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Our Academic Staff members are at the very heart of our School. It is their enthusiasm and commitment in providing learning to our students that inspires our high standards and continued success.

HeadStart’s over 90 specialist teachers have British, Australian, US or similar internationally recognised qualifications which include Bachelor and Master Degrees and Doctorates. They bring with them a wealth of current experience from their home countries and from other international schools.

The dedication and commitment of our Operational Staff in supporting the day-to-day running of HeadStart ensures that our students receive the very best in learning and extra-curricular activities.

‘Throughout the school, teachers’ subject knowledge and understanding of how students learn are strong. Relationships between students and teachers are positive. The ratio of qualified teachers to students, especially in the early years and lower primary classes, is high. ‘Deputy’ teachers, who are fully qualified teachers in their home countries, support class teachers. Due to their expertise, they make a significant difference to the rates of progress that students make. Teachers know students well and assess them accurately. This enables teachers to plan work that matches the ability of individual students and caters well for their varying needs.’ Education Development Trust (EDT) Accreditation Report, June 2017

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David Pollicutt

Head of English
[email protected]

My name is David and I joined HeadStart International School in 2018. I am from the UK and grew up in the large port city of Bristol. I studied English Literature at the University of East Anglia, and trained to teach at The Institute of Education in The University of London. I taught in East London for four years, before moving to teach for eight years as Head of English in Viet Nam and China. I am a firm believer in developing students to be natural enquirers, following the Sir Ken Robinson model of best preparing students to use transferable skills for the shifting landscapes of their futures. I seek to encourage an epistemological approach in my lessons, urging students to evaluate the efficacy of the information they consume and the validity of interpretations. I am passionate about literature and will often be chortling at David Lodge’s tragicomedy or swooning at Ian Mcewan’s literary sleight of hand. Outside of the classroom I am a keen student of Philosophy, Politics and Film. I am a particular fan of the intellect and charisma exuded by Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris and the late and much missed Christopher Hitchens. I have a terminal case of devotion to Tottenham Hostpsur Football Club; it teaches me patience and humility.

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Kelly Tuppen

Sixth Form Coordinator / English Teacher
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Hello everyone! My name is Kelly Tuppen and I am a Secondary English Teacher, as well as the Pastoral Coordinator for Sixth Form. This is my fourth year at HeadStart and I love my island life here in Phuket, as well as the fabulous students and staff that make up the school. I have a First Class Honours BA in English Literature, and a PGCE for Secondary English from the Institute of Education UCL. Prior to moving to Phuket, I taught KS3 and IGCSE English Language, Literature and some Drama for 4 years at international schools in Yangon, Myanmar. I also more recently taught for the rural Canadian school system in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada: ask me about my grizzly bear stories! I focus on fostering a holistic model of education and providing comprehensive support throughout students' learning journeys. With a strong belief in the importance of a well-rounded educational experience, I am dedicated to guiding students in their personal and academic growth. My Pastoral role centres around creating a supportive environment for young adults that nurtures their development and self-actualisation, both inside and outside the classroom. As an internationally-minded English teacher, I cultivate diverse perspectives, fostering analytical skills, cultural understanding, and tolerance. I encourage creativity through debates, roleplays, and visualising literature. Building independence and communication confidence is central to my practice, and I promote learning from mistakes and persistence - a growth mindset is key. I have a particular fondness for poetry and puns, which you may spot around my classroom. I'm excited for the academic year, eager to guide my new classes through language, stories and a variety of media. Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]. Best of luck to all this year!

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Luke Wysoczanski

English Teacher
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Greetings! I am thrilled to introduce myself as a passionate educator at HeadStart. With a teaching journey spanning over a decade, I have been fostering the love for English language and literature since 2010. Originally hailing from Yorkshire in the United Kingdom, my journey in international education commenced in 2015 and has taken me across continents, from Africa to Southern Europe, and the landscapes of Latin America. My teaching philosophy centres on fostering a dynamic and inclusive learning environment, where students are not only empowered with language skills but also encouraged to explore and express themselves creatively. I firmly believe that education extends beyond textbooks, and I am committed to nurturing critical thinking, effective communication, and a genuine appreciation for the power of words. Outside the classroom, I am an avid enthusiast of the beautiful game of football, watching my beloved Leeds United get beat on a weekly basis. Engaging in sports, such as football and rugby, not only keeps me active but also teaches valuable lessons of teamwork and determination. Aside from sports I enjoy the theatre and live music from a wide variety of genres. It is with great excitement that I embark on this new chapter of my teaching journey as a part of the HeadStart family. The school's commitment to holistic education and nurturing global citizens aligns perfectly with my values, and I am looking forward to contributing to the educational tapestry of this esteemed institution.

