Our Teachers

Our Teachers

Educating, encouraging, inspiring...and always learning

Our commitment to the recruitment, professional development and strong support of our teaching staff is reflected in the excellent results we consistently achieve.

Highly experienced and qualified, over 40% have master’s degrees in their specialist subjects. Beyond their dedication and passion for their specialist areas, our teachers help students form connections across subjects and emphasize active, collaborative learning. We are proud to have an international faculty, over 45% of whom are American, that is enthusiastic about working in our diverse school community, where they continually inspire our young charges to achieve more.

Open-minded and curious, our teachers never stop learning. We prioritize their continuous professional development using the latest practices from leading educators. Only in this way can we ensure adherence to our professional standards, expectations and reputation. 

ISSP 2016-2017 Faculty

Mr. Steve Alexander

Steve Alexander


  • BA Education, University of Vermont M Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, University of Vermont
  • Completion of International Administration Program, College of New Jersey

I have more than 30 years’ experience as a teacher, principal and school head both in the USA and in nine countries internationally. I love working with children and my goal is to make sure they get the best education we can give them in a safe and happy environment.

Ms. Rae Lang

Deputy Principal

James Hardy


  • Bachelor of Education, University of Otago, Dunedin New Zealand
  • Diploma of Teaching, University of Otago College of Education, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • New Zealand Teachers Registration, New Zealand Teachers Registration Board

My education philosophy is to build learning capacity within children, through self-regulated learning, so children will strive to become life-long learners and global citizens. My classroom aims to physically and academically meet children’s individual learning styles, by creating work spaces that allow for co-operative learning, peer learning, teacher guided groups or quiet individual learning spaces. We also have a lot of fun, laughs and hands-on experiences...learning is FUN


Ms. Suzan Twigt
Early Education 1/Designated Safeguarding Lead

Suzan Twigt


  • Primary Education Certificate, Leide Hogeschool

I am an engaged and accomplished teacher with a B.Ed. in Early Years and Primary Education and have worked with national and international curriculums in various countries. Next to finding it important to teach, guide and help children to develop their language, literacy and numeracy skills, I find it equally important that children expand their curiosity and social skills, helping them to become lifelong learners and independent and responsible citizens of the world. Embracing the different cultures of the countries I have lived and worked in taught me to be open-minded, flexible and creative, in my professional and personal life.

Ms. Alpha Butil
Early Education 2, Early Education Coordinator 

Alpha Butil


  • Bachelor of Education in English (Secondary), Mindanao State University
  • Teacher Licensure (Board) Examination
  • TESOL Certificate, West Visayas State University
  • Certificate of Classroom Management West Visayas State University
  • Diploma of Montessori Early Childhood Education

All students have the capability for knowledge and learning, and they deserve their education to be in an encouraging and supportive environment. My classroom is a place where all diversities (academic, cultural, economic, etc.) will be embraced and celebrated. I maintain that all classroom activities should be engaging and authentic. I want my students to be inspired and motivated to learn and, furthermore, I want them to be able to apply everything they learn to their everyday lives. Thus, it is my goal to develop curriculum around student interests to foster intrinsic motivation and stimulate their passion to learn.

Ms. Gordana Upham
Early Education 2

Gordana Upham


  • Bachelor of Education, Canterbury University
  • Diploma of Home Management and Family Care, Rangi Ruru Nanny School

I am passionate educator with experience working internationally. I believe that students should be given opportunities to develop both personally and academically. As an educator, I wish to challenge students and ensure they become positive, independent and confident global citizens. I encourage students of all ability levels to be inquisitive and promote lifelong learning. I take pride in turning daily experiences into teachable, learning moments. I thoroughly enjoy caring for children, providing them with a safe learning environment in which they can grow.

Mr. Bruce Delaney
Early Education 3

Bruce Delaney


  • Master of Education, College of New Jersey
  • Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation, Suny Cortland University

I have been teaching for more than twenty years. This is my sixth year at ISSP and my first year in EE3 after five years in EE4. I am excited with the challenge of working with these younger students who are beginning their journey of blossoming in their educational growth. I am also excited to be part of an EE3 team of very experienced and effective EE teachers and Teaching Assistants. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities this year will provide and being a part of the growth that the children will make.

