Meet the leaders who share knowledge at EduWeek



Professor Eric Atmore

Professor Eric Atmore Title: Director of the Centre for Early Childhood Development; Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Social Development of UCT Company: Centre for Early Childhood Development Sector/s: Early Childhood Development Eric was a member of major ECD policy development initiatives, including the National Education Policy Investigation and the South African Preschool Study, which contributed to the new government ECD policies. Eric wrote the 2006 national ECD guidelines for the Department of Social Development, and ECD policy for several municipalities. He is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor of Social Development at the University of Cape Town.

Dr Jaco Deacon

Dr Jaco Deacon Title: Deputy CEO Company: FEDSAS Sector/s: Basic Education Jaco Deacon is Deputy Chief Executive of FEDSAS (the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools) and trustee of the South African Educational Development Trust. He holds an LLB, LLM and a doctorate (LLD) in Labour Law and is an admitted attorney. Jaco is a research fellow at the University of the Free State and serves on the South African Council for Educators and n the Ethics Committee. He the Editor the Juta Education Law and Policy Handbook and he published a number of accredited journal articles.

Ms Jaye Richards-Hill

Ms Jaye Richards-Hill Title: Education Programme Manager Company: Microsoft Education Team Sector/s: E-Tech & Basic Education Jaye is the Founder and Managing Director of Tablet Academy Africa, part of the global Tablet Academy organization and supports national and regional governments across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India in transforming education in technology and device deployment programs in schools across the region. Jaye has nearly thirty years of experience in training and teaching, as a science teacher and as a learning community principal teacher involved in disseminating good practice on ICT in the classroom. She has worked at government level on projects, including the recent Operation Phakisa Education lab for the Office of the President in South Africa.

Mr Leonard Saul

Mr Leonard Saul Title: Chief Executive Officer Company: South African Congress for Early Childhood Development Sector/s: Early Childhood Development Senior Researcher at Human Sciences Research Council from 1996-1998. Chief Executive Officer at SA Congress for ECD from 1998 till 2002. Senior Manager for Strategic planning and Support at ETDP SETA from 2003 till 2004 and since 2005 Chief Executive Officer at SA Congress for ECD. Served on South African Council for Educators (2000-2003); ETDP SETA Board from 2000-2003 and then ECD Chamber at ETDP SETA from 2009-2015.

Mr Rej Brijraj

Mr Rej Brijraj Title: Chief Executive Officer Company: South African Council for Educators Sector/s: Basic Education

Mrs Rianette Leibowitz

Mrs Rianette Leibowitz Title: Managing Director Company: SaveTNet Cyber Safety NPC Sector/s: Basic Education Rianette Leibowitz is a professional communicator, as TV and Radio presenter, Activist for SaveTNet, Author of: Not for Sale - Relationships of Influence, Entrepreneur and Accredited Public Relations Professional. Rianette is the founder and spokesperson for SaveTNet, which aims to save lives by creating awareness for responsible digital engagement with an emphasis on relationship management. She presents the Cyber Health Feature on and is on a mission to share the cyber safety message

Carleen King

Carleen King Title: Project Consultant for EDI GUINEA PROJECT Company: United Nations Sector/s: Higher Education Carleen King is an International Advisor and Independent Business and Writing Consultant. Ms. King has owned and operated her own consulting business for eighteen years in the areas of strategic business management, independent paralegal services, event planning/management and fundraising.

Ms Thembikile Ndlovu

Ms Thembikile Ndlovu Title: President Company: SAPA Sector/s: Basic Education & Inclusive Education Thembekile Ndlovu, the principal of Khanyanjalo School in KZN for the past 15 years. The present Chairperson and the President of the South African Principals Association. Have won Gold in the service excellence awards in KZN and Silver Kadar Asmal Excellence Award in the National Teaching Awards in 2013. One of the Adjudicators of the National Teaching Awards for 2015/2016. Presented at the EduWeek Conference in 2015.

Mr. Eugene Matshwane

Mr. Eugene Matshwane Principal - South African National Council for the blind Optima college Previously worked as an ABET instructor in Tshimologo ABET centre for the visually impaired and as an educator for learners with visual impairment in Bartimea school for the deaf and blind. Eugene completed his matric at Bartimea school for the deaf and blind, studied in the university of the Free State for: BA degree; postgraduate certificate in education; honores in professional psychology of education and currently pursuing masters in inclusive education.

Graeme Edwards

Graeme Edwards Headmaster - St David’s Preparatory School With some 26 years in education, seventeen of which have been as the Head of an Independent Catholic School, Graeme Edwards describes himself as being passionate about education, a lifelong learner and family man. Graeme holds a Master’s Degree in Education with a specialisation in curriculum design. He is currently the Executive Chairman of the Catholic Schools’ Council and Chairman of the Central ISASA Executive committee.