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Katie Roberts

English and Humanities Teacher
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Hello! My name is Katie Roberts. I am very pleased to introduce myself as your new English and Humanities teacher, and so happy to be here in Phuket as part of the HeadStart community. I have come here from south-west England and cannot wait to explore this wonderful new country and culture; I look forward to learning together in this exciting international environment. I have 15 years of teaching experience, and have been privileged to work in secondary schools in London and across the UK, in addition to working for several years in Paris as an EFL teacher. More recently, I have enjoyed working with a fantastic charity set up by a French footballer, educating teenagers and taking part in some inspiring visits and activities, which really nourished my passion for languages, outdoor pursuits and creating a nurturing learning environment with a real sense of family, which I am excited to continue creating as a member of HeadStart! Outside school, you can often find me in a pair of wellington boots exploring the rivers, lakes and coastlines that I love to splash about in, taking a quiet moment with my new Kindle, running to stay fit, or trying my hand at a new sport: surfing, paddleboarding and climbing are currently top of my long wish list. This year, I hope to bring this love for people, nature and linguistics into my teaching practice, and am excited to welcome you all through my classroom doors this year: they will always be (figuratively) open!

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Lauren Davidson

EAL Teacher
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Hello, Sawadee Ka, and Kia Ora! I was raised in the Bay of Plenty; which can be found on the North Island of New Zealand. After successfully completing my high school education, I studied Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Otago in Dunedin; a town that recently regained its record for having the steepest street in the world! I began my career in education in Prague in 2015, where I worked as an ESL teacher for professionals who wished to develop their English language abilities. I soon realized I had a passion for teaching, so I also started work in an English language school for students aged four upwards. I enjoyed the working with children immensely, which lead me to further develop my education and I completed my International Post Graduate Certificate in Education in 2019. I have been teaching in Phuket since 2018 and I joined the HeadStart community in 2019. During my time at this school I have been amazed by the dedication and professionalism of my colleagues here. I have also been impressed by the love of learning that the students of this school have. Every day is wonderful and different and it is a joy to inspire and educate the children of this school. During lessons I strive for all children in my class to make outstanding progress in all facets of their education. It is a real joy to see their development over the year. I believe that children are capable of so much and it is our duty as parents and educators to ensure that we provide all the support and facilities necessary to help them reach their potential. If you ever have any questions then please feel free to contact me to discuss them; if we are all working together to achieve the same goals then we will ensure the students not only make rapid progress but also enjoy their time at school and develop a love of learning.

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Robert Gratton

Head of Humanities
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I am an experienced educationalist with over two decades working as a teacher, school leader, teacher trainer and researcher with the UCL Institute of Education. A History graduate, with PGCE in Secondary Education, a Masters in Guiding Effective Learning, and with a decade spent investigating the nature of Collaboration, I have been fortunate to work across numerous innovative and forward thinking projects within education internationally. This has included leading Curriculum development within Sweden, establishing new schools such as the UCL Academy and co-founding a centre for education in the outdoors focusing on wellbeing, creativity and sustainability in Wales. I am an advocate for the human centred approach to individual, societal and global sustainable practice. My passion for the Humanities is derived from a belief that we can utilise an education through the Humanities subjects to empower learners to become critical, compassionate and collaborative global citizens. To become life-long, life-wide learners and to become better prepared for an unknown future. To HeadStart I bring this commitment, this drive and this ambition to use the Humanities to transform the lives of each and every learner. My second year here at HeadStart will see a reinvigoration of the Humanities and a renewed drive to ensuring every learner activates their capacity to become a fully active and internationally aware learner.

“Sometimes, you have to step outside of the person you've been and remember the person you were meant to be. The person you want to be. The person you are.” - H.G. Wells
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Dale Benham

Year 11 Coordinator / Geography Teacher
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My name is Dale. I am starting my fifth year at Headstart International School. I started working at HeadStart in 2019. I am from the United Kingdom and grew up in East Anglia in a small market town called St Ives in Cambridgeshire. I studied at the University of Glamorgan, now the University of South Wales, gaining a degree in Physical Geography. I completed my teacher training at the University of East Anglia in Norwich in 2009, earning a PGCE in Geography. I taught in Colchester, which is located in the county of Essex. I taught many children from varying backgrounds and ethnicities in a multicultural school during this time. Six years at this school were spent as a Head of Year to Years 8 to 11. I am passionate about Geography as a subject; I was inspired by my Geography teacher at school, which led me to become a teacher. I am enthusiastic and believe in providing exciting and engaging lessons to all my students. I want them to become independent thinkers, gaining knowledge by learning through their mistakes and making marginal gains in everything they do. I am dedicated to creating a safe, fun, and challenging learning environment where the students are at the center of a positive learning experience. Outside the classroom, I enjoy listening to an eclectic variety of music and watching sports (football and rugby, in particular). I look forward to another positive year for our school and, most importantly, our students, who are a pleasure to teach.

