Leadership & Governance
Each school within the Hillcrest International Schools group is led by an internationally qualified and experienced Head Teacher who works in tandem with the Governing Body to ensure the educational integrity and overall success of the School.
The Governing Body is comprised of parents as well as other professionals who, as volunteers, provide the School with strategic leadership and act as the overseers of growth in the schools. A Board of Directors oversees Hillcrest Investments Limited, the overarching financial and managerial arm which oversees and ratifies decisions put forward by the School’s Governors and Senior Leadership Team. These leadership bodies work in tandem to achieve the success of the schools.
Head of Schools
John Eveson – Head of Secondary School
Headteacher of Hillcrest Secondary is a new prospect for Mr Eveson, whose experience of education spans 30 years. It began when he and his wife, Helen, relocated here very recently.
Formerly, he was Head of School at King Richard School in Cyprus working for the Ministry of Defence. Previous to that, his appointment as Deputy Head at St John’s School, with responsibility for curriculum, personnel and timetabling across both Cyprus schools strengthened his skills and experience to prepare him for his current role. Both schools were highly regarded: King Richard gaining ‘Outstanding’ in its last Ofsted inspection in 2013.
Over a decade earlier he worked for 19 years in Secondary and Further Education in Norfolk and north Suffolk, UK. His subjects and skills were developed through teaching KS3, GCSE, A Level and degree level in Economics and Business Studies. However, he also expanded his subject skills to include ICT to A Level. His management ability was clear from his first post, where he became Head of Department.
Later posts developed and enhanced this through Head of Faculty, Assistant Head and NPQH qualifications. Prior to this he completed an MSc at the London School of Economics, following a first class honours degree at Aberystwyth University.
His passion is teaching and learning, which continues to drive his vision to ensure that the quality of what goes on in the classroom is as good as it possibly can be. He is looking to bring UK best practice to Hillcrest to inspire teachers and pupils alike to give of their best and thus to achieve their best.
Now both their sons have begun work after post-graduate studies, both John and Helen decided to find new challenges and unparalleled opportunities at Hillcrest.
Gabrielle Maina – Head of Preparatory School
Gabrielle Maina is the Headteacher of Prep. She relocated to Kenya in September 2015, a long term goal to establish her family here so her children can grow up with their extended family.
She has a wide range of teaching experience. Her first experience teaching was a few years before qualifying as a teacher; she was teaching Italian to primary aged children at a Saturday school. It was shortly after this that she spent some time in China teaching English at university. After completing her postgraduate degree in Education, she was engaged by the New South Wales Department of Education, where she taught at a number of schools in the Sydney metropolitan area, ranging from small to large comprehensive schools. In this time, she has taught: English, English as an Additional Language, Italian and Drama.
She has held a range of positions, including: class teacher, Head of Department, Administration Coordinator and Form Tutor. During her children’s infancy, she also gained experience in Early Years Learning, when she ran her own preschool.
When she first arrived in Kenya, she was offered an opportunity to come and teach at Hillcrest in the capacity of a Learning Support Teacher at the Preparatory School as well as teaching IGCSE and A level English at the Secondary School.
Jenna Rawlings – Head of Early Years
Jenna’s fascination of early childhood development and learning started at a young age when she began volunteering at a local nursery school aged fifteen. She remembers these years as some of the most important in developing her style of leadership, understanding the value of every small role and responsibility in an early years setting.
After finishing school she went on to study at Reading University, gaining a BA in Early Childhood Development and Learning. This supplements her broad and varied collection of certificates in Implementing Numeracy Strategies, Developing Communication and Language Skills, Supporting English as an Additional Language, Growing up Global (to name but a few).
During this time Jenna continued to build on her extensive early year’s experience, working with the 2-3 year olds then progressing onto teaching the 3-4 year old age group at The Old School Day Nursery in Ascot. She then took on the role of EYFS Coordinator, successfully implementing the new British Curriculum.
She Moved to Kenya in 2010 and fell in love with the country instantly. Her first teaching post was at Kabete International Kindergarten teaching the Year 1 class. She then moved over to Braeburn International School, teaching Reception and becoming Head of Early Years. After four years (and one baby) Jenna made the decision to join the Hillcrest Early Years team.
Jenna is committed to achieving high standards of academics through a creative and flexible curriculum that remains centered on the needs of each individual child. She enjoys educating staff and parents in the British curriculum and early childhood development, understanding that education is the link that unites everyone together to achieve one shared vision.
Mr. Bob Kikuyu – Chair of Governors
As Chairman of the school’s Governing Body, Bob Kikuyu is responsible for coordinating Governor sub-committees which oversee key segments of the school, working alongside the board of directors.
Bob is currently the Executive Director of the non-profit organisation eduKenya, which interacts closely with the education sector. He has previously served as the Senior Pastor of Lifespring Chapel, Chairman of the Logos Christian School Board, and patron of TULIP (an international girl-child sponsorship organisation) amongst other N.G.O roles.
Mr. Bob Kikuyu has been a parent at Hillcrest Schools for a number of years with children attending both the Prep and Secondary respectively and is married to Yoland Masidza a music teacher at the Prep School.