Robyn Beere

Robyn Beere Director - Inclusive Education South Africa Robyn is the Director of Inclusive Education South Africa (IESA). IESA is an NGO, which has for the past 21 years, been involved in promoting meaningful participation in education for all children in South Africa. She has an LLB and BA Hons Degree in Political Science and over 12 years experience in the development sector. Robyn is involved in high level advocacy around the effective implementation of inclusive education policy in South Africa.

Norman Mphake

Norman Mphake Founder: PEISA Norman Mphake is the Founding Director of the Physical Education Institute of South Africa (PEISA) an organisation committed to advocating for active engagement, skills development, debate, research, innovation, knowledge sharing and setting the foundation for a healthy, active and physically literate South Africa. Mr. Mphake’s academic expertise is in the areas of Physical Education, sport coaching, administration and talent identification with a higher degree from La Escuela Internacional de Educación Física y Deporte (International School of Physical Education and Sport) – in Cuba.

Gizelle McIntyre

Gizelle McIntyre is a director of The Institute of People Development (IPD). Within this role, Gizelle’s responsibilities include designing Leadership, ETD, Talent Management and Management programmes, curricula and processes for organisations and managing a diverse team of L&D Associates and professionals in the design, delivery and evaluation of customised learning, CPD and RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) solutions. Gizelle’s career spans 19 years of learning and development, consulting and management and graduate development. Gizelle received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the SABPP in 2015 for exceptional contributions in the HRD space. She has experience in corporate and National, Provincial and Local Government, in non-government organisations, public service and private corporates throughout all the sectors. Clients serviced by Gizelle include VWSA, SADC, BMW, Assmang Chrome, De Beers, NAMDEB, Standard Bank, FNB, EOH, Nestlé, and many Provincial departments, Indwe Risk, Liberty Life and the South African Revenue Services (SARS). These organisations, to name a few, utilise her for consulting and action learning assignments and have enabled her to facilitate learning experiences and strategies in challenging environments and innovative ways. With post-graduate qualifications in Psychology and Education, Training and Development, Chartered Professional Designation at SABPP and COMENSA, and a passion for public speaking to sell the skills development message, Gizelle brings innovation to design and energy to partnerships.

Steve Sherman

Steve Sherman Chief Imagination Officer of Living Maths Steve is the Chief Imagination Officer of an Educational NGO in South Africa called Living Maths. He teaches approximately 4500 students weekly in schools around Cape Town and now recently, the world. He is passionate about sharing knowledge and empowering young people and teachers. He is also a multi-award purchasing educator and was voted third best-looking educational innovator by his mother. He feels that it is his destiny to spread the joy of numbers, creativity and tech to anyone who is willing to listen and even to those who are not. He knows Karate, Ju-jitsu and 2 other Japanese words.

Immaculee Harushimana

Immaculee Harushimana University Faculty at Lehman College, City University of New York Immaculée Harushimana is Associate Professor of TESOL and English Education in Lehman College, City University of New York. Formerly a lecturer at the University of Burundi, Harushimana came to the United States in 1993 as a Fulbright scholar. Her research interests include immigrant and refugee youth’s school integration, multilingual identities, and alternative discourses. Her most recent publication, Reprocessing race, language and ability: African-born educators and students in transnational America (2013), brings together the experiences of African-born teacher educators, k-12 teachers and secondary youth in the USA and Canada. Her forthcoming (2016) publication, a co-authored book with Dr. Shirley Mthethwa-Sommers, explores the effect of intersecting issues of race, nationality, and spirituality on the schooling adaptation of African-born children in western school settings.

Varaidzo Mureriwa

Varaidzo Mureriwa Managing Director at The P-STEM Foundation NPC Varaidzo Mureriwa is a passionate STEM Education Evangelist. She is the Managing Director of the P-STEM Foundation, a Southern African non-governmental STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) advocacy organisation. Vari started the P-STEM Foundation with two Accenture colleagues as a response to the dual challenges of high youth unemployment and a growing STEM skills shortage in South Africa in 2011. The intention of P-STEM was to redirect and support South Africa’s most at risk of unemployment youth, into the growing STEM opportunities evident in the country. Today, through the STEM Community Engagement Model, the P-STEM Foundation operates across 4 provinces in South Africa, working with over 15 000 primary and high school learners and is actively changing the South African STEM education landscape significantly. Varaidzo holds a Bachelor of Business in Information Systems degree from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia and also runs a specialist consulting practice for bespoke systems development and strategy. She is a Red Bull Amaphiko Social Entrepreneur and a Salzburg Global Fellow.

