Hongqiao Lower School
I am pleased to have been the Principal of the SCIS Lower School for the past four years. My personal learning journey began in Canada and has expanded with my family through Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Europe. My initial interests in photography and filmmaking led to a degree in communications followed later by studies in environmental science and economics. Eventually, a career in teaching led to a degree in Education followed by a Masters in Administration and Leadership. My principal qualifications came through the Ontario Principal Counsel. In the past, I have been Learning Technology Coordinator in Hong Kong and administrator in Canada and Kuwait. Coming back to China has been a wonderful experience with many more adventures yet to be had and many interesting people to meet. The SCIS Community is a wonderful group of people and I am proud to be part of it.
Hello! My name is Kristie O’Brien, and I have been working at SCIS since July 2015 along with my husband, Mathias. We have a daughter in the Upper School and a son in the Lower School. I am from Minnesota, USA, where I earned an undergraduate degree and elementary teaching license from Macalester College; a Master of Arts in English as a Second Language (ESL) and an ESL teaching license from Hamline University; and a Master of Education in Leadership in Education and K-12 Principal License from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining SCIS, I taught elementary general education, elementary ESL, and high school ESL in Minnesota and Puerto Rico. I was also the ESL coordinator for a school district in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area for six years. My family and I love the vibrant city of Shanghai and enjoy being a part of the warm community of SCIS!
Hongqiao Lower School
(By Last Name)
Hello SCIS! Originally from beautiful western Michigan, I earned my bachelor’s degree in elementary education and social studies at Grand Valley State University. From there I moved to Seoul, South Korea teaching ESL and was fortunate enough to explore many of the amazing countries of Asia. Following these adventures, I moved to the very exciting country of Venezuela where I taught first and fifth grades. Looking to further my education, I earned a master’s degree in international teaching from Framingham State University. My passions within the classroom include: creating nurturing learning environments, educating the whole child, and using real-life experiences to engage students. I first joined SCIS in 2015 and am honored to be a part of the great Dragon community of learners and educators here in Shanghai!
I am thrilled to begin my journey with the SCIS community! I was born and raised on a small island in Nova Scotia, Canada where I earned my bachelor degrees in psychology and elementary education. Prior to arriving in Shanghai, I worked in the U.A.E. and Panama, where I have taught second, fourth and fifth grade. In the classroom I strive to create a community of thinkers who are compassionate, respectful and innovative humans. I am passionate about student agency and giving young minds the opportunity to take action and make a difference in the world. When I am not at school, I love reading, fitness classes and travelling the world. I cannot wait to start exploring Shanghai, and everything else that this beautiful country has to offer.
My name is Athena Au and I am excited to be coming back to SCIS for another year. I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and raised in a small prairie town. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English and Geography and a Bachelor of Education. This is my 11th year of teaching and I have had the opportunity to teach abroad in Egypt and Abu Dhabi as well. In the classroom, I am passionate about student agency, using technology to demonstrate learning, especially iMovie, and involving students in the greater school community. I love being part of service activities in the community, especially with The Giving Tree. Outside of the classroom, I love to read, be mindful and meditate, and be planning the next travel adventure!
I am honored to teach a fantastic group of learners and work with an outstanding team of educators here at SCIS! I am from Florida, USA, where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of South Florida. Though I am originally from the USA, I have lived and worked in Uganda (Peace Corps Volunteer), Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and Australia. I have nineteen years of teaching experience in the fields of physical education, health, science, and administration. My personal interests revolve around traveling to fascinating places, exploring world cultures, being a responsible global citizen, and living an active and healthy lifestyle. I am passionate about surfing and have traveled the world in search of the perfect wave. It is great to be part of the SCIS community. Go Dragons!
Hello, my name is Brent Blalock and I am an artist, teacher, traveler, and musician. I like to combine all my interests inside the classroom to make learning fun and innovative. The exploration of creativity is my passion and I believe that all children have creative potential and it is my responsibility to help them hone this skill. I spent my first 9 years teaching art to K-grade 5 students in a public school in Georgia, USA. I am thrilled to say that I have completed my fifth year as a SCIS dragon and as an international teacher. I love this school and I hope to be a part of the SCIS family for a long time. I have a bachelors’ degree in art from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Hi! My name is Cyna Dai. My hometown is Shanghai, China. I received my B.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language from East China Normal University and another B.A. in English Linguistics and Literature from Shanghai International Studies University. I have been at SCIS since 2012. During the 2016 school year, I left SCIS and gained one year of experience in Shanghai United International School as a classroom teacher. I have a passion for teaching and exploring new things and I hope I can pass this passion onto my students. Beyond teaching, I love to practice yoga. I look forward to a great school year and let’s make Mandarin learning fun and easy together!
