Margaret grew up in Johannesburg, and matriculated at Northcliff High School. After doing a Bachelor of Arts at Wits University, majoring in English, with German and History of Drama as sub-majors, she qualified as a teacher at the Johannesburg College of Education. She taught Grade 2 at Jeppe Prep for a year, and then, in 1981, travelled with her puppets in Israel and Turkey. She then caught the Magic Bus to Germany, where she lived for two years, performing in German under the name “Zappelpappel Puppen”. She performed at pre- and primary schools, birthday parties and fétes in and around the University town of Göttingen, and also did some feminist street theatre. She also worked part-time as a foreign language secretary at the Georg-August University.
On returning, Margaret worked at Wits University, first in the German Department and then part-time at the Centre for Continuing Education. She also worked as a coordinator for POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse), and taught in an inner city nursery school. In 1989 she became a full-time professional puppeteer.
She started giving puppet shows with a friend, as “Magic and Moonshine” while still at school, and she has been performing as “Spellbound Puppets” for over thirty years. She regularly performs at the Kinder Theatre in Emmarentia, and also at the Bryanston Organic Market.
Carol Bailie trained at Pretoria College of Education receiving a BPrim Ed degree through UNISA in 1988. She started her career in government education and moved into community development in Winterveld in 1992, returning to the classroom for a further 7 years from 1996. She lectured concurrently in diploma studies lecturing for the Bureau for In-Service Teacher Development (NUE/JCE) over 6 years, and ran various teacher-training workshops. For the past 15 years Carol has been involved in presenting various Love Languages courses, and in 2008 she launched her business “Dare to Love”, formally offering parent and teacher workshops. Her topics are based on reputable books and research studies, and workshops are designed to help parents of young children gain the maximum benefit from the material. Carol regularly presents parent and teacher workshops at schools and conferences around South Africa. She is married to Geoff and has two children age 12 and 10.
Michelle is an award winning Master Coach and Trainer, Enneagram Practitioner, Inspirational speaker and published author. Michelle has focused the last 6 years of her coaching career on bringing coaching skills and enneagram personality insights to parents, teachers and school management teams. With these tools, she helps teachers develop self-awareness and professional skills while assisting schools in shifting their focus to transform their approach to education. Michelle has a passion for providing parents and teachers with practical and easy-to-use coaching tips and skills that enable them to empower and equip children with essential life skills. Her refreshing approach and professionalism have earned her the reputation as an excellent trainer and speaker. As a mother of two and a passion for empowering youth, Michelle offers seminars and workshops to teachers and parents equipping them with coaching skills to inspire learners and children. Michelle is the author of a children’s book and appears regularly on television as a guest speaker. She has been featured on the iLead SA site and contributes to various magazines and social media sites.
Aarnout Brombacher is the founder and head of Brombacher & Associates, and was the former head of the Mathematics Department at Westerford High School and a Past-President of AMESA. In 1996 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and read for a Master’s degree in Mathematics Education at the University of Georgia in the USA.
Aarnout and the team at Brombacher and Associates are involved in the materials development, teacher training and research in the field of mathematics education. Among other materials, the team has developed the Number Sense Workbook Series, to provide independent written activities for children as they develop a strong sense of number. A strong sense of number is at the heart of being able to do mathematics and central to mathematics in the early years. As part of their teacher training activities the team provide in-class coaching support to early grade teachers in a number of schools.
Inspirational speaker and best-selling author, Nikki Bush, is highly regarded among business people, educators and parents alike as she helps them to manage, educate and parent talent for the new world of work.
Her work is fuelled by her passion for play, connection and relationships. She is fondly referred to as a Creative Parenting Expert in parenting and education circles and is gaining a reputation as a Talent Whisperer in the corporate sphere.
Nikki is the co-author of three bestselling books: Future-proof Your Child, Easy Answers to Awkward Questions and Tech-Savvy Parenting. She has just written a new e-book called Talent Redefined.