Heleen Johnson

Heleen has more than 30 years’ experience as an Occupational Therapist. She has worked locally and abroad in the education and health sectors. She currently works full time for Educanda assisting with the development of new products and doing training workshops.

Danai Nhando

Danai Nhando is a Human Rights Lawyer and equitable education advocate with a passion for advancing equitable education in Africa through technology. She has extensive experience in the Sub-Saharan African education sector, leading teams in the design and delivery of technology-enabled learning solutions tailored for African markets. Notably she led the development of Ruzivo Digital Learning, the first locally developed online interactive digital learning platform for primary and high school students in Zimbabwe and Edubuntu, a digital learning platform that delivers interactive online learning in South Africa. Danai is the Co-Founder of Ampli5yd, a Learning and Development consultancy that designs, develops and delivers technology-based learning solutions for corporates and academic institutions. She is also a consultant with eLearn Africa a marketplace of educational and professional development courses from world-class sources and acts as the Regional Specialist for Southern Africa. Danai holds a Bachelor Of Commerce Degree in Law and Economics and an LLB from Rhodes University in South Africa, as well as an MBA in International Management and Sustainability from Royal Holloway University Of London in Surrey, UK.

Dylan Busa

Dylan Busa is a high school Mathematics and Science teacher by training. He left full time teaching to join Mindset Network, a South African non-profit organization that supports the formal education and health sectors through technology mediated student and patient support and professional development services. There he worked in various capacities including as Technology Executive, Strategic and Organisational Development Executive and Schooling Executive, a role in which he was responsible for all student and teacher support and development activities. In 2015, he joined FHI360 as the Southern African Programme Manager for Design Squad Global. In this capacity, he played an integral part in developing and piloting the DSG model in partnership with 6 organisations in South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana. Subsequent to this, Dylan has worked to introduce the program to youth development organizations and schools throughout Southern Africa and has trained and supported numerous youth development facilitators and teachers in implementing DSG in their contexts. Since September 2016, the DSG program has been run by over 360 organisations in 27 countries. Dylan also works as an independent education consultant focusing on educational policy and strategy, curriculum and materials design, technology integration and e-learning design and development. His current and recent projects include an evaluation of an ANA based primary school Mathematics teacher development programme for the DBE, the development of an online numeracy and literacy diagnostic and support system for TVET college students, an online professional development support service for nurses for the DoH and the development of online courses for Grade 8 – 12 Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy.

Lennox Tapera

• 33 years of age • Holder of an Honours degree in English and Communication • Post Graduate Certificate in Education • 120 hour certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) • 7 years teaching experience • 3 years experience in Training Facilitation

Lindiwe Matlali

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Minize Grobler

Mineze holds a B.A. Hons. Development Communication degree (NWU: Potchefstroom). She started her career at Think Ahead in 2014. Mineze focuses on bringing “future school” programmes to Think Ahead partner schools. These programmes are in line with global education trends. Mineze co-ordinates student and teacher training for CodeSpace (bring coding literacy to schools) and MakerSpace (setting up MakerSpace environments to encourage design and discovery).

Norman Mphake

Mr Norman Mphake is a social justice activist and an advocate for play and movement education. He is the founder of the Physical Education Institute of South Africa (PEISA), an organisation established under the auspices of the Department of Basic Education (DBE), to reinforce the instruction of Curriculum Orientated Physical Education and act as a catalyst for promoting physical activity in all schools. He has served as a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) – Coaches Commission. He is a member of Board of Directors for Leisure and Recreation South Africa (LARASA). Mr Mphake is the National Coordinator for the UNESCO Quality Physical Education policy project.

Phuti Ragophala

Phuti Ragophala,multi award winner , nominated by Varkey foundation in United Kingdom,as TOP 50 Global Teacher Prize 2017, got honoured in DUBAI MARCH 2017 during GESF.Im (VTA) Varkey Teacher Ambassador where I am in the fore front of encouraging young and upcoming educators about teaching as a career hence shortage of educators Im Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer through Microsoft In Education where I train and workshop educators on (CPTD) Continuous Professional Teacher Development based on digital teaching and learning through Webinars and Skype teaching. Im nominated by Fellowship of the Africa Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA) to receive a Fellowship award at University of South Africa on the 23 May 2017. The resolution was unanimous following my nomination by the South African delegation and popular endorsement as a professional teacher who has made monumental impact on the teaching profession in my country and Africa in general. I do free community work ; techno- reading clubs and offering ICT skills to community learners on Saturdays . I am ambassador to various teaching organisations: Centre for Public Service Innovation nationally, SACE nationally , Microsoft IN Education inter nationally, Varkey Teacher Ambassador internationally Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. My blog is

