Ali Nagle is a teacher at TEAM Charter school in New Jersey, USA. She is an expert at taking students who are reading at two or three years below grade level and bringing them up to or near grade level within 12 months. She has designed the curriculum for the reading program for the gap year teachers. The curriculum is both effective and enjoyable — the students love it! Ali met Jackson and his family two years ago and has visited him twice since then. Her school has been raising money to renovate one of the old classrooms built in 1953.
Jane Newman has been working in Kenya for the past 8 years after a career in advertising in London and New York. She has worked on a variety of successful education projects. She met Jackson six years ago on a project to preserve local knowledge of indigenous plants to treat human diseases. Jackson himself is a very experienced healer; his knowledge was passed down to him from his grandfather. Jane has found Jackson to be a caring and committed teacher and a respected member of the community. He is trying hard to improve the academic standards of the school but the school, like most rural schools in Kenya, is underfunded by the government. Jane has been helping him with small donations to improve the school.
Ali and Jane developed the idea of the gap year program as a way to help Jackson improve English teaching at the school which is one of the weakest subjects AND to provide an annual sum of money that could be used to hire young teachers and buy text books and reading books. Their own experiences of staying with Jackson and his family have been so wonderful that they thought other people would enjoy it too. It is a privilege to be welcomed into their home and live in the peaceful rural surroundings.
So far all the students who have come to teach at the school have had an outstanding experience. They have described it as one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives and a life changing one. Ali, Jane and Jackson hope many other students will come and enjoy Kyandili too!