Junior Preparatory Staff2019-01-03T16:04:42+02:00

Junior Preparatory School Staff

Broadacres Academy | Head - Junior Prep | Tammy Letcher

I moved into my current role as Head of the Junior Preparatory at Broadacres Academy in January 2018 after many happy years spent in the classroom.

My career in education spans twenty-five years and has been incredibly fulfilling and diverse.

I started teaching in High School, moved down to Senior Prep, then into the Pre-Primary and Grade 0.

My approach to learning involves creating a positive, happy, fun and secure space where learning is integrated, hands-on and differentiated.

Over the years I have come to firmly believe that teachers should expect remarkable things from the children in their care. If you believe they can, they will.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

Read Tammy’s full biography here.

Open the tabs below to meet the Broadacres Academy Junior Preparatory teachers.

Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners,
and the love of bringing the first two loves together.
-Scott Hayden-

Grade 0

Daniella Texeira

Daniella Texeira

I was born and raised in Johannesburg and have only been abroad once. I matriculated from St Peters College in 2013 and went straight into studying. I completed my B.Ed in Foundation Phase teaching in 2017.

I have always been very passionate about teaching. I have a love for learning and for teaching young children. I enjoy giving every bit of knowledge I have to the children in my care and this drives my passion.

I am a very patient and kind-hearted person who loves to help out wherever it is needed. Being creative is one of my strongest points, I am also very organized and I like to follow a daily routine.

One of my favourite quotes is:

The future of the world is in my classroom today.- Ivan Welton Fitzwater


Nina Zweifel

Nina Zweifel

I was born in Johannesburg and come from a strong Swiss background. I love to travel, and I have seen and experienced many wonderful places.

Growing up I always wanted to be a princess and a teacher. Teacher come out tops!

While I was at high school my parents opened a Nursery School, where I started working and helping out with the aftercare and holiday care. Through this, my love and passion for teaching grew and grew.

I qualified as a Montessori directress and went on to complete my B. PrimEd degree through UNISA. I have been teaching in the Foundation Phase for over 20 years and have loved every minute of it.

I love life, and to experience it through teaching children is so rewarding. I am dedicated to developing and setting firm foundations in each child.

I am always looking to better myself and my teaching by finding new and effective methods and strategies, striving to be the best teacher I can be.

I believe that learning takes place when children are secure, relaxed and having fun. I am always upbeat and positive. Teaching is my passion.

“I cannot alone change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Theresa

Grade 1

Karen Nunan

Karen Nunan

I graduated from JCE in 1993, with an HDipEd. I taught remedial and cerebral palsy children at Forest Town School. I enjoyed every special moment of being a part of an extraordinary school. The learners taught me the value of “counting one’s blessings.”

I am a member of the British Dyslexic Association, having obtained my Award in Literacy and Dyslexia.

My passion lies in teaching children to read, as this opens a diverse, exciting world to them. I enjoy the multi-sensory, hands-on approach to learning that my degree has taught me and that is encouraged at Broadacres Academy, where each child is involved in their own journey of discovery.

My classroom is a happy, fun and secure environment where each child is encouraged to gain knowledge at their pace and it is so rewarding to observe each individual become confident in their own abilities.

It is such an honour to be teaching Grade One at Broadacres Academy and to be a part of a progressive staff that I get to call my colleagues and friends.

“The day you’re willing to veer off the lesson plan, follow a child’s lead, and learn with your students, is the day you really become a teacher.”

It takes a village to raise a child and I look forward to embarking on this exciting journey alongside each parent of each unique child.

At the end of a busy day, it is comforting to come home to my happy family of five.

My motto is, “A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart.”

Lee- Anne VlietstraLeanne Vlietstra

When I was young and was asked “what do you want to be?” My answer was that I always wanted to be a teacher; following in my mom’s footsteps. I was always marking something and teaching my dolls.

I did not, however, follow through with my passion for teaching and went into travel and tourism after finishing school at Jeppe High School for Girls. After qualifying for my BCom degree in Industrial Psychology, I entered the corporate world.

I did not feel fulfilled and at the age of 27, I heard that I could convert my BCom into a teaching certificate. I was so excited and determined that I completed the two-year course in 1 year.

This is a career path that I have been very happy in and have even taught English in South Korea for a year in 2012. This was a wonderful experience. I am blessed to have followed my calling and am involved in something that I am truly passionate about.

I am a cheerful and hard-working person. am loyal, trustworthy and spiritual. I am a member of Bedford Chapel. Here I sing in the worship team and have previously been a deacon and lead one of the youth groups.

I am an active person, and enjoy going to gym and doing the Park Run. I recently took part in the Jozi 10km run. I love to read for enjoyment and also to read stories to children. I love seeing their faces light up when the story becomes exciting. I am a big fan of Dr Seuss and love reading his books to kids. A quote that I particularly enjoy of his is: “You have brains in your head, and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the worldNelson Mandela.