Ms. Lanie Nacario
Early Education 3

Lanie Nacario


  • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, Emilio Aguinaldo College
  • Bachelor of Special Education, University of the City of Manila

I believe learning should be fun and interesting. As an educator, it is my responsibility to provide opportunities for learning through exploration and first-hand experience in a safe environment. Students learn differently from each other and they have distinct skills and talents.

Ms. Helen Orobia
Early Education 3

Helen Orobia


  • Bachelor of Elementary Education St. Paul College of Ilocos Sur

I believe that very young learners thrive in a safe and nurturing environment. Providing them a learning space where they feel secure and that encourages exploration, sparks curiosity and motivates resourcefulness and creativity has always been one of my primary goals.

Ms. Jade Smith
Early Education 3

Jade Smith


  • BSc. Early Childhood Studies, Swansea University

This is my second year working at ISSP, this year I will be teaching EE3 alongside a great team of EE teachers. I believe that all children are unique and bring something special to education. My role as an educator is to provide the tools children need to gain a love of learning in a fun, stimulating environment. I thoroughly enjoy teaching children and feel honored to be a part of their learning experience.

Mr. Darren Clark
Early Education 4

Darren Clark


  • Bachelor of Arts, Communication, Culture and Media, University of Sunderland
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Education - University of Nottingham
  • Masters of Arts - Teaching English to Young Learners

Early Childhood Education is the beginning of a journey that continues on throughout their whole lives. Therefore it is my belief that the children who come into my classroom need to feel that learning is fun, that if fosters the development of their curiosity, readies their social skills as well as expands their creativity. Fostering a love of education.

Ms. Katherine Walkington
Early Education 4

Maera Palma


  • Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, Illinois State University
  • Approval to Work with Developmentally Delayed Children

As an educator I believe it is my job to support each child’s development and maturity intellectually, physically, emotionally, and socially. In order for this to happen it’s important to create an environment that is nurturing, engaging, supportive, and safe. Students should feel comfortable expressing themselves and sharing their ideas. Teachers should no longer be the primary source of information, but act as a guide to facilitate student directed learning. Children should be exploring and using discovery in order to construct their own knowledge and learn how to become problem solvers. It is my hope as an educator to insure student success while at the same time instilling a love of learning.

Ms. Maera Palma
Early Education 4

Maera Palma


  • BA Psychology, University of St. La Salle.
  • Teaching Certificate, PRC Philippines.
  • Continuing Graduate School Student for Early Childhood Education, University of St. La Salle

As an educator for early learners, I believe that children learn better through experience. In class, students must be encouraged and motivated to explore their environment which is why I believe the classroom must be a venue for memorable learning experiences.

I practiced this principle for 10 years that I have been an early childhood teacher. I promote an environment where my students and I learn, discover and experience things together. Play, is an important concept in my classroom and children must be allowed to have sufficient amount of time to play in order to know themselves better. I would like to continue promoting this philosophy in class as it is my advocacy to guide young minds to become global citizen of the community or world.

Ms. Simone Barrett

Simone Barrett


  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, York University
  • Bachelor of Education, The University of Winnipeg
  • Certified Teacher K-12

As a kindergarten teacher I believe it is important to nurture and help the curiosity of students flourish. My goal is to provide a positive learning environment in which students will develop a love of learning and a strong sense of self confidence. Students should feel safe to explore, initiate learning, and feel free to express themselves. This environment is created by teaching with patience, compassion, enthusiasm, and respect for each and every student as a unique individual.

Ms. Tiffany Clark

Tiffany Clark


  • BSc. Early Childhood Education, North Georgia College and State University

I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow emotionally, intellectually, physically and socially. It is my desire as an educator to help students reach their full potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking and invites a sharing of ideas. There are three elements that I believe are conducive to establishing such an environment; the teacher acting as a facilitator; allowing the child’s natural curiosity to direct his/her learning; and promoting respect for all things and people.

Ms. Elizabeth Elliott

Elizabeth Elliott


  • Masters of Education in International Education from Framingham State University
  • Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania

I believe in creating a positive and inviting learning environment where students feel comfortable taking risks. As a facilitator, I aim to engage students in lessons that appeal to many different learning styles so that all students can be successful. It is important to discover and encourage the strengths of each child as they have much to contribute to the world.

