Guest Speakers

Associate Professor Mathew White


Associate Professor Mathew White is the Program Director for the Master of Education in the School of Education at The University of Adelaide. His research focuses broadly on character education, international education, leadership, and wellbeing education. In particular, Mathew is interested in how leaders establish school cultures to enable positive learning and wellbeing environments. He is a Principal Honorary Fellow in Melbourne Graduate School of Education and an Associate Professor at The University of Melbourne and an Affiliate of the Wellbeing Institute at the University of Cambridge. Mathew has co-edited three ground-breaking books on wellbeing education. The most recent being Future Directions in Wellbeing: Education, Organizations, and Policy (Springer, 2017). A sought-after keynote speaker, over the past decade, his research has been published in top journals. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology (Springer). Before joining The University of Adelaide, Mathew held significant senior leadership positions in schools. He was the founding Director of Wellbeing & Positive Education and served on the Senior Leadership Team of St Peter’s College – Adelaide, founding Director of Leadership at the social enterprise Teach for Australia, the first Head of Positive Education and International Baccalaureate Diploma at Geelong Grammar School. He has over 20 years senior secondary school teaching experience in English Literature, French and Theory of Knowledge in the International Baccalaureate Diploma, South Australian and Victorian Certificates of Education. Mathew has served on the Education Committee of St Mark’s College, Adelaide’s oldest university residential college since 2011. He is an Australian representative for the International Positive Education Network and a member of the Positive Education Schools Association South Australian Chapter serving as Chair and past Secretary. Mathew has a BA majoring in English Literature and French. He is an alumnus of School of Education completing his Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary), Master of Educational Studies and PhD from The University of Adelaide. He was conferred his PhD in 2004 under the supervision of the late Professor J. J. Smolicz AM, and Dr Margaret J. Secombe. In 2007, he studied at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Principal Center. In 2016, Mathew was conferred Fellowship in the Australian College of Educators. In 2017, the Australian Council for Educational Leaders presented Mathew with two awards in recognition of his exceptional scholarship and leadership, a National Leadership Award, and a South Australian Leadership Medal.

Lyn van't Hof


Lynn van’t Hof is an Educational Psychologist who worked at a management level in Independent schools. She has counselled children, adolescents, parents and teachers, and has developed various training programmes for schools. The purpose of Positive Education SA is to adapt different perspectives and practical applications from the field of Positive Psychology to the South African context in order to build well-being in schools. Positive Education SA is currently running character-strength initiatives and mindful programmes in junior and high schools in the Western Cape, and has done teacher training in Independent schools and for the Western Cape Education Department. A four year community project has involved a whole school character-strengths initiative and mindfulness programmes.

Cailyn Sonderup


Cailyn Sonderup is an Occupational Therapist, and has completed her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of the North-West. Her dissertation was on the benefits of teaching mindfulness to children. Cailyn has also done her accreditation for the Mindfulness in Schools Programme in London. She has worked in clinics, schools and community settings. The purpose of Positive Education SA is to adapt different perspectives and practical applications from the field of Positive Psychology to the South African context in order to build well-being in schools. Positive Education SA is currently running character-strength initiatives and mindful programmes in junior and high schools in the Western Cape, and has done teacher training in Independent schools and for the Western Cape Education Department. A four year community project has involved a whole school character-strengths initiative and mindfulness programmes.

Dr Jonathan Davy


Jonathan is currently a lecturer in the Department of Human Kinetics and Ergonomics at Rhodes University. Having completed his undergraduate degrees at Rhodes, where he majored in Human Kinetics and Ergonomics and Organisational Psychology, he went onto complete his Honours, Masters and Doctoral degrees in Human Kinetics and Ergonomics. His research interests focus on understanding sleep wake behaviour and the effects of sleep loss on human performance in different groups. He is currently researching this in the contexts of aviation, informal economy workers, adolescents, university students, academics and health care practitioners. He is currently the President of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa and the editor of the society’s journal, Ergonomics SA.