Nikki is also a guest lecturer at Wits Business School, Henley and GIBS. She is married to Simon, has two sons aged 16 and 21, and they live in Johannesburg.
Mohammed has been a retail pharmacist for 17 years. He studied at Rhodes University in GRAHAMSTOWN 1995 – 1999. He now owns his own pharmacy and is interested in finding the root cause of disease to help treat his patients. His belief is that there is always another way when CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE does not work. Mohammed lives in Rustenburg and is married with two sons.
Laetitia de Jager
iSchoolAfrica Facilitation Manager, Laetitia de Jager, has a B.Sc. Physical Science Degree with a Diploma in Education (University of Johannesburg). Laetitia has 10 years teaching experience in Mathematics and Physical Science in public and private schools. She is responsible for the facilitation of one of Think Ahead’s key programmes; iSchoolAfrica iPad Learning Programme. She also leads the educational implementation of this ICT integration initiative, which deploys Apple products in rural and township schools across the country, empowering teachers and learners to become digitally literate by using cutting edge technology. Laetitia joined iSchoolAfrica in 2011, driving exciting change in the rural and township education landscape of South Africa. She manages a team of iSchoolAfrica facilitators across the country.
Melodie de Jager
Some would call her approach to facilitating somewhat unusual, definitely out of the box, but nobody can with honesty say that Melodie de Jager is boring. It is exactly this novel and fun approach that makes her one of the top facilitators; one who has the ability to present complex issues to a diverse audience in an easily accessible way. Apart from hosting workshops country wide, she also is a regular quest on radio and television and a keynote speaker for various schools, governmental departments and corporates. She is also a published author of 12 books – some are available in 5 different languages (English, Afrikaans, Spanish, German and Polish).Two of her most recent books cover the wondrous world of school readiness: Play Learn Know – Co-authored with Liz Victor and Ready to Learn Ready for School – a practical guide for teachers and carers.
Her true passion is the empowerment of disadvantaged communities through quality education.
Gaye has 22 years’ experience teaching pre-school music in the Johannesburg area and has also facilitated music and drumming workshops for over 16,000 children, 5000 teachers and interested parents across the country. She regularly presents workshops at Educational Conferences and Seminars around the country, some of which have been to 200 members of the 7th World Convention of the International Confederation of Principals in Cape Town in 2005, 400 teachers at the Suid Afrikaanse Onderwysers Unie and also the Paediatrics Audiology Conference in 2007. Gaye’s greatest joy has been to facilitate smaller workshops for students at Universities, teachers of special needs children and to interact at ground level with many interested teachers of pre and primary school children.
Lita du Plessis
Lita is an Occupational Therapist who specialises in Sensory Integration. She is currently working at Lebone II – College of the Royal Bafokeng, targeting mainly the Lower School (Grade R to Grade 6). She has a passion for children and the amazing intricacies of human development that affect and shape sensory, motor and socio-emotional growth in children. Lita believes that “play” is a language and the most effective way of communicating. It unlocks children’s potential to participate and succeed in life.
Rachel du Toit
Rachel has a Higher Diploma in Education (Junior Primary) from the Cape Town College of Education and a Diploma in Specialised Education (Remedial) from UNISA. Up until December 2015, she was a Head of Department and Grade 1 teacher at Lebone II – College of the Royal Bafokeng. She is currently the Foundation Phase Teacher Specialist at Akanyang Centre for Teaching.
Rachel has 23 years teaching experience, working mostly in the Foundation Phase. She has worked in both the public and private sectors in a cross section of schools throughout South Africa. She has also run her own business working as a private Remedial Therapist.
Rachel is a passionate Foundation Phase teacher who believes in the unique potential of each student. Although she has taught Grade 1 for many years, she never tires of the wonderment and joy that comes from helping a young child crack the reading code! Rachel is excited by the opportunity to work with student teachers who have a heart for making a difference in education in our country.
