Samuel Isaiah

Notably, one of the most highly regarded teachers in Malaysia, teaching, however, was not Samuel Isaiah’s first choice of profession. Torn between his love for music and the expectation to do medicine, Samuel enrolled on a TESL (Teaching of English as a Second Language) Degree and trained at the Teachers Training College in Penang.

It was at SK Runchang, Pahang, where his love for the profession blossomed. As a recent graduate, his dream was to serve in an urban school. But when he was deployed to the rural school, he found his calling, travelling close to 200km daily for eight years. Samuel built lasting connections with the indigenous students and embraced them for who they were, witnessing the amount of potential they had.

As an English teacher at SK Runchang, he embarked on a project to create a fully equipped English classroom with computers and tablets. He continued to accelerate the students’ English learning through training the teachers. As a result, the pass rate among indigenous children increased.

He has been recognised for his efforts locally through the bestowment Best Teacher Award 2018, Best Innovative Teacher 2018, Star Golden Hearts Award (2019) and the National Hero Teacher Award 2019. He was also one of 10 finalists for the Varkey Foundation and Unesco Global Teacher Prize in 2020 for his contribution to his profession, selected from over 12,000 nominations worldwide. In 2020, he received an award and was recognised as the Global Teacher Prize top 10 Best Teachers in the world, being the first Malaysian teacher to earn it.

Currently, he is the Program Director of Pemimpin GSL, an organisation that focuses on providing professional development programmers to equip school leaders to facilitate high-quality learning for students.

With years of experience accumulated, Samuel received the 2022 Merdeka Award for his continuous commitment to improving and uplifting the standard of education among the Orang Asli children. Samuel completed his master’s degree in Educational Policy and Leadership at the State University of New York under a Fullbright scholarship.

For more info on Pemimpin GSL, click here.

To me making an impact is about not focusing on my own ideals. I believe it’s all about defining, executing, nurturing and sustaining what we want together.

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