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Mani Rasheed

Humanities Teacher
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Nice to meet you all again! I am thrilled to be entering my second year as your Humanities and Geography teacher at Headstart. Originally from England, I began my teaching journey in Manchester before deciding to make the adventurous move to Thailand. Reflecting on my first year here, I can genuinely say that it has been a wonderful experience getting to know you all and diving into the rich culture of this beautiful country. I am deeply passionate about teaching and continue to believe in its transformative power. I am here to guide and support you all as your teacher and to foster a compassionate and dynamic learning environment. My commitment to ensuring you all receive an excellent and engaging education is stronger than ever. Outside of teaching, my love for football remains unabated. I support Arsenal. (Please don’t mention last season) My admiration for creative midfielders like Zidane, Ozil, and De Bruyne is unwavering, and I still like to think that’s the kind of player I am when I get onto the pitch myself (Just ask the year 11 and year 12s and the teacher team smashed them in our matches last year). Gaming is another of my great passions. My PlayStation 5 is still my trusty companion during my downtime. Currently, my go-to games remain FIFA, CoD, and The Witcher 3. My love for anime has only grown this past year. My top picks among anime series still include Hunter x Hunter, Death Note, and Attack on Titan. I am always open to new recommendations, so feel free to share your favourites with me! I am excited to continue our journey of exploration and discovery in both Geography and History. Here’s to a fantastic and successful year ahead.

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Sarah Gratton

Psychology Teacher
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My name is Sarah and I joined Headstart International School in 2022. I am from the UK and grew up in West Sussex, England. I studied Psychology at the University of Westminster, then went on to train to teach Psychology at the Institute of Education. For over 11 years I worked in an Inner London school and Sixth Form teaching Psychology and Health and Social Care. I worked as both Head of Department and Head of Faculty within the school and completed my MSc in the Psychology of Education as well as my NPQSL. In 2019, a desire for a change of pace and the opportunity to travel saw me and my young family relocate back to Sussex and spend some time travelling in South East Asia and Australia. Most recently, I worked as a Wellbeing Lead to support Sixth Form students' mental health and wellbeing through the Covid pandemic. I am an advocate of holistic education and love teaching Psychology. I have taught Psychology for 15 years and am thrilled to be teaching A Level Psychology and the EPQ this year. I am a qualified yoga and youth yoga teacher and outside of school I enjoy yoga, swimming, and going to the beach! I love travelling and have spent many school holidays in South East Asia. I relocated here with my husband and two children. When we are not at school we love exploring the island and its surrounding countries.

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Aaron Dempsey

Business Teacher
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My name is Aaron and I have been working at HeadStart International School since 2023. I was born and raised in Waterford, Ireland. Prior to teaching, I have worked in the Finance Industry and worked for the Bank of New York Mellon. However my passion was always teaching. As a result of pursuing my passion, I now hold a Professional Masters in Education specialising in Business Studies and Economics. Upon completing my Masters, I was awarded the Business Studies student teacher of the year award by the Business Studies Teachers Association of Ireland (BSTAI). I have taught in Ireland for a number of years and for the past three years in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I believe in creating an inclusive and dynamic classroom environment where students can explore the world of business through practical experiences. I will place emphasis on critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork, fostering a passion for entrepreneurship and equipping students with essential skills for their future careers. I am also dedicated to helping students connect classroom concepts to real-world scenarios. Beyond academics, I want to contribute to the holistic development of students. This includes promoting ethical decision-making, responsible citizenship, and a strong sense of social responsibility. Outside of the classroom, I like to keep updated on business trends. I also like to engage in a lot of sporting activities from Fishing to Golf to Martial Arts to Surfing. I have a strong passion for Irish sports, especially Hurling. I played Hurling with Saigon Gaels in Ho Chi Minh City and captained our side to win the Asian Hurling Games narrowly beating Bangkok in Kuala Lumpur, 2022. I also love to travel and experience different cultures around the world. I aim to establish meaningful connections with students, colleagues, and parents. Open communication and collaboration are essential for a thriving educational community. Ultimately, I hope to leave a lasting impact on my students' lives. Whether it's by inspiring a student to pursue a business-related career, helping them overcome challenges, or instilling a lifelong love for learning, I want to contribute positively to their personal and professional journeys. I look forward to being a part of your community.

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James Snell

Economics Teacher
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Greetings! I am James and I come from a small town in the UK called Lincoln. I moved to Sheffield for university, and, after graduating moved to some of the biggest cities in the world. I have taught Business and Economics in very densely-populated places such as Beijing, Shanghai and Seoul. I have an undergraduate degree in Financial Management, a Masters’ Degree in East Asian Business & Economics and HSK 5 Mandarin. When I think about what draws me to teaching, I always think of this quote from John Maynard Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do sir?” The world is changing faster than ever, with digital growth, businesses explode in size or capsize overnight, new technology replaces old faster than ever before, and our access to new data on everything is increasing exponentially. Economics and Business are fascinating fields that show how businesses work, how countries operate, what goes on inside the mind of the consumer and how the changing landscape affects these operations. Therefore we must always be aware, open to change and ready to adapt – that why I love it. There is always something changing, something new to learn and theories that might need rethinking or refining. I love sharing all of this with students. At HeadStart I aim to use my ten years of experience to give students a solid foundation in Economics and Business in a fun, creative way. I look forward to challenging students, and being challenged too with their own theories and ideas. I hope to enable students to see the workings of the world and I look forward to seeing what this year brings at HeadStart!

