Derek Smith named Sixth Dean of the Academy

After a robust worldwide search process, we are delighted to announce that Mr. Derek Smith has been appointed as the sixth Dean of African Leadership Academy. With a strong background in education and a deep commitment to fostering leadership and academic excellence, Derek is well-suited to lead ALA into its next chapter.

Derek’s journey as an educator began in 1995 when he volunteered as a math teacher in rural Guinea-Bissau. Since that first experience on the continent, Derek has had a rich and wide-ranging experience as an educator, school leader, and professional across West Africa. Aside from a short stint in Poland, where he worked with Japanese and South Korean students, Derek has dedicated his career to African schools. He has taught and led at schools in Togo, the Gambia, and Nigeria. His most recent post has been as the principal for the school housed at the IITA (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture) research facility in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Prior to joining the International School of IITA, Derek was the principal at Olashore International School in Iloko-Ijesa, Nigeria. Derek was at Olashore for six years, and during that time he led the transformation of the school’s leadership and academic programs.

Derek’s dedication to education extends beyond his role as a school leader. He has worked closely with the British Council, AISEN, and the Alliance Française to improve learning and teaching across Nigeria. Derek was a founding member of the British Council Schools Network and played a key role in the launch and roll-out of the British Council’s Core Skills development program in Nigeria. As a member of the Board of Trustees of AISEN, he introduced a monthly in-service training program for teachers from international schools across Nigeria, attended by over 200 teachers each month.

Recognized for his expertise and leadership, Derek has been invited to speak at conferences on 21st-century education and leadership development in Nigeria and internationally, including the COBIS conference in 2017 and BETT MEA in 2018. Derek has received several awards for his contributions to international education, including the ISA award and the Outstanding Principal of the Decade award.

Derek will officially join the ALA community in August 2023, succeeding Acting Dean Uzo Agyare-Kumi, who assumed the role during the 2022-2023 academic year following Dean Hatim Eltayeb’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer.

We extend our warmest congratulations to Mr. Derek Smith on his appointment and eagerly anticipate the positive impact he will make as the Dean of African Leadership Academy.

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