Ms. Amy Melton

Rebecca Hardy


  • Masters in Elementary Education, East Carolina University
  • Bachelors in Elementary Education, East Carolina University

As an educator, I believe in creating a positive and nurturing environment for my students. I learned through my teaching experience that providing hands-on learning engages the students. I want my students to become motivated learners by collaborating and problem-solving together. I aim the best that I can to make sure all my students succeed to the best of their abilities.

Ms. Hollie Slater
Grade 1

Hollie Slater


  • BSc (Hons) Psychology Degree, University of Southampton
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Education, University of Greenwich
  • Hospital Play Certificate with Young People and Children, Islington College of London

My teaching philosophy focuses on valuing each child as an individual, as well as part of a community. My aim is to inspire the love of learning and encourage each child to believe that they can achieve. I try to provide a stimulating classroom that promotes children’s curiosity and creativity, where they are encouraged to contribute to their own learning journey.

Ms. Carolyn French
Grade 2, Lower Elementary Coordinator 

Carolyn French


  • BA Sociology, University of Southern California
  • MA Elementary Education, University of Missouri at St. Louis

I want to create a classroom community where students are passionate about their education and excited to share their knowledge with the world. I believe in the importance of a collaborative learning environment, so that they my students learn to work together and support each other. I hope to develop lifelong learners.

Mr. Jonathan Molayem
Grade 2

Jonathan Molayem


  • BA Political Science, University of Southern California
  • MA Elementary Education, University of Southern California

As teachers, our goal is to make sure that every single student develops a passion for learning that will continue long after they leave our classrooms. The next generation of inventors, artists, and explorers are in our classrooms today, and we have the power to inspire our students to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Ms. Catherine Mihowich
Grade 3

Amanda Romano


  • BA English Literature, York University
  • MSc Education from D'Youville College
  • Education Specialist: Leadership from Liberty University
  • Member of the Ontario College of Teachers

My philosophy of education is that I believe all children can learn and it is the teacher’s duty to discover the styles and interests of their students. The classroom should be a safe and nurturing environment where students can explore the curriculum, set achievable goals, and engage in learning. Teachers are guides to ensure student success and preparation for the following academic year. My aim is to inspire a love of life-long learning. Over the past 10 years I have continued to be amazed at what students can achieve if provided the right tools and encouragement. Working as a team with parents is key to providing a positive learning environment where students can strive to reach their full potential.

Ms. Christine Schoaps
Grade 3

Christine Schoaps


  • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, Oklahoma State University
  • Master of Mathematics Education, Southwestern State University

I believe that all students can learn when they are accepted for who and where they are in their educational journey. Effective learning requires collaboration between teachers, students, and parents-- grounded in mutual respect and trust. I believe that learning takes place best in a positive and safe environment that is filled with laughter, play, discovery, and love. 

Mr. Thomas Rudduck
Grade 4, Upper Elementary Coordinator 

Thomas Rudduck


  • Sports Studies Bsc (Hons) University of Southampton
  • Qualified Teaching Status via The Graduate Teacher Program (GTP), University of Canterbury Christchurch

I am passionate about fostering a positive learning environment that supports self-esteem and facilitates hard work. Aside from gaining important skills from core subjects like math and writing, I believe it is vital that children develop perseverance, self-discipline and a hard working ethic. In a world that is becoming smaller all the time, I believe that students need to be developed into global citizens, who are ready to succeed and reach their full potential. In my class students will learn in a fun and challenging environment that promotes honesty, sincere relationships and success.

Mr. Garret Lang
Grade 4

Garret Lang


  • Bachelor of Educatio, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Diploma of Teaching; University of Otago College of Education, Dunedin, New Zeland
  • New Zealand Teachers Registration, New Zealand Teachers Registration Board

By nature, children are inquisitive. My philosophy as a teacher is to encourage my students to seek answers. This will be achieved by creating a classroom environment that is welcoming and positive, and based on the belief that a student’s learning needs are the primary focus. It is important to monitor individual learning and plan according to the needs of the individual, group and the class. I establish high expectations and provide support needed for students to reach their potential.

