Meet the disruptors driving the future of AI-powered
digital education

We are a highly diverse and talented team comprising over 300 people from more than 40 countries

Our Team

Leadership Team

GEOFFREY ALPHONSO
GEOFFREY ALPHONSO
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
In his role as CEO, Geoffrey Alphonso brings a wealth of experience in strategic thinking with over 20 years of experience in enabling business transformations across the North American, Australian and Middle East Markets. Prior to joining Alef Education, Geoffrey was General Manager and Head of PMO / Solutions for Pearson Education’s Middle East & Africa business practice for over 9 years, where he grew and led a cross functional team towards driving Pearson’s digital strategy with a combined portfolio of over $30M USD across both the K-12 and Higher Ed markets. Prior to his time at Pearson Education, Geoffrey held various senior leadership roles in Toronto, Canada & Brisbane, Australia across the Ed-Tech, Telecom and the Financial sectors. Geoffrey is an avid enthusiast of using technology to enable education. He also sits on a board of THAKI an NGO, that helps bring digital education products and services to underprivileged children in the MENA region. Geoffrey holds an MBA from the London Business School.
AISHAH AL YAMMAHI
AISHAH AL YAMMAHI
BOARD ADVISOR, ALEF EDUCATION
Aishah Al Yammahi has over 22 years of experience in the education sector. She received her Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Massey University in New Zealand, where she researched the impact of a positive work environment on employee performance. Aishah has held many roles in the education field and was most recently at the UAE Ministry of Education where she oversaw the implementation of the Alef educational system across 57 public schools in Abu Dhabi. Prior to this, Aishah was the Principal of the first public school in UAE to experience Alef’s innovative system. Aishah has also been with UNESCO as a Director in the National Commission for Education, Culture & Science in the UAE. Aishah has visited and become closely acquainted with many different education systems around the world including Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and the USA. She has also participated in many educational conferences around the world. Aishah strongly believes in the importance of using technology and Artificial Intelligence in the education sector to enhance and motivate the new generation for learning.
NADIR ZAFAR
NADIR ZAFAR
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
As COO, Nadir Zafar has broad responsibilities driving business performance, including managing the business support and operational functions. Nadir has over 20 years of experience leading teams and managing people. Prior to Alef, Nadir worked at GEMS Education as Director of Corporate Development, where he successfully led the charge for enrolments in their Singapore school. Before that, he served on the senior leadership team at GEMS in their corporate HQ in the UAE, reporting directly to the Group CEO. Among his responsibilities, he led the implementation of several critical projects and rolled out the strategic planning process across the organization. Nadir’s leadership extends beyond work; he has served the Singapore community as President of the Singapore Business Council UAE and taken on leadership roles in other voluntary organizations. Nadir holds an MBA from INSEAD.
JOE EL SEBAALY
JOE EL SEBAALY
DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT
Joe El Sebaaly has over 15 years of experience working with technology and ed-tech firms with an emphasis on digital transformation. Prior to Alef Education, he led education services initiatives at Pearson and McGraw-Hill across Higher-Education, K-12, and Vocational markets. He focused mainly on leveraging global expertise and capabilities to develop innovative products. Joe is currently leading the product team in Alef Education with a focus on crystalizing the vision of the product and creating value propositions for end-users. Joe holds a Bachelor and Master degree in Computer Science from the American University of Beirut and a Master in Business Administration from London Business School.
AMJAD KHAN
AMJAD KHAN
DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY
Amjad Khan is a highly experienced and motivated Technical Professional with over 20 Years experience in the IT arena with around 14 years working as an independent consultant in a wide range of roles and sectors from government, telecommunications, digital, media and service sector industries. In addition to his strong customer facing ability, his key areas of expertise lie in agile software development, automation, design, deployment, operations, governance and architecture, which have been achieved with a diverse range of technologies, environments and a range of methodologies. He is passionate about agile methods, open source, software craftsmanship and is still actively coding to ensure he keeps up to date with latest tech. Amjad holds a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Manchester.
