Speaker biographies

At the fifth edition of our conference, once again world-renowned speakers will offer inspirational keynote lectures and practical training through workshops. You can find out more about some of the excellent speakers we will be welcoming in March below.

Phil Badham

Phil Badham is an experienced teacher, trainer and consultant dedicated to providing teachers, schools and colleges with the means and methods to deliver modern, engaging and creative learning experiences to students. He is a consultant for the internationally acclaimed Visible LearningPlus programme, and also serves as an Adobe Education Leader dedicated to pursuing creativity in all areas of educational practice and providing high quality professional development offline and online. Phil presents in the UK and internationally on topics such as Digital Engagement and Creativity, Independent Learning, Outstanding Teaching, Challenge for All, and How to Lead Teaching and Learning with Technology.  He also runs digital engagement projects for primary and secondary students to give them creative problem-solving experiences using industry standard digital applications and equipment.

Anni McTavish

Anni began working with young children in a parent-run pre-school in 1989. She went on to become the deputy and Headteacher, and since then has worked across the UK and Europe as a trainer, presenter, consultant and writer. With a background in the arts, early education and humanistic psychotherapy, her approach is to inspire, inform and help settings identify strengths as well as areas to develop. Specialising in the arts and creativity, she works on a variety of projects and is an Associate of Early Education. She has written numerous articles and books and is particularly interested in engaging with practitioners to support young children’s emotional health, resilience and well-being. Her recent publication, Expressive Arts and Design in the Early Years (2019), is published by Routledge.

David Weston

David Weston is the founder and Chief Executive of England's Teacher Development Trust, the national charity for effective professional development. He is the Chair of the Department for Education’s Teachers’ Professional Development Expert Group and, alongside Bridget Clay, wrote Unleashing Great Teaching: the secrets to the most effective teacher development.David taught maths and physics for ten years in two schools in the South East of England. David speaks and writes frequently for education sector and national media and has had a number of radio and TV appearances.

Sue McGonigle

Sue McGonigle has over twenty years’ experience as a primary teacher, English subject leader and Deputy Head. She lectured in Primary Education at UCL Institute of Education for five years, specialising in English and children’s literature. Before joining IoE she was Senior Adviser at The Centre of Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) where she worked for nine years. Sue was closely involved in developing and researching the Power of Reading project and was project director for five years. She has worked with schools nationally and internationally to develop creative approaches to the use of literature in the primary curriculumShe has written a mini-book on creative planning for teachers and teacher educators, published by The United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA). She has also written materials for the DfE and the English Association to support planning around a textIn addition, Sue is co-creator of www.lovemybooks.co.uk, a website for parents, schools and settings aimed at promoting reading for pleasure through sharing carefully chosen books and story play activities.   

Mark Steed

Mark S. Steed has been the Principal and CEO of Kellett School, Hong Kong, since August 2019.  Hspent his career working in top UK independent schools  prior to his three senior leadership roles as Headmaster of Kelly College in Devon (2001-08); as Principal of the Berkhamsted Schools Group (2008-15); and as the Director of JESS, Dubai (2015-19).  Mark has degrees from Cambridge and Nottingham Universities and has a particular interest in how new technologies can be used in education. He chaired the UK Independent Schools Council IT Strategy Group from 2007 to 2015 Mark writes extensively on a range of educational issues on his blog, http://independenthead.blogspot.com and for Tes.  He is active on twitter @independenthead. 

Cat Scutt

A former English teacher, Cat’s roles have since focused on supporting teacher development both online and through face-to-face activities, with a particular focus on development through collaboration and through engagement with research and evidence. She has worked in education in both the state and independent sector, as well as in corporate learning and development. Cat leads on the Chartered College Of Teaching’s work around teacher development and certification, including the Chartered Teacher programme, and their research activities and publications, including their award-winning peer-reviewed journal, Impact. In addition, Cat is studying part-time for her doctorate at the UCL Institute of Education, looking at school leadership development.

Prof. Alexandre Gracioso, ESPM

Prof. Alexandre Gracioso started at ESPM in 1999 as a professor and, after having held different leadership positions, in 2011 assumed the position of Academic Vice President, being responsible for developing new programmes, monitoring the quality of courses and developing professors. He carries out research in the areas of neuroscience applied to learning and meditation as a management tool. He introduced the Mindful Leadership discipline at ESPM postgraduate level.

