Abimbola Banu-Ogundere, inspiring a generation of impactful education leaders
Abimbola Banu- Ogundere is an education advocate and education leadership expert whose life’s work is to create a generation of influential and impactful education leaders who identify and solve meaningful education problems at scale, all over the world.
She is a Medical doctor and Canadian certified Montessori teacher. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Health and a Master’s degree in Applied Educational Leadership and Management, both from the University of London, UK. She also holds a Women in Leadership certificate and a Leading Schools certificate from Harvard Business School.
She is the C.E.O of Kids’ Court School, a renowned nursery and primary school in Lagos, Nigeria. Due to her enthusiasm for improving the quality of education received by the African child, in 2018, she founded the Learning As I Teach (LAIT) Foundation, a non-for- profit organisation that seeks to bridge the access barrier to qualitative continuous professional development opportunities for the African teacher by providing opportunities for continuous professional development at minimal cost.
She is a thought leader and sought-after speaker on Education Leadership and the Business of Education. She founded the Succeeding at Leading a Learning Community Coaching program which empowers, equips and energises school leaders to lead self and their schools to success and sustainability.
She is a published author of books including the bestselling The Right Teacher, The ABC of Teacher Professionalism and The Complete Guide to Succeeding at School Leadership.
She is an Associate member of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) and a board member of The Dorcas Cancer Foundation, Melon Patch Farms and Schools Empowerment and support network SESN.
She is a career, life and relationship mentor for several young women and an avid supporter of women and children’s rights and empowerment.
She is happily married with three children
I grew up in a positive and loving environment and my parents set high expectations for each of their children. This formed the foundation of who I am today as it gave me the discipline and confidence to pursue whatever I set my heart on.
Why The Passion To Be An Education Advocate?
It comes from a need for a voice to uphold best practices in an industry that has been neglected for far too many years. Having gone through the discipline and work ethic of medical school, I found it alarming how low the standards were for professionalism and continuous professional development in a field as crucial as education is in Nigeria. For me, it is an opportunity to lead the clarion call for educators to rise up to their responsibilities to our children and our nation at large.
Medicine And Its Link To Your Business
I do not actively practice medicine though I sit on the board of several pediatric hospitals. My work as a teacher is influenced greatly by my background in medicine because it has given me a penchant for continuous learning and improvement. It has also driven me to institutionalize professionalism in the education sector.
Montessori Schooling And Its Advantages
Montessori education is advantageous because it embeds 21st century skills in the learning of the children. With this, children are future ready from an early age because they are able to approach problems with the right mindset and skills. The Montessori approach has helped us raise confident 21st century learners who can hold their own in any environment that they find themselves. It has helped us build the right foundation for our learners which gives them the confidence to thrive both locally and internationally.
Would You Say Nigerians Have Fully Embraced The Significance Of Montessori?
I think the awareness is growing and parents are embracing it more wholeheartedly as they see the multifaceted benefits of the approach to learning.
Learning As I Teach (Lait) Foundation
LAIT Foundation was set up to meet the need for qualitative and affordable continuous professional development for teaching professionals. Since inception in 2018, we have impacted over 3000 teachers through our stimulating onsite and online training sessions. We have been very fortunate to have very seasoned professionals from within and outside the education sector speak to our teachers as they work actively towards developing their craft.
Succeeding At School Leadership
This is a program that is very dear to my heart because leadership in many cases signals the rise and fall of a business. In my over 11 years of working through the sector, I can truly say that success cannot be over night at least not in the educational sector. It is a fine mix of several big and small decisions that rests on the shoulder of the leader to make. I have found that we as leaders do not also need to reinvent the wheel or make our own mistakes all the time. We can learn from each other, feed off of each other’s success stories, our near misses and of course our failures. Research has proven that leadership is the single most important factor that influences teachers who go on to impact students and their learning outcomes.
Being An Author
I have written two books namely ‘The ABCs of Teacher Professionalism’ and ‘The Right Teacher’. I would say that both books have afforded me the opportunity to reach out to a wider audience and leave a long lasting legacy that permeates through the prevailing patterns in the education sector. I am proud to say that the books have been distributed in the thousands to teachers all across Nigeria and feedback that we have received suggests that teachers use it as a handbook / guide that they refer to often as they aspire to be more impactful in their practice.
The Effect Of Covid 19 On Your Business
The COVID 19 crises if anything, has helped our team build resilience to channel their creativity towards achieving the set goal which is: learning must continue. No one can boast of having foreseen such a scenario as we are currently experiencing, but I am thankful that as a school, we had made technology integration a priority even in our nursery school. Over the years, we have also invested heavily in the training and development of our teachers as well as carrying our parents along with the technological trends in education so this has been a season to reap some of the fruit of those decisions and investments. We are also coming out of this season with a lot of lessons learned. Barring the health restrictions and the economic effect on our community (and this affects us all), I would say our jobs have definitely gotten more recognition and admiration from the world and I foresee schools that would continue to place a high priority on technology integration which is consequently a win for the children who are themselves digital natives.
What Is The Lesson This Period Has Taught You?
It has taught me the value of continuous development. We must continue to learn, unlearn and re-learn because we never know what the future might bring our way.
Advice To All
We must keep going regardless of the difficulties that we are faced with. This is a season to think flexibly and be responsive to the needs of the people whose needs you serve.
Keep your hope alive, your world needs you to draw strength from within.