JEFFREY COUPE
JEFFREY COUPE
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
Jeffrey Coupe has 25 years of experience in education program design, implementation and evaluation. Prior to joining Alef Education, Jeffrey served as Senior Associate at Creative Associates where he designed projects that spanned early grade literacy, human and institutional capacity assessment, learning environment improvement, youth development, child-labor protection, drop-out prevention and middle school reading. Throughout his career, Jeffrey has championed constructivist uses of technology to support student-centered design, via professional learning community creation, experiential learning design and simulation, and distance education. Jeffrey has served in senior technical and leadership capacities on multi-year education projects financed by USAID, the World Bank, UNESCO, CIDA and national ministries. Jeffrey is currently a doctoral candidate in educational leadership at George Washington University, focusing on civic learning. He holds an MA from the University of Florida in Political Science, and a BA in Economics from Clark University. Jeffrey’s research and publications include a thesis, journal articles and book chapters on constructivist uses of technology, economic reform in Morocco, the political economy of Tunisia and the informal economy in Mauritania. Jeffrey is passionate about preparing learners for professional and civic life, and giving all children equitable opportunities to flourish.
GREGOIRE PROVOT
GREGOIRE PROVOT
DIRECTOR OF SERVICE DELIVERY
Gregoire Provot brings tremendous leadership and hands on practical experience in Customer Services and IT Service Delivery. For the past 28 years Gregoire has been successfully leading large teams across multiple countries and regions mainly in the telecom and IT sectors, having held various senior positions at BT, C&W, NCR, DELL EMC and more recently at NTTDATA Services. From setting up the first Outsourcing support centre of BT in France to efficiently driving Service Delivery in the US, setting up remote resolution teams across Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) from the Netherlands, managing large scaled customer service desk in Scotland, leading PMO teams and ITO service delivery across EMEA, Gregoire has a great passion for operational efficiency, customer excellence, leveraging technology innovation and transformation to improve service delivery.
MAHDI AL-RIMAWI
MAHDI AL-RIMAWI
HEAD OF SALES AND MARKETING
Mahdi Al-Rimawi is leading the Business Development and Strategic Partnerships and comes from a technology background. He has over ten years of experience working with multinational companies, including LinkedIn, McGraw-Hill Education, and Oracle, in which he was advising customers about technology and learning. He holds an MSc in Project Management and Operational Development from The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
Tina Kapp
Tina Kapp
Head of Quality
Tina Kapp has more than 20 years of experience in the K-12 education sphere. Before joining Alef Education, she worked in the digital and print development divisions of international publishers including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson. Her roles included digital publishing, LMS and metadata development, international new product R&D, and content strategies for English Language Learners. She has also taught in pre-K and university classrooms. Tina holds a doctorate in eLearning from the University of Central Florida, where she researched learner engagement and success factors in first-person player educational games. Her areas of specialization include digital publishing, UDL frameworks for digital and blended learning in K-12, and the development of digital infrastructure for international schools.
GEOFFREY ALPHONSO
GEOFFREY ALPHONSO
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
In his role as CEO, Geoffrey Alphonso brings a wealth of experience in strategic thinking with over 20 years of experience in enabling business transformations across the North American, Australian and Middle East Markets. Prior to joining Alef Education, Geoffrey was General Manager and Head of PMO / Solutions for Pearson Education’s Middle East & Africa business practice for over 9 years, where he grew and led a cross functional team towards driving Pearson’s digital strategy with a combined portfolio of over $30M USD across both the K-12 and Higher Ed markets. Prior to his time at Pearson Education, Geoffrey held various senior leadership roles in Toronto, Canada & Brisbane, Australia across the Ed-Tech, Telecom and the Financial sectors. Geoffrey is an avid enthusiast of using technology to enable education. He also sits on a board of THAKI an NGO, that helps bring digital education products and services to underprivileged children in the MENA region. Geoffrey holds an MBA from the London Business School.
AISHAH AL YAMMAHI
AISHAH AL YAMMAHI
BOARD ADVISOR, ALEF EDUCATION
Aishah Al Yammahi has over 22 years of experience in the education sector. She received her Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Massey University in New Zealand, where she researched the impact of a positive work environment on employee performance. Aishah has held many roles in the education field and was most recently at the UAE Ministry of Education where she oversaw the implementation of the Alef educational system across 57 public schools in Abu Dhabi. Prior to this, Aishah was the Principal of the first public school in UAE to experience Alef’s innovative system. Aishah has also been with UNESCO as a Director in the National Commission for Education, Culture & Science in the UAE. Aishah has visited and become closely acquainted with many different education systems around the world including Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and the USA. She has also participated in many educational conferences around the world. Aishah strongly believes in the importance of using technology and Artificial Intelligence in the education sector to enhance and motivate the new generation for learning.
