“People can only feel responsible for what they create”

42 The Network
3 min readMay 29, 2024


After over 25 years spent working in the education sector, Oktawia Gorzenska spear-headed the launch of 42 Warsaw. From the campus’ early stages in May 2023 to her departure earlier this month, she reflects on the whole year she spent building the campus from the bottom up.

Hi Oktawia, you’ve been involved in some groundbreaking initiatives. Could you walk us through your impressive journey in education?

Certainly. I’ve spent over 27 years working in education, I’ve transitioned from teaching to leading public schools in Northern Poland. One of the highlights of my career was to launch several national programs and projects, including the establishment of the first Microsoft flagship school in Eastern Europe. I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate closely with government ministries to spearhead initiatives like the School for Innovators, aimed at fostering innovation in education.

I am also the author of a book focusing on change in education which underlines the importance of leadership, a topic I’m deeply passionate about.

As a member of various expert groups, I champion innovation and leveraging technologies in education. I strongly believe in their power to drive positive change.

What aspects did you enjoy the most as Director of 42 Warsaw?

I was truly inspired by the collaborative spirit on our campus. Witnessing our team coming together, sharint responsibilities, and growing alongside our students has been incredibly rewarding.

Every day, I was amazed by the effectiveness of peer-to-peer learning. Leading this innovative project in Poland has held immense significance for me. It’s not just about establishing something new; it’s about understanding and meeting the needs of our learners in a flexible structure. Being part of this transformative change was both exciting and enriching, as it allowed me to continually learn and evolve.

How do you envision the future of education?

For me, there are two crucial aspects. Firstly, to address societal needs through education, just like we do at 42. As education professionals, our goal must be to cultivate genuine learning communities that empower individuals to contribute positively to the world. Secondly, I strongly advocate for quality public education. I envision 42 as a beacon of innovation: not only showcasing our methods to other schools but also inviting education professionals, especially school leaders, to learn from us. I firmly believe in the value of sharing knowledge and inspiring one another. So by promoting peer-to-peer learning and project-based study, we aspire to enhance public education collectively.

42 has four core values (Openness, Excellence, Tech, and Ethics). Which one would you say is the most important to you and why?

I would choose Ethics, as it holds significant importance to me. It relates to how we collaborate with others and strive to enhance the educational experience for all. Additionally, I’d like to add the value of co-responsibility. While students benefit from our resources at 42 Warsaw, we also encourage them to actively contribute to our community.

Let’s wrap up with a fun one: why do you believe 42 Warsaw stands out as one of the best in the network?

42 Warsaw’s goal isn’t to compete; rather, it’s to foster teamwork and collaboration, which requires dedication from everyone involved! I personally consider that people can only feel responsible for what they create so it is not about dictating tasks, but rather embracing effective leadership.

Note: Oktawia Gorzenska left 42 Warsaw earlier this month after a whole year building it from the ground up. We would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her dedication and hard work, and wish her the best in her future endeavors!



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