Associate Professor Mathew White
Education Division President (Ex Officio Advisor to the Board of Directors)

Mathew White PhD is an Associate Professor (Reader) in the School of Education at the University of Adelaide. He is also a Principal Fellow in Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. Mathew’s research focuses on educational leadership, strategic planning, and wellbeing. He has co-edited three books on wellbeing education, including “Future Directions in Wellbeing: Education, Organizations, and Policy” (Springer, 2017). Before his appointment to the University of Adelaide in 2018, Mathew held senior leadership positions in schools for a decade including St Peter’s College – Adelaide and Geelong Grammar School. He has over 20 years of teaching experience. He is a member of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA), American Educational Research Association (AERA) and British Educational Research Association (BERA). In 2017, the Australian Council for Educational Leaders presented Mathew with two awards in recognition of his exceptional leadership and scholarship: a National Leadership Award, and a South Australian Leadership Medal. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators.

Associate Professor Margaret Kern
Immediate Education Division Past-President and Founding Chair

Peggy Kern, PhD, is an Associate Professor (Reader) in the Centre for Positive Psychology Melbourne Graduate School of Education The University of Melbourne. Her research addresses the question of who flourishes and why. More specifically, my research focuses on two related areas: (a) understanding and measuring healthy functioning, and (b) evaluating sophisticated theories of psychosocial processes underlying health over time.

Mahabbeh Mowakket

I started my journey in self-development over five years ago, studying, learning and coaching in the evening and working a full time office manager for an international company in Dubai during the day, till I reached to a point in my life where growth and creating awareness and empowerment became my purpose and had to choose it as a full-time passion starting January 2019. My passion started by me experience working as a teacher and trainer for children and adults with special needs, back in Syria from year 2008 till the year 2011, then I had to leave Syria and come to Dubai. It was great opportunity for me to understand the different work dynamics in a workplace, and how much it would affect the outcome of working individuals, teams, and even the whole company, the unspoken rules of interactions between all the different parts of a workplace dynamics what normally addressed as work environment and atmosphere has become a focal point in my current business coaching practice. Treating the workplace coaching as part of life coaching that happened to be at work, where people In their workplace are able to be themselves and deliver results at the same time, we create a perfect work environment reduce stress, power and energy is self-driven in each instead of being provoked and demanded from them, where high performance is the norm.

Dr. Rosalinda Ballesteros
Communications Lead

Director for the Institute of Wellbeing and Happiness at Universidad Tecmilenio, where she previously had the position of Vicepresident for High School Education. PhD in Humanistic Studies by Tecnológico de Monterrey in México and a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Has 20 years’ experience on education and curriculum design. Has worked extensively in peace education programs.

Dr. Mette Marie Ledertoug
Community Lead (IPPA Engage)

Dr. Ledertoug is completing her Postdoc at Aarhus University, Denmark in a European Research project called UPRIGHT – a resilience program for teenagers in schools. Within the field of Positive Education, she is also very interested in strengths-based learning, engagement, and reducing boredom in schools. She coauthored the book “The Battle against Boredom in Schools” together with Nanna Paarup, Louise Tidmand and Nadia Holmgren.

Professor Michael L. Wehmeyer
Publications Lead

Michael L. Wehmeyer, Ph.D. is the Ross and Marianna Beach Distinguished Professor in Special Education; Chairperson, Department of Special Education; and Director and Senior Scientist, Beach Center on Disability, all at the University of Kansas. His research focuses on issues pertaining to self-determination, self-determined learning, and autonomy-supportive interventions as well as the application of positive psychology in the disability context. He is the editor of the Oxford Handbook on Positive Psychology and Disability and has published extensively in these areas.

Associate Professor Sylvia Kwok
Regional Representatives Lead

Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Social Sciences at the City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. She is also the convenor of the positive education laboratory. Her mission is to improve the well-being of children, adolescents and families. Her research mainly focuses on the family ecological and positive psychological factors that are related to anxiety, depression and suicide of children and adolescents. To promote positive education for the students, teachers, parents, and the community, the positive education laboratory has collaborated with more than 100 local schools to launch positive education projects, including character strength project for pre-primary schools, whole-school positive education project for primary schools, music and positive education projects to alleviate anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation of secondary schools students. She has published a number of papers related to children and adolescent mental health in international refereed journals with high impact factor, i.e., Child Abuse and Neglect, Research on Social Work Practice, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, Journal of Happiness Studies, Social Indicators Research, Suicide and Life-threatening Behavior, Journal of Child and Family Studies. She was also invited as a guest speaker and a keynote speaker in about 60 conferences and symposiums. Her positive family project won the Excellence in Knowledge Transfer Award by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at CityU in 2013. In the previous years, she got about US$1,900,000 from internal grants at CityU and from external grants. In addition, she has been the reviewers and journal editors of different international refereed journals and the reviewer for General Research Fund proposals.

Dr. Covadonga Chaves
Research Co-lead

Ph.D. in Experimental Clinical Psychology at Complutense University of Madrid (2013) and holds a master’s degree in Clinical and Health Psychology (2009). She presented her doctoral dissertation on well-being in children with a life-threatening illness, supervised by Dr. Carmelo Vazquez. She received the IPPA dissertation award in 2015. Her research interest focuses on three areas with potential clinical applications: (1) the study of growth experiences through adversity; (2) the connection between positive emotions and health; and (3) the design of a positive psychotherapy for patients with depression. She was the Research Director of the Institute of Happiness at Tecmilenio University (Mexico). She has published a number of articles in academic and non-academic journals (e.g., Journal of Happiness Studies, Journal of Health Psychology).

Dr. Ricardo Arguís Rey
Research-practice Co-lead

Dr Ricardo Arguís Rey is a teacher of special education, psychologist and doctor in education. He has been working for more than 30 years in the educational field, alternating periods as a classroom teacher with other professional stages as a consultant and teacher trainer. Currently, he combines his work as a remedial teacher in a state secondary school, with his activity as a lecturer, consultant and researcher in the field of positive education, both in Spain and abroad. He collaborates with various universities as an invited lecturer and has delivered numerous lectures and workshops in Spain as well as in Argentina, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Mexico, Peru, United States and Uruguay. In July 2019, he received the “Positive Educator Impact Award”, given at IPPA’s 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology (Melbourne, Australia), in recognition of the impact of his long-standing work in the dissemination and application of positive education internationally.

Tracy Litchfield
Research-practice Co-lead

Public-school educator striving to increase the wellbeing of teachers, students, families, and community members by incorporating the tenets of positive psychology, mindfulness, appreciative inquiry, and social-emotional learning. She holds a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from The University of Pennsylvania, as well as a Master of Educational Leadership from Immaculata University. Throughout her 16-year career as an educator, Tracy has served on many leadership and curriculum committees in the Avon Grove School District. She is a closet introvert who enjoys reading, writing, travel, and pursuing life-long learning. Tracy currently resides in West Grove, Pennsylvania with her husband, two adult children, and two rambunctious canine companions. Her dream is for every public-school district in the United States to fully and seamlessly incorporate positive education into their curriculum and application for students, families, and staff.