Lead Consultants

Intellectus Education’s research-based approach is reinforced through its close collaboration with international consultants and experts that have cross-cultural and international expertise; amongst which are renowned researchers and educators. Intellectus Education maintains and continuously grows its access to expertise to diversify shared experiences and continuously seeks the best of education talent in addressing specific project requirements.


Norman Webb PhD

Norman Webb, PhD, is a senior research scientist emeritus for the Wisconsin Center for Education Research of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where his principle area of research was evaluation, assessment, and alignment. He is most active now with the nonprofit organisation, the Wisconsin Center for Education Products and Services. 


WCEPS commercialises and disseminates educational products and services for university innovators. He oversees the design and operations of WebbAlign alignment studies. Since 2000, Dr. Webb has conducted alignment studies for states or commonwealths (Puerto Rico) as well as for other entities including the National Assessment Governing Board. In his position at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the UW-Madison, he developed alignment study procedures and criteria through the National Institute for Science Education in 1997, funded by the National Science Foundation, and in cooperation with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). His work on alignment led to the development of the Depth-of- Knowledge (DOK) language system that has been widely used by schools, school districts and states. Continued work on his alignment methodology, over 20 years, has resulted in the refinement and addition of processes, including new methodology components for computer adaptive test (CAT) alignment as well as new methodology components for Next Generation Science Standards alignment considerations.


Dr Webb’s academic training was in mathematics and mathematics education. He chaired the evaluation working group in writing the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics and served on the validation committee for the Common Core State Standards. He served as the principal investigator on a number of projects on evaluations of curriculum and professional development. In 2010 and 2011, he served as a program officer for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Currently he provides professional development on the DOK language system and conducts alignment studies of curriculum standards and assessments.


Michael Anthony DiSpezio

Michael DiSpezio is one of the most recognised, entertaining and sought-after presenters at educator conferences throughout the world. From hosting National Geographic broadcasts to shepherding the Discovery Channel to their first Emmy Award nomination, Michael is a globally respected renaissance educator, speaker, TV host and science education author. A former marine biologist, Michael completed his graduate studies at the Marine Biological Lab at Woods Hole and worked as a research assistant to a Nobel prize winner in chemistry. Leaving the laboratory, Michael celebrated his passion in education as a K-12 classroom teacher for nearly ten years.


Author to television host, Michael infuses his high-energy style of engagement into the development and production of STEM centric material. He’s a renaissance lecturer and educator who presents globally to a diverse audience on topics that range from “Becoming a Better Thinker” to “Re-engineering the 21st Century Science Classroom” to his National Geographic stage experience GeoMania! In addition to offering his unique style of dynamic, theatrical, and often interactive presentations, he is a prolific author and has written over 25 trade books and coauthored over 60 textbooks. He has trained Arab educators in the Middle East as part of the Peace Accord, and developed materials for the Discovery Channel, Disney, PBS, Children’s Television Workshop, MTV, The Weather Channel, Discover magazine and “Scientific American Frontiers”. He's also a frequent edutainer on cruise ships.


For decades, Michael has been a STEM and educational advisor to several countries and dozens of school systems around the world. These days, his interests go beyond classroom walls into the synthetic world, where he is at the forefront of developing Virtual Reality field trips and augmented reality objects.


Dr Nancy Updegraff

Nancy I Updegraff Ph.D. has a career in education that spans over 30 years. Beginning a teaching career in the city of Detroit, Nancy taught both high school and elementary grades. After winning a Ford Foundation Grant, Dr Updegraff completed degrees in reading, special education, urban education and teacher training at the University of Chicago. After completing her doctorate, she worked in administration and curriculum in Chicago and Oak Lawn, Illinois. She completed additional graduate work in teaching English as a second language and special education. While working for a major publishing company, Nancy authored over 30 children’s books; coauthored three books on teaching reading and writing and was an author editor on elementary reading programs for Harcourt Publishers. Dr Updegraff did correlations for major school districts for Common Core. Leading curriculum development workshops and writing curriculum, helped Nancy design lessons and develop lesson plans with teachers in 12 school districts in the past three years. Most recently, Nancy has developed new workshops on critical thinking, college and career reading standards, principal leadership and mentoring, assessment, oral language development, teaching English as a second language and reading and writing in the content areas. She is also an adjunct professor and teaches on line classes in special education and language arts. Nancy has been a frequent key note speaker at major educational conferences nationally and internationally.


Working as a coach and mentor with teachers and principals in cities like New York, Boston, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Flint, Racine, Des Moines, San Diego, New Orleans, Birmingham, Gallup, New Mexico, Phoenix, Arizona, Sarasota, and Chicago to name just a few has helped Dr Updegraff develop new techniques for working with students and teachers in urban a rural setting. In addition to workshops, mentoring and coaching, Dr Updegraff has worked as a grant writer and curriculum specialist. While working for a major publisher she wrote and helped implement grants totally over $100,000,000. Internationally, she has worked with schools in South and Central America as well as China. In the Middle East, she has presented at major conferences; worked with schools and met with the Ministries of Education in six countries in the Arab World. Dr Updegraff counts as her proudest moments being named a finalist for Illinois Teacher of the Year.


