GCI Seminar 2022: Introducing the Educators!
We are thrilled to introduce you to the 13 secondary school educators who are attending the GCI Seminar for Educators 2022!
Today, 13 Educators from all corners of the globe will start their GCI journey by gathering at the GCI Seminar 2022 in St Andrews, Scotland. The Seminar is a transformational intercultural professional development experience for secondary school educators to learn key elements of the GCI Method©, a research-based pedagogy that combines Harkness®* (Discussion-Based Learning), Design Thinking and Human Connectivity. The 6-day Seminar runs in parallel with the GCI Summit, as the Educators will observe some of the student sessions and attend many of the same evening events, in addition to participating in their own academic sessions and interactive workshops.
The purpose of the Seminar is to immerse educators in a holistic experiential learning environment that encourages sharing and reflection and nurtures each participant to become a positive agent of change, fostering the same in our students. The overarching theme of this year’s program is Sustainability, and the goal is to present opportunities for educators to facilitate change in their own work in their classrooms and school communities.
This year's cohort of 13 Educators represents 14 cultural heritages, speaks 13 languages and works at 12 schools in 9 countries!
*Harkness® is a registered trademark of Phillips Exeter Academy.
Continue reading below for each of the Educators' biographies.
High School Teacher
Haile Manas Academy
Debre Birhan, Ethiopia
Claudia Alvarez has been an international educator for 14 years. She has a Bachelor of Engineering from John Brown University, a master's in coaching from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, a master's in innovation from Tecnologico de Monterrey, and a master’s in international education from Buffalo State University. She has worked at international schools in Guatemala, Mexico, and Bolivia. Currently she is the Dean of Faculty at a boarding school in Ethiopia. She is one of the founding faculty members and has contributed to the main school programs like community outreach, sustainability and design lab.
Director of Performing Arts
New York, United States
Bettie-Ann Candelora serves as the Director of Performing Arts at Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY, US. The Hackley School is committed to infusing global education into the curriculum, and to providing student experiences that, as the mission statement relays, challenge students to “learn from the varying perspectives in our community and the world.” Bettie-Ann formerly was the Arts Administrator at Lake Highland Prep in Orlando, Fl and taught in the graduate Arts Administration program at Drexel University. She holds both a Master of Arts Administration and a Master in Music Education degrees.
Waterbury Public Schools
Connecticut, United States
Kelly Donohue grew up in a small town about an hour north of New York City. It was a small majority-white Christian homogeneous community. School came easy to her and the next natural step was to head off to college. As a first-generation college student she just sort of went with the flow and somehow managed to get a bachelor’s degree in English despite losing her mother after her freshman year. Fast forward 20 years and she found herself in another small homogenous community, post-divorce with an opportunity for a second career in education. On this next journey, she chose the unfamiliar, a large inner-city school composed of students from lower-income families, limited experience outside their own neighborhoods, and all the inequities that are found in one of the largest wealth and education gaps in the United States. She loves her students and being an educator.
Rasha El Geoshy Abdel Fattah
Roots International School
Rasha El Geoshy Abdel Fattah is a dedicated professional with 23+ years of experience in various educational systems including Egyptian National, American, IBDP, Montessori, and British. She started as a teacher of English language & literature, then as English department Chair, teacher trainer, and educational consultant, moving on to the position of Middle School Principal, then Education & Business Development Director, CEO and currently Whole School Principal. She is also a Seeds of Peace Delegation Leader and active member, in addition to being an IVLP (International Visitors Leadership Program) alumna. She is proficient in developing and engaging teams, and in identifying the strengths of others. She believes that school plants the seed for ongoing learning and that the key to success is teaching students how to learn in this constantly changing world. Hobbies include learning, hiking and exploring new territories.
Science Department Chair
New York, United States
With 25 years of teaching experience, Katherine Hannon wakes up every day feeling blessed to be doing the work that she loves. Katherine’s diverse interests are reflected in her myriad degrees and pastimes. She is an avid runner and hiker, loves to cook, read and garden, is a Food Justice and LGBTQ+ advocate, and holds degrees in chemistry, biology and theology. A midwesterner at heart, Katherine currently resides in Tarrytown, NY with her family and dog where she is the Science Department Chair at Hackley School.