NADIR ZAFAR
NADIR ZAFAR
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
As COO, Nadir Zafar has broad responsibilities driving business performance, including managing the business support and operational functions. Nadir has over 20 years of experience leading teams and managing people. Prior to Alef, Nadir worked at GEMS Education as Director of Corporate Development, where he successfully led the charge for enrolments in their Singapore school. Before that, he served on the senior leadership team at GEMS in their corporate HQ in the UAE, reporting directly to the Group CEO. Among his responsibilities, he led the implementation of several critical projects and rolled out the strategic planning process across the organization. Nadir’s leadership extends beyond work; he has served the Singapore community as President of the Singapore Business Council UAE and taken on leadership roles in other voluntary organizations. Nadir holds an MBA from INSEAD.
JOE EL SEBAALY
JOE EL SEBAALY
DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT
Joe El Sebaaly has over 15 years of experience working with technology and ed-tech firms with an emphasis on digital transformation. Prior to Alef Education, he led education services initiatives at Pearson and McGraw-Hill across Higher-Education, K-12, and Vocational markets. He focused mainly on leveraging global expertise and capabilities to develop innovative products. Joe is currently leading the product team in Alef Education with a focus on crystalizing the vision of the product and creating value propositions for end-users. Joe holds a Bachelor and Master degree in Computer Science from the American University of Beirut and a Master in Business Administration from London Business School.
AMJAD KHAN
AMJAD KHAN
DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY
Amjad Khan is a highly experienced and motivated Technical Professional with over 20 Years experience in the IT arena with around 14 years working as an independent consultant in a wide range of roles and sectors from government, telecommunications, digital, media and service sector industries. In addition to his strong customer facing ability, his key areas of expertise lie in agile software development, automation, design, deployment, operations, governance and architecture, which have been achieved with a diverse range of technologies, environments and a range of methodologies. He is passionate about agile methods, open source, software craftsmanship and is still actively coding to ensure he keeps up to date with latest tech. Amjad holds a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Manchester.
JEFFREY COUPE
JEFFREY COUPE
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
Jeffrey Coupe has 25 years of experience in education program design, implementation and evaluation. Prior to joining Alef Education, Jeffrey served as Senior Associate at Creative Associates where he designed projects that spanned early grade literacy, human and institutional capacity assessment, learning environment improvement, youth development, child-labor protection, drop-out prevention and middle school reading. Throughout his career, Jeffrey has championed constructivist uses of technology to support student-centered design, via professional learning community creation, experiential learning design and simulation, and distance education. Jeffrey has served in senior technical and leadership capacities on multi-year education projects financed by USAID, the World Bank, UNESCO, CIDA and national ministries. Jeffrey is currently a doctoral candidate in educational leadership at George Washington University, focusing on civic learning. He holds an MA from the University of Florida in Political Science, and a BA in Economics from Clark University. Jeffrey’s research and publications include a thesis, journal articles and book chapters on constructivist uses of technology, economic reform in Morocco, the political economy of Tunisia and the informal economy in Mauritania. Jeffrey is passionate about preparing learners for professional and civic life, and giving all children equitable opportunities to flourish.
GREGOIRE PROVOT
GREGOIRE PROVOT
DIRECTOR OF SERVICE DELIVERY
Gregoire Provot brings tremendous leadership and hands on practical experience in Customer Services and IT Service Delivery. For the past 28 years Gregoire has been successfully leading large teams across multiple countries and regions mainly in the telecom and IT sectors, having held various senior positions at BT, C&W, NCR, DELL EMC and more recently at NTTDATA Services. From setting up the first Outsourcing support centre of BT in France to efficiently driving Service Delivery in the US, setting up remote resolution teams across Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) from the Netherlands, managing large scaled customer service desk in Scotland, leading PMO teams and ITO service delivery across EMEA, Gregoire has a great passion for operational efficiency, customer excellence, leveraging technology innovation and transformation to improve service delivery.
