- What we do
- Best School To Work
- World’s Best School Prizes
- Africa Education Medal
The winner of each Prize is chosen based on rigorous criteria by our Judging Academy made up of distinguished leaders across the globe.
Founder & CEO, Global Schools Forum, UK
Aashti Zaidi Hai is the Founder and CEO of Global Schools Forum, a network that strengthens global education through supporting non-state organisations in developing countries who serve children from low-income backgrounds. Prior to this, Aashti oversaw a portfolio of education investments at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. She previously worked at the U.K. Department for International Development, the World Bank and at the American Institutes for Research. Aashti sits on the Boards of InHive and CommonTime and is an Adviser-in-Residence with LedBy Foundation.
“I am delighted to serve on the Judging Panel for the World Best Schools Prizes! As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it has never been more important to both celebrate excellence – in all its forms – but also provide the connective tissue that can facilitate measurable improvement. I am so excited to be a part of this initiative and wish the very best of luck to all the schools, teachers and school leaders that participate!”
Celebrity Chef, Malaysia
From an auditor to a man in an apron, Abang (‘Elder Brother’) Brian of Masterchef Malaysia fame, continues to share his passion for all things food, family and fitness as a distinguished alumnus of Le Cordon Bleu, a celebrity chef, serial entrepreneur and investor with close to a decade of experience in the food & media industry under his belt. He has hosted multiple TV and radio shows both on national and international platforms, with multiple award-winning cookbooks earning him international recognition such as the World Gourmand CookBooks Award for the Best Health and Nutrition (2019) Cookbook.
Driven by a mission to build holistic education for all, Brian co-owned Young Chef’s Academy in Malaysia, an international franchise that provides creative learning opportunities through food. He is synonymous with “child development through the medium of food and cooking” in Malaysia and has championed various campaigns aimed at improving children’s eating habits and health.
He is also currently an adjunct instructor at Le Cordon Bleu, Malaysia and was recently named Ambassador for GoodFoodForAll. Brian graduated from the University of Paris, completed his ACCA, obtained his Masters in Education and is now a doctoral candidate focusing on healthy eating habits amongst youths.
“When a child spends almost two thirds (2/3) of their day at school in most countries, it is of the utmost importance that these environments provide a nurturing setting that nourishes the body, mind and soul. Through the tests of time and through the most challenging situations, schools have always been silently shaping the future of nations. More than ever, it is now important to encourage, empower and provide a holistic ecosystem that allows for schools to thrive. The future of our children depends on it.”
Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Global Markets, Tata Consultancy Services, Belgium
Abhinav Kumar leads the Marketing and Communications divisions for Tata Consultancy Service's 45 country international market presence, comprising North America, Europe, UK, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East.
Education Programs Manager, Education Affairs Office, Presidential Court, UAE
Alanood is a change maker who is passionate about empowering people and creating impact. Her background is in learning, development and managing high impact initiatives. With more than fifteen years of experience in designing targeted programs for youth, schools, teachers and community, her career expands over several fields including Education, Emiratization and Consultancy.
She worked as a founder to several people development and empowerment initiatives such as the “Tawteen program” which unlocks Emirati potential to enter private sector, School leadership coaching program to support school leaders excel and “Bedaya” which prepares grade 9 students to go to Ivy league universities.
Alanood enjoys the everyday learning journey and values perseverance, dedication and achievement.
"I am honored to be part of the judging committee for the World’s Best School Prizes. At a time when schools contribute greatly to our communities' welfare, we salute all schools for their remarkable resilience, positivity and efforts to ensure our children receive the education they deserve.
This reward is a great initiative that fosters knowledge-sharing, empowers winning initiatives/strategies and enables knowledge transfer globally.
Schools impact society and have the power to influence change in the face of global challenges, and I believe this is a brilliant opportunity for schools to inspire other schools and communities."
Founder, The Do One Better Podcast and Knowledge Hub, UK
Alberto is the Founder of The Do One Better Podcast and Knowledge Hub, with a focus on philanthropy, sustainability and social entrepreneurship. He advises philanthropists, corporates and NGOs on strategy and sustainable impact. Previously, Alberto was Global CEO of the Novak Djokovic Foundation, where he set up the Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship at Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child and worked with the World Bank on the ‘Early Wins for Lifelong Returns’ early childhood development initiative.
He sits on the Global Council of STIR Education — an organization that is transforming education systems and has reached more than 200,000 teachers and 6 million children — and has shared his insight with MBA and executive education students at various universities, including the London School of Economics, Cambridge, Warwick and Bocconi. He has lived in Argentina, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the UK, and holds degrees from Cambridge University and the LSE.
“It is important to celebrate excellence and to lift those who strive to make a positive impact in our world. The World’s Best School Prizes aim to do just that, by recognising schools that are transforming our world, and by showcasing their approach so others can be enthused into action. Education is key to achieving every single one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Without great schools, high quality teaching, engaged communities and an appetite to innovate in EdTech and pedagogy, the world would be ill-prepared to tackle climate change, defeat pandemics or achieve the Sustainability Agenda for 2030. Vikas Pota has a strong track record in driving forward movements that celebrate the very best in education and change mindsets around how teachers are perceived and supported. Now, he turns his attention to identifying and celebrating the schools that are raising the benchmark and achieving excellence around the world.”
Founder & Director, World’s Largest Lesson, UK
Alison Bellwood is the Founder and Director of the World’s Largest Lesson, a project to raise awareness, support and action for the Sustainable Development Goals throughout the education community – both educators and students alike. By working closely with founding partner UNICEF, the project has engaged millions of teachers and students in understanding the SDGs and applying them to their own local context. This drives social action projects, advocacy efforts and awareness of the wider world.
Alison believes that all children can become changemakers but that it takes practice and encouragement from a young age. In turn, activities that make positive change help develop the skills we need all young people to develop if we are to create a just and sustainable world. The benefit to skills development
Alison is a creative communications expert with a specific focus on children and education. She has worked extensively with some of the world’s most recognised brands (PepsiCo, Unilever, Nestlé).
“We need to think differently about schools. We need to celebrate what they can and are doing to prepare the next generation for an uncertain future rather than chastise them for the things that are, more often than not, outside of their control. As public institutions and as places of learning, schools can become the engine of sustainability in their community. They can live the ambitions of the Global Goals through everything they do and in doing so can make learning exciting and relevant for students’ futures. The World’s Best School Prize is long overdue and an exciting way to share the stories that will help everyone think differently.”
Chief Executive, Chartered College of Teaching, UK
Professor Dame Alison Peacock is Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching, a new Professional Body that seeks to raise our status through celebrating, supporting and connecting teachers to provide expert teaching and leadership. Prior to joining the Chartered College, Dame Alison was Executive Headteacher of The Wroxham School in Hertfordshire. Her career to date has spanned primary, secondary and advisory roles. She is an Honorary Fellow of Queens College Cambridge, a Visiting Professor of both the University of Hertfordshire and Glyndŵr University and a trustee for Big Change. Her research is published in a series of books about Learning without Limits offering an alternative approach to inclusive school improvement.
“As Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching I am pleased to support this initiative. Schools and all who work within them deserve recognition and praise. The pandemic has brought the world closer together in our shared endeavour of supporting children and young people to learn in the face of adversity. I hope these new global Prizes will increase cooperation, collegiality and kindness.”
Founder, Campaignforamillion.com, UK
Alpesh Patel OBE has represented the United Kingdom since 1999 when the Prime Minister appointed Alpesh as Dealmaker to The Department for International Trade to bring outstanding tech companies to the UK, which solve the world’s biggest problems.
Alpesh left being a Barrister to educate people on financial literacy for social mobility and co-founded the UK chapter of the world’s largest entrepreneur mentoring organisation (Tie.org). Private Equity / Hedge Fund Founder with a focus on cleantech, sustainability, social impact. His own dedicated shows on Bloomberg & Sky; CNBC co-host; 5 years Financial Times columnist. Co-Chair Loomba Trust for widows and orphans. OBE in 2020 for services to the Economy and International Trade.
“An absolutely fantastic initiative from Vikas and team. Education is the silver bullet to so many social ills and few people know more about the improvements and motivations to spread best practice than Vikas and co – indeed his own journey is testament to that. We are always told our schools do not prepare students for the future, these prizes clearly connect schools to the best the world has to offer and will help shape the future. It’s a very important and clever initiative which I know will inspire students and be transformative with the reach and reputation Vikas and team have.”
CEO, Education Outcomes Fund, Tunisia
H.E. Dr Amel Karboul is CEO of the Education Outcomes Fund, an initiative to raise $1bn of innovative finance to support governments around the world to improve the education and skills of 10m children and young people. Amel was Tunisia’s first female Minister of Tourism and co-led the country’s transition after the Arab Spring, leading to Tunisia’s Nobel Peace prize in 2015. She received the Presidential Citizens Medal as recognition for her exemplary deeds and services to her country.
Amel received a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany and holds a Doctorate in Coaching and Mentoring from Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom. She has held leadership roles at numerous organisations including The Maghreb Economic Forum, Mercedes-Benz, DaimlerChrysler and worked in senior consultant roles at the Boston Consulting Group and Beratergruppe Neuwaldegg.
“Successful schools create successful societies. Not only are schools where children learn the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to set them up for the future, but how schools are run can influence their students for the rest of their lives. Children learn so much by experiencing and observing what role their school plays in the local community, the focus their school gives to students’ social, physical and emotional development, and the ways in which their school integrates children from all backgrounds. It’s my pleasure to serve on the Judging Academy of The World’s Best School Prizes where we will be recognising and honouring the most outstanding and innovative approaches to learning and development by schools around the world.”
President & CEO, ETS, U.S.
As CEO of ETS, Amit Sevak leads the world’s largest private educational assessment organization.
Sevak has been a driving force in education, learning and workforce development around the globe. Throughout his career his transformational leadership consistently led to innovation, better learning and improved job prospects for hundreds of thousands of students and workers.
Sevak has been a coach for edtech CEOs, served on nonprofit boards, and in 2017, he founded Mindset Global, an education investment firm.
Sevak earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Chicago and earned his master’s in business administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School.
“Schools play such a central role in shaping young minds and instilling a love of learning that lasts a lifetime. By supporting the T4 Education Prizes for the World’s Best Schools, I’m excited to celebrate the achievements of these schools and the example they set for others around the world.”
Managing Partner, Imaginable Futures, U.S.
Amy Klement is the managing partner and a board member of Imaginable Futures. She leads Imaginable Future’s team and strategy and is responsible to the board for running the organization.
Previous to spinning out into Imaginable Futures, Amy was a partner at Omidyar Network and led the Education initiative since 2013. Prior to this role, she was responsible for Omidyar Network’s work in Financial Inclusion, Property Rights and Consumer Internet & Mobile initiatives in key geographies. She has held board seats or observer roles with Teach for All, Andela, Bridge International Academies, Imagine Worldwide, Kiva, Living Goods, Social Finance US, Mimoni and Off Grid Electric. Prior to Omidyar Network, Amy worked for eBay where she served as vice president of product strategy and operations as well working for PayPal, joining as one of its earliest employees in 1999 and serving as vice president of product.
“We are only able to do our work to unlock human potential through learning because of all the incredible schools and school leaders who are improving learning and transforming the underlying education systems to be healthier and more equitable. We are thrilled to celebrate these amazing schools who are leading the way on both vision and practice on things that matter: community and parent engagement, resilience, mental well-being and more. My dream is that all schools provide transformational learning experiences with impact that extends to the parents, caregivers, educators and surrounding community. It is a privilege to be able to honor these schools through The World’s Best School Prize.”
CEO, Nova Escola Association
Journalist and educator, specialized in Social Journalism and Active Learning. Has worked in several press vehicles and non-profit organizations. For 10 years, acts in Nova Escola, focusing on knowing and valuing the work of Brazilian public school teachers.
“Recognizing a school is essential to value the work that teachers and other educators do and that guarantees that all children will have a better future. Education is a key point for the change of society.”
Co-Founder & President, ARC Education, U.S.
Andrew Hargreaves is Director of Chenine (Change, Engagement and Innovation in Education) at the University of Ottawa, and Research Professor at Boston College, USA. He is co-founder and President of the ARC Education Collaboratory that brings together Ministers and professional leaders to promote humanitarian goals in education.
He is former President of the International Congress of School Effectiveness and Improvement (2017-2019), former Adviser in Education to the Premier of Ontario (2015-2018) and current adviser to the First Minister of Scotland. He has published more than 30 books and has 8 Outstanding Writing Awards. He has been honored in Canada, the US and UK for services to public education and educational research. In 2015, Boston College gave him its Excellence in Teaching with Technology Award. Professor Hargreaves most recent coauthored books with Dennis Shirley are Five Paths of Student Engagement (Solution Tree, June 2021) and Well-being in Schools (ASCD December 2021).
“I have dedicated my career to understanding and promoting excellence in schools that take an equitable and inclusive approach to giving all students access to inspiring and engaging learning, and that support the well-being of students and staff as they do so. Excellence in anything deserves recognition. Recognizing what we believe to be excellence in schools does not only award earned esteem to individual schools. It is also a means to exemplify the breadth, depth and inclusive nature of educational quality that all schools should aspire to everywhere if success is to be within the reach of every child. Awards such as this make the point that excellence extends far beyond a performance score, competitive ranking or bureaucratic judgment of government officials. In today’s world, excellence is a matter of achieving high quality in an inclusive way that can be attainable by every child in a school or a system.”
President, Templeton World Charity Foundation, Bahamas
As President of the Templeton World Charity Foundation, Andrew Serazin is responsible for all aspects of the Foundation’s philanthropic activities as well as effective stewardship of its financial resources. As a researcher, entrepreneur, and executive, Dr. Serazin has worked to bring science, technology, and the humanities to address some of humanity’s greatest challenges. He is also a Trustee and past Chair of the Development Committee of the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, one of the world’s largest organizations providing education and socio-emotional support for refugees.
From 2006 to 2012, Dr. Serazin served as Program Lead in Global Health Discovery & Translational Science at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At the Gates Foundation, he was responsible for bringing new products, scientific approaches, and technologies to health and human development. He founded and led Grand Challenges Explorations, an early-stage medical research fund that has been recognized as one of the most successful programs in Gates Foundation history.
As a complement to his philanthropic endeavors, Dr. Serazin is an entrepreneur. He is Founder and Chairman of Matatu, Inc., a venture-backed biotechnology company dedicated to applying insights about microbiome and nutrition to health. He has also worked as a key scientific advisor to Mars, Inc., one of the world’s largest food companies, in the development of nutritious food choices for consumers in Africa and Asia.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Serazin was Departmental Lecturer (Assistant Professor equivalent) in the Zoology Department at the University of Oxford, where he conducted infectious disease research and taught courses on the biology of disease. As a Rhodes Scholar, he received his doctorate from the University of Oxford for his work on developing new drugs and vaccines against malaria. Dr. Serazin has also been a member of the College of Science Advisory Council of the University of Notre Dame, where he received his undergraduate degree. His original research has been presented at many international meetings and in leading peer-reviewed journals, including Science, PLOS Medicine, Nature Immunology, and Lancet.
In 2019, he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Founder, Quizlet, U.S.
Andrew Sutherland is the founder of Quizlet, an education software company that serves millions of students and teachers every month. Andrew started Quizlet while taking a high school French class, continued working on it studying computer science at MIT, and has grown it to a successful company with more than 200 employees. Andrew is passionate about teaching, learning, and improving our society’s systems of education.
“There is nothing more inspiring than walking into a school building and meeting teachers passionate about their subjects and seeing kids exuberant about learning. I can’t wait to honor the best of the best of these institutions.”
Award-winning Teacher & Founder, Artists in Residence (AiR), UK
Andria Zafirakou, MBE, a teacher at Alperton Community School in Brent, won $1 million when she was crowned the best teacher in the world in 2018.
She was born in north-west London to Greek-Cypriot parents and state-educated in Brent and Camden. She is an art and textiles teacher in Brent on the outskirts of London, one of the world’s most ethnically diverse places. She is passionate about education and changing the lives of young people and underserved communities through creativity.
Using the prize money awarded by the Global Teacher prize, Andria founded a charity called Artists in Residence (AiR) with an aim to improve arts education in schools. Andria has also been named in the top ten of The Evening Standard’s 1000 Londoners List. She is a Culture Leader for the World Economic Forum as well as a member of their Global Future Leaders Council. Andria sits on the Advisory board for the Cultural Leaders Alliance, Art UK and was the winner of the prestigious GIWA (Greek International Women’s award) for Arts and Culture in 2021. Her debut and best selling book “Those who can, Teach” was published by Bloomsbury in April 2021.
“I’m ecstatic to be supporting this first ever World’s Best Schools Prizes and to help showcase and celebrate the incredible work our schools are doing across the world”
Senior Consultant, ENI Consultants, Brazil
Angela Cristina Dannemann, mother of two young men, as well as grandmother of a girl, is a Bachelor in Chemical Engineering (UFBA) with a Master’s Degree in Business (IBMEC-RJ), and a specialization in Program Evaluation (CEATS/FIA/USP). She is currently a Senior Consultant at ENI Consultants.
Currently she is Board Member at CIEB (The Innovation Center for Brazilian Education) and a member of the Advisory Board at UNICEF Brazil (United Nations Children's Fund in Brazil).
She is also a member of ABAVE (Brazilian Educational Evaluation Association), AEA (American Evaluation Association) and was one of the founders of RBMA (Brazilian Monitoring and Evaluation Network).
“Schools, everywhere are hubs for connection and expansion of knowledge - principals with teachers, teachers with their students, students with other students, all among themselves and all with the families, neighborhoods and other schools in a same district - a real constellation where all can see the value of connection. They are a system of connected people with a shining development purpose - bringing up a child to become an autonomous adult, aware of its capabilities, its time, its environment and all the people around him/her. Having a wide connecting space, where exchange and cooperation is facilitated will make this system grow stronger and wiser, while celebrating the value of diversity. This is my main belief when I wish to celebrate education. Long live the World’s Best Schools Prize!”
Partner in Middle East, Bain & Company, UAE
Anne-Laure Malauzat is a Partner with Bain & Company in the Middle East. Based in Dubai, she leads Bain’s Social Impact efforts in EMEA and is the firm’s MENA Chief DEI officer. Anne advises governments, philanthropists, and international organizations (such as UNHCR and Endeavor), focusing on education, economic development, and innovation. She has led the launch of multiple successful youth employment programmes and national education strategies in the MENA. Anne holds an MA from Georgetown University and a dual Bachelor from Mount Holyoke College. In 2022, she was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
“Schools are the most powerful vehicle for change and shaping our existing and future generations so it is an honor to be a judge for the “World’s Best School Prizes”, a platform that seeks to identify leading schools – and their teams - across dimensions of relevance today, such as innovation and environmental action.”
CEO, Thomson Reuters Foundation, UK
Antonio Zappulla is CEO at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the world’s leading content-driven technology company. Antonio is also the founder of Openly, the world’s first global platform dedicated to coverage of LGBT+ stories.
In April 2022, Antonio was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (OMRI) the highest-ranking honour of Italy. In 2018, Antonio ranked first in the OUTstanding list of third sector LGBT executives published by the Financial Times. In 2017, he was named a European Young Leader by Friends of Europe. In 2016, he was awarded the Talented Young Italians Award by Italian Chamber of Commerce.
Antonio sits on the Boards of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford; the Forum for Global Challenges at the Institute for Global Innovation at the University of Birmingham; the International News Safety Institute; and LGBT+ NGO Open for Business.
“There is no more important task than preparing tomorrow’s leaders for their role in upholding equitable and sustainable societies, despite today’s ongoing, global crises. Educating the next generation about how socio-economic, climate and health issues interconnect will empower them to protect people and planet. I am proud to support this initiative.”
Award-winning Teacher, Canada
Armand Doucet in his mid-30s was a seasoned international award-winning Educator, Social-Entrepreneur and Business Professional. Since that time, he has become one of educations most recognized and sought-after educator, leader, speaker, and author for his visionary perspective and ability to connect education’s silos. His work has been translated in multiple languages and appeared in various publications such as Forbes, TES, The Washington Post, World Economic Forum and many more. He has established himself as a key asset in education speaking and collaborating virtually or face to face on 5 continents and over 100 countries contributing to UNESCO, Education International, OECD, Jack Ma Foundation, Curiosity: A.I. in Education Summit and many more. Known for his superior networking and motivational skills, he is a 2-time Ironman Triathlete and a passionate family man.
“The World’s Best School Prizes will showcase some of education’s best practices and more importantly how schools all over the world have contextualized and implemented their vision of education so that their students and community could thrive.”
Managing Partner, Gojo&Co, France
Arnaud Ventura founded and led two of the leading financial inclusion group in the last 20 years active in Micro&SME finance, and digital finance before joining Gojo as its managing partner to support the development of the Group in Asia and build the Africa’s activity. Between 1998 and 2008 Ventura cofounded and led with Mr Attali & Mr Yunus PlaNet Finance, one of the global and most successful European Financial Inclusion Group.
Between 2008 and 2019, Arnaud Ventura founded & led Baobab (formerly MicroCred), the leading Micro&SME digital bank in Africa & China. Additionally, Arnaud Ventura has been appointed Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2013 and he cofounded the French China Foundation the leading network of Young Leaders between French and China.
“I have personally experienced how school can be important in kids’ development and I strongly support the World Best School Prizes. Schools are the most efficient tools to allow kids to develop their full potential”
Co-Founder & CEO, Bowie Capital, UK
Arup is Co-Founder & CEO of London based Bowie Capital, which focuses on debt finance in ESG, education and bioscience sectors. He has spent over 30 years in the global banking, including a long stint at bulge bracket investment bank, Goldman Sachs. He currently sits on the boards of several companies in the tech and finance space. Arup is a regular writer for the Times of India and has been a guest columnist for various finance journals including the Outlook India and the Economic Times. Arup was raised and educated in both the UK and India. He lives in London with his wife and three sons.
CEO, JA Worldwide, U.S.
Asheesh is a lifelong social innovator whose first start-up was acquired by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group in 2007. He began his career at Monitor Company and at the World Bank. Prior to joining JA, Asheesh served as CEO of a fin-tech company that was acquired by Interactive Brokers in 2015. Currently a member of Marshall Goldsmith’s cohort of 100 Coaches, Asheesh is committed to sharing leadership lessons and mentoring the next generation of leaders. He is also active in the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a member of the Global Agenda Council for the Future of Education, Gender, and Work. As CEO of JA Worldwide, Asheesh leads one of the largest and most impactful youth-serving organizations in the world, which serves more than 10 million students in over 100 countries every year.
“Every year, JA has the honor of working with more than 90,000 schools, which provides an inside look at some of the greatest education innovation in the world. It’s time for those innovations to be celebrated and emulated through this initiative, so that we can collectively reach Global Goal 4 (quality education for all) by 2030.”
Executive Director, BRAC, Bangladesh
Asif Saleh is the Executive Director of BRAC. He brings a multi-sectoral experience in senior leadership roles in private, public, and non-government arenas, with a proven track record of effectively managing development programming, operational and financial sustainability, and building effective partnerships. Prior to joining BRAC, he was a policy specialist for the Prime Minister’s Office’s Access to Information (A2i) programme. He spent 12 years in Goldman Sachs, ending his term as Executive Director. He has also worked in Glaxo Wellcome, IBM, and Nortel.
Asif founded Drishtipat, a global organisation which focuses on human and economic rights of Bangladeshis. He is an active member in a range of international alliances, including Millions Learning International Advisory Group, Brookings Institute, and Innovation Edge. Asif was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2013.
Asif holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an MBA from the Stern School of Business, New York University.
“The World’s Best School Prizes could not be launched at a more critical time, with the pandemic bringing unprecedented disruptions in education. Approximately 1.2 billion students and youth across the globe have been affected by school closures. I hope these Prizes will inspire relevant actors globally to work towards equality in learning and protecting the learning rights of children and youth.”
Founder, STEMx – The STEM School for the World, Pakistan
Dr. Athar Osama is the founder/managing partner of INNOVentures Global (Pvt) Ltd, founder/CEO of Pakistan Innovation Foundation (PIF), and founder of STEMx – The STEM School for the World.
He is a former Member of the Planning Commission (Govt. of Pakistan) where he was responsible for S&T, ICT, and Higher Education, and a former Chair of Grand Challenge Fund at Higher Education Commission (HEC). He also chaired the National Committee on R&D Reforms and worked on reforming university intellectual property and commercialization regime.
At INNOVentures, Athar serves as the Programme Advisor and Lead Mentor for Standard Chartered WomenInTech Programme and the Programme Director for VentureLab: Pakistan’s first Ideas Accelerator for Professionals and University Faculty. As Chief Executive of PIF, he designed and developed several innovation programmes, and, prior to PIF, Athar worked for ANGLE plc. –a UK technology commercialization and venture capital firm– where he helped run SME Innovation for the City of London and Cleantech Incubation across the UK. At RAND, Athar was part of the team that helped establish a venture fund for a mission-oriented public sector agency. He is a Fellow of the World Technology Network (2011) and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum (2013-2018).
“Schools are the first line of defense against poverty, illiteracy, and joblessness. We are absolutely convinced that schools are the place where we must do everything in our power to impart life-changing skills to our young people. For a vast majority of countries, University education is too expensive a proposition to fix the problems and gaps leftover by the schools. Therefore, our quest for a prosperous and happy world must begin (and end) in schools that will embrace creativity, collaboration, humanity, and citizenship and impart thinking, listening, and economic empowerment to kids before they step out in the real world of work. We must support, promote, and emulate schools that do a good job at it.”
CEO, Özyeğin Social Investments, Turkey
Ayla Goksel is CEO of Özyeğin Social Investments, a network of non-profit organisations founded by the Özyeğin Family in Turkey, including ACEV (Mother Child Education Foundation), Hüsnü M. Özyeğin Foundation and Özyeğin University. She has over twenty five years of experience in education and gender equality programs, social policy and infrastructure impacting 1.5 million people across Turkey with award winning programs implemented in 14 other countries. She has pioneered the establishment and success of several other non profit organisations in Turkey in the fields of education and civil society. Goksel is Trustee of Ozyegin University, Board Member of Education Reform Initiative and has been selected a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, Senior Fellow of the Synergos Institute, Qatar Foundation WISE Laureate and World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council member. She holds a BSc from University of Bath, MSc from London School of Economics (LSE) and has conducted fellowships on non profit organisations at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University. She was most recently a Visiting Fellow at London School of Economics. She is co-editor of “İyiliği Düşünmek” (2020) together with Zülfü Livaneli and is leading a conversation on kindness in modern society in Turkey.
