St David’s has always been a caring, supportive and nurturing environment. The care and compassion that are offered to and from staff, boys and parents on a daily basis is incredible and unique in today’s times.
In recent years the St David’s Wellness department has undergone significant development, growing from a small team that focused on offering emotional support and some whole-school interventions, to a multi-disciplinary team that has adopted a holistic approach to support, intervention and wellness, which truly considers the whole individual.
While the department certainly has much more growth and development ahead, the current structures and the critical role that the team plays in the daily functioning of the school as a whole is very exciting and encouraging.
Wellness@St David’s is an evolving space and at present offers support in the following areas to the staff, pupils and broader St David’s community:
- Emotional wellness
- Physical wellness
- Family wellness
- Psycho-education and support
The team works closely with various individuals and teams across the school to further contribute to the spiritual wellness (working closely with the school chaplain) and the academic wellness (working closely with the Academic Enrichment departments) of all our boys.
The Wellness team is committed to supporting and empowering parents, boys and teachers in their respective spaces. Should you have any questions, comments, or even if you have some information that you would like to share with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Marisa di Terlizzi – Head Psychologist and Head of Wellness
Dr Di Terlizzi joined St David’s from Kingsmead College, where she was the Deputy Head of the Prep School. Dr Di Terlizzi received her Doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Johannesburg. Her experience includes teaching in both mainstream and remedial environments. Previous to her Kingsmead position, she worked in the Girls’ College at St Stithians, as the Head of the Student Centre.
Dr Di Terlizzi’s role is to oversee the Wellness department as a whole – including psychologists, academic enrichment, and health and wellness, as well as working together with the school chaplain on the spiritual side. She manages and consults on cases, is involved in planning, strategies and interventions across the campus, and works closely with the various heads and deputies.
Mrs Megan Smith - Wellness Administrator
Ms Michal (Mickey) Waller - Psychologist
Ms Waller completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. After she completed her Masterʼs degree in Educational Psychology, she went on to complete her internship at the Johannesburg Parent and Child Counselling Centre (JPCCC).
She continued with JPCCC for two more years and still provides assistance there, should the need arise. She has also worked at various schools and with NGOs, covering a range of psycho-social support.
Ms Waller is on the committee of the Institute for Psychodynamic Child Psychotherapy, which aims to advocate for and promote child mental health in South Africa. She also has a keen interest in ethics and provides annual training on this for other professionals. She is constantly developing her skills and knowledge by engaging in various ongoing professional development activities, such as reading groups and training.
Ms Waller’s primary role at St Davidʼs as an educational psychologist is the care of the learners (from Mini Marist to Grade 3), as well as working with parents, staff and the school community to provide them with the best support possible. Areas of support include guidance regarding learners’ behaviour, academics, social skills and emotional well-being.
She conducts individual therapies and manages the therapy facet of the wellness centre. She also assists in various preventative campaigns, staff development, parent talks and classroom management.
Ms Amy Kerr - Psychologist
After completing her Masterʼs degree at the University of the Witwatersrand and an internship at PsyCaD, Ms Kerr worked at a remedial school for a number of years prior to joining the St Davidʼs team.
During her training she worked in community centres, rehabilitation facilities and prisons, as well as a number of schools. This provided her with valuable insight into the many challenges students face with regard to their learning, as well as how best to support them holistically.
Ms Kerr is the mother of a young son attending St Davidʼs, and has had ties to the school through other family members for a number of years.
Young people can easily become overwhelmed by big emotions. Her role as psychologist at the school is to provide support and to assist the boys in developing coping skills, in order to succeed academically, socially, behaviourally and emotionally.
Working within the school context provides her with the opportunity to partner with families, teachers and other professionals to create a safe, healthy and supportive learning environment, where the boys are motivated to achieve their potential.
Sr Heather Hodgson - School Nurse
After obtaining her general nursing qualifications, Sr Hodgson went on to study Intensive Nursing Science, Hospital Management and Community Health. After 12 years in the hospital setting, and before joining St Davidʼs, she moved to pharmaceutical sales, gaining educational and sales skills.
Sr Hodgson has two sons, both educated at St Davidʼs. The eldest is now in the UK and the youngest at Wits, studying archaeology.
Her role at St Davidʼs encompasses the whole campus, from Mini Marist to College, and boys to staff. The clinic offers a variety of wellness services, screening tests, child health and first aid. Her nursing qualifications in various disciplines affords her the necessary skills to manage day-to-day health needs in the school environment.
Sr Loveness Mdizi - School Nurse
After completing her teaching qualification, Sr Mdizi diversified into the health fraternity, where she obtained a professional nursing qualification. After working in a hospital setting, she moved into the private sector and worked at a private oncology clinic, administering chemotherapy.
Thereafter, she moved into school nursing. She worked at the American International School as a part-time nurse, before joining the St David's Marist family.
Sr Mdizi is currently pursuing a Bachelor degree in Nursing Sciences, specialising in nursing education and management, with the University of South Africa.
Working as a school nurse affords Sr Mdizi the opportunity to practise her profession in an environment she loves. She comes from a big family, and is excited to be part of our Marist family.
Ms Lindiwe Masikane - Social Worker
Ms Masikane has over 12 years’ experience as a social worker. Her educational qualifications include BA Social Sciences and BA (Social Work) (Hons), and she is currently preparing her proposal for an MA in Gender Studies.
In her work as a community social worker in Soshanguve, Ms Masikane has worked extensively within communities in identifying social issues, particularly in relation to domestic violence. Her work gave rise to the establishment of an organisation named Teen Divas, which dealt with young girls and young women. Ms Masikane then decided to develop, implement and execute various empowerment programmes as a child protection co-coordinator and victim empowerment coordinator.
Ms Masikane started working at St David’s in 2019, and she closely with boys of concern and assisting the psychologists in their work within the school. Her wealth of knowledge of the social service requirements in South Africa assists in ensuring that we are able to take care of our boys.