Hi! I’m Andre Denomme, a Canadian from the city of Toronto. As an international teacher, I feel truly privileged to be able to pursue my passion for education while also getting to learn about this amazing planet its people. Before joining the fantastic SCIS community, I taught in Korea and Colombia. Both of my parents are retired educators, and I am honored to be carrying on the “family business.” My teaching philosophy is centered around Growth Mindset and harnessing curiosity to drive learning. I enjoy expressing my creativity through photography and my favorite way to get exercise is by playing sports, such as hockey, soccer, and basketball.
My name is Jackie and I am very excited to be joining the Grade two team at SCIS! I am originally from New York. I earned by bachelor’s degree at Franklin and Marshall College and shortly after graduating I accepted my first teaching position overseas in Thailand. I spent the last three years in Kuwait and I am very excited to explore a
Greetings! My name is Emily Hastings, and I come to SCIS with over 7 years of experience in Speech-Language Pathology. I am a Canadian who has worked in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. I earned my First Class Honours in Psychology at Mount Allison University and my Masters of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at Dalhousie University. I also hold certifications from Speech-Language Audiology Canada (SAC), and programs including It Takes Two to Talk- The Hanen Program for Parents of Children with Language Delays and the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Over my career, I have worked with a wide range of individuals with communication disorders. I look forward to helping my students reach their full potential, as communication lays the foundation for learning. I am passionate about working as a team with parents and teachers to help children develop strong speech and language skills. Here’s to a wonderful year!
Hello! My name is Tracy Huang. I am from Shanghai China. I graduated from Shanghai Normal University (SHNU) and was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in elementary school education. My passion and interest in international school education led me to continue my study at State University of New York, Buffalo and was awarded a degree in master of science. During my study, I also took the course of teaching English to speakers of other languages, teaching Mandarin to speakers of other countries and I was certified of Advanced TESOL, TCSOL, and TCFL qualifications. I have joined SCIS since 2012. In this coming school year, I will continue to teach Mandarin in Lower School. I am very proud of being a member of SCIS, such a diverse, caring, and supportive community. I enjoyed every minute teaching students in SCIS who are very smart, creative, and energetic. In my free time, I like reading and writing, swimming, practicing yoga, and traveling to explore different regions and cultures. I am looking forward to another great school year.
Hola amigos! This is my first year at SCIS and I am excited to join this wonderful learning community! I have been living and working in Beijing for three years teaching at a trilingual school. This will be my tenth year working in the classroom and my seventh year as a homeroom teacher. I was born in California and grew up in a bilingual and bicultural home. I received all my higher education from San Francisco State University including my Bachelor of Arts (2009), Multiple Subject teaching credentials with a bilingual authorization (2013), and Master of Arts in Education (2016). My favorite subjects to explore with my students are Literacy, Art, Geography, and Social Studies. My favorite holiday is Halloween. My hobbies are gardening, painting, and music.
Hi, I am Jean Li. I graduated from Fudan University with BA in History. Being with children and watching them growing is the happiest thing in my life. I had been teaching Mandarin at SCIS for two and a half years before I had my daughter seven years ago. It was so happy to be back to SCIS three years ago. Every time when a middle school or high school student recognizes me in campus, I feel so proud and touched. So nice to see the kids growing, and I will try my best to help them with their Mandarin learning. I love this school.
Hello! I’m so excited to be back in China and part of the SCIS family. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, I grew up in a community filled with beauty and diversity which gave me a curiosity to see the world and experience new cultures. So I packed my bags and headed to Europe for a year of adventure which turned into ten years of teaching and learning, new friendships, and personal growth. I have taught Early Childhood in Spain, Beijing, and Mexico- loving every school, city, and culture on this amazing journey. Working with our little learners brings me so much happiness – their curious minds and laughter make teaching rewarding and fun. I’m excited to make Shanghai my new home and ready to explore and eat my way through this beautiful city!
