In 1992, we began our education development work with the Peace Corps in East Africa. (Learn more about the the history of ISSP) With over two decades of experience, we understand the enormous challenges — and benefits — of youth education in the developing world. As teachers, we also recognize the potential and need for more cross-cultural and academic engagement and collaboration between schools in different regions of the world which is now possible by connecting through existing Internet technologies.
Our Management Team includes the Board of Directors and several Advisory Boards:
Board of Directors
Jonathan Berkey, Board President
Jonathan has worked on international education and renewable energy and water development projects in Europe and Africa (Greece, Morocco, Kenya and Tanzania) for over 20 years. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Marrakesh, Morocco, where he worked on rural solar, wind energy and agricultural/village water supply projects with the Ministry of Energy at the Center for Development of Renewable Energy in Marrakesh.
From 1988-’92, Jonathan worked as Associate Peace Corps Director in Kenya, serving as the Education Sector staff liaison for Math, Science and English teachers in addition to supervising water engineers, small business advisors, small town planners and forestry managers, and a total of more than 200 Peace Corps volunteers in Kenya.
From 1994 to 2005, Jonathan served as president on the board of Global Education Partnership, overseeing its growth from East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania), to Central America (Guatemala) and South East Asia (Indonesia).
As an Adjunct Professor at Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) from 2004 to 2010, Jonathan taught a graduate level course on Natural Resource Project Management in addition to a popular workshop on grant proposal writing focused on NGO project management, budgeting, development and successful fund raising strategies. Jonathan also coordinated and led a field practicum to Belize for MIIS students interested in obtaining field experience in a development setting.
Jonathan established the nonprofit International School-to-School Partnerships (ISSP) in 2012, and in 2020 began working with Bob Stayton to develop this Global Solar Partnerships as a project of ISSP.
Robert Stayton, Board Secretary
Robert “Bob” Stayton is a physicist, author, teacher, programmer, inventor, technical writer, typesetter, bread baker, and worm farmer, with one art museum exhibit to his credit. He has degrees in physics and science communications.In 1997, Robert and his wife built a passive solar home in Santa Cruz County and outfitted it with an off-grid solar photovoltaic system. He has been living with solar energy since then, always looking for new ways to apply solar in his daily life. He drives a solar-charged Plug-in Prius, heats his water with a solar water heating system, and bakes his bread in his solar oven. He has served as host to hundreds of people who have toured his home to see his solar exploits firsthand.
Bob published his book Solar Dividends: How Solar Energy Can Generate a Basic Income for Everyone on Earth in 2019, in which he lays out an ingenious plan for deploying solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate clean carbon-free electricity — and provide a basic income for the people who own the panels (through some form of cooperative… read the book!).
That book is the basis of ISSP’s Global Solar Partnerships Program: to develop and implement pilot solar dividends programs at schools in Africa and around the world.
Patricia Deeter, Board Treasurer
Patricia “Tricia” Deeter is a senior finance professional with two decades of experience, most recently working with technology and consumer electronics companies.
Experienced with financial reporting, budgeting, forecasting, business operations, capital raising, and company strategy for start-ups and high growth companies. I’m a team player with excellent communication skills and work well across all departments, wearing many different hats. I enjoy a challenging environment where I can really make a difference.
Executive Advisory Board
Louise Leakey, Special Ambassador to ISSP, is a fourth-generation Kenyan who has upheld the Leakey family legacy in the field of Paleoanthropology through continuing research in the Turkana Basin of northern Kenya. Daughter of renowned paleoanthropologists Meave and Richard Leakey, she has led many field expeditions. She co-directs the Koobi Fora Research Project with her mother, Dr. Meave Leakey, continuing to explore the fossil rich deposits at Lake Turkana from the last 4 million years.
Louise is a Ph.D. graduate of London University, where her research focused on the influence of climate change 3.5 to 1.5 million years ago in the fossil deposits of the Turkana Basin. Now a research assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Stony Brook in New York, she is also a founding member and director of education and public outreach at the Turkana Basin Institute (TBI), a major centre for human origins research with two field stations in the desert of northern Kenya near Lake Turkana. Activities at TBI also include study abroad programs for students.
Dr. Leakey’s experience includes; logistics and planning, administration, public speaking, research, field logistics and financial management, collaborative research and the development of sustainable funding mechanisms for the advancement of East African pre-history. Her skills include institutional development, public relations, lecturing, personnel management, leading expeditions, coordinating field crews, logistics, fundraising. 3D model capture, website and database development.
