Ella McGill grew up as a part of the Sister Schools family and took her first trip to Uganda in 2003 at the age of nine. Since then, she has returned to Ugandan six times and has never ceased to be amazed by Sister Schools and its impact. She graduated with honors from Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA, completing a thesis entitled “Pearl of Africa: Condemnation and Celebration in Uganda,” in 2017. She has worked at Sister Schools since then, first as Special Projects Coordinator and now as the Executive Director. Ella’s favorite part about Sister Schools is the impact it has on local students just like her. She loves attending Return Presentations and watching the excitement build among the student body as they begin recognizing themselves and their classmates. She thinks we typically underestimate what our kids are capable of and is always excited to see how they can change the world.
In 1988, Terry McGill traveled to East Africa and saw the incredible poverty and hardship resulting from twenty years of civil war and a ravaging AIDS epidemic in the small country of Uganda. He was forced to ask a very personal question, “if I really am the kind of person I like to think I am, what should I do?” Upon his return to Seattle, he shared his experience with local school children who, after seeing pictures of the conditions in Ugandan schools and orphanages, responded with overwhelming generosity. Terry returned to Uganda with hundreds of pounds of donated school supplies and clothing. As he distributed the items in Uganda he saw communities transformed as hope returned to hundreds of children, their parents and their teachers. Terry knew he had to share what he’d seen with the children whose willingness to get involved had made it all possible. Returning home, Terry revisited each participating U.S. In the more than 25 years since that first trip, Terry has spoken in more than two hundred local schools, shared his story with thousands of local students and teachers and helped deliver more than three-quarters of a million pounds of supplies donated by U. S. school children to their counterparts in Uganda.
Seven years ago, when Asia joined Sister Schools as their Ugandan Country Coordinator, she dreamed of being part of the change in her country. She had no clue what immense changes she would be part of. Asia grew up in a Ugandan village where 90% of the children didn’t attend school, education was hard to come by, and life was very difficult. She always knew that education was the gateway, even if she had to walk seven miles to school and scrounge for supplies. Asia excelled in school and received government sponsorship to attend University, where she received a BA in Development Economics.Asia started work as a librarian. After two months of struggling to teach children how to read, she fell in love with the beautiful smiles of triumph that filled their faces the first time they were able to pronounce a word right. Soon after, she started working for Sister Schools, identifying schools and orphanages for our partnership, working with sponsorship students, and overseeing all Sister Schools projects and programs in Uganda. Asia sees first-hand schools transformed from shambles to first class schools with well-stocked literacy centers, as well as cemented and painted classrooms. Education is a matter of life and death in Uganda and anything counts, be it a pen, book or even a ball to play with during break time. Those little things mean a lot to the children, their teachers and families, and are rays of hope for many.
Melissa is an Account Executive with McKinstry, a design, build, operate and maintenance firm that advocates collaborative and sustainable solutions. Melissa volunteered for years with programs for children with disabilities. She was drawn to Sister Schools because of her strong interest in the overall well-being and future of all children. Melissa has extensive business development, marketing, sales and strategic planning expertise. She’s a member of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International, the Washington Association of Maintenance and Operation Administrators, and a participant in Economic Alliance of Snohomish County. Melissa is also an accomplished horsewoman.
Khetiwe works in marketing and consumer business finance at Microsoft. She has been at Microsoft since 2003 and continues to be fascinated by technology, particularly as a solution to increase productivity across the globe. Khetiwe was born in Nairobi, Kenya, grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe and has lived in several other cities including Seattle and Johannesburg.Khetiwe loves thinking about simple solutions to mitigate socio-economic disadvantages in her community. To that end, she volunteers with like-minded organizations such as Sister Schools, Munhu, Inc, and others based in the United States and Africa. During her down time, Khetiwe enjoys traveling around the world with her family, with her favorite destinations being Maragoli, Kenya and the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe.
Julia is a Senior PR/Communications Coordinator at ZGF Architects, an award-winning architecture, interiors, and urban design firm. She was introduced to Sister Schools as a young student participating in a supply drive and had a life-changing opportunity to travel to Uganda for a distribution trip in 2005. Experiencing both the giving and receiving end of Sister Schools opened her eyes to the dual impact of the program. Fifteen years later, Julia is an active volunteer and has served on the Board for the last three years, using her communications and social media skills to help Sister Schools share its story.
Liz is a science teacher at Canyon Park Middle School in Bothell, Washington. She has been teaching for just over six years and has spent some time teaching in Italy. While working at Fernwood Elementary, she was first introduced and inspired by Sister Schools. One of her firm beliefs is that education should be a basic right for all. Working with Sister Schools allows Liz to support education for all, around the world.Additionally, Liz grew up in Richland, Washington and has a love for travel and experiencing new adventures. Spending time with her four beautiful nieces, three sisters, parents, and puppy named Trigger are also her top priority. In between teaching and working with Sister Schools, Liz also volunteers her time with an animal rehabilitation center and works at farmers markets on the weekends.