Hello, my name is Solay Lor. Born in Cambodia, my family and I migrated to a suburb of Chicago when I was two years old. It was in Illinois that I earned my Bachelor of Science in Education with a double major in Spanish. Recently I completed my Master’s Degree in Education in conjunction with an IB Educator Certificate from the University of Bath, UK. I taught third grade in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; second grade in Singapore; and first and fourth grade in Shanghai. I am so happy to be part of the SCIS community. It’s no secret that I love living in Shanghai, where every day I meet new challenges and learn something new.
Hello! My name is Corinne Lorence, and I’m from the beautiful state of Alaska! I am thrilled to be a part of the student support team at SCIS, working as a Student Support Teacher in the Lower School. I spent the early part of my career in special education in Minneapolis Public Schools before moving with my husband to Doha, Qatar. In Doha, I taught a first-grade special education class and served as Lead Teacher and Academic Coordinator before joining the SCIS Community. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul and a Master’s degree and dual licensure in Emotional Behavior Disorders and Learning Disorders from Augsburg College. I am passionate about collaboration and developing and delivering quality instruction to meet student needs. My goal is to build relationships with students, staff, and families to create communities of support where students can thrive. In addition to teaching, I love spending time with my two young children and my husband, enjoying literature, music, travel and the great outdoors. We feel so fortunate to be a part of the SCIS family!
Hello! Although I was born and raised in the tiny farming town of St. Andrews West, Ontario, I’ve had the incredible experience of living, learning, and teaching abroad for over 13 years. Before obtaining my Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa, I earned a degree in design and communications from the University of Western Sydney in Australia. I have taught at international schools in Turkey, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand, and am thrilled to be a part of the outstanding Grade 5 team on the SCIS Hongqiao campus! My passions outside of teaching are food, travel, and the great outdoors.
Hello SCIS community, I am Jessica Manni and I am from Ontario, Canada. I am excited for my second year at SCIS Hongqiao. I have taught elementary students exclusively for the past 12 years at international schools in Korea, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, and for 6 years previously in Shanghai. I studied in Canada where I earned my bachelor’s degree at the University of Waterloo, my teaching degree at the University of Ottawa, and my Master’s degree at Walden University. My husband is also a teacher SCIS and we are here with our two children Sloane and William. I have a passion for health, fitness, traveling, cooking, and of course, trying as many international cuisines as possible. I look forward to sharing these passions with the SCIS community.
Greetings! I’m Jenni Marotto and I’ve been part of the SCIS community since 2015. I’m a graduate of the University of North Texas and received my Master’s Degree through the State University of New York. I am a firm believer that every learner can succeed, and I am passionate about learning being contextualized in content for English Learners. I started my professional career in education in 2007 and I’ve had the opportunity to learn and work in curriculum development, program coordination, and in my favorite position, teaching! After teaching in Texas my husband and I taught at an international school in Vietnam before moving to Shanghai to join SCIS. Since arriving in Shanghai our family has doubled in size! Our son and daughter were both born here and bring such joy to our lives. We love and adore them more than words can describe. Aside from spending time with my wonderful family, I enjoy traveling, grilling, and training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when I have time. My favorite animals are elephants, tropical penguins, and monkeys!
Howdy! My name is Johnny Marotto, and I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. I graduated from the University of North Texas and received my Master’s Degree from the State University of New York. I have been an enthusiastic educator of elementary grades for the last several years and have a great deal of experience effectively working with English Learners. I began my teaching career in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th-grade classrooms in Dallas, taught 5th grade for a few years at an international school in Vietnam, taught 2nd grade here at SCIS for 3 years, and I am thrilled to be at SCIS for my 5th year with more amazing students! After work, you’ll find me spending time with my lovely wife, son, and daughter.
My name is Karen Miller and I joined SCIS as a Grade 1 teacher in 2015. I grew up in Seattle, Washington in the United States where I attended the University of Washington for my Bachelors of Liberal Arts degree. I then furthered my studies at Heritage University for my Masters in Teaching. Before coming to Shanghai I taught several years at the primary level in Seattle and Doha, Qatar. In my time outside of school, I enjoy traveling, hiking, reading, and spending time with friends and family. I am excited to live in vibrant Shanghai and continue to be a part of the SCIS community.