MAHDI AL-RIMAWI
MAHDI AL-RIMAWI
HEAD OF SALES AND MARKETING
Mahdi Al-Rimawi is leading the Business Development and Strategic Partnerships and comes from a technology background. He has over ten years of experience working with multinational companies, including LinkedIn, McGraw-Hill Education, and Oracle, in which he was advising customers about technology and learning. He holds an MSc in Project Management and Operational Development from The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
Tina Kapp
Tina Kapp
Head of Quality
Tina Kapp has more than 20 years of experience in the K-12 education sphere. Before joining Alef Education, she worked in the digital and print development divisions of international publishers including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson. Her roles included digital publishing, LMS and metadata development, international new product R&D, and content strategies for English Language Learners. She has also taught in pre-K and university classrooms. Tina holds a doctorate in eLearning from the University of Central Florida, where she researched learner engagement and success factors in first-person player educational games. Her areas of specialization include digital publishing, UDL frameworks for digital and blended learning in K-12, and the development of digital infrastructure for international schools.

Advisory Board

GEOFFREY CANADA
GEOFFREY CANADA
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT, HARLEM CHILDREN'S ZONE
Geoffrey Canada is internationally recognized as a leading advocate for children and innovator in the field of education. Canada created the Harlem Children’s Zone, a birth-through-college network of programs that today serves more than 13,000 low-income students in a 97-block area of Central Harlem in New York City. The concept of the Children’s Zone is to do whatever it takes to help children in areas of concentrated poverty overcome the entire range of barriers to their success – whether it is failing schools, the threat of violence or instability at home. The organization offers after-school programs, in-school supports, parenting classes, community-building, health and social-service programs, as well as running two public charter schools. The unprecedented success of the Harlem Children’s Zone has attracted the attention of the media and leaders around the world. In 2011, Canada was named one of the world’s most influential people by Time magazine and as one of the 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine in 2014. President Barack Obama created the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone model across the country, giving 58 matching grants totaling almost $290 million. The initiative was included in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, guaranteeing its lasting impact across the country.
RALPH TABBERER
RALPH TABBERER
OWNER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, BBD EDUCATION
Ralph Tabberer is an expert educator with more than 40 years’ experience in the school sector, in higher education and in government. He was Director General of Schools in England between 2006 and 2009, responsible for the development and performance of 23,000 schools in the UK. Between 2009 and 2012, Ralph was Chief Operating Officer and Chief Education Officer at GEMS Education where he steered the company through the recession and prepared it for faster growth. In 2012, Ralph established the first of his own businesses, supporting investors, operators, governments and schools in the region. He now owns and chairs four educational businesses providing consultancy, solutions, management and HR support for regional and international clients. He has worked with government reform programmes in the UAE, Libya, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; he has held contracts with leading technology players including Pearson, SEGA and the BBC. He is particularly proud of the work his teams do with individual schools on school start-ups, school improvement, professional development, financial benchmarking, executive search and teacher recruitment, procurement and digital marketing. He was recently engaged to help open more affordable international schools in Singapore and Japan. Ralph is a graduate of Cambridge University and a qualified teacher. In the New Year’s Honours list of 2009, Her Majesty The Queen invested Ralph as a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB) in recognition of his services to teacher training and to schools. He is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Education, University College of London and an Honorary Professor at Warwick University. He has a Honorary Doctorate from the University of East London. In the last year, he co-authored reports on low-cost schools in Africa and Asia, and on the expansion of international school chains, globally.
RYAN BAKER
RYAN BAKER
ASSOC. PROF. EDUCATION & COMPUTER SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dr. Baker researches how students use and learn from educational games, intelligent tutors, and other kinds of educational software. Drawing on the fields of educational data mining, learning analytics, and human–computer interaction, he develops methods for mining the data that come out of the interactions between students and educational software. He then uses this information to improve our understanding of how students respond to educational software, and how these responses influence their learning. Prior to joining Penn GSE, Dr. Baker was an associate professor in the Department of Human Development at Teachers College, Columbia University. While at Teachers College, he taught the “Big Data and Education” MOOC twice, with total enrollment of more than 50,000 students. He has served as founding president of the International Educational Data Mining Society, where he currently serves on the board of directors. He has been co-author on nine award-winning papers. He serves as co-lead of the Big Data in Education spoke of the NSF Northeast Big Data Hub.
PARTHA TALKDUKAR
PARTHA TALKDUKAR
ASST. PROF. COMPUTATIONAL & DATA SCIENCES, INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE
Partha Talukdar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computational and Data Sciences (CDS) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University, working with Tom Mitchell on the NELL project. Partha received his PhD (2010) in CIS from the University of Pennsylvania, working under the supervision of Fernando Pereira, Zack Ives, and Mark Liberman. Partha is broadly interested in Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Cognitive Neuroscience, with particular interest in large-scale learning and inference. Partha is a recipient of IBM Faculty Award, Google’s Focused Research Award, and Accenture Open Innovation Award. He is a co-author of a book on Graph-based Semi-Supervised Learning published by Morgan Claypool Publishers.
