Moira G. Madonia has combined careers in business, financial writing and conference programming, and secondary education. After receiving a B.A. in history and English, she earned a Master of International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. In her early career she worked in banking and finance in New York City and later combined her financial knowledge, organizational and writing abilities as a Program Director for Institutional Investor Inc.’s conference division. After the birth of her three children, she changed paths, earning a secondary teaching certification, after which she taught and developed curriculum for a wide range of history and English courses. She served as English Chair at a private girls secondary school before leaving in June 2012 to devote all her energies to developing EdPowerment.
She travels several times a year to Tanzania to monitor EdPowerment’s progress, teach workshops, and learn how to better serve this community. At home she continues to guide Tanzanian management through Skype, while working to secure broader financial support.
Kerri Elliott was a special education teacher at Antioch Community High School, Illinois, from 2007 – 2014, where she also has taught global studies. She holds a B.S. in special education from Illinois State University and a Master of Education in interdisciplinary curriculum and instruction from National Louis University. She is also a certified Learning Behavior Specialist.
In the summer of 2008, Kerri traveled to Moshi, Tanzania as an international volunteer, assigned to the newly formed community-based Kilimahewa Educational Centre (KIWOCE). So began her service to the disadvantaged and intellectually disabled youth in these villages. While still teaching in the U.S., she returned every summer to Moshi, and in September 2011, Kerri took a year’s leave of absence to live in Moshi in order to develop EdPowerment’s programs and strengthen local management.
In June 2014, she resigned her teaching job to move to Tanzania for two years in order to implement the Rotary Global Grant that she worked to secure, as well as guide the transition of Autism Connects Tanzania to an official Tanzanian non-profit organization.
During her return visits to the U.S., she speaks at schools on the importance of global citizenship, the status of education in other countries and other global topics. She also works tirelessly to raise funding for EdPowerment’s support of the Kilimahewa Centre and ACT, our outreach for those with special needs.
Jillian Swinford teaches art in Chicago’s public school system. From August 2008 to June 2013, she served as an Art Teaching Assistant at the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School in Chicago IL. She holds a B.S. in psychology with a minor in sociology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, completing her Master of Art Instruction from Columbia College, Chicago in May 2011.
In the summer of 2008 she joined Kerri Elliott, with whom she had worked at the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, on a volunteer trip to Moshi, Tanzania. In September 2011 she also took a leave of absence to work with Kerri in Tanzania. Jillian’s creativity is readily seen at the Kilimahewa Centre where she organized students in the painting of a mural at the Center’s entrance. During the summer months, she leads special art activities at the Center and assists in planning Autism Connects Tanzania (ACT) workshops with Country Director, Grace Lyimo, and Kerri Elliott. Jillian also assists in managing EdPowerment’s website and develops graphic designs for our marketing materials.