Dignitas Staff Profiles: Rebecca Crook

Aug 11, 2016 | Dignitas Staff, News | 4 comments

We have a fantastic team at Dignitas and we would love to introduce you to each member over the coming months.

Today, we interview Rebecca Crook about her role at Dignitas and why she believes strongly in the work that we do. Welcome, Rebecca!


What is your role on the team?
 Currently, I train and coach school leaders and teachers in informal settlements in Nairobi and support our Coaching and Learning and Evaluations teams at Dignitas as Program Director.

What were you doing before you joined Dignitas?  Previously, I served as a principal at SPARK Schools in Johannesburg, SA and taught bilingual primary school in the Bay Area, California. In both California and South Africa, I launched photography initiatives for youth.  

After returning from my trip, I knew I wanted to support educators like these achieve their visions for their schools and students.

Tell us about your incredible journey that brought you to Dignitas. 

After serving as founding principal for SPARK Maboneng in Johannesburg, I decided to take a traveling sabbatical, taking public transport from South Africa through Zimbabwe and Malawi to Tanzania. In six weeks, I visited 25 schools and spoke to hundreds of teachers, students, school leaders and parents. Over and over again, I heard educators share their dreams for their students and bear witness to their sacrificial leadership — school founder Mr. Matthias in rural Malawi housed 30 students each night at his home and held revision sessions until 9pm. Yet, the gap between their aspirations and the realities of their classrooms meant that their students would not graduate with transformed opportunities in life. The hours of lessons I observed were both hopeful and heartbreaking.  Students in Grade 5 in a class of 150 could not complete multiplication and Standard 2 (Grade 10) students expected to write a composition struggled to string together a sentence in English. Most of their teachers, however, truly wanted to serve their students well and prepare them for a life of flourishing. After returning form my trip, I knew I wanted to support educators like these achieve their visions for their schools and students. Dignitas aligned with my desire to develop teacher leaders who will transform their communities through the provision of high-quality education and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to further this important work.
Do you have a favorite Dignitas moment? 

Among my favorite moments are when school leadership teams have breakthroughs together. Seeing Teacher Maggy implement a formative assessment that her colleague Edward coached her to use, or experiencing shifting power dynamics in which leaders collaborate across lines of difference give me hope that together, we can do difficult and great things for kids.

IMG_2125Karen Igaida and Stephen Ndeti use the “Mind the Gap” thinking tool during a leadership coaching session at  Excellence Primary School in Kawangware.

What are you doing when you are not working at Dignitas?
When I’m not working for Dignitas, I’m learning from new beautiful people and places in and around Nairobi and sharing my visual stories @stickylittleleaves.

Thank you, Rebecca!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our new staff profiles! You can meet the rest of our team here. And be sure to pop back to our website or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date with all we are doing to transform schools in Kenya!