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Who we are

APIE is run by a small team of staff supported by trustees, patrons and partners. In this way, overheads are kept to a minimum, meaning more funds go directly to supporting teachers, children and their families in Rwanda.
The APIE team
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Irene Connelly

Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda

Irene is passionate about supporting all learners to thrive and excel in a holistic
environment, driven by values and community. She has worked in education in the UK and a number of Sub-Saharan African countries, across all phases. After
graduating from the University of Glasgow with a MA degree she completed a PGCE in Secondary English teaching and, later, a MA (Ed) degree from the University of Chichester. She has extensive experience in teaching, school leadership, school improvement and transformation, teacher professional development, and in large-scale educational development projects. At APIE, Irene uses her energy, creativity and many years of experience in the international education space, to work together with the team, to maximise APIE’s positive impacts within the education sector.

Emmanuel Muvunyi

Chief Operations Officer, Rwanda

Dr Emmanuel Muvunyi, EdD is currently the Chief Operations Officer of APIE. Prior to that, he was a freelance Consultant in education. He held several roles in Rwanda’s Ministry of Education including: Executive Director of Rwanda’s Higher Education Council, head of the National Examinations agency, Executive Secretary of the Teachers Service Commission and Director General of the Student Financing Agency for Rwanda. He holds a Doctorate Degree in Education from the University of Sussex, a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Aberystwyth University (U.K), a Bachelors Degree from Makerere University (Uganda).

Beth Smith

UK Communications and Operations Manager, UK

Beth joined APIE in November 2021. Prior to this she worked remotely for an NGO which supported street-connected children in Uganda to return to school. Previously, she has also worked as a secondary school teacher in the UK and in Vietnam after obtaining her Postgraduate Certificate in Education. Beth has volunteered with a variety of NGO's which support refugees and asylum seekers in France and the UK. Whilst working for APIE, Beth completed a part-time Masters at The University of Manchester in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response.

Emilie Munyakazi

Project Officer, Rwanda

Emilie has eight years of experience in early childhood education and Teacher Professional Development. She is passionate about children and supporting their holistic progress. She has a degree in finance and is currently pursuing her Masters in Business Administration from the University of East London. Emilie joined APIE in 2019 after working with Umubano Academy in the Nursery classrooms from 2014. She started with APIE as an Administration and Translation Officer and has since become APIE's Project Officer. Emilie uses her language and communication skills to create content to support teachers engaging with APIE’s online courses. In addition, she facilitates and organises project activities, training sessions and the logistics of field work. As an integral member of APIE’s small in-country team in Rwanda, Emilie works collaboratively and flexibly across the continents to ensure that APIE’s activities and projects are successful and impactful.

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Michael Burnett

Fundraising Officer, UK

Michael has been working as a grants fundraiser for nine years, and has experience with many different charities in this capacity. He has raised funds for therapeutic art and horticulture programmes for vulnerable adults, a children’s heart charity, a project providing support to autistic adults and a Christian charitable school in Northern Kenya. Michael is also an avid writer of fiction, and his short stories have been published in several literary journals.  When he's not writing, you can often find Michael in his garden, tending to his vegetable plots and spending time with his two cats. 

Board of Trustees 
Sue Horner
Chair of Trustees


Sue is an education consultant who has steered the development of the primary and secondary national curriculum in England. The author of an influential assessment system for teachers, she has worked in many countries - including Rwanda - and is recognised as an international expert on reading and assessment. She has led national projects to promote reading, writing and drama for all children in schools, and in 2013 was awarded the MBE for services to literature.

Brooks Newmark

Co-founder & Trustee


A steadfast philanthropist and social leader, Brooks Newmark has dedicated his career to building strong and healthy communities and currently divides his time across a broad range of professional interests. In his home of Braintree, Essex, he serves as the president of the Braintree Community Foundation. Brooks also dedicates his time to his work at Oxford University, where he researches for the Department of Politics and International Relations. In addition, he also maintains a presence in the business sector by sitting on the board of directors for investment firms Telesis Management Ltd. and Apollo Alternative Investments MIP.  Brooks' passion, and generous commitment to contributing to a more equitable world, stems from his own experience of the power of a good education. He founded APIE in response to a desire to contribute to education in Rwanda, having spent almost a decade doing voluntary work in the country.

