Our Team

Timo Lehmann

Timo is the School Producer (School Principal) at Woodland Star International School. He graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental and Geographical Science. Afterwards, he completed his Postgraduate Degree in Education at the University of Stellenbosch. In South Africa, Timo spent five years teaching mathematics and natural sciences to children aged twelve to fifteen. He also spent two years developing an educational project in rural schools in Zanzibar. Timo previously lived in Kenya for two years, and speaks German, English, and Afrikaans fluently, though his French is a little “rusty.” His interests include camping, playing sports, gardening, singing, acting, guitar, and discovering how to recycle junk into something beautiful. Timo has completed several ultra marathons and especially enjoys trail running.

Amy McKelvey

Amy McKelveyWoodland Star was founded by Amy. She graduated from the University of Mobile with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and from William Carey University with a Master’s Degree in Gifted Education. Amy went on to teach internationally in 1992. She has taught in both the American system and the British system, across a range of differing subjects and levels of student development. Amy is certified in MBTI training and uses her understanding of personality types to engage with individual children according to their own unique gifts. At Woodland Star, she serves as a Middle Years teacher. Amy loves to travel, go to museums, be with her family, laugh, watch interesting movies, experience theatre, and dance (although she claims to be not very good at it). Amy loves her husband John and her three children, Meredith, Carmichael, and Mara.

Mira Boxer

Mira BoxerMira has lived in Kenya for six years and was part of the team that established Woodland Star. She is the Head of Early Years, and works as a kindergarten teacher. She holds a Master’s of Arts Degree in Education from Nottingham University in the UK. She is also a certified Montessori teacher and taught in Thailand in a progressive preschool. There, she discovered the Reggio Emilia approach, or the project-based learning for the Early Years students, which has become her passion. Before finding her enthusiasm for teaching, Mira worked for different humanitarian organizations. She lives in Tigoni with her family. Her two children, Ned and Hana, attend and love Woodland Star School. Mira loves working with young children, reading, travel, languages, music, meeting people and creating community. Her mother tongue is Albanian, she is fluent in English and proficient in Italian and French.

Donna Paxon

Donna PaxonDonna has previously lived in Jamaica and China, working as an educator. Before embarking on an adventure of global learning through travel and teaching, she taught in the United States for fifteen years. In Jamaica, she worked as an elementary teacher at the American International School of Kingston. At Hong Qiao International School, in Shanghai, she worked as a literacy coach. She joined Woodland Star in 2015 as a Primary Years teacher. As an educator, she is passionate about integrating local cultures into global themes in an experiential environment. Donna travels the world with her husband, Scott, and their two sons, Sagan and Tegre.

Brittany Moore

Brittany MooreBrittany joined Woodland Star in 2015 as a STEM teacher for Primary Years. She attended the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in Early Education in 2014, and a Master’s in Instructional Technology and Media in 2016. She worked as a classroom teacher at Western Elementary in Georgia, and moved to Kenya in 2015. She enjoys traveling to new places, making meaningful memories, and learning from others. Brittany especially loves to watch her students learn through STEM. When faced with a new challenge, they become inventors with a passion for independent problem solving.

John Wachira

John WachiraJohn has been a part of the Woodland Star team since the inception of the school. He received a Bachelor’s of Education from the University of Nairobi, majoring in mathematics. Besides his mathematical ability, John is a formidable athlete, specializing in field hockey. He combines intellect and athletic skill in developing and teaching physical education at Woodland Star. He lives in Tigoni with his wife, Joy, and his daughter, Antonia. He likes developing talents and works as a national hockey coach with budding hockey players in Kenya.

Micki Kariuki

Micki KariukiMicki will be serving as a media specialist, and has a diploma in International Montessori Pedagogy. She also has a Bachelor’s of Education in Early Childhood Development, graduating with honors. Micki, while a recent addition to the Woodland Star staff, has been involved with the school since its beginning.

Brandy Reese

Brandy ReeseBrandy has taught pre-kindergarten and first grade in the United States for three years. She taught students aged five through ten at Woodland Star for two years before becoming heavily involved with a local children’s home. She will be returning this year as a Middle Years literacy teacher. Brandy graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Nutrition. She also has a Master’s of Arts in Teaching from the University of Central Arkansas. While at the University of Arkansas, Brandy was a part of their prestigious track team. She is happily married and her hobbies include baking, running, and being outdoors.

Annika Sjoberg

Annika SjobergAnnika received a degree in media and cultural studies from Nottingham Trent University, where she enjoyed learning how to produce and edit short films. Before attending the University of Gloucestershire, she spent a year in Japan teaching English. Annika completed numerous placements in a variety of primary schools, teaching all primary subjects. She completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Education. In Kenya, she taught at Braeburn Garden Estate. Besides teaching, Annika also served as the English coordinator for the primary school. She recently moved to Limuru with her husband. Her son will be starting in the Early Years program this year at Woodland Star. Annika enjoys cooking, dining out with friends, swimming, exploring the outdoors and traveling.

Ondiso Madete

Ondiso MadeteOndiso, known by her nickname, “Ondi,” attended Greensteds International School to receive her GCSE, and graduated from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa with a Bachelor of Law. Ondiso is an established writer, having written for UP Magazine, and is a well-rounded artist, qualified to teach guitar, art, and vocal music. She also has a certificate in first aid, day camp organization, and hockey training. She is fluent in English, proficient in Kiswahili and French, and can passably converse in Italian. She has been an art and music teacher at Woodland Star since 2015. Ondi is inspired and driven by global creative arts and performs in visual and performing arts in Nairobi regularly. Her hobbies include dancing, amateur photography, watching old movies, and anything to do with art.

