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
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My name is David Pollicutt 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 Psychology. 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 Hotspsur Football Club; it teaches me patience and humility.

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Ashley Paice

Key Stage 3 Coordinator and English Teacher
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My name is Ashley and I joined HeadStart International School in 2018. I studied English Language & Linguistics at The University of Manchester and completed my teacher training course at Edge Hill University in Liverpool shortly after. I teach English Language and Literature at HeadStart, and I am also the Coordinator for Years 8 and 9. As an English teacher, I always try to make English an exciting journey for all of my students. Competent reading and writing skills are so essential – with a strong foundation, doors can be instantly opened to the many wonders the world has to offer. I also love that I get to play such an instrumental part in shaping the pastoral care at HeadStart International School. Of course, it goes without saying - for students to thrive academically, they have to be happy and healthy. For me, teaching is all about those eureka moments – when a student suddenly ‘gets it’, and the jigsaw puzzle finally slots together - seeing my students brimming with pride and happiness is always a fantastic feeling. As for teaching itself, there is something undeniably magical about it; I really couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. Knowing that I get to shape the lives of so many young people every year makes me feel incredibly lucky. High School can be a tough five years for a whole host of reasons, and being able to help students navigate their way to the end – there’s really no better feeling! Outside of the classroom, I try to live quite an active life. I enjoy working out (although I often have to force myself!) However, my biggest passion in life is running; I feel so grateful to be living on such a beautiful island – and what’s better than exploring Phuket by going on a nice long run? I am excited to be starting my fourth year here at HeadStart International School. It’s been truly wonderful seeing the school develop, and I feel blessed to be a part of such an amazing community.

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Alia Sillett

English and Drama Teacher
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I was born and raised in Bath in the UK where I developed a love and passion for the performing arts. After completing my schooling, I studied Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Kent in Canterbury for both my undergraduate degree and Masters Degree in which I specialised in stand-up comedy. I spent some time "gigging" on the stand-up circuit around the UK, culminating in being entered for the British funny Women of the year award in 2008. After being a teaching ambassador for the University of Kent I had the opportunity to teach in Thailand in 2008; it was here I found both my passion for teaching as well as Thailand! I returned to the UK to qualify as a teacher where I had a successful teaching and management career in the British state school system. I have had various roles in education; Key Stage Leader, Head of Faculty for Performing Arts and Assistant Head Teacher. During this time I have had the opportunity to gain my second Masters, in Education; Transformational Leadership and completed the Outstanding Leaders in Education programme. I am a passionate educationalist who truly believes in the power of drama to instil confidence, collaboration, leadership and individuality in our students. I have always been an advocate for holistic education and believe that a child's school experience should encompass academics, creativity and capacity for mental and physical growth. My classroom mantra is 'lead with kindness'. In 2016 myself and my husband moved back to Thailand to begin our international career at a top tier international school. During this time I was lucky enough to train with The Juilliard School completing their Drama teacher training and complete my category two International baccalaureate training in Theatre Arts with ISTA. After five years in Bangkok, we moved to HeadStart in 2021 with our two children who also attend the school. I love teaching and living in Thailand and like to spend my free time on the beach with my children, scuba diving, and searching for the best Som Tum on the island; so if you have any recommendations, please let me know!

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Kelly Tuppen

English Teacher
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Hello everyone and welcome to my classroom! My name is Kelly Tuppen and I am a Secondary English Teacher, as well as the Homeroom Teacher for Year 10 White. I joined HeadStart in 2020. I have a First Class Honours BA in English Literature and a Postgraduate Certificate of Education 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, a place very dear to my heart. I have also more recently taught for the rural Canadian school system in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada: ask me about my grizzly bear stories! As an internationally-minded teacher, I take pride in cultivating a plurality of perspectives in my English classroom. I inspire my students to learn how to think, nurturing analytical skills, cultural understanding, open-mindedness and tolerance. Along with developing reading and writing proficiency, I encourage my students to be creative - we might roleplay, hold debates, put a character from a novel on trial and even try to sketch poetic imagery to help us visualise it. Developing independence and confidence in my pupils' communication abilities is central to my role as an English teacher. I also encourage students to see mistakes as opportunities to improve, and never to give up! As an English teacher, I especially love poetry and puns, so you may see some around the classroom. I am very much looking forward to the coming academic year, and feel privileged to explore the magic of the English language with my students and help them to progress. If there is anything you wish to talk to me about, please come to see me. Best of luck to everyone this year.

