The Rwanda School Project

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Rwamagana Leaders' School

The governing structure of the school known as Rwamagana Leaders’ School is divided between two governing boards.  The first is the United States Governing Board, known as the Rwanda School Project Board. This board consists of a sixteen-member executive committee which provides organizational oversight for all operations not specifically associated with the operation of the school as specified by the LEDO Board.  This includes, but is not limited to, financial oversight, fundraising, campus planning, and hiring and supervision of the Program Director.  The RSP Board is recognized as a 501(c)(3) (Tax Id #20-354545455)


 The second is the Rwanda Governing Board, known as the Leaders’ Educational Development Organization, or LEDO Board.  This board consists of a nine-member executive committee which provides educational oversight for the operation of Rwamagana Leaders’ School.  The LEDO board is responsible for assuring Rwandan laws and customs are followed.  This board is charged with supervision of the Program Director in the day-to-day operation of the school, hiring all staff at the school (with the exception of the Program Director), the setting of curriculum, and matters relating to the local customs and requirements. The LEDO board is recognized as a NGO (N537/RGB/NGO/LP/07/2019).

Rwanda School Project 2024 Board

Moses Ssenyonjo

Program Director of Rwamagana Leaders' School
Moses holds a Master’s degree in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) from the University of Rwanda, an MBA in Global Business and Sustainability from Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Italy, an Impact Entrepreneurship MBA from Uganda Martyrs University and a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Kyambogo University. Prior to joining Rwanda Leaders’ School in 2019, Moses served as the Administrator and first Principal of Kivu Hills Academy, as a Director of Kigali Christian School secondary section and also lectured and developed programs at Akilah Institute for Women. He has worked in the education sector in both Uganda and Rwanda. He has been in the Education field since his first graduation in 2007. Moses is passionate about sustainable Education models and is eager to be part of this opportunity to make a difference in Rwanda.

Karl Smith

President, 2024
Board Member since 2007
Karl Smith has a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from Southeastern University. For 35 years, Karl taught mathematics at Santa Rosa Junior college where he served as department chairman. He is the past president of The American Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges and the author of over sixty college-level mathematics textbooks ranging from algebra and trigonometry, to calculus. In 2006, Karl accompanied Bishop Mullen as a member of a delegation to Rwanda. As a result of that visit, Karl was presented a vision about building a school in Rwanda. Since that visit, the school has become his interest and his passion. Karl and Linda celebrate life with two children and six grandchildren. with two children and six grandchildren.

Debbi Holmerud

President-Elect Pro Tem, 2024
Board Member since 2014
Debbi Holmerud earned a bachelor's degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and a master's degree from University of San Francisco. After teaching for 2 years, serving as an elementary school principal for 13 years and a high school principal for 12 years, Debbi retired in June 2014. Debbi has committed to staying active in education by supporting the work of our school and volunteering weekly to work with students struggling to read. Debbi and her husband, Mark, have 4 children and 8 grandchildren. After Mark retired as an ELCA bishop serving the Sierra Nevada Synod, they relocated to Palm Desert, CA, where she reads weekly via FaceTime with 5 of her youngest grandchildren, plays pickleball and golfs.

Melissa Becker

Vice President, 2024
Board Member since 2011
Melissa is a mom of two almost grown children and is Ben's life partner for 30 years. A graduate of UCLA with a Master's degree from Loyola Marymount University, she has been an educator for over her entire life as a teacher and currently an elementary school principal. She holds the belief that one person, no matter how small, CAN make a difference. Melissa serves as president of The Fabulous Women, a non-profit that raises money and offers support to local families in Sonoma County. To date, Fabulous Women have donated over $71,000 to The Rwamagana Leaders' School. Melissa has traveled to Rwanda four times to help establish and sustain the school, as it is an important part of her life. She is an avid traveler, runner and Maker.

Joy Petty

Treasurer, 2024
Board Member since 2008
Joy Petty has been a member of the board since 2008 as former President and current Treasurer. She has traveled to Rwanda twice, once in 2009 with nine members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church. As a leader of the Girls' Faith Encounter, she brought eight high school girls from the United States to Rwanda to live with, learn alongside, and pray together with eight girls from the Rwamagana Leaders' School. Joy is the Director of Operations & Finance/Partner of Turrentine Brokerage, a wine and grape brokerage firm in Northern California. She has her B.A. in Anthropology from California State University, East Bay. She is married to her husband Alan, has three children and lives in Santa Rosa, CA. She is an avid bird watcher and enjoys traveling, hiking and camping with her friends and family.
Libby Bullock

