MEET THE STAFF - Part Three - Visual Arts, Drama and Music

June 17, 2018 | Girls’ College | Author: Peta Hanly





Carita Bleeker

Carita Bleeker was born in Pretoria where she obtained a degree in BMus in 1994 and Honours in Harmony and Piano Didactics from the University of Pretoria in 1995. A year later, she attained her Teacher’s Licentiate in Piano from UNISA, studying under Professor Joseph Stanford. Carita worked as a subject music teacher at Waterkloof High School before relocating to the UK. There, she attained her PGCE from the University of Birmingham and taught GCSE and A Level music at various schools in England, before returning to South Africa in 2008 to take up full-time teaching posts first at Cornwall Hill College and then Reddam House, Bedfordview. She was appointed HOD Music at St Stithians Girls’ College in 2013, as well as Director of the College Orchestra until 2017. In January 2018, Carita established the GC Music Theory Academy with the aim of improving and raising the profile of music theory throughout our school. In October 2018, the GC Music Eisteddfod will be launched under her directorship. Carita is skilled at writing vocal and instrumental works for orchestras and small ensembles and has arranged many works for St Stithians and other schools. Carita is an ardent music lover and has effectively raised the profile of music throughout our school.

Interesting snippets: Carita is mum to five dogs and in her spare time she loves to take them walking. Her other passion is travelling abroad.

JALINE OELOFSE: Music Teacher, Accompanist, Head of GC Choir

Jaline Oelofse

Jaline Oelofse grew up in a family who loved music and singing together was a regular occurrence at gatherings and parties. She began her piano tuition at the age of four and has been playing ever since. Jaline went to The National School of the Arts in Braamfontein and later finished high school at Linden Hoërskool. Jaline studied B.MUS at North-West University and has also completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Education. She received masterclasses under the guidance of Helmut Deutsch well-known lieder pianist from Germany and Caroline Oltmans, Piano Lecturer from Youngstown University, USA. She accompanied the North-West University African Choir and was also the Répétiteur for student opera productions. Jaline has been involved in teaching Music for the last 22 years at various schools including St Andrew’s School for Girls, Linden Hoërskool and Jan Celliers Laerskool. She is married and has two daughters in Grades 7 and 10, both of whom also love music and attend St Stithians College.

Interesting snippets: Jaline sang in a group with Karen Zoid (Greef) in high school and was close friends with Paula from 7de Laan. She played netball for Gauteng and absolutely adores the sport.



Taryn Henning

Taryn Henning grew up in the green hills of KZN where she attended St Mary’s DSG in Kloof. From an early age, Taryn fell in love with teaching, theatre and dance. Taryn has danced throughout her life, attaining distinctions in advanced modern, tap and ballet at school and then majoring in contemporary dance at Rhodes University, where she completed a BA in Drama. After graduating, Taryn followed her first love, teaching, and completed her PGCE at WITS University in 2005, attaining the National Educator’s Prize for excellence in teaching the humanities.

Taryn began teaching at St Stithians Girls’ College in 2006 at age 22. During her 13 years here, Taryn has involved herself in various areas of school other than the classroom. She led the Cambourne House Committee (which won the House Cup each year from 2007 – 2011), was Pastoral Director for the Grade 11/12 group which matriculated in 2013, and has been the Cambourne Tutor Director since 2014. In between all this, Taryn fell in love, married and had twin girls all in one year! Her little ones are now in Grade 1 at the Junior Prep.

Taryn’s next project is to build a Girls’ College hip hop crew that will train this year to join the South African Dance Sports League in 2019/2020. She is also very excited for her directorial debut in 2019 as she directs the College major production.

Taryn’s first love at school will always be the classroom, sharing great moments of self-discovery and building authentic, lasting relationships with the girls. In her new role as HOS of Dramatic Arts, Taryn wishes to carry on the legacy of creative exploration that is so well-established in the department already and continue to encourage the girls to achieve their personal best, as only then can they all be outstanding.

Interesting snippets: Taryn recently competed in the Battle of the Giants Senior 2 Division for hip hop. Her crew won their section and were selected to compete internationally.


RICHARD SIBEKO: Drama and isiZulu Teacher

Richard Sibeko

Richard Sibeko is no stranger to St Stithians College. He matriculated from the Boys’ College in 2008 where he was Executive Head Perfect, Head of Dukes and was a passionate Dramatic Arts and Music student. He received his Trinity College, London Certificates in Voice and Grade 6 Music Theory in his matric year. While studying for his BA at Wits, he worked as a Teacher Intern at the Girls’ College in the Dramatic Arts and English Departments. He also conducted the Girls’ College Choir during this time. After graduating, he spent his first six months of teaching working as a Locum in the Drama Department at the Girls' College. 