Shannon Frigyik is a passionate Music Educator having taught children ranging in age from infants and toddlers, Primary and High School pupils. She has had the opportunity of growing the Music Departments in a variety of schools, developed choirs, marimba bands, Orff ensembles and produced concerts and performances with great success. She has conducted professional workshops and presented training to both teachers and students in her field, locally and internationally. In addition to her Master’s Degree in Music (M.Mus.Ed.), her Bachelor’s Degree of Education (B.Ed.), has been critical in her approach to teaching and lecturing. She offers a wide range of relevant and effective teaching strategies to students and teachers. To this day, Shannon continues to invest in realising her vision in Music Education by regularly attaining accreditation through courses and seminars nationally and abroad. She is passionate about Music Education; a keen musician; and a dedicated teacher. She is currently Head of Class Music in the Preparatory School at St John’s College.
Cathy Fry has been involved in education and training in South Africa for over 30 years. In that time she has taught at St Peter’s Prep and Redhill School. She was Deputy at St Katharine’s and then Headmistress of the Junior School at both St Mary’s School for Girls and St Andrew’s School for Girls in Johannesburg. She has a B.Ed from London University, a Diploma in Remedial Education from UNISA, a Masters in Philosophy from Stellenbosch and a Master’s in Education at Wits. She has also attended the Leadership Development Programme at the Wits Business School. Presently she is the Managing Director of Ukhanyiso Ebantwini (Pty) Ltd, training, coaching and consulting company. Her leadership and management materials are all accredited by the Services Seta, the ETDP Seta and endorsed by SACE. She has also developed a number of workshops for teachers including Philosophy for Children, teaching children how to think and 21st Century teaching and learning. Cathy works in both independent and state schools training teachers and school management teams. She has been involved in the Thandulwazi programme from 2012 and with the British Council from 2015.
Dereck Jackson is an educator, a counsellor, an author, a radio and television talk show guest and a father. He has spoken at conferences for universities, schools and businesses in the USA, the UK and many countries in Africa and Europe including Holland Portugal, Germany, Kenya and Nigeria. He addressed the International Conference of School Principals in Helsinki and is a regular speaker for the Young Presidents Organisation (YPO). For twenty years and more, Dereck Jackson has been speaking to parents and educators about rearing children. His entertaining, informative talks have successfully guided thousands of parents through the minefield of raising and educating their children. He has published three books namely, Discipline Without Anger or Tears- A Manual for Teachers and School Principals, Parent Burnout and Parenting with Panache.
For the past 15 years Dereck has acted as a training consultant for a number of companies including Mast Training Consultants, Connemara Consultants and Human Resource Enterprises (HRE).
Natalie received her Honours Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology in 2005. She worked at a Government Hospital for 2 1/2 years after graduating, and then in private practice for 1 1/2 years before joining Lebone College as a permanent staff member in 2009, until 2015. Natalie is currently running her own practice in Polokwane, with a special interest in the paediatric population.
Renee Lighton is an Educator, Keynote Speaker, Consultant and lifelong learner. Education is her passion, her purpose, her practice and her service. She empowers and ignites a love of learning in parents, teachers and children.
To date, Renee has produced a Lighton Education DVD and published her series of Let’s Get Ready books for teachers and parents, co-authored the successful range of Shuter’s FAL English series for Foundation Phase as well as designed and written the Perivoli Teacher Training Programme for Early Years teachers in Namibia. More recently, Renee has been involved in the training and sharing of her eight Positive Parenting Programme workshops with 200 RCL employees in Worcester. These workshops have helped to empower parents and children alike with many of the attendees praising Renee for transforming the way they think about learning and play.
It is Renee’s belief that to make a sustainable, lasting difference, we need to use what we have in creative hand up ways as opposed to relying on the hand out approach.