Libby Bullock

Secretary, 2024
Founding Board Member since 2005
Libby Bullock attended U.C Davis and received a B.S. in Renewable Natural Resources, specializing in Plant and Soil Sciences. She has worked at U.C. Davis over the past 35 years, all involving aspects of administrative computing for U.C. Davis. She and her husband Ernie have 3 children, 2 are now grown, the youngest is in High School. Libby and her family are members of St. John's Lutheran Church in Sacramento, CA, where she is involved in many activities including children's ministry, WELCA, and the hand bell choir. In 2004 Libby visited Rwanda with a delegation of 3 people from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sacramento as a guest of Pastor John Rutsindintwarane. Libby describes it as one of the most profound experiences of her life. In 2005, Robin Strickler visited St. John’s in Sacramento and shared her vision about starting a school in Rwanda, and asked Libby to be a part of this project. Libby said ‘Yes’ and Rwanda School Project has been part of her life ever since.

Kathy Ziegler

Financial Secretary, 2024
Board Member since 2014
Kathy Ziegler attended Fresno and San Jose State Universities. She worked a variety of jobs before settling into a 24 year career at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat retiring in 2006 and then working 7 years as the assistant to a solo practice CPA. She served 8 years on the Oak Grove Union School Board and has been an active member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church since 1972, serving as president of the congregation several times. She and her husband Tom have 2 grown sons and two grandsons. They live in Santa Rosa, CA. Her hobbies include puzzles (jigsaw-crossword-Sudoku) and genealogy.

Sally Bullock

Board Member since 2013
Sally Bullock is a native of Sacramento, California. She graduated in 2007 from Willamette University with a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology and Fine Art. From 2010-2013 she served in both the Kyrgyz Republic and Azerbaijan, teaching English as a Peace Corps volunteer. This transformative experience has made her passionate about the key role that education and English language learning play globally in developing countries. Sally keeps things lively with forays into the arts and travel, and uses baking as therapy

Annabelle Markey

Board Member since 2024
The Rev. Annabelle Markey was born in Maryland, and has always been passionately curious about the world around her. At Hood College, she studied German, Medieval Studies, and Global Studies and studied abroad for a year in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. After college, she worked in the travel industry while discerning a call to pastoral ministry. She graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (now United Lutheran Seminary) focusing on Biblical Studies and ecumenism/interfaith work. First introduced to the Rwanda School Project and Robin Strickler on internship, she served as a pastor at Community Lutheran Church in Sterling, Virginia for ten years, which also had strong ties to the RSP. In 2015, she took a life-changing trip to Rwanda and has been telling people about it ever since! She is a certified spiritual director through Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development and has recently completed training to be a Virginia Master Naturalist. She's married to a wonderful fellow named Jeff, hangs out with a big lab named Hasper, and loves tacos, traveling, learning languages, singing, knitting, writing icons, and walking/hiking.

Margaret McLean

Board Member since 2016
Margaret R. McLean is Senior Lecturer Emerita in Religious Studies at Santa Clara University and a Senior Fellow at the University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. She has taught courses on ethics including Christian ethics, environmental ethics, health care ethics, and ethics and biotechnology. Holding a doctorate in clinical pathology from the Medical College of Wisconsin and a Masters of Divinity from Luther Seminary (St. Paul), she has a second doctoral degree in ethics from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. She is a member of a number of Bay Area hospital bioethics committees and a consultant to the California Department of Public Health. She is an avid writer; her article on crisis standards of care, published in Health Progress, won second place in the 2023 Catholic Press Awards for Best Coverage - Pandemic. Margaret is an active member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in San Francisco where she currently serves on the Racial Equity Team.

Emmanuel Obasuyi

Board Member since 2020
Emmanuel Obasuyi is a native of Nigeria and New York City. He graduated from Brandeis University with a bachelor's degree in Biology (Neuroscience) and a Master of Science in International Health Policy and Management from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Upon obtaining his academic degrees, Emmanuel works in the healthcare space, moving from healthcare providers to healthcare payer. He is currently part of the East Region Medicaid Business Operations Oversight Team at Anthem, Inc, an American Health Insurance company. In his spare time, Emmanuel engages in multiple activities. He enjoys the great outdoors, biking, running, and soccer. He is an explorer of dance floors; you might run into him at your local dance hall. In addition, Emmanuel is interested in technology and how it can help solve some of the issues in the emerging world.

