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Meet our Ambassadors!

Koen Timmers, Belgium (Project coordinator)

I'm an educator, author and keynote speaker. I'm passionate about elearning and always seeking to make the difference in my classroom and in the world. As a teacher I'm in a distance learning project and I strive for paperless classrooms. I'm the founder of Zelfstudie.be, one of the most influencial educational websites in Belgium. I created educational apps and published several books. I was a Global Teacher Prize 2017 finalist.
Read more: Timmers.me

Sixtus Odumbe, Kenya (Outreach Officer Kakuma)

Sixtus Odumbe is a Social Scientist and a development expert with over 16 years Research, project management and humanitarian work experience. He has worked for national and international organizations including CCBI, FAO, UNICEF, FHI, Population Council, Population Services International (PSI), and FilmAid International among others in Kenya and the East African Region. He has extensive experience in research, Information Technology, online learning and project management. Sixtus, while working with FilmAid International in Kakuma Refugee camp, Kenya in 2015-2016, coordinated the Microsoft funded “Skype in The Classroom” project. Helping to connect the refugee students and teachers from schools in the camp with global teachers across the world in collaboration with Mr. Koen Timmers, a Microsoft Global Teacher and Kakuma Skype in the Class Project Coordinator based in Belgium. The project connected over 5,000 students to more than 30 global teachers and hundreds of students across the world with refugee students in Kakuma, Kenya. Over 60 Skype sessions were held during the six months period. This provide a great opportunity and exposure to the refugee students and teachers to online learning though Skype and opened the camp learning experience and conditions to the world.

Paula Vorne, Finland (Ambassador Europe)

I'm a Primary School Teacher and a Teacher Trainer from the City of Oulu, Finland. I've been teaching about 10 years now and I mainly work with 1st and 2nd graders. I have a passion for developing my work and collaborating with other teachers. I'm starting my third year in the Microsoft Expert Educator program and my second year as a Fellow. Highlight of those years has been all the friends I've gained and participation to the Global Forum in Barcelona 2014.

Kelli Etheredge, Alabama (Ambassador USA)

Kelli Etheredge is the Director for Teaching and Learning Resources. In her role, she supports PK-12 teachers in effective integration of technology and innovative lesson design. She is a Microsoft Expert Educator and for the E2 Conference in Redmond in 2015 was designated as a MIE Fellow. She taught high school English for 14 years and has been teaching in a 1:1 environment since 2000. For the last three years, her main focus has been on supporting the 1:1 learning initiative (no textbooks, class OneNote notebooks, and digitized devices) modeled after her classroom. Her work with students has been featured on Copy/Paste, TeachTec, Microsoft in Education, OneNote, and Daily Edventures blogs (twice). She was one of the 5 nominees for the 2013 Bammys in the Secondary Teacher of the Year category. Based on the learning activities she designs, she has been invited to attend numerous U.S. Microsoft Innovative Educator forums (winning best practices and runner up in 2009, winning first place in knowledge building 2011) and two global forums (Washington, D.C. 2011 and Barcelona 2014). In Barcelona, her Global Forum team won first place in the Learn-a-thon competition for the Sustainability category.

Phuti Ragophala, South Africa (Ambassador Africa)

Phuti Ragophala
Phuti Ragophala is a former principal at PulaMadibogo primary. Now an online educator and ICT trainer as in Microsoft in Education (MIE Trainer) Recently selected by Varkey Foundation to be VTA in Education and Global Teacher Prize top 50 finalist 2017. My main projects are techno reading, ict training and grooming of girls into leadership projects.

David Muya, Kenya (Ambassador Africa)

I went to school in the rural setup, surrounded by abject poverty and ignorance deeply rooted in outdated cultural practices, I interfaced with real challenges facing people in my community. This awareness convicted me of my own civic duty to make my community a better, more just place, and to share that with young people. I therefore wanted to impart to young people lucid, vibrant hope for their lives. I wanted students to believe in their power to change their lives and this world hence I imbue them with a fiery passion for learning in order to create lifelong, innovative learners reconnected with their community.

Francisco Tupy, Brazil (Ambassador South America)

Bachelor and Major in Geography (USP). Masters and PhD (USP) in progress focusing on Video Games, publishing research in the fields of communication, arts and education. Also has a background in Philosophy of Education (USCB & KFA) and UN Peacekeeper Operations (POTI). Acting as Educational Technology Teacher, also facilitates game designer workshops and lecturer in Brazil and abroad. In his spare time collecting comic, skate and practice martial arts.

