Primary

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. 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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Sam Young

Year 1 Blue
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My name is Sam Young and the 2020-2021 academic year will be my first year at HeadStart. I will be the Homeroom Teacher for Year 1 Blue. This is my first time in Thailand but I have heard so many good things about the food, the people and the beautiful places to visit. I am a big animal lover and cannot wait to see some of the Thai wildlife. I was born in a town called Burton-On-Trent in the UK but moved to Cheltenham where I gained my Undergraduate Degree in Primary Education. Since completing my degree, I have spent 5 years teaching in Bristol. For the first 4 years I taught in Reception and have spent the most recent academic year teaching Year 1. I truly feel blessed to be a teacher as it is such a rewarding profession. It is so satisfying seeing children get excited about learning and watching them grow into confident, independent learners. “Teamwork makes the dreamwork” is a phrase I often use in my class. Successful teams support each other, have positive relationships and respect everyone. I want my team to believe they are the best and can do anything that they set their minds to. I cannot wait to get started, meet my new class and help them become the best that they can be – we are going to have a brilliant year! If there is anything you wish to talk to me about please come to see me.

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Ivy Carlos

Year 1 Blue
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My name is Ivy B. Carlos, Deputy Teacher of Year 1 Blue. I am from the Philippines and gained my Bachelor’s degree in Education majoring in Early Childhood Education (ECE) from the University of Northern Philippines at Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. I have experienc teaching Year 1 and Year 3 in my home country. I have been working at HeadStart since 2013 and I can say that I am enjoying my stay here. For the past years I had been assigned to teach different age levels. I love working with children and aim to support them in order to enhance their learning abilities the best that I can. I believe in the saying “Teachers who love teaching teach children to love learning.” I am looking forward for another great and fun year teaching Year 1 Blue.

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Lauren Rose

Year 1 Yellow
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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 a BA in 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, where I worked as an ESL teacher for professionals who wished to develop their English language abilities in order to widen their career prospects. As I realized I had a passion for teaching I also started to work in an English language school for students from the ages of four upwards. This was the spark that drove my career to becoming a primary school teacher. I moved from Prague to Phuket in the summer of 2018 and spent the 2018-2019 academic year as a Year One homeroom teacher in another international school and have since completed my International Post Graduate Certificate in Education. I have taught for one year at HeadStart as the Year One Yellow homeroom teacher and I look forward to my second year at this amazing school! During lessons I strive for all children in my care 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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Cynthia Lo-Manipol

Year 1 Yellow
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My name is Cynthia Lo Manipol, Deputy Teacher of Year 1 Yellow. I was born and raised in the Philippines. I am married and blessed with a son. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Secondary Education in 2010 from the Adventist University of the Philippines at Silang, Cavite. I taught Foundation and Primary level for two years in my home country before coming here to Thailand. I started working at HeadStart in 2012 as a Deputy Teacher. I have passion for teaching children and watching them grow and progress in every aspect of their lives. Teaching is full of challenges but also very rewarding experiences. I believe that it is important for parents and teachers to work together to create a positive learning environment for each student to achieve their goals and dreams in life. I am excited and looking forward to fun learning experiences in this new academic year 2020 – 2021.

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Emma Spencer

Year 1 White
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Hello, my name is Emma Spencer. I joined HeadStart this year and have been made to feel very welcome thanks to the warm welcome everyone has given me. I am really enjoying working with Year 5 White. They are a fun, interesting and exuberant class. I’ve been teaching for sixteen years. I started my career in Rugby, Warwickshire teaching in a Junior School. During my eight years at the school, I developed my love for teaching English, Drama and Art. I led the subjects of English and Creative Curriculum and helped to redesign the non-core curriculum and bring in new assessment guidelines. In 2011, I decided I wanted a new challenge, so I moved to the British International School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. At this school I enjoyed teaching children from over fifty nations, getting involved in the wider school community and led the subjects of Maths and English. I learnt so much during my time in Vietnam and thoroughly enjoyed the chaotic nature of the city, the kindness of the people and all of the delicious food. I traveled widely and explored my passions for scuba diving, cooking and travel photography during these trips. More recently I have just taken an extended trip through Central and South America. As a teacher, I aim to create a happy and caring environment, where my students can develop confidence, take risks, embrace mistakes as steps towards learning and appreciate the importance of kindness and determination. I believe that encouraging children to take an active role in their learning is central to encourage them to become life-long learners.

