Founder and Principal:
Daniel Landi BSc, PGCE (Geography and Religious Education), MEd (Curriculum Design)
The founder and Principal of the Academy, Daniel Landi, has been teaching and learning for 20 years in Government and independent schools, in the UK, the Middle East and South Africa. The Academy has been his dream for over a decade. A place where students are free to learn, where teachers are free to teach and as as a community they can grow together to create the most effective learning environment. He has gone to great lengths to ensure that the Academy is at the forefront of progressive education, embodying both the Montessori ethic and his own approaches to teaching and learning, supported by motivated and expertly qualified staff and a cutting-edge technology. He remains fully immersed in the classroom teaching his favourite subjects, Geography and REligious Education. Daniel grew up in Johannesburg and returned to South Africa with his family in 2011.
Vice Principal and Examinations Officer:
Jacqui Brown BA (Hons) Psychology
Jacqui Brown is the Vice Principal and the Examinations Officer for The Academy, a demanding position which requires both a good grasp of the Edexcel examination systems as well as an in-depth knowledge of the Academy’s financial and HR functions. She holds a B.A. (Hons) in Psychology. Jacqui is the firm hand that steers The Academy to safe financial waters. Jacqui lives in Hout Bay and is married with two children.
Biology and Chemistry:
Siko Mhizha BSc, PGCE (Biology and Chemistry)
An accomplished, energetic and reliable Educator with a solid history of achievement in teaching. Siko is a seasoned and responsible Educator with a track record of achieving exceptional results in the teaching of Biology and Chemistry. With 15 years of teaching experience in schools in South Africa and Zimbabwe she leads Science Department at the Academy. She describes herself as passionate and self motivated, with a drive for excellence.
Geography and Environmental Management
Ricardo Vasapolli. BSc (Hons) PGCE Environmental and Geographical Sciences
Ricardo is passionate about education, and has completed an Honors degree in Environmental and Geographical Sciences (UCT) and worked in curating content for an online educational non-profit company for the last few years.
“I take my faith seriously and this challenges me to look after our world and environment which I consider to be in dire need of protection, but more importantly, to love and encourage the students I teach and to help them see who they are and what they are capable of.”
He is also a serious runner and excited to get the students up and running and exploring the beauty in the mountains around The Academy.
Staff Development Coach / Online Spansih Tutor
Dr Ana Garcia Urquiaga. PHD, DMT
Dr Ana has a Doctoral Degree in Metaphysical Sciences (PhD). She is a Reiki Master, a Coach-U CTP Life and Business Coach and author of several books in the field of spirituality, self-help and personal development. A polyglot with qualifications in 4 languages (Spanish, English, Basque and French), and a Diploma in Communication and Leadership. Dr Ana was an external examiner for quality assurance with the School of Languages and Literature at UCT (University of Cape Town) and she is today the architect and Head Tutor for Modern Foreign Languages for the French and Spanish Online International GCSE and International AS curricula.
Thano Oikonomou N4 Mechanical Engineering, BSc (Hons) Mathematics (current)
Thano was born, and grew up, in Greece. He traveled regularly between Greece and South Africa, until he and his family immigrated to South Africa in 2008. Although a newer edition to the staff, Thano has been a part of The Academy family for some time, being our first A-level student, graduating with A-levels in Mathematics, English, and History. He is currently completing his BSc in Mathematics through Open University.
His approach to teaching is based on the Socratic Method, using argumentative conversation to stimulate analytical and critical thinking, and logical reasoning, to reach conclusions. This approach focuses more on a student's ability to converse and think mathematically, than solely on their final grade. In addition, Thano encourages students to question methods and topics with the aim of conversing mathematically and reaching a logical conclusion, as well as to struggle through work. This prepares students by giving them the tools for future analysis and decision-making.
Sharon Moller Psychology (Hons), PGCE (English, Life Orientation); Life Coaching Diploma.
Sharon started her career in an office environment many years ago. Although she had the privilege of working with some wonderful people and learning a great deal, she couldn’t imagine herself staying there forever. She began studying part-time and now holds qualifications in education, psychology and life coaching. Along her journey, Sharon became passionate about education and personal empowerment, and she has now taught at government schools, in the private sector, and facilitated learning at a tertiary level since 2013. This has cemented her teaching philosophy and belief that the best opportunities for learning are offered to students within a supportive and highly interactive atmosphere. In her spare time, Sharon enjoys heading out, preferably with her camera, to recharge in the Mother City’s beautiful outdoors.
Business and Entrepreneurship (BTEC)
Linda Wilson. (B.Econ Stellenbosch)
Linda had a great love of learning and took the decision to move into education after many years in economics and finance. She had noticed gaps in knowledge of both children and adults during both her corporate and NPO work and this evolved into becoming a full time educator. She has an enormous passion for education with specific interests in financial literacy and sustainability and is working on a post matric course on sustainability and circular economics. She has been teaching IGCSE to A level business, economics and environmental management for 5 years and has also written course material.
Linda has lived in the deep south most of her life and is committed to this community and the role of the school and students within the valley and the country as a whole. In her spare time she is a reforestation volunteer, a compulsive gardener and a student of mycology.
History and Drama
Amy Murray. BA, PDEM, PGCE (History and Drama)
Amy describes herself as a creative educator with a keen eye for detail and is always up for a challenge. She has an adaptive pedagogical style and she is a reflective practitioner who is passionate about social justice in education.
Having taught English in Vietnam for over two years, Amy moved to London where she worked in events and marketing. After spending a couple of years in the UK, she finally decided to return to the Mother City and pursue her passion in education and teaching by completing her PGCE at UCT.
In her spare time, you can find Amy exploring hidden gems in and around Cape Town, or creating music with her friends.
Physics and Information Technology
James Mitchel BSc Hons Physics
James has recently moved from the London back to the mother city having recently completed his BSc Hons in Physics at Queen Mary University of London. Having additionally worked as a machine learning software engineer for the previous 18 months, as well as previously working at Google DeepMind, James took the decision to move into teaching in pursuit of a more fulfilling career, and as a medium to pass on his passion for both Physics and programming.
Sabine heads up the Afrikaans department at The Academy in Hout Bay, teaching Afrikaans to all students, from Grade 8 to Grade 12. One of The Academy’s longest serving staff members, she has, for 5 years and with the effort of her learners, achieved a 100% AS Level pass for Afrikaans for 4 of those 5 years. Prior to the Academy, Sabine was the Afrikaans teacher at Ambleside and the Hout Bay International school for 8 years teaching Afrikaans to grade 3 – 7. She is passionate about her subject and invested in every learner as an individual.