“The past year has unequivocally demonstrated how vital schools are not just to our children but families, communities and our whole society. I believe that finding and celebrating the outstanding hubs of knowledge, play, discovery and connection will not only shine a light on the achievements of excellent schools but provide inspiration for us all to do better.“
Co-Founder, Global School Leaders, U.S.
Azad Oommen is the co-founder of Global School Leaders (GSL), a non-profit that develops effective school leadership to improve learning of students from marginalized communities around the world. GSL currently works with partners in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Malaysia to implement school leader development programs. He was the founding Executive Director of the Central Square Foundation, an India-based venture philanthropy fund that invests in systemic reforms to improve the quality of student learning. He has worked extensively to promote young leaders, having run leadership development programs for the American India Foundation in India, City Year in South Africa, and the Congressional Hunger Center in the US. He serves on the board of the Impact Innovators and Entrepreneurs Foundation (Villgro US), the Alum Council of the Congressional Hunger Center, and is an Advisor to the Central Square Foundation and Saarthi in India. Azad has a Masters degree in Public Affairs from the Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs, and a Bachelors degree in International Economics from Georgetown University.
CEO, Crescent Enterprises & President, Crescent Petroleum, UAE
Badr Jafar is the CEO of Crescent Enterprises and President of Crescent Petroleum.
In 2010, Badr founded the Pearl Initiative, a non-profit, private sector-led organisation committed to promoting a corporate culture of transparency and accountability across the Gulf Region of the Middle East, in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Partnerships.
Badr is also actively engaged with a diverse range of non-profit organisations and initiatives focused on humanitarian aid and international development, corporate governance, entrepreneurship, education and the arts. He serves as a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, and the UNESCO International Commission on the Futures of Education.
Badr is a member of the advisory boards of the Cambridge Judge Business School, the MIT Legatum Centre for Development and Entrepreneurship, the American University of Beirut, and the Business Advisory Council of the American University of Sharjah. He is the Founding Patron of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy based at the Cambridge Judge Business School, and the Strategic Philanthropy Initiative based at the NYU Abu Dhabi.
“Schools are uniquely placed to create the learning experiences that will prepare future generations to thrive in an ever-evolving socio-economic landscape. These Prizes provide a great platform to showcase schools globally that continue to strive to bridge the gap between today’s curricula and future needs of humanity and our habitat.”
Founder, ZYNYA Consulting, Switzerland
Belinda Fleischmann is the Founder of ZYNYA Consulting, which focuses on building strategic alliances between the commercial, the philanthropic and the NGO communities.
Belinda Fleischmann never really liked school, but was fortunate to be educated at public and private schools in Switzerland, the USA and the UK. Having some learning challenges, Belinda greatly relied on the additional resources provided by her schools, teachers, parents and friends to help her succeed. In her career, her first encounter with schools was through the importance of toilets and hygiene education to keep girls at school and worms out of students. Since then, Belinda has worked in foundations with a focus on child education, protection and health, and has fundraised for the leading research university in Africa. Clearly schooling paid off. Belinda holds a BA from Smith College and an MSc from the LSE in Urbanization & Development.
"Schools have the potential to ignite the potential of each child. It is critical we highlight and learn from schools that are empowering our youths to create a brighter future for themselves and their communities."
Managing Director & Board Advisor, The Cobalt Partners, Ghana
Accomplished senior-level executive with track record of successful strategic and tactical leadership in consulting and technology in both Global and Africa-focused roles. Expertise in managing business expansion and growth projects as well as increasing operational efficiency. Entrepreneurial leadership style with highly effective planning, organisational, and collaboration skills as well as a solutions-oriented approach to problem-solving.
Built ThoughtWorks Africa with work in sixteen countries and nominated as Best African Company of the Year. Led the Global Service Delivery Technology team for Ernst & Young’s Advisory designing and deploying technology across the 140+ countries where the firm operates. Led Ernst & Young’s IT Advisory and Program Advisory Services practices in West Africa and grew the portfolio significantly.
Frequent speaker, advisor and mentor on productivity, technology, entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, women in technology, and business in Africa.
"As a technologist I have a deep appreciation for both how technology has extended demands for our education systems as well as how technology has expanded how education is delivered. There are only three times in history - writing, reading and arithmetic - where the ubiquitous education of skill has transformed our lives. I look forward to supporting those schools at the forefront of this 4th basic skill - coding, and 4th industrial revolution."
Retired Superintendent General: Western Cape Education Department & Specialist Advisor, South Africa
Brian Schreuder is currently a Specialist Advisor to the Western Cape Education Department in South Africa and to other entities. He is the former Superintendent General (Head of Department for the Western Cape Education Department). He retired on 31 March 2021 after 47 years of dedicated service to education.
He is an EdTech specialist who was responsible for the WCED e-Vision and the roll-out of e-Learning and e-Teaching in Western Cape schools, driving the Western Cape Government’s eLearning Game Changer. He was also responsible for the creation and rollout of the WCED Transform to Perform Strategy, a systems-wide strategy to improve values in all schools, change mindset for all teachers and growth mindsets amongst all learners. As Deputy Director-General: Curriculum and Assessment Management he was responsible for all curriculum issues, Teacher Development and the e-Learning Strategy and all assessment issues. He is regarded as a specialist of national Examinations.
He is a Lawyer and a High School Science Teacher.
“Schools remain the bedrock of education all over the world and, while we move to more blended learning models, schools will still be with us globally for many, many years. For this reason, ensuring that schools are great educational spaces, are highly functional organizations, and are institutions that know that both quality learning as well as quality education must take place, celebrating and showcasing successful and excellent schools are important. For this reason, I support all attempts to recognize and celebrate excellent schools. This initiative of T4 Education to award ‘The World’s Best School Prizes’ does exactly that! I believe that this is true for schools across the world in all contexts. I look forward to identifying and celebrating such global schools of excellence.”
Education Director, Lemann Foundation, Brazil
Camila Pereira is the Education Director at the Lemann Foundation and serves as a Board Member in several social impact organizations in Brazil. In her position, she leads the Foundation’s efforts to support the design and implementation of effective educational policies, working closely with key decision makers in the country. Camila holds a bachelor degree in journalism from PUC-Rio and was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, where she studied Reforms in Public Education. Before joining the Foundation, she worked as a reporter and editor, writing about politics and education for the country’s biggest weekly magazine.
“At the Lemann Foundation we work to make sure every Brazilian kid can count on a public school that will help them develop their full potential and thrive in life. We know that creating and leading schools that fully accomplish this vision is not an easy task. It takes commitment, hard work, resilience and the capacity to learn continuously. That is why recognizing and elevating the social status of schools that do improve children’s possibilities and opportunities is so important. That is why we are happy to support the Worlds’ Best School Prizes and the global network of schools created around the Prizes!”
Director of Digital Change, Refracted!, UK
Carla is a thought leader, interdisciplinarian and works in international Learning with Technologies informed by the Learning Sciences. Her experience has taken her across the globe working with EdTech startups, publishers, educators and academia as well as policy makers.
Carla is the current Director of Digital Change at Hodder Education, founded Refracted! an online community about learning with technologies and the futures of education. She is a member of the WEF AI expert group, a board member at Right for Education Africa and an advisory board member of DEFI (Digital Futures Education Initiative) at Cambridge University. Carla ran the Tmrw Institute, a catalyst and Think Tank on education in a digital age, ran the Next Billion EdTech Prize and was Director of Futures at UCL Institute of Education as well as Global Digital Director Education at Cambridge University Press.
“Being a school and being part of a school is special. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how important schools are and how being able to innovate and being inspired by one’s friends at school makes such a difference to children’s and their teachers’ life.
Our world has many challenges that your school could help address or that can benefit from reinventing education and inspiring others. Can’t wait to see the innovation and schools and how they will show us how to solve some of these challenges.”
Managing Partner, Next Opus Ventures, Singapore
Carlos Fernandes is a seasoned Executive, Entrepreneur and Non-Executive Director (NED) with close to 25 years of experience in sectors spanning digital, internet, technology, media, education, non-profits, law, academia, shipping, government and logistics in strategic, operational and advisory roles. Through his career, Fernandes has worn numerous hats: inventor, public policy advisor, adjunct professor, venture capitalist, op-ed writer and even a judge. Through his decade-plus association with the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader (and now alumnus), Fernandes has built deep relationships with leaders across every continent across the spectrum of business, government, academia and non-profits.
Fernandes’ board experience is sector/vertical agnostic but relates to three key areas of today’s dynamic organizations: Digital, ESG and Risk/Crisis Management. Through his experience building and patenting large scale technology products and being an adjunct professor at the National University of Singapore who has taught a course on Innovation, Fernandes’ experience in Digital relates to Digital Transformation, Digital Disruption, Web3 and Cybersecurity. As a result of his appointments (including Ministerial appointments) to various Government committees & Boards such as the Board of Yellow Ribbon Singapore (that focuses on ex-offender rehabilitation), the Advisory Board of the Asian Civilisations Museum, the anti-trust focused Competition Appeal Board and the Singapore Business Federation, Fernandes has developed a deep understanding of the ESG issues - not just as it relates to consumers and citizens, but small businesses as well. In the area of crisis management in organizations, Fernandes has dealt with everything from very public litigation that made the front page of the national newspaper, to several other matters related to legal liability, public relations, and data protection.
Fernandes currently runs the venture builder, Next Opus Ventures, that is developing several ventures in the edtech space – Puzzicle.org (a deeptech play for video-based peer-learning), Rookieverse.org (career guidance for children and teens through interviews with iconic individuals) and TinkerWiz (help kids learn STEM through kinesthetic learning and tinkering) to help bring about a more equitable world.
Fernandes’ op-eds have been published by the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Business Times and several other publications. For his contributions to the IT industry, the Singapore Computer Society named him its youngest-ever “Young Professional of the Year''. The World Economic Forum named him a “Young Global Leader”. BusinessWeek has also identified him as among Asia’s “Top 25 Entrepreneurs”. Fernandes has an MBA (High Honors) from the University of Chicago, a Bachelor’s Degree in Electronic Engineering from Bombay University, a Masters in Information Technology. He is also an alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Yale University Global Leadership programs.
"Schools are the lifeblood of the next generation. T4's World’s Best School Prizes recognize schools charting a new path for their students, and as a consequence, for society as a whole. I can't wait to see the flow of innovations and creativity that flows as a result of the prizes."
Social Sector Leader, Ecuador
Cecilia has over 20 years of experience managing social development policies and programmes. Prior to becoming the Executive Director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, she was the Minister of Social Development of Ecuador from 2013 to 2016. She championed policies to improve the conditions of children, women and indigenous communities, including a cross-sectoral policy for ECD. Cecilia has also worked for several civil society organizations, the Organisation of American States, UNDP and has been a university professor. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Policies for Sustainable Development from the University of Bologna, a BA in International Relations from the Pontifical Catholic University in Ecuador, and an executive Master’s degree in cities from the London School of Economics.
“Iam very pleased to support this fantastic initiative. A good education is a fundamental human right to all children, just like healthy food, clean water and a vigorous environment. In order for children to cope with the challenging environmental, social and economic issues that they will face in the future, it is vital that they have the chance to learn the skills to better know themselves and the world we live in. I truly believe that early childhood education is the best investment you can do. All children should have the opportunity to learn and express themselves, look at the world in different ways, and reach their full potential. A good education starting in the early years provides a solid foundation for their lifelong learning and wellbeing.”
Global Head of Education, HP Inc., U.S.
Charlie Radman is the Global Head of Education at HP, Inc., managing a multi-billion-dollar global education technology business. With over 23 years at HP, 14 years focused on education, Charlie leads a team of experts developing HP’s global education strategy. Additionally, Charlie is focused on helping HP achieve the corporate sustainability goals of improving education outcomes for 100M people by 2025 and accelerating Digital Equity for 150M people by 2030 to help realize UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, including working with global partnerships such as T4 Education, 1Million Teachers, Global Partnership for Education, and Global Business Coalition for Education to name a few.
“I am so honored to be on the Judging Academy for the World’s Best School Prizes 2023. After the inaugural year and seeing who was selected, I can’t wait to see this year’s cohort of amazing schools from across the globe and to learn from their experiences and applaud their success!”
Christina Kwauk is a social scientist with a current interdisciplinary focus on education for climate action. She is an expert on girls’ education in developing countries, 21st century skills and youth empowerment, sport for development, and the intersections of gender, education, and climate change.
Christina is a co-editor (with Radhika Iyengar) of Curriculum and Learning for Climate Action: Toward an SDG 4.7 Roadmap for Systems Change and co-author (with Gene Sperling and Rebecca Winthrop) of What Works in Girls’ Education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment. She has published numerous policy papers, including “The new green learning agenda: Approaches to quality education for climate empowerment,” as well as academic articles on topics in climate change education, gender, health, and international development and education.
Christina holds a PhD in Comparative and International Development Education from the University of Minnesota, a MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, and a BS in Psychology from Sewanee: The University of the South.
“Time and time again global leaders have failed to put forward bold climate action that ensures intergenerational equity and the wellbeing of future generations. This failure comes despite youth-led climate movements around the world demanding radical climate action now, and an overwhelming global demand by teachers and students for schools to teach climate change.
The time is now to empower schools to unleash the creativity and innovation of teachers and students around the world to help us tackle the climate crisis. The World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Sustainability is an important platform to recognize schools already doing their part and to inspire others to teach the knowledge, mindsets, and competencies that can help us reach carbon-zero by 2050.
Let’s step in where global leaders have failed us and start showcasing what is possible when we invest in education for climate action and schools for environmental sustainability.”
Founder & Director, CEIPE, Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil
Claudia Costin is the founder and director of CEIPE- the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Education Policies-, a think-and-do tank within Getulio Vargas Foundation, a leading private University in Brazil where she is a professor. She is a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and was, in the recent past, Senior Director for Global Education in the World Bank. Claudia was Secretary of Education of the municipality of Rio de Janeiro and Federal Minister for Public Administration and State Reform,Brazil. In 2018 she joined the Global Commission for the Future of Work at the International Labor Organization (ILO) and more recently, November 2020, she joined both Governing Boards from Unesco UIL – Institute for Lifelong Learning and Qatar Foundation.
“As former executive vice-president of the Victor Civita Foundation, I was engaged in coordinating, every year, the Brazilian “Educator Grade 10” annual prize. At that time, I realized that it would be great to have an additional prize for schools. After reading Michael Fullan’s books, where he emphasized the role of principals in creating a culture of collaboration, I became convinced that this was indeed urgent. Thus, I got really excited to hear that Vikas Pota has decided to create this new opportunity to recognize entire school teams that fostered innovation, sustainability, healthy lifestyles, partnerships or tools to overcome adversities. Great idea and I am sure that in a few years it will highlight good practices that already happen in many schools around the world even in times of distress!”
Co-Founder & Board Member, CitáPar, Brazil
Cristiano Câmara graduated as a Civil Engineer, has an MBA degree from the University of Michigan Business School in 2002 and a Masters in Change Management at Insead in 2018.
He was from 1995-2000, Founder and CEO of Netcam, an ISP in Brazil, a company he sold to Telefonica de España; an associate consultant in 2001 with McKinsey & Co. With Grupo Jaime Câmara since 2002 started as Strategic Planning Analyst, spent 15 years finishing his tenure as CEO and President. In September 2016 he was elected to the Board of Directors. He is Co-Founder and Board Member of CitáPar, a real estate company in Brazil.
He was elected a Young Global Leader in 2013 by the World Economic Forum and elected in 2014 Member of the Foro IberoAmerica. In 2018 he was elected Member of the Jury of the Global Teacher prize.
Currently he is Co-Founder and Partner at Vitis Capital, an Asset Management and financial services company in São Paulo, Brazil.
“Schools are the haven where future citizens are nurtured and given knowledge. They are the essential part of a community learning process, where children learn to convive with different backgrounds, opinions, beliefs, where diversity is learnt through friendship and respect. Even more than that, in some places of the world, a school can be a safe environment, shelter, refuge. Let us help to highlight and reward distinctive places of instruction and growth, and with that, help others to excel.”
Grammy Award-Winning Musician, U.S.
Dana Leong is a two-time Grammy award-winning musician, composer, and producer. Considered by many to be the world’s top electric cellist, he has also been referred to as world’s top trombone player by members of the world-renowned Balkan Beat Box.
Dana’s music spans across multiple genres. His distinctive sound is an emotionally mesmerizing combination of electronic rhythms & uplifting traditional global tapestries. He has taught Jazz at Stanford University from the age of 16; completed the public policy program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government; and has given performances and speeches at TEDxShanghai and the US OPEN Tennis Championship, among others. As an internationally renowned musician composer, Dana has cooperated with global brands to create music and immersive experiences.
A leading innovator at the intersection of music, technology and wellness, Dana has performed healing music at the World Economic Forum and is a composer on a ‘musicians against violence’ album produced by Harry Belafonte. He also worked with Yamaha to consult on the design of the “Silent Cello”, serves as a U.S. Musical Ambassador and is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
“There is no better initiative than one that builds, supports and praises the world’s best schools & teachers. A world prioritizing education can and will thrive, will know how to sustain harmony and is most resilient through all climates.”
CEO, Dynamica, Inc., U.S.
Daniel Schwartz is the CEO of Dynamica, Inc., a philanthropic foundation and multi-family office serving some of the world’s most generous and effective philanthropists. For over twenty years Schwartz has been a leader in the nonprofit, philanthropic, and corporate sectors, specializing in donor collaborations, multi-stakeholder engagements, and public-private partnerships. He is a founding board member of The Commons Project and the former board chair of the GAVI Campaign. He served as the CEO of Porticus, a philanthropic grant-making organization and strategic advisory consultancy, where he led a staff of 200+ colleagues in 15 global offices with activities in 90+ countries. He was the Executive Director of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, where he was responsible for the Conference of Nobel Laureates. He is a co-creator of Arbinet, which was the world’s largest telecommunications bandwidth exchange. American Express Centurion cardholders’ magazine named him one of the “25 Most Influential Philanthropists”.
“Decades after Nelson Mandela recognized that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’ the world is blessed with some of the most spectacular teachers and schools. ‘The World’s Best School Prizes’ allow all of us to be inspired by and to emulate the best of the best so that we can actively create the world we want our children to inherit.”
Trustee & Managing Director, Yayasan Hasanah, Malaysia
As Trustee and Managing Director of Hasanah, YBhg. Dato’ Shahira Ahmed Bazari works together with a network of civil society organisations to create positive long-term and sustainable impact within Malaysia’s social and environmental landscapes. Hasanah invests in the following focus areas – Education, Community Development, Environment, Arts & Public Spaces, and Knowledge & Research. Under Dato’ Shahira’s leadership and guidance, Hasanah has assisted more than 1 million lives in Malaysia since its inception in 2015, and galvanised various multi-stakeholder social projects in the country, under the Public-Private-People-Partnership (PPPP) Model.
Dato’ Shahira holds a Bachelor of Arts from the International Islamic University Malaysia, and M.A. in Public Communication from American University, Washington D.C., United States, and has completed the Cambridge Business Sustainability Management Course from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.
“My father was a firm believer of the importance of education, and like him too, I believe that a good education is a pivotal turning point for every individual to reach their full potential. Over the past ten years, Yayasan Hasanah and our education partners have worked tirelessly in partnership with the Ministry of Education Malaysia and the education fraternity to improve the performance of students and schools by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of school leadership and teachers. Called the “Trust School”, it is an example of a comprehensive public school transformation model that develop students holistically. I'm delighted to be on the Judging Academy for the World's Best School Prizes 2023. I encourage all Malaysian schools to apply and be part of a global community of education excellence, best practices and celebrating successes amongst peers.”
Founder & CEO, Tomorrow, U.S.
Dave Hanley is an innovator who diligently works to ensure broad access to the services and products that enrich and protect life. As founder and CEO of Tomorrow, Dave identified a latent need where busy American families were lacking the financial services and estate planning needed to ensure children and loved ones are protected. Dave founded Banyan Branch, a leading social media marketing agency that brought some of the world’s biggest brands to social media, and was acquired by Deloitte. Dave converted the online book club Shelfari into a social network for readers, growing it from 2,000 members to 2 million in 18 months, at which point it was acquired by Amazon. Dave was a Fulbright Scholar in Bangladesh, working in microfinance at Grameen Bank, is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, a graduate of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and is a father of four children.
“Iowe my life’s trajectory to the quality public schools and engaged teachers and staff who showed me not only what was possible, but the paths ahead that could take me there. I am grateful to be a part of uncovering the goodness and greatness that lies within the hallowed walls of our world’s schools, and sharing that with the world.”
Vice President, International Programs, Save the Children, U.S.
With over 25 years of experience in international development and humanitarian relief, David Barth leads Save the Children US’s international work, serving children in over 100 countries. Focused on helping all children learn, survive, and be protected, David and team focus on those who have suffered from exclusion and discrimination. Save the Children is a global leader on helping students access quality education in the world’s most complex environments. Prior to joining Save, David served as Director of the Ford Foundation’s Youth Opportunity and Learning Division. This followed a decorated career with USAID, where he held a number of senior positions including Director of Middle East Programs, Global Director for Education, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs, Agency Deputy Chief of Staff, and Mission Director to Bosnia and Herzegovina. At every stop, David has centered elevating the role of the school in building global citizens, strengthening communities, and combatting inequality.
“Only a fraction of the qualities that make for a great school get evaluated or celebrated. While we measure test scores and graduation rates, and we note demographic details about teachers and students, how often do we elevate those schools that innovate to build in every child social and emotional health and resilience, creativity, appreciation of diversity, or citizenship? The great school is one that centers society, bringing children, family, and community together to raise up the next generation of problem solvers and leaders. This is why the World’s Best Schools Prizes program is so important. There is power in celebrating the schools that demonstrate how to best serve students, whatever their background or ability. And the community of practice that will grow from learning from these transformative institutions will surely redound to schools all around the world.”
Global Education Strategist, HP, Australia
David is a passionate believer that education is the building block for transforming people, communities and our planet for the better. Focused on the role education has to build foundations of lasting social and economic change, David uses his background and extensive experience in technology, megatrends, innovation and strategy to help engage transformation for education.
David is a Global Education Strategist, driving HP’s education strategy and solution development. Engaging with Governments, NGO's, UN entities, institutions educators and students to help realise HP's big goals of helping improve education outcomes for 100 million learners by 2025 and accelerate Digital Equity for 150 Million People by 2030.
Outside of his role at HP, David volunteers his time in a range of global education engagements including acting as an industry advisor for Australian Digital Technologies curriculum.
“I feel fortunate and honoured to be a Judge in the World’s Best Schools Prizes. This program provides valuable recognition to amazing schools and shines a light on their approaches and dedicated people. In turn, helping to inspire and inform our global school communities and leaders to help find scalable solutions to bring an amazing education future to life for all!"
CEO, Lemann Foundation, Brazil
Denis Mizne heads the private foundation established by global entrepreneur Jorge Paulo Lemann to increase the quality of public education in Brazil. He is also chairman of the board of Instituto Sou da Paz and serves on other boards in the areas of education, human rights and public safety. Before joining the Foundation, Denis was founder and Executive Director of Instituto Sou da Paz, a leading Brazilian NGOs focused on violence prevention. He has contributed to the approval of the “Disarmament Statute,” one of the most modern pieces of legislation to control the use of guns. After being enacted, the law helped reduce homicides for the first time in decades in the country – thousands of lives have been saved.
Founder & CEO, Paperclip Startup Campus, Hong Kong
Deepak Madnani is an Entrepreneurial leader and founder known for his resiliency. He deeply understands the entrepreneurial growth and leadership journey; he has built successful businesses after battling massive challenges and restarting from scratch.
In addition to his business pursuits, he is an active investor and passionate about mentoring founders and coaching successful entrepreneurs.
He has founded companies, DeepGreen Designs and Solar Exports, in the Product Design, Development and Supply Chain management industry for over 25 years, based in China and Vietnam, that closely collaborate with global, market-leading consumer product brands in the Home and Education industries.
He has also founded incubator, accelerator and coworking ventures under Paperclip Entrepreneur Campus, where he coached over 2,500 founders.
He’s an experienced Coach under his GrowthEDGE™ venture and he is on a mission to help other entrepreneurs learn from other resilient problem-solvers in his podcast, Deepak Has Coffee.
He has been recognized for his activities in promoting sustainability in Hong Kong and by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader.
“Equitable development is an urgent global priority for the people and the planet and Schools play a vital role in making this happen. I am proud to support Vikas and the World’s Best School Prizes in helping raise awareness and accelerate solutions to this global urgency.”
Co-Founder & CEO, Positive Luxury, UK
Diana Verde Nieto is the Co-Founder and CEO of Positive Luxury. The company helps brands adapt to the new sustainability economy. Diana’s entrepreneurial spirit has driven innovation in the way that brands communicate their commitment to social and environmental sustainability, enabling organisations to unlock the value of their investment in this area. This began with founding the first international sustainability communications consultancy in 2002 which Diana built to international success with a presence in five markets, including China and the USA, at the time of exiting the business in 2008. Diana holds a degree in Global Leadership & Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School. Diana is a globally recognised figure in the sustainability field, honoured by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2011 and subsequently being trained by former US Vice President, Al Gore. Diana serves on many advisory boards, frequently teaches at Cambridge Judge School and Oxford Said School and was recently given an honorary professorship at Glasgow Caledonian University.
CEO, Ishk Tolaram Foundation, Singapore
Divya Patel is the Chief Executive Officer of Ishk Tolaram Foundation, a philanthropic organisation that provides underserved individuals access to quality education, healthcare and skills training in Indonesia, Nigeria and Singapore. As CEO, she oversees the organisation’s global strategy and partnerships and champions innovation in impact financing and greater participation from the private sector in funding solutions. Prior to Ishk, Divya spent a decade in management consulting in London and Singapore followed by building accelerator programs to grow Singapore’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. Her passion remains in delivering impact through needs-oriented, effective and sustainable solutions.
"Schools play a pivotal road in a child’s place – being a safe space for learning, exploration and dreaming about the future. Recognising the schools that are doing this well is an inspiration for their peers and stakeholders. I look forward to seeing how the finalist schools are leading the way for their students and communities."
Chief Financial Officer, Credit Suisse, UK
Dixit Joshi is Chief Financial Officer at Credit Suisse.
