MEET THE STAFF - Part Eight - Life Orientation and RE

August 08, 2018 | Girls’ College

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT - LIFE ORIENTATION & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT DIRECTOR - VICKY CHILVERS

Vicky Chilvers

Vicky Chilvers was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, USA.  She was very active at High school and played flute & piccolo in a Military Kadet Band. She also participated in the Rifle Corp as well as Feature Baton Twirler for the marching band.
Was involved in gymnastics, cheerleading, volleyball and track and field throughout school. She completed High School at Terre Haute North Vigo class of ‘78 with membership in the the National Honour Society. After that, she studied at Wheaton College, Illinois- where she graduated in 1982, Cum Laude with Degrees in Christian Education & Theology (focus in Ethno-theology), her minors were in Sociology and Psychology.  She studied Church History in Greece, Turkey, Israel and Italy, completed an internship with adjudicated young people at Excelsior juvenile detention centre in Denver, Colorado and then undertook a two-year stint with Youth Guidance/Youth for Christ in Johannesburg (1983).
She also worked in conjunction with Child Welfare in Hillbrow and in Children’s Homes across the Reef as well as facilitated leadership training in SOWETO schools 1983 – 1985.


In 1985 she met and married Gordon Chilvers in 1985 and stayed in South Africa. She continued to serve with Youth for Christ for 10 years where she facilitated Life Skills classes and workshops in schools in Johannesburg.
In 1996 she assisted in the opening of the Girls’ College and ran workshops throughout the year and formally joined staff of St Stithians Girls’ College where she has served in various capacities with the school: Religious Education teacher, Counsellor, Head of Grade, Head of Life Orientation, Community Engagement Director and Leadership facilitator.

Vicky has served as national examiner and moderator for Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) as well as regional moderator for ieb schools. She qualified with The Pacific Institute (TPI) in 2008 and is a facilitator for the Investment in Excellence (IIE) courses for staff and adults as well as the PX2 course for students.

Vicky is passionate about putting faith into action with Community Engagement and social justice. She also has a passion for Youth and Women’s ministry and has spoken at and facilitated a range of workshops. She has served on the Youth for Christ national board as well as the board of Refilwe Community Project.

Vicky is a mother of 4 children and grandmother of 2 children. Her personal hobbies are reading, hosting friends and family, the bush, travel, pets and ministry.

TEACHER - LIFE ORIENTATION & ROUND SQUARE DIRECTOR - CHRISTINE ASHTON

Christine Ashton

Christine Ashton was born in Johannesburg. She started off her career in the insurance industry and then realised  that she was called to teaching.  She studied at the University of Johannesburg and graduated with a four year teaching degree BA(Ed) with Afrikaans – Nederlands and Psychology as her majors. Her Honours degree in Educational Psychology specialised in students with learning barriers, school readiness and careers counselling. Christine was employed as the Regional Educational Psychologist by the Gauteng Education Department for the West Rand Region where she visited schools and tested students for school readiness and implemented remedial programmes for students with learning barriers.

Chistine has taught at the folowing schools:  Capricorn High, Western High, Ferndale High, Edenglen High. Teaching a range of subjects including Afrikaans, religious instruction, school guidance and isiZulu.  Her extramural commitments over the years have been netball, tennis, public speaking and Interact (Rotary youth).  She was appointed as IEB Afrikaans Oral moderator for over 10 years and joined St Stithians Girls’ College as a founder staff member in 1996 as the HOD Afrikaans.  Christine has served as Grade Director for all the Grades, facilitated and co-ordinated the 1st matric dance at Girls’ College in 1997, coached netball and taught Public Speaking. She has taught Afrikaans to both boys and girls on the campus and has even presented a course on chocolate making to the boys and girls.

In 2005 she was appointed to the position of Round Square Director and as a result had to give up teaching Afrikaans due to the demands of her new role. She moved across to Life Orientation in 2007.

Christine is passionate about people and in particular the growth and development of young people - equipping them for life and to take their place as future leaders. She finds it a real pleasure to be using her skills in a variety of ways to meet all the needs each role requires. She loves the diversity of her role and the ability to serve in  many areas.

Most recently she is a mentor to new representatives from Round Square schools internationally. Christine has written articles for Independent Education and the Round Square, presented at the ISASA Deputies Conference in 2017 and is the staff facilitator of the Round Square leadership Committee.

She was honoured two years ago by being selected to serve on the Round Square Board in London representing all the representatives internationally. 

Her personal interests are definitely the outdoor life – hiking and camping, gardening, bird watching, travelling, photography as well as reading, ballroom dancing and crafts.
Christine enjoys spending time with family and especially  her 4 grandsons  She is a great lover of animals especially dogs.

TEACHER - LIFE ORIENTATION & DEPUTY HEAD ACADEMICS - LOREDANA BORELLO

Loredana Borello

Loredana Borello was born in Johannesburg to first generation Italian immigrants and can read, write and speak Italian. She studied at Wits University, majoring in Geography and Italian. Whilst teaching she completed a BA Honours degree through UNISA and is currently completing a Masters Degree in Education through Wits University.

Loredana was employed at Greenside High School before being appointed as Deputy Head (Academics) at St Stithians Girls’ College in 2004.  Over the years she has coached netball, swimming and athletics; assisted in musical productions and organised geography tours. Loredana has published two geography textbooks and written articles for the Independent Education magazine as well as the Journal of Geography Education.

