Gaynor Cozens

Early Literacy Specialist

Gaynor has been a Foundation Phase teacher since 1981 and has been involved in education ever since. She studied at Wesley Teacher Training College, Roggebaai College and UCT. She has served in education in various capacities such as teacher, facilitator, manager, head of department and author. She has authored several books in mathematics and life skills. In January 2018, after retiring, she joined the Wordworks team, having implemented the Wordworks’ Home-School Partnerships Programme for four years at Merrydale Primary School. She believes in the value of this programme and the need for it in the country.


Lavinia Davis

Early Literacy Specialist

Lavinia retired in 2016 after 38 years in Education. She qualified with a Diploma in Primary School Teaching (PTD) at Hewat Training College and completed a Diploma in School Librarianship (DSL) at UWC. Lavinia taught mainly in the Intermediate Phase and a short stint in the Foundation Phase – Grade 3. She progressed through the different management ranks to principal and retired in this post after 15 years. Lavinia did short management courses and mentored Principals/Educators in our circuit in conjunction with the Circuit Manager. As the Principal of the school, Lavinia’s passion has always been about literacy. She trained as a Wordworks Facilitator when it was offered to the schools and introduced the Home-School Partnerships Programme to the school. Lavinia started working, part time, at Wordworks in January 2018 as a mentor in the HSP Programme.


Faheema Hassiem

Early Literacy Specialist

Faheema is a retired Learning Support Educator. She qualified as a Foundation Phase teacher at Wesley Training College and has completed further training at Hewat Training College. After years of teaching in both the Foundation and Intermediate Phases, she completed a Special Needs Educational Diploma at the University of the Western Cape and proceeded to work in Learning Support for over 20 years. Faheema coordinated two Wordworks programmes (Home-School Partnerships and Ready Steady Read Write) at her school for 5 years. She joined the Wordworks team, part time, as a Home-School Partnerships programme mentor in 2018.


Bukelwa Yuze

Early Literacy Specialist

Bukelwa has a Bachelor of Education (Bed Hons), specialising in Inclusive education in the foundation phase. She came to Wordworks from the Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development where she specialised in support for Grades R – 3 teachers, co-teaching in their classrooms between 2011–2015. She was also involved in materials development in isiXhosa & Mathematics for foundation phase. Bukelwa got training on story telling in 2020 from the International School of Storytelling. Prior to that she had 19 years of teaching in the foundation phase in Cape Town. As a teacher trainer, Bukelwa has a special interest in isiXhosa and English literacy, and the promotion of early reading. She is an advocate for the holistic development of the child with an emphasis on child-friendly classroom management, and with a strong interest in inclusive education.


Sue Setton

Senior Early Literacy Specialist

Sue has a Diploma in Junior Primary Education from Rhodes University and has experience teaching children in the foundation phase at regular schools and at schools for deaf children. She has completed a TEFL course and has experience teaching children and adults English as a second language. After she qualified with a Diploma in Special Education from UNISA, she worked at Herzlia Primary as the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and later headed up the Learning Support Team.


Ntsiki Ntusikazi

Early Literacy Specialist

Ntsiki holds BA (Hons) (specialising in IsiXhosa) and B.ED degrees. She has been a teacher, Western Cape Education Department (WCED) IsiXhosa curriculum adviser and has been a Nguni language publisher for ten years, publishing Grade R–12 language books. She is also a published author of literacy materials covering FP to FET. She has done both pre-servicing and in-servicing of teachers as a mentor and a trainer.  She has developed the in-service training manuals for WCED. For the past three years, before joining Wordworks in 2020, she worked as an InterSen mentor, supporting teachers with classroom management, planning and learner engagement.


Cheryl Ann Thomas

Early Literacy Specialist

Cheryl has 34 years of teaching experience in the Intermediate Phase, Foundation Phase and Special Education. She has served in education in various capacities including teacher, coach, facilitator, manager and Head of Department. While teaching in Ocean View, she implemented the Wordworks Home-School Partnerships Programme at Kleinberg Primary School.She has authored several books in English as an additional Language as well as in Mathematics. Cheryl was a Foundation Phase Subject Advisor for 5 years. After leaving WCED in 2019, she joined the Wordworks team as a trainer and mentor in the Home-School Partnerships Programme. When Cheryl is not involving herself in education she can be found strolling on the beach or relaxing on the beach with a good book.


Sudika Martin

ECD Trainer (Afrikaans)

Sudika did a certificate in education at the College of Cape Town. She then worked as a pre-school teacher for four years at Little Care Daycare in Delft, which led her to manage a ECD programme at a non-profit that focuses on the overall development of children 0 to 5 years. Her interests include foundation phase education and socioeconomic development. She has done facilitation and mentoring in her community through various community projects. She is currently pursuing a higher certificate in Axillary social work at the University of South Africa in the hopes of contributing to and assisting in the holistic development of young children.



