Stella Fernandez

Master Teacher, Creative & Thinking Classrooms, Recipient of President's Award, Singapore

Ms Fernandez shares the vision of producing true Singaporeans with sound values. For the past forty six years of her teaching career, she has, with a genuine love for her pupils shared her life with a passion. She has touched the lives of her pupils nurturing in them a spirit of innovation and enterprise. She builds up their self-esteem by listening to their problems and enforcing good study skills. Her teaching skills and expertise tempered with her learning experiences create innovative and impactful lessons infused with National Education values and school core values. Her café-styled classroom with creative display of pupils’ work invites pupils to a bright and cheery classroom that encourages and motivates them to give of their best. Her classroom is a conducive learning environment where pupils are involved in experimentation, and independent thought and discovery and being analytical, methodical and focused in pursuing the goals and targets she helps them set for themselves. She has placed great emphasis on multi-disciplinary approaches to learning and has focused on grooming leadership talent. Her efforts have inspired her peers and colleagues to do likewise for their classrooms.

Her Pr 4 pupils who collaborated with her in designing and operating ‘The Creative Classroom’ were the members in the S3 Cluster pupils’ WIT ‘Maximising Pupil Participation in Classroom Design.’ Their outstanding presentation earned them a place as the nalist in the 5th National Pupil WITs Convention 2004. She presented her Creative class ndings for STU Conference - Philosophy in Schools : Developing a Community of Inquiry 2006 and MOE ExCEL Fest 2006. She was also the facilitator and co presenter for research paper “The Creative Classroom’ for International Conference on Education ( Redesigning Pedagogy: research, policy, practice ) 2007and Creative Thinking Classroom at APERA Asia-Pacic Educational Research Association Conference 2008.

Dr Mindy Blaise

Associate Professor The Hong Kong Institute of Education Co-director, Centre for Childhood Research and Innovation, China

Mindy is an associate professor in the Department of Early Childhood Educationand Co-director of the Centre for Childhood Research and Innovation, at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Mindy’s areas of research interest relate to working with teachers to think through critical perspectives to reconceputalize early childhood teaching, research, curriculum and childhood. Her research focuses on gender politics in the early years and encourages the eld to engage with, rather than shut-down, difference and diversity. She is currently involved in three research projects that are examining different aspects of childhood in the Asia-Pacic region. These include, Researching postcolonial childhoods across Hong Kong, Australia, and Canada; Exploring the cultural politics of gender/sex/uality in early childhood across Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea;, and Singapore; and The literacy wall: researching literacy activities in a Hong Kong kindergarten.

Mindy has recently co-edited, with Affrica Taylor and Veronica Pacini- Ketchabow, a special issue for Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, Relating childhood to the more-than-human (July 2012). She is also co-editing, with Liz Brooker and Suzy Edwards, the SAGE International Handbook of Research on Play and Learning (forthcoming, 2013). Mindy is on the editorial board of several journals including the Asia-Pacic Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education, Gender and Education, Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, International Journal of Equity and Excellence in Early Childhood Education, and Multidisciplinary Journal on Social Diversity.

Dr. Fred Mednick

Founder -Teachers Without Borders

Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Education

After more than 20 years as a teacher and principal, Dr. Fred Mednick founded Teachers Without Borders (TWB) in 2000. Dr. Mednick has advocated for the direct connection between teacher professional development and global change. Along with his role as head of TWB, he is also a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education, where he teaches 4 online global courses for teachers.

Dr. Mednick received his B.A. at the University of California, his M.A. from Claremont Graduate School; and his doctoral degree from Seattle University. His dissertation, “The Qualities of an Educated Teen for the 21st Century,” was inspired by colleagues in Udaipur, and extends a UNESCO report into a model of education change. His research led to the founding of Teachers Without Borders so that teachers could connect to information and each other in order to advance education.

Prior to founding TWB, Fred served as the head of two prominent schools in the United States. He is the author of Rebel Without A Car: A Principal’s Guide to Adolescence, which has been published throughout the United States and Europe.

Teachers Without Borders has worked with the Clinton Global Initiative and received Ashoka’s Champion of African Education award. Fred has been a delegate at the prestigious Global Creative Leadership Summit four times, was Cisco Systems' guest at the Nobel Prize summit, and has consulted for the Commonwealth Ministers of Education as an advocate for the teacher’s voice.

Pirjo Koivula

Counselor of Education Finnish National Board of Education, Finland

Pirjo Koivula is M.A. in Educational Administration, Research and Planning. She is qualified Primary School and Special Needs Teacher. She has postgraduate studies in Education and Specialist Qualification in Leadership and Management for Educational Administrative Personnel.

She is currently Counsellor of Education in The Finnish National Board of Education in the Curriculum Development Unit. She has the main responsibility of developing the achievement of all learners, special needs and inclusive education on national level. She has worked in cooperation with the Ministry of Education to draft national legislation and has been responsible of drafting the changes in the national core curriculum in the area of pupil support and inclusive education. After that her work was to support the implementation and to continue the Curriculum work in the area of the learning concept and pedagogical methods. Now she is chairing two work groups in new Core Curriculum reform.

She has cooperated with the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs in different development projects in South-Africa, Tanzania and Russia. She is a National Coordinator for Finland of European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. She is also a Member of Common Board of State owned Approved Schools and a Vice chair of Board of Celia, National Library for the Visually Impaired. She is responsible for developing the state owned resource centres. She has also acted as a country representative in the projects of OECD´s Center for Educational Research and Innovation, CERI and UNESCO IBE.