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Daniel Portelli

Head of Maths & Computing
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My name is Daniel Portelli and I joined Headstart in January 2021. I am from Kent in the UK and moved to Thailand with my wife in June 2019. After my BSc at the University of Kent, I went to work for the UK government on engineering projects, then afterwards did a PhD in mathematics – more specifically mathematical modelling which is basically developing new mathematics to create virtual environments that are representative of real-life as possible. Why? To put simply, every time to drop your phone and it doesn’t break, this is due to mathematical modelling. Rather than building 1000s upon 1000s of phones to test under thousands and thousands of different conditions which would cost so much time and money, it is cheaper and more efficient to simulate these tests on a computer. To do this, however, you need to create a reality that is almost as real as real life, which is extremely challenging, both mathematically and computationally and requires the combination of knowledge and skills of mathematics, physics, computing and engineering. It was during this time I had a conversation with a friend of mine who asked me why in schools did they not teach us the more fascinating, challenging and interesting aspects of mathematics. Why did we have to wait until university to get those rewards. I decided then and there that I would bring this to schools and the best way to do this was to become a teacher. I obtained a Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarship from the Institute of Mathematics and did my teacher training PGCSE at Imperial College. After this, I taught GCSE and A-Level for several years at an international school in the UK, then moved to Bangkok as a Head of Department for another few years, before I joined Headstart as Head of Mathematics and Computing. I am very happy to be at Headstart and believe the school and the students to have huge potential. I see my role as helping all students of mathematics achieve not only the best they can academically but to fall in love with mathematics. Hopefully, even just by reading my profile, you have gained a bit of new insight into the nature of mathematics. In my free time, I like to go on walks, read, write, cook and spend time with my family – including my blind cat Beep-Boop. I am also a qualified public speaker from Toastmaster International.

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Letitia Bekker

Maths Teacher
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My name is Letitia and I am from South Africa. I completed my degree in BSc Chemistry and PGCE at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. I have a passion for young people and through teaching I want to make a difference in students’ lives. I firmly believe in student oriented education where learners must be fully involved in their education and I am willing to go the extra mile for each learner. My teaching experience in South Africa included working at IMPAK as a part-time teacher while completing my studies after which I moved, as a full time teacher to Hoërskool Warmbad which is a parallel medium High school teaching Mathematics and Physical Science. Besides teaching I love to travel, scuba dive and to camp. In 2015 my husband and I decided to move to Thailand where I taught Primary Science at an English programme school in Rayong and in January 2016 I joined the Mathematics team at HeadStart International School. I am looking forward to continue working with staff and students from around the world and cannot wait to see what the new academic year holds.

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Linh Nguyen

Maths Teacher
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Howdy, my name is Linh Nguyen (pronounced “Lynn Win”) and I am honored to be a member of HeadStart this 2021-2022 academic year. I was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, but I consider Texas to be home. I graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Education in 2014. This year will be my 8th year of teaching secondary Maths (4 years in Texas and 4 years in Phuket). I believe my upbringing, values, and experiences as a Vietnamese American have carried over into my career as an educator and altered my perspective of teaching. Through discovery, critical thinking, problem solving, and cooperative learning in my class, I hope to instill values of education, compassion, service and community within my students. I am as passionate about academics as I am about staying physically active and being involved in community service, and I try to bring each of these aspects of my life into my teaching and interactions with my students.