In addition to coordination of paleontological research studies in the Turkana Basin, she is now developing exciting ways to explore the unique collections online through 3D models, in collaboration with Autodesk and the National Museums of Kenya. She also works closely with the local communities at Lake Turkana to support medical centers in addition to raising funds and providing Information Communication Technology for Development (ICTD) for local primary schools in both Turkana and Nairobi regions, in partnership with ISSP.
Tony Silard, Advisory Board Member of ISSP and Founder of Global Education Partnership (GEP), is currently the President of The Center for Social Leadership and the CEO of The Global Leadership Institute. Tony was once named Visionary of the Year, and featured at the Presidential Summit for America’s Future and America’s Promise. As a leadership coach, he helps the CEOs and senior executives of Fortune 100 companies, small businesses and the world’s largest nonprofits. His leadership programs have helped thousands of people in over 40 countries to create positive, breakthrough personal and social change in their lives and the lives of others.
Prior to starting The Global Leadership Institute and The Center for Social Leadership, Tony founded and served for 8 years as CEO of Global Education Partnership, an international organization based in Washington D.C. with offices in five countries for which he raised over $15 million and managed 35 employees.
Tony has been a Guest Lecturer on Corporate and Organizational Leadership at Harvard’s JFK School of Government, Georgetown Business School, Stanford Law School, University of California/Berkeley, Howard University, George Washington University’s Business School and many other universities.
Tony holds a Master’s in Public Policy focused on leadership from Harvard University and has received two of Harvard’s most prestigious awards, the Robert F. Kennedy Public Service Award and the Manuel Carballo Memorial Award.
He is also the primary instructor for the only leadership program in Washington D.C. exclusively for low-income youth. Before launching his first organization, he served for two years in the Peace Corps in Kenya.
Africa Advisory Board
Jacqueline Mghoi Jumbe-Kahura comes from a family of teachers and had an interest in teaching from a young age. Having obtained three education diplomas, she was chosen in 2009 as one of 10 teachers from East Africa amongst 2,800 applicants to receive the Commonwealth scholarship for a Master’s degree at the Institute of Education, University of London. In the same year, she founded the LIBA (Lifting the Barriers) organization which aims to create a better learning environment for children, in particular for disadvantaged pupils. Working in a rural primary school in the context of the Kenyan school system’s lack of resources and its heavy focus on tests, her teaching approach is based on interactivity and learning in small groups. She includes field trips to raise students’ awareness of the environment and perform community service. Her innovative teaching approach has led to her students outperforming their peers from other schools in exams due to their superior communication and problem-solving skills. Jacque has been reaching out to hundreds of teachers through newsletters and by organizing conferences and meetings. She encourages them to share best practices, get additional training and motivate each other to stay in the profession despite the challenges that they are all facing. She sits on the Kilifi County Education Board which manages the teaching and leadership in over 400 schools. She also serves on the board of two secondary schools.
Jacque has given inspirational talks about the importance of education for their personal success to a total of 2,500 students at various schools and has conducted coaching and mentorship sessions for 30 groups of children. These efforts have helped raise retention and transition levels from 42% to 68%. Through the LIBA organization, Jacque has been running a number of initiatives that provide developmental and academic support to hundreds of pupils in her wider community – ranging from the provision of school furniture, uniforms and sanitary facilities to HIV-related coaching, weekend and holiday tuition, job-readiness training and introducing the wider community to cultural diversity. Watch a video (5:02) about Jacque’s work based in Kenya.
Lydia Mbithi, a native of Kenya, has over 20-years of development experience on projects in Eastern and Southern Africa. Lydia began her career working with U.S. agencies including USAID, the Peace Corps and the U.S. Embassy. As assistant to the Associate Peace Corps Director, Coast Province, Kenya, Lydia provided support to over 500 volunteer teachers in the subjects of English, Math and Science, over a 10-year period. In this position, Lydia worked closely as liaison with secondary school headmasters and headmistresses in the Coast Province Regional Peace Corps office, in Mombasa. In 1995, Lydia began work with the Foreign Agricultural Service, based at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. On August 7, 1998, Lydia was working in her office, and survived the bombing of U.S. embassy that day. In 2001, Lydia began work on the Women in Development (WID) program in Botswana, supporting all aspects of WID program development, providing skills training for women-owned small business start-ups, conducting courses on financing, marketing and grant management.