Prior to this, he was Head of the Debt Institutional Client Group and Listed Derivatives and Markets Clearing. Prior to this, he was Global Head of Prime Finance, and from 2011, he was Head of Equities for Asia Pacific, based in Hong Kong. Mr. Joshi joined Deutsche Bank in October 2010 from Barclays Capital. At Barclays Capital, he was responsible for the EMEA equity business, had overseen the Asian Equities business, was the Head of Equity-Linked Products and led the growth of the Equity Derivatives business.
Before joining Barclays Capital in November 2003, Mr. Joshi spent eight years at Credit Suisse First Boston and prior to that held various roles.
Mr. Joshi serves as a board member of Pratham, a leading India focused education non-profit. He is also a trustee of the Student Sponsorship Programme in South Africa, focused on creating educational opportunities for the disadvantaged.
He has served as a board member of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C, and has been President of the Advisory Board for National Sewa Day, a social action and volunteering initiative for local communities.
Mr. Joshi holds a degree in Statistics and Actuarial Science from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.
“COVID-19 has profoundly impacted the education of children around the world. For the past two years, an entire generation has suffered extraordinary upheaval in their schooling and development. For the sake of their futures, it’s vital that we support the efforts of teachers and educational bodies – and those efforts have never been more important than today. For that reason, I’m proud to support the ‘World’s Best School Prizes’ initiative. I’m convinced that we can make an important contribution – helping schools around the globe to inspire and motivate children, boost their aspirations, reward and recognise their efforts and celebrate their successes on some highly relevant dimensions. We all have a responsibility to prepare children for tomorrow at this uniquely challenging time. This is a chance to make a real difference to the future lives of this generation.”
Co-Founder & CEO, Rippleworks, U.S.
Doug Galen is the Co-Founder and CEO of Rippleworks, a non-profit foundation that provides the practical support entrepreneurs need to scale faster and improve more lives. Rippleworks’ programs and funding directly support 200+ of the fastest growing, most impactful social ventures around the world, empowering entrepreneurial teams that are improving the lives of 216+ million people across 59 countries.
Prior to Rippleworks, Doug served as Chief Revenue Officer at Shopkick, a mobile app startup backed by Kleiner Perkins and Greylock that was acquired by SK Planet, a Fortune 50 company. He was also SVP of Business and Corporate Development at Shutterfly where he helped grow revenue from $50 million to $500 million and a successful IPO. Doug was VP and GM of New Ventures for eBay where he helped create eight new business units with revenues of $500 million. He was also employee #3 and VP of Sales and Business Development for E-LOAN, which grew to $150 million in revenue with a successful IPO.
In addition to Rippleworks, Doug is a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and on the Board of Directors of Heifer International.
Now that Doug’s daughter is off at college in St Louis he loves finding excuses to “be in the neighborhood to drop in”, playing dominoes with his wife (and usually losing), and finding new adventures riding his bike anywhere he can.
“Schools are the bedrock of our communities and I’m pleased to serve on the Judging Academy for The World’s Best School Prizes as I believe that by strengthening schools, we strengthen society.”
SVP & Publisher, Education, Scholastic International, Singapore
SVP & Publisher, Education, Scholastic International, Singapore
Dr Duriya Aziz Singapore Wala, PhD is Senior Vice President and Publisher at Scholastic International (Education). In this capacity, she has the immense privilege to be a learning and reading ambassador among educators, learners and their parents around the world. She has been responsible for introducing Singapore math-based programs to more than 50 countries around the world. She is passionate about driving systemic change in teaching and learning particularly in jurisdictions that are poorly resourced and advocates for democratizing professional learning for all educators and access to good pedagogical practice-based instruction that is contextually and culturally appropriate for all learners. Duriya participates in youth coaching programs and mentors women in their entrepreneurship journeys.
“The COVID 19 pandemic challenged learners and learning, teachers and teaching and schools and schooling in an unprecedented manner and scale. We must emerge from this with stronger conviction and determination to do the best for our learners, teachers and schools everywhere.
At Scholastic, we support schools, educators, and families to improve education outcomes and build a stronger, more cohesive and equitable world.”
Former Minister of Education & Culture, Zimbabwe
Until December 2020 Dzingai Mutumbuka served as a member of the Governing Board for UNESCO’s Paris-based International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) as a representative of the African Region. For ten years, he served as the Chair of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), a network which brings together all African Education Ministers and representatives of donors supporting the development of education in Africa.
Previously, Mutumbuka held various senior management positions in the education sector at the World Bank. Prior to joining the World Bank, he held major political appointments in Zimbabwe, including as an elected member of parliament. He was the first Minister of Education and Culture at Zimbabwe’s Independence in 1980 and during his long tenure from 1980 to 1989 developed one of the best systems of education in Africa.
He participated in the struggle for Zimbabwe’s Independence rising through the ranks to the leadership of ZANU-PF. Against odds he organized a vibrant education for over 12,000 Zimbabwean youth who were too young to join the armed fighters. Prior to joining the freedom struggle he lectured in chemistry at the University of Dublin in Ireland and the University of Zambia in Lusaka. He had a doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.
Currently Mutumbuka sits on a large number of boards dealing with education.
CEO, uExamS, U.S.
Ekta Kochar, CEO of uExamS—the leading global provider of support and logistics solutions for the education, assessment, and training sectors—has been a recognized leader in the testing industry for more than 15 years. An alumnus of Carleton University, Ekta has been a pioneer in providing equal access in education and testing for people with disabilities, creating a worldwide network of accommodation service providers to assist test takers with disabilities, regardless of need or location. She has also been instrumental in extending that accessibility online with uExamS's launch of REMOTEi, the world's first digital proctoring platform to remotely provide exam accommodations.
“Teachers inspire and influence children to build their success story using tools they acquire through education. Investing in our education system is an investment in our future. Which is why this initiative is so important and one I am honored to be a part of.”
Engagement & Partnerships Development, UN Joint SDG Fund, U.S.
Elaine Smith Genser works at the United Nations Joint SDG Fund on engagement and partnerships development. Before 2011, she worked for 20 years as a trader and research sales manager at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan. In 2013 she was elected Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. She holds a BBA from Mackenzie, an MBA from USP-FIA, and is a graduate of HBS’s OPM. She completed executive programs in leadership at HKS, Yale, Saïd Business School at Oxford.
Elaine managed the Global Future Council of Financial and Monetary Systems at the WEF from 2015-2018. She worked two years at the World Bank in the Global Engagement & Partnerships, advising on the development and implementation of strategy of financial vehicles for corporate partnerships and philanthropy. She also consulted with the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) on efforts to highlight the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Women Owned Business.
“Kids learn how to be open, warm and collaborative in a school environment. With different perspectives, experiences and personalities in the classroom, combined with teachers that love teaching, inspiration flourish and kids develop stronger.
Schools are composed by the combination of administrators, teachers, janitors, students and a larger community of stakeholders that aim to achieve education. A coordinated reflection and reward to recognize collaborative efforts to do more, better and smarter can sparkle systemic change to a process that changed little compared to all transformation that life and society face on a constant basis.
A prize to schools can help create the necessary inspiration to search for new things, innovative ideas or different perspectives.”
Professor of Practice, Harvard Graduate School of Education, U.S.
Ekta Kochar, CEO of uExamS—the leading global provider of support and logistics solutions for the education, assessment, and training sectors—has been a recognized leader in the testing industry for more than 15 years. An alumnus of Carleton University, Ekta has been a pioneer in providing equal access in education and testing for people with disabilities, creating a worldwide network of accommodation service providers to assist test takers with disabilities, regardless of need or location. She has also been instrumental in extending that accessibility online with uExamS's launch of REMOTEi, the world's first digital proctoring platform to remotely provide exam accommodations.
“Teachers inspire and influence children to build their success story using tools they acquire through education. Investing in our education system is an investment in our future. Which is why this initiative is so important and one I am honored to be a part of.”
Educational Leader, Australia
Eric Jamieson has made substantial contributions as an educational leader throughout an extensive and remarkable career. He has worked at senior levels in Australia as a leader in a large public education system of more than 2200 schools, as well as contributing to leadership development at a national level. In recent years, Eric led initiatives to establish networks of private schools for GEMS Education in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. His expertise and educational insight have engaged him as a member of strategic advisory boards for a number of companies that have involved him in initiatives throughout the world. He is adept at transformational leadership through a powerful approach to school planning, self-assessment, reporting and validation to create self-driving school systems of improvement and accountability. His design and delivery of an innovative model that aligns school leadership and teacher quality, as well as student learning and assessment, has led to his widespread recognition as an outstanding educational thinker and leader.
Former Minister of Education, Argentina
Esteban Bullrich is an argentinian politician; former Minister of Education of Argentina and former Senator at the National Congress.
Prior to his current position, he served as National Deputy, from 2005 to 2007, and won re-election in 2009. Also, during 2010, and for a short period, he served as interim Minister of Social Development of the City of Buenos Aires.
In January 2010, he took office as Minister of Education of the City of Buenos Aires. As from December 2015, elected President Macri appointed him as National Minister of Education and Sports of Argentina. In 2017 left his position in order to run for Senator in Buenos Aires
Province. Since then, he has held his seat in the Senate.
Mr. Bullrich holds a degree in Systems at CAECE University and a Master of Business Administration degree at the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University (USA). He was awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship scholarship in 2006, and is also a member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum.
He is the author and co-author of the books: It’s the teacher (Ed. Logos, 2019), and
Notes for the debate on educational policy in Argentina (2011).
“Schools are the center of our communities and their future. Recognizing the best schools is shining a bright light in the path to a better world”
Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative, Harvard Graduate School of Education, U.S.
Fernando M. Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice of International Education and Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative and of the International Education Policy Masters Program at Harvard University. An expert in the field of Global Education, his research and teaching focus on understanding how to educate children and youth so they can thrive in the 21st century. He is a member of UNESCO’s high level commission on the Futures of Education.
He has written or edited forty-two books. At the request of the International Academy of Education and of UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education, he has recently completed a guide for school leaders and education authorities on how to build an education renaissance after the pandemic. He is currently conducting a study of 31 educational innovations generated during the pandemic which can advance positive educational disruption.
With his graduate students, he has developed three curriculum resources aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which are translated into multiple languages and widely used by schools and school systems around the world.
Managing Director, Aligroup, U.S.
Feroz, a globally recognized education-industry leader, is known for his entrepreneurial acumen and focus on student success. As Chairman of Asia Pacific Education (APEDU), he seeks niche degree-granting investments, enhancing graduate outcomes. Currently, he's pursuing university status for Whitecliffe, Canada. Often hailed for his innovative thinking and ambitious goals, Feroz recently rescued a financially distressed K-12 international boarding school in Ontario, ensuring its continued operation. This move underscores Feroz's commitment to education and his deft navigation of business challenges, cementing his reputation as a trailblazer in the industry.
"Education is the silent symphony orchestrated by dedicated teachers and schools, their relentless labor and perseverance silently shaping the minds of tomorrow, each note a step towards enlightenment and each pause a testament to their unwavering commitment."
Research Fellow, University of Oxford, UK
Fiona is both a Researcher and Implementer, and is currently the Co-PI for a project on Education, Purpose and Human Flourishing in Uncertain Times in the Comparative and International Research Centre of the Department of Education at Oxford University. She is also a Principal Advisor for Strategic Relationships and Partnerships at the Templeton World Charity Foundation Inc where she works closely with other foundations, INGOs and public policy organisations. She has a multi-disciplinary background and experience. Her research degree was in late 18th and early 19th-century French aesthetics, and prior to her return to academia ten years ago, she had a career in the international finance, entrepreneurial business and high net worth family business sectors. She has published and taught on late eighteenth-and early nineteenth century art history and aesthetics. Drawing on her experience as Chapel Director at Somerville College, Oxford, she has also published on religious education.
“Education is the path to transformation, and it is a lifelong journey that begins in the classroom, with the teachers, and in schools. The quality of that initial experience, the ethos of the school and the inspiration of the teachers and leaders of those schools equip a child for life. In celebration of the collaborative effort that this requires, this initiative recognises the effort and importance that all stakeholders in a school make towards the flourishing of its children despite an increasingly complex and uncertain world”
Director, Environmental Funders Network (EFN), UK
Florence is Director of EFN, where she has been working since moving to the UK from the United States in 2012. Previously she worked for the National Audubon Society in the US, running a national grants programme focused on innovative conservation. Prior to that she was director of educational programmes at a not-for-profit called Center for Whole Communities in Vermont, bringing together leaders from the environmental and social justice sectors to find common ground and shared values. Early in her career she worked for World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C. She lives and works from a village in Buckinghamshire.
"In a rapidly changing world, few roles could be as important as those played by schools. I am delighted to help judge the World’s Best Schools Prizes and look forward to helping to raise the profile of the excellent work schools around the world are doing to rise to the challenges of our times."
Award-winning entrepreneur & Founder, The DO, Germany
Florian Hoffmann is an award winning entrepreneur, social innovator and author. He founded The DO, a global platform for a new economy that is sustainable, innovative and equitable located in Berlin, NYC and HK. The DO champions innovative lifelong learning with the DO School, a global centre for 21st century skills and mindset. His mission is to empower people and companies to conceive and implement economic success and new solutions to today’s environmental and societal problems. Florian was named one of the WEF’s 100 Young Global Leaders under 40. He is member of the supervisory board at the World Future Council and Fellow of the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards. Florian holds degrees and executive certificates from Oxford University, Duke University, Bard College, Humboldt Universität and Harvard University. His book "Our New World" was published with Murmanshers in 2022.
“The last few years have shown that schools are crucial for the social fabric of society - to empower children for their future, educate citizens and help parents in bringing up their kids. At the same time, schools have been under ongoing pressure for many years. Government reform and support are often slow, teachers underappreciated and innovation at schools too often stifled. I strongly believe that T4's World’s Best School Prizes could not come at a better time - let's celebrate schools and share best practices. For our children and our societies.”
Managing Director, Crimson Group of Schools, India
Francis Joseph is MD of Crimson Group of Schools and co-founder of School Leaders Network Foundation. He also represents the School Education Minister's office on efforts in education policies and collaborative efforts with the non-state education boards (CBSE, CISCE, Cambridge and IB), various countries and states. He is also the coordinator of Maharashtra State International Curriculum Committee, Govt of Maharashtra and member of the core reforms committee in BMC.
Francis has more than 30 years of extensive experience in managing K12 Schools in India and Middle East, where he started his career as a teacher in 1990.
"Schools strengthen the foundation of learning among teachers, students and their families. They serve the needs of the community and the world at large, no matter whatever is the learner's pincode. Schools enable learners to walk an unknown path, a journey which crafts each and every profession in a fast changing world. An institution as a Nation builder needs to be encouraged and appreciated. A School's mission has to be celebrated as they selflessly ensure that no learner is "left behind", as they are "right behind" them building the future of the world."
Founder, Teachers Without Borders, Belgium
A former principal, Dr. Fred Mednick founded Teachers Without Borders (TWB) in 2000 to connect teachers to information and each other to close the education divide. Initiatives are conceived and led by teachers in developing countries. TWB has been awarded the Champion of African Education Award, the 2018 Luxembourg Peace Prize, and the 2018 Ahmadiyya Muslim Prize for Peace. Dr. Mednick taught at Johns Hopkins University and is currently a professor of Education Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His latest book, In the Small Places: Stories of Teacher Changemakers and the Power of Human Agency will be available March 2024.
As the largest professionally trained group in the world, teachers are indispensable acupuncture points and catalysts of local change—on a global scale. Teachers are not the problem; they are a sustainable solution. Our world is as good as its schools. T4 Education’s “World’s Best School Prizes” is making a difference!
CEO, TÄNK OM & Production Manager, AcadeMedia Academy, Sweden
Frida is the CEO of TÄNK OM, an education company in Sweden whose aim is to support and inspire school leaders and teachers in the field of education transformation and school development. TÄNK OM is part of AcadeMedia, Northern Europe’s largest education company. Frida holds the role of production manager at AcadeMedia Academy, AcadeMedia’s teacher and leadership training facility.Prior to TÄNK OM, Frida has worked as e.g., teacher, school leader, research & development manager, and quality manager. She has always worked in the education sector, and always with a great passion and curiosity for how to develop good education.
“Schools are highly important not only for every child’s individual future, but also for the future of humanity and democracy. The role schools are playing for shaping our future needs to be supported, recognised and celebrated. By highlighting good examples, sharing engaging stories and honoring innovative solutions the World’s best school prizes are great initiatives for inspiring education development and change around the world.”
Founder & CEO, Dharma Life, India
Gaurav Mehta is the Founder and CEO of Dharma Life, a social enterprise with the mission to improve the lives of the poorest segments of society through a rural entrepreneurship model. He also runs a small family office private equity portfolio focusing on seed-funding early stage, highly innovative enterprises.
Prior to founding Dharma Life, Gaurav spent three years in the private equity space at General Atlantic, a large growth capital investment firm (until 2008). He focused his efforts on opportunities in the consumer and media, and healthcare sectors across Europe. Gaurav started his career with Morgan Stanley in London in investment banking. While working at Morgan Stanley, he became the Founder/President of the German Chapter at Pratham (which works towards providing education to under privileged children in India), Dusseldorf, Germany. As the Chapter Lead, he raised awareness and funding support by organizing multiple large-scale business conferences and events.
Gaurav has been recognized as a Young Global Leader, Class of 2018 by World economic forum for his exemplary efforts in the field of social development. He has also won BMW Foundation Young Leaders Awards – 2013 at the Munich Economic Summit for addressing social issues through innovative high potential initiatives that can become sustainable in the mid-to-long term.
Gaurav graduated with a BA degree with honours in International Business Studies and French from the European Business School, London. He then pursued his MBA degree from London Business School.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted the education of children globally. In these unprecedented times, it is vital to support and strengthen the schools across the globe to encourage & motivate them to learn from each other.”
Head of Foundation, ATE Chandra Foundation, India
Gayatri Lobo brings to ATE Chandra Foundation as Head of Foundation (COO), a mix of close to 20 years of strategy consulting and development sector experience, having worked most recently CEO of India School Leadership Institute (ISLI). Before joining ISLI, Gayatri was at Dalberg Advisors and prior to that the Chief Operating Officer at Teach For India, and was part of the scale up of operations during its first six years. Gayatri has also previously worked at OC&C Strategy Consultants and Avalon consulting, working with clients across sectors.
Gayatri has a Masters in Management Studies and a Bachelors in Commerce from Mumbai University.
“With children spending 6-7 hours a day, 5 days a week, in school, it is imperative that the school be able to nurture them into a generation that cares, one that can critically think and that can continue to thrive. I believe that by recognising the best schools across the world, others can learn from them and improve their culture, processes, pedagogy, and talent so they too can provide their students with the best.”
Visiting Professor, National Research University Moscow - Institute of Education, UK
Professor Dr Ger Graus OBE is a renowned figure in the field of education. He was KidZania’s first Global Education Director, and founding CEO of the Children’s University. In 2019, Ger was invited to become a Visiting Professor at the National Research University, Moscow, Russia. He moved to the United Kingdom in 1983 where he began his teaching career, later becoming Senior Inspector, and Education Director.
Ger is a member of Bett’s Global Education Council, Junior Achievement’s Worldwide Council, advises the Fondazione Reggio Children, Italy, and was invited to help shape Dubai’s future of education as a member of its Future Councils.
In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List Ger was made an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to children.
In his book ‘Natural Born Learners’, Alex Beard says: “In learning terms, Ger Graus is Jean-Jacques Rousseau meets Willy Wonka.”
“Itravel often, and wherever I go, I talk to children. When I ask the question: “Why do you go to school?”, in 85% of cases I get the same answer: “Because I have to”. It seems to me that this is not a good answer. Doing something that you don’t see the point in is strange and wrong.
This is where we need good schools, and more importantly, this is where we need to look again at what we mean by “good”. We need schools that are “more than a school” or “Més que una escuala” to borrow from the best (FC Barcelona), and a culture of schools that enjoys that ethos, with “becoming me” at its child-focussed centre, and learning from each other as its modus operandi.
It is my privilege and pleasure to play my part in this through The World’s Best School Prizes initiative.”
CEO, STiR Education, UK
Girish Menon is the CEO of STiR Education, an international NGO which supports education systems to reignite intrinsic motivation in every teacher and official, to role-model the foundations of lifelong learning for every child. He joined STiR in January 2021 after five years as Chief Executive at ActionAid UK. He has more than 30 years’ experience as a leader in the international development sector, having previously held roles as International Programmes Director and Deputy CEO at WaterAid UK, where he was responsible for programmes in 22 countries.
Girish was born and brought up in India, and started his career with the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme. He has also worked at ActionAid, Plan International and DFID in India. Since moving to London in 2005, he has served on the boards of various non-profit organisations. He is currently on the Board of Hope and Homes for Children.
“Schools lay the basic foundations of education and learning for children. It plays such a hugely critical part in the development of any person. In an environment that is increasingly uncertain and complex, schools enable children to develop their understanding, nurture their creativity and build their resilience, so that children can develop their self-esteem, be more curious about the world around them and embed values that are key to a world that is more just, more equal, more safe and more sustainable.
I am hence delighted to be part of this initiative that aims to recognise the huge contributions schools make to children, to the communities and countries they live in, in creating those pathways towards a better and more equal world. At a time when we see the devastating impacts of Covid and climate change, this initiative couldn’t come at a better time. I look forward to hearing many inspiring stories of the invaluable contributions that schools have made and continue to make by being innovative and aspirational.”
Leader, Central Square Foundation, India
Gouri leads Central Square Foundation’s work in the area of Education Technology. Her work focuses on building capacity of early stage EdTech organisations catering to the low-income segment and creating evidence around the efficacy of EdTech. Prior to CSF, Gouri was part of the early leadership team at the National Skill Development Corporation, where she worked on identifying opportunities for investments, and conceptualising and implementing state level projects. Prior to that, Gouri was a Project Leader with the Boston Consulting Group and did extensive work in the Financial Services domain across areas of strategy, operations and transformation. Gouri is a rank holder Chartered Accountant and a MBA from IIM Bangalore.
“Schools showed great resilience during the COVID-19 lockdown and consequent school closures. They implemented numerous efforts to ensure continued learning for children in the form of digital initiatives, printed materials and guidance given to teachers. While schools across the world are reopening, they must receive our continued support as they deal with the massive learning loss incurred by children and shift to a blended learning approach. The World's Best School Prizes is a great forum to celebrate outstanding initiatives and an opportunity to learn from one another”
Chief Revenue Officer, Texthelp Group, U.S.
Gus Schmedlen serves as Chief Revenue Officer at Texthelp, the global leader in assistive technology. Previously, he served as Vice President for Worldwide Education at HP. Prior to HP, Gus led public sector industry solutions units for IBM and Lenovo. Gus currently serves on the Board of Governors of JA Worldwide, the Leadership Council of the Brookings Institution Center for Universal Education, the advisory board of the mEducation Alliance, and the Board of Directors of the Whitaker Center. He earned a BA in Classics from Colgate University, an MBA from Duke University, and an EdD from the University of Pennsylvania.
“Finding and amplifying the excellent work of great schools can help inspire a generation of educators and school leaders. The World’s Best School Prizes is a unique and truly global platform that creates impact everywhere.”
CEO, Ashden, UK
Harriet Lamb is CEO of Ashden, a charity supporting climate solutions in the UK and global South including through its respected Awards scheme. Ashden leads the coalition schools campaign www.letsgozero.org – which seeks to help all UK schools reach zero carbon by 2030. Experienced in winning public support for social and environmental solutions, she previously led peacebuilding charity International Alert and spent 15 years growing Fairtrade in the UK and globally – including with the Fairtrade Schools campaign. Her second book From Anger to Action: Inside the Global Movements for Social Justice, Peace and a Sustainable Planet was published in 2021.
"It’s inspiring to hear about the exciting initiatives schools are taking to tackle the climate crisis, driven by young people’s passion. This prize gives a platform to those schools, pupils and staff who, amid pulls on their time and resources, are so creative finding solutions to today’s pressing environmental concerns."
Adviser, Chief Economist’s Office, Europe and Central Asia, World Bank, U.S.
Harry Anthony Patrinos is Adviser at the Chief Economist’s Office of the Europe and Central Asia region of the World Bank’s education global practice. He specializes in all areas of education, especially school-based management, demand-side financing and public-private partnerships. He managed education lending operations and analytical work programs in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, as well as a regional research project on the socioeconomic status of Latin America’s Indigenous Peoples, published as Indigenous Peoples, Poverty and Human Development in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). He is one of the main authors of the report, Lifelong Learning in the Global Knowledge Economy (World Bank, 2003). Mr. Patrinos has many publications in the academic and policy literature, with more than 40 journal articles and is co-author of various books. He has also worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. He previously worked as an economist at the Economic Council of Canada. Mr. Patrinos received a doctorate from the University of Sussex.
“I am honored to serve on the Judging Academy of ‘The World’s Best School Prizes’. I believe that now more than ever schools are one of the most important institutions in the world.”
Executive Director, Instituto Peninsula, Brazil
Heloisa has more a than twenty-year experience in business management, marketing and operations, working in markets such as consumer goods, fashion, apparel, retail, franchise, digital marketing, technology and education for leading National and Multi-National corporations, always managing strong brands and businesses with distinct dynamic and complexity.
During this time, she built a solid experience in managing business units with a systemic and strategic vision and consolidated her experience in leading start-ups of areas and operations, turnaround processes and development of new business and products. She is an executive recognized by her entrepreneurial attitude, agile and flexible to adapt to changing environments, her high energy for businesses transformation, proven experience in business development and management, always delivering strong results.
That journey inspired her to keep seeking and building wellbeing. Therefore since 2016, she is the Executive Director of the Instituto Peninsula in São Paulo, NGO that works for the advancement of a more meaningful professional career for K12 teachers.
“We believe that one of the biggest transformation levers of a country is education and for education to happen teachers need to be fully developed. One teacher alone cannot reach all the students. The school is powerful because it is the place that allows the future of our societies to live together, learn, interact towards new projects and reflections. This locus needs attention and care for education to be the powerful source of our development. We wish this Prize a prosperous future and a strong capacity to pollinize educational systems around the world.”
Award-winning Teacher & Head of Secondary Cycle at Saint George's School, Lebanon
Hiba Ballout is the head of secondary cycle and science coordinator at Saint Georges school- Lebanon.
She is an educator at Adyan Foundation, a trainer for interfaith dialogue and coexistence, board member in Life-Link Friendship Schools, and an advisor for local and international leadership programs MUN/MAL. Her passion in the domain of education has led her to be nominated as the best teacher in Lebanon 2017. She was one of the top 50 global teachers in the Global teacher Prize 2018, and is nominated as “The Ambassador For Living Together”. Today, she is a Global Teacher Prize Ambassador in Lebanon.