She has been a geography examiner for the Department of Education and a national portfolio moderator for the IEB. She is a life-long learner and has taken part in a leadership programmes both at Harvard University in Boston, USA, as well as at the Wits Business School. Loredana loves to share her learning and has presented at the ISASA Deputies Conference, Wits School of Education, the IEB and Thinking Schools South Africa.

Her campus responsibilities include: Chair of the Leadership Committee, member of Teaching & Learning Committee, Academic Planning Committee and the e-Learning Committee. She is passionate about curriculum issues, leadership, teacher education and mentoring. As an person who believes in educating young women to be ethical, compassionate and confident leaders, she now teaches life orientation and loves the challenge of getting girls to think and reflect on themselves and their worldviews.

Loredana is married and has two daughters both of whom matriculated from the Girls’ College. Her personal interests include: camping and the outdoors, cooking, reading, watching films and going to the theatre.

CHAPLAIN - REV JENNI SAMDAAN

Jennifer Samdaan

Rev. Jenni Samdaan (nee Heuer) is known to the Girls’ College as Rev. Jen, where she has been the Chaplain since 2015. She was also Chaplain to the Boy’s Prep where she was known as Rev. JJ.  Her responsibilities include leading the school in Chapel Worship, teaching Religious Education, caring for students and staff alike.  She also loves the community engagement programme which the College offers. Each week she takes a class to Ivory Park where our students engage with students at the Nehemiah Primary School, grades one to four.  They share together in the classroom and on the playground. 

She completed primary schooling at Alberton Primary School and high school at Germiston High, Gauteng. After matric she attended Anchor Secretarial College and then worked for the S. A. PERMANENT Building Society   (S.A. PERM) Head Office in Johannesburg doing Public Relations and Advertising.  During this time she attended night school at WITS and later studied additional courses through UNISA.

Rev. Jen has always displayed a heart and passion for young people, thus seeing her involvement as a Sunday School Teacher and youth leader in her local church, the Alberton Methodist Church.  During this period, she was encouraged to attend the National Youth Leadership Training Programme (NYLTP) in Durban, where her passion, commitment and skills in Youth Ministry and Christian Education were sharpened.  After completion of this four month programme, she returned to Alberton Methodist Church as the full-time Youth Minister, where she was involved in ministering, training, counselling and providing leadership to all youth formations in the church.

It came therefore as no surprise, when she was “re-called” to be a staff member at NYLTP (where she was trained). There she contributed to the education and training of other young Christians – many who became ordained ministers across many denominations.  Her journey in empowering and nurturing young Methodist Christians continued as she became part of a five member team within the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, to traverse the MCSA Connexion (6 countries) to minister, pastor, counsel, educate and equip young people at local Methodist Societies for a year – referred to as the Centenary Youth Team. 

The above-mentioned was all in preparation towards her becoming an Ordained Minister in the MCSA -  resulting in her continuing her studies at the then Federal Theological Seminary (FEDSEM) in Imbali, Pietermaritzburg, where she was one of the first white women ministers to be trained at a predominantly black Seminary.  After completing her Theological Studies, Rev. Jen served as a minister in the MCSA in various local churches  in Namibia, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng.  Next year she will celebrate 30 years of Ordination. She was instrumental in the formation of the “Women in Ministry” Consultation (WIM) which is a lobby group within the MCSA to ensure the recognition of Women Ministers. She facilitated various programs (leadership, diversity, conflict management, justice and service etc. for ministers in training) and currently serves as a member of the MCSA’s Doctrine, Ethics & Worship Committee (DEWCOM), and is one of a four member Mediation Team in the Central District.)

Her ministry outside the Church

Rev. Jen is also blessed with a variety of skills, other than preaching, teaching and counselling. She worked for a number of organisations outside the Methodist Church – namely the Institute for Democracy in Southern Africa (IDASA) as Project Co-ordinator:   Capacity Development & Community Mobilisation (5 years) focusing particulary on Victim Empowerment, Women and Child Abuse, Children at Risk with the Law, Advocacy and Leadership Development within the NGO sector.

Rev. Jen also spent some time with the Nelson Mandela Rural Institute at the University of Fort Hare – as Project Co-ordinator tasked with supporting and capacitating rural schools in the Eastern Cape in partnership with the Department of Education.

She was also very happy to facilitate and consult for both the Fort Hare Institute of Government (now the School of Public Management) and the School of Governance (University of the Western Cape) to prepare, equip and empower newly elected public servants of our new democracy from 1995 – onwards.  She specialized in leadership and management, public policy development, diversity/change management and women leadership development (to mention a few).  During this time she also took a lead in reviewing Education & Training Material for Public Servants for the National School of Government (previously SAMDI/Palama). She is also a member of the national Mediation Panel in Resolving Land Disputes and Conflict for the Department of Land Reform and also developed, designed and facilitated various interventions on Celebrating Diversity, Anti-Racism, Women Empowerment, Conflict Management, HIV & Aids & Human Rights for Schools, Team Building for university leadership and management (Council & Senate), and many more.

Rev. Jen is married to Ivan and they have two children, Simone (25) and Roderick (21).  Jen’s mom (84) lives with them and their 3 large dogs, two cats and many pigeons and other birds.  Jen loves to read, spend time with family and friends, eat chocolate and drink copious cups of cappuccino.  Other than her home she loves spending time in a coffee shop and of course loves the school where she is able to live out the ideals of Honouring God, Honouring others and Honouring Self.