The WISE Awards


Dr. Shannon May

Position: Co-Founder and CSO, Bridge International Academies
Country: United States of America

Shannon May is a Co-Founder of Bridge International Academies, the largest chain of private schools in Africa. Bridge disrupts the educational status quo by ensuring that every child, regardless of parental income, has access to the education he or she deserves. The first Bridge International Academy opened in 2009. Four years later, Bridge now teaches over 50,000 pupils every day at 210 pre-school and primary schools across Kenya. For $4.50 to $7 per month, children receive more than 40 teaching contact hours a week, with all lessons written by experts and delivered by a local teacher using ICT.

May serves as both the Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Development Officer for Bridge, leading the Development pipeline in Kenya, as well as international expansion. She also leads Research, Government Relations and Business Development, and supervises Marketing and Brand Strategy. Prior to founding Bridge, she published widely on ecological and economic development, and has served as an advisor to many international organizations, focusing on design, development, and sustainable cities around the world. Her experience also extends to the classroom, having taught in primary, middle, and secondary schools in both China and the US, as well as in the university lecture halls of the University of California, Berkeley. Shannon received her B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Social Studies from Harvard University, and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley.