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The Wayfinder: A NESA Podcast


The Wayfinder is a monthly podcast on learning, leadership, and community. Every month, host and NESA school graduate Abril Soewarso-Rivera engages with thought leaders and partners in international education to discuss high-impact topics in the field. From grappling with artificial intelligence to designing the inclusive classroom, join us as we bring relevant issues forward, help our wider community connect the dots, and elevate student voice. Let’s find our way together!!

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The Wayfinder Episode 3: Social Emotional Learning with Ellen Mahoney

The Wayfinder Episode 3: Social Emotional Learning with Ellen Mahoney

How can we nurture the social-emotional needs of our learners?

In this episode, we connect with Ellen Mahoney, the CEO and Founder of Sea Change Mentoring, an organization that builds mentoring programs for international schools. Ellen has contributed to major youth-mentoring publications such as the National Mentoring Partnership's Research Agenda (2021), the E-Mentoring Supplement for the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring, and has co-authored a chapter on university transitions and suicide in a forthcoming book on suicide prevention.

Ellen’s work thrives in its emphasis on cultivating student wellbeing and providing care and support during important life transitions. Abril and Ellen speak about culturally-sensitive social emotional learning, staying connected as third culture kids, and the idea of collective resilience.

After our discussion, we turn to Amina, a grade 1 student from the Schutz American School (SAS) in Alexandria, Egypt, who closes the episode with some earnest thoughts on expressing our feelings and being a good friend.

December 7, 2023


The Wayfinder Episode 2: AI & Distruptive Technologies with Michael Nachbar

The Wayfinder Episode 2: AI & Distruptive Technologies with Michael Nachbar

Which learning futures are we reaching towards?

Join Abril in conversation with Michael Nachbar, the Executive Director of Global Online Academy, a pioneering network of schools and educators who are reimagining learning to thrive in a globally networked society.

Michael is a frequent speaker and workshop facilitator at national and international conferences, and presents on such topics as educational trends impacting schools and modern teaching. Abril and Michael discuss how we can call upon AI and emerging technologies to augment teaching and strengthen learning outcomes.

Then, Abril connects with John Papadakis, the Director of Media Productions at the American Community Schools of Athens (ACS), Greece, to chat about what media literacy means in theory and in practice. ACS high school students Josie and Stelios help us close out the episode by offering up their thoughts on how their class on media literacy and productions has expanded their worldview when it comes to ethical consumption in the age of information overload.

November 9, 2023


The Wayfinder Episode 1: Student Choice with Tom Schimmer

The Wayfinder Episode 1: Student Choice with Tom Schimmer

How can we keep students in the driver’s seat of their own learning?

In this episode, we connect with Tom Schimmer, an education author, speaker, and consultant from Vancouver, Canada. He is recognized as a leader and expert in the areas of classroom assessment, sound grading practices, and educational leadership. For decades, Tom has worked with principals, heads of school, and administrators, but on a more practical level, he has also collaborated directly with classroom teachers.

Our host, Abril Soewarso-Rivera, speaks with Tom about leveraging student agency, assessment practices that empower young learners, and what it means to ‘scale up’ in schools. We feature Reina, a grade 4 student from the American International School of Jeddah (AISJ), who shares her thoughts on choice in the classroom. 

Our episode closes with a story from LeeAnne Lavender on the unique partnership that has been forged between Khartoum American School (KAS) and NESA Member Schutz American School (SAS), in Alexandria, Egypt. KAS is currently running a campaign to raise funds to support local staff still in Khartoum. You can donate here.

October 5, 2023


Abril Soewarso-Rivera

About the Host

Abril Soewarso-Rivera is a Mexican-Indonesian-American audio storyteller, performer, and writer. She first fell in love with radio as a backseat listener to NPR’s This American Life and hosts a podcast of her own, titled Love in Public. Love in Public explores the “geography of conversation” through human storytelling. Abril grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, on the Red Sea, and most recently, spent four years in Vancouver, Canada. She is a NESA school alumna, having graduated from The KAUST School in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia in 2019. She studied psychology and international relations at the University of British Columbia. Abril is passionate about community-building, solo travel, and the intersections between art and activism.

If you have enjoyed the podcast, please take a moment to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform, and if you leave a review, you'll really help The Wayfinder find its path. NESA thanks you for your support!

  • To connect with NESA about the podcast and learn how a student from your school might be featured, please contact Abril at
  • NESA is dedicated to educator professional growth to improve student learning. Visit our website to learn more about our Seasons of Learning Program.

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