Gamal Sherif’s commitment to green schools started in Philadelphia in 1993 when he served as a high school science teacher. With more than 150 students on his roster, only 11 textbooks, and neither running water nor lab equipment, Gamal realized that his students needed more effective learning conditions. The classrooms were too hot in the winter, had distracting, buzzing overhead lights, and inoperable water fountains. A third of the class would be absent every day, and students would regularly complain of hunger and exhaustion. When he requested permission to conduct eco-audits of the neighborhood with his class, he was refused because it wasn’t considered “safe.” Gamal realized that this situation was neither just nor sustainable, and that curriculum, instruction, assessment, and policy should be aligned to improving students’ experiences.
Since then, Gamal has served as a curriculum director, a principal, and as a consultant the Center for Teaching Quality, the National Science Foundation, and the PA Green and Healthy Schools Partnership. As a program manager with the environmental education nonprofit EcoRise, Gamal worked with educators, students, architects, and engineers to advance green building education, create professional development networks, and design equitably paid student internships.
As Chief Program Officer for District Services with the Go Green Initiative, Gamal supports school districts as they assess and conserve energy, food, and water, and reduce waste—all while saving money. Through the GGI’s comprehensive services, student supports, and a professional development community, Gamal builds and sustains meaningful relationships that bring value and ease to the creation of green schools.
Gamal has a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from SUNY-Binghamton, a Master’s in Teaching from Temple University, and a Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, he was selected as a fellow with the U.S. Department of Education, and in 2019, became an ambassador with the United Nations’ #TeachSDG (Sustainable Development Goals) program. He is also a credentialed LEED Green Associate.
Gamal and his family enjoy cooking, biking, and gardening. After years of replacing their lawn with native perennials, shrubs, and trees, they turned their yard into a National Wildlife Federation-certified wildlife habitat in 2018.