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Sara Wilson

Maths & Psychology Teacher
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My name is Sara and I have been pleased to be 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. 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. From 2021, I will be introducing A Level Psychology to HeadStart students, for which I am incredibly excited. 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 spend much of my free time in the water. 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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Ross Armstrong

ICT and Computing Coordinator
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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 am also the school’s computing coordinator. Overall, this will be my seventh 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 Triathlons and running races (some in Phuket!). 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

ICT Teacher
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Hello everyone! My name is Alicia and I have been working at HeadStart since October 2018. I am entering my night year of teaching meaning I am extremely well equipped for the exciting year ahead. I have taught in a variety of settings; including my home country of South Africa, the Middle East and other parts of Thailand. I studied to become a teacher at the University of Pretoria; gaining a Bachelor of Education degree. I then taught ICT in South Africa for two years before embarking on my international teaching career; where I have spent the past six years as both a homeroom, IT, ICT and IB MYP Digital Design Teacher. I strive towards perfection for both myself and my students, working each day to ensure outstanding practice and outcomes. I am very passionate about my subject which means I have a breadth of knowledge to share and can do so in engaging and stimulating ways. I am a stimulating, eager and dedicated person with a natural ability to build rapport with students. My high quality approach ensures rapid progress and results. With a devoted outlook towards lessons; through differentiation, challenge, a happy and humorous approach, my teaching style has been positively welcomed by learners over the years. As well as being a passionate teacher, I also love fitness and sport. I love training in a range of physical activities; including Crossfit, weight-lifting, cycling, team sports, coaching and refereeing. With this, I have played provincial field hockey for my country and also represented an established Emirates rugby team while living in Dubai. I look forward to continuing touch rugby with the staff and students this year. I am looking forward to the next academic year, seeing familiar faces and getting to know all of the new students. I’m happy to be spending my time at HeadStart and in Phuket.

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Timothy Davidson

Head of Science
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My name is Tim and I have been teaching at HeadStart International School since 2018. I was born and raised in the beautiful county of Cornwall; located in the southwestern tip of the UK. After sitting my A-levels at Cornwall College I was awarded a scholarship from Pilkington Optronics to study Physics at Reading University. Post University I entered research at the National Physical Laboratory researching the use of quantum dots to replace fluorescent tag molecules for medical diagnosis. However the life of a researcher often left me in need of human interaction and I decided to opt for a career change; studying a PGCE at the Institute of Education, in London. After my PGCE I took up my first full time teaching post in West London. I remained at this school for seven and a half years during which time I took on a variety of roles including Head of Physics, running the school’s science specialism and Learning Leader; a role which saw me helping to develop the teaching practice of my peers. I then took up my first International post in Prague where I worked as both the Head of Physics and the Teaching and Learning Coordinator for four years. Post Prague I moved to Phuket where I took on the role of Head of Science at HeadStart. My approach to teaching has been formed from educational research and personal experience. The key to creating lifelong learners to is to give the students ownership of their learning and ensure they are suitably challenged and engaged throughout their time in education. To do this I endeavour to create an environment that fosters deep learning and stimulates students’ curiosity. In Science we are blessed as we can not only apply the teaching strategies used in other faculties but we can also give the students the opportunity to carry out practical investigations. On top of this the key concepts they learn can then be seen/experienced in their everyday life. So far my first year at HeadStart has been the only year where every lesson was taught face to face. With these constant challenges to their learning I have been impressed by the resilience and attitude of the students; attributes that have led to continued increase in attainment across the science department. I have no doubt that the current cohort is capable of continuing this improvement and I look forward to helping, and ensuring, that this prediction is proven to be true! I am excited about continuing my adventure at HeadStart International School and being given the opportunity to further aid the students in exploring the rules that shape our Universe.

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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 starting my Eighth 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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Neil Roscoe

Science Teacher
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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 and also in a number of private boarding schools, including Roedean, prior to that. I am especially interested in the natural world and hope to inspire a love of nature in my students. Phuket is such an amazing place to study Biology because there is such an abundance of life all around us, from the forests and mountains of the interior to the coasts - which include coral reefs and islands. It would be fun to explore all of this further, perhaps with students from HeadStart in the form of field visits as part of our study. 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 really relaxing. I look forward to meeting the students at HeadStart and helping them to find their niche in life. With all that is going on in the world currently, there has rarely been a more exciting time to study Biology.

