Cherishing the efforts of Sir Casper Maina, a transformative teacher

Chief Principal Casper Maina (third from right) having a light moment with his former students during a social function in Kisii County. The Nyamagwa Boys alumni reminisce the great efforts he made to shape them and make them professionally minded. PHOTO/Courtesy.

By Elias Moturi

  • Chief Principal Casper Maina, the erudite administrator, is a lover of “order and order”. 
  • Once we settled in our classes, you could not know where he was until he found you talking to another or outside the classroom.
  • Now serving at Nairobi School as a Chief Principal means he has attained the highest level there is for a high school administrator.  

We saw him as our father; most of us who were small-bodied were comfortable seeing him around, and it gave us a sense of security. 

During our admission process to Form One, this towering calm man passed by and older boys literally disappeared into the thin air. 

We stopped all that our hands were handling instantaneously to make out what was happening as the old boys vanished from the vicinity, whispering, “Bouncer, Bouncer!” and order resumed. 

On admission day, bullies were in sheep’s skin carrying Form 1 trunks to the dormitory section. 

Like hawks over some flesh, they hovered around the admission venue with the motive of asking for money from new entrants for bread or pick part of the shopping—a bad culture Sir Caspar fought to eliminate.  

At first, the scenario scared new boys but the relief that comes when the pressure of these older boys disappears was great. 

They were a menace. I remember losing a bar of soap. 

Magically, a boy stood by my box as I waited to be checked; he engaged me as my elder brother was clearing from the Accounts Department. 

As we engaged with the boy, whom I later learned that he was a Form Two, another pilfered my bar of soap, and off they went. 

My brother had to buy another. It pained me that I had lost an item on the first day of reporting—January 27, 1996. Mr. Maina rooted out this nonsense during his tenure.

Chief Principal Casper Maina, the erudite administrator, is a lover of “order and order”. 

His calm and shy-like appearance might confuse you to mistaken him for a harmless fellow but just misbehave and you’ll have a taste of his stern look that cuts deep into your conscience. 

You remain with no option but to obey. This is the administrator we loved, attracted with the same force he repelled.

He had sublime confidence in whatever he desired to do; he achieved it with ease, making many admire his style.

A charismatic leader

Sir Casper has touched many boys in the schools he has been: St. John’s Nyamagwa Boys, Kisii School (GAS), and now the Chief Principal, Nairobi School. 

With his charismatic leadership, he is always very close to his teachers and students to the point of making them so loyal that one feels indebted to work beyond the expected ordinary. 

Mr. Maina addresses guests, staff and students during the commissioning of a new dormitory and the laying of the foundation stone for a new Science Laboratory complex at Nairobi School on May 25, 2023. PHOTO/PPS.
President William Ruto commissioning the new dormitory at Nairobi School on May 25, 2023. PHOTO/PPS.
Students follow proceedings during the event. PHOTO/PPS.

He is ever in school, ever in touch with all that goes on.

In our time, he became part of us. 

We could set out for a tour and leave him at school. On our rounds, while enjoying, we spot him and take a group photo.

On finishing our business and returning, we could find him in school, supervising evening preps. 

As fluid as air

Sir Casper is a hands-on administrator. Some of us, in our naivety, always thought he did not have sleep. We joined Form One when he was in charge of the Boarding Department. 

He could be with us at the serving point, ensuring that everyone gets the right food ratio. 

In high schools, some cooks can be mischievous, you know. 

He then stood strategically at a point he could spot everyone in the school. In a way, he seemed to enjoy the “music of the running shoes.” 

Once we settled in our classes, you could not know where he was until he found you talking to another or outside the classroom. 

He was as fluid as air. This man enjoyed being a teacher.

Sir Casper ensured no senior student bullied another. He loves peace. 

Those days, boys in Form Four were well-fed; their size was so intimidating that without a hands-on administrator, a Form One student could not access bathing water.

Sir Casper ensured order. 

Elias Moturi (seated), a teacher of English/Literature at Kereri Girls, together with his colleague teacher, Christine Momanyi, HOS Kiswahili, pose for a photo with students of the 2020 KCSE Class as they were wishing them success ahead of the national exams. PHOTO/Courtesy.

He escorted us every Wednesday and Sunday to the Main Church—Nyamagwa Parish. 

During his CRE lessons in high school, he could simplify some concepts and make one be part of a character in the Bible by invoking the name of Jesus and Biblical prophets. 

In the process, one gained the virtues of honesty, loyalty, empathy, and love for one another. It is from Sir Casper that I first learned the Beatitudes as explained by Jesus to his Disciples. 

I picked two of them from Mathew 5:7 and 8.

