This is the big difference: when you’re a non-profit, you look at children as a mission, not a market.
— Nicholas Negroponte, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab

Meet the Founders

Meet the founders who started this innovative education movement.

Achim Beck, Co-Founder and Board Chair

Achim Beck, Co-Founder & Board Trustee

Achim is a German/UK dual national. Educated in Germany, he studied economics at the Goethe University in Frankfurt and worked for 17 years at international banks in Paris, Frankfurt and London, building business and managing teams in Europe, Middle East and USA.

For the last five years, he has been active in the alternative energy sector - producing energy and developing alternative energy storage systems, working collaboratively with universities. He enjoys working with start ups and is involved in education, IT, recycling. 

Achim is committed to charity work and is active in the voluntary sector.

Rita Halbright, Co-Founder and Board Trustee

Rita Halbright, Co-Founder & Board Trustee

Born in New York City, Rita received a BA from Tufts University in French and German Literature and studied and worked in France, Germany and Switzerland.   

After 15 years in the international travel industry, Rita left the paid-working world to raise three sons. During this time, she volunteered for committees focusing on fundraising, school inspections and education and served on school boards. 

Developing a passion for inclusive behaviour, Rita trained in diversity and anti-bullying training and facilitated programmes for an NGO.

Rita chairs the UK Advisory Board of Facing History and Ourselves, an international, educational professional development NGO, committed to creating a more humane, active, democratic, global citizenry.  Interfaith dialogue is another one of Rita's passions.  

Since 1995, Rita has called London home and holds dual US/UK citizenship.  She is conversational in French, German and Italian.

Julie Matthaeus, Co-Founder & Board Trustee

Julie Matthaeus, Co-Founder & Board Trustee

Julie has lived in London for 15 years. Puerto Rican-American, born and raised in New York City, she was educated at Wellesley College,  and earned a Bachelor degree in Economics and Spanish Literature.

The bulk of Julie’s career has been spent in finance, as an investment banker at companies including Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch International and Mercury Asset Management.

Julie has also been active in the charitable sector, as Co-Executive Director for Dress for Success London, a UK registered charity that supports disadvantaged women in returning to work.

Julie is currently holding her most significant position: mother to three children.

Pamela Rinehart Sears, Co-Founder & Board Trustee

Pamela Rinehart Sears, Co-Founder & Board Trustee

Pamela, who now has dual US/UK citizenship, was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. She studied theatre arts until discovering that she was no Katherine Hepburn and crossed campus to major in Economics at Colorado College and University of Washington.

Pamela’s areas of expertise are in cross-border asset financing structures and the intricacies of cross-border legal, tax and accounting issues. She has worked for an investment advising firm, an asset leasing company, and as a Vice President for Deutsche Bank (NYC) - a role she left to embark on her new careers as a serial volunteer, an expat spouse and to raise a family.

In the last 17 years, she and her family have lived in five Central and Western European cities and they moved to London 10 years ago.

Pamela’s non-corporate life has included board and committee positions in several international community organisations, a trustee position on an educational charity and committee and officer positions on several school/parent organisations.

She is passionate about removing the stigma surrounding maths for girls and making maths fun for everyone.