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Christopher Brown

Science Teacher
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My name is Chris and I am happy to be returning to HeadStart International School for my fifth year teaching science here. I grew up in North West England and completed my degree in Biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, before doing my PGCE in Secondary Science at the University of Manchester. I continue to enjoy putting this experience to good use at HeadStart where I can share my passion for science with students from so many different backgrounds. I feel that all young people have a natural curiosity and drive to understand the world around them, which makes teaching science a pleasure. I aim to keep this curiosity and excitement alive in my classroom and strive to make sure that my students see science as something interesting that they can relate to their own day to day lives. My science lessons allow students to explore ideas and discover answers for themselves as much as possible, giving them hands-on experience of what it really means to be a scientist. I feel very lucky that I am able to combine my love of teaching with living in one of my favourite places in the world.

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Steven Finn

Science Teacher
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My name is Steven Finn and I am the Homeroom tutor for Year 13 Yellow. I was born in Manchester and spent most of my childhood there. For the most part, I enjoyed school both in sport and academically. I am more naturally gifted in maths and science rather than the arts, although I did go to the theatre on many occasions to see plays. I captained the school in rugby, football and cricket as well as playing tennis. After obtaining good grades at school I went to university and obtained a degree in Chemistry. In the holidays, I helped to run the family business doing jobs in accounts, stock control and sales. I was also involved in a house conversion throughout my academic studies. After leaving university, I worked in the chemical industry in sales, marketing, planning, production and as a formulation chemist. I entered the teaching profession in 2005 where I obtained my PGCE. Since then I have been teaching science and maths in the U.K. and internationally. I have taught in England, Guernsey, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and China. Since 2009 I have taught IGCSE and either ‘A’ Level or IB Chemistry as well occasionally other sciences such as Physics. I have a passion for Chemistry, as it has greatly benefitted modern society, for instance in cancer treatment. Chemistry is not an easy subject, but it has so much variety, combining practical and theoretical skills. Chemistry provides a great education for students to attain higher order thinking skills which will benefit them all through their life. In the classroom, I use a variety of strategies to aid learning to make it as engaging to the students as possible. I want both, myself and the students to enjoy lessons as well as it to be thought provoking. For me, teaching is about facilitating a students’ development so that they can realise their potential and ambitions. In my career to date it has given me great pleasure to see students go onto study medicine and engineering at such places as Imperial College, Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, Kings College, London, MIT, Max Plank Institute and the University of British Columbia. Outside of the classroom, I have been on residential trips with students to Chengdu and the ‘Tiger Leaping Gorge’ in China as well photos shoots around Guernsey. In my spare time I enjoy travel, golf, swimming, fine cuisine, film and skiing as well as watching the local football team.

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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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Richard Cramp

Head of Humanities
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Hi, my name is Rich and I have been teaching History at Headstart since 2015 and became Head of Humanities in 2020. My experience as an English and History teacher in international schools, along with a strong EAL background, has given me the tools to effectively teach students of differing abilities from all over the world. I am also in a position to empathise with international school students, having been one myself (I spent my first 12 years in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan). As a History teacher, I will ensure that students not only access the History curriculum, but do so in a lively, engaged classroom that inspires a love of history while developing the knowledge, skills and concepts needed to make sense of the world. Every student has a higher potential that must be unlocked, nurtured and encouraged continually. I do this by creating an active and engaged classroom culture where formative assessment is the nexus of their learning. Involving students in the learning process and nurturing a mind-set approach to their learning not only manifests excellent progress but, more importantly, creates happy and confident learners for life. Apart from teaching, other passions include music (listening and composing), travel, quoting Alan Partridge and being a consistently disappointed Tottenham Hotspur fan. To be able to live near the coast and teach a subject I’m so passionate about is fantastic. My wife and I are enjoying teaching and living in Phuket, especially because the lifestyle here gives our two children (also at HeadStart) an opportunity to grow up in the great outdoors.