Kevin Simpson

Kevin Simpson founded KDSL Global educational consultancy in 2016 in the USA and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Simpson and his team have served thousands of schools, organisations, educators, and leaders worldwide in over 20 countries. The majority of this work in education has centred on American curriculum schools. Since 2008, Simpson has been focused on education in the MENA region, assisted numerous schools with accreditation, training, development, and served as a thought partner to investors on school start-up projects. Simpson has substantial experience in education with K-16 roles ranging from teacher, specialist, lead teacher, mentor, coach, coordinator, adjunct professor, and consultant. He has also focused on mathematics and recently served on math reform projects in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the USA. He leads the Common Core training at American schools in the MENA region and is co-founder of the MENA Common Core Conference based in Dubai. Simpson is also the co-founder of the UAE Learning Network (one of the largest online network of educators in the UAE) and leads the GCC ASCD Connected Community. In addition, he has co-authored papers on American curriculum in the MENA region with a focus on Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards, social studies, the arts, and the history of American Education in the UAE. He also owns KDSL USA which was set up in 2007. Most recently Simpson is the founder of the Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education, a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Teaching from Michigan State University (USA), and is studying in the AAIE Institute for International School Leadership.


Shaykha Tamara Gray, PhD

Shaykha Dr. Tamara Gray is the founder of Rabata, an organization dedicated to promoting positive cultural change through creative educational experiences. She is an Islamic scholar and holds multiple ijazas in Islamic sacred texts and subject matters. Shaykha Dr. Tamara completed her doctorate in the Leadership, Policy and Administration at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She holds a master’s degree in Curriculum Theory and Instruction, and worked for twenty-five years in the field of education, before moving into the non-profit world.


Shaykha Dr. Tamara works as Executive Director for Rabata, building and sustaining its many and varied educational projects. Some of the projects of Rabata are: the Ribaat Academic Program; and online seminary for Muslim women, Daybreak Press publishing, Daybreak Bookshop and Community Gathering Space, Leadership and Legacy Curriculum Materials, etc.. She is also a community faculty member at Metropolitan State University in the Ethics and Religious Studies department, and Associate Chaplain at the University of St.Thomas. Shaykha Dr. Tamara is also a public speaker, often engaged to speak about issues of gender, leadership, Islam, and spirituality; locally, nationally and globally. Some of her platforms have included, the International Leadership Association, the World Parliament of Religions, the Bonyaan conference on the Muslim woman (Sweden), the Islamic Society of North America and several universities, including Princeton, Virginia Tech and Oxford University. Her publications range from several culturally appropriate English language curriculum programs to translations of sacred texts. 


Zee Allawzi

A native of Colorado, USA, Zee Allawzi moved to the Middle East upon completing her M.A. With over twenty years of experience in the MENA region, she has worked in a variety of positions in the education sector. Her most recent position was that of English Teacher Educator (TE) and Teacher Education Professional Diploma (TEPD) Leadership Team member, responsible for Quality Assurance (QA) at Queen Rania Teacher Academy (QRTA). Upon joining QRTA TEPD, Zee was one of 12 TEs selected to begin work on the development of the curriculum and overall structure of the TEPD in its first year of inception. As QA lead, a senior TEPD role, she managed the development, implementation and review of all academic quality assurance processes throughout the TEPD. She ensured that quality assurance regulatory issues were appropriately considered by all stakeholders. Zee also led and managed the production of relevant quality assurance reports and other documentation.  In addition, Zee serves as a consultant for Edraak, a sister organization of the Queen Rania Foundation. She is responsible for reviewing English language (EFL) content being developed for an online EFL platform that will launch in mid-August 2019.

Previously, Zee worked as a teacher and senior administrator in international schools in Amman, Jordan and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where she taught English, history and psychology at the high school level; specifically, IB and A-Level. An experienced teacher-trainer, Zee developed in-service teacher training programs for teachers in international schools in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.  In addition, as part of Garnet Education’s team of international trainers, she supported the delivery of EFL training for 3,000 Iraqi EFL teachers over the course of three years in Erbil, Iraq and Beirut, Lebanon. Other areas of expertise include curriculum development, program management and grant writing. Zee was also Assistant Country Director and EducationUSA Adviser for AMIDEAST/Jordan. Zee continues to serve on the Binational Fulbright Commission’s selection committee for various scholarship programs managed out of the Amman office. In addition to her native English and Spanish, Zee is proficient in Arabic.


Leslie Kirkham

Leslie Kirkham has worked in the field of ELT for over 30 years, in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Among his assignments, Leslie has been the TESOL Arabia conference co-chair for several years. In the Arab world, he worked in schools and a telecommunications college in Saudi Arabia, universities in Jordan and Oman, and for the last 9 years at the Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE, finishing as supervisor of English at Al Ain Womenʼs College. His interests include teacher training and professional development for English teachers, as well as the teaching of integrated English and content curricula for Science and Health Science students and professionals. He has also taken an active part in the development and establishment of TESOL Arabia as well as the development of methodology and curricula in the institutions in which he has worked.


Munir Abu-Helalah, MD, MPH, PhD

Dr Munir Abu-Helalah is a clinician, academic and researcher. In addition to his role as an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Dr. Abu-Helalah is actively engaged in clinical research projects and health reform programs. He is a health and education consultant for several regional and international institutions.


Dr Abu-Helalah has special expertise and interest in medical research methodology, national screening programs, diseases registries, healthcare reforms, chronic diseases control and prevention particularly cancer, diabetes, thyroid disorders, cardiovascular diseases, medical and smoking cessation, he has had more than 30 papers published in peer-reviewed journals and received academic and research awards such “The Best Cancer Researcher Award in the Arab World, 2014”. Dr. Abu-Helalah’s experience in continuous medial education, research capacity building, faculty development programs is fundamental in combined health and education projects. He has taught many courses to post- and under-graduates students in medical research, epidemiology and preventive medicine.


Dr Abu-Helalah completed his medical degree from Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) , a master degree in Public Health (MPH) from the University of Dundee and was awarded a PhD degree in epidemiology and preventive medicine from Barts & the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, the University of London.

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