Her Winning Life

Early Childhood:

Agnes Mary Wangari Gathumbi was born on 11th March, 1952 in Kiangunyi, Murang’a; the daughter of the late Arthur Mwangi and the late Teresia Wambui. Her grandparents were the late Mwalimu George Kinyua and late Elizabeth Wanja. She was followed by two brothers Elijah Njoroge and Michael Muriithi.

At early age after the demise of her parents, she together with her siblings, were brought up in a Christian family by their grandparents who inculcated into them the value of hard work.

According to family members, even in her childhood, she always looked meticulous, she must have borrowed a note from her Guka George’s book. She was also extremely protective of her family members and the those close to her and this held true to the end.

Academic Qualifications

The late Agnes started her early education at Kiangunyi Primary School from standard one up to standard seven then transferred to St. Ann’s Primary School Nairobi where she sat for her KCPE and excelled by attaining a grade “A” in all the subjects. She was then admitted to Nairobi Girls Secondary School (NGSS) where she did her “O” level and passed with high marks to proceed to Mary Leakey Girls for her “A” level where she also performed well.

She joined Nairobi University in 1973 and graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree in 1976. She later acquired a Post-graduate Diploma in Curriculum Development in 1985 from Kenyatta University and her zeal to excel in education in order to disseminate knowledge to others prompted her to enroll for a Master’s degree at Leeds University in UK in September 1986 and graduated in 1987.

In 1991 she proceeded to the University of Reading (UK) to pursue her doctorate degree and was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Language Education and her thesis was titled:  “Verbal Discourse Events in a Bilingual Formal Setting: Instructional Procedures Used in ESL Classrooms in Kenya. University of Reading, U.K.

Her Christian Life

Agnes was a devout and committed Catholic and had been baptized seven days after she was born and was given the name Mary after the mother of Jesus. Her Godmother was her late aunt Mrs. Catherine Wanjiku Ndung’u. She was later confirmed and given the name Agnes. She was a God fearing woman who encouraged her family in the Lord. She never had a cross word to say about anyone and always listened without judgment.

She was a dedicated member of Small Christian Communities in both Nairobi South C their original home and after moving to Thome Estate, she joined St. Anthony Small Christian Community within St. Gabriel Catholic Church and was its secretary from 2008 to 2012. Before her demise she had attained the position of Vice-moderator of the St. Anthony Small Christian Community.

She participated and contributed in many Church projects for her original Church (Kiangunyi), Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Nairobi South C and finally in St. Gabriel Catholic Church – Thome

She was also a committed member of Catholic Women Association and she was the chairperson of its Finance Committee for the period 2014 to 2016.

Marriage and Family Life:

Agnes married the love of her life Julius S. Gathumbi on 31st January 1976 at Kiangunyi Catholic Church in Kangema, Murang’a. On 22nd April she was blessed with her first baby girl Christine Wairimu and 2 years later on 16th June 1978 she was blessed with her second daughter Stella Wambui who is named after her mother then 2 years later the last born of the family Anabel Wachui was born on 27th September 1980.

Mama Wairimu, as she was affectionately referred to by her family and friends, was a loving wife and a caring mother to her children who included her son in love Steve Nduati Muriu and she was a dotting grandmother to her grandchildren Jeremy Muriu Nduati, Jasmine Wangari Nduati and Jaida Wangari Nduati.

Mama Wairimu was very fond of gathering her nuclear and extended family together for celebrations in her Thome home particularly for special family days like birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas which many of you here can attest to.  She was a very generous woman who would give the shirt off her back to help someone in need.

Her advice was always sound and never steered anyone wrong. Everyone who has spoken about her has said she was a motherly figure and an inspiration to them.

She was a disciplinarian and always expected everyone to do the right thing regardless of age. Despite that she always had an infectious smile and laugh. She also had a very good sense of humor.

Employment

Prof Agnes Gathumbi has had an illustrious career in the education sector. She has made a great contribution to the area of Language education as a teacher, lecturer, curriculum developer and an author of English language textbooks for both basic and higher education. She worked for the Teachers Service Commission from 1976 to 1984 as a Graduate High School Teacher of English Language, Literature in English and Kiswahili). From 1984 to 1989 she worked at the Kenya Institute of Education (Currently Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development) as a Senior Curriculum Specialist for English Language and Literature. In 1989, she was employed by Kenyatta University as a Tutorial Fellow, in the Department of Educational Communication and Technology. In 1992, she was promoted to the position of Lecturer. She managed to climb the academic ladder rising to the position of Senior lecturer in 2003, Associate Professor in 2008 and Full Professor in 2013. She taught and conducted research in the areas of Instructional Methods, Technology and Media in Education, English Language and Literature Education

Administration Experience

Prof Agnes Gathumbi has held many administrative positions in Kenyatta University. Between 2002 and 2004 she served as the Director, Basic Education Resource Center at KU.  From  2008  to 2012 she served as the Chairperson of the Department of Educational Communication and Technology at Kenyatta University. From 2013 to 2018 she served as the Director, Center for International Programmes and Collaborations at Kenyatta University. From 2018 until her demise, she was the Director, Teacher Professional Development and Teaching Practicum.

