Our Team

We have a core team based in Cape Town, and regional mentors who visit and support the teams that run after school academies and libraries.  Teachers in public schools are contracted in to run after-school centres and libraries.  This year we have 189 school-based teachers on our team.


Working with teachers, parents – and most especially learners – is where I find my happy space.  As a Social Innovations mentor, I aim to inspire teachers to believe in themselves and to raise their standards of lesson delivery.  As a retired principal I take an active interest in the evolving education platform and enjoy helping teachers to learn about and implement new teaching ideas.

Astra Russell

Programme mentor KwaZulu-Natal

I am a passionate educator dedicated to nurturing young minds and fostering a collaborative environment with my peers. My love and commitment to teaching is fueled by the joy of seeing children grow and learn, as well as the shared knowledge and insight among teachers. I believe in creating an environment that empowers every child and educator to reach their full potential and thrive.

Cynthia Sibongile Nkosi

Programme Mentor Gauteng

What I love most about teaching is the opportunity to enrich children’s lives.  Irrespective of any learning barriers they may have, as a teacher I help mold children to perform to the best of their abilities.   Teachers have the power to influence how a child sees the world.  Positive thinking leads to positive results!

Jane Matthee

Programme mentor Western Cape

In my role as Operations Coordinator, I oversee aspects of our programmes, systems, staff, stakeholders, and beneficiaries. It brings me great satisfaction to provide crucial assistance to our leadership, service providers, mentors, and teachers who are making a positive impact on the ground. Knowing that I am contributing to a meaningful cause and seeing the positive impact of Social Innovations’ programmes on the lives of thousands of children is truly rewarding.

Karen Damon

Operations Coordinator

Even with relatively modest budgets – with programmes that are strategically sound and well administered – private companies can make a big impact in public education. I have loved the journey of leading the development of  our programmes that supplement public education, and watching cohorts of learners moving onto the next part of their learning journey with confidence, independence and a positive attitude towards learning.

Kimon Phitidis


The work that I do in the background is to manage our systems to ensure that the teachers get the best possible support from our programme mentors.  The end beneficiaries of course are the learners – and we track shifts in their abilities and performance.  This is what drives me to do this work every day.  When I assess the results of our learners I’m inspired to see the impact that funding from private companies can make in the public sector.

Leigh Murray

Quality manager

I am a Grade R Academy Project Administrator, and my responsibilities are essential for the smooth operation of project management activities. I handle various administrative and data management tasks and am passionate about promoting educational initiatives within our organisation. It’s rewarding to be part of a programme that cares about the future of our children and youth.

Nonnie Sam

Gr R Academy Administrator

What I love most about teaching is watching the personal growth of learners as they overcome and develop.  Being able to track and support learners as the year progresses creates many opportunities to devise and implement new strategies. Children who know that they are noticed and feel supported do better and feel better about themselves. The influence of a teacher cannot be measured and stretches far beyond the classroom.  I aspire to continually develop my own skill set and be an effective lifelong learner.

Roger McIver

Programme mentor Gauteng

As a mentor, I find it very fulfilling to support and  develop teachers. At the Department of Education, we believe that every child is a national asset. Through Social Innovations, I have the opportunity to provide support, skills, knowledge, and attitude to teachers who need to prepare the learners for the changing landscape of the working world. I am always humbled by how independent our teachers and learners are and how they are always willing to share good practices. I am very passionate about my work and the programme.

Tselegale Dorcus Ralepele

Programme mentor Free State