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Yardenna Jones

BTEC Coordinator
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My name is Yardenna Jones and I joined HeadStart in 2019. I am from the UK and I grew up in South Wales. I have a BA Honours degree in Journalism which I studied at Southampton Solent University. After university I assisted in the set-up of a small business, a fashion retailer in Bournemouth. I also continued with my love of journalism and travel by becoming an assistant editor of a travel & lifestyle magazine. Educating others and working with young people had always been a passion of mine, and I was keen to further my lifelong learning as I believe this is important continue with personal growth and development. With this in mind I moved to London and studied a DTLLS (Diploma to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) with Business and Travel & Tourism being my subject specialisms because of my industry experience. In the UK I was working at Brooklands College in Surrey teaching Business and Travel & Tourism. More recently I have taught at Westminster Kingsway College in London an inner city school with children from varying backgrounds and ethnicities. I have now been teaching these subjects with awarding bodies BTEC, OCR City & Guilds and NCFE for 5 years and I am very experienced with the 14-19 age group. I love working with these ages- it's such an exciting and significant time for students. I’m very passionate about creating a positive learning environment and want to inspire my students to be independent and motivated during this crucial time of becoming a young adult. I am so excited to be continuing with the delivery and coordination of the BTEC programmes at HeadStart. For a learner It can be such a valuable experience and enjoyable way of achieving a qualification. Watching a student grow and learn an array of transferable and employability skills in a holistic environment is a wonderful experience for all involved. Outside of the classroom I practice mindfulness, yoga and I am passionate about spreading the importance of sustainable living. I have travelled much of South East Asia and look forward to more adventures this year as travel is a great passion of mine!

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Samuel Kasim

BTEC Travel & Tourism
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Hello! Thank you for your interest in Travel & Tourism and Headstart! I am Mr. Kasim; from London, England. Since I was young I have dreamed to travel the world and learn about new cultures. These interests naturally pulled me toward tourism and I would study BTEC Travel & Tourism at a local college like many of the students here. I then gained my BA in Tourism Management at St Marys University and my MA in Anthropology of Travel, Tourism & Pilgrimage at SOAS University. I spent many years working within the events and hospitality industry as an Event Steward, working at many popular entertainment venues and famous events including concerts, festivals, sporting competitions, special celebrations and cultural events. I have travelled the world for education and leisure, to many destinations including the Caribbean, East Asia, Europe, the Middle East and beyond. As the travel bug caught me, I found myself drawn to teaching. I started my career at an American School in Taiwan, teaching Social Studies and English. My enjoyment here encouraged me to make this my career and I chose to develop myself to become the best teacher I could. I returned to the UK and after working as a teaching assistant with a supplementary learning provider, I would gain my PGCE at UCL: Institute of Education. I then gained my QTLS certification and worked in London at a Sixth Form College as a Travel & Tourism teacher for a few years.

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Andrew Ferris

Head of Maths
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Born and raised in the UK to parents who are both teachers. I completed my degree at Loughborough University, where I played a lot of sport, and desired to be a hedge fund manager. However, the family gene didn’t fall far from the tree and after working with children on summer sport camps, trained to be a teacher at Leicester University. I enjoy my job and love helping students find a love of Mathematics and also of learning. I believe in learning through mistakes and having a positive mindset along the way. I love mini white boards so expect to use them in my lessons. I have been Head of Mathematics in two schools in the UK and also worked for 5 years in Kuala Lumpur and a fantastic year teaching in Porto, Portugal. Outside of teaching I have a passion for all sports, food, cooking, travelling and many things besides. Finally, I look forward to working with the fantastic Mathematics staff at the school and getting to know all of you.

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Letitia Bekker

Maths Teacher
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I am Letitia Bekker, from the beautiful nation of South Africa. My academic journey led me to achieve a BSc Degree in Chemistry and a PGCE qualification from the University of Pretoria. I absolutely love helping young minds grow and develop. As a teacher, my main goal is to make a positive impact on students’ lives. I believe that the best way for students to learn is when they are at the centre of their education journey and making sure they are actively involved in their learning. I'm also dedicated to doing everything I can to support and help each student grow in every way possible. My teaching journey started in South Africa where I taught part-time at IMPAK while completing my studies. After that I joined Hoërskool Warmbad as a full-time teacher, specializing in Mathematics and Science. In 2015, my husband and I embarked on a new chapter in Thailand, and I started teaching Science at a school in Rayong. Then, in January 2016, I had the wonderful opportunity to join the esteemed Maths Faculty at HeadStart International School. Beyond the classroom, I love to spend time with my family and friend by going to all the wonderful beaches around the island. I'm also a proud parent to two daughters in Foundation. This role adds a special kind of excitement as it also makes me a member of the Parent Community here at HeadStart International School. I am looking forward to another year of working with colleagues and students from different parts of the world. As a new academic year approaches, I'm filled with anticipation for the countless opportunities and exciting experiences it will bring.