“‘Education is not preparation for life; it is life itself’ a quote that I have always believed in through all the years I have spent in this domain. Since education is a never-ending process, it has always to be in a continuous development through constantly improving teaching skills and becoming more professional in this vocation. Actually, developing education means having more inspirational practices in schools that help students as well as educators improve their skills for a better community. A community that adopts values such as peace, equality, social justice and respect of diversity... Such schools should share their development through constantly improving teaching skills and becoming more professional in this vocation. Actually, developing education means having more inspirational practices in schools that help students as well as educators improve their skills for a better community. A community that adopts values such as peace, equality, social justice and respect of diversity... Such schools should share their experience in order to improve the quality of education worldwide. And for this reason, I urge these schools to apply to the World's Best School Prizes in order to spotlight and celebrate inspirational stories of success in the education domain.”
Founder, Imani, Hope & Love Foundation & Former Govt Senator, Jamaica
A former Government Senator and Chief of Staff in the ‘Office of the Leader of the Opposition’ in Jamaica’s Parliament, Imani has demonstrated commitment in public leadership. As Co-Executive Director of Jamaica’s leading think tank, the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI), and Group Strategy Officer for the JMMB Group – a leading Caribbean financial services group, Duncan-Price maintains a consistent focus on inclusive growth.
With her passion for social innovation and impact, she recently established the ‘Imani, Grace and Love Foundation’ focusing on Women’s Economic Empowerment and Affordable Dignified Housing. As a development practitioner, Imani is also a Consultant with UN Women.
After her year as Miss Jamaica World 1995, Imani earned a BA from Wesleyan University and Masters in International Development from Harvard Kennedy School. This Young Global Leader 2015, Eisenhower Fellow 2018, Global Governance Forum Fellow 2021 and Vital Voices Public Leadership Fellow 2021 continues to drive change.
“While we face so many seemingly insurmountable challenges globally and locally, we have the capacity to find creative, equitable and sustainable solutions. To do that, ‘we need strong schools to build strong societies’ where everyone can thrive. The ‘World’s Best Schools’ competition is spot on in identifying and celebrating what works so more and more schools globally can be inspired and become strong and even more impactful in their countries.”
CEO & Founder, Education Journey, U.S.
Iona is a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur with 8+ years in Educational Technology and is the CEO and founder of Education Journey, an edtech hub for innovation in education. She holds a B.A and M.S in Psychology, an MBA and a masters degree in Policy, Organization and Leadership from the Stanford University School of Education. Iona is a founding member and president of Brazil at Silicon Valley, a non-profit organization that improves Brazil’s competitiveness through innovation and technology. Iona has also served as a Menlo Park School District’s teacher and today is part of the city council for Education. Mentor and advisor for Brazilian students and entrepreneurs, Iona is a Lemann Fellow and a recipient of the Lemann Foundation Start-Ed Award’14.
“Schools play a big role in creating the professionals of the future. In the 21st century, teachers are responsible not only for educating kids for this ever-changing world but mainly to make them excited to embark on a lifelong learning journey.”
Entrepreneurship Expert, U.S.
Managing Director South Eastern European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. Sitting on the Representative Committee of the European VC Association (InvestEurope).
Contracted by Said Business School Oxford University as one of their experts for their Entrepreneurship Center. Advisor for Harvard Innovation Lab. Speaker at conferences organized by top schools and contributor to various groups dedicated to stimulating innovation in Europe and beyond.
Sitting on boards of various for profit and not-for-profit organizations, and part of the jury for various global competitions.
Selected in 2012 among the top 100 women in tech in Europe by Girls in Tech London, Forbes Magazine recognized her many times as one of the most influential 50 women in Romania was included in several editions of top 100 Foreign Policy Romania.
Recognized as an Eisenhower Fellow in 2008, Mason Fellow at Harvard in 2009 and Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2014.
“The World’s Best School Prizes is not only an inspiring project, but also a vital one. At a time when we can witness the dramatic consequences of the lack of education, identifying, celebrating, and catalyzing the champions among the schools around the world is essential. I am grateful for this project which contributes significantly to strengthening educational institutions worldwide, and provides so much inspiration and hope for a better future.”
Founder & Managing Partner, GoodLight Capital, U.S.
Jacques-Philippe Piverger is Founder and Managing Partner of GoodLight Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm that backs mission-driven underrepresented founders who can scale for global impact.
Jacques-Philippe is an entrepreneur who harnesses private and public sector experiences to affect change where it is needed most on the globe. He has co-created and scaled a wide range of enterprises including MPOWERD Inc., REALICITY, and The Council of Urban Professionals.
Jacques-Philippe developed his business acumen in the finance world. He has been recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and by the Council on Foreign Relations as a Term Member. He also serves as a board member of the New York Economic Development Corporation’s Build NYC and the Industrial Development Agency.
Jacques-Philippe holds a bachelor's degree from Georgetown and a Master of Business Administration from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. He is an avid martial artist and practitioner of transcendental meditation.
“I believe education is one of the singular most important tools that can be provided to a person in order to unlock one’s full potential. Accordingly, it is a great privilege to join Vikas and the team at T4 Education in being a catalyst towards this end.”
President, University of Virginia, U.S.
James E. Ryan serves as the ninth president of the University of Virginia. Ryan previously served as dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before his deanship, Ryan was the Matheson & Morgenthau Distinguished Professor at the UVA School of Law. He also served as academic associate dean from 2005 to 2009 and founded and directed the school’s program in Law and Public Service. Ryan received his AB summa cum laude from Yale University and his JD from UVA, which he attended on a full scholarship and from which he graduated first in his class. After law school, Ryan clerked for William H. Rehnquist, the late Chief Justice of the United States, and then worked in Newark, N.J., as a public interest lawyer before entering into teaching. A leading expert on law and education, Ryan has written extensively about the ways in which law structures educational opportunity.
“Preparing a new generation to take on the world’s greatest challenges is difficult and necessary work. That’s why I am excited by the opportunity to recognize and elevate the world’s greatest schools—schools that not only recognize the unique circumstances and potential of each student they serve, but also the critical role they play in society. I welcome the chance to spotlight and celebrate schools that pursue a mission beyond test scores and that include a focus on collaboration, sustainability, and innovation. The best schools can transform lives, and I look forward to sharing their stories.”
CEO, Bite Back 2030, UK
James is CEO of Bite Back 2030, a youth-led movement co-founded by chef Jamie Oliver, working to ensure every child has access to nutrition and a healthy diet; at home, on the high street and at school. Previously, James served as CEO of Ambition Institute for eight years, developing a national network of exceptional educators leading schools in disadvantaged communities. He was a teacher in the inaugural cohort of Teach First and management consultant at Monitor Group. He is currently Chair of Angel Oak Academy in Peckham and a Trustee of E21C Multi-Academy Trust.
“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of nutrition for child health and current injustices in the food system. For many children, access to delicious, nutritious school food is the only good quality meal they will receive in the day. Many schools are shining examples, putting a decent, nutritious school meal at the heart of their school day and showing how it improves academic performance, health and brings pupils and teachers together to build culture and relationships. I would urge you to look at the excellent examples from our winners and see what you can do in your school.”
Managing Director, Cambridge Partnership for Education, UK
Jane Mann is Managing Director of the Cambridge Partnership for Education, working on system-level education reform programmes, supported by the collective knowledge and global network of the University of Cambridge.
Jane has worked in the education sector for over 25 years, implementing and managing successful programmes of change, working with complex and diverse stakeholder groups. Jane has also worked outside the education sector, consulting on regulatory frameworks, trade publishing strategy, communications and process redesign. Cambridge founder of the Learning Passport partnership with UNICEF, member of the Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement and BESA Executive Council member.
"Sharing best practice is one of the most powerful ways to enact change, and schools are the most powerful places for change to have long-term effect, on individual lives, and whole societies. That’s why I love these prizes, as they reward those already doing great things, and inspire others to pick up the baton on some of the most critical issues facing our planet."
Group CRO, AIA Group, Hong Kong
Ms. Jayne Plunkett is the Group Chief Risk Officer responsible for the Group’s risk and compliance functions. She is a director of various Group companies, including AIA Singapore Private Limited and The Philippine American Life and General Insurance (Philam Life) Company. Ms. Plunkett joined AIA in November 2019 from Swiss Re, where she was most recently Chief Executive Officer Reinsurance Asia, Regional President Asia and member of the Group Executive Committee. During her time with Swiss Re, she had held several senior positions including Head of Casualty Underwriting for Asia and Division Head Casualty Reinsurance. Prior to that, she was with GE Insurance Solutions. Ms. Plunkett holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Drake University. She is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.
President & CEO, Digital Promise Global, U.S.
Jean-Claude Brizard is President and CEO of Digital Promise Global, an organization focused on shaping the future of learning by bridging solutions across research, practice, and technology. He was Senior Advisor and Deputy Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where he focused on PK-16 education. He is former CEO of Chicago Public Schools and was Superintendent of Schools for Rochester, NY Schools. His experience includes 21 years as an educator and central office leader with NYC schools. He is a Fellow of the Broad Center, the Pahara Institute, and a member of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network.
"School systems exist to support the unit of change in education – the school. This is where the important interaction between teachers, learners, parents and curricular content happens. Finding and highlighting the world’s best schools is the best way to support the creation of more of these most important places."
Researcher, Global Education Innovation, Harvard Graduate School of Education, U.S.
Jiang Xueqin is a researcher at Harvard Graduate School of Education Global Education Innovation Initiative, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), and a member of the selection committee for the Global Teacher Prize. In 2008, he built and managed the international program at Shenzhen Middle School, a program that focused on teaching critical reading skills and collaboration. In 2010, he built and managed the international division at Peking University High School, a program that focused on teaching creativity and global citizenship. In 2014, he published a book – “Creative China” – that detailed his experiences building those two programs. His new book “Schools for the Soul” was published in China in June 2021, and discusses the science of success, learning, and creativity.
“I am honored to join ‘The World’s Best School Prizes’ Judging Academy to discover and celebrate unsung education endeavors. I am excited to contribute my expertise because I believe that ‘The World’s Best School Prizes’ is above all a global learning community that strives to dissect and discuss the DNA of great schools so that all schools can benefit.”
Global Corporate Citizenship Managing Director, Accenture, UK
Jill is responsible for setting the direction for corporate citizenship at Accenture globally and overseeing the execution of social impact strategy and programs across our business. Jill has management responsibility for Accenture’s corporate giving and associated non-profit partnerships and coalitions, and chairs Accenture’s Corporate Citizenship Council. She also serves as the President of the Accenture Global Giving Foundation.
Founder, Consortium for Educational Change (CEC), U.S.
Jo Anderson, Jr. is founder of the Consortium for Educational Change (CEC), a support system for school districts in IL working through collaborative relationships to systemically reform their districts and schools to continuously improve student learning. CEC has also worked with close to 200 school districts in other parts of the country. Jo helped organize CEC 35 years ago, and served as Executive Director from 1987-2005, while he was a staff person and on the management team of the Illinois Education Association-NEA. Jo served as Executive Director of the Illinois Education-Association-NEA from November of 2005 till March of 2009. In April of 2009, Jo joined the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. He left the Department of Education at the end of January, 2014, to return to CEC and served as Co-Executive Director from February 1, 2014, until June 30, 2020 when he retired. He continues to do consultant work on a part time basis with school districts in IL and across the country as well as serve on various boards working to improve educational policy and practice.
"I applaud the work of the World’s Best School Prizes initiative to identify best practices in schools throughout the world so that others can recognize and learn from these outstanding examples of efforts to promote excellence and equity for all students.”
Co-Founder, Teach First, UK
Jo is the co-founder of Teach First, the UK's largest graduate recruiter. He is also founding chair of STIR education and seven other NGOs with over $100 million annual turnover collectively. He is the only person to win the Chartered Management Institute four times for his books which include How to Lead, Global Teams, Resilience and Mindset of Success. He has been a partner at Accenture a brand manager at P&G, built a business in Japan and has worked with over 100 of the best organisations on our planet.
"Brilliant work is happening in schools all over the world. This Prize is a chance to recognise excellent teaching, teachers and leadership both within and beyond the world of education. The Prize is a chance to inspire best practices and next practices globally."
President & CEO, D2L, Canada
John Baker is the president and CEO of D2L. John founded D2L in 1999, at the age of 22, while a student at the University of Waterloo. He envisioned D2L as a global software company dedicated to changing the way the world learns.
John is a strong believer in community involvement and devotes both his personal and business efforts to supporting young entrepreneurs who are developing and applying technology to improve society worldwide. He was appointed to the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He is also a member (Entrepreneurs’ Circle) of the Business Council of Canada and the Business Higher Education Roundtable, is past chair of the board of Communitech, and is a board member of Canada’s National Ballet School. John has been awarded the Meritorious Service Cross, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year (Ontario for Software and Technology), the Young Alumni Achievement Medal from the University of Waterloo, and the Intrepid Entrepreneur of the Year in the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame.
John graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours B.A.Sc. in systems design engineering, with First Class Honours and an option in management sciences.
“D2L’s mission is to transform the way the world learns. Today, that mission is more important than ever, which is why we’re working relentlessly to improve the learning experience for educators, learners, families, and their communities. We all have one goal – to help students succeed. We’re proud to support T4 Education and work alongside them to honour schools that are making this world a better place through learning that is more accessible, equitable, and engaging for their students.”
CEO, Vitol Foundation, UK
John is the CEO of the Vitol Foundation, a grant-making organisation that supports development initiatives around the world, including in education. John has a background in international financial services, where he spent the bulk of his professional life until stepping back to pursue a variety of interests in 2011. In addition to completing an MSc in development studies/social anthropology at Birkbeck College, London in 2013, John served on the boards of a variety of UK-based charities. He also holds an MA from the Queen’s College Oxford.
“I am delighted to support this important initiative. Great schools provide inspiration that stretches far beyond their physical walls and these Prizes promote excellence in a variety of dimensions, not just the academic, which will resonate with teachers, pupils and parents as they negotiate the challenges of the future.”
Director & Senior Fellow, Center for Sustainable Development, Brookings Institution, U.S.
John W. McArthur is senior fellow and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at the Brookings Institution. He co-founded and co-chairs the 17 Rooms initiative, a new approach to catalyzing action for the Sustainable Development Goals. Outside of Brookings, he is also a senior adviser to the United Nations Foundation, a member of Policy Horizons Canada’s Deputy Minister Steering Committee, and a member of the Novata ESG Advisory Council.
He was previously the chief executive officer of Millennium Promise Alliance. Prior to that he served as the manager and deputy director of the U.N. Millennium Project.
He has also been a senior fellow with the Hong Kong-based Fung Global Institute, a faculty member at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, and policy director at the University’s Earth Institute. In 2007-08, he co-chaired the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice, sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation (no relation), and then co-founded the global network of Masters in Development Practice programs launched across five continents. In 2009 he was recognized as a Young Global Leader. In 2021 he was named one of Apolitical’s 100 most influential academics in government.
Director, Grants, Peter Cundill Foundation, UK
John is the Director of Grants for the Peter Cundill Foundation, a grantor focused on making unrestricted grants to charities improving the lives of children around the world. Before PCF, John founded and led PEAS, Africa’s largest network of non-state secondary schools. The organisation now employs over a thousand staff and educates 1% of secondary school students in Uganda. John’s career began as a maths teacher in South London with the Teach First programme. He now acts as an advisor to the Teach for All Catalyst Fund. John is also a Non-Executive Director of ‘ImpactEd’ – a London based social enterprise focused on helping schools efficiently analyse the effectiveness of education interventions.’
“It is often said that no education system can exceed the quality of its teachers and yet no teacher can fulfil their promise in a badly run school. The best schools create virtuous circles in which high expectations, community engagement and values driven leadership combine to ensure every child achieves. Creating a great school isn’t easy but there are few more important challenges and few things more worthy of celebration.”
Rector, Universidade Pedagógica de Maputo, Mozambique
Jorge Ferrão is a Socio-environmental Researcher and the Rector of the Universidade Pedagógica de Maputo (Pedagogical University). He developed part of his academic and professional work in the implementation and management of cross-border parks in Southern Africa, particularly in South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
Graduated in International Relations from the ISRI, in Maputo, he completed a Master’s Degree in Policy Analysis and Regional Studies from the University of Zimbabwe and, later, a PhD from the UFRRJ, in Brazil.
He has authored a number of publications. For seven years, he was the Rector of the Universidade Lúrio and, in 2011, he assumed the position of President of the AULP and Member of the Executive Committee of SARUA. In 2015 he assumed the position of Minister of Education and Human Development before assuming the position of Rector of the Pedagogical University in 2017.
“The pandemic has somehow altered our views about an effective school. The school was once a place for students to acquire academic mastery, and life skills and to be prepared to succeed in their next levels. Today we cherish schools which are also resilient and can adapt to a culture of ‘new normal’, as well as improve student outcomes in so-called atypical times. During times like this, it is indeed important to celebrate the institution of school, acknowledging that relationships with engaged educators can also serve to pave a way for recovery and renewal.
Initiatives like ‘The World’s Best School Prizes’ also aim at encouraging schools with characteristics essential to their effectiveness even in the ‘new normal’”.
Senior Director & Education Team Leader, Geneva Global, U.S.
Joshua Muskin is Senior Director and Education Team Leader at Geneva Global, an international philanthropy advising firm. Most recently, Dr. Muskin was a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and, before that, a Senior Education Officer at the Aga Khan Foundation. Over his 35-plus years in international development, he has worked with bilateral, multilateral, and non-governmental organizations and governments across over 50 countries. Focused on education and training, he has supported the attainment of quality, relevance, impact, and efficiency in the areas of teacher training, curriculum, pedagogy, gender equality and inclusion, community partnership, learning assessment, and vocational education, among others. Dr. Muskin’s has actively and effectively engaged at all levels of the education hierarchy, from policy-setting at the national level to classroom instruction, and all aspects in-between. Dr. Muskin completed his graduate studies in development planning at the University of Pennsylvania and has a B.A. from Dartmouth College.
“Too many schools suffer from poor access, endemic inequality and exclusion, dismal quality, and pervasive irrelevance. This situation matters well beyond the classroom, resulting in citizens who are ill-equipped to meet the world’s ever-evolving social, economic, and environmental challenges. The struggle to improve education is global and constant. Yet, the details of the struggle must suit the unique characteristics of each community and school. Unique excellence is what the “World’s Best School Prizes” promotes and rewards, and this is what I am honored to support by joining the initiative’s illustrious Judging Academy. I look forward to learning from schools around the world the unique education solutions they create to ready their students for the world that awaits them. Further, I am eager to learn how education systems and their partners can liberate the creativity and initiative of individual schools and their teachers to ready their students to thrive and serve.”
Partner, Retail & Performance Improvement, Bain & Company, Singapore
Kanaiya Parekh is a Partner in Bain & Company’s Retail and Performance Improvement practices. A customer orientated and results driven leader with 20+ years end-to-end retail experience including global sourcing, merchandising and operations with Tesco and Target. Whilst at Bain he has led functional improvements and full potential transformations for retailers in Europe, SEA, Middle East, India, Australia, USA and China. He lives in Singapore with his wife and 2 daughters.
“Education is the first step to solving our global challenges. Children are the future, and schools are the foundation to enhancing our future generations. ‘The World’s Best School Prizes’ gives schools and teachers the recognition and praise they richly deserve. I fully support this initiative as it highlights the significant role of education, teachers, and schools for our global community and future leaders to flourish.”
Principal, BillingsConnects, U.S.
Dr. Karen Billings is currently the Principal of BillingsConnects and a Board member for education start-ups and non-profit organizations. She was formerly the Vice President of SIIA’s Ed Tech Industry Network, where she drove strategic direction, programs and initiatives for company members focused on K-12 and Higher Education technology products and services. Dr. Billings has experience not only as an educator, but also within industry in management, product development, marketing and sales roles at start-ups and large companies. She taught in public and private institutions via face-to face and online courses. She has authored books and articles for education journals and spoken frequently at education conferences. She received her Doctorate at Columbia University Teachers College, where she specialized in the uses and evaluation of technology in education. She was elected to the Education Publishing Hall of Fame and given the EdTech Digest Leadership “Visionary” Award.
“Iam so pleased to serve as a judge this year for the World’s Best School Prizes and to help identify the schools with innovative practices. These schools deserve to be recognized and have a spotlight shown on them. T4 Education is to be commended for leading this initiative and highlighting the schools with exemplary leadership and innovation. By sharing their best practices, the Program can impact schools with similar goals, but need the support of a community where they can learn from each other. Sharing their expertise will truly benefit the students worldwide.”
Executive Director, Infosys Foundation, U.S.
Kate is the Executive Director of the Infosys Foundation USA, with a mission to expand K12 computer science and maker education in communities of need across the USA and build digital skills for the future. Prior, she was a Director at KPMG LLP where she led strategic engagements in sustainable development and social impact. Prior to KPMG, Kate was the Country Manager for Mexico and Central America at the USTDA and worked for Senator Richard G. Lugar on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She earned her BA from Wake Forest University and a MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Kate serves on the Board of Mary’s Meals USA which feeds children globally in their place of education.
“I’m honored to participate in this awards program which is designed to bring global distinction to schools in whose fabric lies a wholehearted commitment to innovatively transform education and cultivate the ethical and inspired minds the 21st century needs to achieve inclusive greatness!”
Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in Psychology, Temple University & Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, U.S.
Kathy Hirsh-Pasek is the Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in Psychology at Temple University and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her research examines the development of early language and literacy, the role of play in learning and learning and technology. She is the author of 16 books and hundreds of publications, has won numerous awards in her field and was inducted into the National Academy of Education. Vested in translating science for lay and professional audiences, her Becoming Brilliant, released in 2016 was on the NYTimes Best Seller List in Education. Her forthcoming book, Making Schools Work will be released in October of 2022.
“We must re-imagine education for the 21st Century so that all children have the opportunity to thrive. By celebrating the best schools in the world, we offer models of how to rethink education for our time.”
Engagement Officer, People Action Network, YPO, U.S.
Komal Kaul is the Engagement Officer of the People Action Network, a social impact network in YPO. She is currently a team member of one of the Xprize Rapid Reskilling Finalist team, which is focused on skilling underemployed and unemployed in the MA Area and beyond.
Previously Komal was the Founding member and Co-chair of the Indian American International Chamber of Commerce, DMV Tristate Chapter, and was responsible for all operations and growth of the IAICC. Komal also founded and was the Executive Officer of the Sam India Project, an organization that applies proven and practical solutions to reduce acute malnutrition in India. For the past several years, she has worked with food scientists and non-profits in the United States, as well as leading doctors, government officials, and Members of Parliament in India on the severe issue of malnutrition amongst Indian children. In addition, she is an advisor for a few non-profit organizations, including Foster America and Street Level Awareness Program (SLAP)- India. Komal has a Masters in Physics from the University of Kanpur, India, and a Masters in Biotechnology from the University of Maryland.
“Ifirmly believe that education is the antidote to generational poverty. In order for it to continue to have this uplifting effect there needs to be constant innovation in education to support the ever evolving world. Identifying and celebrating the world’s best schools that have found ways to create productive and positive learning environments is an effective way to propagate those innovations. Other schools worldwide can learn and adopt these methods thus enabling them to continue to design and develop great environments for all students to thrive.”
Creative Director, Lama Hourani Studio, Jordan
Lama is a cultural entrepreneur and the Creative Director of Lama Hourani Studio.
“Our schools mirror our societies, they need to be a melting pot of creativity, safety and knowledge. Without a safe place for children to celebrate their uniqueness, diversity & cultural differences and values, our society remains flawed and fractured so will are values and ideals of the world we want our kids to grow in. A healthy educational system produces solid generations for a better future for all.”
Chairman, Asia Philanthropy Circle, Singapore
Laurence Lien is Chairman of the Asia Philanthropy Circle (APC), a membership-based platform for Asian philanthropists to exchange, learn and collaborate. Laurence is also the Chairman of Lien Foundation, a family foundation that has become well-regarded for its forward-thinking approach in the fields of education, eldercare and the environment. Laurence was the CEO of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre in Singapore from 2008-2014, and was the Chairman of the Community Foundation of Singapore from 2013-2019. Prior to his work in the non-profit sector, Laurence served in the Singapore Government.
“Education is in crisis, and even more so with the learning loss during COVID. We need to think differently about how we run schools. Hence, I strongly support The World’s Best School Prizes. Change movements only gain momentum when we spotlight the best global role models, learn what makes them great, and be inspired to change.”
Visiting Associate Professor, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Lee was the Managing Director at the World Economic Forum responsible for its Annual Meeting in Davos from 2009 until 2021. He is currently a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Geneva where he is teaching two new courses on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Disruptive Technologies and examining their impact on secondary education. Lee has also served in senior advisory and consulting roles at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Lee is on the board of the EAT Foundation, a science-based global platform for food system transformation based in Oslo. He is also launching the Villars Institute in the Swiss alpine village of Villars-sur-Ollon, which has a long history in intercultural education. The Villars Institute will promote intergenerational collaboration to accelerate the transition to a net zero economy and to restore the health of our planet.
“The World’s Best School Prizes is a timely and meaningful initiative to recognize the importance of our schools locally but also the importance of education globally. With the pandemic, we have all learned that institutions matter to our communities, and none more so than our schools.”
Editorial Director, Teach Middle East Magazine, UAE
Leisa Grace is the Editorial Director of Teach Middle East Magazine. She has been working in education for the past twenty three years as a teacher, Head of Department, Education Advisor and School Leader. Leisa Grace has worked in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. In 2014 she joined Teach Middle East Magazine, where she shares her passion for education through her writing and editing of the print and online editions of the magazine. Leisa is also the host of the Teach Middle East Podcast.
“In an era when the mainstream media would have you believe that schools are failing and that students are not being served well, a prize such as the ‘ World’s Best School Prizes’ will go a long way to counter that rhetoric. The prize will amplify the voices of those working relentlessly to provide the best for students around the world. I believe that whatever we focus on grows. So focussing on what is right and good in schools will only ignite the multiplier effect, and we will begin to see the good practice spread. I am delighted to be a part of this movement and will always work to ensure that the excellent work that schools and educators are doing is continually celebrated.”
