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PE & Sport

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 70 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. Teachers in Foundation and Primary School are supported by a team of qualified teaching assistants.

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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Maddison Carter

Head of PE
[email protected]

My name is Maddison Carter and I am from Yorkshire, in the UK. I came to Thailand in 2023, after 7 years of living and teaching P.E in different parts of the world including the Middle East and South East Asia. I am a passionate sportsperson and growing up I used to be an elite gymnast, training 30 hours a week! Since hanging up my leotard and moving overseas, I have used sport as an opportunity to meet new people in my host countries as well as push myself out of my comfort zone. This has led me to learning new sports such as Gaelic football and having the opportunity to experience different competitions including play in the Dubai 7s Netball. Although sport is my passion I have a number of other areas of interest. I love to travel and experience different cultures and I am currently trying to learn Spanish! I am delighted to be HeadStart’s Head of PE and my aims are for our students to continue to experience a really diverse range of physical activities, ignite passions and most importantly enjoy being physically active. For example, HeadStart pupils will participate in the following sports activities in either curriculum time or in our fantastic Extra Curricular Activities Sports programme - Basketball, Netball, Football, Rugby, Athletics, Swimming, Badminton, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Softball, Rounders, Yoga, Dance, and Gymnastic activities (amongst others).

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Jamie Sadler

Year 8 Coordinator / PE Teacher
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My name is Jamie Sadler and I am originally from Bournemouth in the UK. This year I will be teaching Secondary Physical Education, including iGCSE PE and BTEC International Level 3 in Sport. I graduated from Southampton Solent University with a BA in Sports Studies and then went on to complete my PGCE in Secondary PE at the University of East London. Prior to moving to Phuket, I taught in London and spent 5 years teaching in a leading Independent school in Wimbledon. As a young boy I developed a passion for many sports, especially in school, this gave me many opportunities to develop my personal qualities such as self-confidence, discipline and respect. My main speciality is Football; in the UK I played for a club for a number of seasons in the 5th step of the National league system. In recent years, I have taken a keen interest in martial arts such as Western boxing and Thai kickboxing. There are so many positive effects that can come from Physical Education, such as resilience, leadership skills and teamwork amongst others. As a specialist PE teacher, I aim to provide opportunities for my students to collaborate and to share their thoughts and opinions, in order to have a positive impact on their experiences in PE. My teaching ethos is for students to feel confident in their abilities when playing sport so that they feel inspired to participate in lifelong physical activity.

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Hannah Norman-Ellory

PE Teacher
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My name is Hannah Norman and I am from Buckinghamshire, in the UK. I came to Thailand in 2023, with my son ready to embrace a change of lifestyle, culture and to fulfil a dream of living in a warmer climate, where we can paddleboard more often than not. My sporting background is quite diverse, I like to think. I grew up with a strong passion for dance in every form, ballet, tap, modern, national dance and contemporary. I still very much enjoy dance to this day and love to attend street dance, contemporary and barre classes where and when I can. It helps me to keep a healthy body and mind. Another passion is being able to watch professional dancers perform on stage, with the Rambert Dance Company and Sadlers Wells being firm favourites of mine when in London. Although I do have many other sporting interests that revolve around the sea, whether it be on top of my paddleboard or below the surface scuba diving. I of course would not be a PE teacher without experiencing and playing in competitive teams too and have enjoyed being part of netball and football teams but more predominantly basketball, playing as a point guard. It is important for me as a PE specialist to foster a love of learning in the students that I teach. I want them to realise and understand the importance that being active plays in not only maintaining a healthy body but mind too. I am delighted to be HeadStart’s House Coordinator and my aims are for our students to continue to experience a really diverse range of activities, encompassing all curriculum areas, while having lots of fun, working as a team with a smile on their face.

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Thomas Martin

PE Teacher
[email protected]

Dear students and parents, I am thrilled to be a part of the dedicated team of educators here at HeadStart International School. Having studied Physical Education as a degree, and continuing my higher education through to masters level, I strongly believe that PE instils lifelong values and skills. More so, having contributed to the world of academia through my published research paper on pupils' beliefs within physical education, I strive to help educators around the world make PE lessons more impactful for all learners. I have been personally involved in sports since a young age.Competing, training and representing at national and county level in badminton. However my recreational sporting background is quite diverse, including flag football, muay Thai, baseball and cricket. Open communication and collaboration with both students and parents is imperative to success within Physical Education so I welcome you to contact me at [email protected], should you have any questions.

