MILLIAM ILUSA KELONYE
HEAD TEACHER, KAWANGWARE PRIMARY SCHOOL
Bold Idea: Strengthen a public primary school in an informal settlement so that it equips students with skills to thrive outside the classroom. Use it as a center for excellence that supports others in contexts with limited financial resources, to reimagine how to deliver a high quality education to marginalized children.
Path to Metis: With over 35 years of experience teaching and leading public schools in urban and rural Kenya, Milliam has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing Kenya’s public education system. Raised in rural Kenya, she spent over 25 years as a teacher and Deputy Head Teacher at 12 schools across the country, including areas such as Kisii, Homa Bay, Vihiga, and Garissa. She was promoted to Head Teacher of Kawangware Primary in 2009. Milliam’s school is the only government school in Kawangware, an informal settlement with over 130,000 people. The school serves over 1,600 of Nairobi’s most needy children who cannot afford to attend private schools. Despite a shortage of teachers, and textbooks, Milliam is committed to ensuring that her students receive an education that equips them with strong learning and life outcomes. She has led the school to improve their KCPE scores, added extra-curricular opportunities that keep students motivated and equip students with skills to run businesses, and renovated the school’s infrastructure and grounds. She built partnerships with PACEmaker International to place teaching assistants in the school, and El Sistema Kenya to run music programs. She is a respected community leader in Kawangware and has built a strong web of community and parental support for the school. Despite having decades of experience, Milliam is always eager to learn. She is currently completing her Masters in Early Childhood Education from Africa Nazarene University and her Masters in Education Management from the Presbyterian University of East Africa.