MEET THE STAFF - Part Four- The English Department

June 10, 2018 | Girls’ College | Author: Linda Galanakis


Linda Galanakis

Linda has been teaching for 29 years. She attained a BA from UNISA and an HDE from Wits University in 1988. She began teaching English at Wendywood High School in 1989 and she taught for Gifted Child Programme at Pace College in Dobsonville, Soweto from 1989 to 1996. During this time, Linda volunteered as a National Peace Accord peace monitor where she worked in Soweto, Bekkersdal and Tembisa from 1991-1994.

From Wendywood she moved to Allen Glen High School before being appointed as deputy head at Roseleigh Girls’ School in Observatory. In 1997, Linda and her family moved to East London where she taught senior English at Stirling High School. Linda is a life-long learner and it was during this time that she completed her psychology degree and a diploma in Management Practice at Rhodes University.

A three-year stint in Cape Town saw Linda teaching at Herschel Girls' School and Cedar House. During this time, she was selected to represent South Africa and particularly the City of Cape Town in Norway during a Rotary Group Exchange Programme. From Cape Town it was back to Johannesburg in 2003 and Linda began teaching at St Stithians College. While at Girls’ College, she attained diplomas in Labour Relations Management, Human Resources Management and Financial Management through UNISA.

Linda managed the Thandulwazi Intern Programme at St Stithians College from 2005 - 2011 while continuing to teach Gr 8 – 12 English. It was at this stage that she began studying for a Diploma in Mentorship (UNISA) which she completed with distinction. Linda decided to begin her Masters degree in Intercultural Communication focusing of ethno-linguistics. Her thesis is titled “Learners’ attitudes to the standard vs. non-standard South African English accents of their teachers” and she graduated from Stellenbosch University with her MPhil in 2010.

Linda has also taught, and was head of English, at Thandulwazi Saturday School from 2012 to early 2018. She was appointed Head of Department: English at St Stithians Girls’ College in 2011. During 2011, Linda introduced Advanced Programme English as a Gr 11 and Gr 12 subject and AP English has continued to flourish at the Girls’ College. She is a senior sub-examiner for the IEB English Paper 1 examination and has been for many years. Linda is an IEB regional portfolio and oral moderator for Gr 12 English.

Linda’s love of learning continues as she finalises her proposal for her PhD. Apart from being an habitual student, she is passionate about the girls she teaches, English teaching, linguistics, reading and her family. She is married to Alec and they have two daughters, Emma and Faye, both proud Girls’ College alumni.


Julie Arguile

Julie studied at the University of KwaZulu Natal where she completed her BA, HDE. Julie also has a higher diploma in Human Resource Management cum laude through the Natal Technicon.

Other than a few years devoted to child-rearing and working at a large insurance firm, Julie has taught English and History for over 24 years in various government and private schools in Durban, Nelspruit and Johannesburg. She has always been involved in sport and/or culture at these schools as she enjoys engaging with the students outside the classroom.

At St Stithians Girls’ College, Julie teaches English to Grades 8 - 12 and assists in the teaching of Advanced Programme English. Julie is a sub-examiner for Gr 12 and has marked matric examinations for a number of years.

Apart from her dedication in the English classroom, Julie enjoys managing Saints Striders and the English Olympiad. As a director of the Grade 10 group, she feels privileged to be able to care for another 100 ‘daughters’.

In her spare time Julie love to run. She has completed four Comrades Marathons, but by far the toughest was the Table Mountain trail run which was 40+ kilometres of sheer endurance.  Julie loves trail running, mountain bike, reading, watching ‘arty’ films and going to the theatre.

Julie is married to Alan and they have two university-going children, Jenah and Kaden, both St Stithians College alumni.


Ruth Everson

Ruth has been teaching English for 38 years. She holds a professional teaching diploma from the Johannesburg College of Education and BA, majoring in English and History.

Ruth was the Head of Department, English, for a number of years at Springs Girls’ High School. She turned down a deputy post at the same school in order to come to St Stithians in 1999 to pursue her passion – teaching English as Life 101.   

Over the years, Ruth has worn many hats at the Girls’ College. She currently teaches English to Grades 9, 10 and 12. She is the Grade 9 Director and has served as Leadership Director from 2009 and as a member of the school Executive from 2011.

Ruth’s experience beyond the classroom has been diverse. While still employed by the GDE she was the Chief Marker on two different papers. She was an IEB examiner for the Grade 9 common exam and worked on exam development for the IEB GETC phase. Ruth has contributed to a number of textbooks and developed a series based on her own poems, called Inside the Poet’s Head for Macrat.

Ruth is a facilitator for the Covey Course, Investment in Excellence and P2X. She qualified as a Life Coach through Results Advanced Coaching Systems and has completed a Logotherapy course through the Viktor Frankel Institute.

As a poet, Ruth has been published locally and internationally and had a piece used in a musical in Holland. Her poems have been used in professional stage performances, numerous textbooks and in IEB examinations.                  