Hi everyone, my name is Brendan Newman and I am delighted to be at SCIS Hongqiao for my 10th year. I grew up and completed my education in Ontario, Canada, at both the University of Waterloo and Queen’s University. Previously, I have worked and lived in Macau, Honduras, South Korea, and Australia. The students that I teach at SCIS will agree that I am passionate about sports, reading, writing, and any sort of competitive game. Teaching is the perfect job for me, as each day I enjoy learning, overcoming challenges, and laughing alongside my students.
Hello! My name is Elsie Paulsen. For the past eight years, I’ve been living and working abroad in various international school settings. I love working with people from all over the world. Originally from South-Africa, I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education at North West University in Potchefstroom. I am joined by my husband and two young children. In my time outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family, trying out new restaurants in the city, and doing pottery. It’s a tremendous privilege for me to join the Shanghai Community Lower School and to work on such an outstanding team.
My name is Paul Pavao and I have been teaching at SCIS since 2017. I am in Shanghai with my wife, Cathy, our son, Arlo, and daughter, Tessa. I have a Master of Education in Instructional Media from Wilkes University in the U.S., along with a Bachelor of Education (K-8) and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History from Queen’s University in Canada. I have been teaching in international schools 20 years, first as an elementary classroom teacher, and then five years as a technology integrationist in Moscow, Russia, and Zug, Switzerland. I am looking forward to another great year at SCIS.
Greeting SCIS community! I am originally from Missouri, yet consider the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado in the United States home. I received my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in early childhood and middle-level education from Missouri State University and a master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of Missouri. Prior to joining SCIS, I taught in Missouri, Colorado, Egypt, and Thailand at the elementary level, kindergarten through fifth grade, while coaching at the secondary level. Most recently, I have transitioned from the classroom to the counseling role by receiving my master’s in School Counseling from Adams State University and have been a K-8 counselor in Hong Kong. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, photography, playing volleyball, spending time outdoors, exploring and learning about my host city. I am excited to be a member of the SCIS family.
My name is Josh Pike, and I am extremely excited to be part of the SCIS Hongqiao’s vibrant team of educators. My wife Jessica, who also teaches at SCIS, and I come from Ontario, Canada and we are here with our daughter Sloane and son, Will. I have taught internationally for 13 years in Honduras, South Korea, Vietnam, The United Arab Emirates, and China. My Bachelor of Education from Trent University, Masters Degree in Educational Technology from Walden University, and Educational Leadership Certification from Liverpool-Hope University have been put to good use by guiding my instruction in third grade, fourth grade, Physical Education, and Administrative positions. I look forward to applying my passion for technology, athletics, coaching, and healthy living to inspire risk-taking from the students in the SCIS community.
My name is Mary Frances Pollard and I am excited to be part of the SCIS community. Home is the Northern Virginia area of the United States. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bridgewater College, a Master’s degree in Teaching from George Mason University, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership from the College of New Jersey. Over the last 20 years, I have taught in first, third, fourth, and fifth grade as well as serving as a Math resource teacher. My teaching career has taken me to Virginia, Moscow, Russia, Lima, Peru, and Bucharest, Romania. Outside of school, I enjoy reading, traveling, cooking, and singing.
My name is Alexa Stamatyades and I am from Toronto, Canada. I graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts in English, History and Literary Studies. After this, I attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario where I received my Bachelor of Education. Prior to SCIS, I taught grade one at an international school in San Pedro Sula, Honduras for three years. I have been at SCIS since 2015 and am thrilled to continue to be a part of the SCIS community!
Hi! My name is Brian Sternberg and I have taught P.E. at SCIS since 2016. I previously taught grades k-5 in Arizona, USA before moving to Shanghai. Coaching sports is a passion of mine. I have coached middle school sports such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, and floor hockey. I have a B.S. Degree from Arizona State University and I also attended the University of Arizona and West Virginia University. Playing ice hockey at all of these schools was a great experience and I am happy I can still play hockey here in Shanghai. Traveling along with trying new foods and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are things I like to do outside of school. I’m excited to be a part of the SCIS Lower School P.E. department and looking forward to a fun year filled with challenges and experiences that will help students learn cognitively, physically, and socially.