GEOFFREY CANADA
GEOFFREY CANADA
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT, HARLEM CHILDREN'S ZONE
Geoffrey Canada is internationally recognized as a leading advocate for children and innovator in the field of education. Canada created the Harlem Children’s Zone, a birth-through-college network of programs that today serves more than 13,000 low-income students in a 97-block area of Central Harlem in New York City. The concept of the Children’s Zone is to do whatever it takes to help children in areas of concentrated poverty overcome the entire range of barriers to their success – whether it is failing schools, the threat of violence or instability at home. The organization offers after-school programs, in-school supports, parenting classes, community-building, health and social-service programs, as well as running two public charter schools. The unprecedented success of the Harlem Children’s Zone has attracted the attention of the media and leaders around the world. In 2011, Canada was named one of the world’s most influential people by Time magazine and as one of the 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine in 2014. President Barack Obama created the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone model across the country, giving 58 matching grants totaling almost $290 million. The initiative was included in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, guaranteeing its lasting impact across the country.
RALPH TABBERER
RALPH TABBERER
OWNER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, BBD EDUCATION
Ralph Tabberer is an expert educator with more than 40 years’ experience in the school sector, in higher education and in government. He was Director General of Schools in England between 2006 and 2009, responsible for the development and performance of 23,000 schools in the UK. Between 2009 and 2012, Ralph was Chief Operating Officer and Chief Education Officer at GEMS Education where he steered the company through the recession and prepared it for faster growth. In 2012, Ralph established the first of his own businesses, supporting investors, operators, governments and schools in the region. He now owns and chairs four educational businesses providing consultancy, solutions, management and HR support for regional and international clients. He has worked with government reform programmes in the UAE, Libya, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; he has held contracts with leading technology players including Pearson, SEGA and the BBC. He is particularly proud of the work his teams do with individual schools on school start-ups, school improvement, professional development, financial benchmarking, executive search and teacher recruitment, procurement and digital marketing. He was recently engaged to help open more affordable international schools in Singapore and Japan. Ralph is a graduate of Cambridge University and a qualified teacher. In the New Year’s Honours list of 2009, Her Majesty The Queen invested Ralph as a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB) in recognition of his services to teacher training and to schools. He is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Education, University College of London and an Honorary Professor at Warwick University. He has a Honorary Doctorate from the University of East London. In the last year, he co-authored reports on low-cost schools in Africa and Asia, and on the expansion of international school chains, globally.
RYAN BAKER
RYAN BAKER
ASSOC. PROF. EDUCATION & COMPUTER SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dr. Baker researches how students use and learn from educational games, intelligent tutors, and other kinds of educational software. Drawing on the fields of educational data mining, learning analytics, and human–computer interaction, he develops methods for mining the data that come out of the interactions between students and educational software. He then uses this information to improve our understanding of how students respond to educational software, and how these responses influence their learning. Prior to joining Penn GSE, Dr. Baker was an associate professor in the Department of Human Development at Teachers College, Columbia University. While at Teachers College, he taught the “Big Data and Education” MOOC twice, with total enrollment of more than 50,000 students. He has served as founding president of the International Educational Data Mining Society, where he currently serves on the board of directors. He has been co-author on nine award-winning papers. He serves as co-lead of the Big Data in Education spoke of the NSF Northeast Big Data Hub.
PARTHA TALKDUKAR
PARTHA TALKDUKAR
ASST. PROF. COMPUTATIONAL & DATA SCIENCES, INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE
Partha Talukdar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computational and Data Sciences (CDS) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University, working with Tom Mitchell on the NELL project. Partha received his PhD (2010) in CIS from the University of Pennsylvania, working under the supervision of Fernando Pereira, Zack Ives, and Mark Liberman. Partha is broadly interested in Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Cognitive Neuroscience, with particular interest in large-scale learning and inference. Partha is a recipient of IBM Faculty Award, Google’s Focused Research Award, and Accenture Open Innovation Award. He is a co-author of a book on Graph-based Semi-Supervised Learning published by Morgan Claypool Publishers.
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