Alistair Kennedy, St. Paul's School

Alistair Kennedy leads the history and global studies departments in the Senior School at St. Paul's. Alumnus of the universities of Dundee and Strathclyde, he is currently working towards a masters in education at the University of Bath. In his current role, Alistair has championed the need to create a learning environment that develops the learning dispositions necessary for young people to be successful inquirers. 

Ana Leticia Hecker, St. Paul's School

Ana Leticia Hecker is an art teacher in the Prep School at St. Paul’s. She has a degree in art education from Georgia State University, with a major in photography and a minor in printmaking and ceramics. With a wealth of experience teaching art in middle and high schools in both the USA and São Paulo, she is passionate about bringing creativity to the classroom, not just the art classroom, inspiring her pupils to bring their own ideas to life. 

Simone Rebelo and Dr Barry Hallinan, St. Paul's School

Simone Rebelo is head of art for the Senior School at St. Paul’s, and has worked at the school for 17 years. She is an experienced art educator and talented printmaker, having exhibited all over America and Europe. She studied for her post-graduate qualification in painting in London.

Dr Barry Hallinan has been working in international education for over 30 years, 25 of which have been at St. Paul’s. He has taught MFL, world literature, philosophy and theory of knowledge, and today is Senior Master and director of university and career guidance. He is energised by the nature of educational changes which have occurred over the past decades and sees creativity as a lynchpin to a successful, happy and productive learning experience.

Julia Ferreira, St. Paul's School

Julia Ferreira is a class assistant working in the Prep School’s art department at St. Paul’s. She has a degree in visual arts from the British School of Creative Arts, with a special focus on illustration. Now continuing her studies in education, Julia is passionate about using the visual arts as a powerful tool in different subject areas to enhance pupils’ learning.  

Bárbara Ramos and Kari Olsen, St. Paul's School

Bárbara Ramos (left) is a Pre-Prep teacher at St. Paul’s, with degrees in pedagogy and music therapy. Bárbara continues to use her musical expertise to support behaviour management and her class routines. Since working at St. Paul’s, she has been using technology in the classroom as a way to engage pupils further with their learning.

Kari Olsen (right) is a Pre-Prep teacher and technology leader at St. Paul’s School. Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, she has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Kari always knew she wanted to live and work abroad in education, and came to Brazil from Bangkok. In her role, she focuses on helping ensure the Pre-Prep School use technology creatively to deliver the curriculum.

Laura Gilmartin, St. Paul's School

Laura Gilmartin is an English teacher and head of year in the Senior School at St. Paul’s. With a background in classical and contemporary dance spanning over 20 years, Laura's interest in yoga began whilst at university but become an integral part of her life whilst training to be a teacher in order to maintain her own wellbeing whilst training in her vocation. Having now completed yoga qualifications for training teachers as well as children and families, she is now running weekly yoga classes for staff at St. Paul’s. She is a firm believer that if you look after your own physical and internal wellbeing, you will have the energy and desire to be more creative in other areas of life.

Marcos Paim, Educando

Marcos Paim is the leading architect of the STEM Brasil programme. He is the head trainer and coordinator for Educando STEM Brasil trainers. Prior to joining Educando in 2009, Marcos worked at the Cognitive Studies Laboratory of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul State (LEC/UFRGS), where he trained teachers and managed educational projects for the Organization of American States and the Brazilian Ministry of Education. He also managed educational projects for Grupo Positivo, the Technology Institute of Paraná and the Municipality of Curitiba. Marcos graduated from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul with a focus on physics.

Mark Harris, St. Paul's School

Mark has been teaching in the Senior School at St. Paul's for nearly four years in his role as the head of geography and data tracking and assessment coordinator. However, this conference allows him to return to some of the extra-curricular activities of his childhood. He learnt ballroom and Latin dancing in the UK for nearly six years and achieved gold level awards for both disciplines. After the overwhelming success of the inaugural dancing workshop at the 4th St. Paul's Education Conference, he returns in 2020 with two brand new and exciting dances which are sure to be crowd pleasing and creative in equal measure.