My name is Stacey Stoltz and I am one of the Lower School Music teachers. I’m originally from the Chicago area, and I attended Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin to get my degrees in Music Education and Percussion Performance. I’ve also taught in Kuwait, and Wuxi, China. In my spare time, I love to cook, do yoga, and explore new places. I am a drummer with a passion for global music, and I’m excited to continue making music with our students!
I was born and raised on the plains of Nebraska but consider the beaches of South Carolina home. I received my Bachelors of Science from Northwest Missouri State University in Elementary Education with a concentration in Social Sciences. Upon graduating I moved to South Carolina to teach second, fourth, and fifth grades before venturing overseas to Morocco. With a passion for learning, I continued my education with a Masters from Endicott College in International Education. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, trying new restaurants, exercising, meeting new people, and checking out what’s new in town. I look forward to exploring this new vibrant city and becoming apart of the SCIS community.
My name is Karri Thurston and I am from Canada. I am excited to be working at SCIS as a Grade Two teacher. I have already lived in Shanghai for two years but I am looking forward to being at a new school. I spend my weekends with friends enjoying all the city has to offer. I enjoy exploring the city on my bike. I have lived abroad for over 10 years. Before Shanghai, I was in Kuwait and South Korea, with a short stint in Japan. My immediate travel bucket list (which never gets shorter) includes Antarctica, The Galapagos, and India. During the summer I spend my time back in Canada with my nieces and nephews being the cool aunt.
Hello! My name is Vivian Wang. I’m from Nanjing China. I graduated from Nanjing Normal University. I have worked for over seven years in Shanghai United International School as a homeroom teacher teaching language, math, and the Unit of Inquiry. During these years, I attended many workshops required by IB both domestic and overseas. During my teaching career, I also took the course of teaching Mandarin to speakers of other countries and was certified of TCSOL and TCFL qualifications accredited by the Office of Chinese Language Council International（Han ban). The other two years of teaching experience is in Fushan Foreign Language School as Theme of Inquiry teacher, supporting to build up the curriculum.
I have joined in SCIS since 2013. This school year, I will continue to teach in the Lower School Mandarin department. I enjoy working here and am proud of our school-SCIS. I love young children in SCIS who are smart, creative, and dynamic.
I am looking forward to another fabulous school year.
My name is Ricky Whitfield and I am teaching Grade 4 this year at the Hongqiao Campus. I have been at SCIS since 2017. I am from sunny Sydney, Australia and moved abroad to teach in 2006. Previously I have taught in Hanoi, Tianjin, Bangkok, Europe, and Jordan. I graduated from the University of Western Sydney with a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) and then received my Bachelor of Teaching (Primary Education). I’m passionate about learning and right now I am trying to speak Mandarin! I spend my free time looking for vintage records and in book stores. I love pizza and spinach but not at the same time! A good weekend for me looks like Swing dancing on Friday night then a swim or run on Saturday followed up by some squash or tennis on Sunday.
Greetings SCIS Community! My name is Dalyce Yanisiew and I am thrilled to be a part of Lower School teaching team again this year. My previous experience includes teaching in the Kindergarten division both at SCIS and at an international IB school in Dubai, UAE. At both schools, I gained a wealth of knowledge about PYP and inquiry-based learning. Before moving abroad, I was living and teaching in my home country of Canada where I was lucky enough to remain at the same elementary school near Toronto for seven years. At this school, I taught a variety of ages and specialties including Kindergarten, Grade 4, Health & Physical Education and Core French. One of my passions is fitness so you will often find me participating in or coaching a variety of fitness activities both in and out of the classroom. In addition, I love to travel and explore new places. I look forward to continuing to explore all that Shanghai and China have to offer!
Hi, My name is Dan Zimmerman and this will be my 15th year with the SCIS schools. I was born in Nashville, Tennessee, but I have spent almost all of my life in the greater China area including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Hangzhou, and now Shanghai. I have a BA in International Relations from Middle Tennessee State University, a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Hong Kong, and a Masters Degree from SUNY Buffalo. In my time at SCIS I have taught beginners Mandarin, Preschool, Kindergarten, Grade 5, and now find myself with the great fortune of being the Campus Librarian. I live here with my wife, Hellen who teachers Mandarin in the Upper School, and our daughter Anastasia, who loves being a SCIS Dragon just as much as I do!