Meet the NewBridge Team

NewBridge is the vision of education trail-blazers Craig Duff and Odette Francesconi. Collectively, the duo boasts many years of experience and expertise in education, training and development.

Together with Principal Roger Collins and Head of Academic Operations Cheryl Baxter, as well as expert industry consultants Dr. Craig Blewett, Rene David and Kevin Johnson, NewBridge is the culmination of their passion and unparalleled commitment to delivering a relevant and independent learning platform.

Welcome to the future of education.

Craig is the founder of Varsity College, which opened its doors in 1990 and has since grown from strength to strength. He was applauded for expanding Varsity College into a national private education business, opening eight campuses throughout South Africa. Craig has spearheaded a number of private higher education colleges in his 20+ years in the Higher Education Sector in South Africa.
Odette is passionate about innovation in education. She has a remarkable track record of executing fresh and creative approaches while efficiently driving strategic operational processes. With experience spanning 30 years,
including 20 years of service as Managing Director of Varsity College, Odette has initiated an abundance of excellent campus projects, collaborations and business partnerships in the never-ending quest for maximum student development.
Roger brings over 30 years of excellent teaching and management experience to the team. He has been devoted to both school and higher education campuses as a principal and as Head of The Institute of Marketing Management Graduate School in Durban. Roger’s passion lies in ensuring that students are thoroughly prepared for the world of work that awaits them after graduation and beyond.
CHERYL BAXTERHead of Academic Operations
Cheryl is passionate about empowering others via mutually respectful relationships and excellent interpersonal skills. After graduating from UKZN, she worked at Queensburgh Girls’ High School for over a decade, thereafter moving into the private sector as Deputy Principal at Oakridge College. Cheryl served as Vice Principal of Academics at Varsity College before serving… as Principal of Rosebank College. At NewBridge, she is responsible for staff management, financial operations and student support.
With over 20 years in the IT and education industries, training both corporate professionals and first-time IT students, Rene is an invaluable member of our team. He brings a wealth of experience that combines technology and innovation. In addition to the role of educator for and developer of our IT Programmes, Rene is responsible for setting up the revolutionary infrastructure of NewBridge.
DR. CRAIG BLEWETTHead of Academic Operations
Craig has a PHD in Educational Technology and is the developer of the Activated Classroom Teaching (ACT) model, a ground-breaking approach to digital-age teaching and learning. He has authored multiple books and has over 25 years’ experience in educational technology. He is also an internationally-acclaimed speaker. His innovative approaches have impacted thousands of educators around the world and have been featured widely via international media.
KEVIN JOHNSONSales and Marketing
Kevin brings an incredible array of leadership and development expertise to our team as the founder and owner of Resolve Consulting, which facilitates a company’s Corporate Social Investment spend. He is also the founder
and chairperson of the Ride4Education trust. While working at Varsity College, Kevin founded the School Leadership Programme and was the co-founder of the Counsellors Forum and ‘Project Life’; platforms created to develop
counsellors and Life Orientation teachers in their professional capacity. Last but not least, Kevin served as Chairperson on the KZN board of MACE (Marketing, Advancement and Communication in Education).
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