Through our schools and other education initiatives, we seek to maximise our students’ opportunities in life. Education must drive long-term social and economic change in Africa.

Our Team
Andrew Whittall
Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Andrew was born and educated in Zimbabwe, before graduating from Trinity College Cambridge with a Masters in Engineering and a number of cricketing blues. He subsequently enjoyed a career as a Zimbabwean cricketer before his interests took him into the education sector, where he has worked for over ten years.

Andrew’s upbringing highlighted to him the crucial part that equitable access to education has to play in Africa’s future. He firmly believes that all economic and social development hinges on ensuring that young people have the right opportunities to learn and achieve, and are armed with the skills they need to drive their country’s development.

Thus, Andrew’s overriding objective is to change the face of southern African education through innovative models of education accessible to all sectors of society. In 2012, he set up AEI with the purpose of broadening the choice and quality of schools and teacher education in Zambia and beyond.

Athene Church
Education Director

Athene is an education specialist with a background in development economics. Before moving to AEI in 2013, Athene qualified as a teacher through Teach First and worked as a development economist in the Mekong Triangle.

Her role at AEI marries the two sectors in which she has been engaged, taking into account the crucial role education plays in socio-economic development. Much of Athene’s work focuses on planning and implementing high-quality teacher education and school improvement programmes.

She led the formation of Educore Academy and has been instrumental in establishing and shaping Educore’s innovative low-cost school model, Frontier, as well as the Educore Foundation. Athene is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and has a Development MSc from SOAS.

Simon Connell
Development Director

Simon has more than twenty years’ business experience, with the last fifteen at Board level. Following a successful career in the UK financial services industry, Simon has focused on education. He employs his commercial and financial experience to improve the operating performance of schools and school groups.

He is a recognised expert in the field of school finances and works closely with England’s Department for Education in the areas of finance, technical training and employer engagement.

Simon also has extensive experience in school commissioning, having led the project management team to open the Educore schools in 2013. He holds a First Class mathematics degree from Cambridge University.