Ruth gives lectures and workshops on poetry and releasing individual creativity. She worked for the Grahamstown Foundation (1998 -2008) at the National Schools’ Festival as well as the Highveld, Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Northern Province and Mpumalanga Festivals. Her poetry has taken her to Egypt and she was commissioned to write and then perform a poem in the Great Hall of China while she was in Beijing on a three month teaching adventure. She was selected to accompany the English Olympiad winners on their overseas tour in recognition of her contribution to the arts in 2001. She is often called upon to speak at conferences and at schools. She has been the keynote speaker at a number of Arts Festivals. Ruth did a two month slot using her poetry on 702’s early morning breakfast show. Ruth has written numerous poems for the College.

Apart from poetry, Ruth wrote a regular column for The Springs Advertiser. She wrote an educational series of TV scripts for Ethiopian education, where she was named best script writer of the month on numerous occasions. She has also written scripts for Mindset, for the Learn Channel and developed the print support material for their website and teacher resources. She was a features contributor for Women’s Inc and amawinna magazines. She was the winner of the 2010 Woman and Home short story competition. She has written a commissioned book on resilience and is currently working with Pauline Dickson on a book marking Pauline’s legacy to the College.

Ruth retires from formal teaching at the end of this year and is eager to step into the next adventure.


Michelle Macfarlane

Michelle studied a Higher Diploma in Education at Johannesburg College of Education specialising in Home Economics and majoring in English and History. She graduated in 1991. She taught Home Economics and English for four years at Bryanston High School before deciding to convert her diploma into a degree. Michelle taught at Midrand High School for five years while she studied part time through UNISA and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Psychology in 2005. Michelle still loves cooking but prefers teaching English to teaching Home Economics.

Michelle joined the English Department at St Stithians Girls’ College in 2004 as a locum. For three years thereafter she enjoyed a part-time position teaching English, History and Life Orientation. In 2010, when she felt that her two children were happily settled at St Stithians College, she accepted a full time position in the English Department, teaching Grades 8 - 12. Michelle currently teaches English Grades 8 - 11 and Advanced Programme English. She was the Grade 8 Seriti Director for five years as her strengths are organising and planning.

Michelle feels that St Stithians College will always hold a special place in the life of her family as her husband, Greg is an alumnus and she was married in the Chapel twenty years ago. She has two wonderful children, Caitlin and Ryan.

Michelle enjoys reading, scrapbooking and being in the bush. Her favourite holiday is either in the bush, usually at Inyati Game Lodge in the Sabi Sands, or skiing in Arosa, Switzerland.


Kirsty Dennis

Kirsty completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Senior and FET Phase) in 2013 while taking part in the Thandulwazi Internship Programme and gaining teaching experience at St Stithians Girls’ College. She became a permanent member of staff in 2014.

Before making the move to Education, Kirsty completed her BA in Law and English Literature and then spent two years working in Advertising and Media Production as a Production Manager.

Kirsty currently teaches in both the English and History Departments at the Girls’ College, combining her love of words, ideas, people and politics in these two subjects. She also enjoys teaching Advanced Programme English to the Grade 11 and 12 students. She takes a particular interest in using technology in education, particularly in finding ways to make this a meaningful and constructive addition to the learning process.

Kirsty is passionate about forming meaningful relationships with students, and creating a safe and interactive learning environment where students feel that their contribution is recognised and valued.

Kirsty is married to Justin, a St Stithians College alumnus, and they have a beautiful daughter, Isla.


Ashlyn Goldstone

Ashlyn is originally from KwaZulu-Natal and moved to Johannesburg with her mother in 2008. She is currently studying her bachelor’s degree in education through the University of South Africa and majors in English, Geography and Child Psychology. She hopes to qualify for her honours to study inclusive education once she graduates and take this further. 

Ashlyn has had prior experience teaching Gr 2s in 2016 before she was employed as an intern at the Girls’ Prep in 2017. There she worked in the isiZulu, English and Geography departments. Ashlyn is currently working in the English department at the Girls’ College and teaches Gr 8s for her practical assessments and observes lessons from Gr 8 - 11.   

Ashlyn enjoys running, hiking and visiting art galleries in her spare time and writing poetry. 


Carolyn Grainger

Carolyn is originally from the United Kingdom and moved to Johannesburg with her South African husband and two young boys in 2013. She studied at the University of Wales in Cardiff, achieving a BA Honours in English Literature and a PGCE in Secondary Education. Carolyn also achieved the CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults) qualification at International House in London in 2007.

After qualifying as an English teacher, Carolyn taught English to students between the ages of 11 – 18 in a range of government and private schools in Cardiff, Buckinghamshire and London before moving to South Africa. She joined St Stithians Girls' College in September 2013 and currently works in both the English Department and the Academic Support Department.

Carolyn teaches a Grade 8 and Grade 9 English class and assists in the teaching of AP English classes to the Grade 11s. In her support capacity, Carolyn works with individuals and small groups of students focusing particularly on poetry, comprehension, writing and language skills. Carolyn teaches study skills and organisational support to the Grade 8 classes during their academic timetable and also manages and supports the scholarship students at the Girls’ College.

Carolyn loves to read, run and visit the theatre in her spare time.