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Benjamin Wilson

Maths Teacher
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I’m Ben, Benjamin, or เบนจี้. I come from the exotic land of England and I obtained a Diploma in Education for teaching Mathematics in my home town at the University of Birmingham. I have taught Maths in state schools in the UK, and I most enjoy watching my pupils gain confidence in their own potential to succeed in this subject. Before I became a teacher I was a scientist. I completed my PhD at the University of Manchester where I worked on a research project for Airbus, who use complex metal alloys in order to overcome immense engineering challenges to build gigantic aeroplanes like the A380. Studying metals is a broad topic which has a big crossover between Chemistry and Physics. If you want to understand how metals work at the atomic scale, a bit of Mathematics comes in handy too! Atoms are tiny things, and scientists will use mathematical models to study them by using something called quantum theory, which has many weird and wonderful features. My research investigated how hydrogen atoms interact with aluminium, zinc, copper, and magnesium atoms. This required a lot of computing power to perform calculations, things which you wouldn’t be able to do on your pocket calculators. I used a supercomputer that would be equivalent to using a few billion of the calculators that we have in the classroom all at the same time, and often it would still take many days for it figure out the answer! I want to share my passion for using Maths in our modern world with all my students. I will embed my experiences and love for the subject in all my lessons and hope that you can enjoy Maths just as much as I do. Outside of school I love to train Muay Thai and Jiujutsu. I have fought in MMA competitions back home in the UK, and my favourite move in Japanese is called a sankaku-jime. I like to play chess too, so if anyone would like to play a game with me just ask!

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Sara Wilson

Year 7 Coordinator / Maths Teacher
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Hello! I have been a member of the HeadStart teaching staff since August 2019. I am from New Brunswick on the East Coast of Canada. I attended two universities in the Atlantic Provinces before fulfilling my dream of becoming a teacher. At Mount Allison University, I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Mathematics in 2010. I then obtained my Bachelor of Education degree at St Francis Xavier University in 2012. Thrilled to travel and to gain international teaching experience, I accepted a secondary mathematics teaching position in Colchester, UK in 2012. I enjoyed seven years of teaching a wide range of children from varying backgrounds and ethnicities in a multicultural secondary school. Since joining HeadStart in 2019, I have taught Mathematics from Years 7 to 13. In 2021, I introduced the A Level Psychology course to HeadStart students, which I have enjoyed teaching alongside IGCSE and A-Level Mathematics. As of 2023, I get to contribute to our school community as Year 7 Pastoral Coordinator. My passion for mathematics and learning brought me into teaching, but getting to work with brilliant young minds and personalities is what reenergizes me every year. I aim to cultivate real enthusiasm and appreciation of mathematics with my students through dynamic and methodical teaching practice. I hope to encourage a cooperative and supportive learning culture in my classroom, where we learn from mistakes and actively engage our minds in every facet of the subject. In addition to our learning, it is a joy to see students having opportunities at HeadStart to become more well-rounded individuals through clubs and activities. Outside of the classroom I spend as much time as possible exploring, travelling and embracing new experiences. I have a particular fondness for water sports and weight lifting, so I spend much of my free time in the water or at the gym. I also try to balance my love of food with my love of health and wellbeing, so when I am not eating, I am trying to keep active.

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Lee Sumsion

Maths, Science and Computing Teacher
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My name is Lee and this is my first year at HeadStart International School. I will be teaching Maths, Computing and Science for years 7, 8 and 9. I was born in Bath, a World Heritage city in the South West of England. I studied Psychology at the University of Wales, Swansea in 1997 and switched to Maths at the University of Bath in 2005. I have endeavoured to ensure my time at school is not restricted to the classroom. I have always supported or lead Pastoral teams. However I gain the most pleasure from spending as much of my free time coaching a variety of sports from Rugby and Cricket to Archery and Bog Snorkelling! In my free time I am an avid golfer with a current handicap of 7, an enthusiastic attender of group Muay Thai sessions and a novice surfer where I spend most of my time in the ocean catching more sun than waves. I am extremely honoured to have been given this opportunity to work at HeadStart and reside in Thailand – a country which I have grown to love and respect over the years.