Gillian Kemunto

Gillian KemuntoGillian graduated from Kenyatta University with a Bachelor’s of Education in French language. She has a Diploma in French Language Studies from Alliance Française, and has worked as a language teacher at Woodland Star since 2015. Since joining the school, she has headed up ASA and Performing Arts. This year, she will become more involved in the administration of the school. She speaks English, French, Kiswahili, and is studying Japanese. Gillian says that language is her passion as it is a tool towards understanding and connecting with people from different cultures. She views language as a tool that brings about a sense of belonging in a community. Besides her aptitude for language, she loves computers and technology.

Sarah Mukundi

Sarah MukundiSarah Mukundi studied in Australia, receiving her Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood, and a graduate diploma of International and Community Development. She taught for four years in a variety of locations in Queensland, Australia. After her time in Australia, she began teaching at Rosslyn Academy in Nairobi. While in Nairobi, she has also worked with an NGO, training teachers and working to build up a school that serves street boys. At Woodland Star, Sarah will be teaching the new Peace Heroes curriculum. She enjoys photography, traveling, and meeting new people. She loves her husband and her Japanese Spitz named Bella.

Esther Wanjiru

Esther WanjiruEsther joined our school in 2016 as one of the Early Years teachers. Esther has been teaching in both Kenyan and international educational settings for 11 years. Her nurturing, energetic and caring nature complements her passion for child centered learning with young children. Along with her Montessori training, Miss Esther has completed Kindermusik online, receiving all of the available music badges. Some of her passions are: music, drama, reading, traveling, cooking and board games.

Berit Lehmann

Berit LehmannBerit has a Diploma in Early Childhood Development from Boland College. Currently, she is completing her degree through the University of South Africa. Berit has taught English in Mexico for one and a half years, and worked for three years in the German kindergarten in Cape Town. At Woodland Star, she will be an Early Years teacher. She speaks German, English, Afrikaans, and is in the beginning stages of Spanish. Berit loves gardening, with a special interest in succulent plants. She enjoys being active, pursuing hobbies like jogging, hiking, riding her mountain bike, and traveling.

Recheal Muoria

Recheal MuoriaRecheal has worked with Early Years at Woodland Star since its beginning in 2013. She has a certificate from the Kindergarten Headmistresses’ Association at the Aga Khan Nursery. Her hobbies include being with children, traveling, singing, and reading.

Esther Mwangi

Esther MwangiEsther will be joining us as an assistant teacher at Woodland Star. She has previously worked as an art teacher at the Nairobi Art Centre, and has a Diploma in Early Childhood Development Education. Esther has worked with children of various age groups and has been teaching for the last nine years. She has a passion for art and creativity.

Evance Gavala

Evance GavalaEvance is certified in Sensory Integration Theory as a professional counselor, and is completing training as a teacher. He has worked as a special support assistant at the International School of Kenya from 2010 to 2016. From 2013 onwards, he worked specifically as a counselor assistant and sensory integration assistant therapist, and maintained his role in special support. He will be joining us this year at Woodland Star as a special needs teacher.

Sean Anderson

Sean AndersonSean is a director of Woodland Star International School. He graduated with distinction from the University of Cape Town with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental and Geographical Science. Besides his role in the leadership of Woodland Star, Sean is the managing director of Muna Tree Holdings, the umbrella organization of the school. He also serves as the Chairman of Mara Naboisho Conservancy, an award-winning community-based conservation initiative in the Masai Mara. As Woodland Star continues to focus on environmental sustainability as a core tenet, Sean’s knowledge, direct experience with conservation efforts, and leadership skills are great assets to the school.

John McKelvey

John McKelveyJohn serves as a director for Woodland Star. He has a Kansas State Scholar Award, graduating from the Kansas State University with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Afterwards, he became a Certified Public Accountant, and then graduated from the University of London with an MBA in International Business. John has worked for various companies and organizations across the continent of Africa since 1990. He is a bronze medalist for the Kenya Total Oil EcoChallenge Environmental Award, and has contributed greatly to the establishment of Woodland Star School.

Mark Nicholson

Mark NicholsonMark is a special advisor for the school’s environmental program, supervising activities such as tree-planting and providing resources. Mark is the director of Plants for Life International, and has a doctorate from Cambridge University, England.

Elie Pritz

Elie is the mastermind behind our Peace Heroes curriculum, and we are proud to collaborate with her. She was born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel, to an American father and Swiss mother. She spent her childhood immersed in the country’s diverse communities, though she didn’t (technically) belong to any of them. After graduating from high school, Elie went on to complete her Bachelor’s of Arts in Literature, as well as two Master’s of Arts, one in Conflict and Reconciliation and one in Creative Writing and Literature. She has lived in Jordan, England, Northern Ireland, Ireland, and Canada. Elie currently lives in Jerusalem where she works as a curriculum writer for Peace Education. She loves being outdoors, reading, spending time with family, and creative writing.


Around here, we don’t look backwards for very long… We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

Walt Disney

There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can't move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.

Robert Frost