Sonia Oshry

Sonia Oshry 

Education is the cornerstone to a winning Nation” is a philosophy I have always believed in. With this, in 1996, I went on to study teaching at Edgewood College of Education in Durban, where I obtained a diploma in the Foundation Phase.

In 1998, I left Durban and moved up to Johannesburg when I won the title Miss South Africa. I chose education as my portfolio and used this title as a platform to promote the importance of teenagers staying in school and completing their education.

I chose to continue with my studies in the field of education in 1999. I went back to study at Rand Afrikaans University where I completed Higher Diploma in Early Childhood Development Cum Laude.

I then went on to complete my Honours Degree in 2000 focusing on “Barriers to Learning” within the Classroom.

I have always been passionate about education and guiding pupils to encode and integrate knowledge in order for them to ultimately learn independently. I have a hands-on approach, as I believe children learn best through experience and practical application of knowledge.

An important thing I have learnt in my 20-odd years in this field, is that everyone in a classroom has a story.  I’ve learnt not to make judgements until I feel I know exactly what that story is.

I am fascinated with how a child’s mind works, and I try to put myself in their shoes in order to understand their point of view.

On a more personal note, I am married to a wonderful and supportive man  and have three amazing children, a daughter and two teenage boys.

Grade 2

Gill ForbesGill Forbes

I started teaching in 1989 after completing my four-year HDE (with distinction) at the Johannesburg College of Education.

I have taught from Grade One through to Grade Seven, acquired a qualification in remedial education (Further Diploma in Psycho-neurological learning disabilities – with distinction) along the way, worked one-on-one with children at home and have studied some psychology subjects.

Education has, and continues to be, a wonderful learning experience for me. I quite simply love it.

I believe that learning happens when children are secure, relaxed and are having fun. As such, my classroom environment is structured but fun-filled.

You will hear lots of noise emanating out of our learning space and I’m sure you will be informed of the antics that occur during the day. Your children will be having fun, as will I.

The Broadacres philosophy suits my teaching style.   I firmly believe that we provide opportunities for each child to succeed.

I love the old Chinese proverb that states: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

I am married to Bruce and have been for many years. We have two sons, Glen and Stuart.   All three of these men are my anchor in life.   They support me in my teaching and are known to spend hours helping me with school-related projects.

Michele Hala

Michele Hala

My earliest memories are of lining all my teddy bears and dolls up and teaching them. It did, however, take time for my dreams of becoming a teacher to come to fruition.

After leaving school I followed a career in advertising which was a vibrant, exciting life for a young person, interested in art and design. However, after I married David and our children were born, I was lucky enough to be able to spend time at home with them. Once they were older and happily enjoying nursery school I returned to work.

A friend and I ran a playschool together for 5 years and this satisfied my love of children and teaching for a time.

I later started an art studio, which I ran for 10 years from a studio at home. Although I loved my time teaching ladies a variety of art and craft techniques, I always had a yearning to teach children.

I had the opportunity to go back to university in my 40’s. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Education from Unisa in 2017, graduating Cum Laude.

While studying, I worked as a teaching intern at St Peters Preparatory school, gaining valuable hands-on teaching experience.

My approach to teaching involves creating a positive, secure environment where children can learn by doing, collaborating and having fun.

I believe that if a child is engaged in their learning in a safe, loving space they will flourish. My own experience of bringing up two children of my own has been invaluable in giving insight into understanding children and being caring and empathetic.

I have been married to David for the past 34 years. We were childhood sweethearts and married young, so I am not that ancient!

We have been blessed with two children who have grown up to be amazing young adults who keep us young. Ashleigh is a Grade 1 teacher, and Matthew is a Junior Brand Manager.

Two of my favourite quotes that inspire me and that I try to live by are:

What we learn with pleasure we never forget.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin.

Grade 3

Gena NysGena Nys

My name is Gena Nys, I studied a BEd Foundation Phase at the University of Pretoria and graduated in 2018.

I am a sport lover and an absolute adventure and nature enthusiast. I believe the best things you do are the things you do while having fun.

I therefore hope to bring this ideology into my classroom.

I believe children learn best and optimally when they are given a safe environment as well as guidance. This will in turn allow them to be the captain of their own voyage which we call education.

I have always had a passion for children and education and knowing that I can be apart of this process drives me to be the best teacher that I can be, for every child that enters my classroom.

I so look forward to being apart of the true family atmosphere that Broadacres Academy has created.

Elizabeth TerryElizabeth Terry

I’m Elizabeth Terry, also known as Biff, because my parents gave me a rather tough name for a little person to pronounce… and Liz-Biff became Biff – and it stuck.

