School Management Team

Dylan Cavanagh

Dylan Cavanagh

André de Coning

André de Coning

André de Coning

Karen McDonald

André de Coning

Tammy Letcher

André de Coning

Julie Scholz

Open the tabs below to meet the Broadacres Academy Team.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy,
not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

Dylan Cavanagh | Director | Broadacres AcademyDylan Cavanagh

After a long and eventful career in education, it feels as if I have only just begun. I have been given the incredible opportunity to grow and develop our own school; to implement the philosophies and methodologies that I have studied and encountered throughout my career, in a meaningful and purposeful way.

We are well on our way in creating a unique learning environment where children are guided on a journey of learning and exploration that enhances their natural love of learning.

How incredible it is to be living my dream.

As a director of Broadacres Academy, it is my responsibility to ensure the school succeeds as a business and that we never compromise our standards and beliefs.

The building and development of our Preparatory School is a continual focus, and we are well on our way to ensure that we have a full Preparatory School solution by 2020, which will include a completely refurbished Preschool facility.

Another area of focus is the development of a High School within the Broadacres area. We want to continue our learning and education philosophy all the way to Matric.

With all these goals and aspirations, my career in education has evolved from the dynamic environment of teaching and being a principal of a school, to building and developing a unique educational environment for 21st century learning.

Dylan holds an Honour’s degree in Education Management and Leadership from the University of Johannesburg.

André de Coning | Director | Broadacres AcademyAndré de Coning

My teaching career started in 1990, in the North-Eastern Cape. Right from the start I realised that there are institutional “truths” that fly in the face of how children learn. This led me to deeper investigation and studies which have shaped me as an educator.

For many years I have envisaged having my own school where I could create a learning environment that would nurture my core beliefs regarding education.

I believe that children are inquisitive, risk takers, adventurers and love to find things out for themselves.

Children are natural collaborators and care about each other. They don’t have to be coerced, threatened or punished to learn – they do it naturally.

My responsibility as a director of Broadacres Academy, is to ensure that the school develops a learning ethos where children are confident enough to step outside their comfort zones in order to develop and grow.

This means that each classroom and learning space is organised, safe and adequately equipped to provide a rich learning experience. It means that each learning activity should lend itself to gaining knowledge, asking questions and solving meaningful problems.

Learning spaces and learning activities in the natural settings of our wonderful academy grounds can include the farmyard, farm animals as well as vegetable and herb gardens.

The continuous professional growth of each teacher in order to keep learning experiences relevant and meaningful for each child, is one of my priorities.

I also believe that technology is enabling us to move towards more individualised learning programmes, rather than a “one size fits all” system.

Engagement in physical activity is paramount in a child’s development. We are in the process of developing a unique concept in promoting a fun way of acquiring sporting skills, including swimming.

Thank you for entrusting your child to us to provide them with a quality and relevant education for the times in which we find ourselves.

André holds a Master’s degree in Education Management and Leadership from the University of Johannesburg.

Karen McDonald | Head -Preschool| Broadacres AcademyKaren McDonald

I am a Durban girl and matriculated at Thomas Moore College in KZN in 2001.

I studied at Embury Institute for Teacher Education and have taught in many schools since 2002, so I have spent most of my working years in the classroom.

I am passionate about children, watching them learn and grow – I believe there is no better way to do this than naturally.

It was during our time in Cape Town, that I began my head teacher role at a beautiful school in Blouberg where I managed the school, staff and parent interaction as well as taught the 3-4 year-olds.

It was this experience that gave me the opportunity to recognise how much I thrived on being in the office and building relationships with the parents as well as every single child in the school; and not just one class.

In 2017 we relocated to JHB. It was an extremely nerve-wrecking process, as we had never lived here before, however, it has been the best thing we have ever done.

We have settled amazingly well in the Broadacres community and have loads of new friends, but the highlight being……I found Broadacres Academy!

In all my years of teaching, I cannot say that I have ever come across a staff base as positive and full of love as Broadacres Academy. I absolutely love their learning style and couldn’t have found a school better suited to my beliefs.

I feel so privileged to have been selected to fulfil the role as Head of the Preschool; it is truly a dream come true.  I aim to ensure that each child reaches their full potential in a way that is best suited to them as an individual.

