The role of the council is the coordination of all activities within EUDEC. Council is elected during a General Meeting (GM). The last full Council elections took place online at the end of June 2023. 2 Council seats are still empty. There will be a partial-election during the next GM.

Every month, there is a “coordination meeting”. They are open to every members, and all council members should attend. Their goal is talking about what’s going in the association, making sure the people of a circle know what the other circles are doing, and trying to help the members if they have any tension about any subject. It’s not a place for decisions: strategic decisions are taken during General Meeting (GM), non-strategic decisions are taken in circles.

The current members of the EUDEC Council are:

Martina Paone

Circle: Research and theory generation

I am Martina Paone, co-founder of QUEST, a European network of educational organisations that supports research, policy and projects for inclusive, democratic and sustainable education. Previously I co-founded the BOS Democratic School in Brussels. Currently I am the NGO director and head of research at QUEST, where – among other things- I coordinate a project on Democratic Education in State schools, a project on Democratic Education in Nature and a project on Sociocracy in School.

I have an academic background (a PhD in political science and one in International Relations and years of teaching experience in different universities). My research interests lie in the intersection between education, politics and social science with specific focus on democratic education and intersectionality.

I also have a passion for collaborative systems and organisational change; I am currently enrolled in the Sofa Academy to be certified as a Sociocracy Expert.

Paula Urban

Circle: Community animation

Hello, I’m Paula! I used to be a student at the “Freie Schule Leipzig”. I was there for ten years and have, now that I am 19, been in the public school system for 2 years. It has been very intriguing for me to see how unknown democratic education is, and I’d love to help change that.
So, I’m very happy to be here, and I am looking forward to support members in their discussions regarding EUDEC member relations, while also hoping to increase or restrengthen the presence of students and young people in EUDEC.

Ishaan Pandley

Circle: Support of schools and school-projects


Gabriel Groiss

Circle: External communication and lobbying
(+ Official officer: Vice Chair)
ggroiss (at)

My name is Gabriel Groiss, I’m living with my family in Tenerife (Spain). I was the pedagogical director of the Free-Democratic School in Nature “PlayaEscuela El Médano” ( we founded in 2016.

I’m an Educator trained in Germany, where I also worked since 2007 in different educational settings, but mainly in nature pedagogy.

As the coordinator of EUDECs external communication and lobbying circle I’m mainly interested in working to gain an increasing recognition of Democratic Education on an academic, political, legal, and in consequence also on an economical level, so more and more families will have access to self directed education.

Humankind won’t be free until we liberate children!

Looking forward to working together!



Official officers


Guilain Omont

Official officer: Treasurer
gomont (at)

I’m 41, I’ve been living in Berlin for 11 years. I do not work in a democratic school, but I’ve been an active member of EUDEC France for 7 years and of EUDEC Europe for almost 4 years. I have a 8 year-old son who is in a democratic school in Berlin. I’m very happy about it.



Wiebke Winkelmann

Official officer: Chair
wwinkelmann (at)

Hello, I am Wiebke, 50 years old, have raised 4 children who are/were at a democratic school. I work as a staff member and one of the two head teachers at the “Freie Schule Heckenbeck”, a democratic school in Lower Saxony, between Hanover and Göttingen, in Germany, which has been around for 20 years now.

I enjoy going to school every day because I find it a place where there is so much joy and creativity. What is important to me is a pedagogy that sees and values the children and young people, meets them without prejudice and on an equal footing, and helps them to develop and unfold their full potential by focusing on the strengths of each individual. Self-determination and co-determination of children and young people in decision-making processes and intergenerational cooperation are essential for me, and of course a great sense of humour.

I am the chairperson of the EUDEC and will also coordinate the circle of events and look forward to shaping many encounters with you together.