Sky School’s team of educational changemakers is diverse in age, gender, nationality and location. Our team members are united by their commitment to the mission of using transformative education to create opportunities and inspire positive change in the lives of refugees and their communities.

EXECUTIVE TEAM

Our Executive Team lead the day-to-day running of the organisation.

Polly Akhurst     Leadership Team    Co-founder and Co-Executive Director   Polly is driven by a passion for creating education systems that equip young people to make positive change in the world. She previously worked for UWC International in alumni and community engagement and outreach, and she is a contributor to the OECD’s Education 2030 project. She is also the co-founder of Talk to me.

Polly Akhurst

Leadership Team

Co-founder and Co-Executive Director

Polly is driven by a passion for creating education systems that equip young people to make positive change in the world. She previously worked for UWC International in alumni and community engagement and outreach, and she is a contributor to the OECD’s Education 2030 project. She is also the co-founder of Talk to me.

Shruti Tewari     Head of Partnerships   Shruti is a university guidance counsellor at UWC South East Asia. Since 2017 Shruti has been developing relationships with higher education institutions who can act as founding partners of the Sky School Diploma Programme and leading a team of four university counsellors in this effort.

Shruti Tewari

Head of Partnerships

Shruti is a university guidance counsellor at UWC South East Asia. Since 2017 Shruti has been developing relationships with higher education institutions who can act as founding partners of the Sky School Diploma Programme and leading a team of four university counsellors in this effort.

Mia Eskelund Pedersen     Leadership Team    Co-founder and Co-Executive Director   Sky School brings together Mia’s desire to work with refugees and her belief that education is the most powerful way to create social change. Mia previously worked for UWC International in programme management. Mia studied Arabic living in Syria from 2010-2011, where she co-founded the UWC Syria National Committee. She is also the co-founder of Danish Students abroad.

Mia Eskelund Pedersen

Leadership Team

Co-founder and Co-Executive Director

Sky School brings together Mia’s desire to work with refugees and her belief that education is the most powerful way to create social change. Mia previously worked for UWC International in programme management. Mia studied Arabic living in Syria from 2010-2011, where she co-founded the UWC Syria National Committee. She is also the co-founder of Danish Students abroad.

Stuart MacAlpine     Leadership Team    Director of Education   Stuart is the Director of Teaching and Learning at UWC South East Asia in Singapore. He is a learning programme designer and school leader with a passion for the humanist tradition and internationalism, and is a life-long fan of Kurt Hahn and UWC. At Sky School, he oversees and coordinates the curriculum development process.

Stuart MacAlpine

Leadership Team

Director of Education

Stuart is the Director of Teaching and Learning at UWC South East Asia in Singapore. He is a learning programme designer and school leader with a passion for the humanist tradition and internationalism, and is a life-long fan of Kurt Hahn and UWC. At Sky School, he oversees and coordinates the curriculum development process.

Theresa Forbes     Head of Recognition and Progression Pathways   Theresa Forbes is an international educator whose previous roles include Director of The International Primary Curriculum, Senior advisor for the English National Curriculum and Head of Regional Development for Africa, Europe and the Middle East for the International Baccalaureate.

Theresa Forbes

Head of Recognition and Progression Pathways

Theresa Forbes is an international educator whose previous roles include Director of The International Primary Curriculum, Senior advisor for the English National Curriculum and Head of Regional Development for Africa, Europe and the Middle East for the International Baccalaureate.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Our Board oversees our work as a Charity and Company in England and Wales. Polly Akhurst and Mia Eskelund Pedersen are also Trustees.

Keith Clark     Chair   Keith spent 17 years with UWC International as Executive Director. Keith continues to work with schools and international organisations, focusing on governance, management, organisational development, strategy, structure and leadership recruitment.

Keith Clark

Chair

Keith spent 17 years with UWC International as Executive Director. Keith continues to work with schools and international organisations, focusing on governance, management, organisational development, strategy, structure and leadership recruitment.

Colin Habgood    Colin´s background is in finance, having trained as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen. He has served as Finance Director of several companies. He is co-founder and co-funder of GoMakeaDifference and Treasurer of the UWC International Board.

Colin Habgood

Colin´s background is in finance, having trained as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen. He has served as Finance Director of several companies. He is co-founder and co-funder of GoMakeaDifference and Treasurer of the UWC International Board.

Sara Heinrich    Sara is a Head of Recruitment and Selection at Teach for Sweden, ensuring that promising leaders become teachers where they are most needed. She previously managed the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s work with schools and colleges and has worked as an English teacher.

Sara Heinrich

Sara is a Head of Recruitment and Selection at Teach for Sweden, ensuring that promising leaders become teachers where they are most needed. She previously managed the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s work with schools and colleges and has worked as an English teacher.

