Who We Are


Dr Simon Breakspear

Founder & DIRECTOR

Dr Simon Breakspear is known internationally for his practical insights on learning innovation and system reform. As the Founder and Director of Agile SchoolsTM and LearnLabs, a global learning research and design agency, Simon has advised educational leaders across over 10 countries helping them to navigate disruptive change, develop innovation capabilities and drive continuous improvement for better learning.

Simon is the author of the influential papers ‘Talent Magnets: Attracting & Retaining Top Talent’, and ‘How does PISA Shape Education Policy’, as well as the forthcoming book ‘Agile Leadership for Learning’. He also advises entrepreneurial ventures that are seeking to harness new digital technologies to improve the quality and equity of learning.

Simon holds Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Teaching, a Masters of International and Comparative Education from the University of Oxford and a PhD in education from the University of Cambridge. He was a Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Oxford and a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge. He began his work in education as a high school teacher in Sydney.

Simon is an internationally engaged keynote speaker and facilitator having delivered presentations to over 80,000 people. His unique fusion of applied research, real-world experience and dynamic style enables him to help senior leaders rethink assumptions and find innovative ways of leading for the future of learning.

Simon lives in Sydney Australia with his wife and two young children.


Alex Cristea


Alex brings deep expertise in innovation processes, change management and behavioral design with a wide variety of both public sector and commercial clients. 

As a management consultant with BCG, Alex developed organizational design, change management and user research tools with corporate clients in the health, finance and infrastructure sectors. As an executive leader of Jacaranda Health, a health care social enterprise, Alex designed and led organization-wide projects with human-centered design, lean start-up and continuous improvement methodologies.

Alex’ clients in education range from K-12 schools, universities, government and ed-tech companies across the US, Australia and Canada.

Alex researched and evaluated behavioural interventions with ideas42, Innovations for Poverty Action and with professors from Princeton, Harvard, MIT and Stanford. Alexandra’s graduate studies are with Stanford University, jointly with the Graduate School of Business and the Graduate School of Education. 


Steve Dadds

Senior Associate, Research

Steve brings experience from many facets of global education. After teaching at the University of Paris VII and for the International Baccalaureate program at the United World College of Southern Africa, he became a consultant in organizational leadership and learning.

Steve has been a learning consultant for clients in global pharmaceuticals, financial services, telecommunications and consumer packaged goods. As an omnivorous reader, researcher and writer, Steve brings a diverse and interdisciplinary perspective to LearnLabs. He is interested in the future of work and education.

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Renee Underwood

Business Manager

Renee Underwood is an experienced Business Manager who specialises in start-ups and small to medium businesses.  Renee has achieved success in both Australia and in North America in business management and system operations.

Her attention to detail and comprehensive approach combined with years of experience help her deliver only the best in management and support.

The inspiring growth in agile learning drew Renee to work with leaders in the educational field.

Renee gained extensive experience working with some of the largest commodity and financial corporations in Australia, acting as a core part in small start-ups and working with well-known thought leaders in diverse fields.

Originally from New Zealand, Renee now lives in Sydney, Australia.