AP Capstone Coordinator
Senegalese American Bilingual School
Rugiyatu Kane is an educator at the Senegalese-American Bilingual School (SABS) in Dakar, Senegal. As coordinator of the AP Capstone Program, she teaches AP Seminar and AP Research courses. Rugiyatu guides students through various projects to help them find and claim agency over their learning experience as well as solve problems within their communities. She holds a bachelor's in Environmental Studies from Spelman College, and a Master of Sustainable Development Practice from the University of Florida.
History and Social Sciences Faculty
10th Grade Dean
Connecticut, United States
Ian Lear-Nickum teaches history and political science and is the 10th Grade Dean at King School in Stamford, CT, US. He speaks conversational Russian, has three children, is married to Lindsay (a veterinary oncologist), plays guitar, writes songs, sings songs and loves to travel. He grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, he has a BA in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania, and he received his MA in History from North Carolina State University in 2012. He wrote his MA thesis on Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh's visit to the United States in 1951. This work has been translated into Farsi and published in Iran.
Casablanca American School
Robert Moeny is a high school English teacher currently living and teaching in Casablanca, Morocco. He formerly lived in rural Oregon in the United States where he raised two daughters and a few thousand high schoolers he also affectionately called “his kids.” Staying involved in his schools, from the classroom to the field and from debate to drama, he works hard to provide fertile soil in which young minds can grow. Outside of the school, he is an active traveler. He loves to explore new cities on foot or by mass transit, listening to the voice of the locals and seeing the slow change from neighborhood to neighborhood. From that level, he finds it easier to see our similarities and encounter our differences.
Humanities Faculty Member
Since 2018, George Morganis has been teaching Humanities at King’s Academy, a boarding school in Jordan founded by His Majesty King Abdullah II. George began his career in global education in rural Japan, where he served on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. Prior to moving into education, George worked an archaeologist with the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Outside of the classroom, George enjoys traveling, learning languages, and connecting with educators from around the world.
Coordinator and Science Teacher
Sudarshan Pandey earned his B.Sc in Biotechnology, Genetics, and Biochemistry from Bangalore University – India, M.Sc. in Biotechnology from Bangalore University, started working at Biocon Ltd. Bangalore as an analyst in the department of quality control Biologicals. Although he was happy with his job, he felt that something is missing deep within. He then returned home to discover the missing part of himself in the field of education and since then he hasn’t looked back and feels complete. He is glad that he will be a learner forever and currently he occupies the position of Coordinator-International relations and teaches science to grades VIII to X at Ace School, Kathmandu.
Director of Entrepreneurial Leadership
African Leadership Academy
Honeydew, South Africa
David Tait (Dave) leads the Entrepreneurial Leadership (EL) Department at African Leadership Academy (ALA). EL promotes Ethical Entrepreneurship as a potential trajectory, by developing skills through deliberate learning experiences. Dave also works as an internal design thinking consultant for the academy and contributes to programs such as Africa Careers Network, Global Scholars Program, and Anzisha. Before joining ALA, Dave Tait worked as a creative director at one of South Africa’s leading design consultancy and has over a decade of design experience across the entire value chain of product and service development.
High School Principal
Okan Uzelli graduated from Istanbul University, Department of Sociology in 2003. In 2019, he completed his master's degree with his thesis in the field of political and moral philosophy. In 2012, he participated in the “Coaching, Leadership and Counseling in Organizations” program at Middlesex University, London. He is continuing a PhD program in educational technologies and aims to work on the achievement gap and technology in the future. He has taught philosophy, sociology, psychology, logic and theory of knowledge. He worked as a teacher, assistant principal, and IB - MYP coordinator. He is actively working as the director of Hisar High School. He has consulted on research on consumer culture, Westernization, gender, youth and nonviolence. He took part in the management team of philosophy, human rights and equal opportunity in education and school-themed conferences.
Social Studies Teacher and Director of Global Competence
Oakland Catholic High School
Pennsylvania, United States
In college, Matthew David Williams wanted to become an urban planner. After working with both a local township and an engineering firm, however, he realized he loved learning and talking about cities and their people much more than the actual work of planning. As such, he is now a teacher of Geography and Sociology at Oakland Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He also serves as director of the school's Global Competency Initiative (GCI) certificate program. In his free time, Matthew enjoys traveling, listening to jazz, and going to hear live music with his wife. He is also (slowly) reading his way through a mishmash of "100 greatest novels of all time" lists.
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