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Derek Smith

Derek Smith Director of Academic Development

Derek Smith is Head of School at the International School of IITA, an IB World school in Ibadan, Nigeria, and is the Chair of the Executive Committee of the Association of International School Educators of Nigeria (AISEN). He holds a B.Ed. in Mathematics and an MA in Education Management and is currently pursuing a Doctorate at Durham University where he is researching the impact of ICT in education in Africa. He is an experienced international school principal having led schools across Africa and Europe.

Derek first travelled to West Africa in 1995 to work as a volunteer Mathematics teacher in local schools in Guinea Bissau.  As a result of this experience Derek worked with the European Union and the Ministry of Education to introduce a four-year in-service training programme for teachers of Science and Mathematics throughout the country.

Following this experience Derek began to work with international schools in The Gambia. Working alongside the national government, the World Bank and local private sector companies, Marina International School became the first school in The Gambia to introduce the internet into classroom teaching. With the support of the World Bank this project was then rolled out to government secondary schools across the country.

He moved to Nigeria in 2007 and has worked in Abuja and Lagos. Most recently he spent seven years as the Principal and CEO of Olashore International School in Osun State. During his tenure, Derek led the roll out of a one-to-one iPad programme, making Olashore the first school in Nigeria to offer this to all students. 

In 2019 Derek joined the International School of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) as Headteacher where he guided the school through the authorisation process with the International Baccalaureate Organisation. The school became an authorized IB World School for the PYP in May 2020.

Derek is passionate about improving educational opportunities for all children in Nigeria and has worked closely with the British Council, AISEN and the Alliance Française to achieve this. He was a founding member of the British Council Schools Network and played a key role in the launch and roll out of the British Council’s Core Skills development programme in Nigeria. As a member of the Board of Trustees of AISEN, he introduced a monthly in-service training programme for teachers from international schools across Nigeria, attended by over 200 teachers each month. During the lockdown due to the COVID pandemic, this programme moved online and supported schools in the development of online teaching programmes. Derek is also a member of the Board of the Alliance Française in Ibadan and continues to promote the development of foreign language skills in schools across Nigeria.

Derek has been part of BrightHAT since its inception and feels that the project provides an opportunity for all students in Nigeria and beyond to benefit from high quality teaching by the country’s best tutors.