairs.
She represents all that is best in the emerging womanhood of Sri Lanka.
As Methodist College enters a new era, having completed 125 years of life as a school, a new guiding hand will be at the helm. Mrs. Priyani Fernando, who takes over as Principal in 1992, is an Old Girl of the school, where she had her early introduction to the world of Science, A B.Sc. (Hons.) graduate in Chemistry. Mrs. Fernando spent several years in the United States of America, where she studied at Rutgers University, New Jersey, and also did voluntary work at the Timothy Christian School and the Hydewood Park Baptist Nursery.
On her return to Sri Lanka, she again took up teaching, joining the staff of Methodist College in 1988. In 1991 she was appointed Vice- Principal, and in 1992 assumes duties as Principal. Her quiet dignity and friendly charm have already won the respect and the affection of all connected with the School.
Mrs. R. Shanthi Dias assumed duties as Principal of Methodist College in 2003. She was appointed Co-Vice Principal in 2000 and Vice Principal in 2002. An Old Girl of the school, she obtained a B.A.Hons degree in English from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. She is also a Fellow of the Trinity College of Music, London, and a Licentiate of the Royals Schools of Music, London, in Piano Performance.