Dr Annemarie Lombard is the Founder and CEO of Sensory intelligence® Consulting. She has a PhD in Occupational therapy, acquired through UCT in 2012. She has 24 years of national and international experience in people development and learning and practised as an occupational therapist for 15 years dealing with children with special needs, learning and attention difficulties. She is a registered Occupational therapist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
She is the sensory processing subject expert and the author of “Sensory Intelligence: Why It Matters More Than IQ and EQ”, published by Metz Press, 2007.
Annemarie does extensive on-line sensory profiling and workshops for leaders, work teams, healthcare professionals, wellness practitioners, parents and teachers by unpacking sensory neuroscience in a no-nonsense, practical and easy to understand format. She is passionate about healthy habits for parents, how children learn, and parenting in the 21st century.
Welma is a clinical nursing specialist (advanced midwifery and neonatal nursing science), who holds a PhD in Obstetric and Neonatal Nursing Science from the North-West University. Her research and teaching expertise is focused on the implementation of best practice guidelines for neurodevelopmental supportive care of the infant in South Africa, with a special interest in prematurity. She is currently senior lecturer in midwifery at the North-West University (Potchefstroom campus). Welma acts as guest lecturer for various South African and international universities and hospitals for the whole multi-disciplinary team that are working with preterm infants and their families. She has been a speaker at national and international conferences, radio guest speaker, as well as author of various academic and parenting articles. She has acted as subject advisor for various companies involved in preterm infant products.
Dr Lubbe has published numerous articles in academic journals and consumer magazines and has been widely interviewed in newspapers, on radio shows, and on television shows about her research and community involvement in preterm parenting issues. She is also involved with industry as content specialist and product advisor.
Donna has he Master of Science in Early Childhood from Walden University, USA. Her first degree; P Prim Ed (Pre-Primary) was earned at the University of Pretoria. Donna has been in the Early Childhood field for over 25 years working in SA, Botswana, and USA and is currently in Swaziland. She has recently worked as a consultant for UNESCO working on a 5 year plan for ECD in Swaziland. She has also been instrumental in developing an ECD programme at the local university where she is lecturing. She runs the preschool for Royal Swazi Sugar Association where she has daily contact with 100 little kiddies.
Casha is an optometrist who has been in practise for 25 years. She owns three optometric practices in Gauteng, trading under the name of ‘Eyetek’. She has a special interest in visual related learning difficulties and the visual rehabilitation of patients with brain injuries. Apart from all the other services provided by our optometrists, Casha also provides multisensory visual therapy, neuro vision therapy and therapy for the integration of the visual neuro pathways.
Tereena is a Counselling Psychologist in private practice, with a special interest in community and family work. Her passion and focus at the moment lie with the youth population, as well as community growth and development. She takes a particular interest in issues of family and personal relationship challenges, family intervention, group work, play therapy, developmental challenges, performance expectations, personal motivation as well as issues of identity and diversity. The issue of self-care within the field of those whose occupation is to serve others is of great importance to Tereena, as she believes that we cannot begin to take care of, guide or educate others if we ourselves are not taken care of.
Adeyemi Oladiran has an Honours degree in Musicology, a Diploma in Music Education and a Certificate in Orff Schulwerk Music Education. Passing through Wits, UNISA, Orff Level Courses in San Francisco and attending various workshops and conferences, he has gathered a wealth of invaluable experience in music education and music making. He plays the trombone and arranges and conducts pieces for ensembles. Adeyemi is very passionate about the social, economic and philosophical possibilities for transformation that arise through art education, community cohesion and youth development. He is a cofounder and curriculum director of the non-profit organisation, Music Enlightenment Project, which is aimed at the previously disadvantaged children and youth between the ages of 6 and 18, living in and around Johannesburg inner city.
Thembeni Phoseka is a Grade 3 teacher who is passionate about reading instruction. She received her BEd Foundation Phase degree at Witwatersrand and has 9 years of teaching experience in education – 5 years in grade 3 and 4 years in grade 4.
