Paula Kilonzo

My earliest beginnings were growing up on a small acreage on the edge of Sioux City, Iowa – filled with the outdoors, pets, farm animals, and all the wonders of childhood play and becoming.

As one of eight siblings, being the second oldest, my time was spent soaking up all the learning about life available to me … playing with my older brother, sharing in the love and care of our family and the six siblings younger to me.

I would come to choose children, teaching, and learning as a career.


I acquired a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts degree in education and special education from the University of South Dakota. I further acquired graduate hours in  

multi-categorical teaching and guidance and counseling.

I also became certified as an educator with the William Glasser Institute for Choice Theory.


I went on to teach, mostly in the United States, at the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels over the course of 46 years before formally retiring in 2021. Thirteen of those years were teaching and founding a private school in Nairobi, Kenya with Gideon, my husband. This was a wondrous time (1988-2001) full of life-changing exposures and experiences for us and our children’s childhoods.

Upon retirement, our dream has been to be able to return to Kenya, this time to develop a school in the rural village of Gideon’s childhood, Kalawa. This is where Gideon’s father inspired us to bring an education with a difference to the children that cannot be in the city. Our hope and dream are to provide enriching student-centered learning through exposure to all the wonders of childhood, play, and becoming.

The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.

~ C. Joybell C.

My life has been filled to overflowing with children being a common denominator … from my first original family of one older and six younger siblings, to my own precious children and grandchildren  … to cousins, and then to the many children (students) over the years that have touched my life.

I am truly blessed and can only hope, God willing, to continue this love of children and learning with the children of St. Joseph’s Academy - Kalawa.