Ajume Wingo, Africa Advisory Board Member, is a Cameroonian political and social philosopher who is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Much of his work has focused on the analysis of liberal democratic political philosophy, with particular focus on contemporary African states. He has also published articles on African art, aesthetics, and culture, often comparing these with western practices and customs. His book Veil Politics in Liberal Democratic States is published by Cambridge University Press.
Professor Wingo is from Nso, a Fondom (“kingdom”) located in the North West Region of Cameroon. As a child, he received much of his early education from members of his indigenous family whose devotion is to civic life, in addition to being taught by Christian missionaries and a Bedouin teacher, known as Mallam Gargari, the “invincible teacher” for his toughness and draconian style of discipline. Professor Wingo later attended the Cameroon College of Arts, Science and Technology (CCAST) in Bambili, Cameroon, where he studied history, economics and geography, and at the University of Yaounde, where he studied law. Emigrating to the United States, he obtained a his bachelor’s degree from the University of California Berkeley, with a master’s degree and PhD from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Dr. Wingo was a Fellow at Boston University’s Institute on Race and Social Policy, and a visiting professor at both Clark University and Emerson College, in addition to being an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Senior Fellow at the Center for Democracy and Development at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is currently an Associate Professor at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard, and Director of the Center for Values and Social Policy at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he also teaches courses in political and social philosophy. In Cameroon, Dr. Wingo recently established The African Research & Exchange Academy (AREA), engaging innovators in the making of a better world with a mission to develop “pollinators of enduring change”. AREA programs offer residencies to regional and international artists, writers, and thinkers while also providing educational and cultural opportunities to local and international high school students.
Bih Janet Shufor Fofang, Africa Advisory Board Member, a Cameroonian electrical engineer by training, has been teaching for 15 years at the largest government technical institute in Cameroon, the College D’enseignement Technique Industriel et Commerciale. While supporting a strong female presence at the institute, she continues to teach technical subjects including mechanical and electrical engineering.
In 2009, Mrs. Fofang established Tassah Academy, a private K–12 school in Yaounde, the capital city of Cameroon. Managing the school faculties and overall operations for over 400 students, she actively demonstrates her dedication to youth education and strong support for girls, as 60 percent of the students enrolled in her school are female. She is extremely passionate about the outcome of her students and envisions developing schools that are affordable for all students, with high standards of academic achievement, as model for education development in West Africa.
Mrs. Fofang encourages children at an early age to learn and be excited about the opportunities and applications of technology. She is a strong supporter of the recent Power Africa initiative of President Barak Obama for clean, renewable energy and will be teaching courses on solar electric photovoltaic systems, greatly benefiting schools and children in more rural areas in addition to creating jobs in the clean energy sector for school leavers (graduates).
Mrs. Fofang is a member of several women’s groups including Cameroon Association of University Women and the Forum of African Educationist Women. She participates in numerous talks and panels emphasizing the ground-work needed for getting women and girls involved in Information Communication Technology for Development (ICTD). She was named as one of the “Top 100 Innovative Women Visionary Leaders to Watch in 2016” by Innov8tiv tech news website.
The mother of four technology-loving boys with a wonderful supportive husband, she enjoys traveling, reading novels and cooking. Watch a video (5:17) about her work in Cameroon.
Educational Advisory Board
Ted Altenberg met ISSP President Jon Berkey when they were both undergraduates studying environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz. Ted then earned his M.Ed. and teaching credential in science education, and was a classroom teacher for over 20 years, teaching mostly middle school/junior high science, but also math, computers, AVID, journalism and high school health science. He also served as a curriculum coach in science, social studies, technology and gifted education, and served as Assistant principal for 4½ years at two different schools; he retired after 32 years in education in the summer of 2019. Ted serves as webmaster for ISSP and offers web design services at AgoraMediaServices.com; he blogs occasionally at TedAltenberg.com.
Lacey Moore is an Environmental and Science Education Consultant, with a Master’s Degree in Environmental Education from California State University-San Bernardino, designing and developing educational experiences at the K-12 science level on environmental sustainability. Her skills include program development, informal curriculum, and educator development. Lacey served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Dominica, West Indies, from 2000-02, completing her volunteer work with Youth Environmental Service, as a Corps Coordinator, and then worked for 8 years on curriculum projects as a manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Her passion includes empowering individuals and communities to increase their quality of life on the planet.”
Robin Mendenhall is the Science Curriculum Specialist at Salinas Union High School District.