OUR PEOPLE

OUR BOARD

Sir Anthony Seldon 

President and Co-Founder 

Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Buckingham since 2015, is one of Britain’s leading contemporary historians, educationalists, commentators and political authors. He is author or editor of over 40 books on contemporary history, including the inside books on the last five Prime Ministers, Chair of the National Archives Trust, was the co-founder and first director of the Institute for Contemporary British History, and is co-founder of Action for Happiness.

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Simon Murray OAM

Global Chair

Simon Murray, OAM, served as a Headmaster across three schools for 27 years, and an educator for over 40 years. Most recently he was the 14th Headmaster of St Peter’s College, Australia. In June 2018 he was awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia for services to education and professional associations. In June 2019 he was honoured for his pioneering work and internationally recognised leadership in the field of Positive Education by the Positive Psychology Centre, University of Pennsylvania and the Eisenhower Fellowships.

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Abdulla Al Karam

IPEN MENA

As Director General and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr. Abdulla Al Karam has led the quality and growth of the private education sector in Dubai – including early learning centres, schools, universities and training institutes - since KHDA was established in 2007. Dr. Al Karam holds key positions across the UAE - he is chairman of the Dubai Future Education Council, and an Education Committee member of the Global Council for Happiness and Wellbeing.

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Mike Buchanan

IPEN UK/Europe

Mike Buchanan is the Founder of Positively Leading, a bespoke coaching consultancy focused on understanding, improvement and fulfilment.  He is also the Executive Head of Apex2100, the world’s leading school for elite skiers, and was most recently the Executive Director of HMC, the English-speaking world’s oldest association of Head Teachers. He is a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and a former school principal.

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Deborah Heisz

At-Large Member

Deborah is the co-founder, editorial director and CEO of the positive lifestyle website and magazine LiveHappy.com.  She is also Co-CEO of Neora, LLC, an international skin care and wellness company, and the author of Live Happy: Ten Practices for Choosing Joy.  With more than 25 years working in and leading entrepreneurial organizations, Deborah is passionate about IPEN’s mission and contributes her expertise in strategic planning, marketing, branding and operations to the IPEN team.

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Justin Robinson

Treasurer, At-Large Member

Justin Robinson is the inaugural Director of the Institute of Positive Education, based at Geelong Grammar School, Australia.  Justin leads an experienced team dedicated to research, development and professional learning in the field of Positive Education.  He continues to inspire and empower teachers around the world to place wellbeing at the heart of education. Justin is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Melbourne and was listed in The Australian Educator’s Top 50 Hot List in 2017.  

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Héctor Escamilla

At-Large Member

Hector Escamilla is Vice President of Development at Tecnologico de Monterrey University, a private non-for-profit university system in Mexico.  He served for almost 11 years as President of Tecmilenio University, Mexico, focused on providing the highest return on investment in education that translated into high employment rates and enhanced student wellbeing, happiness and purpose in life.  He led a team that initiated a disruptive innovation process developing a vision that embraces wellbeing for students, faculty and administrators based on the science of Positive Psychology. Martin Seligman recognized Tecmilenio University as the first Positive University in the world.

 

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Martin E.P. Seligman

Emeritus President and Co-Founder

Martin E.P. Seligman is the Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology and Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he focuses on positive psychology, learned helplessness, depression, and optimism. He is a best-selling author of several books, including Flourish. He received the American Psychological Society’s William James Fellow Award for basic science and Cattell Award for the application of science, and two Distinguished Scientific Contribution awards from the American Psychological Association. In 1996, Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association by the largest vote in modern history. His current mission is the attempt to transform social science to work on the best things in life – strengths, positive emotion, good relationships, meaning, and human flourishing.