Lucy Newmark​



Lucy is a commissioned portrait painter and printmaker working in London. Her introduction to Rwanda came through her involvement with the Conservative social action group: Project Umubano, where she taught art to street children and young people with interrupted education at Centre Marembo in Kigali. She is married to APIE's co-founder Brooks Newmark, has brought up five children and believes strongly in the empowering benefits of a good education.

Marcus Starling
Deputy Chair of Trustees


Marcus is a civil servant with experience in policy development and organisational governance and oversight. He currently works in the Home Office, and was previously in the Department for Education. Marcus has a degree in Archaeology & Anthropology, following which he spent time teaching English in Japan and working at a charity. He has four children and is a governor and chair of the teaching and learning committee at St Giles Primary School. Marcus is keen to make a contribution to good governance, supporting partnerships and helping to deliver APIE's mission.

Ian Henn


Ian is a qualified barrister with extensive experience in commercial management in the aerospace and defence industry, with particular expertise in the drafting and negotiation of agreements. Recently retired, Ian now concentrates on voluntary advocacy work, grandparental duties and creative writing.

Sir Keith Ajegbo



Following a degree in English at Cambridge, Keith commenced his career in education. From 1986 – 2006 he was Head of Deptford Green School in South East London. He was awarded an OBE 1996 and was knighted in 2007 for services to education for his work improving standards of achievement and developing citizenship education. Most recently Keith has been working as an education consultant, with a particular emphasis on mentoring future Head Teachers.

Michael Mitchell
Michael joined the APIE Board in 2019.  He has been involved as a Trustee in a range of London focused charities for more than thirty years. These include two of the Victorian Cambridge college "missions" or settlements in South London.  He also served for 10 years on the Board of London South Bank University.  In between, he works using his accountancy expertise, to support a number of rapidly growing companies.

APIE event, London 2016. APIE UK staff, board of trustees and patrons

with Head of Umubano Primary School.

The UK trustees and APIE team work closely with Umubano Primary School Board of Governors. See for information about the Board and the Parents’ Association.

Kitty​ Llewellyn


For the past 15 years, Kitty has supported companies and development organisations in their operations in Africa, conducting extensive first-hand research across the continent and providing strategic advice to assist clients in their decision-making. Kitty was previously editor of the Sunday Times in Rwanda and has reported widely on the East and Central African regions. Whilst living in Kigali, Kitty volunteered at Umubano Primary school. Kitty developed a passion for improving the quality of teaching and learning in Rwanda that led her to setting up A Partner in Education with Brooks Newmark in 2009.

Jean Paul Samputu



Jean Paul Samputu is a singer, songwriter and musician from Rwanda, and was the winner of the prestigious Kora Award for Best African Traditional Artist in 2003. He also travels the world as a peace activist and cultural ambassador for Rwanda. Jean Paul is a powerful voice for peace and reconciliation across the globe and is passionate about the role of education in creating a positive future for Rwanda where he lost his family in the genocide of 1994.

Roger Jean Nsengiyumva



Roger is an actor known for his roles in Africa United (2010) and Sixteen (2013). He has most recently appeared in Les Blancs at the National Theatre. Roger was born in Rwanda during the genocide and survived due to the extraordinary courage of his mother who managed to escape. Roger has lived all his life since in the UK. He offered to be patron of APIE in order to support the development of opportunity and education for young people in Rwanda today and in the future.

Dr Michael Gray



Michael is Director of Studies at Harrow School in London and a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching. He graduated in History from King’s College London and completed his PGCE, MA and PhD at the UCL Institute of Education. Michael has published widely on genocide education, focusing on the Holocaust and the Genocide Against the Tutsi.  He has visited Rwanda on several occasions, including running school trips to the country. 

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