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Alma Oliva

Year 1 White
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My name is Alma G. Oliva, I am from Masbate in the Philippines and am married and blessed with four children. I gained the degree of Bachelor of Arts Major in English at Mountain View, Valencia, Bukidnon, Philippines. I believe in the saying, “In this world nothing is constant, everything keeps on changing,” this is especially true in the field of teaching. As a teacher, we should never stop learning; we should equip ourselves with knowledge for we will be passing that knowledge and a love of learning on to our students. Having worked as a Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary teacher in private schools in the Philippines for 9 years, I first came to Thailand in April 2007. Initially I worked in Bangkok as a Primary and Secondary Music teacher. Then I moved to Phuket and HeadStart International School in 2010 to work as a Deputy Teacher. This year I am looking forward to my new role as Deputy Teacher in Year 1 White. Aside from teaching, singing and playing musical instruments are my favourite hobbies. I am sure that the school will have continued success this year and into the future, as we seek to develop harmonious relationships between teachers and parents and work together to help our students to achieve their dreams.

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Michael Marx

Year 2 Blue
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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 Primary Education specialising in Physical Education. During my seven 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 little minds. I also have the additional responsibility of being the Primary Computing Coordinator. Especially after recent events, using devices and understanding our digital world is becoming more and more vital. I look forward to ensuring the Primary students are more than ready for the challenges they could face and understand how to operate in an ever expanding digital world. Lastly, I can’t wait to start the learning journey with my new class as well as share with them all that I have learnt so far (as well learning from them). I aim to work with the children in my class 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 children develop, please do not hesitate to come and see me to arrange a meeting.

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Corazon Liguid

Year 2 Blue
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My name is Corazon Oliveros. I am a Filipino, born in Davao City, Mindanao in the Southern Philippines. I studied Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at the University of Mindanao, Davao City, Philippines from 1978 to 1983. In 1986, I also gain Bachelor of Science units in Elementary Education. I arrived in Phuket, Thailand in 2005. Since then, I’ve had lots of experience as a private tutor for children in Grades one, three and four. Before joining the HeadStart Team, I worked as a Teaching Assistant at Phuket International School in Rawai from 2008 to 2009. I am very proud and happy to be going into my tenth year at HeadStart.

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Donna Wintersgill

Year 2 Yellow
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Hello! My name is Donna and I am from a small town in the UK called Northampton. At University I originally studied Zoology and upon completing my degree I spent a few years conducting research expeditions. It was an amazing experience and I got to visit some incredible countries such as Madagascar and the Virgin Islands. In 2015 I decided to train as a teacher and share my knowledge and passions with others. I taught in the UK for a few years and also completed my Masters in Education, where I was privileged to be in a position where I could bring students into a dementia care setting and watch as incredible friendships developed. For me, relationships are the foundation of a good education and this at the core of my teaching practice. In the classroom, I like to make lessons fun and engaging using drama and role play to really bring learning to life! Books also play a vital part in my practice, I love engrossing children in a story and capturing their imagination, opening them up a world of possibilities and witnessing the layers of learning that occur. When I am not working I love to run, I ran the Melbourne Marathon in 2018 and raised over 26,000 baht for a children’s hospice, it was extremely hard but definitely worth it! Diving and snorkelling are also huge passions of mine and I love spending my weekends exploring Phuket’s marine life. I am also very passionate about the environment and love getting involved in beach clean ups around the island, I feel so privileged to be living in such a beautiful place, I want to do my bit to look after it!

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Lyndel Recto

Year 2 Yellow
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Hello, my name is Lyndel Recto and I am glad to start my third year as a Deputy Teacher, this year in Year 2 Yellow, at HeadStart International School. I enjoyed my last two years in in year 4 and was able to acquire great experience and learning. I am from Sibuyan Island, Romblon, Philippines. I graduated from the Adventist University of the Philippines with a Bachelor of Music, and a Major in Music Education. Previously, I worked in one of my home country’s government ministries. I helped abused young people and adults through counselling and motivated them to make in order to make their future better. I love being a teacher and hope to be an inspiration to my students. I hope they grow up to be capable and to do what they want in life, to persevere and stand up and move forward if they fail. I am looking forward to building a wonderful relationship with our students, parents, as well as the teachers, in this school and am so thrilled to be here and to work with everyone in the HeadStart team.

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Amy Drew

Year 2 White
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Hello and Sawadee ka! My name is Amy Drew and I am Homeroom Teacher for Year 2 White. I joined the HeadStart team in 2014 on the old school site. It has been exciting to see the development of the school and to be part of the journey. At University I studied Retain Management and before my teaching career I spent 10 years in Buying and Merchandising for some of the top UK and International retailers. Following which I gained a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Nottingham University and joined the teaching profession. Prior to joining HeadStart I taught in Bangkok for an International School in Key Stage 1 and Foundation. My husband, Mr Drew, and I welcomed our first child to Phuket in 2018 and he is enjoying Pre-school class at HeadStart. I had hoped that my teacher training and the experience with children in their early years would prepare me well for having my own child, however nothing quite prepares you for a baby! This new understanding of parenthood has increased my empathy with yourselves as parents and with the challenges that children face at home as well as school. The experience has given me a unique insight into the mind of a young learner, especially relating to language acquisition as I observe my child learning to speak both English and Thai. I am very much looking forward to this next academic year and getting to know a new cohort of pupils and helping them to progress. I am especially excited to be welcoming back into Year 2 some of the children whom I taught in Early Years 3 years ago. It will be a delight to see how much they have developed and progressed over the 3 years. If there is anything you wish to talk to me about please come to see me. Thank you and korp khun ka.