Dave Ryan graduated from London University with a BEd (Hons) in Mathematics and Education. He started his teaching career in London. He then worked jointly for the British Government and the Swaziland Government teaching mathematics at St Marks High School in Mbabane, Swaziland. This was followed by a period at Hilton College in Natal, South Africa. He was Head of Mathematics at Hilton College and Team Manager for the Natal Mathematics Olympiad Team. He subsequently moved to St Stithians Boys College, Randburg as Head of Mathematics and later as Deputy Principal.
Dave is a nationally respected figure in mathematics assessment having been an examiner and moderator for the Independent Examinations Board at both Grade 9 and Grade 12 level.
Since 2007 he has worked for the Royal Bafokeng Institute, his current position is “Numeracy Lead”. He was instrumental in the decision taken at Lebone Lower School to introduce the Abacus Mathematics Programme to grades R to 6.
Anton has had the privilege of working for 19 years in two schools in the Eastern Cape as a Counselling Psychologist. This period was followed by 11 years in business where he fulfilled the role of Human Resources Manager. He has also been in private practice for a year and then joined Lebone ll College staff, where he has primarily fulfilled the role of Counselling Psychologist. He is passionate about the prevention of bullying in schools.
Heather’s thirty year teaching career has been varied. She has worked with the full range of primary school age groups and grades, always favouring the teaching of the creative learning areas, especially the visual arts. In 1995 she served on the Eastern Cape Interim Art syllabus committee and has given talks at the Teacher’s Centres in Kimberley and Port Elizabeth. Outside of the primary school, she taught Art at the Russell Road Technical College in Port Elizabeth and was part of a pre-1994 outreach programme, which gave disadvantaged children the opportunity to be tutored, mentored and advised. She was also part-owner of a coffee shop and art gallery, which promoted the works of local artists. The pupils she has taught have won various local, national and international art competitions
Brian is currently employed by Lebone II College as the IT Co-ordinator, Technology Integration Specialist and Lower and Middle School ICT Teacher. For the last 5 years he has been responsible for an innovative digital literacy curriculum developed in consultation with HODs, teachers and external experts. The extensive use of iPads and BYOD, Google Apps for Education, Office 365, Moodle and Purple Mash have been combined to create an integrated 21st century teaching and learning methodology in the school. For two years he was also the IT teacher to Grades 11 and 12.
Linda’s qualifications include Diploma in Education from the Johannesburg College of Education and a BEd Honours Degree from the University of Johannesburg. She is currently completing her Master’s Degree at WITS University. With 20 years’ teaching experience under her belt, at both public and private schools, she sees herself as a lifelong learner and acknowledges that “it is what we are excited about that educates us.”- Mike Rose
Monica Stach holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Intervention. She leads a team of dedicated and passionate early childhood experts, who conceptualised Cotlands toy libraries and early learning playgroup models. Her passion is creating playful learning opportunities for young children. She is pursuing a PhD in Early Childhood Education at the University of Pretoria, creating a framework for toy libraries to provide young children access to play based learning opportunities. Her favourite pastime is watching children play, and facilitating opportunities for early childhood practitioners to enhance their play based learning skills. Her life is filled by her husband, three daughters, family lunches, travelling, movies, reading, scrapbooking, gardening and sewing.
Louise Stofberg completed her undergraduate training at the University of Witwatersrand, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy in 1999. She completed her post-graduate certification in Sensory Integration in 2009. Louise has been in Paediatric private practice since 2010, based at Pridwin Preparatory School. Prior to that, she worked at Crossroads Remedial School; Delta Park Remedial School and abroad at a Child Development Clinic. Louise has a special interest working together with parents and teachers equipping them with knowledge and expertise. This helps caregivers to identify and assist children who experience barriers to learning, opening up communication lines so that everyone works together for the best of the children, helping them to achieve their full potential.