René Testa

I have been involved in ECD for the past 35 years, and furthered my studies in psychology when my kids were grown up. I was in fulltime ministry for a few years, as head of the Counseling centre of the theological semenarium in Aucklandpark, Jhb, after completing a Masters in Counseling. I left fulltime ministry in 2001, running my own practise from home for a few years, and started a Home for abandoned children in 2009. I qualified as a nutritional therapist in 2012, because we saw great success in children with special needs overcoming their delays with dietary interventions. In 2015 Swift Academy was born, catering for children on the autistic spectrum, with cerebral palsy, HIV, fetal alcohol syndrome and other developmental delays. Focusing very strongly on diet, we believe that a chemical free environment contributes greatly to our success in getting the children to overcome their delays and become healthy, contributing members of society.

Norman Gwangwava

Dr. Norman Gwangwava: PhD in Industrial Engineering, with proficiency in Industrial and Product Design, Concurrent Engineering, and e-Manufacturing. LECTURER at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. Has presented and published over 20 research papers at conferences and refereed journals. Research interests are in; Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems (RMS), Cyber-Physical Production Systems (CPS), Collaborative Product Design, and Additive Manufacturing. Delivers short training programs and offer consultancy in areas of Advanced Manufacturing Technology and Systems, Lean Manufacturing, Modular Product Design and Computer Based Applications in Engineering.

Lisa Ellis

Lisa Ellis has worked in the Assistive Technology industry in South Africa, the UK and Europe for over 13 years and is an expert in the use of high tech products for people with complex disabilities. She has extensive experience in training and sharing her passion and knowledge with audiences around the country. Lisa is Director of Inclusive Solutions, a company which specialises in technologies for disability, early education, alternative computer controls, sensory rooms, autism, augmentative & alternative communication (AAC) and inclusive education training. She has an academic background in Linguistics. Keeping informed about the latest global and local assistive technologies is a key area of focus for her team, so that local beneficiaries are ensured access to the best options

Paula Barnard-Ashton

Paula Barnard-Ashton is an occupational therapist who practiced in the field of paediatric learning difficulties and sensory integration before becoming a lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand. She attained a Masters degree in 2009 and was awarded a fellowship in the Sub-Saharan African FAIMER Regional Institute 2011-2012. In 2009, Paula was appointed to the role of manager of the School of Therapeutic Sciences eLearning Project, with the objective of driving the integration of blended learning and educational technologies into the undergraduate curricula. She is currently in the final stages of her PhD, researching the integration of blended learning into the occupational therapy curriculum

Nirmala Sankaran

Nirmala Sankaran is one of the Founders of HeyMath! ( – a global leader in online Mathematics education with users in over 50 countries. Developed since 2000 in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, UK, HeyMath’s mission is to support the work of teachers and make Mathematics engaging and enjoyable for learners. Featured as an example of globalization in Thomas L. Friedman’s ‘The World is Flat’, Friedman wrote this in his Op-Ed column of the New York Times “HeyMath’s vision is to be the Math Google - to establish a platform that enables every student and teacher to learn from the ‘best teachers in the world’ and to also be able to benchmark themselves against their peers globally.” HeyMath’s core competencies are curriculum expertise, rich interactive pedagogy, creative use of technology, flexible delivery models and strong domain in teacher training. Over the last 16 years, HeyMath! has established a strong footprint in Singapore, India, South Africa and Latin America. The program has consistently produced results and has positively impacted half a million learners and 4000 teachers globally. HeyMath! also has an enrichment program for accelerated learners which was co-developed in partnership with Singapore’s prestigious Raffles Institution. Nirmala Sankaran in the Chief Evangelist and leads product design, innovation and talent management at HeyMath! She is committed to building excellence in Mathematics Education by constantly synthesizing best practices from high performing systems around the world, drawing insights from pedagogical research and staying on top of the latest in Educational Technology. She has extensive grassroots experience in South Africa having worked with 4 Provincial departments of Education, thousands of Educators and Subject Advisors, school principals and Learners since 2009. Prior to being an entrepreneur, Nirmala worked for 12 years with Citigroup in India, Middle East, Europe and the US. She has rich experience in Product Management, Product development, Sales and Marketing. Nirmala completed her MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore in 1988 and graduated from Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi in 1986 (where she stood 1st in University of Delhi). She completed a week long course in April 2016 on ‘How to Build a Global Enterprise’ conducted by Harvard Business School.