Melissa Roussin

Board Member since 2015
Melissa Roussin graduated from Bethel University in 2008 with a dual degree in Reconciliation and Elementary Education. One year later, she found herself immersed in the magnificent culture and surroundings of Rwanda, falling more in love with the country day by day. Melissa soon crossed paths with Robin and spent the next two out of three years in Rwanda volunteering with the Rwamagana Leaders' School. Upon her return to the U.S., she spent one year as the Development Manager for The Rwanda School Project before delving back into the world of social services. With over 10 years experience in the social services sector and an avid dedication to the welfare of the poor, marginalized, and under served, Melissa was thrilled to be a part of The Rwanda School Project and the impact they are making across the country of Rwanda. Every child has the right to a high quality education and Rwamagana Leaders' School is courageously leading the way in Rwanda. Melissa is actively involved at Cityview Church and serves on the Leadership Board and Missions Committee. She currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota and thoroughly enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, trying out a new recipe, or relaxing by the lake at her cabin.

Karen Saenger

Board Member since 2014
Karen's interest in Rwanda began in 1994 and has shaped her since then. Until June 2018 when she retired, she taught History, Social Studies, and German at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School in British Columbia, Canada. As well, she coordinated the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Karen was privileged to take many students on overseas European trips over the years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby BC. Karen met Robin Strickler in 2008 during her first trip to Rwanda. She watched from afar how the concept of a school evolved and developed. January and February of 2014 Karen returned to Rwanda and volunteered at the Rwamagana Leaders' School. Her interests are many and varied but a great delight is watching her 3 nieces growing up to be thoughtful and caring young ladies. She lives on an acre of paradise in the beautiful Fraser Valley.

Robin Strickler

Founder, Rwamagana Leaders' School;
Board Member since 2019
Robin Strickler founded the Rwanda School Project in 2005 and until 2019 served as the program director of Rwamagana Leaders' School. In that role, she served for ten years as a missionary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Robin has a Bachelor's in Music Education and an MA in English Linguistics and has been involved in teaching or educational administrative work for most of her career. Robin continues as a board member after her retirement from the school.  She spent eight years as an English instructor at Kansai Gaidai in Japan and enjoys languages, bird watching, music, art and writing. She now teaches high school in Maryland.  Her family includes her beloved husband, Pastor John Rutsindintwarane and two wonderful daughters.

Cathy Whitlow

Board Member since 2011
Cathy Whitlow is a biology teacher at Potomac Falls High School in Potomac Falls, Virginia and an adjunct professor of biology at the Northern Virginia Community College. She earned her B.S. in Zoology from the University of Maryland, and her teaching certificate and M.S in Biology from George Mason University. Cathy traveled to Rwanda in the summer of 2012 and again in 2014. In 2018 she took 3 members of Community Lutheran Church to visit the students the church currently sponsors and also former students that are now attending university. She looks forward to continuing to build relationships with students and staff of Rwamagana Leaders' School. Cathy lives in Sterling, VA with her husband Ken and their two dogs. They have 2 adult children. Cathy is a member of Community Lutheran Church in Sterling, and Christ the King Lutheran Church in Great Falls, Virginia.

Charlie Williams

Board Member since 2021
Charlie Williams is the program coordinator for the Combatting Human Trafficking Program at the McCain Institute at Arizona State University. Prior to joining the McCain Institute, Charlie served as project manager for the Journeys Project at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, where she examined refugee stories through a financial lens to better understand the costs and strategies involved in migration. She was also a research assistant for Refugees in Towns, another initiative which promotes understanding of the refugee experience by drawing on the knowledge and perspectives of refugees themselves and local hosts. In 2019, Charlie served as a Young Adult in Global Mission (YAGM) in Senegal, supporting a food security nonprofit. She first visited RLS in 2014 as a Girls' Faith Encounter participant, which connected girls from the United States with girls from Rwanda to learn about community development. Originally from Clovis, California, Charlie holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University. She also holds a bachelor's degree in history and a minor in Spanish from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

LEDO 2024 Board

President, Muvunyi Gerard
Secretary, Karekezi Bosco
Legal Representative, Ssenuyonjo Moses
Legal Representative, Rutamu Augustine
Kalimba Doreen
Kayihura Alex
Mpamo Andrew
Simbayobewe Amani
Tuzanesha Damiel

Moses holds a Master’s degree in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) from the University of Rwanda, an MBA in Global Business and Sustainability from Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Italy, an Impact Entrepreneurship MBA from Uganda Martyrs University and a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Kyambogo University.

Prior to joining Rwanda Leaders’ School in 2019, Moses served as the Administrator and first Principal of Kivu Hills Academy, as a Director of Kigali Christian School secondary section and also lectured and developed programs at Akilah Institute for Women.

He has worked in the education sector in both Uganda and Rwanda. He has been in the Education field since his first graduation in 2007.

Moses is passionate about sustainable Education models and is eager to be part of this opportunity to make a difference in Rwanda.