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Dominic A.A. Randolph

Vice Chair, At-Large Member

Dominic A.A. Randolph became the sixth Head of Riverdale Country School in July 2007. He found the Character Lab–a non-profit sponsoring “translational research” on character strengths in schools. Riverdale has helped develop with IDEO, a design thinking toolkit, the Teacher’s Guild, and the Purpose Project. He has recently started “learning design studio,” Plussed+ that works on different educational projects globally. He has served on the boards of The Lawrenceville School, the Character Lab, International Positive Education Network (IPEN), and the Mastery Transcript Consortium.

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Rosalinda Ballesteros-Valdés

IPEN Latin America 

Rosalinda Ballesteros-Valdés PhD is the director for the Institute of Wellbeing and Happiness at Universidad Tecmilenio, considered the first Positive University. At Tecmilenio she previously had the position of Vice-president for High School Education, she designed the Positive Education Curriculum for 28 Tecmilenio High Schools (more than 15,000 students). Dr. Ballesteros-Valdés holds a PhD in Humanistic Studies by Tecnológico de Monterrey in México and a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She has 20 years’ experience in education and curriculum design. Dr. Ballesteros-Valdés worked extensively in peace education programs, from Education for Peace International and Peace begins with children in México.  

Lim Lai Cheng

IPEN Southeast Asia

Lim Lai Cheng is Executive Director, SMU Academy at Singapore Management University. She has extensive experience as teacher and principal in several schools and was involved in curriculum planning and policy development at the Singapore Ministry of Education. She is advisor to several education foundations in China, Russia, Slovakia and South Africa. She was conferred the Chevalier Dans L’ Ordre Des Palmes Academiques by the French government in 2012.

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Anne Johnstone

IPEN Australia

Anne Johnstone is Principal of Ravenswood School, in Sydney and Chair Elect of the Positive Education Schools Association (PESA).  Anne holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (with Honours) degree, a Graduate Diploma in Education, and a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2019 Anne was recognised for pioneering work, contribution and internationally-recognised leadership in the field of Positive Education. Anne is currently completing a PhD in education.

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Christopher Stawski

US-IPEN

Christopher Stawski is Senior Fellow at the Kern Family Foundation and Affiliate Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He has been a program and strategy consultant and previously served for ten years at the John Templeton Foundation, where he was a Vice President. Stawski was educated at Swarthmore College, Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. He serves on several non-profit boards, including as Chairman of US-IPEN and past Chairman of IPEN.

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OUR SUPPORTORS

Riverdale Country School

Riverdale Country School is a PreK-Grade 12 school in the Bronx in New York City. Riverdale is a Pre-K through grade 12 independent school in New York City committed to empowering lifelong learners by developing minds, building character, and creating community in order to change our world for the good. Riverdale continues to evolve as scientists find out more about how students learn to think and develop into thriving adults. We work with dozens of partners around the world to identify best teaching practices and support our students as they grow intellectually, socially, and emotionally.

IPEN Is grateful for the support that Riverdale provides to our global network.

Stuart Johnson

Jeff Olson

Critical to the establishment and subsequent success of IPEN was the generous initial funding and resource contribution of Stuart Johnson, Founder and CEO of Success Partners and Jeff Olson, Founder and CEO of Neora LLC and Co-Founder of Live Happy,  LLC. The IPEN family thanks both these men for their belief in the importance of establishing a global network aimed at helping people to flourish.

OUR STAFF

Nicole Sundell

Nicole Sundell is database and research manager in the development office at Riverdale Country School, as well as a member of Riverdale's service learning team. She graduated from Barnard College with a bachelor's degree in psychology. Nicole provides administrative support to the IPEN board.  

Ian Picken

With a background in education event management and sponsorship, Ian has worked with IPEN since the first event in 2016. He continues to run regional IPEN events and serve on the committee for global conferences. Alongside event management, Ian works with sponsors, exhibitors, and partners to add value to the events and ensure their financial viability.

Britney Chan

Britney Chan is a Senior Marketing Manager at Neora as well as Live Happy. She graduated from the University of Texas in Arlington with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and a minor in business marketing. Britney provides marketing support to IPEN.

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