Tim Jarvis


Tim Jarvis is the author of the blog, ‘There’s a Hadeda in my Garden’ which considers educational issues and teen well-being. Tim has spoken at numerous conferences and schools around South Africa and has written articles for Independent Education in South Africa, the Christian Teacher’s Journal in Australia and the Guardian Newspaper UK. Tim is currently the Senior Master: Pastoral Care at Michaelhouse and holds Honours degrees in Education and Psychology from the University of Exeter and the University of South Africa respectively. His role includes guidance counselling and assisting students with university applications to both the US and the UK. In 2018 Tim was the conference lead at the inaugural researchED conference in South Africa and currently serves on the Global Advisory Board of the University of St Andrews. On quiet days Tim is likely to be found either consuming good quality coffee and a well written book or walking while listening to podcasts. You can follow Tim on Twitter @timothyjejarvis or read his blog at timothyjejarvis.blog

Dr Colleen Vassiliou


Dr Colleen Vassiliou is a professional qualified psychologist. She is the first female head of Kingswood College. Prior to that she was Director of Student Affairs/Acting Dean of Students at Rhodes University. She started her career as a senior school Mathematics teacher and then went on to complete her PhD in Counselling Psychology. She pursued a career as the Director of Counselling and Head of Wellness at various Universities and specialised in short term therapy. She also worked in private practice for a couple of years. Her areas of expertise include: developmental psychology, positive psychology, neuro-linguistic programming and solution focussed therapy. She has done extensive research on Leadership Development and the character building of pupils, linking it to developmental psychology. She is of the opinion that the purpose of life is to allow individuals to not only unfold - but to flourish. She is also a mother of a teenager and a tween and happily married for more than 20 years to her high school sweetheart.

Joe Orsmond


Joe Orsmond is an English Teacher at St. Andrew’s College, Makhanda, South Africa. He is, given today’s world, certain of very little. He loves his two daughters, unconditionally. Surfing makes him happy. Reading makes him a better human being. He writes and teaches because he is compelled to. He is also certain that all biographical blurbs sound contrived and pretentious (including this one). He has some ideas about teaching creative writing. He recently presented a paper at the Wellington Festival of Education in the U.K.

Greg Wilmot


Greg Wilmot is a Counselling Psychologist from Makhanda (Grahamstown). He currently runs a Private Practice and works at Rhodes University as a Psychologist, Lecturer, and Supervisor. Greg completed his MA in Counselling Psychology in 2008 before studying Sport & Exercise Psychology at Loughborough (pronounced “Lufbra”) in the UK. He returned to South Africa and started his Counselling and Psychology practice in 2011. In his Practice, Greg works mostly with adolescents and young adults around issues of mental health and sports performance. The Counselling side of his Practice deals with matters ranging from anxiety and depression to relational and mental health problems. The majority of Greg’s work in Sport Psychology is with adolescent athletes experiencing high performance demands across a range of sports including rugby, cricket, hockey, running, and even ballet and horse-riding. Greg has worked with numerous schools and coaches across the Eastern Cape as well as novice and elite sportsmen and women around resilience, visualization, injury management, mental skills, and performance strategies. Currently, Greg also supervises Counselling Psychology Interns and Honours-level research projects at Rhodes University. He has published articles on disabilities in sport, mental skills, school sport, and lectures at Undergrad and Postgrad level. Greg is the current Chairman of Grahamstown Round Table and is a passionate Trail Runner. He spends most of his time on the trails with his two Border Collies and carrying his young son.

Yvonne Lion-Cachet


Yvonne Lion-Cachet is the Educational Psychologist at St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown (Makhanda), where she has been working for the past 6 years. She completed her Masters in Psychology and her Honors in Education. Her Masters in Psychology focussed on emotional intelligence and the elite school athlete. She is currently enrolled for her PhD at UP (University of Pretoria) focusing on a study of resilience of boys in full-time boarding. She focuses on the emotional and academic well-being of the boys. Yvonne heads Positive Education within a Positive Psychology framework at College. Yvonne was privileged to attend the IPPA (International Positive Psychology Association) 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology in Melbourne, in July. She gained invaluable insight and knowledge into global best practice at this conference, being fortunate enough to hear, amongst others, plenary speakers Martin and Mandy Seligman. She also attended a pre-conference tour of Geelong Grammar School who have ten years of experience applying positive psychology within an educational setting.

Jane Jarvis


Jane initially trained and worked as a primary school teacher before she enrolled for a Masters degree in Educational Psychology at Wits University. Since qualifying as an educational psychologist, she has worked in a number of mainstream and remedial schools and was employed by St. George's Home where she established the St. George’s Therapy and Care Centre. Jane also spent a number of years in private practice specializing in ADHD. She is currently employed as the educational psychologist at DSG in Grahamstown. Over the years she has been involved in extensive parent and teacher training and has co-authored a book titled The Manual That Never Came With Your Child. She has also co-developed a game called Brain Gain which can be used as a teaching tool for Grades R to 3 and a remedial tool for older children. This game is aimed at enhancing foundational literacy and numeracy skills. Jane is also the mother of two boys.