Colleen Diedericks

Home-School Partnerships Programme Manager

Colleen was a Foundation Phase subject advisor for 7 years in the Metro South Education District. She has 26 years of teaching experience in both intermediate and foundation phase prior to becoming a subject advisor. She served as the Head of Department in Foundation Phase for 8 years and holds a B.Ed Degree, a Diploma in Specialised Education as well as a Primary Teachers’ Diploma. After serving the WCED for 32 years, Colleen worked as a READ Educational Trust trainer and teacher mentor and then at UCT in the SDU unit after which she joined the Wordworks Team.


Asanda Mphala

Early Literacy Specialist

Asanda studied ECD level 5 at the College of Cape Town in 2009. After completion, she worked as a Grade R practitioner at Nosapho Educare where she discovered her passion for early learning. She then furthered her studies at the University of South Africa where she is completing her B.Ed in Foundation Phase. In 2011 she was appointed as a Grade R practitioner at Intshayelelo Primary School. During that time she was a lead teacher for Ikhwezi project from UCT and the Metro East District of Education. She also volunteered as a CAPS document facilitator for Grade R practitioners and HODs in isiXhosa. In addition she was a lead teacher for the Wordworks Stellar programme. She has joined Wordworks in 2017, specially focusing on the Home-School Partnerships Programme.



Paulene Solomon

Ready Steady Read Write Programme Manager

Paulene holds a Bachelor of Primary Education (B Prim Ed). She has 17 years teaching experience; 13 of which was in the Foundation Phase. She was seconded for a 9 month period to Metropole South Education District as a Foundation Phase Curriculum Advisor. During this time, she also co-authored educational materials for both Intermediate and Foundation Phase. After leaving teaching, she worked for the READ Educational Trust for 8 years as a literacy trainer, coach and mentor where she was involved in a number of government and privately funded literacy projects.


Faith Shabangu

Early Literacy Specialist

Faith has previously worked as a Senior Community Manager for Dlalanathi and a Process Facilitator for Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action in Pietermaritzburg, KZN. Her experience in community development includes facilitation of trainings, mentoring, social justice work, leadership and skills development. Faith’s interest in community development has focused on child development and protection processes. The guiding principles in her work is that everybody can think and act in their own situation, and that you should not do something for someone if they can do it themselves.


Natasha Rosen

Early Literacy Specialist

Natasha completed a certificate and diploma in Early Childhood development at College of Cape Town in 2010–2011. During this time, she volunteered at an ECD and primary school in the Kewtown community which is situated in Athlone, Cape Town. In 2014, she became the Grade R teacher at Athlone North Primary School where she taught for six years. During her years at Athlone North Primary School she completed a certificate in Adult Facilitation and Training. She also obtained an assessor.  She is currently completing a B.Ed Foundation Phase at the University of South Africa. Natasha is extremely passionate about contributing to the development of young children as well as adults.


Kerry Saadien-Raad

Early Literacy Specialist

Kerry is an experienced Foundation Phase teacher who has spent 15 years writing fiction and non-fiction storybooks as well as radio stories, educational books and materials for young children in South and Southern Africa. Kerry is passionate about literacy in its many forms and has a particular love of children’s picture books. She has experience in training and mentoring both in-person and online. Kerry joined Wordworks in 2019 working as a mentor in the Ready Steady Read Write Programme. She has contributed to the Little Stars, Stellar and TIME programmes, been involved in creating audio and video materials across programmes and co-created a Ready Steady Read Write online study course. Kerry is part of a team involved in developing, training and mentoring the Language programme that is part of a greater GDE Gr R improvement project.


Setungoane Letsatsi

Programme Manager

Setungoane graduated with a Bachelors’ Degree in Education. She started her career as a teacher and taught at high school level for five years. She then went on to pursue her studies and obtain a Master Degree in Education from the University of Witwatersrand and later a Post Graduate Diploma in Youth and Child Care Development from the University of Victoria (Canada). She has since held a number of project management positions in the NGOs space supporting programmes in Education, ECD and Special Education. She joined Wordworks in July 2021 as a Programme Manager for the Gauteng Grade R Improvement Project.


Lydia Makiva

ECD Trainer (isiXhosa) 

Lydia Makiva did a B. Admin degree at UWC, ECD Level 4 at the College of Cape Town, and then Level 5 at Northlink College. She worked as a community development worker for SCAT, focusing in the rural areas of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and North West Province. She then moved to ODAC facilitating PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) – Section 32 of the Constitution. In 2009 she started an ECD centre. In 2011 she worked for Elru managing and facilitating ECD projects and training including on the first 1000 days, Smartstart, home based learning, Wordworks’ Stellar Pogramme, inclusive education, theNCF and classroom support.
Lydia joined Wordworks in 2022 as an ECD trainer.