I recently returned to the States from a visit with the education team in Kenya. We covered a lot of ground in two short weeks. Today, I’ll pass along the highlights from my trip.

During my visit with the team, I shadowed outreach throughout Isibania division and worked with the team on areas of growth. We have several new Education Coordinators at the moment who are undergoing training and had just started to facilitate in schools under the supervision of Field Managers when I arrived. For teachers joining our team, there is often a significant learning curve involving the departure from ingrained rote teaching methodology and teacher-centered facilitation techniques. We train new hires on our model, methodology and provide seminars on engaging, student-centered tactics as well as overarching literacy development principles and best practices. Once they have undergone intensive training, they shadow experienced facilitators before moving to team-teaching and eventually facilitating on their own with a manager shadowing their classes and providing feedback and mentorship. The team is doing a great job all around – improving their facilitation skills, embracing creativity and innovation in lessons, remaining open to feedback and giving strong constructive feedback.

We had the pleasure of hosting Julius Ngombo, our new District Manager for two days during my visit. During that time, Julius observed the team during their outreach feedback sessions and lesson preparation. Jimmy, Vicky and I also worked extensively with him to set expectations for the first quarter of 2013 and review priorities and strategic milestones that will happen early in his time with us. Already he has proven to be a strong contributor and a humble listener. We appreciate the long journey he took from Mombasa to join us and look forward to January when he will be with us full time.

Another highlight of the visit was our decision to promote our Field Manager George Nyamweya to Training Manager. George has demonstrated a tireless work ethic, thoughtful leadership, a pure commitment to literacy development that often translates to hours of personal time spent researching resources for the team, and a high capacity for innovation. We are now in the process of prioritizing and building training modules for the team and developing curricula for 2013.

Other highlights include: preparing for 2013 outreach, receiving feedback from team members, finalizing our scaling plan, engaging in strategic talks that ranged from monitoring plans to budgeting sessions, and refining our plan to increase the number of hours that we will offer outreach programming in the coming year.  The team is managing beautifully. Vicky, Jimmy and the Field Managers have all demonstrated excellent leadership and a high capacity for accomplishing significant milestones. The Education Coordinators have consistently demonstrated their dedication to literacy development by implementing feedback quickly, engaging with the students and delivering quality programming.