ACTING PRINCIPAL & SENIOR HOD – ANITA WYLIE
B. Soc Sci, H Dip E, HDL (Library Science)
I have found Special Education very interesting after mainstream. The classes at Unity College are small, enabling teachers to get to know their charges. Each achievement, no matter how small, is noted and celebrated. The teachers and therapists are very dedicated and the spirit of co-operation makes teamwork a pleasure.
BUSINESS MANAGER – HENRY BOTHA
I have been involved in the administrative side of school activities over the past few years. Since I joined Unity College, my definition of being appreciative for the things we take for granted and having an impact on the lives of others, have been re-defined.
The slogan of Unity College is “my future is created a step at a time “. It is indeed a privilege to experience firsthand, how the dedicated staff give meaning to the slogan as they daily contribute to the shaping of the learners’ future a step at a time.
ADMIN ASSISTANT – MADELEINE SHARP
The reason why I enjoy working at Unity College is working with a team of very special people! I enjoy being a part of such a great group! We are all links in an educational chain, and each and every one of us is as important as the next person! I was born with right-hand side haemoplegia and Cerebral Palsy, which often makes it difficult for me to keep my balance, but knowing that there are children who have the same difficulties as I do, it just inspires me to know that they can cope with it as well as I can. These children are very special indeed!
ADVANCEMENT OFFICER – MICHELLE KIRK
You need only walk in the door, see the children and some of the most passionate, most caring individuals I’ve been fortunate to meet, to understand why one wants to be a part of this FAMILY. Unity is just that, the uniting of special individuals from diverse backgrounds all working towards the same goal and with more love and kindness than I’ve seen in my 23+ years of working experience. This is a great place and an HONOUR to be a part of. I’m very fortunate to LOVE what I do and be in a place that fulfills me so much. Our CHILDREN make this all possible.
EARLY INTERVENTION | JUNIOR “M” – MARLIZE SWART
BEd ECD bachelors degree and BEd Honours specialising in Learning support
Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge, and children with special needs inspire a very, very special love; Sarah Palin
JUNIOR EIC | JNR “M” ASSISTANT – FREGITAH DIREKO
Higher Certificate. ECD (Inclusive Education Level 5)
I have a special love for children with special needs. God has given me a talent for working with and understanding for these children, to help them reach their goals and become the best they can be in life.
JUNIOR HOD & TEACHER | JNR “V” – VANESSA SMITH
BA-ed from RAU
My first encounter with Unity students was during one of the school’s shopping excursions. I was immediately struck by the politeness of the students and their unabated enthusiasm. I knew then that I would enjoy teaching at Unity College. My convictions were confirmed when I was invited to teach on a relief basis in the senior phase of Unity. I now consider myself truly fortunate to have been able to take up a permanent post. My objective is to allow each child to reach their full potential in a nonjudgmental environment abounding with acceptance and love. I am delighted to be a part of the strong team who work cooperatively to impact in a positive way on the lives of these special children
JUNIOR “V” ASSISTANT – MARY NDOU
Higher Certificate Level 4 (Childcare)
I am working at Unity College because I like to work with people, especially with kids.
I am glad to work in this school because it is a special school and I’m prepared to do all that I can do, to see this school to its best potential.
I would love to see our learners out there somewhere, making a difference in our country or in the world as a whole.
JUNIOR “C” – CAITLIN CHISLETT
Bachelors degree in the intermediate phase
Teaching has always been a passion of mine and I have always wanted to leave a an everlasting impact on a learner’s life. I believe it is the most rewarding feeling knowing that the future of this world is in my classroom and what better place to experience this than at Unity College.
SENIOR L/O – ESME PELSER
H. Dip. Ed
Through my years of teaching students with special needs, I experienced more holistic development and change in them, than in what society would call “normal “students. They thrive with love, boundaries and discipline. In the end, I too, experience this great change and it affects my life, and my discipline. One often thinks of special education students as “those who can’t cut it”. This is a very simplified view of the lives they will one day lead. They will, without a doubt, have great challenges, but I have seen through my work with them, that they grow in leaps and bounds. Sometimes this growth is measured in the smallest achievements, by the greatest understanding, when everything seems to fall into place. In teaching these special students, and watching them grow, I have learnt to admire them as they become successful and achieve their goals, with, sometimes a massive effort; I have experienced more personal job satisfaction, than in any mainstream school.