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Michael Marx

PE Teacher & House Coordinator
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Sawadee krap, my name is Michael Marx and I am originally from South Africa but spent the majority of my life growing up in Cambridge and Hampshire in the UK. I studied at the University of Roehampton, obtaining my teaching degree in Education specialising in Physical Education. During my nine years of teaching, I have gained a wealth of experience working across different year groups and working with a range of people from different backgrounds and cultures. Outside of school, I love finding new ways to challenge myself. I enjoy doing this through sport, where I love watching and taking part in Crossfit. It has allowed me to develop my resilience in overcoming challenges and self-discipline. I have worked at HeadStart since 2018 and have had the joy of working with some great personalities and inquisitive minds. I also have the additional responsibility of being the House Coordinator. I look forward to ensuring that all students feel proud to represent their houses and feel a part of a team. Lastly, I can’t wait to start the learning journey with my new homeroom as well as share with them all that I have learnt so far (as well as learning from them). I aim to work with the students in all my classes to develop their resilience to challenges both inside and outside of school. I want them to have the means to make informed decisions to keep them safe and make progress in an ever-changing world. I strongly believe in the sense of community and that we thrive better when we work with one another. As we progress through the year and the students develop, please do not hesitate to come and see me to arrange a meeting.

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Zak Brown

Head Swim Coach
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My name is Zak Brown, and I have a deep passion for swimming. I hail from Bakersfield, California, where I discovered my love for the sport at the age of 10. Throughout my high school years, I had the privilege of leading our team to four consecutive league championships, a testament to our hard work and dedication. After graduating, I pursued my swimming journey at Bakersfield College while representing the esteemed Bakersfield Swim Club. As a part of this club, I had the opportunity to compete in various competitions across California and even ventured to different states for national level meets. These experiences shaped me both as an athlete and as an individual. Seeking new challenges, I made the decision to move to Niagara Falls, New York. There, I continued my swimming career at Niagara University as a Division One Swimmer. During my time at Niagara, I achieved remarkable accomplishments, setting three school relay records and graduating with a degree in marketing and logistics. Swimming has not only shaped me as an athlete, but it has also shaped me as a person. For over 19 years, I have been teaching and coaching swimming, working with athletes of all levels, from beginners to aspiring Olympians. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience, enabling me to meet inspiring individuals from all corners of the globe. Swimming is more than just a sport to me - it has become a lifestyle. The invaluable lessons I have learned through swimming have stayed with me throughout my life. In 2016, I joined the HeadStart team, and it has been an amazing journey thus far. I am thrilled to continue working with the students, supporting and nurturing their swimming abilities. Together, as a cohesive team, we will strive for excellence in the pool this year, pushing ourselves to new heights.

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Ammara Pinto

Swim Coach
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My name is Ammara Pinto and I am from Blantyre, Malawi. I represented Malawi in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. I came to Thailand in 2017 on a swimming scholarship with the dream to continue to represent my country at International Swimming Competitions. My swimming journey has been very exciting to say the least - learning how to swim only because my best friend pushed me in the deep end. Having represented Malawi internationally for the very first time when I was only 10 years old. I have captained my school and club teams around the country and some will say Ammara has become synonymous with swimming. I am well known for my amazing music taste around the pool deck as well as my passion, dedication, discipline and focus in and out of the pool. I wish to share these attributes with the Aqua Panthers swim team this year. Swimming has not only let me become a physically fit and active individual, swimming has allowed me to travel to countries I never would have dreamed I would travel to. The togetherness and team bonding I learned being part of a team has allowed me to become more social and confident to meet new people from around the world. I am overjoyed and excited to be a part of HeadStart’s Aqua Panthers swim team and aim to provide fun and positive swimming sessions this year. My energy and enthusiasm are contagious and fueling to both my own performance and that of the swimmers I guide.

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Ar-tit Benawang

Assistant Swim Coach
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My name is Ar-tit Benawang and I am a swimming coach here at HeadStart. I have my high school qualifications from the Padang Besar Tinsulanonda School.I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise and Sport Science from the Institute of Physical Education–Krabi Campus. I also have certification as a Swimming Coach which I obtained on 30 December from the Thai Swimming Coach Association of Thailand. I have worked at HeadStart International School since 2011. It has been a great opportunity for me to work here. I enjoy the exercise that I can fit into my schedule due to excellent facilities. There are even sports that I have participated in that I have never had the chance to play before making it an overall great experience.

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Somtavin Chuchuay

Assistant Swim Coach
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Hi. My name is Khru Pui! I graduated from the Padang Besar Tinsulanonda Highschool School. I have a Bachelor’s Degree from the Institute of Physical Education–Krabi Campus, Arts Program. On December 30th, 2008 I received a Swimming Coach Level 1 Certificate from 'The Thai Swimming Coach Association of Thailand.' I have worked here at HeadStart International School since the 5th of January, 2016. It has been a good opportunity for me to work here as I can exercise and play several sports here due to the good facilities. There are several sports that I have never played before like table tennis and soft tennis that I enjoy learning. In this job I can be a coach and learn and play new sports at the same time. It has been good luck for me to work here.

