Global School Leaders (GSL) is a non-profit organization to develop effective school leadership that improves learning of students from underserved communities around the world. GSL contextualizes global best practices to meet the distinct demands placed on school leaders in developing world school systems. It is based on the program and experience of the India School Leadership Institute (ISLI), a non-profit that has trained heads of 600+ schools in India since 2012.
Strategic aims and approach:
GSL is incubating locally-led organizations in developing countries that train leaders serving the neediest students, focus on student learning, and rigorously measure impact. GSL is also developing a global network of school leadership trainers who are focused on schools catering to marginalized communities to promote knowledge sharing and research on this issue. Finally, GSL is developing an online course for the professional development school leaders that we see as a major strategy of creating scalable approaches.
Past and present projects:
Since the launch as an organization in 2017, GSL has been working on developing programs in Malaysia, Indonesia, Kenya, and Ghana. In each country, GSL is incubating locally-led not-for-profit organizations that are dedicated to the professional development of school leaders in under-performing schools. In Malaysia, GSL is launching a 25-school pilot program in the Klang region that will began in January 2018. GSL is partnering with a funding consortium led by the YTL Foundation and have a Malaysian team and board leading the effort. In Indonesia, GSL is launching a 75-school pilot program in and around Jakarta that will lead to the creation of a Principals Academy. GSL is partnering with the Tanoto Foundation in Indonesia and will receive additional support from Dubai Cares for this initiative. In Kenya and Ghana, GSL is exploring a pilot in both government and low-cost private schools.
In addition to GSL’s projects in-country, it is partnering with the Australia-based Agile Schools to create a global network of institutions focused on the development of school leaders.
About the Founders
Azad Oommen was the founding Executive Director of the Central Square Foundation (CSF), an Indian venture philanthropy fund that invests in organizations looking to improve the quality of student learning. He has worked extensively in the field of leadership development, having run the Clinton Fellowship for Service in India, the Clinton Democracy Fellowship for City Year in South Africa, and the Mickey Leland Hunger Fellows program for the Congressional Hunger Center in the US. In addition, he serves on the board of the India School Leadership Institute. Azad has a Masters degree in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and a Bachelor’s degree in International Economics from Georgetown University.
Sameer Sampat was the India School Leadership Institute’s (ISLI) first CEO. Prior to that, he worked as a Project Manager and Research Analyst with the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University where he designed, implemented, and evaluated interventions to close the racial achievement gap found in the United States. He is a Teach for America alumnus and has worked with Akanksha and Adharshila Shikshan Kendra. Sameer earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from UCLA and also completed a Master’s degree in Economics and Education from Columbia University.