GEA’s team of professionals are committed to teaching but also learning at the same time. They are experienced, passionate, creative and driven to help students succeed.
Board of Directors
Chief executive director, Dr. Ronald Plaatjie
PhD, Psychology, University of Stellenbosch
MA, BEd, BEd Hons, University of the Western Cape
BA, University of Zululand
Ronald is a registered teacher and psychologist with 24 years of experience in psychology and education and politics. He began his professional life as a history and guidance teacher at ID Mkhize Senior Secondary School in Gugulethu in Cape Town. Building on this experience, his psychological studies allowed him to dig deeper to uncover solutions for the behavior of at-risk youth. He developed a radio show around youth issues and has written books that show his passion for getting to know people’s stories. His vast knowledge as an assessor in skills development guides the team to work for practical, real-life solutions that ignite success. He has been able to work within and lead multidisciplinary teams so we appreciate his overseeing of our board as the CEO. He speaks English, Xhosa, and understands Afrikaans. Ronald brings such a lovely calm presence and a knowledgeable, but humble nature to the team. He currently works as a researcher at the National Parliament of the Republic of South Africa.
Executive director, Kenny Malgas
Pro Arte Art School, Pretoria
Kenny-Leigh brings an abundance of world adventure and travel experience to the board. He is also an aspiring life coach, committed to wisely learning the craft so he can offer excellent services to his clients. He was born in Namibia, has also lived in Swaziland, and been living in South Africa since 1995. He calls the Rainbow Nation his home. His curious nature and creative spirit have led him to a great deal of adventure and social experiences: from experience managing an audiovisual company to a background in sound engineering. He has sky dived over Grahamstown, done aviation training in Fisantekraal and scuba diving in Port Alfred. He even has taken part in Outdoor Education Training (ARA) in Port Alfred. In addition, he is first aid certified and the most tech savvy of anyone on the board. His inspiring leadership ability, fresh perspective and vibrant love for life and everything that it contains, especially people, are invaluable additions to the board.
Executive director, Ms. Akisha Pearman
PhD in Education in progress, The University of Cape Town
MA in Higher Education Studies, The University of Cape Town
MA in TESOL, The School for International Training
BA in Spanish & English Literature, Cornell University
Akisha is from the United States but has lived in Cape Town for nearly 5 years. Although she has experience teaching and working in a language laboratory in the US which serviced recent immigrants, the remainder of her professional experiences has been outside of the her home country. She has been teaching for about 16 years and has gained vast intercultural experiences through travel, professional and volunteer work. She’s been to 19 countries and counting. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in both Madagascar and Mozambique where she taught English in local government middle and high schools. She also received 2 distinguished Fellowships from the US State Department to lecture at universities in Mozambique and Angola in both English language teacher training and English for Tourism development. She speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Malagasy, which has helped her understand that in-depth understanding of people is essential for intercultural communication in any language. She is dedicated to constant self-development in order to better serve students. She currently works at the University of Cape Town Writing Centre.
Non-executive director, Mrs. Cecilia Swanepoel
Teachers Diploma in Education, Cape Town College of Education
Higher Diploma in Education, Teachers Training College for further Education, Pretoria
Cecilia (she likes to be called Celia) is a wealth of energy, passion, joy and a love for people. To our team she brings about 50 years of teaching experience in primary schools in southern Africa. She has spent her professional life working with intelligent children who had minor brain dysfunction. She rectified this by identifying the disability, addressing it through appropriate remedial procedure, and eventually unlocking the child’s full potential. She engaged them with educational content using puppet shows, workshops, poetry, music and art. She also enjoys traveling internationally, meeting new people, and learning about new cultures and languages. Her natural qualities as a good listener help her to ask those questions that spark deeper thinking and help to remind the team of its goals and objectives. She also assists us in considering students of all learning abilities within the courses we develop and the teaching methods we utilize. Celia’s deep curiosity and concern with supporting learners in creative ways gives an essential student-centered focus to decisions made by the board. She speaks English and Afrikaans. Celia is retired, but finds time to volunteer with numerous community development programs.
Deputy Director, Farai Majaya
B. Soc. Sci Hons in Public Policy & Administration, University of Cape Town
B. Soc. Sci in Political Studies, Public Policy & Administration and Industrial Sociology, University of Cape Town
Farai is a Political studies graduate from the University of Cape Town who has interests in public administration, sustainable development solutions and people-centered interventions. He is born and bred in Zimbabwe but has now been living in Cape Town for nearly 8 years. Farai has been involved with various volunteer organizations and NGOs and enjoys giving back to the community. However, in contrast to his somewhat serious academic background and professional experience, he is also passionate about the creative arts and his experiences in this field have taught him how to interact, communicate and relate with different types of people from all walks of life.