CEO, Aliat Universidades, Mexico
Leo Schlesinger has extensive international experience having worked in the US, UK, Chile, Brazil and Mexico in Financial Institutions, Private Equity, Industrial, Retail and for the past 7 seven Years as the CEO of Aliat Universidades, one of the largest Higher Education groups in Mexico with over 50,000 students and operations in 15 states in 30 campuses as well as Online.
Leo has an MBA from London Business School and additional courses at Harvard and Yale. He is a member of the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders community, was the chairman of the WEF Global Agenda Council on Natural Capital in Davos, is a member and sits in the board of the Young Presidents Organization in Mexico as well as in several other company and NGO boards.
“Education changes lives, and schools are the key”
Director & Dean, UCL Institute of Education (IOE), UK
Li Wei is Director and Dean of the UCL Institute of Education (IOE). His work concerns the education and development of bilingual and multilingual children, especially those of immigrant and ethnic minority background and the wellbeing of ethnic minority families and communities. Before joining the IOE in 2015, he was Pro-Vice Master of Birkbeck College, University of London, and between 2002 and 2007, he was Head of School of Education at Newcastle University.
“I am honoured to be on the Judging Academy of these new Prizes for schools. I am looking forward to hearing the success stories from schools across the world about their innovation, how they overcame adversity, and their contributions to the community, to healthy living, and to environmental sustainability.”
Group CEO, Oxford International Education Group, UK
Lil is Group CEO of Oxford International Education Group. Under Lil’s leadership, the company has significantly expanded its academic provision, both organically and through acquisition. Lil has over 20 years’ senior management and leadership experience in education (K-12, Higher Education, Apprenticeships, FE), and was previously International Director at BPP University, where she established overseas delivery centres in six countries. Lil is an advisory board member of IDP Connect, a founding and advisory board member of Business Women in Education, and a Non-Executive Director of Corndel. In 2021, she won Business Woman of the Year at the Education Investor Awards.”
“At a time when the world is at cross roads. We have environmental, social, political and economic challenges that will require significant change, schools are critical environments where our future leaders, game changers develop their critical thinking, their minds, build their knowledge base, confidence and their skills. I certainly want to be part of supporting, and celebrating schools, their staff, their innovation and initiatives. This Prize event is a great opportunity for schools around the world to share their achievements and as such, not only seek recognition but also share experiences and learn from each other.”
COO, DeepMind, UK
Lila Ibrahim blends technical expertise with creative leadership in her role as DeepMind’s COO. Originally a microprocessor engineer, she has helped grow some of the world’s leading technology companies including Intel, where she held a series of global roles, venture firm Kleiner Perkins and Coursera, where she was the first executive hire and helped bring education to millions of people around the world. At DeepMind, Lila oversees both technology and organisational infrastructure including Engineering, Operations, and People. She is the co-founder and Chair of education technology non-profit Team4Tech and has previously served on the Board of Gannett, helping it become the largest US print media company. Her exceptional impact has been recognised by a Henry Crown Fellowship from the Aspen Institute and the Anita Borg Institute Award for Social Impact.
“I’ve seen first hand the critical role schools and teachers play in raising the quality of education across the world in innovative ways. I’m delighted to be part of T4 Education’s Judging Academy for ‘The World’s Best School Prizes’, and I’m eager to celebrate – and learn from – the institutions behind the next generation of global thinkers, scientists and leaders!”
CEO, Center of Innovation for Brazilian Education-CIEB, Brazil
Lucia Dellagnelo holds a Doctor´s degree in education from Harvard University and currently is the CEO of the Center of Innovation for Brazilian Education-CIEB. She was a former State Secretary for Sustainable Development in Santa Catarina and sits on the Board of several non-profit organizations. Former president of the International Jury of UNESCO ICT in Education Prize, Dr. Dellagnelo was honored with the National Educational Merit Award granted by the President of Brazil for her contributions to public education.
“Schools are where education comes to life and where innovations in teaching and learning take place. It is very important to identify and honor the work of school communities that strive to provide opportunities for the cognitive, emotional, and social development of children and youth. The World´s Best School Prizes will shed light on schools that will serve as inspiration for educators all over the world!”
Chief Executive, CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education), UK
Lucy Lake is Chief Executive of CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education), dedicated to supporting girls’ education and women’s leadership, with a focus in sub-Saharan Africa. Lucy joined CAMFED in 1994 and has overseen the scale-up of its model which to date has benefited over seven million young people and brought through a new generation of 178,000 women leaders in the CAMFED Association. Lucy is a founding member and former Co-Chair of the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative, and on the High-Level Steering Committee of the Education Commission’s Workforce Initiative. Under Lucy’s tenure, CAMFED has been recognised by the OECD for best practice in taking development innovation to scale. Alongside Angeline Murimirwa, Lucy was awarded the 2020 Yidan Prize for Education Development.
Founding Partner, Appian Education Ventures & former Deputy Minister of Education, Colombia
Luis Garcia de Brigard is the Founding Partner of Appian Education Ventures. He previously served as Deputy Minister of Education of Colombia where he led efforts to reform the teaching profession and promote school empowerment. During his tenure, the education budget surpassed that of defense for the first time in the nation's history.
He is the co-founder of Teach for Colombia and has served as a board member and advisor for numerous international organizations including Harvard University’s Global Education Innovation Initiative, LASPAU, Greater Share, and the Dean's Leadership Council at the Harvard School of Education. He was the Chairman of the National Pedagogic University, Colombia’s largest teachers ‘college.
Luis holds a Master of Education from Harvard University, and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Schools are the ultimate expression of societal commitment to equity, opportunity, and a sustainable future. I am honored to be a part of The World’s Best School Prizes’ commitment to celebrating school communities around the world."
Non-Executive Chairman, Honoris United Universities, U.S.
As Non-Executive Chairman and the prior CEO of Honoris United Universities, Luis Lopez has notably contributed to this leading pan-African network of private higher education institutions. A passionate believer in Honoris’ core value of Education for Impact, his career in education has been defined by widening access to young and working adults across various continents.
His professional arc covers healthcare, insurance, banking, and post-secondary education and includes building the leading regional platforms for Laureate International Universities and for Aetna Inc. His role as an independent director, including at AVENU Learning, furthers this trajectory.
Luis’ understanding of education captures the aspiration of students and their families for success and transformation.
This singular impact of learning on an individual and on a society’s wellbeing reflects Luis’ participation in the World’s Best School Prizes. In recognizing five categories of impact, among a diversity of institutions globally, the community ecosystem will build momentum and create wherewithal for best practices and enablement. Schools are deep, critical infrastructure and these prizes celebrate and elevate achievements that will drive numerous future generations.
Visiting Professor-in-Practice, London School of Economics, UK
Lutfey Siddiqi is a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics where he is also an Emeritus Governor and member of the advisory boards of the Systemic Risk Centre, the Inclusion Initiative, and the foreign policy think-tank LSE IDEAS. He is also an Adjunct Professor and advisory board member of the Centre for Governance and Sustainability (CGS) at the National University of Singapore. He is a governor of UWC Atlantic College and former governor of the New City College Group, London.
He was previously Global Head of Emerging Markets for Foreign Exchange, Rates & Credit at UBS Investment Bank where he was also the founding head of UBS Knowledge Network. Prior to that, he was a Managing Director at Barclays Bank in charge of a business-line across Asia Pacific.
Lutfey was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2012 where he serves on their global future councils, and has contributed to the official Davos program for several years.
Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, American Express & President, American Express Foundation, U.S.
Madge Thomas is the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at American Express, where she helps set and execute the vision for global corporate social responsibility (CSR)—including AMEX’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy. Thomas also heads the American Express Foundation, where she oversees philanthropic giving, partnerships and programs.
Before American Express, Thomas was the Head of Innovative Finance, Corporate and Philanthropic partnerships at UNICEF’s Education Cannot Wait Fund. In that capacity, she was responsible for securing partnerships with companies and governments to drive, impact and measure investments in learning access, innovation, and equity.
Prior to her role at the UN, Thomas was Vice President of Global Policy & Advocacy at Global Citizen, where she developed policy strategies and engaged multinational corporations in CSR, cause-giving, advocacy, impact and reporting aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Leading an international team, her efforts mobilized top celebrities, world leaders and millions of consumers to help secure $10B+ and high-level policy commitments on financial inclusion, education, equality, climate action and waste reduction.
Thomas previously spent eight years in Australia as a lawyer and diplomat, specializing in regulatory issues, equality and human rights. She serves as a mentor for the Obama Foundation Global Scholars program and a board advisor to international think tanks and non-profits including the Australian Institute of International Affairs and the Cambridge International Film Festival.
Award-winning Teacher, Canada
Maggie MacDonnell, aka “The Million Dollar Teacher” is the winner of the Global Teacher Prize. Maggie was chosen from over 20,000 nominated teachers from 179 countries. Her work has spanned diverse communities and regions including working with Congolese and Burundian refugees, young Tanzanians living with HIV/AIDS, to Indigenous Inuit youth living in the Canadian Arctic. She brings a community development approach to her teaching style, cares deeply about removing gendered barriers in learning environments, and believes education can be used to “de-colonize”. She loves movement and using physical activity as a tool to engage with youth.
“Iwas waiting for this day to come. The announcement of the World’s Best School Prizes is the ultimate MIC DROP in the education world. Schools are the heart of our communities. Schools are the centres of our economies. Schools underpin the wellbeing of our youth So, it is about time we celebrate them on a global scale!”
Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng began her term of office as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town on 1 July 2018. She holds a PhD in Mathematics Education from the University of the Witwatersrand and is one of leading scholars in mathematics education globally. She has over 80 research papers and five edited volumes published. She has been invited to deliver over 60 keynote/plenary talks at international conferences, and as a visiting professor in universities around the world. Kgethi, as she is popularly known, has won numerous awards for her research and community work, including the Order of the Baobab (Silver) conferred on her by the President of South Africa in April 2016. In August 2014 CEO magazine named her the most influential woman academic in Africa, in 2020 she was included in Forbes’ inaugural list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Africa. She has two honorary Doctorates: an Honorary Doctorate in Science conferred on her in July 2019 by the University of Bristol in recognition of her leadership role in mathematics education in South Africa and an honorary Doctorate in Education conferred on her by the University of Ottawa on 7th June this year for her inspiring leadership and passionate public advocacy for mathematics education that has had a catalytic effect in South Africa. Kgethi is a fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and the African Academy of Sciences (AAS). She is a philanthropist who in 2004 founded the Adopt-a-learner Foundation and since 2018 donates 20% of her monthly salary to a scholarship fund to support financially needy postgraduate women students at the University of Cape Town.
“I support the World’s Best School Prizes because schooling is important in any society – it is the basic foundation of knowledge being intentionally and purposefully shared with children. Schools can benefit individuals and communities, so it makes sense that a whole country will do better when they have good schools. Any country that wants to reduce poverty and gender inequality must invest in schools.”
Head, Forum of Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum, Switzerland
Mariah Levin is the Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders, an independent foundation of the World Economic Forum. For over a decade, she has contributed to generating positive impact at the nexus of public and private sectors. Her professional and academic expertise spans strategy consulting, program and partnerships management, and mobilizing multi stakeholder action in socially-motivated initiatives.
“Education is at a critical stage. The COVID context has stretched our traditional learning systems and supports; parents, communities and employers look to schools and teachers to fill a myriad of emergent health, safety, nutrition and other challenges that far exceed the confines of traditional education. Schools are facing greater pressure to own student learning and success more completely, provide individualized learning paths for students across a wide spectrum of circumstances, and adapt to new contextual norms. The World’s Best School Prizes shine a light on the everyday heroes who have taken up the responsibility of stewarding and educating our children at this moment – with imagination, generosity and fortitude, the teachers and administrators comprising these schools are perhaps the greatest assets to our civilization’s future.”
CEO, Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation, Brazil
Mariana Luz is CEO at Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation. Prior to that, Mariana held the position of President of Embraer Foundation in the US and Embraer Institute in Brazil, as well as Head of Government Affairs, Sustainability and CSR at Embraer. She also worked as a Professor of International Relations at different private universities in Brazil for over a decade. Between 2003 and 2011, she acted as Institutional Director at the Brazilian Center for International Relations, a major foreign policy think tank in Brazil. In 2015, she was appointed by the World Economic Forum a Young Global Leader; in 2014 she was appointed a Young Leader for the US and Italy International Program; and in 2011 she was part of the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), promoted by the US Department of State. In the past 15 years, Mariana has integrated boards of directors of various businesses associations and non-profit organizations in Brazil, US and Europe. Her education background is international relations, with a MBA in international diplomacy and Masters of Art on History.
“Schools have always been at the core of human development. After such unprecedented times, its role must rise stronger. Schools serve as a powerful tool to activate all of our villas around the world, to develop the current and the next generations, to build a society with the necessary skill set, talent and commitment to face the challenges ahead. Yes, it is essential that schools are open and safely filled with students. However, above all, school´s main duty is to provide quality education, because that is undeniably the best ingredient to guarantee humanity´s progress at its full potential.”
Explorer, Speaker & Founder, Ireland
Unbroken by blindness in 1998, Mark Pollock became an adventure athlete competing in ultra-endurance races across deserts, mountains, and the polar ice caps including being the first blind person to race to the South Pole.
In 2010, a fall from a second story window nearly killed him. Mark broke his back and the damage to his spinal cord left him paralysed. Now he is on a new expedition, this time to cure paralysis in our lifetime.
Chairman of Collaborative Cures and Founder of the global running series Run in the Dark, Mark was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader, is on the Board of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (USA) and is a Wings for Life Ambassador (Europe).
“As we face into the challenges of the 21st Century, we know that creativity and solving problems at an individual, group and systems level will determine how successful we are at navigating a path beyond them. Schools around the world will contribute to our collective ability to do that and ’The World’s Best School Prizes’ aims to celebrate their work in innovation, community collaboration, supporting healthy lives and overcoming adversity, and environmental action. I am excited to witness the impact that the prizes have as we celebrate schools in the coming years.”
Head of Foundation, Atlassian, Australia
Mark Reading is the Head of Foundation at Atlassian. He brings a combination of extensive commercial and philanthropic experience. He joined Atlassian in 2016 following a 33-year career with PwC, including more than 20 years as a Partner. Mark was PwC Australia’s Corporate Responsibility Partner and a member of PwC’s Global Corporate Responsibility Board from 2011 to 2016. The Atlassian Foundation has become one of Australia’s leading Foundations because in the early days of Atlassian the two co-founders, Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes, pledged to use 1% of company equity, profit, employee time and product to tackle social issues.
“I believe quality education is a fundamental human right and we all have a responsibility to play our part in ensuring all children receive the best possible education. Education systems must innovate and adapt at an unprecedented rate to address a number of urgent challenges: enrolling those who have been persistently out of school, ensuring students develop strong foundational skills, and empowering young people with the knowledge and skills they will need for the future. I expect ‘The World’s Best School Prizes’ to inspire and support innovation in education. I am delighted to be a member of the Judging Academy.”
Award-winning Educator, U.S.
Mark Sparvell is a global award winning educator with a passion for the role technology can play in humanizing learning. Mark currently supports the work of Microsoft Education through research and transformation initiatives.
Social and Emotional Learning is important to Mark and he is an advisor for Goldie Hawn’s MindUp Foundation, Ambassador for the EI Society of Australia, BETT Global Advisory Board member and founding Steering Committee member for Karanga.
Mark established the SELinEdu Community which is now over 12000 strong and he leads this with Committee for Children.
“Schools are more than places where young people go to learn, these are the places where society is created and re-created and accordingly innovative schools should be identified, celebrated and, importantly, learnt from. This initiative, the ‘World’s Best School Prize’ places a premium on the features which matter most but can be the hardest to measure- sustainability, resilience, well-being, partnerships and innovation….key features which help promote civic engagement and civil societies for the future.”
Senior Fellow & Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University, U.S.
Sir Mark V. Vlasic KCHS, KCEM is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, a Senior Fellow at Georgetown’s Institute for Law, Science & Global Security, and its Institute of International Economic Law, and leads the international practice at Madison Law & Strategy Group. He serves as an outside pro bono ITAC advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and is an Executive Producer with CBS Television Studios, as his international work was the inspiration for the character “Danny” on the action-adventure social impact series BLOOD & TREASURE on CBS and AmazonPrime.
As a public sector specialist at the World Bank Group, Mark served as the first head of operations of the StAR Secretariat, a joint United Nations-World Bank presidential initiative to help developing countries recover stolen assets from past dictators.
Before joining the Bank, he served as a White House Fellow/special assistant to the Secretary of Defense and advisor to the President’s Special Envoy to Sudan and was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service by Secretary Robert Gates.
Prior to his government service, Mark practised law at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and served on the Slobodan Milosevic and Srebrenica genocide prosecution trial teams at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. He has taught the Iraqi judges that tried Saddam Hussein, served on the U.S. Delegation to the Pan Am 103 “Lockerbie” terrorist bombing trial in the Netherlands, advised the Director-General of UNESCO, provided commentary to BBC, CNN, FOX, CBS, Al Jazeera English, and NPR, and is published widely.
Mark studied business, theology and government at Georgetown University while on an Army ROTC scholarship, and received his Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Georgetown Law Center. He holds Certificates in International Law from The Hague Academy of International Law, conducted post-doctorate research at Universiteit Leiden as a NAF-Fulbright Scholar to the Netherlands, and completed the World Economic Forum’s executive leadership programs at Oxford and Harvard.
As a U.S. Army officer, he has been attached to Capitol Hill and the Defense Attaché Office at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.
Knighted by the Vatican, Mark is a Fellow with the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations, a member of the Bars of California, the District of Columbia, and the Supreme Court of the United States, and is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, Mark serves as Chairman of the Kinecta FCU Advisory Board.
“It is said that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and for so many around the world, a core aspect of that village is the learning, growth and opportunity provided by exceptional schools.”
Founder, Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs), South Africa
Marlon Parker has a passion for technology and innovation that has influenced his work and led to being the founder of the Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs). RLabs is a global movement that has inspired replication of the model in 23 countries and impacted more than 50 Million people since its inception. He has been listed as one of the 100 World Class South Africans, an alumni of President Obama’s Young African Leaders initiative, an honorary faculty member of the International School of Digital Transformation, Non-resident Fellow at NYU and an adjunct faculty member at UCT Graduate School of Business. He was also selected as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Dangote Fellow and an Ashoka Fellow for his work in Social Entrepreneurship. He was also awarded the Schwab Foundation Social Innovator of 2022.
“Schools are more than just places of learning but growing up it has always been a beacon of HOPE. The impact of a good school not just changes the lives of the children at the school but also lives of those in the local community. I've always believed that I am who I am because of the sacrifices of those at the schools that I attended. So I'm really honoured to be part of the World's Best School Prizes as we celebrate these institutions that leave lasting legacies in our communities.”
Investor & Entrepreneur, Peru
Martin Aspillaga is an investor and entrepreneur with a passion for innovation and positive impact. He collaborates with intrepid founders, visionary investors and strategic allies to identify great innovative ideas and transform them in successful companies that improve the lives of millions. He is the founder of several enterprises, among them Salkantay Ventures, an early stage impact investments fund focused in Latin America, Blum, a company that seeks to bring investment access and power to the people, and UPAL, a Peruvian university. He previously worked in PE with Enfoca and consulting with Bain.
He tries to give back and continue building a strong professional ecosystem by serving on Boards, performing as Member, Panelist, Mentor, Instructor, and Professor. He believes in the value of building a network of collaboration for life focused on shared values and dreams for Peru, Latin America and the world. Martin is an active participant in several organizations and NGOs as YGL, G50 and Kullancha.
“The world needs to overcome many challenges, like achieving environmental sustainability and reaching healthy lives for all. Schools must be the place where teachers, families and communities at large partner and collaborate to help raise the next generation of innovators, community leaders and responsible citizens that will overcome adversity and solve the world’s challenges. The World’s Best School Prizes will showcase schools that have risen as examples for their communities, not only to help them gain the resources to move further along, but to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”
Professor Practice, University of Johannesburg
Mary Metcalfe first taught as an unqualified teacher in 1974 in the field of remedial reading. She has a Teachers Certificate, a Bachelor of Education, a Master’s in Education, and a Diploma in Specialised Education. She worked in teacher education at the Johannesburg College of Education and at the University of the Witwatersrand from 1982 to 1994. In the 1980’s she was involved in the anti-apartheid work of the mass democratic movement in education, and used her sabbatical in 1992/1993 to work on the development and consultation on education policy for the ANC. She was elected as a member of the African National Congress in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature in the first democratic elections in 1994 and was then appointed as the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Education in Gautengand after as MEC for Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land until 2004 when she joined the University of the Witwatersrand as Head of the School of Education before joining the new department of Higher Education and Training as Director General in 2009. She also worked at the Development Bank of Southern Africa as Lead Sector Specialist: Social Infrastructure where she convened a broad forum to conceptualise a Programme to Improve Learning Outcomes on scale. She serves on several Boards in the non-for-profit sector and on advisory structures of Government, sits on the National Planning Commission, and is a professor of Practice at University of Johannesburg.
“Celebrating the stories of excellent work done by schools shares the learning journeys and can inspire others to excel.”
Senior Education Business Leader, Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa, HP Inc., UAE
Mayank Dhingra leads the Education Business Vertical for Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa at HP Inc. His role is to provide commercial headship, strategic direction, solution frameworks, social-capital curation and thought leadership to the Education business line.
Mayank works with National Education Ministries to support country level education policy and to evangelize HP’s education proposition. He has spearheaded the regional development of HP’s Remote Learning Program, Smart Classroom Ecosystem, Innovation Labs, Digital Capability Program for Educators, and Pedagogy Consultancy Frameworks for governments and regulators. He was previously with GEMS Education where he headed the Commercial line for a network of 50 Schools in MENASA region. In addition, he sat on the board of two schools. Prior to GEMS he was with the Emirates Group for nearly 15 years in two stints and his last role was Head of Global Technology Partnerships where he led a portfolio of over 450 vendor relations and program managed large scale collaboration projects with tech partners. His preceding role was Head of Customer Experience for dnata (Emirates Group).
Mayank is a sought-after keynote speaker, author and moderator on EdTech subjects.
Mayank is a certified Yoga teacher as well and the founder of a non-profit entity – Yogasmriti. All proceeds from the initiative are directed to charitable causes supporting children in need. Mayank’s philanthropic work has been recognised at regional and international forums.
“Education is currently going through a period of creative destruction and being assailed by incredible external and internal forces that are catalysing innovation. We have seen fabulous instances of school leaders and educators rising up to the challenge and keeping the academic year alive for their wards in refreshingly new ways. We need to felicitate and recognize these achievements which will inspire and motivate the education fraternity across the globe. And I can’t think of a more fitting way to shine a spotlight than the ‘World’s Best School Prizes’”.
Global Education Advocate, Philanthropy Executive & Impact Advisor, UAE
Maysa Jalbout is a recognized leader in international development and philanthropy. She is deeply committed to supporting the most vulnerable people in the world through her expertise in education, jobs and technology. She is a Special Advisor on the SDGs to ASU and MIT and a Non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution. She was the founding CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education and the Queen Rania Foundation and head of the Education unit at Global Affairs Canada. Maysa serves on the boards of Generation – You Employed and Alfanar Venture Philanthropy and the advisory board of the Global Business Coalition for Education and the Edtech Hub. She is the cofounder of the podcast – The Impact Room.
“School closures due to the pandemic have heightened our awareness about the critical role of schools to our nations. Schools are much more than where our children gain literacy and numeracy. Schools are where our future leaders are born, compassionate citizens are cultivated, and communities are strengthened. I believe schools ought to be assessed for their contribution to society as much as for their national exam scores. I am thrilled the World’s Best School Prizes will recognize the best schools for their positive impact. I am pleased to contribute to this timely initiative by joining the Judging Academy.”
Founder & CEO, Learning Possibilities, UK
Dr Mehool Sanghrajka MBE has dedicated over 20 years of his career to the educational sector. He has run education divisions of large public companies. His latest venture, Learning Possibilities is a leading cloud-based company and Microsoft Global Partner serving education and government segments globally with a vision of meeting the needs of learners in the digital age. In 2018, he was awarded an MBE honour for services to Education and the Jain Faith.
“Itruly believe that the current pandemic has emphasised how we need effective technology to expand our reach beyond physical boundaries. We must raise the profile of schools that do this well and amplify their excellence. The ‘World Best School Prizes’ exemplify transformation and becomes a beacon for others.”
Former Secretary of State for Innovation and Quality in Education at the National Ministry of Education, Argentina
Mercedes Miguel is the former Secretary of State for Innovation and Quality in Education at the National Ministry of Education, Argentina.
Currently, she serves on Nord Anglia Education's Advisory Board and is also working at Argentina's River Plate Football Club's school, where she designed an educational model for high-performance athletes.
She studied Journalism in the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina and took education courses in Harvard University, Singularity University, Schumacher College and recently at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. She also studied Education Information at the National University of Lanús, Argentina, and received a scholarship for New Technologies and Learning in Chile, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.
Before taking on her role as Secretary, she was a teacher and since 2010 served in public administration as General Director of Education Planning and Innovation in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. In this position, she led the Teachers’ School creating a new vision based on innovative practices. Furthermore, she led the creation of the first Curriculum for Secondary Level School; she also oversaw the City’s Teacher Training School, introducing innovation in teaching practices, and policies focused on the student learning outcomes.
At the Secretariat of Innovation, she created the National School of Government for Education Policies to leave human capacity at provincial level, leaded the transformation of digital education, teacher training, the implementation of new framework for Secondary level schools, and the National Plan ‘Learning Mathematics’, towards improving Math at National level.
She represented Argentina at the OECD Education Committee and was also a member of the Steering Committee at UNESCO 2030 for two periods. Furthermore, she was designated Chair of the Education Working Group during the Argentine Presidency for the G20 during 2018 leading both national and international agendas.
“I really believe in the power of teams, communities, and collaborative learning. Schools are pure soil for the roots of any society, local and global. Educators are game changers. We all commit to the most important part of any education system: the kids learning magic.”
CEO, Van Leer Group, Netherlands
Michael Feigelson has worked for the Van Leer Group since 2007. Prior to his current role as CEO, he served as the Executive Director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation from 2014–2019. Before this he held several other positions within the Foundation including programme director, programme manager and programme officer. Before Van Leer, Michael spent most of his career serving grassroots and non-profit organisations in Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe working with homeless and displaced children and families. Early in his career he also spent time as a business analyst at McKinsey & Company. He has degrees from Wesleyan and Princeton Universities, was honoured as a Thomas J. Watson fellow and was a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Behaviour. Michael loves to write, swim, bike, take photographs and make music with his daughter.
