Our Team


Carol Owala

Co-founder and Executive Director
Carol has been a teacher, school leader, instructional and leadership coach, a manager of coaches, and she now leads Kenya Big Picture Learning, a Big Picture Learning project.

Carol has extensive experience working with students, teachers and school leaders in marginalized communities. She has presented at international conferences and with Elena, she co-directs our immersive learning exchange, Ustahimilivu Dadas.

Having grown up in Kibera, Africa’s second largest slum, Carol is dedicated to serving children in Nairobi’s informal settlements, children who have few opportunities to thrive in life if they don’t receive a quality education.

Elena Aguilar


Elena Aguilar is a writer, leader, teacher, coach and podcaster. She is the author of seven highly acclaimed books: The Art of Coaching, (2013) The Art of Coaching Teams (2016), Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators (2018), The Onward Workbook (2018), Coaching for Equity (2020), The Art of Coaching Workbook (2020) and The PD Book: 7 Habits that Transform Professional Development (2022). She has also been a frequent contributor to Edutopia, ASCD’s Educational Leadership, and EdWeek Teacher.

Elena is the founder and president of Bright Morning Consulting, an organization committed to helping individuals and organizations create the conditions for transformation. She has taught tens of thousands of folks how to have conversations that build a more just and equitable world. Elena can be heard demonstrating these conversations on the Bright Morning Podcast.

Elena is also the co-founder of Kenya Big Picture Learning, she’s on the advisory board of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, and she is a certified mindfulness meditation teacher. She lives in Oakland, CA, with her husband, son, and two cats. When she’s not coaching or writing she enjoys traveling abroad, photographing birds, hiking, drinking coffee and reading fiction.


Kelvin Mburugu

Finance and Human Resource Officer

Kelvin works as a Finance and Human Resource Officer at Big Picture Learning Kenya. He is majorly involved in financial accounting, administration support, human resource management, and day to day operations.

Before joining Big Picture Learning Kenya, he worked with Bio-vision Africa Trust in Embu County Government, and as a certified Tax Ambassador with the Kenya Revenue Authority. Kelvin holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance Option) degree from the University of Embu. His core values are honesty, authenticity, benevolence, and service.

Kelvin is passionate about leaving a print in the world, and he is keen to ensure that he has a positive impact on all the people he interacts with.

Lorraine Apondi

Program Officer

Lorraine is the Program Officer at Big Picture Learning Kenya. She is responsible for leading student support programs, teacher engagement, and school improvement initiatives. Her role covers diverse responsibilities that support general operations and communications for Big Picture Learning’s internal and external partners.

Previously, she worked as a Field Research Analyst at Digital Divide Data Kenya where she was responsible for quality checks. Lorraine holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (In Sociology and Psychology) from Kenyatta University. She is a lifelong social justice advocate, and her work matches her social interests.

Lorraine is passionate about supporting marginalized communities and empowering them to create social enterprises that will in turn make communities better, and solve their challenges.

Crispin Oyola

Student Support and Communications Associate

Crispin Oyola is the Student Support and Communications Associate at Big Picture Learning Kenya. He coordinates student engagement initiatives, teacher support, and school improvement projects. His role also covers responsibilities that support general operations and communications with program partners.

He previously worked at Globetree, a Swedish Based Organization in the logistics department. He is a multi-talented individual with over nine years of experience working with NGOs, and he also majors in visual arts and digital imaging. Crispin believes in building a peaceful existence on earth, and he is led by the Ikigai Model that is grounded on wellbeing, better health, and seeking greater happiness in the things you care about.

Samantha Nyabola

Program Lead
Many children in marginalized areas, leave school without skills to enable them thrive and succeed in life, this is either because they do not enjoy school and don’t feel safe therein or their teachers are not well equipped to support an environment that will challenge them to become better. This consequently means, learners have a high likelihood to repeat poverty cycles in their
Samantha is passionate about being part of the solution to this challenge, through empowering
educators with skills and knowledge to build and lead safe schools. She is a seasoned educator with over 12 years’ experience. She has been a classroom teacher and Dean of Students at Nairobi Muslim Academy, Instructional coach, Leadership coach and School Support Manager at Dignitas Limited.
She has experience working with teachers in marginalized areas from both public and private schools in Kenya and South Sudan, and in training and supporting Curriculum Support Officers. In addition to being an educator, Samantha is training as a Counseling Psychologist.