Founder and Principal:
Daniel Landi (BSc, PGCE, MEd)
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 Environmental Management. Daniel grew up in Johannesburg and returned to South Africa with his family in 2011.
Vice Principal and Examinations Officer:
Jacqui Brown (BA Hons Psy, PRISA)
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 and an additional qualification gained from the Public Relations Institute of South Africa (PRISA). 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)
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.
Physics and Computer Science:
Markus Kruger (MSc)
Markus Kruger grew up in Cape Town and graduated from Stellenbosch University with a M.Sc. in Theoretical Physics. As well as teaching all the way from Grade 1 through to first year university in combinations of either mathematics or physics, he spent two years as the head tutor at the African Institute for Mathematical Science. He is passionate about cultivating scientific thinking in his students which will prepare them for any scientific direction they may wish to continue, including physics. His teaching philosophy is comprised of giving his students the tools that they need to solve problems and, perhaps more importantly, to check if those solution are sensible and consistent. This requires a mental shift from trying to memorise known solutions to really understanding the guiding principles, and then systematically applying them to the given problem. This approach applies to problems far outside the realm of physics, creating critical thinkers in our society. This is worth even more than a good mark in the exams.
Justine Jade Pearce (BA (English and Psychology), PGCE)
Justine is a passionate English educator with a mission to instil empathy and develop life skills through literature, while equipping learners to become efficient communicators thus preparing them for their future.
With four years of teaching experience she brings the combined benefit of experience and youthful energy to The Academy.
“I hope to use my life experiences to encourage students to see that we can face any challenge head on and come away victorious. “
History and Business
Kudzai Chirenga BA, PGCE History and Geography (Magna Cum Lauda)
Kudzai’s personal teaching philosophy is to help guide the next generation through a holistic approach to education. For her, education transcends grades attained in a classroom.
“Educating means molding an individual to allow them to make a positive contribution to society. They must have a balanced approach on life and an understanding and respect of cultures and changing world systems.”
This is why she was drawn to the ethos of The Academy Hout Bay because it sought to explore all avenues of learning by using different teaching styles to enhance the students learning experience. Kudzai has always hoped to be a teacher who is not limited by the physical classroom. Thus she is a passionate supporter of Edexcel which allows for flexibility and movement away from the traditional style of learning and assessment.
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.
Art and Design
David Oertel. BAFA (HDE)
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 travelled 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.