I am firmly of the belief that  if a child truly feels loved, they will be confident enough to explore outside of their comfort zone and this will lead to incredible results in and out of the classroom.

Being a Mom myself, I understand how truly difficult it is to leave your child in somebody else’s care. I would like to assure every parent that my duty is to ensure that their child is happy and content at school so that parents can have total peace of mind during the school day.

I look forward to getting to know each family that is part of the Broadacres family.

One of my favourite quotes is,

“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.” -O. Fred Donaldson

Karen is married to Peter-John and they have two daughters. Emma-Louise and Chloe-Ann, both at Broadacres Academy.

Broadacres Academy | Head - Junior Prep | Tammy LetcherTammy Letcher

I obtained my Higher Diploma in Education with distinction, from the Johannesburg College of Education at the end of 1992. My career in education spans twenty-five years and has been incredibly fulfilling and diverse.

I started with high school teaching, moving down to Senior Prep, then into the Pre-Primary and Grade 0.

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.

I have always been a passionate educator who has a genuine love for children and I know that I have made a significant difference in many little lives over the years.

Even though I am Senior Primary trained, I have been working in the Pre-Primary and Foundation Phase since 2007, and this is where my true passion lies.

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

A place where children are seen as individuals, where they find their ‘difference’, understanding what makes them special and unique.

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.

I have been married to Richard for the past twenty-two years and we have two gorgeous children, Nicholas and Julia, who keep us on our toes.

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

Julie Scholz | Head of AdministrationJulie Scholz

Confession… I have absolutely no formal teaching education nor experience in teaching (unless dog training counts?).

I have no idea of how to demonstrate a concept in three unique approaches so that learners at different levels can all understand in their own way. I am clueless about the school syllabus and what needs to be achieved in each year of schooling.

What I DO have though, is exceptional administrative, operational and organisational skills to ensure our educators and principals have the correct tools and facilities they require at the correct time to enable them to do the most important job in the world!

I also have an immense amount of respect for all our educators with their passion and pride for what they achieve every single day.

My heart leaps out of my chest with a sense of awe when I witness children at Broadacres Academy flourishing, expanding their horizons and the glowing pride on their faces when they have that, “A-HA” moment.

I have this frequently with my own two children, Taylor and Dylan, who have been at Broadacres Academy for many years now. I have incredible joy in watching them evolve and how they simply LOVE learning!

I have a flair for arts and crafts, creating themed decor – you should just see my house at Halloween and Christmas time! I look forward to using my operational excellence and creative spirit to enhance the Broadacres Academy experience for parents, educators and learners.

My entire career has been spent in large corporate environments in varying roles of customer account management and managing teams.

The lessons I have learnt in dealing with different personalities and expectations have been priceless, and taught me empathy where I can completely feel and relate to anyone of any age.

My happiest moments were pulling teams together for a common goal and enjoying the journey together…. sometimes bumpy, but passion and a common purpose are incredibly motivating. I bring this same passion and purpose to Broadacres Academy to achieve our goals.

I am so proud to be a part of the kindest, most nurturing environment with the highest integrity I have ever seen.

Michelle Buchanan | Administration

Michelle Buchanan

From the moment I walked into the Reception area of Broadacres Academy I felt the warm, friendly, positive atmosphere and energy and knew this was home from home. Having been an expat in Tanzania for 14 years, I am so looking forward to getting back into ‘the working world’ and I couldn’t think of a better place to be than Broadacres Academy.

I love and adore children, so to be in an environment which is surrounded by little ones enjoying and loving their lives in play whilst learning is utter bliss. My passion is people and I thrive on the human factor, communicating and having empathy and compassion for our fellow humans.

I am more than ready and feel extremely honoured to be joining the dynamic, dedicated team at Broadacres Academy. I am looking forward to being ‘hands-on’ in assisting the school’s management team support our passionate educators. I have four Teachers in my family, so I know the commitment, dedication, passion and love that Teachers have for children and the profession.

I want to help to ensure that we maintain Happy Teachers, and in turn Happy Learners. I feel that teachers have one of the most important jobs on earth, as they guide our children into their futures with such devotion. I value the Ethos and standards that Broadacres Academy bestow and I am looking forward to meeting all our parents and children in 2020 which is going to be a wonderful year for us all.

Broadacres Academy Staff

“Teachers affect eternity; they can never tell where their influence stops.”
-Henry B Adams-