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Ross Armstrong

Head of Computing and Commerce
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My name is Ross I began working for HeadStart International School in August 2018, as well as being a teacher I now head of faculty for Economics, Business Studies, Computing, Travel and Tourism and ICT. Overall, this will be my eighth year of teaching Computer Science and IT. I am from Bushey, just outside London, in the UK. I first studied Psychology at the University of Essex and in-between term time worked for a computer company as an Engineer. After two years I then decided that I wanted to become a teacher and commenced on a fulfilling journey by doing a Computing course at Reading University and, finally, my PGCE at UCL’s Institute of Education. I have experience in various types of schools and I have run school clubs such as CCF, which is a cadet force for both the Army and RAF. This included teaching (and learning myself!) a whole squadron how to sail, kayak, canoe and mountain bike – I also learnt how to pilot a small plane! I’m a firm believer that a student’s experience of school should extend beyond academic success. Being able to offer students extracurricular activities is an important process of growing up, making friends and understanding commitment within a team. I like to live an active lifestyle which I believe can be transferred into a classroom. I have taken part in multiple triathlons and aquathlons, achieving a best 2nd place – 1st place still alludes me! One of the main reasons I went into teaching was to be able to visit cultures around the world and truly immerse myself in them; HeadStart has given me the opportunity to do this. I’m extremely excited to make a positive impact with my new role at HeadStart, making my mark on an already thriving institution.

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Alicia Niemand

Year 8 Coordinator / Computing Teacher
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Greetings everyone! I'm Alicia, and I've been a proud member of the HeadStart team since October 2018. As I embark on my tenth year of teaching, I'm filled with enthusiasm for the exciting journey that lies ahead. My teaching experience has traversed diverse landscapes, from my home country of South Africa to the Middle East and various parts of Thailand. I studied to become a teacher at the University of Pretoria; gaining a Bachelor of Education degree. Following two years of teaching ICT in South Africa, I ventured into the world of international education, spending the past nine years as a homeroom, IT, ICT, and IB MYP Digital Design Teacher. My commitment to excellence drives me both personally and professionally, as I strive to ensure exceptional practices and outcomes for both myself and my students. With an unwavering passion for my subject, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the classroom and deliver it in engaging and captivating ways. My teaching style is characterized by its stimulation, enthusiasm, and unwavering dedication. I possess a natural talent for building strong connections with my students, and my approach, grounded in differentiation, challenge, humour, and happiness, has consistently yielded swift progress and positive results. As well as being a passionate teacher, I also have a love for sports and fitness. I love training in a range of physical activity; including hiking, weight-lifting, team sports and coaching. With this, I have played provincial hockey for my country and also represented an established Emirates rugby team while living in Dubai. I currently play for clubs all around the world and train at Unit 27. I look forward to continuing touch rugby with the staff and students this year. As we approach the upcoming academic year, I am excited to reconnect with familiar faces and extend a warm welcome to all the new students. My time at HeadStart and in the captivating surroundings of Phuket fills me with joy, and I'm thrilled to be a part of this remarkable community. Here's to an inspiring 2023 ahead—let's make it extraordinary!

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Lewis Kendall

Computing Teacher
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I am Lewis, a new teacher at HeadStart International School. I have previously taught in computer science, geography and design technology in England and began teaching in 2020. I am originally from Leeds which is a large city in the north of England. After studying at Manchester Metropolitan University I worked for a startup data Science Company then moved into recruitment. I found that working in these settings was not my passion and decided to become a teacher. I studied my PGCE at Sheffield Hallam University with the Teach North team. Here I found my passion, joining my love for learning with a want to help people improve was the perfect career for me. Outside of school, I am an avid believer that we should always be looking to learn, grow and experience new things. I run long distances and have completed a marathon along with formerly fighting in Muay Thai at a professional level. I continue to train in boxing and Thai boxing as well as regularly playing 5/7 aside football. I will be looking to teach extra curricular activities such as western Boxing and Muay Thai as I believe they are great ways to find discipline, respect and a love for learning new techniques. As with most staff here, moving to Thailand to work at HeadStart is a very new experience and one that I am very excited to be a part of. Anytime you see me in school I will be wearing a smile and bringing a positive attitude. I believe that every day there is a reason to smile, and each time you smile you remind yourself of all the good things in your life. If you see me I will always be happy to have a chat and hopefully help put a smile on your face too. I am very happy and excited to be teaching at Headstart and look forward to meeting everyone.