COURSE LEADERS

Passionate educators who collaboratively lead the development of Sky School courses.

Debbie Aldred     English for Changemakers   Debbie is a Chemistry teacher and leader of EAL (English as an Additional Language) professional learning at UWCSEA. She also facilitates the Sky School student group at UWCSEA and provides English language support to Sky School.

Debbie Aldred

English for Changemakers

Debbie is a Chemistry teacher and leader of EAL (English as an Additional Language) professional learning at UWCSEA. She also facilitates the Sky School student group at UWCSEA and provides English language support to Sky School.

Niki Cooper     English for Changemakers   Niki is the ELL (English Language Learning) Coordinator at UWC Maastricht. She’s an avid supporter of teaching language through service orientated experiences, with a strong emphasis on the social & emotional well-being of the students.

Niki Cooper

English for Changemakers

Niki is the ELL (English Language Learning) Coordinator at UWC Maastricht. She’s an avid supporter of teaching language through service orientated experiences, with a strong emphasis on the social & emotional well-being of the students.

Teresa Tung     Ethical Leadership   Teresa Tung is the Secondary School Principal of Hong Kong Academy. She is passionate about finding sustainable ways to bring education to refugee youth and has experience of setting up an online education and mentoring programme for refugees and asylum seekers in Bangkok.

Teresa Tung

Ethical Leadership

Teresa Tung is the Secondary School Principal of Hong Kong Academy. She is passionate about finding sustainable ways to bring education to refugee youth and has experience of setting up an online education and mentoring programme for refugees and asylum seekers in Bangkok.

Emma Raaflaub     Designing STEM Solutions for the SDGs   Emma works at UWC Changshu where she teaches environmental systems and society and develops curriculum for STEM, Circular Economy and Sustainability within the UWC CSC. Emma is passionate about providing autonomy and motivation for all learners to seek change.

Emma Raaflaub

Designing STEM Solutions for the SDGs

Emma works at UWC Changshu where she teaches environmental systems and society and develops curriculum for STEM, Circular Economy and Sustainability within the UWC CSC. Emma is passionate about providing autonomy and motivation for all learners to seek change.

Louie Barnett     Peacebuilding in Your Community   Louie is passionate about peace education and the importance of access to education for all learners. He is an experienced chemistry teacher and has also helped facilitate the Initiative for Peace programme at UWCSEA for several years.

Louie Barnett

Peacebuilding in Your Community

Louie is passionate about peace education and the importance of access to education for all learners. He is an experienced chemistry teacher and has also helped facilitate the Initiative for Peace programme at UWCSEA for several years.

Dasha Lis    Art, Identity and Culture   Dasha Lis is a World Arts and Cultures teacher and coordinator of Theory of Knowledge at UWC Maastricht. She has also taught in the Philippines. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree.

Dasha Lis

Art, Identity and Culture

Dasha Lis is a World Arts and Cultures teacher and coordinator of Theory of Knowledge at UWC Maastricht. She has also taught in the Philippines. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree.

Nicola Coles     Maths for Change   Nicola has worked as a Maths Teacher at UWC South East Asia and is a Teach First Ambassador. Committed to reducing educational disadvantage, Nicola has founded 1000 days of differences, which uses service learning to connect students to local communities.

Nicola Coles

Maths for Change

Nicola has worked as a Maths Teacher at UWC South East Asia and is a Teach First Ambassador. Committed to reducing educational disadvantage, Nicola has founded 1000 days of differences, which uses service learning to connect students to local communities.

Rich Davies     Social Entrepreneurship   Richard is Head of Sixth Form, and Maths and Economics teacher, at King Edward's School Witley. Previously at UWCSEA, he combined his passion for Education and International Development as a staff facilitator for Initiative for Peace.

Rich Davies

Social Entrepreneurship

Richard is Head of Sixth Form, and Maths and Economics teacher, at King Edward's School Witley. Previously at UWCSEA, he combined his passion for Education and International Development as a staff facilitator for Initiative for Peace.

Shilpa Patel    Economies and Ethical Decision-making   Shilpa is an Economics Teacher at UWC South East Asia and a Teach First Ambassador. As a child growing up in a British-Asian subculture, Shilpa feels deeply passionate about internationalism and education being accessible for all.

Shilpa Patel

Economies and Ethical Decision-making

Shilpa is an Economics Teacher at UWC South East Asia and a Teach First Ambassador. As a child growing up in a British-Asian subculture, Shilpa feels deeply passionate about internationalism and education being accessible for all.