“Blessed are the merciful,

For they will be shown mercy.”

“Blessed are the pure in heart,

For they will see God.”


We scored highly in his subject. He made us feel indebted to him. 

The classes had healthy competition and those that topped in the internal examinations and the Pre-midterm Continuous Assessment Tests were recognized. 

The school administration motivated us to aim higher. There was a goat for every top stream per Form. 

Adolescent boys love meat; we strove never to lose the opportunity to eat a goat on the eve of closing day. 

The competition was tough across the streams. 

In 1997, the Teachers Service Commission saw it fit to appoint Sir Caspar as the Deputy Principal. 

The boys with the innate spirit of bullies received it with pain, but deep within us, the small-bodied Form Two students then, were jubilant. 

It is from his reign as a Deputy Principal and then a Principal that St. John’s Nyamagwa turned around. 

With the calm of Mr. Fred Leo Sunda, the Principal then and Physics Teacher, when Mr. Maina was Deputy, the school received its fair share of accolades in the Nyanza Region. 

The duo was result-oriented and went the extra mile to ensure that the learning environment was conducive for all. 

They got the committed teachers to be around us: the late Mr. Joseph Obare (RIP), another hero who transformed Nyabigena Boys while serving there as a Principal after leaving Nyamagwa Boys; Mr. Nicodemus Ogeto, the current Principal of Kibabii Boys in Bungoma County; Mr. Ochieng Odede, the late Chege (RIP), Mr. Okuku, Mr. Maranga Ben and many others. 

Mentor teachers

In those days, the administrators could recruit the best former students to serve as mentor teachers. 

We could easily identify with these young teachers and they indeed wrought the best in us: 

Dr. (now) Nyakeri Evans of Chemistry; Mr. Otieno of Mathematics, the High Court Judge (now) Denis Magare, who demystified Mathematics by scoring an A from Kisii School the previous year; Mr. Mokua Simon (now NGAO – North Eastern) from Cardinal Otunga Mosocho; and Momanyi from Alliance Boys, among others. 

These mentor-teachers were game-changers in our lives. In them, we saw success and we worked for it. 

We could freely share after classes, play with them in the field, walk with them and consult without any inhibition. 

Later on in life, we have come to appreciate the power of Peer Teaching.

We still remember them; whenever we have our alumni group meetings, their names are motifs that appear in every sentence. 

Through Caspar’s mentorship, we have had many of us positively contribute to the societies we live in. 

Represented all over

Nyamagwa Boys is well represented in the US, with many of the old boys established there. 

From our class of 1999, We have a US-Naval officer Sir Augustus Otwori, US-based researcher Dr. Richard Mariita, Mr. Geoffrey Ong’angi, Sir Vincent Tong’i, Mr. Okero Evans, Mr. Manyona, Mr. Mbeche Leonard, Mr. Ayora, and Sir Vincent Okemwa Oyaro, among others. 

Here in Kenya, we have Dr. Isoe Headmound Okari, CPA Samwel Ratemo, who was the top boy at 1999 KCSE, CPA Motari Haron, CPA Omweri, CPA Okari John CPA Douglas Nyangaresi, Eng. Angoi Phillip, 

Banker Wycliffe Nyakundi, Journalist Onditi Geoffrey, Sir Vincent Moriasi, Clinician Evans Ontiro, Sir David Nyarong’i, Teachers Josephat Omwoyo, Enock Mariita, Eric Nyakundi, Josephat Manyange, 

Kenyanya Innocent, Mwalimu Samson a.k.a Atom, Sir Innocent Maina, Samson Oyweri, Snr Jared Michira, Tonogo Bonface, Tom Monda, and Gerald Omosa to name but a few. 

Nyamangwa shaped us to become what we wanted to become. 


When you meet these boys, now men, from the way they do their things, and their desire for high standards in whatever engagement they are in, you see the good work of Chief Principal Casper. 

The empathy we learned then is still strong; we have stood by one another in cases of compassion, going to the point of supporting one another all along. Sir Casper’s words of encouragement follow our actions.

Mr. Moturi (in black sweater), with colleagues, lead the girls of the Compassion Club of Kereri Girls for a donation to the Kisii Children’s Home recently. PHOTO/Courtey.

Now serving at Nairobi School as a Chief Principal means he has attained the highest level there is for a high school administrator. 

It joys us that we were touched and shaped by the right person. 

Clarion call 

Whatever responsibility you have been assigned to do, do it as if you are the only one there to do it until the end of the world. 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: How award-winning Chief Principal is transforming Dagoretti High School

Sir Casper works as if he is the only one there to do the work. We are inspired. 

The writer is a teacher of English/Literature at Kereri Girls High School.

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