Nicole Andreou
  • Nicole Andreou

    International Coordinator of Education, Foundation for Environmental Education
  • 30 Under 30
  • Changemaker Grantee
  • 2019

Copenhagen, Denmark / Cyprus

2020 EE 30 Under 30 Changemaker Grant Project
Professional Development for Educators through Eco-Schools, Adopting NAAEE's Guidelines for Excellence

This project will provide professional development in environmental education for National Operators of the Foundation for Environmental Education’s Eco-Schools program across 68 countries. Using NAAEE’s Guidelines for Excellence on Professional Development of Environmental Educators as a foundational framework, a series of training modules will be developed around the guidelines’ six themes for competency in EE: Environmental Literacy, Foundations of Environmental Education, Professional Responsibilities of the Environmental Educator, Planning and Implementing Environmental Education, Fostering Learning and Promoting Inclusivity, and Assessment and Evaluation. The project intends to implement this through the lens of the Eco-Schools Program’s Seven Steps for Educators and launch the opportunity through FEE’s online capacity building platform.


EE 30 Under 30 Biography
Nicole's work empowers students to lead sustainable lifestyles and promotes access to quality education through education for sustainable development.

Tell us about yourself!

I am the International Eco-Schools Coordinator at the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). FEE is a global organization working in the fields of environmental education and education for sustainable development through five programs. Eco-Schools is all about students embarking on a journey towards sustainability, addressing environmental and social concerns through formal and non-formal learning practices; through a whole school approach, teachers, school management, parents, and most importantly the community are involved. Transformative education is one of its main philosophies and building skills, attitudes and behaviors is its main tool to achieve quality education and a more sustainable future.

Within Eco-Schools, a program reaching 52,000 schools globally, I take on various development and coordination roles, including looking at research and impact assessments, coordinating campaigns, and developing resources and publications for capacity building. I also coordinate a STEM project focused on project-based learning in 21 schools in the United States, Australia, and Norway, and another project implementing Eco-Schools in international schools in countries with no FEE member organization.

What inspired you to become a champion for environmental education?

For me, it was first education and then environmental education. I am deeply invested in research and policymaking and have always wanted to study and better understand some of the most pressing issues within formal education, such as social behavior, reorienting school curricula, participation, equality, and empowerment. So, it was actually Eco-Schools itself that inspired me to turn the lens over to environmental education. I saw clearly that these issues can be addressed through environmental education, and through developing the sense of belonging, understanding, and doing together for a common cause that is detached from opinions or politics.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders that are looking to bring about positive change in their communities through EE?

Start anywhere! No matter how small or big of an action, it matters! Is it recycling at home? Is it growing your own parsley? Is it telling a friend not to litter? Is it mobilizing your entire community to stand up to climate injustice? Do it! Leadership isn’t measured with small or big actions, just actions.

What keeps you motivated, inspired, or hopeful for the future?

Witnessing student empowerment. The fact that children aged three or ten, elementary school or university students, all take the lead every single day to make an impact has been fascinating to observe and certainly gives me a lot of energy.

Who do you look up to as inspiration for your work?

Instead of big public figures, it is in fact the people closest to me that inspire me every day with what they’ve taught me so far.

I’ll start with my supervisor, Pramod Kumar Sharma, Senior Director at FEE. Since day one, he has pushed me out of my comfort zone, and on any given hectic day he would rather let me challenge myself than simply hand me the information. Understanding sustainable development in all its dimensions is a gigantic task, but his perspective has definitely been my most useful guide.

The second person is my mom! My mom is not directly involved with this field – not at all. However, the way she promoted recycling as an important behavior since I was little, or how she would look at social issues through a sustainability lens before sustainability was even a buzzword, inspires me to go and do precisely that.