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Dan Marsh

Head of Science
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This will be my second year as the Head of Faculty for Science here at HeadStart. I teach Physics at IGCSE and A-level. I completed my BSc Honours degree in Marine Chemistry in 1999, and then a Doctorate in Chemical Physics developing optical fibre sensing devices, both in the UK. I then spent six years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Bristol and Nottingham Universities in the field of Nanotechnology, where I worked on designing a range of technologies which depend upon self-assembly at the nanoscale, and was briefly a Visiting Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. In 2008 I moved into international education as a teacher and Head of Faculty in Kuwait for six years. This is my tenth year teaching in Thailand, having been in Bangkok for eight years prior to moving to the lovely island of Phuket. Whilst in Thailand I have completed a PGCE at Masters level (with Distinction) through Keele University, and also a NPQ in Middle Leadership through UCL’s Institute of Education. I have a great belief in the power of education to enrich and transform the lives of young people, and to prepare them for an independent life in an uncertain future. I encourage all students to pursue a broad program of learning, both formally and informally through the excellent programs on offer here at Headstart, so as to develop their personal resilience and confidence as they progress through school. I am a member of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award global training panel, training new Award Leaders, and I pursue my own adventurous journeys in the wilds of Thailand and the wider-world as a keen photographer with a love for the outdoors. You may well bump into me around the island with one or two of my many favourite cameras over my shoulder.

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Patrick Brown

Science Teacher
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My name is Patrick Brown, I am from Rochester, Kent in England. I graduated with a BSc from the University of London. After working at Greenwich University for 18 years I completed a TEFL course in 1999 and then went on to a PGCE at Canterbury Christchurch University in 2006. I have worked for 8 years teaching science in the UK, 6 of them as Deputy Head of Science. I’m currently looking forward to my tenth year teaching at Headstart and look forward to helping pupils develop their skills in scientific enquiry and critical thinking, which I firmly believe help to enrich their overall experience in life and important decisions they will make in it. I am a keen cyclist and photographer and continue to put both these skills to good use on this beautiful island.

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Emma Marsh

Science Teacher (Chemistry)
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Having graduated from The University of Wales with a BSc(Hons) in Marine Chemistry, my initial career was in industry as an HPLC and Mass-Spectroscopy Chemical Analyst. I then trained as a Chemistry teacher, gaining my PGCE, and taught in the UK. I have a passion for discovering new cultures and travel which set me on the path of international teaching in 2008, firstly in the role of Head of Chemistry at a large International school in Kuwait before making the move to Thailand with my family in 2014. Since arriving in Thailand I have completed a Masters in International Education with my thesis focusing on culturally sensitive teaching methods. I am currently in the final stages of a PhD, looking in more depth at intercultural education and the ways in which cultural differences can impact learning. Following eight years teaching in Bangkok, this is now my second year teaching at Headstart Phuket. Outside of the classroom I am a passionate sports person and when I am not cycling or running, I enjoy sharing my love of horses with my daughter. I am currently in the process of developing my swimming so that I can become part of the Phuket triathlon scene.

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Giovanni Guarino

Science Teacher
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My name is Giovanni Guarino. I am from the island of Jersey in the English channel. I graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a BSc (Hons) in Biology (Molecular) in 2014. I then moved to the University of Bristol to complete my PGCE in secondary Biology teaching. After teaching in Bristol for a year I moved up to Leeds and worked at a large academy trust for 4 years. Whilst working in Leeds I was able to run a number of extra-curricular clubs for high achieving students from disadvantaged backgrounds to inspire them to apply to university and study STEM subjects. HeadStart is my first job working outside of the UK and I am excited to see what opportunities arise from my posting. Outside of school I love anything and everything outdoors. Growing up on an island I love the sea. I am really looking forward to getting back into surfing while in Phuket and completing PADI dive qualifications. In Leeds I also got involved in a local running club that led me to complete many half marathons and the Manchester marathon in 2021. I have also represented Jersey at the Youth Commonwealth Games, Olympic trials and multiple national championships in swimming. This, coupled with running, saw me compete in several olympic distance triathlons over the past 3 years. I am very excited to be living in Phuket and look forward to exploring this side of the world.

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Alice Cardall

Science Teacher
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Hello, my name is Alice and I am new Science teacher at HeadStart International School. I am originally from England and was born in Birmingham, but have spent most of my adult life living and working in Nottingham. I completed my BSc (Hons) degree in Biomedical Science, and PhD in Molecular Cancer Biology, both in Nottingham. In between completing my BSc degree and PhD, I worked in numerous scientific environments. This has included as a Biomedical Scientist in a hospital microbiology laboratory, Research Scientist at The University of Leeds, Communications Officer at a Cancer Charity in Sydney, Australia, and a Project Manager for a Science Research Council. I’m looking forward to sharing my love of science, as well as my scientific work experience to enhance the learning of students at HeadStart. Outside of science I am a keen martial artist. My biggest passion is for Taekwondo, which I started when I was 8 years old. I am currently a 4th degree black belt and have represented team England both nationally and internationally. In addition, I partake in CrossFit and enjoy swimming and being in the sea. This will be my first time living and working in Thailand, and I'm excited to start my journey and meeting everyone here at HeadStart.