Ms. Sara Niewkoop
Grade 5

Rae Lang


  • MEd with a concentration in TESOL, Grand Valley State University
  • BA Elementary Education with minors in English and social studies, Calvin College
  • Literacy Certificate: Intermediate Grades
  • Michigan Professional Teaching Certificate, USA

My goal is to empower students, helping them discover their gifts and talents so they have the skills to be life-long learners and responsible citizens. For real, deep learning to take place, students must feel safe and willing to take risks. Teachers, parents, and students must work together to create a positive, collaborative learning environment to ensure that everyone grows and improves. As Nelson Mandela explains, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Ms. Reyna Lazarou
Grade 5

Reyna Lazarous


  • MEd., Colorado State University
  • BA Sociology, California State University
  • Certification K-6

My aim as a teacher is to inspire students to marvel at the world around them and encourage them to find their place in it. I believe that every child has the potential to do great things when they are given the right guidance and encouragement. One of the most important parts of my job is equipping students with the tools and strategies to solve problems and communicate effectively. In my class, I facilitate this by challenging students to apply their individual skills and knowledge in meaningful ways through collaborative and creative projects.

Specialist Subjects

Ms. Emma Brookes

Emma Brookes


  • Bachelor of Arts in Design, University of Northampton

I believe the arts foster a sense of achievement and self-esteem in every child regardless of learning style or intelligence as they benefit from learning in a primarily kinesthetic and visual environment. Not only will the arts give them a better understanding and appreciation of themselves and of the world around them, they will also develop valuable character traits such as perseverance, selfdiscipline, cooperation and pride in accomplishment. I encourage my students to be critical thinkers, creative problem solvers and risk taking team players. By developing their soft skills and shaping them to be confident and effective communicators, the arts play a big part in educating our children of today for the future of tomorrow.

Ms. Dorota Koziel
EAL, Specialist Coordinator

Dorota Koziel


  • MA School Counselling and Education, Rzeszow University
  • BA Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Krosno College
  • Post Graduate Studies, Human Resources Management, Tischner European University

“The more we see, the more we learn. The more we learn, the more we want to see”. As an international educator I cherish every experience each student brings into the class. Respecting what my students already know and are able to do, it is my professional goal to build and foster their linguistic confidence and learning, so that they will independently see that learning a new language is yet another skill that helps us be more internationally -minded, and thus better understand the world and people around us.

Mr. Peter Nguyen

Peter Nguyen


  • Master in Elementary Education BA in Education, The College of New Jersey BA Business and Economics: Marketing; History, George Fox University CELTA certificate

I believe that good education should develop the complete student. Aside from mainstream subjects such as math, reading, science and language arts, I believe students should learn good universal values and principles. This includes teaching about diversity and respect for all regarding race, gender, class, and religion.

Ms. Samantha Addington

Samantha Addington


  • Bachelor of English, University of North Texas

I believe that the best teachers encourage students to be curious, creative, and committed to learning. I aim to lead each student through challenges that will help them grow, and that requires differentiation for each child’s learning path. Their commitment and creativity will help them succeed as new learning challenges are put in front of them.

Ms. Emma Cohen-Joppa

Emma Cohen Joppa


  • BA Music Education, Frost School of Music at University of Miami
  • MEd, International Education from Endicott College

My goal for each of my students is to have them learn to appreciate music through a deepened understanding of its complexities, while also being able to experience the pure, simple joy that comes from singing, playing instruments, and moving or listening to music. I love having fun singing and dancing with my students!

Ms. Gina Zhang

Gina Zhang


  • BA Art, East China Normal University Majored in Teaching Chinese as Second Language to Foreigner, East China Normal University

I think that every child should have the right to learn and get a quality education. Every child that enters into the classroom should feel safe and comfortable. It would be an environment full of nurturing and enriching. I aim to bring an open mind, a positive attitude, and high expectations to the classroom each day. I believe that I owe it to my students, as well as the community, to bring consistency, diligence, and warmth to my job in the hope that I can ultimately inspire and encourage such traits in the children as well. Learning should be fun and exciting! My classroom will be an inviting and safe place where children will feel comfortable.