Craig Carolan


Craig is passionate about psychology and education! His career spans over 25 years of teaching, training and coaching. Early in his teaching career, Craig was fortunate enough to spend time in the special educational needs field working with pupils in inner-city London. It was during this time that he developed a passion for ensuring that every single child is given the tools to unlock their real potential. Craig's teaching career spans leadership roles, as SenCo, Head of Learning Development, Head of Year, Deputy Headmaster and finally Headmaster at successful independent and state schools in both the United Kingdom and Africa. Over the years he has developed a number of positive psychology coaching programmes aimed at improving students academic self-efficacy and helps support teachers to deliver these programmes successfully. As a qualified teacher, Craig also holds a Masters in Psychology, where his thesis was grounded in the work of Martin Seligman, Albert Bandura and Mihalyi Cziktsentmihalyi. His interest in Positive Psychology also led him to gain certification as an NLP trainer as well as a Master Trainer in the de Bono Thinking skills. Over the past few years, Craig has worked closely with international thinking mentors such as Edward de Bono, Tony Buzan, James Anderson, and Anthony Robbins using their knowledge and expertise to inform his approach to helping people. Craig strives to use all of these experiences and skills to help enable leaders, teachers and students to achieve their unique potential. Workshop name: Building student and teacher self-efficacy through an explicit tools-based approach to teaching & learning.

Judy Blaine


Judy Blaine, South African born and bred, has spent the past 24 years living and working in Hong Kong and raising her four children. She has a medical background and after completing her BSc (hons) in Psychology, she went on to do her PGDE in Special Education and Masters in Applied Psychology. Her Masters dissertation evaluated the impact of a South African developed social emotional learning (SEL) programme, “Cool To Be Me”, on social and emotional competence within a primary school setting. Judy has recently submitted her PhD which explored the psychosocial outcomes of Outdoor Adventure Education (OAE) in adolescents. Judy is passionate about positive education and SEL and hopes to work with schools, both in Hong Kong and South Africa, to help them develop and incorporate a strength-based approach to help learners acquire social and emotional competencies and life skills. Title of my talk: Exploring psychosocial outcomes of outdoor adventure education (OAE) for adolescents in a South African setting.

Roy Hobson


Roy is the ICT Director for our family of schools, St Andrew's College, Diocesan School for Girls, and St Andrew's Prep. In this role since 2014, he has been involved in the rollout of technology into classrooms, the modernisation of the underlying IT infrastructure and applications, and classroom and building refurbishment projects. Roy studied at Kingswood College and Rhodes University in Grahamstown, before spending 20 years as an IT software developer and entrepreneur in Gauteng. As a people manager he is a firm believer in personal transformation journeys underpinning well-performing individuals and teams. He completed his Associate Coaching Certificate in integral coaching through UCT Graduate School of Business in 2017. Most recently, Roy completed a year-long IBSC Action Research project which looked at the applicability of integral and strengths-based coaching to leadership development in senior school boys. He delivered his paper titled “Leading from Authenticity” at the IBSC Annual Conference in Montreal in June 2019. He is a self-confessed "knowledge junkie", and reads everything he can lay his hands on. Sometimes this includes sheet music, which he can be heard performing at our local open-mic venue.

Christopher Hammond


Christopher is the current Deputy headmaster (Teaching and Learning) and senior housemaster at King Edward VII School. Christopher is a seasoned ‘educational thinker’, leader and strategist, with over 16 years of academic and boarding house management experience. He is passionate about boy’s school education, mentorship and pastoral care. He strives to continually learn, find new ways and change the way in which we view educational problems as well as delivering direct, tangible solutions. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Wits Business School, which focused on the relationship between mentorship and South African School’s performance. In addition, Christopher has earned an Honours Degree in Educational Management and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration. Christopher consults with teachers and school leadership members, when relevant, and promotes systemic practices within educational environments.

Andrew Renard


After working for the Weather Bureau for two years, Andrew Renard ended up at Rhodes University, from which he somehow emerged as an English teacher. He still gets a kick out of being in the classroom and remains a lifelong learner. He has presented papers at IBSC Conferences in Canada and New Zealand, and a summary of his research on changing teenage boys’ attitudes to rape was published in Australian Psychologist Steve Biddulph’s book, The New Manhood. Earlier this year he was one of only two teachers to be invited to present a paper at the Triennial Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa academic conference. So where does the concept of ‘Positive Space’ come from? Andrew believes that the decoration, layout and spatial orientation of a classroom, no matter how modern or old the building is, can have a marked difference on the vibe within a room. It is possible to turn a classroom into a space that pupils want to enter, and this will give them a positive frame of mind. The presentation is done in consultation with Andrew’s son, Warwick Renard, a professional architect who has worked on school design in the Eastern Cape as well as projects in Namibia, Zanzibar, Ruanda, Oman and France.