Pirjo Koivula has also served as Department Head and Director of Education and Social Services in three different cities and before that as a principal.

She has contributed to the elaboration of several publications and strategies on the topic of inclusive education in pre-primary, basic and upper-secondary education. During past years she has had several presentations and keynote speeches in international scientific and professional conferences and seminars.

Dave Faulkner

Director of Education Changemakers, Australia

As one of the most effective and innovative education leaders in Australia over the last decade, Dave has a powerful grasp on the factors that lead to education success. Since becoming a Principal at age twenty four, Dave has brought reform and dramatic improvement to some of the most challenging schools in the country, including Halls Creek District High Shool. Shortly after turning thirty, Dave became the youngest Regional Education Director in the country with responsibility for eighteen schools across the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory. He has been recognized as the Young Australian of the Year (WA, 2004) and Young Leader of the Year (WA, 2003). Dave is a passionate and powerful education leader with proven impact.

Dave’s current work is as a Director of Education Changemakers, an organisation working towards ending educational disadvantage, which Dave co-founded. Education Changemakers identies exceptional teachers and emerging leaders in disadvantaged schools and then works with them over twelve months to inspire, equip, support and connect these educators. The Changemaker Program has a strong action bias and enables participants to lead change in their context and become high impact Education Changemakers and champions for disadvantaged students. The result is a movement of great teachers and leaders working together to transform some of Australia’s toughest schools.

Bob Baratta Lorton

President, Center for Innovation in Education, USA

Bob Baratta-Lorton and his wife Mary are the co-founders of and chief curriculum developers for the Center for Innovation in Education, a not-for-prot organization whose purpose is to create curriculum in reading and mathematics for elementary school children of all socioeconomic backgrounds. The Center’s core belief, around which its curriculum is created, is that all children can learn and that every child matters. The curriculum developed by Bob and Mary’s Center aims at achieving learning success for every child in every classroom, with no exceptions.

The Center’s curriculum in mathematics, authored by Bob and Mary, is contained in the books Mathematics Their Way (for primary grade children) and Mathematics a Way of Thinking (for intermediate grade children). Both books are published by Pearson Education, and both are also available as free downloads from the Center’s website at The Center’s curriculum in beginning reading, which is named after its Baratta-Lorton authors, but was given the name “Dekodiphukan” by the many teachers using it, is also available as a free download from the Center’s website. It is also now available as a set of 14 completely free, no strings attached, apps for the iPad.

The Center has a staff of over 300 instructors, all of whom are classroom teachers who have used Bob and Mary’s curriculum with their own students. Center instructors have provided curriculum training to over 500,000 teachers worldwide, including all fty of the United States, countries from Australia to Iceland, Chile to Canada, England to Turkey, Qatar to Hong Kong, and, of course, India.

Dr. Sunita Gandhi

Convenor, EDWW Co-Founder, Council for Global Education, USA

Dr Sunita Gandhi is Founder, Council for Global Education, USA, Dignity, Education Vision International, India, and the Education Society of Iceland (Islensku menntasamtokin ses). She has travelled to some 38 countries and studied their education systems. Her research-based work on education has been piloted in the UK, Iceland and India. She came back to India recently after 26 years overseas with a Ph.D. in Physics from Cambridge University, UK, where she received three merit-based scholarships, a ten-year tenure as an Economist at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., USA, where she was selected as a Young Professional, and after having established Iceland’s first two charter schools and an experimental school in the Czech Republic.

In India, Dr Gandhi has been fine-tuning and implementing a transformative education curriculum and assessments based on the principle of compete with yourself, which over 200 schools have adopted across India. With this large scale pilot, she is incubating an education more suited to the needs of children in the 21st century. The edifice of her efforts are constructed on the foundation of the Four Building Blocks of Education: Universal Values, Global Understanding, Excellence in All Things and Service to Humanity. In India, Dr Gandhi also serves as Honorary Chief Academic Advisor of her parents-run City Montessori School, Lucknow, the world’s largest school, a Guinness World Record Holder, and recipient of the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education.

Her latest project, Global Dream, is aimed at providing functional literacy to the illiterate masses. The results from the pilot are startling: Nearly 60,000 students from 150 schools of her city have taken up the campaign to teach at least one person. The unique and innovative Global Dream curriculum allows a person to become reading capable with just 10-15 hours of time investment over a month (with 15-20 minute sessions per day). Within a month, the curriculum has been taken up pan India and requests have come in from South Africa and China. The initial goal is 10 million new literates in India by the end of 2015.


Ms Archanaa pande is serving as Principal of City Montessori School, Lucknow (Ashsrfabad Branch) for the past 24 years. She has taught students at all levels and served as Primary Incharge and Headmistress. A popular trainer of Principals and teachers, she has led several training programmes and hosted conferences. She has also anchored a number of conferences and produced several live and recorded show for Doordarshan and for Celibrities like Girija Devi, Pandit Kishan Maharaj, Shankar Mahadevan, A Shivmani and Louis Banks. She has produced documentaries for Delhi Doordarshan and acted in feature films, telefilms, serials and stage plays. She has led an Indian delegation to Finland. She has also attended and directed children's International Summer Village (CISV) camps attended by children and teachers from ten countries. Archanaa pande is also an expert in cooperative games and cooperative learning.