January 24 is the International Day of Education, celebrating what the United Nations describes as a “fundamental human right” and “the bedrock of societies, economies, and every person’s potential.”

The purpose of Cisco Networking Academy is to empower all people with career possibilities, helping them achieve their potential. There are currently 3.7 million people in 190 countries learning with Cisco Networking Academy.

In our 11,700 Academies, 29,700 instructors are dedicated to inspiring learners with IT and digital skills education.

Many of those instructors were inspired by their own teachers and are now paying it forward. An enthusiastic teacher makes learning fun. And studies show that teacher enthusiasm can enhance student learning outcomes.

On International Day of Education, we’d like to thank all of our dedicated instructors, and we are proud to share some of their inspiring stories.

Thank you for partnering with us!

Johannes Pule Khutsoane, South Africa

Johannes Pule Khutsoane

Johannes Pule Khutsoane, from South Africa, overcame financial hardship to complete his Cisco Networking Academy studies. Being taken under his instructor’s wing helped. He was so impressed with the course he went on to become an instructor himself.

“I underwent training to become a certified instructor which allowed me to give back to my community. I have been training Networking Academy programs for the past five years,” he says.

“Seeing the positive impact on their lives and witnessing their growth and success in the tech industry is incredibly inspiring,” he says. “It motivates me to continue my efforts and find new ways to contribute to my community’s development.”

Dr Gabriella Arellano, United States

Dr. Gabriella Arellano

Dr Gabriella Arellano is the Cybersecurity Faculty and Continuing Education Coordinator at Sitting Bull College on Standing Rock Reservation in the United States. Gabriella became an instructor after already having attained a master’s degree in education, curriculum, assessment, and instruction.

“It was just such a life saver to be able to transition and teach all these courses. I’m amazed by the level of support that Cisco has provided to me as an instructor,” she says.

“Students are very engaged,” she says. “For their midterms, for their finals, even the assignments, the Cisco Packet Tracer assignments that they do…they’re always emailing me: ‘Hey, did you see how I did here?’ Students get very engaged with the material, which is very nice.”

Neil Hines, Australia

Neil Hines

Neil Hines in Australia was struggling after losing 35% of his vision, but after completing a Cisco Networking Academy IT Essentials course, his instructor pulled him aside and asked whether he’d like to become an instructor at Cisco Academy for the Vision Impaired (CAVI) in Perth.

“CAVI had a very profound effect on my life considering where I was going. I didn’t really have a pathway, as opposed to now. Having a career and a pathway, that certainly wasn’t there when I lost part of my vision,” he says.

Arnaud Burlion, France

Arnaud Burlion

Arnaud Burlion from France, says he wasn’t a “model schoolboy” because school didn’t motivate him. Arnaud dropped out of high school and enrolled in the army, serving for five years in the Chasseurs Alpins regiment.

“I wanted to resume my studies, but in something that I was passionate about,” he says. “At Paris-Saclay University I was guided by an instructor at the best networking school: Cisco Networking Academy.”

After going on to become a Cisco Networking Academy instructor, Arnaud realized how much he could have achieved at school. “When I saw the first reaction of my students, the first year I taught, when they understood how computer communications really worked, I realized how much I enjoyed teaching. Especially with the Cisco Networking Academy program. I was happy to convey knowledge the way I would have liked when I was at school,” he says.

Jim Elkins, United States

Jim Elkins

Jim Elkins of North Tech Missouri, in the U.S., fell into IT education and went on to become an advocate—and a popular one too, if the sheer numbers of students praising his teaching methods are any indication.

His own Cisco Networking Academy instructor inspired Jim. The “instructor was incredible, and he really got me interested,” he says. “I’d never had anything like that in college and I’d never even thought that there was that kind of material out there, so it really opened my eyes a lot.”

Jim’s students are so engaged that even after graduation and entering the workforce, many come back to talk to current students. “That’s what makes it more amazing and why we continue to have success,” he says, “because the current students are looking at the graduates that are coming in, and they’re like, ‘they were me five years ago!’”

Gloria Castro, Chile

Gloria Castro

Despite being raised in a rural area in Chile and economic challenges, Gloria Castro qualified as an Electronic Engineer, a role she says “was not well regarded for a woman at that time.”

“My goal was to study,” she says. “My teachers encouraged and motivated me to continue advancing.”

After she had earned a job with the University of Tarapacá as a laboratory instructor, in 2003 Gloria was sent to the US to study to become a Cisco Networking Academy instructor—Chile’s first female instructor. “To have the opportunity to be a Cisco Networking Academy instructor, motivating and teaching students who open new doors in their professional lives,” is something that Gloria says is a defining moment in her life.


These are just some of our amazing Cisco Networking Academy instructor stories.

Find out more on how to teach with us



Laura Quintana

Vice President and General Manager

Cisco Networking Academy