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Sema Kızılkaya

CEO and Founder of Keystone International Schools in Istanbul and Canada.


Sema Kizilkaya Sever's life story is a testament to her enduring commitment to education and her passion for shaping young minds. Born in Istanbul, her journey has been marked by a dedication to learning and an eagerness to explore beyond her home city.

Sema has completed a Marketing Degree in Yeditepe University in Istanbul and an Early Childhood Education Diploma in Vienna, Austria. Her academic pursuits laid the foundation for her future in education.

In 1991, driven by her love for education, Sema founded a preschool and kindergarten for children aged 2-6, naming it after her daughter, Doğa. Under her leadership, the school thrived for 16 years before she passed its legacy to a larger educational chain. Sema sought international experience and found herself in Ottawa, where she worked as an assistant teacher at Carleton District School Board. During her time there, she gained exposure to diverse teaching methods, curriculum, and operational design, which broadened her perspective and enriched her professional experience.

When the time was right for her next venture, Sema drew from her accumulated experience to establish Keystone International School (K-12) for expatriate families, followed by the Kilittasi School Dual Program (K-8), for Turkish nationals. Sema continues to be deeply involved as the CEO. Keystone International Schools is accredited by WASC (Western Association of Colleges), and recently earned the status of a Canadian Offshore school, through the province of Prince Edward Island and continues offering the highest standards of education. 

Sema's creative side found expression in her writing. In 2010, she published her first children’s book, "Elden Ele" ("Handing it On"), inspired by a social responsibility project in the Muş district of Varto. Her literary journey has since continued with the release of several more children’s books.

Currently, Sema splits her time between Toronto and Istanbul. Her legacy is one of committed support for young learners, a passion for instilling global perspectives, and a meaningful contribution to the field of education. Sema's journey serves as an inspiration to educators, resonating with their own aspirations.

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