Jenny has a BA in Education with a Psychology major and a Master’s degree in Adult Education through Wits. She works with children and adults with learning difficulties as well as professional people who want to improve their spelling skills. Her MEd research report, for which she was awarded a distinction, focused on Phono-Graphix in the South African context teaching children and adults to read. Jenny received an outstanding achievement award for her contribution to the development and upliftment of people with disabilities.
She has trained over 6 000 teachers, therapists, parents and other professionals in the Phono-Graphix Reading method and has taught hundreds of children to read in rural, township government and private settings.
Taryn is a Physical Education Educator at Lebone College II, in the North West Province. She has 5 International Diplomas in the field of Somatology, including Physiology. She is also qualified as an Assessor, Moderator, Level 2 Swim Coach with ASCA (American Swim Coach Association) and a Rescue Scuba Diver. Previously lecturing Anatomy and Physiology for 1st and 2nd year college students, a part of her specialising is understanding the strengths, weaknesses and abilities of the body. Coaching various sporting codes at a school level and instructing Pilates and Spinning classes at an adult level is her passion. She currently teaches and coaches ages ranging from a Gr R – Gr 6 level. Nutrition and a holistic approach to lifestyle form a keen part of her focus and interest.
Sean Tunmer is a Clinical Psychologist and is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. He trained at the Pretoria Academic Hospital (now Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Pretoria) and Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital.
He is passionate about schools, teachers and children and their growth and flourishing. Sean has spent the past 16 years dedicated to school reform initiatives in ECD, Primary and Secondary Schools.
He has previously worked as a school psychologist and a Boarding House Director at St. Stithians’ Boys’ College, Johannesburg; served as director for Early Childhood Development for the Royal Bafokeng Institute (RBI) and most recently the Coordinator of the Akanyang Centre for Teaching, Phokeng, North West Province – training Foundation Phase Teachers in association with North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus and the RBI. He has presented at both national and international conferences on topics in education and psychology and worked with staff teams in both public and independent schools in South Africa.
Joyanne West is passionate about education and holds, amongst others, a diploma in Junior Primary Education, a Higher Diploma in Education (Children’s Music and Drama Specialisation) a Bachelor of Arts and an Honours Degree in Psychology. She is currently the head of St. Cyprian’s School-in-the-Woods.
Joyanne believes in fun, music, love and laughter. She believes that, while the curriculum outlines the guidelines and deadlines, it is critical that children learn through play. She also believes that learning to climb the monkey bars is as important as learning to ask forgiveness or saying sorry. Learning the steps to a funky dance is as important as enjoying the silence and peace of a beautiful garden and taking care of the class rabbit as critical as learning the sounds of the alphabet.
Finally, she believes in the power of the family unit and her mission is to empower and equip those in her care to make the most of these precious years.
Margot van Ryneveld
Margot has been the Head of Stepping Stones Pre-Primary School for past 17 years and Founding Director/ Principal of Sandhurst Pre- & Preparatory College in Parkmore, Johannesburg.
She is passionate about pre-primary and primary school education in particular and the power of play in general. Margot has taught from Pre-Primary to University level over the past thirty + years. She holds a B.A.(Unisa), a B.Ed.(Unisa), (Ed. Mngmnt) and H.D.E.(J.P/PP)(JCE), and a Dip Comp. Margot has three children: her son Marshall tragically died of a drug overdose in 2012. Her two daughters are currently studying; Bronwyn is at UP, studying psychology and Heather is at Wits studying OT. Margot is married to Bruce van Ryneveld, an Avionics Engineer, specialising in military helicopters.
Ursula began teaching with a JCE HDE in Senior Primary in 1986 in a Rustenburg government school – Fields Primary- which later became known as a Model C school, and worked with all the curricula changes since. In the 90s she upgraded to a BEd Intermediate Phase with NMMU. She later became HOD of the IP Dept. and her goal was to help teachers deal with the changes and expectations of the new curriculum and demands of the education department. In 2009, she was employed by Lebone II to assist with the development curriculum. Ursula now heads up development of Lebone’s own curriculum suited to their unique context.