“Schools aren’t just places where learning takes place. They are a central part of the social fabric of society. They are places that help define our collective identities and shape how our communities work. This should be celebrated more, which is why I think this initiative is so important and am grateful to be able to contribute.”
CEO, Sustain Labs, UAE
Dr. Miniya Chatterji is CEO of Sustain Labs, an enterprise that takes on the exclusive management of all sustainability related services of organizations in its portfolio such that it transforms organizations into becoming environmentally, socially, and financially responsible.
Miniya is also Adjunct Professor at Sciences Po Paris and is on the Steering Group for Sustainability United Nations Global Compact India, and the World Steel Sustainability Expert Group. She is also a member of 100 Women in Hedge Funds.
She has won numerous awards, such as one of 50 Innovative Leaders by the World Innovation Congress, India’s most influential business leaders of the year under 40 years of age by Business World, and ‘Most influential Sustainability leader in India’ at the India Sustainability Leadership Summit and Awards, among other.
Miniya was Chief Sustainability Officer 2014 – 2017 for Jindal Steel and Power. Previously Miniya worked at the World Economic Forum in Geneva 2011- 2014. Alongside, Miniya is also the founder of The Stargazers Foundation, the non-profit arm of Sustain Labs.
Earlier, she performed on investment banking sector, and she also worked in politics from 2002 to 2005 in France as Policy Analyst at Fondapol founded by the Chief Advisor to President Jacques Chirac.
Miniya and her husband Chirag Lilaramani live in Dubai with their toddler son.
“We need more schools that support children to become confident, kind, happy adults who can identify their interests and have the grit and skills to pursue those. These would be schools that would not shy away from rejecting the current disproportionate emphasis on literacy and would let ‘play’ be for the sake of play. Such schools would be extensions of home for children, such that every child feels secured and nurtured yet intrigued and challenged through an emphasis on learning life skills and abilities to make choices, focus and persevere on subjects of their choice at their pace. While there are many great schools in the world, there are very few rare schools who dare to be truly progressive. I am so glad to see the launch of ’The World’s Best School Prizes’ and I am looking forward to knowing and celebrating those few rare gems.”
Managing Director, Vascroft Contractors Ltd, UK
Mitesh is a Chartered Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Managing Director of Vascroft Contractors Ltd, a 46 year established medium-sized family-owned and operated construction business based in London. He has overseen the construction of a number of community buildings including schools in the UK. He has a daughter, Devi, who is completing her A levels at The Haberdasher’s School for Girls.
Mr Vekaria has served as a School Governor for over 12 years for two primary schools, offering education to pupils with Special Educational Needs, in the London Borough of Harrow and has recently joined the Life Guardian’s Committee (previously known as Life Governor’s) for The Mill Hill School, London.
He is a board member of the Greater London Chapter of the Young President’s Organisation (YPO) and is involved with several charities serving our community and a Trustee of the Vascroft Foundation Charity.
“I am passionate about education and the possibilities of change to a person’s life that education can bring. My late grandfather often said to me that people can take lots of things away from you in life be it your freedom or all kinds of material wealth but nobody can take your ability to think and learn away from you – your education is yours to keep! I firmly believe that the world can be an even better place to live with everyone being able to enjoy the fruits of having access to a good and purposeful education.”
Leadership Search Consultant and Coach, UK
Monika has worked in education for almost two decades; recruiting senior leaders to schools and organisations across the sector, with educators in a leadership development and coaching capacity and with international students and their families on UK school and university admissions. Her work is global and she is a frequent speaker at international school events and conferences, hosting seminars on the international schools’ market and recruitment strategy & staff retention. She currently lives in London but has previously been based in Singapore, Hong Kong and Doha.
“This is an incredible initiative to showcase the work that goes on in schools around the world. It is a privilege and joy to be part of this international community and to see how schools are making a huge impact not just on the communities which they serve, but also on a global scale.”
CEO & Founder, Tabadlab, Pakistan
Mosharraf Zaidi is CEO and Founder of Tabadlab - an advisory services firm working with organizations and leaders invested in changing how they impact the world. Mr Zaidi has over two decades of experience as a commentator, analyst and shaper of policy in complex political environments. He has spearheaded research and delivery for a wide array of interventions intersecting political economy, strategic communications and change management, in Pakistan and across the South and Central Asia regions. His work in education helped transform the national conversation around learning, opportunity and schooling in Pakistan. He writes a weekly newspaper column in Pakistan’s The News and is a board member or advisor to several businesses and not-for-profit organisations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East.
“Education is the most profound and impactful issue for communities everywhere. T4 and it’s work to recognise the best schools is critical to ensuring that learning remains at the heart of the global education discourse. Rewarding excellence, creativity, and sustainability at this time is crucial for all education stakeholders.”
Managing Director, Age of Learning Foundation, U.S.
Mubuso Zamchiya is Managing Director of the Age of Learning Foundation, which is fundamentally improving education in low- and lower-middle income countries through digital learning. He was formerly Managing Director of the Luminos Fund, Senior VP of Partnerships at Ashoka, and held senior leadership roles in charter school networks, including as CEO of the Albany Charter School Network. Mubuso served in strategic and business development roles at the International Finance Corporation, AES Corporation, and Barclays. He has been recognized as an Echoing Green Fellow, a Pahara Fellow, an Aspen Global Leader, and a Rhodes Scholar.
“In education, schools are the frontline of opportunity for young learners. It makes sense that we recognize and celebrate schools that best help children excel. Especially those which foster collaboration, inspire innovation, demonstrate resilience, and contribute to the wellbeing of both people and planet.”
Co-Founder, ADRI, Saudi Arabia
Muna AbuSulayman is most well known as an Arab Media Icon who is an advocate of systematic holistic institutional change and inclusive development to provide equal thriving opportunities for all.
She is consistently ranked as one of the most influential Muslimas and Arabs due to over 2 decades of experience working on sustainable and viable solutions for complex socio-economic challenges through starting up several foundations and social impact businesses or advising governments and foundations on ESG and sustainable development.
She is the co-founder of ADRI, the world leader in AI translation, focusing on accessibility of knowledge to the world's most vulnerable students, increasing the amount of academic knowledge in Arabic available, and stopping plagiarism in research.
She also recently became a Partner in Transform VC, a fund that is enabling the brightest minds from the Arab world to access Silicon Valley resources, network, and capital and is about building a community of like minded innovators who want to pay it forward in the region.
“In the race to help our children live better lives, the educational emphasis has always been, and rightly so, on the teachers. But teachers don't operate in a vacuum. The World's Best School Prizes looks at the ecosystems that help teachers, parents, and students work together for the best possible outcome. Proud to be part of this effort.”
Award-winning Educator & Founder, Mott Hall Bridges Academy, U.S.
Dr. Nadia Lopez is an award-winning thought leader in education, who became a viral sensation after the popular blog Humans of New York featured one of scholars, naming her as the most influential person in his life. Her work of opening a school to close the prison, was evident in Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a STEAM-focused middle school in Brownsville, Brooklyn she founded in 2010 and served as the principal for ten years. Named LinkedIn’s 2019 Top 10 Voices in Education and the recipient of the 2015 Black Girls Rock award–alongside Michelle Obama– she has been featured throughout various media outlets that include New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Glamour Magazine, the Ellen Degeneres Show, Good Morning America, and the Today Show. Dr. Lopez was also invited to the White House to meet with President Obama and selected as one of the Varkey Foundation’s Top 50 Global Teacher Prize Finalists in 2016. She is the author of the best selling book, The Bridge to Brilliance,which is a memoir on how she opened a school, and a co-author of Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Her TED Talk on the Education Revolution has garnered more than a million views and she served as guest lecturer at the Harvard University’s Graduate School for Education teaching students on the subject matter of Transformative Justice, Education, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
In 2020, Dr. Lopez ended her tenure as principal to focus on her work as a mental health advocate and leadership sustainability after developing a stress-related illness that threatened her life. Shifting from her day-to-day work of leading a school building, she continues to open schools, serves as a global ambassador of education, coaches, consults, and is on a crusade to inspire 10 million educators to impact 1 billion students by 2030 through work and her social platforms.
"Schools become great because of the outstanding educators, who put their heart and soul into creating spaces where children are nurtured and valued so they can learn. The World's Best School Prizes is a celebration of this type of dedication that deserves to be recognized."
CEO, EdelGive, India
Naghma is the CEO and Director on the Board at EdelGive Foundation. Over the last decade, she has driven the vision of the EdelGive, strengthening its core principles of collaborative philanthropy; and transforming it from a grant-making foundation to a philanthropic asset management platform, today. Over the years, she has forged valuable partnerships with diverse stakeholders and has been the brainchild for innovative collaborations in Education, Migration, Women, Climate and Capacity Building at EdelGive.
In addition to her role at EdelGive, she is also General Board Member at Goonj, Core Committee Member at India Climate Collaborative, Advisor to One Future Collective and an Advisory Council Member to Social Lens. She also provides strategic guidance the Migrants Resilience Collaborative, the largest migrant collective in the world.
Naghma is a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and has a Master’s Degree from Pune University.
"Education is a basic human right, and good quality education is our duty. I believe that every child has the right to go to school, stay in school and learn in school. Schools shape the way children grasp information, grow emotionally, interact with society and understand the world. I welcome an initiative like World’s Best School Prizes which recognises global best practices in education and encourages reflection, innovation and imagination among its partners."
CEO, AVPN, Singapore
Naina Subberwal joined AVPN as CEO from September 2013, and was appointed Chairperson in May 2018. Naina’s leadership over the past 7 years has nurtured the AVPN community. Under her direction, the organization has grown from focusing only on Venture Philanthropy to supporting the entire ecosystem of social investors. In 2019, Naina was awarded one of Asia’s Top Sustainability Superwomen by CSRWorks. She is also serving as Board Member of the Global Resilient Cities Network and Trustee at Bridge Institute. Prior to joining AVPN, Naina was a member of the senior leadership team of a purpose driven unit at The Monitor Group, a leading global strategy consulting firm, aimed at catalyzing markets for social change. Naina was also partner and Co-Founder of Group Fifty Private Ltd, curating contemporary Indian art with a view to provide a medium for upcoming and established Indian artists to showcase their work directly to a large and diverse audience.
Naina has a master’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. She also holds a bachelor degree in Economics and International Relations from Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, USA and a General Course Diploma in economics from The London School of Economics.
“When the pandemic limited mobility, it created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting billions of learners in more than 190 countries across all continents. While everyone reeled from the impact of the pandemic, some have been more hard-hit than others. This was where global education systems were put to the test, but many schools have risen up to the challenge.
In fact, in this crisis, we have seen true collaboration come to life: Educators started working together with innovators to come up with ed-tech solutions; they also worked closely with governments to bring parents in on their children’s learning progress; schools also partnered with the private and social sectors to ensure children and their families receive the funding, infrastructure, and environment to continue going to school virtually. Indeed, it takes a village to raise a child.
While schools try to meet immediate needs, the bigger question hits at a more systemic challenge: how do we prepare tomorrow’s generation of learners even as schools try to keep up with the world that we are currently living in? I’m excited to see how schools have been thinking outside of the box and partnering with unlikely allies to meet the challenges and claim the opportunities for our young learners.”
Commander, British Army & Founder, The Talent Tap, UK
Over the last 20 years, Brigadier Nick Cowley OBE has conducted multiple operational tours of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans. Nick is currently commanding 16 Air Assault Brigade, which is the British Army’s high readiness force. During his career Nick has been awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service, an MBE and an OBE. In addition to his military career Nick has always had a keen interest in education; in 2009, Nick founded a social mobility charity called The Talent Tap which gives training and opportunity to talented students from low social mobility areas, he has been the Chair of school governors and he is married to a teacher.
“In all of the conflict zones that I have worked in, it is clear that education is critical to solving the world’s most difficult issues. Therefore, we must find and celebrate the best schools, so that we can learn from them. And that is why the World’s Best School Prizes are so important”
Executive Director, Yellowwoods Holdings, South Africa
Nicola Galombik is a business leader and social innovator, driving multi-sector partnerships for systems change and inclusive economy. As Executive Director of Yellowwoods Holdings she leads the group’s efforts to drive system inclusion and sustainability through, and with, its portfolio of businesses that include financial services (e.g. Hollard Insurance), restaurants (e.g. Nando’s) and eco-tourism (&Beyond) businesses. Nicola also manages Yellowwoods’ innovative social financing and grant making. Under her leadership, Yellowwoods has incubated a portfolio of African non-profit social enterprises, including SmartStart Early Learning, the Programme to Improve Learning Outcomes (PILO) and the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator for which she won the Skoll Award in 2019. Nicola recently received the World Economic Forum Schwab Foundation award for Corporate Social Intrapreneurship. She is a McNulty Prize awardee for her work in the Aspen Global Leadership Network, a member of the Ministerial Task Team on Post School Education and Skills in the context of 4IR and sits on the Advisory Board of Africa Leadership Group.
Nicola’s diverse career prior to Yellowwoods spans management consulting, senior executive positions in television broadcasting, policy and regulation and in education, being a business entrepreneur, and a documentary filmmaker and an anti-apartheid activist. Nicola was a full-bright scholar and holds an MA from New York University.
“There is no more important time than now to ensure that schools unleash young people’s potential to solve problems, be enterprising, resilient and to build and thrive in diverse communities. We need to know and celebrate what good, inclusive and accessible learning opportunities look like, so as to inspire and catalyse transformative change, at scale and quickly.”
IT Risk, Cybersecurity & Privacy Executive, Germany
Niel Harper is an award winning, globally recognized expert in cybersecurity, technology risk management, privacy & data protection, ICT policy, and capacity building. Leadership and advisory experience in over 20 countries with organizations such as AT&T, Bemol, Canonical, CIBC, Deloitte, European Union, Internet Society, and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), among others. Recipient of the ISACA Technology for Humanity Award, and recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and by the Internet Society as a Next Generation Leader. Member of the World Economic Forum Expert Networks on IT, Cybersecurity, and Risk & Resilience. Master of Laws (LLM) in Internet Law & Policy, University of Strathclyde; Master of Business Administration (MBA), University of Leicester; Postgraduate Diploma (PgD) in Telecoms Regulation & Policy, University of the West Indies; and has completed executive education programs at Florida International University, Nanyang Technological University, University of Oxford and Boston University.
“As a capacity building leader and lifelong learner, I am deeply committed to equipping and empowering teachers with the tools and community support to succeed in delivering educational excellence. T4 Education is a strong platform through which teachers can strengthen their capabilities, and I am more than happy to lend my time and efforts to the ‘World’s Best Schools Prizes’ initiative.”
President, SEK Education Group, Spain
Educator and expert in learning innovation, Nieves Segovia is President of SEK Education Group, comprising University Camilo José Cela and SEK International Schools.
SEK was founded in 1892. The group currently has ten schools in Spain, France, Ireland, Qatar and Saudi Arabia as well as UCJC University in Madrid, with over 30,000 students.
Nieves Segovia sits on the Education Advisory Board of the Spanish Ministry of Education. She founded the Global Education Forum, a community of education innovators, and SEK Lab, the first accelerator of Ed Tech start-ups in Spain. In 2017 she launched the UCJC Integra Programme, a university refugee education scheme, which has now been joined by Sphera, a cross-cultural social entrepreneurship hub, and EachTeach, a global refugee teacher training initiative. Among other awards, Nieves Segovia has received the UNICEF Prize for Education in Values. She is a regular speaker at education forums and writes frequently for the media and specialised magazines.
Nieves Segovia is a 2019 Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow.
“I am very proud to serve on the panel of judges for the World’s Best School Prizes.
I am convinced that we will see surprising initiatives that show that schools, all over the world, are not just places of learning, they are places where children learn to become and learn to be with others, teachers, other students and families.
We live in a time of uncertainty in which school as we know it has ceased to exist, because all of us who work in education have changed forever, because the key is to continue building on what we have learned.”
Founder & CEO, Teach a Man to Fish, UK
Nik Kafka is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Teach a Man to Fish, a non-profit organisation supporting schools across Africa, Asia and Latin America to empower young people with the skills needed for success in work and life. Profit-making enterprises owned by the school but run by students provide a practical way to learn vital business and 21st Century skills – as well as generating profits to pay for school supplies, equipment and community work. These education and enterprise programs have now benefited almost 400,000 young people across more than 100 countries, principally through the School Enterprise Challenge awards program.
He has been recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and by Devex as one of 40 under 40 International Development Leaders in London.
“Realising the immense potential of education to transform lives requires learning from the best. It is a huge honour to support this much needed initiative to shine a line on the world’s best schools. I have no doubt that the inspiration these schools offer will inspire us all to new heights!”
Chief of Staff & Head of Global Policy, Hedera, U.S.
Nilmini Rubin leads global policy for Hedera, a level-one blockchain platform. Previously, she worked on Facebook’s global policy campaigns and programs team. Prior to that role, Nilmini led Fix the System, a coalition of organizations committed to election integrity and democracy strengthening. She headed Tetra Tech’s global team implementing energy and internet projects that resulted in millions of people gaining access to electricity for the first time. For twelve years, she served as a senior aide on both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Senator Richard Lugar) and the House Foreign Affairs Committee (Representative Ed Royce) where she spearheaded the passage of legislation to provide electricity access in Africa, increase global internet access, reduce corruption through transparency, and reform U.S. foreign assistance. As a Director at the National Security Council under President George W. Bush, Nilmini helped secure agreements on non-proliferation, international health and foreign aid. Nilmini is the mother of three dynamic girls.
“Great schools shape generations of leaders that can create a better future for us all.”
Chief Financial & Strategy Officer, New Leaders, U.S.
Noah has spent 20 years shaping K-12 education strategy and championing education equity in the United States. He currently serves as Chief Financial and Strategy Officer at New Leaders, a US nonprofit that trains school leaders to create and lead transformational schools. Prior to joining New Leaders, was a senior program officer in the K-12 program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition, Noah served as D.C. Public Schools’ Chief Financial Officer and an education advisor to former Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty. Noah is also a founder and board member of Impact Public Schools, a network of four high-performing charter schools in Washington state.
"The World’s Best School Prize is an extraordinary way to shine a spotlight on pioneering schools doing remarkable things for children. Lifting up breakthrough educators from around the globe demonstrates that no place or country has a monopoly on innovative practices—they come from all over and as educators, we should be open to—and looking for—ways to improve outcomes for students, regardless of geography."
Executive Director, Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, Egypt
Noura Selim is the Executive Director of the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development since the beginning of 2015. Prior to that, Noura worked at McKinsey & Company in New York, Dubai and Egypt. At McKinsey, Noura served public and private sector clients, particularly on health care and education topics. Her healthcare work spans the pharmaceutical space as well as public payers and providers in the US, Europe and the Middle East, while her education work spans K-12 and technical and vocational training and education in the Middle East. In the past years, Noura was involved in leading the implementation of a large-scale transformation in technical education and training, focused on improving performance and employment outcomes, as well as leading a health care reform program aimed at increasing access and quality of care. Prior to McKinsey, Noura worked as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Pennsylvania’s Engineering school. Noura holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School, a Masters in Biotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s of Science in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating Magna cum laude. She is a board member at National Investment Charity Education Fund (NICE), representing Sawiris Foundation for Social Development. In May 2021, Noura has appointed to the Advisory Board of Harvard Business School Middle East and North Africa for a two-year renewable term. Noura was also selected from the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader for 2019. Noura served as a Chairwoman of the Arab Foundations Forum (AFF,) representing the Sawiris Foundation on the AFF Board of Directors from 2017 until 2020. She has also joined the C20 2020 Engagement Group as a member of the C20 International Advisory Committee. Lastly, Noura served as a Treasurer on the Board of the Harvard Arab Alumni Association from 2014-2016
“Istrongly believe that education is power. Power to transform lives and in-turn broader communities. Education, in my experience, is the most impactful tool for greater social justice and reducing inequalities. And to provide more opportunities for quality education, it is necessary to support the outstanding schools in various fields. I feel honored and privileged to be part of the Judging Academy of ‘The World’s Best School Prizes’ to encourage and recognize the best schools to work aggressively to elevate the educational standards and help our future generations to come up with better mindset and moral values.”
Former Minister of Education, Portugal
Nuno Crato, OIH is a Portuguese university professor, researcher, applied mathematician, economist, and writer. He holds a Ph.D. in applied mathematics, worked many years in the U.S. as a university professor and researcher, and is now a professor at the University of Lisbon.
He has several works published in the fields of science popularization and history of science, and research papers in mathematics and statistics.
From 2011 to 2015 he was Portuguese Minister of Education, Higher Education and Science. During his tenure, Portuguese students achieved the best results ever in international surveys.
His most recent books are his co-organized Data-Driven Policy Impact Evaluation (Springer 2019) and his recently edited Improving a Country’s Education: PISA 2018 Results in 10 Countries (Springer 2021).
He has been consulting for education policy groups and think tanks. He is founding organizer of Lisbon Economics and Statistics of Education and president of Iniciativa Educação.
“Schools are one of the greatest inventions of mankind. Schools are the way society has found to accelerate the transmission of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes from one generation to the next. Schools are the continuity of our civilizations.
Schools are also a factor of progress. Not only they transmit continuity, but they also can and should entice progress and change. The great challenge is to have a sensible balance between tradition and innovation. Schools who are able to do it excel! We should value them as they deserve. We should always encourage schools!”
CEO, Queen Rania Teacher Academy (QRTA), Jordan
Dr Osama Obeidat is the Chief Executive Officer of Queen Rania Teacher Academy (QRTA). He brings more than 25 years of experience in education quality, policy, evaluation, and reform, among other areas. Before joining QRTA in 2019, Osama worked for 6 years as the Director of the school inspection at Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge. Osama worked as an Associate Professor of educational management and policy at the Hashemite University in Jordan.
Throughout his career, Osama consulted for several local and international organizations such as the World Bank, UNICEF, EDT, Ministries of Education in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Rwanda, and Iraq.
Osama holds a Ph.D. in International and Development Education from the University of Pittsburgh and a Certificate in Evaluation Practices from George Washington University as well as an Executive Leadership Certificate from INSEAD Business School.
“As we continue to live through a time where unexpected circumstances require agile thinking and upskilling for adaption to a ‘new kind of future’, I am confident that “The World’s Best School Prizes” will be impactful – setting the bar high for educational change within schools in the region and beyond. Schools are expected to build partnership with their communities, build and develop students social and personal traits, and raise a generation who can be innovative in finding solutions to their communities and the world.
Competition always forces us to do our best and leads schools to thrive and have a lasting impact in the world of education. I can also see these Prizes as a great vehicle for professional development for the participating schools. Schools will know from winning schools what the best practices are, and how they can offer outstanding and nurturing learning environment.
I am honored to serve among the jury of the World’s Best School Prizes.”
Founder & CEO, Moneye, Turkey
Özlem Denizmen is an entrepreneur, financial expert, fintech founder, and passionate advocate for women’s economic empowerment. Özlem is the Founder & CEO of Moneye, an app that aims to steer users away from “unnecessary” spending towards saving for their financial goals. She also founded Para Durumu, a multi-channel financial literacy initiative that produces interactive, user-oriented content to help people better manage their money and additionally Founder & Chair of FODER, a non-profit organisation to improve financial education in Turkey. She holds an MBA in Financial Management from MIT Sloan School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management from Cornell University.
“The world needs awareness on many global issues. The World's Best School Prizes initiative is so well equipped to be raising awareness and inspiration via increasing the quality of education. Children, families, and communities will be very positively affected by this.”
President, Southern New Hampshire University, U.S.
Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc is President of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and author of Students First: Equity, Access, and Opportunity in Higher Education and Broken: How our
Social Systems are Failing Us. Under the 18 years of Paul’s direction, SNHU has grown from 10,000 students to over 175,000 learners and is the largest non-profit provider of online higher education in the country. Paul immigrated to the United States as a child, was the first person in his extended family to attend college and is a graduate of Framingham State University (BA), Boston College (MA), and the University of Massachusetts (PhD). From 1993 to 1996 he directed a technology start-up for Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company, was President of Marlboro College (VT) from 1996 to 2003 and became President of SNHU in 2003.
“At a time when our children face unprecedented challenges, we need new models of education and these prizes shine a light on the most exciting and innovative schools in the world. There is enormous power in telling their story, as they provide inspiration, practical example, and reassurance that yes, we can build schools that transform the lives of young people.”
Chief Executive, Wolfson Foundation, UK
Paul Ramsbottom is chief executive of the Wolfson Foundation (one of the UK’s largest educational funders). Paul takes a wider interest in issues relating to education and philanthropy as a speaker and writer. He has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in History from the University of Oxford.
Outside of philanthropy, he has an interest in international development which includes founding the Savannah Education Trust – a charity which works with rural schools in West Africa – and sitting on the Board of Mercy Ships UK. His hometown university, the University of Bedfordshire, awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2013 and in January 2020 he was awarded an OBE for services to charity.
“Schools sit at the heart of communities. At their best, they excite and inspire young people and – through high quality education – provide a gateway to future opportunities. And so I am thrilled to be part of this initiative, celebrating schools at their best in different communities across the globe. Some with more challenges than others, some in greater areas of deprivation – but all with the same hallmark: completely committed to providing the best opportunities and the best education for pupils.”
Journalist, Editor & Author, Chile
Paula Escobar Chavarría is a Chilean journalist, editor and author. She is columnist at La Tercera, conductor and panelist on CNN Chile, founder and executive director of The Women and Media Chair at Universidad Diego Portales.
She is the author of seven non fiction books. One of them was “Presidente/a”, in which she interviewed the last five Chilean Presidents. He has won many journalistic awards, including Lenka Franulic in 2014, by which the National Association of Women Journalists awards since 1963 the most outstanding journalist of the year. She was also elected Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2006., and Yale World Fellow in 2012. And the BBC chose her in 2015 one of the BBC 100 inspiring women of the year because of her Initiative against Photoshop and gender stereotypes in magazines. In 2018 she won the Excellence in Journalism award with her team for investigations on sexual harassment and abuse in Chile. In 2020 she was selected Poynter Fellow by Yale University. Currently she is a Board Member of Comunidad Mujer, The Young Global Leaders Foundation and Educación 2020.
“It is a great honor to be serving on the Judging Academy for the ‘World’s Best School Prizes’. This is an award that recognises the remarkable work of educational teams around the world, on one of the biggest challenges of all times: improve education. Inequalities can not be solved without an improvement of education for all children, regardless of their parents income situation. That is a human rights and social justice imperative all over the world. The prize is an outstanding initiative to make these efforts visible, and also the team work that is behind any human great initiative. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of this wonderful project.”
