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Daniel Portelli

Head of Maths & Computing
[email protected]

My name is Daniel Portelli and I joined Headstart in January 2021. I am from Kent in the UK and moved to Thailand with my wife in June 2019. After my BSc at the University of Kent, I went to work for the UK government on engineering projects, then afterwards did a PhD in mathematics – more specifically mathematical modelling which is basically developing new mathematics to create virtual environments that are representative of real-life as possible. Why? To put simply, every time to drop your phone and it doesn’t break, this is due to mathematical modelling. Rather than building 1000s upon 1000s of phones to test under thousands and thousands of different conditions which would cost so much time and money, it is cheaper and more efficient to simulate these tests on a computer. To do this, however, you need to create a reality that is almost as real as real life, which is extremely challenging, both mathematically and computationally and requires the combination of knowledge and skills of mathematics, physics, computing and engineering. It was during this time I had a conversation with a friend of mine who asked me why in schools did they not teach us the more fascinating, challenging and interesting aspects of mathematics. Why did we have to wait until university to get those rewards. I decided then and there that I would bring this to schools and the best way to do this was to become a teacher. I obtained a Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarship from the Institute of Mathematics and did my teacher training PGCSE at Imperial College. After this, I taught GCSE and A-Level for several years at an international school in the UK, then moved to Bangkok as a Head of Department for another few years, before I joined Headstart as Head of Mathematics and Computing. I am very happy to be at Headstart and believe the school and the students to have huge potential. I see my role as helping all students of mathematics achieve not only the best they can academically but to fall in love with mathematics. Hopefully, even just by reading my profile, you have gained a bit of new insight into the nature of mathematics. In my free time, I like to go on walks, read, write, cook and spend time with my family – including my blind cat Beep-Boop. I am also a qualified public speaker from Toastmaster International.

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