Meenakshi Uberoi, India (Ambassador West Asia)

Education Evangelist Meenakshi Uberoi, founding director of De Pedagogics, is passionate about coaching, teaching and learning. She designs curriculum and trains educators to equip and assist them in creating innovative, challenging and enriching classroom environments that are conducive to students becoming life-long learners. Meenakshi drives programs to accelerate technology benefits in education with a scope of activities that cover the full spectrum of learning scenarios, including: student programs, teacher PD programs, K-12 learning technologies, 1:1 personal learning infrastructure and supporting educational content. She is a certified Microsoft Innovative Educator Master Trainer and is a resource person for Pearson & for Shri Ram New Horizons. She helps provide thought leadership and evidence of the impact of ICT in education transformation on teaching and learning in all subject areas. Her focus lies in addressing the diverse interest and abilities of the students by presenting information in a variety of ways using technology as a vehicle and emphasizing relevance of class material to the world beyond the classroom. Her work has been recognized for its impact with international awards. Her innovative practices are acknowledged by Microsoft, she is awarded the status of Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellow this year, Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator in 2015 and in 2005. She was invited to speak at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum – Dubai, about driving transformation in education and supporting students around the world using technology. Connecting to and sharing with other educators is her pathway to learning, continuous professional development, and making a difference in other people’s lives.

Morgan McKeen, New Zealand (Ambassador Oceania)

I began my journey as an educator when I completed my Bachelor of Education (Teaching) degree from the University of Auckland. During that time I participated in a semester exchange to Hong Kong University, gaining teaching experience in local schools and igniting my passion for travel and cultural diversity. I have been a primary school teacher in New Zealand, teaching both new entrants and senior primary students. Whilst teaching, I continued my professional development through the completion of The Mind Lab’s Post Graduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital and Collaborative Learning). This gave me the opportunity to discover the ways in which coding, robotics, animation and collaboration can be explored and taught in the classroom. I am currently working with teachers to help them integrate technology and foster 21st Century skills in their teaching and learning experiences.

Jennifer Verschoor, Argentina (Ambassador South America)

Jennifer Verschoor holds an M.A. in Virtual Environments, and a Specialization in Education and ICT. She has given numerous workshops internationally and is the co-author of My First Digital Journey e-Book published in 2012, nominated for an ELTons Award 2014. She is a Microsoft Innovator Expert and Fellow.

Kaylyn Dorland, Canada (Ambassador Canada)

Kaylyn is a passionate teacher from Ontario, Canada. She began teaching in 2011 and in 2014 she was selected to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert by Microsoft Partners in Learning. Joining this community of innovative educators was when her journey with 21st century learning really began. Since then, she has developed strategic ways to teach her primary students how to successfully use OneNote, Sway, Forms, Office Mix, Minecraft, Code.org and uses Skype on a regular basis in her classroom. Kaylyn is a strong advocate for global education and collaboration. One of her goals is to help other teachers, students and classrooms to connect worldwide; giving them a live experience of collaborating and learning from and with each other. In 2015, Kaylyn began a project called #WHOtoYOU, a virtual collaboration experience that provides students the opportunity to connect, create and co-present online presentations using Sway. The name, #WHOtoYOU, stems from "Who are you learning from? Who are they to you?". Kaylyn has now become a Microsoft Educator Fellow and Trainer where she continues to work closely with 21st century teaching leads across the globe, speaks at conferences and participates in webinars, Tweet Meets and webcasts as well as writing about her experiences with 21st century learning in her blog. In 2017, at the Microsoft Education Exchange held in Toronto, Kaylyn won an award for #WHOtoYOU for the best Envision presentation for instilling active citizenship. www.kaylyndorland.com

Mio Horio, Japan (Ambassador East Asia)

I am an English teacher at a public high school in Japan and passionate about education for global understanding. Since my country is surrounded by seas, my students had had fewer chances to communicate with people from various cultural background. To solve this, I integrate language study with technology and develop a new way of global education in my country. As a result, I was selected as the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert in 2016, the first and the only Skype Master Teacher in Japan and have won the highest prize at the Global Education Contest hosted by Japan International Cooperation Agency in 2016. Currently I am working and striving to let educators know the potential of using technology in the classroom.

