Meet the Leaders of Curro Salt Rock

Curro Salt Rock provides learners with a high-quality education that involves academics, physical health and emotional well-being. Head of Preschool Mrs Chantelle Smith believes that school should be a safe and nurturing environment where every child feels inspired to explore, learn and grow. The mission is to provide a loving atmosphere that fosters the development of each child to their fullest potential, encouraging creativity, curiosity, and a lifelong love for learning.

“The goal is to continue to deliver quality care and child-centred education to each little one who comes through our doors,” she shares. Her top priorities are to have quality, qualified, passionate and inspired staff who creatively deliver a comprehensive curriculum within a secure and loving environment. Nurturing good relationships with teachers and parents, Mrs Smith tries to make herself as available as possible, encouraging empathy and understanding. “I believe in leading by example, bringing a positive attitude to all situations.”

As a leader, she is solutions-driven and consistent and encourages people’s development.

The preschool is on a very exciting journey, which can be seen in the way they teach. “As we adopt the Curiosity Approach, my staff and I are all revisiting the wonders of childhood and discovering the world through their curious eyes,” she says. Mrs Smith is heading the accreditation process and is part of exciting new additions to the playground, classrooms and receptions.

“I believe a successful campus is when the parents, teachers and school leadership are all working together to solve problems and dream up ideas for the growth and development of the children in our care.” Having taught alongside her team, Mrs Smith is aware of their daily needs and seeks to support them while encouraging them to step out of their comfort zones to develop themselves.

Mr Joe Erasmus, the Head of Primary School, is passionate about child-centred education. His plan is to build a strong and positive team where ego and status take the backseat and teamwork is the order of the day. Encouraging honest and open communication from both sides, he nurtures relationships between the parents and teachers.

“In five years’ time, I see myself enjoying my last few years in the school environment, which I love so much, before I retire and enjoy time with my grandkids,” Mr Erasmus expresses fondly. In his opinion, the qualities of a good primary school principal are being a good role model, where authenticity is in every action and decision they make.

Being value-driven is a major strength for Mr Erasmus, putting his best efforts into every project he undertakes. Excited about the future of Curro Salt Rock, he looks forward to the upgrades next year will bring to the campus. He aims to create an effective school campus that is a positive environment full of energy and activity. Mr Erasmus believes every teacher is a leader in their right.

“They lead these young minds daily. I empower them by encouraging them to believe and live it,” he says.

Passionate about helping each individual discover their unique talents, Head of High School Mrs Jennifer Van Buuren aims to continue growing and improving the high school to be the school of choice in the community.

“Some of my top priorities in this position are building and strengthening relationships between learners, teachers and the community,” she explains. By listening first and fostering understanding, she hopes to nurture these relationships.

In five years, she will be celebrating with her first CSR Grade 8 class, as they finish matric. “I hope to still be enjoying the Ballito community and meeting with alumni as they share their adventures,” she shares. “The qualities of a head in the high school should include being an exceptional listener and giving time to every person to share their thoughts, feelings, and concerns.” She believes in making an effort to incorporate the ideas of others into action.

Being involved in the day-to-day inner workings of the school, spending time in classrooms and hallways, and being visible around the school shows the investment a leader has in the team and learners. Mrs Van Buuren adds, “I am committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty, and thus I will always honour my commitments by drawing out the best in each person.” With a strong inner drive to achieve her goals and constantly learn, she takes immense satisfaction in being busy and productive.

As education is constantly evolving, there is always something bigger and better available, and the school aims to keep up. “From the improvement of facilities to the addition of wider subject choices through our online Curro choice platform, the introduction of century Al is another important addition to our curriculum,” she informs.

By working together and through collaboration with the team, Mrs Van Buuren hopes to empower teachers. “It is important to mentor teachers and give time and guidance to the teachers who have the will to better themselves and ultimately their learners,” she elaborates. “As the Head of High School, it is vital that I see the greatness in others and do what I can to bring that greatness out of them.”

Curro is the leading independent school network in South Africa that offers a range of options for parents looking for independent schooling. With this group of leaders at the helm at Curro Salt Rock, their future looks bright.