CEO, Artha Global, India
Pritika Hingorani is CEO at Artha Global in India. Pritika co-founded the Urban Expansion Observatory, one of India’s first geospatial laboratories established to understand the quality of urban growth in developing countries. She sits on the curriculum Board of Review for CEPT University, India’s leading urban planning university.
Pritika was formerly Senior Vice President at the IDFC Policy Group, a non-partisan policy advisory group, and an Associate with Charles River Associates, in their International Trade, Financial Economics and Anti-Trust practices, in Washington DC and London. Pritika has a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Bachelors in Economics and Political Science (Honors) from Bryn Mawr College.
"One of the many things the pandemic has highlighted, is the importance of social interaction for our emotional health and psychological well being. Nowhere is this more important than in our schools; schools are so much more than an academic curriculum – they are where children learn to relate to one another, to resolve conflict, and to learn the skills to navigate the world. For many children, schools may be their first experience of a safe and stable environment; a window into ideas and opportunities that they may not otherwise have access to. I am delighted that ‘The World’s Best School Prize’ is shining a light on one of society’s most important institutions. While students and teachers alike have proved remarkably resilient, I believe our schools will be integral to processing the disruption of the last year, and the solid foundation on which students will build the rest of their lives."
Director, RPG Foundation & Founder, Pehlay Akshar Foundation, India
Radha Goenka is the Director at RPG Foundation and Founder of Pehlay Akshar Foundation.
RPG Foundation works with women, youth and children from low-income communities through interventions in Education, Employability and Heritage Revival.
Pehlay Akshar Foundation works with the philosophy to empower every child in India with Functional English Literacy and a Learning Mindset. To achieve this, Pehlay Akshar Foundation partners with State Governments to implement programs that change the way students learn, and teachers teach in schools. The Foundation has reached more than 200,000 students, and has trained more than 14,000 teachers across multiple states of India.
Radha has a degree in Business Communication from the University of Pennsylvania. Her experience over the past 14 years has helped shape, expand and enrich the programs and organisations she leads, making them a powerful element in her overarching mission to transform lives in India.
“It’s remarkable to see schools around the world come up with innovative solutions to ensure quality education is accessible to students in spite of extremely difficult circumstances. I congratulate the schools and thank T4 Education for recognizing them and giving them a platform to share their stories through the World’s Best School Prizes.”
CEO, Revital, UK
Rahil Vora is the CEO of Revital, the UK’s largest independent Vitamin and Health Food Retailer. After leaving university he has been heavily involved in both the retail and hospitality sector, including investments/positions in some of the UK’s leading restaurants.
Born and brought up in NW London, attending Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys School and the London School of Economics (Economics BSc). Rahil is a member of YPO Greater London.
“My education and school experience shaped who I am today. The World’s Best School Prizes will allow schools all over the world to showcase their incredible vision, passion and expertise, while providing inspiration to others.”
Chief Economist, Confederation of British Industry (CBI), UK
Rain Newton-Smith is the Chief Economist at the CBI and a member of its Executive Committee. She leads our economics and international teams, with a focus on economic and tax policy, the transition to a low carbon, sustainable economy and global business leadership. She and her team provide business leaders with advice on the UK economic outlook and global risks, helping to develop the economic policy response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Schools are where future leaders are made. And we need leaders across our society to to tackle climate change, and to protect and renew our relationship with nature. I’m delighted to be involved in recognising schools who are leading the way, creating citizens who can drive the change we need and be true guardians of our planet."
Founding President & Editor-in-Chief, Devex, U.S.
Raj Kumar is the founding President & Editor-in-Chief of Devex, the media platform for the global development community. A social enterprise dedicated to ensuring global development efforts do more good for more people, Devex was born in 2000 when Raj was a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School. Today, there are 100+ Devexers around the world serving a global audience of more than one million aid workers and development professionals. Beginning as a kid in Kerala, India, Raj has witnessed firsthand determined and courageous development work in over 50 countries – it’s what drives the Devex mission to “Do Good. Do It Well.” He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Save the Children Board of Trustees, a media leader and former humanitarian council chair for the World Economic Forum, and has interviewed on-camera and on-stage hundreds of global luminaries on the most important challenges of our time. Raj is the author of the book “The Business of Changing the World,” a go-to primer on the ideas, people, and technology disrupting the aid industry.
“The disruptions of the pandemic and race to reach the global goals means the task of strengthening schools and the connective tissue that makes them effective is imperative. We look forward to seeing the T4 Education prize shed light on the best schools and their work and catalyze the innovation and creativity needed for the future.”
Deputy CEO, Smart Eye, U.S.
A pioneer in Emotion AI, Rana el Kaliouby, Ph.D., is Deputy CEO at Smart Eye and formerly, Co-Founder and CEO of Affectiva, an MIT spin-off and category defining AI company. Rana realized a successful exit for Affectiva in June 2021 when the company was acquired by Smart Eye, where she will team with Martin Krantz, Smart Eye’s CEO to scale the company to a global AI powerhouse. Rana is the bestselling author of the newly released book Girl Decoded. A passionate advocate for humanizing technology, ethics in AI and diversity, Rana has been recognized on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list and as one of Forbes’ Top 50 Women in Tech. Rana is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a Young Presidents’ Organization member. She is also an Executive Fellow at the Harvard Business School and co-hosted a PBS NOVA series on AI. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and a Post Doctorate from MIT.
“The best schools are places of inspiration, safe havens of exploration and discovery, and homes of connection and love where students’ passions are not only ignited but encouraged. My parents made a decision to invest in my two sisters and I’s education, and because of this I have been blessed to attend incredible schools with faculty and staff who have transformed my life. As a lifelong learner, I am honored to be on the Judging Academy of “The World’s Best Schools” and I look forward to helping elevate schools that focus on making a lasting difference.”
Journalist & Talk Show Host, India
Ms Richa Aniruddha is the producer, anchor of Youtube show “ Zindagi With Richa”. She is best known for hosting the talk show ‘Zindagi Live’ previously on IBN7, then on ETV Network which won the Best Talk show award in all its 6 seasons. This show was the Indian version of Oprah Winfrey Show. Her shows are a powerhouse of emotions and raise many burning social issues. The motto of all her interviews is “Telling Stories Touching Lives”.
Since 2014, Richa has been an RJ on 92.7 BIG FM. From 2014-2016, through her breakfast show "Dilli Meri Jaan" she used to highlight the civic and social issues of Delhi. Presently she presents a show called “Big Heroes” where she interviews unsung heroes of the society. Richa is the founder of Jamghat- Chat For Change. Jamghat is a concept of organised inspirational talks by young leaders to influence, inspire the youth. She also runs a pavement school for underprivileged kids in the name of ‘Jamghat Pathshala’.
She is on the jury of the much acclaimed Global Teacher Prize. Richa has been appearing as the Expert Advisor since 2011 in the much acclaimed TV Quiz show “Kaun Banega Crorepati” (Indian version of Who wants to be a millionaire) hosted by superstar Amitabh Bachchan. - In 2012, she was selected for U.K. Govt ‘s prestigious CHEVENING GURUKUL SCHOLARSHIP. which is offered to Only 12 Indians every year.
In 2019, Richa was honoured with Devrishi Naarad Patrakaar Sammaan by Indraprastha Vishwa Sanvad Kendra. Richa has received various prestigious honours and awards.
CEO, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), U.S.
Richard Culatta is the CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Prior to joining ISTE, he served as the chief innovation officer for the state of Rhode Island and the director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology.
“In order to move education innovation forward it’s critical that we recognize and spotlight outstanding achievements around the world. The ‘World’s Best Schools Prizes’ help shed light on exceptional schools at a time when we need inspiration to accelerate the future design of learning.”
CEO, The Coppel Foundation & Director, Coppel's ESG, Mexico
Rocío is passionate about closing the opportunity gap. She has worked on social development projects for 15+ years. Currently, she promotes social mobility in Mexico, in collaboration with 200+ NGOs. She also oversees strategies to grant social, educational, environmental, and financial opportunities to Coppel´s clients and collaborators.
Throughout her career, she´s led some respected institutions: Mexico´s Center for Competitiveness, National Institute of the Entrepreneur, FUNDES, AVINA Foundation, Red Cross-Mexico, Save the Children-London and CIGNA Foundation.
"The first years in life revolve around schools. We spend most of our time there.
Schools shape us, build us and therefore, build societies.
Let's recognize and support schools that embrace their role and make a difference, for them to keep going and for others to follow."
Founder & CEO, Instituto Rodrigo Mendes, Brazil
Rodrigo Hübner Mendes is the Founder and the CEO of the Rodrigo Mendes Institute, a non-profit organization whose mission is to guarantee that every child with disability has access to quality education. The institute develops research and teacher training programs in several countries aiming to transform the public education systems into environments that respect and value human diversity. Hübner Mendes began his career in 1998 as a business consultant at Accenture. In 2004, he decided to dedicate his efforts for the social sector, assuming the management of the Rodrigo Mendes Institute. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a Master's degree in Human Diversity Management from the Getulio Vargas Foundation. Hübner Mendes is a Young Global Leader (World Economic Forum) and a fellow of Ashoka. He has received numerous awards and serves on the board of several Brazilian organizations. Since 2015, Rodrigo has been working as a consultant for UNESCO and for The Government of Angola.
"By transforming the schools into places that embrace diversity, we aim our helm at a society that does not accept social abysses, where everyone is truly treated as equal. I believe the world gets better when the schools include everyone."
Founder, PossibleX, UAE
Roksana Ciurysek-Gedir is an entrepreneur, artist and financier with a passion for impact investing and future-led innovations. She is the Chairwoman of the Impact Advisory Board of White Oak Global Advisors, founder of Possible X and advisor to CEOs. Roksana has a 20-year track record in banking, with senior positions held at Credit Suisse, Edmond de Rothschild, Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan and EBRD. From 2018 to 2019, she served as Deputy CEO of Bank Pekao. In her role as Chairwoman of the IAB of White Oak, a global alternative asset manager, Roksana is developing and guiding White Oak’s commitment to impact investing. In addition to promoting positive impact through investment, at Possible X, Roksana leverages creativity, art and technology to inspire and shape the future of companies. Roksana is a guest lecturer at Stanford University and the CFA Institute and was named a ‘Young Global Leader’ by the World Economic Forum.
“Education has a key role to play in building a better future, reducing inequality and promoting diversity. Quality education is 4th on the list of Sustainable Development Goals, which are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, and schools can help create a positive impact on societies. It goes beyond pure knowledge sharing: education can equip young people with the skills they need to thrive in tomorrow’s world, from innovation to partnership, from overcoming adversity to supporting healthy lives and environmental sustainability. This initiative recognises the vital importance of talented and inspirational teachers and schools and of the soft skills they teach which will be invaluable in developing children’s minds and future potential.”
Vice President, Education Initiatives, Salesforce, U.S.
Dr. Ron C. Smith is an Oakland, California native with 20 years of experience in the education field. In his role, Ron has overseen more than $50M in investments, strengthened and built partnerships with school districts across the US and Europe, and leads Salesforce’s global Circle the Schools volunteering program. Ron Smith is a lifelong educator with a desire and drive to improve the lives of young people. Guiding his work is the belief that to improve their outcomes we must look at how we address all aspects of their world, as we prepare them for the journey that awaits them. This includes supporting them to understand where they can have meaningful impact on their community and helping them build the bridges for those who will follow.
“Schools are central to the success of our communities. Through the World’s Best Schools Prizes, I am looking forward to honoring schools that are going above and beyond to help all stakeholders realize their potential and create positive change.”
Founder & CEO, @TeacherToolkit Ltd., UK
Ross is the founder and CEO of @TeacherToolkit Ltd.
He is a qualified teacher who across three decades, has worked in some of the most challenging secondary schools in London as a design technology teacher, middle leader and as a deputy headteacher. He is regularly asked to reflect on educational developments in multiple publications about education policy, including The Guardian and The Telegraph newspapers and through his website, advocates teaching and supports thousands worldwide. Ross is also a governor, a PGCE tutor and visiting lecturer at the University of Buckingham, and when not completing action doctoral research on and offline, he is either travelling to teach teachers, researching social media networks, podcasting, writing papers or tweeting! In August 2018, after 32 years of silence, he spoke out about male sexual abuse to encourage more men to speak up.
“Teaching is a team sport; what better way to support all teachers by celebrating some of our amazing schools from across the world!”
Non-Executive Director, Condor, Germany
Sadiq works at Attestor Capital, where he is Chairman of the Advisory Board for Condor, the second airline of Germany. He is a non executive of eTraveli, an online travel agency owned by CVC, and the WEF's Global Future Council for Travel. He is also an Executive Coach, applying the work of Carl Jung. He previouly headed up the transformation team of Emirates and spent 7 years with Lufthansa, where he was the Chief Strategy Officer. He began his career with Bain, completed his M.B.A. at Harvard Business School and graduated from Cambridge University. He was included in the FT Top 100 leaders list and is a Young Global Leader.
“The World's Best School Prizes comes at an important time for education, which was dramatically affected during the pandemic. It recognises schools which have been able to innovate, collaborate and integrate to transform the lives of their students. Celebrating these successes and sharing best practices will benefit schools across the globe.”
Founder and Board Member, Educate Girls, India
Safeena Husain is the Founder and Board Member of Educate Girls (EG), an Indian non-profit working towards empowering communities for girls’ education in some of the hardest-to-reach villages. Under Safeena’s guidance, EG has enrolled 950,000+ girls to date, impacting over 11.5 million+ beneficiaries.
A London School of Economics graduate, Safeena worked extensively with underserved communities in South America, Africa and Asia, before returning to India. Her efforts to bridge the gender gap in education in India has been instrumental in EG achieving a major global milestone – the world’s first Development Impact Bond in education. On its completion, the bond surpassed both its target outcomes by achieving 160% of its learning target and 116% of its enrolment target. These results are testimony to the commitment of EG to deliver quality at scale and value to every single child in the program. She has also been instrumental in EG becoming the first Audacious project in Asia, a first-of-its-kind coalition that surfaces and funds critical projects with the potential to create global change. Safeena has been conferred with many accolades for her work at grassroots which includes the 2017 NITI Aayog’s Women Transforming India Award, the 2016 NDTV-L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth Award.
“If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it is that school has to be anywhere and everywhere. School is not a building, it is a group of passionate individuals coming together to change the world for children, whether that is in a classroom, on a doorstep, over the radio or internet. If we get the education experience right for the most vulnerable in our communities, then everyone will benefit. This is what this award has to be about.
We need to have an intention to build inclusion into global education policies, reaching every child who is at risk of being left behind. It’s now more critical than ever to reduce the stress and pressures that children are going through and by overcoming the trauma of the pandemic help them re-engage in a very different school experience.
We know that there are some incredible schools across the world who are already reimagining their support to children and this award is about learning from them to improve school for children everywhere.”
Founder, HundrED, Finland
Co-Founder, Global School Leaders, U.S.
Sameer Sampat is a co-founder of Global School Leaders. Global School Leaders (GSL) works with funders, governments, and NGOs to specifically strengthen schools in marginalized communities. GSL has worked with over 3,500 school leaders, impacting nearly 1 million students students. Their primary countries of focus are India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya, and they have recently extended COVID-related support in the Philippines, Uganda, Nigeria, and Peru.
Previously Sameer was the India School Leadership Institute’s (ISLI) first CEO. Prior to that, he worked as a Project Manager and Research Analyst with the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University where he designed, implemented, and evaluated interventions to close the racial achievement gap found in the United States. He has also worked with Teach For America, Akanksha and Adharshila Shikshan Kendra.
Sameer earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from UCLA and completed a Master’s degree in Economics and Education from Columbia University.
“I am excited that Vikas and the T4 team have turned their attention toward celebrating excellent schools from around the world. Schools are critical pillars of thriving societies and yet their work often goes unappreciated. Vikas, with his extensive network of supporters, will be a great champion for the heroes that power our best schools and will inspire others to aim for excellence.”
Executive Director, Impact Fund, Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), Switzerland
Sandro Giuliani serves as Executive Director at the Impact Fund at the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA). Sandro holds an MBA from the University of Zurich and a Master of Advanced Studies in development and cooperation from ETH Zurich. From 1999 to 2009, he worked for the Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation, a Swiss educational charity, most recently as head of international programmes. He joined Jacobs Foundation, a leading learning foundation, as Programme Manager in 2009 and then served as Managing Director and Delegate of the Board from 2013 to 2019. In this period he also served on the Boards of Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, Jacobs University Bremen, and on Barry Callebaut’s Sustainability Council. In April 2020 Sandro joined the multilateral start up GESDA (Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator) as Executive Director, Impact Fund. He currently serves on the boards of Jacobs Foundation and Roger Federer Foundation.
“Diversity in the learning environment is increasing year by year. Be it because of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, different family support systems or varying degrees of access to educational resources. In order to overcome these huge differences within the student population, close the learning gap and turn diversity into an asset, schools and their teachers play a decisive role. Not just for a better education and learning systems, but for a better functioning society in general. A global school prize can be a highly effective tool to put the transformative power of schools in the spotlight, spark innovation and promote best practices.”
Co-Founder, Salsano Shahani Foundation & President, Salsano Group, Italy
Sandro Salsano has been at the forefront of successful initiatives in investments, philanthropy and education for more than two decades.
Forbes called him the Warren Buffett of Central America and one of the world’s most iconic visionary and financial titan and the World Economic Forum named him Young Global Leader.
In 2014 he formalized his philanthropy by co-founding the Salsano Shahani Foundation to focus on education. He is a Chairman of Global Dignity, Partner of Tent Partnership for Refugees, Steering Committee member of 1640 Society and pledged his support to TerraCarta and Business against Death Penalty.
Sandro is President of Salsano Group, a multi billion dollar private conglomerate holding company investing in private equity, real estate and technology globally and he is President of Salsano Family Office.
Sandro sits on the Board of Trustees at University of San Diego, California.
A graduate of Bocconi University Milan with full grades, he also studied at Harvard, Oxford and Princeton University. He and his wife Johanna have been married since 2014 and have two children.
Co-Founder, Beyond The Billion, U.S.
Named Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, Sarah Chen is Co-Founder of Beyond The Billion (also known as The Billion Dollar Fund for Women), a global consortium of over 100 venture funds and limited partner investors pledged to invest and are actively deploying beyond $1 billion towards women-founded companies. To date, the consortium boasts 8 female-founded unicorns. Previously, she was on the pioneer team of a corporate venture capital unit within $13Bn publicly traded Asian conglomerate, Sime Darby, investing in later-stage biotechnology companies. Since then, she has been at the forefront of multi-million cross border investments, structuring and executing commercialization plans with her portfolio companies.
Determined to see more women at the helm, she sits on multiple boards, including 131 & Counting, a bipartisan effort to fete the unprecedented number of women serving in the House and Senate, encouraging more women to run for office in the US; and Lean In Malaysia, which she co-founded, a platform accelerating women into leadership in Malaysia. Named Forbes Under 30 VC, Chen is a recognized speaker, strategist and commentator on venture capital, innovation and women, having been featured on Forbes, Fortune, Bloomberg, Der Spiegel and at the United Nations, and is a celebrated host on the show and podcast #BillionDollarMoves. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Laws, LL.B (Hons.) from King’s College London.
“Schools have always played a critical role in the development of our children, but the pandemic has reminded us just how complex education is. Schools serve not only as a sandbox for growth and learning but have the power to nurture the most ambitious dreams of our next generation through their most formative years. I am honored to be celebrating schools building our next generation of leaders, towards inclusive growth.”
Senior Director, Attendance, Research and Innovation with the Office of Community Schools, New York City Department of Education, U.S.
Sarah D. Peterson is the Senior Director of Attendance, Research and Innovation with the Office of Community Schools at the New York City Department of Education (*only for identification purposes) . In this role, Sarah leads the design and implementation of New York City’s Every Student, Every Day attendance policy and improvement strategy, and oversees the attendance policy, data analytics and research teams. As a founding member of the Office of Community Schools, Sarah has been nationally recognized for her work in leveraging the community schools strategy to reduce chronic absenteeism. Sarah is also a member of The Brookings Task Force on Next Generation Community Schools, which has proposed a solution for scaling Community Schools to every neighborhood across America to address inequity and drive post-pandemic recovery. Previously, Sarah served as an adviser to the Obama White House and the U.S. Department of Education on the national My Brother’s Keeper Every Student, Every Day Campaign, a federal initiative dedicated to eliminating chronic absenteeism across 30 school districts. She has also managed education projects internationally in countries such as Bosnia- Herzegovina, South Africa and Cambodia. Sarah holds a Master’s Degree from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s Degree from Oberlin College.
Head of Education, BTS Spark, U.S.
Sean is a global education leader, speaker, and author, with nearly three decades of experience in education. With a strong background in education reform and wellbeing, he has driven policy change, implemented initiatives, and developed educational leaders, to enhance the social impact of education. He currently serves as the Head of Education at BTS Spark, North America, a not-for-profit practice focusing on developing the next generation of school leaders. He is a Social & Emotional Learning expert for NBC Education Nation and NBC Today, advisory member for OECD’s Future of Education & Skills 2030, contributor to WISE All-In, and a founding member of the UNESCO Chair on Global Health & Education. He has written for the Washington Post, Huffington Post, EdWeek and EdSurge, and his latest book Questioning Education comes out March 2002 via Routledge.
"Education serves to help the individual discover who they are and who they can be. Education also has a core role to play in helping all of us – our communities, our societies, and our world – discover who we are who we wish to become. By sharing expertise, learning from others, and seeing the greater value of education beyond just the academic, this prize will allow us to move the sector forward by raising up outstanding examples of innovative and collaboration for the greater good. I look forward to viewing them all."
CEO, Teach for India, India
Shaheen Mistri is the CEO of Teach for India.
Shaheen grew up in 5 countries around the world, and returned to India when she was 18 to start Akanksha. For 17 years, she worked with teachers and students, building Akanksha to provide children from low- income communities the kind of education that would maximize their greatest potential. In 2008, Shaheen founded Teach For India, with an audacious vision of providing an excellent education to all children across India through building a pipeline of leaders committed to ending educational inequity in India.
Shaheen has also created projects like the Maya Musical, the Kid’s Education Revolution which explore student leadership, creating platforms for student voice and partnership, and TFIx, which is a year-long incubator program for passionate entrepreneurs who are willing to adapt Teach For India’s model to their context and region in rural areas.
Shaheen currently serves on the boards of Akanksha Foundation. Shaheen has been an Ashoka Fellow, a Global Leader for Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum, and an Asia Society 21 Leader. She is the author of the book, Redrawing India and the Miss Muglee Children’s Books. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and a Master’s Degree from the University of Manchester.
Country Manager, Google Customer Solutions, India
Shalini is Country Manager for Google Customer Solutions where she is building the digital ecosystem for India. Prior to her current role, she was the Category Director with Amazon India and CEO for Lehar Foods Business for PepsiCo. Shalini did her bachelors in engineering from IIT, Madras, Personnel management from XLRI and MBA from INSEAD.
Shalini is a leader with functional expertise in Sales, Finance, Supply chain and Human resources and deep experience of leading teams in different parts of the world across Eastern and Western Europe, Asia and South America.
She has been honoured as ‘Young Global Leader’ 2015 by the World Economic Forum. She has also been awarded the 40 under 40 influential Leaders award by Economic Times and Spencer Stuart in 2014 and recognized as one of the women leaders to watch in 2015.
Shalini is a keen champion of women’s rights. She has been working in the area of women’s empowerment and prevention of female feticide for the last 25 years. She is a mother of a 16 year old son and attempts to be cool by getting deeper into Avengers and Star wars.
"It's a privilege and responsibility for me to serve on the Judging Panel for the World’s Best School Prizes! Schools lay the foundation for young children and are critical for our societies to move ahead as we emerge from this pandemic. These have been trying times and it is imperative that we celebrate the hard work put in by these educational institutions. I believe in the principle of Aspire, Achieve and Applaud. May the most deserving schools emerge winners."
Co-Founder & CEO, EkStep Foundation, India
Mr Shankar Maruwada is the Co-Founder and CEO of EkStep Foundation, a philanthropic mission he co-founded in 2015 along with Nandan Nilekani and Rohini Nilekani, to improve basic education for 200 million children in India.
Shankar is deeply passionate about leveraging technology for large scale transformation. Shankar has more than 25 years of experience across the corporate, entrepreneurial, not-for profit and government sectors. This allows him to bring the best of thinking from different lens, in shaping EkStep’s mission and its strategic choices of achieving population scale impact using technology.
He was part of the start-up team at Aadhaar (Government of India’s unique identification program), setup in 2009, where he spearheaded an innovative and scalable demand generation program that to get 1 billion+ Indians to enrol for their digitally verifiable unique Aadhaars at an unprecedented speed.
He is an investor in multiple startups and a mentor to entrepreneurs and not-for-profits.
“By celebrating schools we celebrate communities, which is why I support the ‘World’s Best School Prizes’. We have to do everything in our power and influence to strengthen schools as institutions so that all children can achieve their potential.”
Executive Chairman, Intrinsic Labs, UK
Sharath Jeevan is one of the world’s leading intrinsic motivation experts. He spent the last decade founding and leading STIR Education – arguably the world’s largest intrinsic motivation initiative. STIR re-ignited the motivation of 200,000 teachers, 35,000 schools and 7 million children in emerging countries. He is now Executive Chairman of Intrinsic Labs where he helps organisations and individuals to solve deep motivation challenges.
His work has been featured in The New York Times and The Economist. He was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2014 and was recognised as one of the UK’s ten leading social entrepreneurs in 2019.
Sharath holds degrees from Cambridge University, Oxford University and INSEAD. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his contributions to the field and was invited to serve on the high-level steering group of the Education Commission, the pre-eminent global think tank founded by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
“Schools have undergone an incredibly challenging eighteen months. The pandemic has ruthlessly tested all aspects of the school system, yet teachers and school leaders, driven by a clear sense of Purpose, continue to help and serve their young people. Schools have innovated, built their resilience and been a great source of strength and support in their local communities. The ‘World’s Best School Prizes’ is a brilliant and timely initiative to celebrate schools worldwide and strengthen them as institutions. It’s an honour to serve on the judging academy and to connect with incredible schools across the world.”