Richard is a passionate Languages and Dramatic Arts teacher with experience at independent schools in the North West, Western Cape and in Johannesburg. He is thrilled to be back teaching at Saints and also enjoys working with Harmony, the Junior Drama Club and with the students in his English class at the Thandulwazi Academy. When not teaching, Richard enjoys traveling nationally and internationally and enjoys catching up on his reading. He is a proud #Funcle and enjoys spoiling his “Little Miss Muffet”.

Interesting snippets: Richard is a Teach with Africa & Global Teachers Institute Fellow (2015); he spent time at The Branson School, California USA teaching, researching, learning and sharing best teaching practices with his international colleagues. He recently facilitated a Slam Poetry workshop at the Kingsmead Book Fair.



Bronwyn Myles: HOS Visual Arts

Bronwyn Myles

Bronwyn grew up in the West Rand where she graduated from Northcliff High School in 1999. After leaving school, she channelled her passions into attaining a BA in Fashion Design at Midrand Graduate Institute where she achieved a distinction in Design and Illustration. Shortly after graduating Bronwyn worked for South African fashion duo Strangelove, where she learned to hone her creative skills into the crafting of Menswear garments and outlandish apparel.

At the age of 21, Bronwyn embarked on an international journey to the United Arab Emirates where she lived in Dubai for 8 years. During her time there she worked as a freelance scenic artist for many international companies that specialised in themed interiors, theme parks and exotic resorts. Along with many other South African, Australian, British, and Indian artists Bronwyn collaborated on projects such as the Ibn Battuta Shopping Mall; Atlantis, The Palm; and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi to name but a few. In particular, Bronwyn was responsible for painting large scale murals, creating paint effects, and building various props and elements to meet the demands of each individual project.

After returning to South Africa in 2010 Bronwyn attended Wits University where she attained a PGCE with distinction specialising in Visual and Creative Arts. She was also awarded a certificate for Excellence in the Teaching of Humanities. After five years at King Edward VII School, Bronwyn joined the team at St Stithians Girls’ College in 2017. She is currently studying towards an MA in Fine Art with a focus on Visual Arts education and curriculum development.

Bronwyn is passionate about the arts and the critical role that they play in the social, political, and educational spheres. She believes that learning in the Visual Arts creates opportunities to see the world in a radically different light that may spur thinking, engagement, and even action.

Interesting snippets: Bronwyn is a keen traveller, yoga practitioner, baker and an avid reader.


Ilana Cassarino: Visual Arts and Afrikaans Teacher

Ilana Cassarino

Early in her career, Ilana trained as a Fine Artist and was asked by the Italian Embassy to present art classes as part of their community engagement efforts in Pretoria. She discovered that she loved teaching and decided to further her studies in Art and Language Education. She has now been a teacher for 16 years.

Ilana finds collaborating with her students most rewarding and she loves working in an environment where she is constantly exposed to new learning methods.

In her personal life, Ilana enjoys studying Psychology and Eastern spiritual practises. She says that nature revitalises her and she especially enjoys camping and hiking. Ilana has a daughter in Grade 4, and together they love to cook, garden and do a variety of crafts. Crocheting is her favourite pastime.

Interesting snippet: Ilana plays the recorder and loves to sing in a choir.



Peta Hanly: Drama Teacher

Peta Hanly

Petrina (aka Peta) Hanly was born in England where she attained a BA Honours in English Literature from London University. Passionate about the arts, she obtained professional qualifications in ballet, tap, modern and national dancing. She played double bass in the Hampshire Youth Orchestra, the Westminster Philharmonic and the Harare Symphony Orchestra and has performed at the Edinburgh and Salzburg Festivals as well as in the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

At the age of 25, Peta decided to embark on a great trek and took six months to drive a Land Rover from London to Cape Town. She spent over a decade in Zimbabwe, where she taught at a local school, raised funds to build a theatre and started a family. In 2003, the Hanlys relocated to a farm at the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains. There, Peta worked at Treverton College where she established the Drama Department and ran the theatre. In 2008, the family moved to Johannesburg and she joined the staff of St Stithians Girls’ College as head of the Drama Department.

Over her years at St Stithians, Peta has staged a vast number of plays, musicals, festivals and events. In 2016, she was thrilled to be awarded the ISASA SDF grant to present a paper at the BIBAC Conference (“Building Interdisciplinary Bridges Across Cultures”) at Cambridge University, England.

Peta has three passions in life: her family, teaching and the arts. She is the author of several children’s books and plays, a seasoned director and producer, an avid reader and frequent theatre-goer. Her mission is to promote and facilitate the Arts and artists in education as she has experienced the transformative power of the arts on people young and old, affluent and impoverished, from different cultures, countries and contexts.

Interesting snippets: Peta is a great animal lover. She used to have a pet pig called Pog, a horse called Tonto and a flock of sheep. All three of her children share in this passion and between them they have two very naughty Jack Russell’s, twin Labrador pups, a cat, a kitten and two pet rats!