Emma Nääs, Sweden (Ambassador Europe)

I´m a teacher from Sweden but with the world as my classroom . I work in a school called Jonslundsskolan which is situated in a rural area. The school is very small and has only 100 students but when I teach my approach is always global. I believe it´s time to change the way we look upon education with help from digital tools and prepare our students to make this world a better place! I want to be here to make a difference. I use my global network to learn together with my students about the world. With help from Skype and other digital media my students and I have created meetings and cooperations in many differents subjects with many different countries around the world. http://horisonten.io/2016/02/black-belt-in-creating-authentic-language-teaching/.
For my work I was 2015 awarded the European Commission´s prize ” European Language Label ”. I was nominated a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert in December 2016 and by winning a prize I got to attend Microsofts Global Educator Exchange in Toronto 2017. I always say ” with a friend in every country it´s harder to start a war”.
Together we can make a difference.

Sirhajwan Idek, Malaysia (Ambassador Southeast Asia)

Sirhajwan Idek is an English Teacher in Keningau Vocational College. He was in the Top 50 Finalists for Global Teacher Prize 2017 for his achievements and contribution in education field. He was one of the five global winners of Teacher at My Heart Macmillan Competition in 2016 and was in the top 10 finalists in the international Commonwealth Class Story Writing Contest 2016 by British Council. He won best overall innovation award in Inclusive Innovation Challenge 2017 in Sabah and placed third in Three Minutes Thesis Competition 2016 in Selangor. He was awarded with Kota Belud Youth Icon 2017. He coaches the school teams in various English competitions, innovation and entrepreneurship contests. He is also a regular participant in innovation contests and conference presentations and has published several academic articles. Furthermore, he has spearheaded several educational initiatives in his schools including educational outreach and professional development programmes.

Susanna Jilka, Austria (Ambassador Europe)

Born in Vienna, Austria, I studied Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics to become a secondary school teacher. Teaching students from multicultural and very diverse social backgrounds showed me the need to bring education to every student. I started writing school books in Mathematics and Biology focused on everyday problems. ICT gives me the opportunity to open my classroom to the world and to learn and to teach within a global community. Now I´m working at the school connected to the Pedagogical university of Vienna, teaching going-to- be-teachers is a part of my job, now.
I'm a MIEExpert and Fellow – and passionate mother.

Jim Pedrech, Canada (Ambassador Canada)

I am an English and Canadian & World Studies Department Head in Ontario, Canada. I strive to provide rich and meaningful learning experiences for my students. I am particularly interested in providing choices to students that balance curricular requirements and student engagement. I am also interested in the role technology, especially video games, can play in education. I have created video games designed to teach students about everything from ancient Egypt to the basics of journalism. You can find these games (and more) at http://pedrech.ca. I also write online courses for Ontario's Ministry of Education.
Collaboration is important to me. Thanks to my role as a Microsoft Innovative Fellow, I've learned a great deal from students and other teachers around the world. I've led projects involving schools across Canada, taught classes from around the world via Skype, and presented at conferences in Toronto, Ottawa, Seattle, and Budapest. Thus, I am excited to see how Project Kakuma can not only meet the needs of young learners but also serve as a collaborative model for educators around the world.

Juan Luis Muñoz Arbona, Spain (Ambassador Europe)

Juan Luis Muñoz Arbona is the Media Coordinator at the Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue Between Cultures Board of Directors Spanish Network, coordinated by IEMed; Teacher- Ambassador at TeachSDGs; Lawyer and ADESC Ceuta Chief Executive Officer.

Ken Silburn, Australia (Ambassador Oceania)

Ken Silburn is a science educator, communicator, Certified Google Trainer and passionate about teaching 21st Century Skills and increasing the educational opportunities of students on a global scale. Earlier this year he received the prestigious Dr Paul Brock Medal from the Australian College of Educators and was recognised as one of the top ten teachers in the world, from over 23 000 nominations, through the Varkey Global Teacher Prize. Ken is the Head Teacher Science at Casula High School, President of LAZSTA (Metropolitan South West Science Teachers Association) and Coordinator and founder of the iSTEM (Invigorating Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) project delivering science enrichment programs for high school science students and the US Space Academy Program. He is internationally renowned in science education, especially in the area of Environmental and Space Science. He is a strong advocate for engaging students in STEM careers and is currently a volunteer presenter for the Australian Conservation Foundation, Climate Reality Project. In 2016, Ken personally commenced a long term project to provide science outreach programs and teacher professional development activities to Indian and African Schools. In 2015 he was the recipient of the Australian Prime Minister’s Science Prize for Excellence in Secondary Science Teaching
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