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Stef Frost

Head Football Coach
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My name is Stef Frost. I’m from Nottingham, England and football has always been my passion. Being a professional footballer was always the dream for me and this came true at the age of just 16 years old. As a young player I joined the academy of the English Professional club Notts County FC. I progressed through the academy ranks from U10s to eventually the Notts County FC first team making my debut against Carlisle United in front of over 11,000 fans. I was awarded the Notts County FC Young Player of the year award and the Youth team player of the year award that same year. I am currently the third youngest player to ever play professionally for Notts County FC. I have also been fortunate enough to play against the likes of Manchester United, Leicester City, Everton, Aston Villa as well as against many high profile players such as premier league goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, England defender Gary Cahill and Inter Milan’s Ashley Young. Due to an Injury which has halted my football career I turned to coaching and I now have over 13 years experience in coaching also gaining my UEFA Licence and FA Youth Award. My coaching journey has taken me from England to Thailand, Australia and New Zealand and has included roles with professional clubs Nottingham Forest FC and Wigan Athletic F.C. I am extremely excited to be the Head Football coach at HeadStart International school and to have the opportunity to build a fantastic footballing program for our players to learn and practice in a fun and positive environment. It is very important for every player to leave each footballing practice having learnt either a new skill either being technical, physical, psychological or social. It is a combination of all these skills which our young players need to improve and succeed in Football and through their journey in life.

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David Francis

Football Coach
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My name is Dave and I am excited to be a part of the HeadStart Football Academy. I have been coaching for 20 years, across both the UK and the US and covering a wide range of ages from as young as 3 through to adult. Most recently I have spent my time focused on the female game, developing my own club in the UK, where we grew from 3 players to 100 in the past 5 years and coaching for Forest Green Rovers as the U10 Girls Head Coach and Women’s 1st Team Assistant Coach. I have recently completed the UEFA B License and also obtained the USC (formerly NCSAA) Advanced National Diploma. Additionally, I have completed some minor Goalkeeping and Technical Skills Certificates and was fortunate enough to have a study visit to the Ajax Amsterdam Academy in 2014. My coaching philosophy is about creating an environment that allows players to learn, to experiment and to enjoy the game. I believe that if players are offered these 3 things then they will develop a life-long love of Football, as well as develop the skills that will transfer into other areas of life.

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Paul Rothwell

Football Coach
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My name is Paul Rothwell, and I’m from Skelmersdale, in the North-West of England. At university I studied sport science, and was involved with many research projects with professional football players and other athletes. I love to travel and when I finished university I travelled and worked in Australia for 2 years before moving to Thailand. I have been in Thailand for almost 8 years and have been teaching and coaching school children during my time here. In 2019 I completed my football coaching license in Bangkok. I love to coach football and I hope that I can help the players in the Panthers academy develop their skills and passion for the sport. I enjoy seeing players improve and take great pride in helping them reach their goals. In my spare time I love to watch and play football, I play for several teams here in Phuket. I also like to study Thai to help me communicate better with my Thai friends and colleagues. It has been great to see the players develop over my time working at HeadStart. Not just on the pitch, but off it too. I’m looking forward to the next few years and seeing the football academy expand.

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Pongsak Boripun

Assistant Football Coach
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Michael Cruickshank

Head Basketball Coach
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Grant Ackermann

Basketball Coach
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Coach Grant started playing basketball at the young age of 5 in Houston, Texas. He has played competitively in America and Southeast Asia and is excited to share his passion for basketball with HeadStart International School. His experience in skill and team development, as well as his expertise in the fitness industry make him a valuable asset to any athletes looking to improve their game. Coach Grant comes to HeadStart with 8 years of coaching experience across America, Australia, Vietnam and Thailand. From the youth to professional level, and everything in between, Grant has worked as a Head Coach, Assistant Coach, Basketball Skills Trainer and Strength & Conditioning Coach. Basketball is a sport that has taught Coach Grant the value of camaraderie, commitment and perseverance. These priceless life lessons, and others, will be eagerly dispensed to receptive players who have a willingness to learn and a drive to succeed whilst attending HeadStart International Basketball Academy.

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Fitness Suite Manager
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Amina Sanden

Head Dance Coach
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Hi everyone! My name is Mina and I am the new Head Dance Coach. I am thrilled to be a part of the HeadStart family and I can’t wait to work with everyone and take our Dance Academy to the next level. It is a pleasure to be teaching these wonderful students, to share my experiences and knowledge with them, and most importantly, to have fun! I have been dancing since I was 6 years old. I studied Jazz dance at Bangkok Dance Studio and Contemporary dance in many different studios. I started competing in dance battles when I was 15 years old. I have performed as a professional dancer in music videos, commercials, and events. I also worked as a dance soloist, choreographer, coach and manager for events and competitions. I have travelled to many countries to take dance classes from dance masters in various dance genres to further my teaching and dancing techniques. I am able to teach many dance genres such as jazz-funk, contemporary, hip-hop, and more. My goal is to help all of our students find their own characteristics and to be able to express them through dance. I will guide them through pathways that will help them achieve their optimal level of success. Dancing saved my life and I would like to pay it forward by helping others achieve something greater.

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