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Simon Downes

Business Teacher
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Hi and Sawadee kap! I’m Simon Downes from the UK. Over the years, I’ve collected a mix of qualifications, including a Degree in Business & Linguistics, a Postgraduate Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Education. After teaching English and business in the UK, I moved to Thailand to teach in Chiang Mai, in 2014. I’m excited to continue my Thai journey in Phuket. As a teacher, I focus on creating a friendly, positive class atmosphere. This can encourage learners to take risks, and even make a few mistakes, which accelerates learning. I also find the yearly teaching cycle allows me to evolve my teaching; steadily incorporating fresh resources and technologies. Business ideas are core features of our HeadStart class experience. I like to bring our studies ‘to life’ by encouraging students to consider how they personally experience and interact with business ideas in their own lives. I’m more of a generalist than a specialist so I have a wide range of interests, including arts, sciences, economics, philosophy, psychology; the list is very long. I’m very curious so I’m hoping to learn about what interests you and how I can best support your learning. So, I’m looking forward to fresh adventures at HeadStart School. Thailand has taught me many things, particularly about the power of a smile, and confirmed that ‘It’s never too late to have a happy childhood’.

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Dale Benham

Geography Teacher
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My name is Dale this is my second 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. During this time I taught a wide range of children from varying backgrounds and ethnicities in a multicultural school. 6 of these 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 on the path to become a teacher. I am enthusiastic and a great believer in providing exciting and interesting lessons to all of the students that I teach. 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 of the classroom I enjoy listening to an eclectic variety of music and watching sport (football and rugby in particular.) I am looking forward to another positive year for our school and most importantly our students who are a pleasure to teach.

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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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My name is Mr. Kasim and I have just joined Headstart for the 2021-22 academic year. I am teaching Travel & Tourism at iGCSE and BTEC along with year 10 Business Studies. I was born in the beautiful seaside town of Brighton in the UK, before moving to London and growing up there. I gained my BA in Tourism Management at St Marys University and would then gain my MA in Anthropology of Travel, Tourism & Pilgrimage at the prestigious SOAS University. I would go on to work within the events and entertainment industry, working as security across many London venues ad events such as Twickenham and Wembley Stadiums. Major music festivals such as Slam Dunk and Wireless, along with major cultural events such as the Queens Jubilee as well as many popular nightclubs across London. I then gained my passion for teaching as the travel bug caught me, I worked as a Social Studies and EAL teacher at Hsinchu County American School in Taiwan. I returned to the UK where I worked as a teaching assistant, then going on to UCL Institute of Education to complete my PGCE and would then gain QTLS. I would work with Sir George Monoux Sixth Form College in London teaching BTEC Travel & Tourism Levels 2 and 3. I am passionate about Travel & Tourism as a subject as it has allowed me to travel all over the world and gain appreciation for new cultures around the world. I strongly believe in using travel and tourism as a force for good for local communities to enhance the lives of the local populations while having fun and learning.

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Dean Wells

Design and Technology
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My name is Dean Wells and I am from the UK. I grew up in Poole, Dorset but moved to Bristol to study a degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering and then stayed there for 18 years. As a Production Engineer I worked on top engineering projects such as the Typhoon Eurofighter, underwater and flying Unmanned Automated Vehicles and setting up a company for Mitsubishi before eventually going back to university and studying for my PGCE to become a qualified Design and Technology teacher. I moved to Penang, Malaysia in 2013 to work at a new international school where my role was to design and overlook the building of the Design and Technology educational spaces as well as to set up and teach an exciting curriculum for Key Stage 3, Cambridge IGCSE to Key Stage 4 and Product Design A Level to Key Stage 5. I am now really looking forward to my new role at Headstart International school and to continue helping with the progression, positive energy and academic successes of the Creative Arts and DT subjects. I am committed to helping young people achieve their best and striving to ensure they have a happy and successful life. In the past I have also had some varied jobs that possibly reflect my personality and interests, I have taught corporate groups how to sail tall ships, had my own weekly radio show and been a sound engineer for London Westend shows such as Cats and Mary Poppins.

