Staff Bios

Ms. Nabb at the Cheers to CHIPUKA! fundraiser

HEATHER NABB > Executive Director & English / Humanities 

My name is Heather Nabb, and I am originally from Portland, Oregon USA. I first came to Kenya and Tanzania in 2006 on a study abroad trip, and it is incredible to now find myself settling roots in the city of Arusha. As an undergraduate, I majored in Sociology and Anthropology at Lewis and Clark College, where I earned an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree for my extended thesis work and received a truly well-rounded and beneficial education. I realized my true passion for education when I took elective education courses through Lewis and Clark that required observation and volunteer work in a local urban high school. Therefore, I pursued this career and earned a Master's degree in Teaching from Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling in May of 2011. I feel that this program, with social justice as its core value, strongly influenced my desire to bring a holistic and progressive education model abroad. I am forever humbled by the opportunity I received to put this philosophy into practice in the stunning country of Tanzania.

I spent two years teaching Primary Year 6 to a beautifully diverse population of students at St. Constantine's International School from 2011-2013. This experience, along with my passion for embracing individuals' talents and learning styles, and a need expressed from local parents for additional educational opportunities for youth in Arusha, motivated me to want to bring something innovative to the Arusha community; hence, the creation of The CHIPUKA Center. I am a believer in place-based, creative curriculum and I intend to encourage my students/participants to nourish their communities, local environment, and cultural heritage in a way that will inspire a ripple effect of positive change. And this, too, was a motivator for the development of The CHIPUKA Center. 

As an educator, and as Director of The CHIPUKA Center, I want to be a mentor for my students. By "mentor," I mean a role model who serves as both a support system, and as a provider of knowledge. I view these two elements as equally important. I believe in the promotion of mutual respect, genuine effort, and a cooperative atmosphere in any learning environment, and ultimately hope these values will manifest in the communities of CHIPUKA's participants.

On a more personal level, I thoroughly enjoy the following activities/hobbies: skiing, hiking, photography, volleyball, creative writing, watching documentaries, gardening, taking care of my plants, camping, having long dinners with my family and friends, boating, and traveling. I have traveled to France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Fiji, Kenya, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Mafia Island, Hawaii, New York City, and many of the western/south-western United States. I feel extremely lucky to have been able to explore so many incredible places, and even happier to have found a home in Tanzania. I am a personable human being who loves to use humor, reciprocity, and sincerity to make meaningful connections to those around me, and I feel that these qualities lend to my calling as an educator.

I very much look forward to serving the collective Arusha community, and in the essence of CHIPUKA... to sprout and grow alongside my students.



Jessica grew up in Arusha and adores teaching and athletics

JESSICA PETERSON Co-Director & Mathematics / Science

My name is Jessica Peterson and I am a tutor at The Chipuka Center. I grew up in Arusha, Tanzania and attended the International School of Moshi where I received an amazing and well-rounded education. Growing up in Tanzania was an experience I now find to be truly unique. I had great teachers, friends and a family that nourished my love for learning and taught me more about the world than I ever could have imagined. 

After graduating from the International Baccalaureate program in Moshi, I moved on to North Carolina, USA where I attended East Carolina University. Moving from Tanzania to the U.S. was an exciting and drastic change. I had never lived outside of Tanzania and even though I had visited America before, living there, on my own was a whole new story. I loved every minute of it. I met some great people and received an education that set me up to  be the type of teacher I envisioned to be. After 4 years I graduated with an undergraduate degree in Physical Education, Health Education and a minor in Biology Education. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and was awarded with the Outstanding Senior Graduate award of the department. Within the four years I observed and taught within the public schools of North Carolina. For 5 months I interned at an Intermediate school teaching Grades 5-7, which included over 300 different students. My teacher training fueled my love for education and my goals to make a difference in children’s lives, even if it is one at a time. 

After travelling for a year and playing premier rugby in the USA I returned to Tanzania to pursue my career. I was lucky enough to meet Heather Nabb who presented me with the opportunity to work with her at The Chipuka Center. Heather is an inspiring individual and her visions for the center are completely contagious. Chipuka is unique to Arusha and provides a service that is in high demand. It didn’t take me long to jump in the boat and to start work. I have been hooked to Chipuka ever since and am so excited for its growth and for what will come in the next few years.

One of my strongest views as a teacher is that every student is different and amazing in their own way. I believe that I am a facilitator of knowledge and my job is to help the minds of children to grow, be inquisitive and strive towards any goal they set their minds to. I think that The Chipuka Center truly embodies this idea. It is a place where I can guide children who need the extra help and to help them achieve their goals. 

In my own time I am a very outdoor and sports-orientated person. My main passion is rugby and outside of Chipuka I am a committee member of the Arusha Rhinos Rugby Club and am particularly interested in developing the youth rugby here in Tanzania. I also enjoy travelling and have many places I still want to explore. 

I am excited to see how this next year and The Chipuka Center goes and feel very privileged to be a part of the team.
Lea is an ESL specialist & ran her own university tutoring program during college

LEA FINDER Lead Tutor & After-School Program Manager 

My name is Lea Finder, and I am from St. Louis, Missouri USA. I have always had a passion for teaching and am excited to have the opportunity to teach at Chipuka. I also love culture and have always really wanted to travel the world and teach English, so moving to Arusha is an exciting next step for me. I first started tutoring math and English when I was fifteen years old at a tutoring center in St. Louis. I worked there until I graduated from high school and moved to Arkansas USA to attend John Brown University. There, I earned a degree in Early Childhood Education with Teaching English as a Second Language Endorsement. While at John Brown, I also started an after school tutoring program for non native English speaking students in the area. I led this program for all four years of University, and further discovered a love of working with students from different cultures and backgrounds. Additionally, I worked as a tutor for struggling college students my last two years at University, and really learned how to work with students with a variety of learning disabilities. 

I first visited East Africa on a trip to Northern Kenya the summer after my first year of college. While in Kenya, I worked for three months with a literacy program in the Semi-Nomadic Rendille people group and learned about the power of literacy, and how to teach reading well. I then came to Tanzania in April 2015 to finish up my student teaching internship at Haven of Peace Academy in Dar Es Salaam. In Dar I taught in a third grade classroom and further learned strategies of working with students from many different cultures and a variety of ability levels. I am very excited about the opportunity to move the students at Chipuka forward. I believe that each one of the students that we meet are capable to learn and to one day be successful adults, and I am excited to challenge them to be the best that they can be!