I also double as a Superhero named The Almighty Biffster – and my Superpower is teaching little people.

I matriculated in 2009 from St Mary’s Waverley, and studied for a Bachelor of Education at Wits from 2011 to 2014. I’ve been teaching Grade 3 children ever since. Teaching runs in my family, and I must have inherited the genes, because I love what I do.

If I had one wish, it would be that I could talk to animals. I love animals and have a whole zoo of pets.

I believe in magic, and if I were a Disney character, I would be Tigger, because he is so happy, bouncy and optimistic.

Tea and biscuits are my secret weakness (my Superhero kryptonite) and I have a pet alligator named George. (Well… he’s really my pencil case, but he’s been with me on my teaching journey since Day 1 and is my official side kick.)

Central Learning Facilitator

Jo HarmseJo Harmse

I’m a very creative and “out of the box” thinker. I see myself as a fun, enthusiastic teacher that encourages and motivates young learners.

I believe that the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow; and that a teacher assists in laying down the foundation for each child to reach their full potential.

I love the outdoors and try to find any opportunity to explore nature. I’ve travelled quite a lot in my life and enjoy learning about different cultures and traditions.

My love for teaching became evident after I matriculated in 2014. I was unfortunately involved in a car accident before my 18th birthday and wasn’t sure what to do or what path to take until I grabbed an opportunity to become an intern at St Peter’s for Foundation Phase teaching.

It wasn’t long until I realized that teaching was what I was meant to do with my life.

I’ll be obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in Foundation Phase Education at the end of 2018. I’ve also completed a Phono Graphix course through Read for Africa.

I cannot wait to start my teaching journey with Broadacres Academy in 2019.

Learn more about the Communal Learning Area here.

Jeanne-Marie BarnardJeanne-Marie Barnard

When I began my school journey at the age of 5, I announced to my parents that one day, when I was big, I was going to be a school teacher… and so my dream came true.

I have now been in education for the past 25 years and whilst I have studied Psychology and Psychometry, I always land up back in the classroom; my happy place. If anyone asked me about a magical ingredient for each child’s life with whom I have come into contact, I would answer that I would love to give him or her the gift of self-esteem.

A key factor in the debate on strategies for raising pupil achievement is self-esteem. I am very excited and privileged to have become a member of the Broadacres Academy team in 2018, and I endeavour to do my utmost to ensure your child develops to his or her full potential.

Your children will be exposed to numerous successful experiences involving the ability to use cognitive, social and behavioural skills that will enable your child to make wise decisions and choices and develop a true sense of personal competence.

My little darling, who stole my heart 11 years ago, is my son Ashton, who is the absolute light in my life. We share a home in Lonehill with our two very naughty little Daschunds, who most certainly rule the roost and adore walks and picnics in the Lonehill Park.

My little boy attends Cedarwood School, as he has a learning difficulty, which has certainly made me a far more compassionate and sympathetic teacher, as I am only too aware how tough it is to face challenges.

My personal philosophy is, “If a child cannot learn the way he is taught, then he must be taught the way he can learn”.

alexi-rusche-broadacresAlexi Rusche

I was born and raised in South Africa and I am very passionate about teaching. I started out by helping with the swimming at Broadacres Academy, and was then blessed with the wonderful opportunity to work at Broadacres Academy as an intern, while I complete my studies to become a teacher.

My love for teaching came about when I went to Germany on an exchange program and started going to the schools. There I had to teach them about my country and the diverse cultures of the world. After that experience, I decided I wanted to become a teacher and be influential in the lives of children.

I am currently studying a B.Ed through UNISA and plan to further my studies in remedial education.

I have travelled quite a bit and enjoy it very much. I love visiting and seeing countries with different cultures and traditions and would one day love to teach children living in various parts of the world.

I believe education is a person’s most important asset and I will strive to educate children in the best way possible.

Prep School Aftercare

Deirdre HodgkinsonDeirdre Hodgkinson

I started teaching at the age of 20 and have loved it ever since. It has been my goal in life to be the best teacher I could be and to be better than the teachers who taught me. My teachers at school affected my confidence and I vowed to never allow this to happen to children in my care.

In 2000 I married my high school sweetheart and in that year we had our first child, Jared. Once becoming a mom, my passion for children grew. After our second child, Aimee, was born in 2003, I left teaching for the corporate world for financial reasons. I endured this for two years and after being desperately unhappy, I went back to teaching in 2005.

I started working at Broadacres Farm Nursery School in 2009 and taught the Chameleons Class. I learnt and grew so much during my six years at Broadacres. I became a better friend, a better mom and better teacher. I became a confident person who loved life and love people and making children and adults feel special and cared for.

I left Broadacres in 2015 to go and teach at Chartwell Country College, where my son goes to school.  I am thrilled to be back at Broadacres Academy; it’s like coming home.

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