ST JAMES - Key Persons

Andrew MacLaren

Leon MacLaren was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1910. His father Andrew MacLaren was a Member of Parliament and taught his son from a young age to value truth and justice. Leon trained as a barrister and was admitted to the Bar in 1938. He believed natural law and universal principles were paramount and that the best way to share his knowledge, thinking and practice was to start a school of philosophy for adults, which he did during World War II in London. He subsequently founded a number of schools for adults around the world, which were flooded with enthusiastic students, each decade seeing interest and numbers growing. Over the years, Mr MacLaren met great thinkers, educators and spiritual teachers from Britain, Europe and the East. He and his students were challenged and inspired by the commonality of principles and theories shared by East and West. He constantly challenged his adult students to transcend their limitations, to lay aside their ideas and opinions, and to search for and apply natural law and universal principles. In the mid-1960s Mr MacLaren met Sri Shantananda Sarasvati who taught him about Vedantic knowledge and meditation as practised in India. By combining study and meditation, Mr MacLaren realised that a student could move from theory to deep understanding. Sri Shantananda Sarasvati and Mr MacLaren met regularly over a period of thirty years, during which time much knowledge was communicated about education. Mr MacLaren dedicated his working life to exploring a broad range of subjects including philosophy, economics, law, calligraphy, education, science, art, architecture, language, renaissance music, theatre and dance. Many of the adult schools which he founded have gone on to establish day schools for children. Subjects offered today for adults and children continue to emphasise, magnify and instil a love of fineness and purity of both mind and action.

Mr Gregory Jones

Mr Gregory Jones is a passionate, creative and innovative teacher who currently leads our Senior Grade Science and Grade 6 and 7 Global Perspectives. As of January 2022 he is also teaching Robotics and Coding. His journey at St James began in 2009. His responsibilities over the years have included teaching, event and administrative assistance; IT co-ordination; leading soccer and coding extra-curricular clubs; and teaching (with qualifications: B.Ed and Cambridge Assessment Certificate) primary and senior grade IT, Mathematics, Science, Geography and Global Perspectives.

Mr John Curle

Job Titles:
  • Executive Head, Head of Philosophy & Sanskrit

Mr Phumlani Khanya

Job Titles:
  • Groundsman

Mr Vusi Cele

Job Titles:
  • Sports Coach
Mr Cele has taught at St James for 13 years, and holds the position of Sports Coach from Grades 00 to Grade 7. His vision includes seeing St James take part in all athletic events as well as introducing Gymnastics into the Junior Primary. Cricket, Soccer and Netball are also on his horizon. Mr Cele is a keen athlete and has run 7 Comrades Marathons over the last 8 years.

Mrs Alisa Ray

Job Titles:
  • Specialist Art Teacher, Grade 7 Technology Teacher
Mrs Ray has always had an interest in people and their histories and artistic expressions. She studied African and Asian Art History and Archaeology at SOAS (London) in the 1990s. She applied her knowledge working with diverse communities across Gauteng as a community arts practitioner. She has facilitated visual art classes in community settings since 2005 and has worked as a community arts counsellor since 2011. She sees art as an essential component in emotional development and well being. She also continues to create her own art.

Mrs Ansie van Berg

Job Titles:
  • Bursar

Mrs Deirdre Curle

Job Titles:
  • Specialist Abhinaya Teacher
Mrs Curle has taught at St James since 2002, and currently teaches Abhinaya to boys and girls from Early Learning through to Grade 7. Mrs Curle has a background in western classical dance, and has studied Abhinaya within the School of Practical Philosophy for over 20 years. She teaches adult groups and also performs on a regular basis within the school. She is passionate about how movement can be used to help children on so many levels - coordination, rhythm, confidence, focus as well as maintain a deep inner stillness even while performing complex activities.

Mrs Elna Deeke

Job Titles:
  • Librarian

Mrs Maryna Park

Mrs Park has been a full-time teacher at St James since 2013. She is passionate about reducing academic inequalities and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure fairness for all pupils. "It is important for me to help students to be more than good learners but also to become good citizens and to help them grow into lifelong learners in an information economy. In order for learners to reach their full potential they need to discover and understand their unique style of learning. In my teaching practice I allow a lot of time for collaboration as I believe that students learn from each other and need to interact with each other in order to internalize the subject matter."

Mrs Mikirina Asote

Ms Asote is an inspirational teacher of more than 20 years. She has gained vast experience teaching in formal and informal organisations from children to adults. She is a qualified ECD teacher and has worked in the Foundation Phase for more than ten years. She believes that the quality of education a person receives in early life is indispensable in bringing out that person's potential and that all children should have access to quality education and care. "St James opened a door of new opportunities to grow in my career and share my abilities. The spiritual ethos of inclusion and unity was an attraction for me to join St James. I am privileged to join a team that is responsible for producing young people of strong character who are self-reliant, self-disciplined, upright and truthful."

Mrs Nadira Khoosal

Mrs Khoosal has been a teacher at St James for over eleven years, practicing in the areas of early childhood development and foundation phase. She is a teacher who believes learning is fun and you do not have to force it to be fun or turn education into ‘infotainment ‘. The child and the adult derive joy from learning and expanding their minds. St James offers the child the opportunity to be engaged in all areas of development - academic, physical, social and spiritual.

Mrs Page Jones

Job Titles:
  • School Secretary

Mrs Rakhee Keeka

Job Titles:
  • English Specialist
Mrs Keeka is an English specialist teacher at St James Preparatory School. She has experience teaching international students, locally and abroad. She teaches grades 3 - 7 English as well as the Cambridge subject "Global Perspectives" to Grades 4 and 5. Mrs Keeka has achieved greatly since she has joined the St James Team. One of her major achievements includes raising the Cambridge Primary Checkpoint 2020 exam results for English. Her mission in teaching is to enhance learners' communication skills and encourage learners to improve and achieve by providing them with individual support.