INTERN SENIOR PHASE – DARREN SMIT
INTERMEDIATE HOD & 3/4 TEACHER – ANNIE BWALYA
H. Dip. Ed (Primary) & H. Dip Ed (Secondary)
Coming across Unity College quickly made me realise that this would be a facility that would enable me to live out my love and commitment to children with special needs. They are a pleasure and very fulfilling, and seeing them playing, enjoying themselves is what brings pleasure to me as well. My greatest fulfillment comes from supporting these kids in their efforts to be the best they can be. I believe these kids can all grow to live fulfilling lives and therefore one important aspect in this, is that from the very beginning they are made to feel confident about who they are. This is what makes me wake up everyday and look forward to a class. I am also aware that a lot of this comes to be real because of the enabling environment Unity College provides – from the facilities through to the curriculum and the friendly and highly skilled and supportive staff. It is a pleasure to be at Unity College.
INTERMEDIATE 1/2 TEACHER – JAMEE SAMPSON
BA Psychology; BA Psychology HONS; (Bachelor of Arts Honours); P.G.C.E (Post Graduate Certificate in Education – Intermediate and Senior phase)
I was born in Johannesburg and completed my schooling in Randpark Ridge.
I studied psychology at the University of Johannesburg and completed my psychology honours degree Cum Laude. During my honours year, we covered a module on childhood autism. I became interested in this section and chose to get first-hand experience on the topic by volunteering at a school in Randburg for learners with special educational needs.
My heart was captured and I fell in love with teaching learners with special needs, so I opted to do a Post Graduate Certificate in Education through UNISA. During my part time education studies I worked at a mainstream inclusive school in the Midlands, assisting learners with special educational needs.
It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that I join Unity College.
INTERMEDIATE L/O TEACHER –
INTERMEDIATE L/O ASSISTANT – ZINTLE MGABHI
INTERMEDIATE 4/5 TEACHER – TONIC SIBANDA
B Educ. (Special Ed)
It all started way back in 1998 when I was still a mainstream teacher. I used to see and hear teachers complaining about children with learning difficulties and even sending some to the lower grades. As a senior teacher I was really disturbed and touched by the plight of these children. I decided, with the permission of the principal, to open a special class for them. Wow, what and experience. As those children began to feel the love of a teacher, their confidence and self esteem started to grow and they began to enjoy school. Even those who had developed the habit of bunking lessons and playing truant became enthusiastic about school. The principal, other teachers, the parents and I were stunned by the progress those children made in reading, writing and enthusiasm towards school. I realised that this was a calling and I responded by taking up a four year special education degree programme with one of the universities in Zimbabwe. That was when the myths, stereotypes, prejudice and social stigma surrounding people with disabilities were revealed to me. My passion for working with children with disabilities increases each day. Unity College gives me the fulfillment of working with special needs learners.
THERAPY HOD & SPEECH THERAPIST – VICKY MACRIDES-BRIMECOMBE
B.A. Honours in Speech & Hearing Therapy
Life presents us with many opportunities to create the kind of life we wish for. For me it has always been important to create situations where I can make a difference. Working with special needs kids is an experience which challenges me as a clinician and where I know that every bit of input contributes in some way and makes a difference in the lives of my children and their families. But lets face it, it is also simply just FUN. Each day brings something that will either make me smile, inspire me, touch me or challenge me. What more could I ask for.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST – ROBYN GOMES
B.Sc Occupational Therapy (University of Witwatersrand) Ayres Sensory Integration (South African Institute for Sensory Integration. Masters in Early Childhood Intervention (University of Pretoria)
I feel privileged to be a member of the Unity community, where I am afforded the opportunity to be involved with guiding the learners to be happy and functional members of society. I completed my undergraduate training at the University of Witwatersrand, where I received a BSc in Occupational Therapy. I then went on to perform my community service in the clinics of Tembisa and Diepsloot, which greatly influenced my outlook on life and as a therapist. In 2013, I started working in private paediatric practice, where I provided therapy to a diverse population of children. During this time, I completed my training in Sensory Integration based Therapy. In 2015, I started working in an acute Neurological Rehabilitation setting, based in a hospital. In this setting, I provided intervention to a variety of patients of all ages with diverse therapeutic needs. Whilst working I have completed my Master’s degree in Early Childhood intervention, with particular focus on children with special needs. I strongly value a team based approach, as I believe through pooling each team member’s individual knowledge and experience, a better outcome is reached.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT – HAZEL KEKANA
It is an honour and privilege to work with the learners in this school. What a wonderful opportunity UNITY COLLEGE has given me to get to know these special children. If you have determination, perseverance and open your heart for these children you will make it to the place called success.
