John Gilmour, BA is an educational social entrepreneur and activist who has piloted and scaled a programme to cultivate the holistic development of marginalized children living in townships in South Africa. Incensed by the inequality in the education system and its overemphasis on cognition, he made it his mission to flip this pedagogy to integrate much neglected social and emotional learning (SEL) as part
of the school curriculum with a focus on self-liberation, self-empowerment and the development of personal resilience.
John obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cape Town. He taught English and Geography and was a student guidance counselor at Bergvliet High School and Pinelands High School, before being appointed as Principal at Abbott’s College for five years.
Following a long and often frustrating stint as a teacher and many years of involvement in the community, John founded the first LEAP Science and Maths School serving the township community of Langa in 2004. LEAP’s founding premise is that every human being—regardless of physical and socio-economic condition, ethnicity, gender, and religious beliefs—has the capacity to become a creative, productive change agent and champion within any community in the global village.
As Executive Director of LEAP, John has overseen the growth of the organization from a single school with 72 learners in 2004 to its current organization of six low-fee schools impacting the lives of 1650 learners who reside in the township communities of Langa and Phillipi in the Western Cape, Alexandra, Diepsloot and Ga-Rankuwa in Gauteng and Jane Furse in Limpopo.

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