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Neil Roscoe

University Counsellor
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I’m Neil Roscoe and I have taught Science and especially Biology for over 20 years. My degree is from the University of Leicester and I qualified to teach at the University of Sussex, in the UK. I most recently taught in an international School in Shanghai, China, before moving to Phuket and also in a number of private boarding schools, including Roedean, prior to that. I believe that every student has a number of talents or gifts (and this doesn’t necessarily mean being good at Maths). School is about finding what you really love to do, what gets you excited, and channeling these into a career or a way of earning a living, or perhaps even to change the World! This is why it is my pleasure to help HeadStart students into a suitable degree course to help hone these talents. If you are a sixth form student, I look forward to meeting you shortly and supporting you in your applications. When not teaching, I’m interested in travel and flying. I learned to fly small planes in the United States, which has brought many hours of fun. I also enjoy music and sometimes painting (watercolour), which can be a real source of relaxation. I look forward to another year at HeadStart and helping the students to find their niche in life. There are a number of crises the World is facing today, from climate change and habitat destruction, to war, poverty and global recession. HeadStart students will undoubtedly become some of the scientists, lawyers, economists and politicians we will need to find the solutions. We all have a part to play.

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Carolyn McKee

University Support
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Sawadee kah! Hello! I’m Carolyn McKee, parent of two amazing HeadStart students and the newest addition to the UCAS team. I’m here as a part time University Counseling Support Officer to Ms. Bedi, Ms. Tuppen, and Mr. Roscoe, alongside Khun Nan. I’m here to help past and current students and families, as well as HeadStart staff to ease needs supporting the Sixth Form. I’ve lived in Thailand since 2017, teaching at an International School in Khao Yai and training as a Certified Martha Beck Life Coach in Phuket. I started working with teenagers in 2000 as a Field Instructor for Outward Bound in Florida, USA. I earned my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Exercise Sport Science from Colorado State University in 2000 and then a teaching licence in General Science in 2004. I earned my Master’s of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies from State University New York in 2018. Since 2004, I have been working in schools teaching middle and high school science in Colorado, USA, Doha, Qatar, and Khao Yai, Thailand. Whilst undoubtedly science is the best subject, what I’ve enjoyed the most is working with students and their families and school communities. Relationships with people are at the heart of who I am and what I do; my aim is to help students deeply explore their personal interests and achieve their wild and precious desires. Working with the incredible UCAS team is a perfect fit for me as it combines the science and art of helping young people achieving their goals.

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Caroline Mure

Secondary Cover Teacher
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Hello! My name is Caroline, and I have been living in Phuket for four years now. I am starting as a Secondary Cover Teacher here at HeadStart. I am from the small state of New Hampshire in the United States, and I moved to Phuket after completing my bachelors of arts in Creative Writing in 2019. During my time in Phuket, I have worked as a secondary English teacher at a Thai government school. After completing my iPCGE with the University of Derby, I wanted to explore other styles of education in Phuket. Aside from my love of teaching English and writing, I am passionate about helping students who may be struggling with academics. I hope I can be of assistance as much as possible for the students at HeadStart. Outside of school, I enjoy reading and writing, Muay Thai, running, golf, and most other sports. I’m very excited to be a part of the HeadStart community.

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Narumon Kunjun

Science Technician
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My name is Kanwara Kunjun or Bow. I graduated from Prince of Songkla University where I achieved a Bachelor of Science, I majored in Biotechnology. I was working as Science assistant during that time. After I graduated, I worked as a lecturer at The Biochemistry department at Taksin University for a year and I used to work as a science tutor for secondary students at Hatyaiwittayalai Somboon Kunkunya School. It has been a great opportunity to join Headstart International School in the position of Science Technician. Two years have passed since joining the team but I still have so much fun working in the school because of the lovely management team and students.

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Amy Drew

Exams Officer and Data Manager
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Hello and Sawadee ka! My name is Amy Drew and I became a part of the HeadStart team in 2014, when our school was located across from Makro on the old site. Witnessing the remarkable growth and evolution of the school has been a truly exhilarating experience for me. I've had the privilege of contributing to this journey as the school doubled in size. My origins trace back to Lincolnshire in the UK, where I pursued my GCSEs and A-Levels at a prestigious Grammar school. Subsequently, I pursued higher education at Loughborough University, focusing on Retail Management. Following my studies, I delved into a decade-long career in Buying and Merchandising, collaborating with renowned UK and international retailers. Eventually, my professional trajectory shifted gears. I embarked on a new journey by earning a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Nottingham University and stepping into the teaching realm at an International School in Bangkok. This year marks the commencement of a fresh chapter for me as I take on the role of Data Manager and Exams Officer. This position melds my analytical acumen nurtured during my industry tenure with my extensive educational experience, particularly within the context of HeadStart. Throughout my tenure here, I've had the opportunity to teach across various phases of the school, and it fills me with great joy to see some of the students I guided in Year 2 during 2014/15 now poised to undertake their GCSE exams later this year. The upcoming academic year holds immense promise, and I'm eagerly anticipating the chance to support the examination classes. These pivotal years mark a significant juncture in the lives of our students, and I am genuinely excited to contribute to their transformative journey.

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