Sarah Ellis, Paula Fulchignoni, Fabiana D'Elboux, Tatiana Barreto and Flavia Montello, St. Paul's School

Over the past couple of years, some of the early years teachers at St. Paul's School have had the opportunity of visiting Pistoia, in Northern Italy, and will be speaking about their experiences.

From left to right:
Sarah Ellis is the Pre-Prep communication, language and literacy leader at St. Paul’s and has many years of experience working in the early years.

Paula Fulchignoni is the deputy head of the Pre-Prep at St. Paul’s and has many years of experience, having worked in the Prep and Pre-Prep Schools.

Fabiana Gavioli D’Elboux is a Pre-Prep teacher at St. Paul’s with a master’s degree in bilingualism from UCL’s Institute of Education and over 14 years of experience in early years education in immersion schools in São Paulo.

Tatiana Barreto is the Pre-Prep art teacher at St. Paul’s. Tatiana has worked as an art educator for over six years, and recently has been studying the role of the "Atelierista" in early years education, inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. 

Flavia Montello is a Pre-Prep teacher and has been working in early years education for more than 24 years.

MSc. Renato Mader, ESPM

MSc. Renato Vercesi Mader is a PhD student and also assistant professor at ESPM – SP,  where he teaches creativity, advertising creative digital communications, UX and interface design, as part of the university’s design, advertising and tech undergraduate courses. 

Dr Rubia Gaissler, St. Paul's School

Dr Rubia Gaissler is a biologist with an MSC in globalisation from the University College of London’s geography department. Before joining St. Paul’s she was a researcher for Cornell University while pursuing her PhD in environment and society (UNICAMP), when she looked into the communication strategies used by the media to portray the pesticide DDT. Since then she has focused on the communication of environmental issues, having given a TEDx talk on the issue. She strongly believes in educating children for a fairer, kinder and sustainable future. At our school, she uses her interdisciplinary background to educate children with passion on Brazilian social studies, geography and environmental systems and societies.

Sarah Weiler, Stance Dual School

Sarah O. Weiler is the founder of Contemporary Education, and the head teacher at Stance Dual School. She is a long-time educator with an M.A. in global education from the University of Illinois and an M.A. in social sciences from the University of Chicago. She is currently pursuing her PhD in education at the University of London. She has published several articles in the field of education and is the primary contributor of www.contemporaryeducation.com.

Thiago Aquino, St. Paul's School

Thiago Aquino is head of Brazilian studies in the Senior School at St. Paul's. He has a degree from USP in languages (Portuguese and German), and a post-graduate degree in Spanish language teaching from the IBE. He has worked to support the education of young pupils in both private and public institutions for almost two decades, and has recently taken an online extension course on classroom interaction with UPenn.

Nathalie Mello, Victoria Hughes and Talula SantosSt. Paul's School

Nathalie Mello recently joined the Prep School’s leadership team as the head of curriculum. She worked at a bilingual school as the coordinator of the American programme and as a class teacher in different year groups before joining the St. Paul’s Prep School in 2014. Victoria Hughes is the deputy head of the Prep School at St. Paul’s.  She originally studied and worked in Buenos Aires and has a master’s degree in education from Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln, UK. She worked in Argentina, France, and various places in Brazil before joining St. Paul’s in 2001. Talula Santos is the head of pastoral care for the Prep School at St. Paul’s. She has a master’s in International education and is passionate about looking after the welfare of all pupils. Victoria, Talula and Nathalie are all regular presenters at the St. Paul’s education conferences.
 Sonia Kaba Pardo and Alessandra Rocha Carvalho, Virtus Sonia Kaba Pardo and Alessandra Rocha Carvalho are two of the founders of Virtus, an enterprise dedicated to helping schools in the structuring and strengthening  of their character development efforts. Sonia holds a masters in family relations, an LL.M. from New York University and a law degree from the University of São Paulo (USP). She has been working with character development in educational settings for the past 10 years. Alessandra has a degree in pedagogy and in business administration and has an MBA in human resources from the University of São Paulo (USP). She has always worked in people development, has more than 10 years of experience in education and has also worked in the human resource departments of multinational companies for more than 10 years.