Awards and Recognition

Prof Agnes has been awarded many local and international research grants. For example, between 2016 and 2019 she was the Coordinator of European Union Erasmus+ Grant between Kenyatta University and universities from four other European countries on Staff and Students’ Mobility. From 2011 to 2014 she was the Principal (Lead) Investigator in USAID Sponsored Research Project: “Building Capacity Through Quality Teacher Preparation in Higher Education”, a  Research Project between Kenyatta University and Syracuse University, USA. Between 2002 and 2004 she was the Principal (Lead) Researcher in The Rockefeller Foundation Sponsored Grant to Develop English Literacy Norms for Quality Education Project” which was a regional project involving Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Prof Agnes Gathumbi has received global recognition for her work. In 2017 she was appointed by National Research Foundation (NRF) and Research and Innovation Support and Advancement (RISA) of South Africa, to Review, Evaluate and Rate the Quality of the Research Outputs and Standing of Prof Michael Van Wyk of University of South Africa (UNISA) for Purposes of his Promotion, in Curriculum and Instructional Studies. In 2010, she was nominated a Member of the Executive Editorial Board of the Intellect base International Consortium Journals, USA. In 2009, Prof Agnes Gathumbi was awarded the best Researcher of the Year, with the Highest Research Grants by Kenyatta University. In 2009, her name was included in the list of Marqui’s Who’s Who in the World for her Research Work in Education, in the 26th Edition, USA.

Research and Publications

Prof. Gathumbi is an accomplished researcher and author of approximately 40 scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals. She was the Principal Investigator in a collaborative Project between Kenyatta University and Syracuse University for Capacity Building of Teaching Staff in Educational Communication and Technology between 2010 and 2015.

Service to Community

Prof. Agnes Gathumbi has been involved in various community activities. She has served Kiangunyi Girls Secondary School as a member of the Board of Management from 2004 to 2012. At the time of her untimely demise she was in the list of those proposed to serve on the same board from 2019 to 2022. She had a great passion to serve the students and community that are not as advantaged as her family.

She has also been involved in Church Justice and Peace Commission where she trained parishioners on matters concerning leadership and integrity, peaceful co-existence, youth and society, negative ethnicity, environmental conservation & protection among others. She was a trustee and member of the Board of Kenya Association for Certified Training Providers for Industry.

We know that her legacy will live on in her husband, children, family, friends, and the thousands of people she touched along the way. She was an exceptional human being.

May she rest in God’s peace forever.

Early Childhood:

Agnes Mary Wangari Gathumbi was born on 11th March, 1952 in Kiangunyi, Murang’a; the daughter of the late Arthur Mwangi and the late Teresia Wambui. Her grandparents were the late Mwalimu George Kinyua and late Elizabeth Wanja. She was followed by two brothers Elijah Njoroge and Michael Muriithi.

At early age after the demise of her parents, she together with her siblings, were brought up in a Christian family by their grandparents who inculcated into them the value of hard work.

According to family members, even in her childhood, she always looked meticulous, she must have borrowed a note from her Guka George’s book. She was also extremely protective of her family members and the those close to her and this held true to the end.

Academic Qualifications

The late Agnes started her early education at Kiangunyi Primary School from standard one up to standard seven then transferred to St. Ann’s Primary School Nairobi where she sat for her KCPE and excelled by attaining a grade “A” in all the subjects. She was then admitted to Nairobi Girls Secondary School (NGSS) where she did her “O” level and passed with high marks to proceed to Mary Leakey Girls for her “A” level where she also performed well.

She joined Nairobi University in 1973 and graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree in 1976. She later acquired a Post-graduate Diploma in Curriculum Development in 1985 from Kenyatta University and her zeal to excel in education in order to disseminate knowledge to others prompted her to enroll for a Master’s degree at Leeds University in UK in September 1986 and graduated in 1987.

In 1991 she proceeded to the University of Reading (UK) to pursue her doctorate degree and was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Language Education and her thesis was titled:  “Verbal Discourse Events in a Bilingual Formal Setting: Instructional Procedures Used in ESL Classrooms in Kenya. University of Reading, U.K.

Her Christian Life

Agnes was a devout and committed Catholic and had been baptized seven days after she was born and was given the name Mary after the mother of Jesus. Her Godmother was her late aunt Mrs. Catherine Wanjiku Ndung’u. She was later confirmed and given the name Agnes. She was a God fearing woman who encouraged her family in the Lord. She never had a cross word to say about anyone and always listened without judgment.

She was a dedicated member of Small Christian Communities in both Nairobi South C their original home and after moving to Thome Estate, she joined St. Anthony Small Christian Community within St. Gabriel Catholic Church and was its secretary from 2008 to 2012. Before her demise she had attained the position of Vice-moderator of the St. Anthony Small Christian Community.

She participated and contributed in many Church projects for her original Church (Kiangunyi), Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Nairobi South C and finally in St. Gabriel Catholic Church – Thome

She was also a committed member of Catholic Women Association and she was the chairperson of its Finance Committee for the period 2014 to 2016.

