Hongqiao Lower School
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!
My name is Athena Au and I am excited to be coming back to SCIS for another year with the Grade 4 team. 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 10th 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!
Hello, my name is Ashley Cespedes Black and I teach Grade 5. I joined SCIS in the fall of 2018 and I’m so excited to continue my time here. My family is from Peru and I grew up in Central Florida where I earned my Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and began my IB teaching career. Four years later I moved to Portland Oregon where I received my Master’s degree in Leadership and Policy for Sustainability Education from Portland State University and continued to work within the IB program while in Portland. In my free time, I enjoy playing soccer, going on hikes and exploring art museums. My passion for education over the last 10 years has brought me to Shanghai where I’ve had the privilege to work in such a culturally diverse setting here at SCIS.
Kia ora. I am Jane Coles from Wellington, New Zealand. I have a Bachelor of Music with a Piano Performance major. I have been teaching classroom music in New Zealand schools for many years. My teaching has led me to be a proponent for the PYP philosophy of education and this is what I am particularly excited to be involved with at SCIS. I see many benefits in an inquiry-based education for children and I am looking forward to working collaboratively with the Lower School teachers. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year at SCIS and I know that this year will be just as fulfilling.
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!
Hello! My name is Sara Davidson and I am delighted to have joined the SCIS community. Originally from Wales, UK I have relocated to Germany twice, the USA twice and Switzerland. Having taught in International schools for all of my teaching career, this is my 20th year in an IB school. To say I love elementary teaching is an understatement! We moved to Shanghai to experience Asia and love the vibrancy of the community and the big city! I have a daughter who attends University in the UK studying Criminal Justice and a son who attends middle school here at SCIS. Having gained multiple degrees in Banking & Finance, Education, Inclusive Education, Educational Philosophy I aim to complete my Ph.D. which has focused on transition and its effects on children within international schools. I am excited to be here at SCIS and look forward to traveling and experiencing what Asia has to offer.
Hello! My name is Leslie Deal, and I am excited to be starting my sixth year on the 4th grade team at SCIS. I feel truly privileged to be a part of such a diverse and caring community of learners and educators. I was born, raised, and educated in Charlottesville, Virginia. There, I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Master of Teaching degree from The University of Virginia (Go Hoos!). I have spent time teaching in the U.S.A., France, and China. Living in Shanghai is an incredible experience and I love being a part of this wonderful school. I am looking forward to a great year! Please feel free to email me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 following in their footsteps. 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.
Howdy! I grew up in foothills of South Carolina and spent ten years in Atlanta before I moved to South Korea to teach abroad for one year. I became enamored with working in international schools and that “one year” has quickly turned into eight in Asia. After some time in Korea and before my move to China, I worked at a school in Laos where I gained experience in and a passion for the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP). I am certified in Early Childhood Education, Special Education, and am a Google Certified Innovator. I look forward to bringing this passion, experience, and expertise to a new class full of enthusiastic Grade 3 Learners. There are moments I can’t believe I made it from my hometown with a population of just five hundred fifty and no traffic light half way around the world to Shanghai with its 24 million people. To this end, I’m grateful to be a part of Shanghai Community International School, which has kept me grounded with the sense of community and family my roots long for.
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 Tara Morgan, and I am so thrilled to be returning for my 6th year at SCIS! I am originally from Middle Tennessee, but spent a few years in Plano, Texas, before moving to this incredible city! Along with my teaching certificate from the great state of Texas, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix, and am now currently pursuing my Master’s degree through SUNY Buffalo. This will be my 9th year teaching, and my experience includes a wide array of levels including Kindergarten, 2nd grade, 5th grade, 6th/7th English & Reading, Special Education-Behavior, and Gifted & Talented. Each experience has provided me with something unique and special, and with this, I know that I am always learning and growing as an individual and educator.
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! 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!
Hi, my name is Betty Lu. I am originally from Anhui, a really beautiful province in China. I earned my Master of Teaching Chinese as A Second Language at Nanjing Normal University in 2017. I was very proud to join SCIS right after my graduation. This year will be my third year in SCIS but the first year in Lower School. I have been in the area of TCASL for almost nine years, teaching students Mandarin from different ages and countries. I have been in the area of IB for almost three years which let me be more creative and passionate. I love being a Mandarin teacher, studying together with my students and trying to make Mandarin fun and easy. I am sure it will be another exciting year for both me and our students in SCIS. Let’s enjoy!
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 now thrilled to be working with the outstanding Grade 5 team at 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’m very excited to be back in Shanghai where I previously called home for 6 years. I have taught elementary students exclusively for the past 11 years at International schools in Korea, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates. I studied in Canada where I earned my bachelor’s degree at Waterloo University and my teaching degree at the University of Ottawa. 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.
My name is Cathy Morris. I am originally from the United Kingdom but have lived and travelled extensively since becoming a teacher. I have earned a Master of Education in Applied Linguistics from the Open University in the U.K., along with a Post Graduate Certificate of Education from Cambridge University. I have taught in international schools in Beijing, Moscow, and Zug, Switzerland. I am here in Shanghai with my husband, Paul Pavao, who teaches Grade Three, and my two young children who are both enrolled at the ECE campus. Guiding young learners through the Primary Years Programme and using an inquiry model to inspire children’s thinking are passions of mine. I started teaching Grade 1 here at SCIS in 2016 and am excited to begin another year of learning as part of this community.
Hi everyone, my name is Brendan Newman and I am delighted to be your Lower School PE Teacher this year. This is now my 9th year at SCIS, and I am proud to be a part of this wonderful community in Shanghai. 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, but more specifically hockey, baseball, rugby, and American football. Teaching is the perfect job for me, as each day I enjoy learning, overcoming challenges, and laughing alongside my students.
My name is Paul Pavao and I have been teaching at SCIS since 2017. I am in Shanghai with my wife, Cathy, who also teaches in the Lower School, our son, Arlo, and daughter, Tessa, both of whom attend the ECE. 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 Honqiaos vibrant team of educators. My wife Jessica, who also teaches at SCIS, and I come from Ontario, Canada and are excited to be back in Shanghai with our daughter Sloane and son, Will. I have taught internationally for 11 years in Honduras, South Korea, Vietnam, The United Arab Emirates, and China. My Bachelor of Education from Trent University and a Masters Degree in Educational Technology from Walden University have been put to good use 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 19 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 Hanna Spring-Peers and I am from Toronto, Canada. I have been at SCIS since 2017 and I love being a part of the SCIS community. I have also lived and taught in South Korea, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. I completed my Bachelor of Education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and I am currently pursuing my Masters in Education at Nipissing University. I believe that the PYP is such an incredible and thought-provoking way to look at education, as it truly nurtures and fosters the development of caring global citizens!
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!
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 am continuing 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.
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 the Grade 2 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 12th year with the SCIS schools. I was born in Nashville, Tennessee, but I have spend almost all of my life in the greater China area in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Hangzhou, and now Shanghai. I have a bachelors degree in International Relation from Middle Tennessee State University, a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from 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 and our daughter, Anastasia, who loves being an SCIS Dragon just as much as I do!