Founder & President, Women Political Leaders (WPL), Belgium
Silvana Koch-Mehrin is the President and Founder of Women Political Leaders (WPL), the worldwide network of womenPoliticians. WPL is an independent, non-partisan and not-for-profit foundation that aims to increase both the number and influence of women in political leadership. Silvana served as Vice-President of the European Parliament (2009-2011) and Member of the European Parliament (2004-2014). Before her time in politics, she founded and ran a public affairs consultancy in Brussels, which later merged with a larger US firm. She also worked as Senior Special Advisor for EY and as Senior Policy Advisor for GPLUS Europe.
In addition to her work for WPL, Silvana serves on the board of the Council of Women World Leaders, the network of female Presidents and Prime Ministers. She is also a member of the European Leadership Network (ELN), a Board Director of the Social Progress Imperative and member of the Global Advisory Network of Apolitical Academy Global. Since 2016, Silvana has been representing the European Union in the Executive Committee of W20, an official engagement group of the G20. In 2018 and 2019, she was ranked as one of the 100 most influential persons in gender equality by Apolitical. Silvana is a Young Global Leader Alumni of the World Economic Forum. She lives in Brussels, Belgium with her three kids and their Irish father.
“If we want to live in a society where everyone has a chance to learn and achieve, we need to invest in stronger educational programs that teach the next generation 21st century skills. I fully support this initiative that seeks to promote school effectiveness, hoping that it would encourage more schools to improve and do better.”
Chief Executive, Society, UK
Simon is Chief Executive of the executive search firm Society. He grew up in South Wales, and read Philosophy and Politics at the University of Warwick. Along the way, he was Head Boy of Olchfa Comprehensive School in Swansea, and President of the Students’ Union at Warwick. In 2005, he was hired as one of the first colleagues at the executive search firm Perrett Laver. He worked there for several years before setting up Society. Within the education sector he has handled senior appointments for everyone from the United World Colleges (UWC) to the Aga Khan Schools (AKES and AKA).
“Perhaps more than any other organisations, schools have the potential to transform lives. That’s why the firm I lead is so committed to working with schools on their leadership challenges. And it’s why I’m excited to support the World’s Best School Prizes. It’s a great initiative that’s shining a spotlight on exceptional practice, and helping to celebrate some truly remarkable institutions.”
Co-CEO, Jacobs Foundation, Switzerland
Simon Sommer has been the Co-CEO of the Jacobs Foundation in Zurich, Switzerland, since 2019. With assets of CHF 7 billion, the Jacobs Foundation is one of the world’s large philanthropies focusing on child development and learning. In a collaborative effort involving team and stakeholders, he developed the Foundation’s ten-year strategy “Understanding and Embracing Variability in Learning”, resulting in a CHF 500 million pledge to help children learn and thrive together globally. Before joining the Jacobs Foundation in 2006, he worked at the Volkswagen Foundation in Hannover, Germany’s largest private research funder, and as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company in Berlin, Germany. He holds graduate degrees in Cultural Studies and Musicology.
“When children succeed in life, even against the odds, it is so often in schools where the magic happens. We need to better understand the “ordinary magic” of successful schools, and we need to showcase these examples to the world. We need more initiatives that try to make this magic visible.”
Founder, Supercharge, India
Sonal is a Career Strategist, Podcaster and Founder of Supercharge, a Career Advisory firm with clients in Europe, Middle East, Africa, North America and Asia.
She is an experienced HR Director and a Career Strategist, living in Belgium.
Originally from India, she has lived and worked in India, Uruguay, Chile and France.
After nearly 2 decades in HR, screening over 250,000 resumes and conducting over 5000 interviews in 3 continents - she has helped recruit, build and evolve highly talented teams. She has experience working with large companies like GE & PwC, midsize family owned firms & startups.
Sonal helps people by offering authentic advice on how they can have a career they actually love. She will give you that extra edge you need to land that job, get promoted & improve your happiness at work. She is also the creator and host of How I Got Hired, a top rated career podcast in multiple countries.
Sonal has an MBA from INSEAD, currently ranked number one program in Europe and top 2 globally. She speaks English, Hindi, Spanish and French fluently.
CEO, Happioh, U.S.
Soulaima Gourani, Palo Alto, serial entrepreneur, author, CEO of Happioh, a Danish/Morrocan, 7th-grade school dropout, former street, and foster care child. Globally rewarded women in tech and business.
“Great schools are like soil-supporting kids to grow by providing a sound, safe and healthy environment. It is a human right to go to a good school.”
Senior Vice Provost, Columbia University, U.S.
Professor Soulaymane Kachani serves as Senior Vice Provost at Columbia University. He conducts research in the fields of dynamic pricing, revenue management, machine learning, logistics, supply chain management, algorithmic trading, traffic flow modeling, and transportation analysis. He teaches courses in the areas of quantitative corporate finance, industrial economics, operations consulting, logistics, pricing, and production and inventory planning.
Professor Kachani was honored with the Columbia Engineering School Alumni Association 2005 Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award, the 2007 Kim Award for Faculty Involvement, the 2010 Avanessians Diversity Award, and the 2012 Egleston Distinguished Service Award.
Prior to joining Columbia, Professor Kachani worked as a senior consultant in the Boston office of McKinsey. He received a Ph.D. in Operations Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds a Master of Science in Operations Research from MIT and a Diplôme d’Ingénieur in Applied Mathematics from École Centrale Paris.
“Schools play a seminal role in developing and cultivating learners to become curious, open-minded thinkers and tinkerers who carry entire societies forward. Exceptional schools bring together the right combination of knowledge, tools, support, and compassionate care to develop skills, ideas and friendships that can last a lifetime. ’The World’s Best School Prizes’ is an important initiative that recognizes institutions and schools that provide nurturing environments for delivering innovative teaching and learning and quality instruction to produce passionate and committed lifelong learners to thrive in an ever-changing world.”
Co-Founder & CEO, Digimentors, U.S.
Sree Sreenivasan is the inaugural Marshall Loeb visiting Professor of Digital Innovation at Stony Brook School of Communication and Journalism. He is CEO and cofounder of Digimentors, a digital, social and virtual & hybrid events consulting company. He has served as Chief Digital Officer of New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Columbia University (where he was a full-time professor of journalism for 20+ years). In 2015, Fast Company named him one of the 100 most creative people in business and in 2010, he was named one of the 35 most influential people in social media by the Poynter Institute. In 2014, he was named most influential CDO by CDO Club.
“I am honored to once again be part of the Judging Academy of the World’s Best School Prizes. Vikas is a true pioneer in the world of education and the right person, with the right convening power, to make this happen. As someone who has been involved with major prizes in multiple awards for more than two decades, including the Emmy Awards (TV), Online Journalism Awards (news; I was founding administrator), James Beard (food), Global Teacher Prize (education), Pulitzers (journalism and the arts) and more, I know what it takes to put together a world-class prize program. Vikas and his team delivered something special last year elevating the status of schools and teachers around the world.”
Director, South Asia Human and Social Development Division, Asian Development Bank (ADB) & Chair, Education Sector Group, Philippines
Mr. Sungsup Ra is Director, South Asia Human and Social Development Division, Asian Development Bank (ADB). He is also Chair of the Education Sector Group in ADB. As Director, he is overseeing a portfolio of $5 billion in the South Asia Region. As Chair, he provides strategic leadership to the education sector group and coordinates its overall workplan.
Mr. Ra has more than 25 years of experience covering identification, processing, implementation, and assessment in education as well as other sectors including health, social protection, energy, water, transport, and agriculture. As a strategic and innovative leader, he has pushed the boundaries of education operations to support cross sectoral issues such as food crisis, youth unemployment, digital transformation, clean energy, vulnerable urban population and road safety through education and skills development projects.
He is actively involved in global initiatives such as the International Financing Facility for Education, the Global High-tech Agricultural University Network, and the 17 Rooms initiative by the Brookings Institution.
As an author of over 50 publications, Mr. Ra regularly contributes to public debates in news media and conferences on current economic and human development issues. He serves on various non-profit Boards and advisory committees including TAL Research Institute.
Prior to ADB, Mr. Ra worked with public and private entities such as Samsung and Korean National Pension. He has also taught at leading universities. He holds a Doctorate Degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States.
“The disruptions from the pandemic have brought twin challenges – closing a widening learning gap while fostering innovation, creativity, and a quest for learning among all students. This calls for a reboot of the education system to encourage innovative collaborations, nurture holistic development and foster sustainability. ‘The World’s Best School Prizes’ highlights exemplary schools that have excelled in these areas and can serve as models.”
Co-Founder & CEO, PopUp School, U.S.
Suren Aloyan is a serial EdTech entrepreneur with multiple successful companies under his belt. As an internationally recognized and award-winning EdTech executive, Suren has more than 13 years of experience in K-12 education and has interviewed over 35,000 teachers in order to gain insight into teaching, learning, and 21st-century digital education.
Suren began his career by revolutionizing the education system in Armenia by being the first person to build an electronic school management system called Dasaran (Classroom) EdTech Company, an Armenia-based software-as-a-service company providing innovative solutions in K-12 education by integrating one online platform for all students in public schools. Dasaran was implemented nationwide and is used by ⅓ of the population of Armenia, amounting to nearly 1.2 million people. The implementation of Dasaran created equal and accessible opportunities for students, parents, and teachers across Armenia, uniting cities and villages alike.
In 2016, Dasaran was recognized as one of the best 5 innovative enterprises in the world by the UNDP. Through the integration of Dasaran, the computer literacy level among teachers in Armenia increased from 5% in 2010 to 81% in 2016.
After the success of Dasaran, he introduced Koreez, an online inter-school competition to motivate students’ learning and recognize the teachers critical role and improve their reputation.
His most recent venture is a startup called PopUp School, a US-based K-12 personalized e-learning platform offering a learning-preference assessment to students and then matching lessons to their unique way of learning. PopUp utilizes a state-of-the-art algorithm to match students and teachers through learning preference and optimize the learning-teaching process.
In 2021, Suren was honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. As a Young Global Leader, in 2022 Suren was invited to attend Harvard Kennedy School for an academic program in Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st century.
Suren uses his experience towards education system modernization through innovation and modern technologies and contributes to extensive data-driven state policy-making and educational reforms. Suren has global reach as he has delivered speeches for large auditoriums in different corners around the world, such as, ‘Impact Investment and Innovation for SDGs’ forum at the UN Headquarters in New York (USA), UNDP’s ‘Social Good Summit’ in Switzerland, ‘UNESCO MGIEP Conference’ in India, ‘Global Education and Skills Forum’ in Dubai (UAE), ‘RISE Tech Conference’ in Hong Kong, ‘World Bank’s Understanding Risk Forum’ in Mexico, and ‘UAE-Armenia Investment Forum’ in Abu Dhabi, et al.
Suren holds a MA degree in Economics from Yerevan State University (Armenia), certification in Business and Marketing from Texas A&M University (Yerevan branch), certification in Resource Management from Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, California), as well as certification in International Law from the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (Newport, Rhode Island). Additionally, Suren has a military ranking of Captain in Reserve.
Chair, Laidlaw Schools Trust, UK
Susanna Kempe is the Chair of the Laidlaw Schools Trust, a governor of the Fashion Retail Academy and CEO of the Laidlaw Foundation which invests in the education of the underprivileged and underrepresented in order to break the cycle of poverty, reduce inequality and create a new generation of diverse and ethical leaders.
A German-American-Brit, with over 15 years board and executive leadership roles in international B2B, SasS and education businesses, Susanna has a wealth of global experience creating visionary strategies, building high performing teams and delivering transformation.
Throughout her career she has been involved with education and professional development. At the Institute for International Research, she led the commercial acquisition and integration of a portfolio of corporate training businesses; at both the FTSE 100 Informa Plc, and the private equity owned media powerhouse, Emap, she built learning Academies.
Susanna believes passionately in the power of education to transform lives.
“Schools shape our future citizens. They have the power to propel children forward, or allow whole communities to stagnate. For too long, we have been measuring the wrong things in determining what makes a successful school. These awards, brilliantly, uniquely, measure what truly matters. I feel enormously privileged to serve on the Judging Academy. I look forward to celebrating the incredible, innovative, work that schools around the world are doing, often collaboratively, to support healthy lives, overcome adversity and tackle climate change.”
Paralympic Gold Medalist, UK
Susannah (Susie) Rodgers MBE is a former Paralympic swimmer, who competed in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, winning Gold in the 50m butterfly in the Rio Paralympics and five bronze medals in freestyle events across both Games. She won 30 international medals during a career of a decade, winning 17 gold at all levels of competition. Susie now works as a global disability inclusion adviser both for governments and the private sector. She was made a Young Global Leader in 2018 by the World Economic Forum and awarded the honour of an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen for services to swimming in 2017. She is passionate about education and awareness raising around diversity and inclusion, equal opportunities for all, sport and well-being and ocean conservation. She is an ocean ambassador for the Marine Conservation Society in the UK and a trustee for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic legacy charity, Spirit of 2012.
“I am honoured to be part of the Judging Academy for the ‘World’s Best School Prizes’. Education is an important tool to unlock the world and opportunities for everyone. I believe that learning and education continues throughout our lives, but it starts at school and is key to building a more inclusive and collaborative world. Education is a human right and I believe passionately in inclusive education. I am excited to read the entries and be involved in this prize, which should act as a global conversation starter and highlight best practice.”
Managing Trustee, Avanti Fellows, India
Vandana Goyal is currently the Managing Trustee of Avanti Fellows, an award-winning nonprofit based in India focused on putting low-income students on a path towards professional success through competitive test preparation and a focus on high quality STEM education in secondary government schools.
She was formerly CEO of The Akanksha Foundation. Under her leadership, Akanksha became one of the largest networks of public-private partnership schools in India, currently 21 schools serving over 9,300 students and 10,000 alumni. In 2012, Vandana was honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader.
Vandana serves on the Board of Directors of Avanti Fellows, Save the Children India and Kizazi (UK). She also serves on the advisory board of The Akanksha Foundation, The Education Alliance and the Investment Committee of the School Quality Excellence Program.
Vandana grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, where her parents emigrated from India in 1978. She moved to Mumbai in 2006, and currently lives there with her husband and two children, Siena and Samar.
Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees, Eden Academy Trust, Italy
Victoria Collis works with governments in low and middle-income countries to build better public education services. She has worked long term with ministers and senior civil servants in Pakistan, Nigeria, and Lebanon and on projects in countries including Rwanda, Syria, and Perú.
Victoria also provides interim leadership, helping organisations navigate change or shape new ideas. Most recently she led EdTech Hub, a global research programme on how digital can transform learning. Her work culminated in the commissioning of four large studies as well as the agreement of a new funding partnership. She is currently collaborating with the UK’s FCDO and partners on what works to deliver foundational literacy and numeracy in low resource settings.
Victoria is Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Eden Academy Trust. This group of seven schools in England serves pupils with a range of special educational needs and disabilities. She lives in Pisa, Italy.
“Working to improve an education system will never be enough to deliver excellent learning for every single pupil it serves. A good curriculum, decent infrastructure (on or offline), well-prepared teachers: all these things are necessary. But there is no standard formula that guarantees results. Pupils and teachers are different from one another. And circumstance and context vary hugely, over time as well as from place to place. We should embrace this plurality, which is why I am excited about the World’s Best School Prizes. Celebrating the creativity and effort that goes into making a school a wonderful place to teach and learn is important. We can learn from every school that enters. Perhaps some of what we see will even become standard practice in the future. But, most of all, we need to stop and recognise the schools across the globe deliver great education in their community.”
Principal & National Leader of Education, Swiss Cottage School, Development and Research Centre, UK
Vijita Patel is the Principal of Swiss Cottage School, Development and Research Centre, a large special school for 260 pupils in London. Vijita is passionate about the role of education in developing an equal society, and its fundamental purpose in reducing the marginalisation of pupils with additional needs.
Vijita is an advocate of empowering educators as leaders of learning design, and the responsibility of school leaders in creating school cultures that cultivate teacher agency. She works with school leaders, governors, and Local Authorities as a National Leader of Education. She equally enjoys training early career teachers on the neuroscience of learning. Vijita is a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teachers, and a Trustee for Special Olympics Great Britain, Challenge Partners, and the Artists in Residence Charity.
Swiss Cottage School, DRC was designated as an Apple Distinguished School in September 2021 and has six consecutive Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ Inspection outcomes.
“Such a privilege to support T4 and the platform it gives through the World’s Best School Prizes - celebrating and showcasing the creativity, ingenuity, and innovation of educators that are driven by a moral imperative to reduce marginalisation and nurture an inclusive future!”
President, Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, U.S.
Vilas Dhar is President and Trustee of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, a 21st century philanthropy advancing AI and data solutions to create a thriving, equitable, and sustainable future for all. A leading voice on equity in a tech-enabled world, Vilas champions individuals and communities as architects, decision makers, and primary stakeholders in shaping our digital future. A trained computer scientist, lawyer, and philanthropist, Vilas serves on the Advisory Council at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), as Expert Contributor to OECD.AI, Co-Chair of the Global AI Action Alliance at the World Economic Forum, Advisor to MIT SOLVE, Director of the Network of Engaged International Donors, and as a Trustee of the Christensen Fund. He has been named a Young Global Leader and Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, and has previously served as a Senior Fellow of the Berggruen Institute, the Gleitsman Fellow on Social Change at Harvard University, a Practitioner Resident on Artificial Intelligence at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Illinois.
“Strong schools are cornerstones for strong societies. As we envision the ethically-grounded future we seek to build, let us celebrate the educators and communities that are working tirelessly to inspire students, ensure equitable access to quality education, and lay the groundwork for a sustainable and inclusive future.”
Founder, #Adtags, Zimbabwe
Vimbayi is an Intersectional tech and media activist and the Founder of #Adtags, a platform that helps people of colour monetize their social media pictures so brands can use them in advertising. A writer and speaker, Vimbayi draws creative inspiration from her experiences living in many countries- and thus through the lens of many identities- as a true global citizen. Vimbayi is recognized by governments and top institutions. She is a World Economic Forum, Young Global Leader, a TED Speaker, mentor to startups, Africa-China Cultural Ambassador, interviewer, former international news anchor (the first Black anchor on Asian news) board member and more. Vimbayi looks forward to evolving the next stage of her calling, for more nuanced representation of our intersectional identities, into a TV show
“Because the world changes at such exponential rates, education has to adapt to keep up. Learning is thus a lifelong pursuit and can no longer be relegated to the schools. It is so important that the best educators set students up, to keep learning beyond the classrooms and into the world, in order to navigate and find solutions to the challenges, that affect us in this hyper-connected world.”
Co-Founder, Dream a Dream, India
Vishal Talreja co-founded Dream a Dream along with 11 others. Dream a Dream is a registered, charitable trust empowering children and young people from vulnerable backgrounds to overcome adversity and flourish in the 21st century using a creative life skills approach. Currently, Dream a Dream works with 10,000 young people a year through two innovation labs – After School Life Skills Programme and Career Connect Programme; have trained over 8000 teachers/educators impacting over 200,000 children and young people and impact over 1 Million children through the Happiness Curriculum in partnership with the Delhi Government.
Vishal is an Ashoka Fellow, an Eisenhower Fellow, a Salzburg Global Fellow and a Board Member at PYE Global. He has previously been a Founder Director of Unltd India and Board Member of India Cares Foundation. Vishal has been recognized as an “Architect of the Future” by the Waldzell Institut in Austria. He is also an advisor and mentor to Reap Benefit and is deeply committed to mentoring start-up NGOs and young social entrepreneurs. In 2018, he was awarded the ‘Heroes of Bengaluru’ award. More recently, he has been recognized as Innovator of the Year by HundrED.org which looks to identify and recognize 100 Global Innovations on K12 Education from across the world.
“Identifying and celebrating some of the most innovative and path-breaking schools in the world will not only encourage the recognized schools to continue to be pioneers in their space, it will also inspire schools across the world to truly transform themselves to help every child Thrive. Schools are the bedrock of helping our children develop the values, capacities and skills to build a better world and this initiative has the potential to support the transformative purpose of schools across the world.”
Director, Vimson Group, Singapore
Vivek Salgaocar is a Director at the Vimson Group, a family-owned conglomerate with interests in mineral resources, real estate and financial services. The group is also actively involved in philanthropic initiatives, particularly in healthcare and sports. He is also Co-Founder of Prospect Mining Studio, which supports start-ups and innovators as they build, pilot and scale frontier technologies to address the biggest challenges facing the natural resource and mining industries in a sustainable and socially responsible way. Vivek earned his MBA from Columbia Business School, and his BA summa cum laude, from Emory University. He was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2020 and currently serves on the YGL Advisory Group. He is also a part of the Young Leaders Circle at the Milken Institute. Vivek is a member of the Advisory Board of the Family Business Program at Columbia Business School, and is a member of the Singapore Chapters of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), and Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). He serves as the Group’s representative to the Singapore Business Federation and the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Vice Chair, Janison, Australia
Wayne Houlden has worked in education for over 30 years. First as a teacher and faculty leader, then as Edtech business founder, leading teams building national and international learning and assessment platforms in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK and the US.
Wayne is passionate about the role technology can play in helping provide support to education. Wayne has been a leading innovator in a number of areas of education technology, including the development of cloud based, large scale assessments, collaborative and 21CC assessment technology, and integrated AI technologies in adaptive learning, assessment and predictive scoring.
As Vice Chair of Janison, the business founded by Wayne 23 years ago, Wayne continues to work with many education authorities, education publishers, higher education networks and international organisations supporting initiatives to improve education.
“Over the last four years, I have been particularly focused on programs which can support schools and school improvement, particularly in ways that recognise the importance for the development of 21st century skills for our children.
The World’s Best School Prizes is an exciting new initiative, one which helps to recognise schools in important ways that differentiate schools that have demonstrated exceptional capabilities in five key important categories.
I am proud to be involved in an initiative that recognises schools in these ways and highlights the importance of innovation, diversity, collaboration, health and the environment. These are key components of 21st century skills and our celebration of achievement in these areas will help focus educators on the importance of these skills for our children attending school in this decade and beyond.”
Co-Founder & CEO, Teach For All, U.S.
Wendy Kopp is CEO and Co-founder of Teach For All, a global network of independent organizations working to develop collective leadership to ensure all children have the opportunity to fulfill their potential. Prior to launching Teach For All in 2007, Wendy founded and led Teach For America – which has proven to be an unparalleled source of long-term leadership for expanding opportunity for children in the United States – for 24 years. Wendy led the development of Teach For All to be responsive to the initiative of social entrepreneurs around the world who were determined to adapt this approach in their own countries. Wendy holds honorary doctorate degrees from 15 universities and is the recipient of numerous awards including the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship (2008) and the Schwab Foundation’s Outstanding Social Entrepreneur Award (2003). She resides in New York City with her husband and their four children.
“More than ever before, we need to be calling attention to and advancing the work of schools that develop the leadership of all their students so that our young people can shape a better future for themselves and all of us. The Global Schools Prize will bring much needed focus to what is working in the world’s most transformational schools and how we can learn from and adapt those best practices in communities around the world.”
Founder & Managing Partner, First Nation Société Bancaire, Russia
Yan Yanovskiy is founder and managing partner of First Nation Société Bancaire, a leading Easter European multifamily office. Previously, Mr. Yanovskiy was a President of BioEnco, Russia’s First Bioenergy Corporation, Head of Investment Strategy and Member of the Board at the United Industrial Corporation (OPK), Managing Director and Head of Corporate Finance at Rosbank. Mr. Yanovskiy received a BA in Economics (summa cum laude) and an MBA in Finance and Management from Fordham University, and a Master’s in International Management (with distinction) from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He also studied at Harvard School of Business, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and University of Oxford. Yan Yanovskiy is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. Mr. Yanovskiy is also Member of the World Economic Forum Expert Network.
Mr. Yanovskiy is a co-founder and Member of the Board of Friends Foundation as well as Moscow School of Professional Philanthropy.
“No matter how much I hated to wake up early to go to school every morning I loved every minute of my school years. My school was a true sandbox for me to explore the world, learn about different fields of education, including literature and culture, biology and mathematics, history and politics. It helped me to develop logical, critical, and problem-solving skills, ability to adapt to people from diverse cultural backgrounds, respect and cherish friendships.
Sometimes we forget about critical role school, as an institution, plays in our society and our lives. I am very honored to join an esteemed group of professionals who will help to identify the best schools in the world so that different stakeholders from teachers to administrators, from students to parents can be inspired by these examples and apply them into their lives.”
Director, Education Cannot Wait, Switzerland
Yasmine Sherif is the Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW) – a global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crisis. A human rights lawyer (LL.M), she has 30 years of experience with the United Nations and civil society.
She has served in crisis affected countries and regions in Africa, Asia, Balkans and the Middle East, and in New York and Geneva. Ms. Sherif has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at Long Island University (LIU). She is the author of the book, The Case for Humanity: An Extraordinary Session, launched at the United Nations in 2015. In 2017, she received the prestigious annual award “Sweden’s UN Friend of the Year” and in 2020 she was awarded the Global Educator Award in the US.
“When it comes to education, there is no limit to what we can achieve provided we get a quality education that is fit for 21st century. A child getting the world’s best education can change the world in the most astounding ways and push the human race forward. Today, we celebrate the winners of the World’s Best Schools. These winners are the ones with potential as well as proven evidence to shape that child and that adolescent who may one day transform our world. On behalf of Education Cannot Wait, I bow to the winners and congratulate you all from my heart. You are the world’s best schools!”
Head, Communications in Europe, Middle East & Africa, YouTube, UK
Zayna Aston is the head of YouTube Communications in Europe, Middle East and Africa where she leads communications strategy across the region. Zayna joined Google in 2011 and has worked across YouTube and Google products to help inform and educate users, partners and opinion leaders about the benefits of Google’s products, company culture/values, and approach to the big policy issues of the day.
Zayna is an expert in the changing models of content viewership, spurred by the rise of video and mobile devices. As a media spokesperson, she regularly appears in the media to explain the YouTube landscape and the evolution of media. In New York, this included a monthly segment on NBC’s Today Show called ‘What’s Clickin’ and weekly guest appearances on talk radio programmes, including Wall Street Journal radio.
Prior to starting at Google, Zayna worked in entertainment in Los Angeles and has held a variety of roles in the media industry, working within the crossroads of content and technology. Zayna received a joint double masters (MSc/MA) in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and University of Southern California. She has also studied at McGill University in Canada.
“More than ever before we should celebrate the innovative, creative and effective methods of school’s across the world to build community and foster excellence in students. ’The World’s Best School Prizes’ highlights the best of the best to serve as global role models to continue setting the bar higher and reaching further.”