Ms. Le Minh Ha
Vietnamese Studies/Host Country Studies

Le Minh Ha


  • Bachelor of Primary Education, Ho Chi Minh City University

I believe that developing a person’s mother language encourages strong literacy and vocabulary development. Being good at your first language, is a certain launcher to conquer additional languages. Not losing your mother language and keeping a beautiful ethical character in international education environment is important.

Mr. Luu Le Minh Trung
Vietnamese Studies

Luu Le Minh Trung


  • Bachelor of Primary Education, Ho Chi Minh City University
  • Master of Primary Education, Vinh University

There are many levels of student abilities in a teacher’s class. It’s important for me to meet the needs of individual students. Vietnamese language is one of the most important subjects at an international school in Vietnam. It’s important for me to motivate my students and create an environment that encourages learning Vietnamese through many different mediums.

Mr. Hieu Nguyen
Vietnamese Studies / Host Country Studies

Nguyen Hieu


  • Vietnamese Language and Teaching Philology, Pedagogical
  • University of Ho Chi Minh City

According to myself who is a teacher in modern society, I aim to rise students interest in their own learning. A teacher must make use of suitable teaching methods to accommodate all ability levels. I believe an effective teacher guides students to enjoy working together, encourages their students to think independently and critically. Coordinating theoretical and practical skills learnt in the classroom is of great importance. Therefore, I believe a good teacher is enthusiastic and creative. I draw from my personal experiences and qualification to develop language skills and knowledge of Vietnamese culture.

Ms. Jillian Knoblock
Aquatics EE-PE

Jillian Knoblock


  • Bachelor of Science of Health and Physical Education, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater

I view myself primarily as a facilitator of learning, rather than as an expert who simply delivers information to my students. When planning or interacting with students, I am always conscious of their different learning styles and their rate of learning. Feedback from students has been vital to the process of growth. Personal contact with students is essential to my approach. Many need encouragement to talk to their teachers, so I emphasize my availability for informal discussion and my willingness to help them sort out any problems they have with what they are learning. I am a third culture kid (TCK), having grown up in Pakistan and Thailand and graduated from International School Bangkok. This gives me a unique perspective on teaching students in an international school.

Mr. Jerett Knoblock

Jerett Knoblock


  • Bachelor of Science, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater

I believe that physical education is an important part of the school curriculum and provides many benefits and opportunities to all children. It helps children begin to develop interest in activities or sports that they may continue to stay involved in and make a part of their life later on for health, emotional, or social purposes.

Ms. Elizabeth Kangas

Elizabeth Kangas


  • BA International Relations, Boston University
  • MSLIS focus in School Library Studies, Simmons College

I am excited to join ISSP after working for four years in China. This is my twelfth year working as a Librarian and ninth year working internationally. I am excited to work with the students at ISSP. I believe that reading is an integral part of any student’s education. I aim to provide students with quality and interesting literature and get the right book in the hands of the right student. Along with reading, information literacy is important to the educational success of the student when presented in a collaborative manner.

Ms. Grace Rivera
Special Educational Needs Coordinator

Grace Rivera


  • Bachelor of Elementary Education major in Special Education, St. Scholastica's College
  • Graduated Cum Laude
  • Teaching License, PRC Philippines

I believe that each student is unique and has the capacity to become successful. Each student should be treated with utmost respect and be genuinely cared for. Taking careful considerations of individual differences and targeting the holistic growth of students should also be a priority of educators. I believe that children should enjoy learning. Thus, I am committed in providing fun and meaningful learning experiences to my students. I am passionate about developing students who are independent life-long learners and I understand the great need for students to be prepared for the globalized world that they will undoubtedly face as they grow to be adults.

Ms. Thuy Nguyen
Early Education Vietnamese / Host Country Studies

Thuy Nguyen


  • Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, Ho Chi Minh City University of Pedagogy

I believe that learning through play in a safe environment is the best way for students to develop. As a teacher it is our responsibility to guide our students to have a greater knowledge and understanding. I believe it is important for children to feel comfortable in asking questions or sharing ideas, which helps to develop language naturally. The Vietnamese culture and history are very important to me and I am passionate about sharing it with my students.

Where to find us

International School Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh St., Ward 22, Binh Thanh Dist., HCMC, Vietnam
CIS Member NEASC Candidate NWEA Common Core Next Generation Science State Standards