Mrs. Lucy Mayer – Academic/HR Governor
As governor of Academics and HR, Lucy Mayer is involved with the recruitment, professional development and retention of teaching staff. She works closely alongside the HR department to ensure teachers are achieving substantial results.
Lucy Mayer is an educationist and has had a long standing relationship with the schools, with her first teaching stint at Hillcrest in 1989. She later returned as Headteacher of the Prep School for six years, and moved to the secondary school as a teacher until 2013.
She is a married parent of both alumni and current students at Hillcrest. With three of her children having completed their education at Hillcrest and her youngest child in Year 8 at the Prep school.
Mr. Nicholas Wasunna – Pastoral/Co-Curricular Governor
As pastoral and co-curricular governor, Nick interacts with the respective school departments school to ensure the community of Hillcrest Schools prospers. Nick currently works for the United Nations, UNICEF, as an Emergency Specialist covering East and Southern Africa.
Nick previously worked with World Vision International for several years and has worked in the overseas development and humanitarian industry for over 18 years having travelled and worked in many emergency situations particularly in Africa. Nick is closely involved in his local church Men’s Ministry, this includes mentoring young men who are at significant crossroads in life.
Nick is a current parent at Hillcrest Prep, he and his wife have three children attending the school.
Samira Leakey – Communications and Marketing Governor
Samira Leakey is a governor and parent at Hillcrest Prep. She has a professional background in Politics and went on to master in Public Affairs from Princeton University. Her work experience is primarily in media and communications both abroad with the World Bank, and here in Kenya where she is currently acting as a consultant on communications and outreach to the Turkana Basin Institute. In her role as governor, Samira will serve on the sub-committees for Hillcrest Prep and for Communications and Marketing.
John has a Masters of Science in Applied and Computational Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science in Physics. He also holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is a qualified Chartered Accountant. A specialist in implementing cost effective ICT solutions, John worked as the CEO of Credit Indemnity (Pty) Ltd in South Africa before joining Equity Bank where is the Chief Officer of Finance, Innovation & Technology.
Vip is a former governor of the British School in New Delhi, India and has two children at Hillcrest Secondary School. He has over 20 years of commercial and development expertise within Africa. He commenced his career in the field of manufacturing management and has worked extensively in Eastern/Central Africa, India and Europe. His career has included working with Barclays Bank Plc, Coca-cola Schweppes beverages and Zain/Airtel. He is now CEO of a regional agri-business manufacturing operations. Vip is also an associate of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO).
Paulina Raguz Macksoud – Marketing and Communication
Paulina is a graduate of Hillcrest Secondary School and a parent at Early Years and Prep. Following Hillcrest, Paulina went on to study Hotel Management in Cornell University and graduated with a masters in Marketing and Minor in Hospitality Design. She is one of the directors and owners of The Zanzibar Collection and The Palacina Collection which are a group of award winning hotels in the region. Recently, they have expanded to add properties in the USA and Europe to their portfolio. Paulina founded and runs Palacina Interiors.
Paulina is married with two children. In her role as Governor, Paulina serves on the Prep and Early Years committee focusing on Marketing and Communication.
Mr. Andrew Hollas – Chairman of the Board of Directors
Mr. Andrew Hollas is the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Hillcrest International Schools – Hillcrest Investments Limited. In addition to his role at Hillcrest, he holds non-executive director roles with KK Security and Britam. He is also Chairman of Faraja Cancer Support Trust.
Andrew was formerly Senior Partner and Chief Executive, at PricewaterhouseCoopers responsible for East, Central and West Africa, prior to his retirement in 2010. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (FCA), a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) and the UK Institute of Directors.
Andrew directly liaises with all leadership parties to achieve the school’s strategic development plans. He is a married father of three children currently working overseas.
Mr. Ayisi Makatiani – Director
Mr. Ayisi Makatiani is an investor and director of Hillcrest International Schools. He is the founder and current Managing Partner at Fanisi Capital, a well established venture capital fund.
Ayisi was previously head of the African Management Services Company (AMSCO), founded by the International Finance Corporation – the World Bank’s private-sector arm. He is also the former Managing Partner of Gallium Partners Investments and Non-Executive Chairman of MCI/UUNET Africa, Non-Executive Director of Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd.
As director and co-owner of Hillcrest Investments Limited, Ayisi sits on both the Board of Directors and Board of Governors. Ayisi is married with two children currently attending the secondary school and is a vibrant participant and contributor towards the school’s growth.
Mr. Anthony Wahome – Director
Mr Anthony Wahome is an investor and director of Hillcrest International Schools. Anthony Wahome Githinji is the founder and Group CEO of AG Group International Limited, Kenya.
AG group established an Education services arm as part of its business cluster. As a result, Anthony has been an involved investor in education having established Rose of Sharon Academy, a local school in Nairobi. He is also an advisory Board Member at the Chandaria School of Business at United States International University (USIU) as well as the Women Education Researchers of Kenya.
As director and co-owner of Hillcrest Investments Limited, Anthony sits on both the Board of Directors and Board of Governors. Anthony is a married father of two children and a former parent at Hillcrest Secondary School.