SPEECH THERAPIST – LIZELLE BURGER
COUNSELLOR – SHELAGH POPPLEWELL
B.A. Honors & Counselling
From the moment that I set foot on the grounds of Unity College towards the end of May 2008 to attend an interview, the pervasive sense of tranquillity and containment which speaks to the very essence of all that the school stands for, resonated deep within me. Joining the staff in the position of Registered Counsellor in the following month felt indubitably “right”, and although my previous exposure to working within educational institutions is limited and sporadic, facilitating the Unity children’s social development and promoting their emotional wellness significantly enhances my own personal growth. They always give back more than what they are given – because they want to – and because they can.
Issues which arise, unpredictably yet frequently, traverse the entire spectrum of life’s challenges, and provide opportunities for the children and me to confront them together. It is nothing less than a privilege to participate in the formation of each child’s holistic development, and to observe the individual gradual emergence of a sense of a more integrated self which equips them sufficiently, confidently, and with unbridled enthusiasm, to enter the next phase on the journey of life.
One is reminded that it is not the destination but the journey that holds the most importance, and as “childhood is (being) measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows” (Betjeman, 1958), my mission is to position myself as a safety-net to catch any fall-out when dreaded reason interferes – because I can – and to empower each young individual to grasp and celebrate all the other positive elements which the universe offers – because they can.
COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGIST – MARILISE NEL
MA Psyc (Couns) (MGI)
Unity College has a remarkable and almost tangible essence of dedication and hope, which is something that stood out for me when I first came to the school. I knew that I wanted to be part of this team. My journey as a psychologist specialising in work with children started many years ago, and I have had the privilege of being involved in numerous educational settings, as well as working as a clinician in multidisciplinary teams. Unity College is affording me the opportunity to pursue my passion and work holistically with children and their families, with input across various disciplines such as speech and occupational therapy, in order to offer each child the most optimal treatment. My goal is to further each child’s psychological health, adjustment capabilities and social skills, and to be shaped through my experience as therapist during my stay at Unity College.
Marilise is a Counselling Psychologist registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF). She has a private practice in Fourways and is affiliated with The Institute for Psychodynamic Child Psychotherapy (IPCP). She gained a Masters in Counselling Psychology at Midrand Graduate Institute (MGI), a private university owned by Pearson Institute of Higher Education (UK), and has worked at private and public settings in Gauteng, including The Ububele Educational and Psychotherapy Trust, The Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children, New Jerusalem Children’s Home, Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre for addiction recovery, and various public and private schools in Gauteng and the Eastern-Cape.
SENIOR “C” TEACHER – SHADRECK CHIDWAKWA
What I enjoy most at Unity College is the privilege of being part of a dedicated and friendly team of special learners and educators. It is quite fulfilling to see learners demonstrating their unique talents, gifts, strengths and creativity despite their learning challenges. Teaching numeracy, literacy and design and technology in Special Education is my newly found and exciting experience especially after teaching in mainstream for a long time.
SENIOR “A” TEACHER – JOHANN ACKERMAN
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY – SUKESH BHANDARI
IT Dip | MCP | CTT+ | A+ | i-Net+
As I mentioned to Bruce after just a day at Unity interacting with some of the children and its teachers, if public schools had this type of individual, organic approach to education, we would have far less drop outs and a far greater taste for learning than currently is the norm. Everyone would agree to the uniqueness of every child and to the uniqueness of every person, so should the approach to learning be just as unique to every child and to every person. Is it any wonder that some of the greatest contributors to society of our century such as Leonardo Da Vinci never attended a public school.