To fit its ethos of holistic development Nkowa seeks staff and contracts professionals with varied national and international experiences across multiple age groups, diverse cultures and educational settings. Their expertise and special attributes, methodologies and approaches must project the ability to integrate technology, co-operative learning and interactive instruction to better enhance student engagement, development and success.

Our Team

Ponnie Moodley Wessels


Ponnie Wessels has been proactively involved in education, management and community development for more than 27 years. Her diverse national and international work experiences speak volumes about her passion for education, and her contribution to the development of people, organizations and communities. Her philosophy of using education as a catalyst for integrated community development is evident in her varied experience in the classroom, school management and community organizations. She believes that integrated local, national and international networking will resolve the current challenges in education and build a high standard of global community development through education.  

Ponnie’s teaching experiences range from having a tent as her first classroom in a small, independent, culturally diverse school in rural Thohoyandou, South Africa to a well-resourced school for the Arts in an established town of North Carolina, USA. She has taught Grade 1 to Grade 10 students of all abilities, including special-needs and gifted students. She has managed school media centres, sat on school management teams and non-profit organisation boards, arts integration leadership committees and contributed to school-wide policies and best practices. She continues to mentor educators and professionals thus inspiring them to remain in the education field. She designs and presents curriculum and training programmes for students, educators, mentors and parents. Other positions she has held include news reader for a radio station, technical trainer for an international volunteer organisation, ECD training manager and peace monitor during South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994.

Ponnie holds a Bachelor of Paedagogy Degree in Primary Education, from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. She also attained her National Board Certification (Middle Childhood/Generalist Grade 1-6) – the most respected professional certification in the United States of America. Her other educational training and professional development include Arts Integration, Sheltered Instruction for English Learners and a Certified Writing Trainer.

Ponnie has received awards for her Leadership, Community Volunteerism, and being a Cultural Ambassador. She is a member of the South African Council of Educators and ensures she is always up to date with her skills and educational credentials.

Ponnie Wessels was born in Durban and has lived in Thohoyandou, Giyani, Tzaneen and North Carolina. After spending over a decade in the United States of America she and her husband Tian Wessels established Nkowa Education and Training, in July 2011. She currently owns and manages Nkowa Private School and Education Centre in Sandton, South Africa where she teaches Foundation Phase students (Grades 1-3). In her free time she enjoys travelling, camping, nature watching, sewing, cultural arts and crafts. She currently lives with Tian Wessels, and her two dogs, Isabella and Angela.

Tian Wessels


Tian Wessels has lived and worked in a variety of settings, from the rural town of Giyani, South Africa to a small, developing city in North Carolina, USA. Tian’s first teaching job was at a high school in Giyani, Limpopo Province, where he had to deal with class sizes of up to 60 students. He has had a lifelong interest in Science and Art and enjoys sharing his knowledge with others through mentoring adults and educating children. His contribution to the development of art, including photography, painting and wood sculpting has inspired many.
Tian heads the Intermediate Phase (Grades 4 – 6) and facilitates a self-study programme for the Senior Phase (Grade 7-9). He values curiosity and is inspired to foster a sense of wonder about the world in his students. Tian uses new education techniques, while staying in touch with local and international curricula. He believes that primary school students must have a solid foundation of Maths skills, English reading and writing, practical technology education, and inquiry based science lessons. Tian designs and formulates new and original materials for language comprehension and the sciences. He integrates technology in his lessons regularly and requires his students to do so too. His specialist knowledge and experience enhances the 21st century educational model of Nkowa which has proven to help students of all abilities and talents.
Tian was born in Empangeni KZN and matriculated at Hoërskool Eldoraigne, Centurion. Tian studied photography at the Tshwane University of Technology. His final year thesis was a series of documentary photos taken while living at some SOS Children’s Homes. He was the owner of the Photographic Studio in Tzaneen, during which time he mentored and trained adults and school students in the art and techniques of photography. During his stay in the USA, Tian exhibited his wood sculptures numerous times, especially as part of the Wilson Arts Council and the Wilson Woodcarvers. He shared his skills with his fellow woodcarvers and played an active role in the local Arts Council.
After returning to South Africa Tian and Ponnie opened Nkowa in 2015 to pursue their vision of small school education, where he is currently a director, tutor and operations manager. Tian enjoys spending any free time he has with his wife Ponnie and their two dogs. He also enjoys fishing and trying out new art forms.

Pamelyn Beukes


Pamelyn Beukes has an extensive background in Sports, Kinderkinetics, and Physical Development of Children both nationally and internationally. Her work experience include international swimming competitions, sport coaching and camp management.
She spent her early childhood and primary school in Botswana, and represented her country as national swimmer when she was only 10 years old. Pamelyn later moved and completed her high school and university in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She achieved both her Bachelor of Human Movement Science Degree as well as her Honours Degree in Kinderkinetics with Distinction. Pam is a Golden Key Member of the University of the Free State, which is only awarded to the top 15% of students for their academic achievement.
Pamelyn captained the SuperSport Seals Swimming Club and later became their assistant coach. Her international experience includes being the Waterfront Director at a Camp on Long Island, New York, USA. Pamelyn concurrently represented Botswana and captained its national swimming team to many international swim meets, competing against all the Sub-Saharan countries and winning many medals for the country. She has coached various sports, specifically swimming to Foundation, Intermediate and Senior Phase students (Grade 1 to 9). She specialises in coaching competitive swimming, fitness and stroke correction to school aged children.
Pamelyn has participated in the famous Midmar Mile 12 times and placed in the top 30 swimmers. She was a Gold and Bronze medallist at the South African Swimming Age Groups Championships.
Pamelyn recently completed a course at the University of Pretoria for School Readiness of children aged 5 and 6 year olds, and has over 500 practical hours working with children to improve their motor proficiency.
Pamelyn currently teaches Fitness to Nkowa students and contributes to the physical development component of Nkowa Private School’s holistic, integrated approach to child development and education. Her high standard and success rate in helping students physically develop and maintain core strength, bilateral co-ordination, strength and agility, have resulted in high academic achievement at Nkowa. She conducts extensive pre-assessments, formulates individualised child fitness programmes for individuals and groups and issues detailed, written reports.
She is available for consultation on request and can be contacted at:
Cell: 0844082033