ACT Microschools is the brainchild of a group of educators and social-entrepreneurs who seek to spread progressive schooling throughout the African continent. With over 50 combined years of experience in Education and after running a successful microschool in Cairo, Egypt for seven years, the ACT team has decided to expand and create a connected network of microschools. Deeply rooted in the continent, Education, and a belief in the importance of social justice, the School’s founders created ACT: Aspire – Connect – Transform, a network of microschools that strives to create young ACTors throughout the continent who transform their communities for the better.
For the founders of ACT, Education is not only a passion, it’s also deeply personal, each looking to create a community of learners for their own children, a space where their children can dream, find themselves, and better their world.
A global community of ACT-ors who harness the power of transformation to better themselves and to shape their communities into more equitable societies.
At ACT microschools, we believe in creating small learning communities where students balance physical and academic challenges in an emotionally secure environment in which they develop a strong sense of self, purpose, duty, and empathy. Our learning platform connects each of our microschools and allows for synergies throughout the diverse communities, so that ACT’s whole is more powerful than the sum of its parts.
Inspired by the Ashanti symbol, Sesa wo suban (change your character), the ACT learning model emphasizes students’ connection and responsibility to bettering their own community and the world around them, giving students ample opportunities for real world experiences where, through teamwork and cooperation, they develop into powerful ACT-ors. ACT microschools envision Physical Education and the Arts as an integral part of student transformation and the performing arts, in particular, as an important tool in inspiring connection to language and culture.
Small is beautiful. Connected is powerful.
At ACT we believe that small is beautiful. Our microschools each contain a maximum of 150 students. This number is based on psychologist Robin Dunbar’s work that, as humans, we lack the ability to maintain more than 150 friendships. ACT microschools take this research to heart, understanding that to establish a rich and genuine learning community, personal connections with each child matters and – if our brains cannot establish deep ties with more than 150 – then our schools should never exceed that number either.
At ACT, we also believe that connected is powerful. Through our social learning network, we connect our microschools, so that students have the best of both worlds – an intimate and committed community on the one hand, and access to a network of other like-minded community mentors, families, and students on the other hand.
MEET THE TEAM
DR. DEENA AMIRY
Chief Experience Officer
Dr. Deena Amiry earned her B.S. from Georgetown University with a certificate in education and a medal for outstanding achievement in student teaching. She earned her Masters’ degree from Middlebury College and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Romance Languages, where she served as a lecturer of French language and literature. Dr. Amiry worked in several private schools in the United States, including the prestigious Dalton School in New York City. At Dalton, alongside teaching responsibilities, Dr. Amiry served as Dean of the 9th grade and department chair of middle and high school foreign languages.
In Egypt, Dr. Deena Amiry co-founded and headed the International School of Egypt in New Cairo in 2009. In 2012, Dr. Deena moved on and founded the Young Scholars of Egypt (YSE) microschool, an educational program for children ages 3-18 that aims to provide students with an education that prepares them for the 21st century. In 2019, alongside ACT’s founding team, Dr. Deena brought YSE under ACT’s umbrella to create a network of connected microschools.
Ms. Oyindamola A. Salami is an educator who has spent the past seven years co-running a microschool in Cairo, Egypt. She began her career in education over ten years ago at Trinity Episcopal School (TES) under the tutelage of a master teacher of progressive, personalized education strategies. While teaching at TES, she completed her MA in Teaching at Queens University of Charlotte. She then moved to Cairo, Egypt where she eventually took on the role of Founding head of Elementary at Young Scholars of Egypt (YSE), a microschool in New Cairo. At YSE, she helped develop and implement a curriculum that, at its core, puts children first. She understood that in order for a curriculum to best meet the needs of students, it has to first and foremost take in to account and address the identity and needs of the whole child. She worked with her team to make sure that students are guided towards making discoveries in their journey of gaining understanding, as opposed being fed the “facts.” Oyindamola helped establish mixed grade level classrooms where students are encouraged to take ownership of their classroom and the learning that takes place. It’s an environment where older students are encouraged to take on leadership roles in a way that would be almost impossible to create organically in the traditional school setting. After experiencing the exciting results of this approach, Oyindamola decided that it was time to share this model with other countries on the continent. She felt that a program like YSE, that identifies and nurtures the natural talents of students in an effort to create much needed youth leaders in its community, is exactly what is needed at this time in history on the African continent and beyond. Ms. Oyindamola is an avid traveler, loves cooking, and is a self-proclaimed foodie. When not in the classroom, she can often be found off on an adventure exploring another part of the globe for new spices and ingredients to add to the culinary experience in her kitchen.
SEIF ABOU ZAID
Chief Executive Officer
Seif is an education entrepreneur who focuses on building education ventures that make education more personalized and 21st century relevant. He is the co-founder and CEO of ACT Microschools; a network of microschools that provides progressive and accredited international education that also respects local language and culture. He was also the co-founder and CEO of Mavericks International Schools, where he managed to grow the company to manage 3 schools within less than 2 years, serving more than 800 families. He was also the co-founder and CEO of Tahrir Academy providing mind-stimulating blended learning experiences for more than 300,000 Arab learners. Seif has an M.A. in Public Policy with a focus on education from the American University in Cairo.