Therese Andrews     Participation for Positive Change   Therese is Head of the International Curriculum at Fieldwork Education. She has worked in schools in London, Boston and Shanghai. Therese has a Master’s in Learning and Teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Therese Andrews

Participation for Positive Change

Therese is Head of the International Curriculum at Fieldwork Education. She has worked in schools in London, Boston and Shanghai. Therese has a Master’s in Learning and Teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Mohamad Chamas     Narratives and Language   Mohamad is a graduate of Duke University and UWC Costa Rica and is currently teaching at Goodwill International School in Lebanon. His own childhood in Lebanon and the time he has spent working with Middle Eastern and African refugees as an interpreter has confirmed his belief that refugees are in the best position to lead the change we desperately need to see in the world.

Mohamad Chamas

Narratives and Language

Mohamad is a graduate of Duke University and UWC Costa Rica and is currently teaching at Goodwill International School in Lebanon. His own childhood in Lebanon and the time he has spent working with Middle Eastern and African refugees as an interpreter has confirmed his belief that refugees are in the best position to lead the change we desperately need to see in the world.

Aayesha Faza l    Non-violence and Wellbeing   Aayesha has taught at a school for Rohingya youth in Malaysia for over three years and during this time she has become increasingly invested in the challenges of refugee education. She believes that the course she is leading can have a great impact as our own ethics is something we never lose our right to, regardless of the situation we find ourselves in. Aayeshais an alumna of UWC South East Asia.

Aayesha Fazal

Non-violence and Wellbeing

Aayesha has taught at a school for Rohingya youth in Malaysia for over three years and during this time she has become increasingly invested in the challenges of refugee education. She believes that the course she is leading can have a great impact as our own ethics is something we never lose our right to, regardless of the situation we find ourselves in. Aayeshais an alumna of UWC South East Asia.

lEARNER ADVISORY GROUP

Sky School alumni and friends who ensure that our learning is informed by the lived experiences of those it serves.

Zena Khadour   Zena, from Syria, studies in Canada on World of Difference scholarship. She worked with Sky School as a translator as well as participated in a pilot course. She is passionate about refugee education, because she believes it is critical to end the conflict, but its importance is often overlooked.

Zena Khadour

Zena, from Syria, studies in Canada on World of Difference scholarship. She worked with Sky School as a translator as well as participated in a pilot course. She is passionate about refugee education, because she believes it is critical to end the conflict, but its importance is often overlooked.

John Michael Koffi    JMK’s contributions to Sky School are priceless due to his experience - a published author and currently a university student in Canada lived in two refugee campS and soon realized that empowerment through education is of utter importance for his own future as well as his family’s and community’s future - education means hope.

John Michael Koffi

JMK’s contributions to Sky School are priceless due to his experience - a published author and currently a university student in Canada lived in two refugee campS and soon realized that empowerment through education is of utter importance for his own future as well as his family’s and community’s future - education means hope.

Nhial Deng    As a Sky School alumnus Nhial advices on the kind of education that young refugees like himself need and helps facilitate courses in Kakuma. He believes that education secures a more hopeful and brighter future as well as enables refugees to return home as agents of positive change and social transformation.

Nhial Deng

As a Sky School alumnus Nhial advices on the kind of education that young refugees like himself need and helps facilitate courses in Kakuma. He believes that education secures a more hopeful and brighter future as well as enables refugees to return home as agents of positive change and social transformation.

Zamzam Abdikadir   Zamzam is a SkySchool alumna. Through her own refugee experience she realized that the way to change her community is to get an education. She is a female mobilizer for Sky School and is passionate about promoting peace and empowering young refugee women.

Zamzam Abdikadir

Zamzam is a SkySchool alumna. Through her own refugee experience she realized that the way to change her community is to get an education. She is a female mobilizer for Sky School and is passionate about promoting peace and empowering young refugee women.

ADVISORS

Individuals who support our thinking and advise in specific areas.

Tanya Murphy     Impact Management

Tanya Murphy

Impact Management

Dan Keyworth     Fundraising

Dan Keyworth

Fundraising

Daniel Emerimana    Refugee Education

Daniel Emerimana

Refugee Education

Dima AlMekdad     Refugee Education

Dima AlMekdad

Refugee Education

hIGHER EDUCATION PARTNERSHIPS

Committed guidance counsellors who support Sky School students to access higher education (and other) opportunities.

Niki Dinsdale

Niki Dinsdale

Patrick Desbarats

Patrick Desbarats

Ruth Lucas

Ruth Lucas

VOLUNTEERS

Committed individuals who make our work possible.

Victoria Throen Longhi     Events and Campaigns

Victoria Throen Longhi

Events and Campaigns

Kacie LeCompte Renfro    Communications

Kacie LeCompte Renfro

Communications

Sreeya Mukherjee     Communications

Sreeya Mukherjee

Communications

Leila Denniston     Monitoring and Evaluation

Leila Denniston

Monitoring and Evaluation

Katja Sluga     Website