Marriage and Family Life:

Agnes married the love of her life Julius S. Gathumbi on 31st January 1976 at Kiangunyi Catholic Church in Kangema, Murang’a. On 22nd April she was blessed with her first baby girl Christine Wairimu and 2 years later on 16th June 1978 she was blessed with her second daughter Stella Wambui who is named after her mother then 2 years later the last born of the family Anabel Wachui was born on 27th September 1980.

Mama Wairimu, as she was affectionately referred to by her family and friends, was a loving wife and a caring mother to her children who included her son in love Steve Nduati Muriu and she was a dotting grandmother to her grandchildren Jeremy Muriu Nduati, Jasmine Wangari Nduati and Jaida Wangari Nduati.

Mama Wairimu was very fond of gathering her nuclear and extended family together for celebrations in her Thome home particularly for special family days like birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas which many of you here can attest to.  She was a very generous woman who would give the shirt off her back to help someone in need.

Her advice was always sound and never steered anyone wrong. Everyone who has spoken about her has said she was a motherly figure and an inspiration to them.

She was a disciplinarian and always expected everyone to do the right thing regardless of age. Despite that she always had an infectious smile and laugh. She also had a very good sense of humor.

Employment

Prof Agnes Gathumbi has had an illustrious career in the education sector. She has made a great contribution to the area of Language education as a teacher, lecturer, curriculum developer and an author of English language textbooks for both basic and higher education. She worked for the Teachers Service Commission from 1976 to 1984 as a Graduate High School Teacher of English Language, Literature in English and Kiswahili). From 1984 to 1989 she worked at the Kenya Institute of Education (Currently Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development) as a Senior Curriculum Specialist for English Language and Literature. In 1989, she was employed by Kenyatta University as a Tutorial Fellow, in the Department of Educational Communication and Technology. In 1992, she was promoted to the position of Lecturer. She managed to climb the academic ladder rising to the position of Senior lecturer in 2003, Associate Professor in 2008 and Full Professor in 2013. She taught and conducted research in the areas of Instructional Methods, Technology and Media in Education, English Language and Literature Education

Administration Experience

Prof Agnes Gathumbi has held many administrative positions in Kenyatta University. Between 2002 and 2004 she served as the Director, Basic Education Resource Center at KU.  From  2008  to 2012 she served as the Chairperson of the Department of Educational Communication and Technology at Kenyatta University. From 2013 to 2018 she served as the Director, Center for International Programmes and Collaborations at Kenyatta University. From 2018 until her demise, she was the Director, Teacher Professional Development and Teaching Practicum.

Awards and Recognition

Prof Agnes has been awarded many local and international research grants. For example, between 2016 and 2019 she was the Coordinator of European Union Erasmus+ Grant between Kenyatta University and universities from four other European countries on Staff and Students’ Mobility. From 2011 to 2014 she was the Principal (Lead) Investigator in USAID Sponsored Research Project: “Building Capacity Through Quality Teacher Preparation in Higher Education”, a  Research Project between Kenyatta University and Syracuse University, USA. Between 2002 and 2004 she was the Principal (Lead) Researcher in The Rockefeller Foundation Sponsored Grant to Develop English Literacy Norms for Quality Education Project” which was a regional project involving Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Prof Agnes Gathumbi has received global recognition for her work. In 2017 she was appointed by National Research Foundation (NRF) and Research and Innovation Support and Advancement (RISA) of South Africa, to Review, Evaluate and Rate the Quality of the Research Outputs and Standing of Prof Michael Van Wyk of University of South Africa (UNISA) for Purposes of his Promotion, in Curriculum and Instructional Studies. In 2010, she was nominated a Member of the Executive Editorial Board of the Intellect base International Consortium Journals, USA. In 2009, Prof Agnes Gathumbi was awarded the best Researcher of the Year, with the Highest Research Grants by Kenyatta University. In 2009, her name was included in the list of Marqui’s Who’s Who in the World for her Research Work in Education, in the 26th Edition, USA.

Research and Publications

Prof. Gathumbi is an accomplished researcher and author of approximately 40 scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals. She was the Principal Investigator in a collaborative Project between Kenyatta University and Syracuse University for Capacity Building of Teaching Staff in Educational Communication and Technology between 2010 and 2015.

Service to Community

Prof. Agnes Gathumbi has been involved in various community activities. She has served Kiangunyi Girls Secondary School as a member of the Board of Management from 2004 to 2012. At the time of her untimely demise she was in the list of those proposed to serve on the same board from 2019 to 2022. She had a great passion to serve the students and community that are not as advantaged as her family.

She has also been involved in Church Justice and Peace Commission where she trained parishioners on matters concerning leadership and integrity, peaceful co-existence, youth and society, negative ethnicity, environmental conservation & protection among others. She was a trustee and member of the Board of Kenya Association for Certified Training Providers for Industry.

We know that her legacy will live on in her husband, children, family, friends, and the thousands of people she touched along the way. She was an exceptional human being.

May she rest in God’s peace forever.