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Alexandra Holmes

Music Teacher
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My name is Alex and I have been teaching at HeadStart International School since 2018. I am from the UK, growing up in South Yorkshire in the north of England. Having spent some time working in the Netherlands and travelling in Asia in my twenties, I then returned to college to study music and completed my music degree at Leeds College of Music. I worked in schools in West Yorkshire as a peripatetic woodwind teacher before enrolling on a PGCE course at Leeds University in 2001. I have taught in several independent schools in West Yorkshire since then, spending 10 years teaching music at the Grammar School at Leeds, a leading independent school in the area. It is my belief that a teacher should inspire a love of learning in their students, encouraging in them a desire to seek out new information for themselves. I will be encouraging my pupils to explore the vast array of musical styles and genres available to them both inside and outside the classroom. I foster a supportive and nurturing environment in my lessons, where children are not afraid to try new things, stretch and challenge themselves, take risks or make mistakes. Music takes up a good deal of my time, but I also love to exercise, enjoying running and spending time in the gym. Over the last 12 months I have started to attend yoga classes, which I also really enjoy. When I came to Thailand in 2009 to perform in the World Saxophone Congress at Mahidol University I took the opportunity to learn to scuba dive on Koh Tao. I am hoping to build my confidence with this during my time on Phuket. I love to travel and will be exploring more of Thailand until international travel becomes available again. I hope to explore some of the other countries in South East Asia, including Vietnam and Cambodia. I am slowly learning the Thai language and will try and move a bit faster with that this year.

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Jody Leow

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I come from England and I have worked as a teacher in Phuket since 2001. I worked as an EAL teacher for 3 years and then as a foundation and preschool teacher for 3 years. I have been working as an Art teacher with Headstart since 2008 during which time I have enjoyed being part of the school’s expansion. I have always been passionate about art, I studied Fine Art at the University of Brighton in the UK during which time I spent six months studying at Alfred University in New York State. Although my main subject was painting, my studies included working with a wide variety of media including clay, printmaking and sculpture. I am dedicated to providing a classroom environment which is stimulating and inspiring to students, which encourages creative expression and allows students to explore and develop their ideas and learn about the work of different artists and cultures.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up” --Pablo Picasso
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Thomas Dagnall

Art Teacher
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Hello and sawadee krap! My name is Tom and I am very excited to begin my new role as an Art teacher at Headstart. I was born and raised in Liverpool, making me a proud ‘Scouser’. I moved to Lincoln when I was 20 where I completed my Ba in The Visual Arts and Education studies at Bishop Grosseteste University. Whilst there I would spend my summers teaching Martial Arts at a summer camp in the USA. Through my degree studies I explored light in many ways before specialising in its use as a physical medium through installations. I am passionate about all forms of creative expression, I am at my happiest when making and have worked to become adept in many different mediums. I aim to encourage this level of passion and enthusiasm in all of my students. I am a firm believer in arts ability to reach across subject divides and love using this to branch out into cross curricular learning. I have spent my last 4 years teaching Art in an international school in Marbella where I also served as a ‘head of house’ and developed and delivered a contemporary and fresh PSHE curriculum for year 8 and 9 students. Outside of the classroom I love to stay active. Aside from my own artwork I am also a 2nd dan in the Goju Ryu style of Okinawan Karate and I love to play Football, Padel, Yoga and swim in the Sea. I look forward to continuing these activities in Phuket and hopefully learn some more.

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Patrick Graham

Music Coordinator
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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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Stephen Walker

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My name is Stephen Walker, and I am from Kent in the UK. I came to Thailand in 2018, after living and teaching P.E and Humanities subjects (History, Geography etc.), up to IGCSE/GCSE level in Sunderland, England. Before that, I was the Director of Sport for the Western International School of Shanghai for ten years. My sporting background is very diverse. I grew up with a passion for playing football, cricket and Athletics during my school and university life but later started boxing, swimming and ultimate Frisbee. I have always enjoyed trying new sports, and as I get older and less flexible have started to learn golf. I have also been coaching football for 15 years. I hold my UEFA b License and my Youth Modules. I have been lucky enough to work with Nike football, Newcastle UTD and Stoke City F.C. Outside of sport, I enjoy reading comics and playing Dungeons and Dragons. I also have two large dogs which I enjoy walking around Chalong dam. I look forward to meeting all the students around the school.

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