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Airl Mindaro

Year 2 White
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Hello, my name is Airl and I am very excited to begin my fourth year as a Deputy Teacher in Year 6 White at HeadStart International School. I was born on one of the islands in the southern Philippines named Zamboanga del Sur but I grew up in the northern part -Baguio City. I graduated from Benguet State University with a Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Biological Sciences. I am passionate in motivating young people to make a change and develop new skills that can be used in their daily basis. I want to inspire students to dream big, do extraordinary things and keep moving even how many times they fail. I establish good relationships with students and parents, and love them despite their unique differences. I believe that every child needs a hand to care and touch their hearts and I am here to be part of their journey. Every time the children come in the classroom, I will do my best to provide a happy, loving and friendly environment for everyone that the children can call it a home. I am looking forward to an exciting year.

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Mark Blacklee

Year 3 Blue
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Hello, it is lovely to meet you! My name is Mark Blacklee and I was born in East Grinstead, UK; however, I spent most of my life in sunny Worthing, on the South coast. I have an undergraduate degree from the Open University, UK. My core units were Childhood/Youth, English Language and Social Science. I thoroughly enjoyed this period of study to act as a foundation for my post graduate training. To complement this qualification, I then continued with my studies to obtain my PGCE from UPHSD. More recently, I have been studying for my Masters in Education (ESOL), so I can really help my students progress. I have lived in Thailand for six years and love the lifestyle, also the people. I formerly lived and worked in Bangkok for over two years, teaching the five core subjects: Reading, Listening, GMS, FMS and Free Ex, to KG1. After this, I moved away from the city to rural Phetchaburi, for a year and a half. Here I taught the kindergarten classes all the way to Year 6 Language and Phonics. It was amazing as the only English spoken in the area was at school. It really was ‘off the beaten track Thailand’, and an amazing experience. I used to come home from work to find huge monitor lizards lounging in my garden. At night they were replaced by hundreds of fireflies. The lure of Phuket was too much and I have now been here working here on the island as a Primary homeroom teacher (following the Cambridge curriculum) for two and a half years. I feel privileged this year to work at such a prestigious school as HeadStart and look forward to our year ahead. I am a very hands on teacher and strongly believe TPR and lots of encouragement is the key for young learners. I always provide lessons with plenty of enthusiasm, organisation professionalism and knowledge. I believe in giving my students confidence and supporting them in every way through their academic journey. I will always be there for them, whenever they need me. I am a keen surfer and kite boarder, hence my former move to Phuket. I am a registered UK instructor for both of these disciplines. I am also a secret homebody and like my gardening and restoring old two stroke motorcycles. Additionally, I have seven rescue cats to keep me busy. I try to promote a healthy, fun active lifestyle and believe a positive learning environment is the key to a fantastic year ahead. Please contact me if I can help in any way in the upcoming year, or beyond!

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Johanna Pon-an

Year 3 Blue
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Hello! My name is Johanna and I’ve been teaching at HeadStart since 2017. I spent 2 years as a shadow teacher and this will be my second year as a deputy teacher. I am extremely excited to meet you all and begin teaching children at our fantastic school. As a special educator, teaching exceptional children is my passion and I can't imagine doing anything else. We will find exciting ways to learn and grow together every day! Looking forward to a year of fun-filled learning adventures. I am from the Philippines but I have been living in Phuket for five years now. I graduated with a Bachelor degree in Special Education focused on children with Intellectual Disabilities as well as the Gifted & Talented. I am a licensed professional teacher and had experiences on organising learning activities tailored to students with special needs, learning capacities, standards, and Intellectual Disabilities. I’ve been a Homeroom Teacher in a Bilingual School here in Phuket and my two-year broad experiences exposed me to many different teaching philosophies that have ultimately helped to shape my own personal philosophies for teaching and education. I love learning new things and always try to stay up to date on the latest teaching practices. As a special education teacher, I believe that every child is special, unique and has the ability to learn in distinct ways. Every student can learn best when he/she is engaged and having fun. It is the responsibility of the teacher to discover each child's strengths and weaknesses and use this information to promote learning and development. I believe that parents and teachers should work together as partners to help provide an education that encourages students to pursue academic excellence to the best of their abilities. In addition, it is important to provide children with a warm, safe, and inviting learning environment where they can play, discover, and grow. With an appropriate classroom and the proper guidance and instruction, I believe young children will develop a positive attitude towards education, along with the self-confidence and independence necessary to become successful adults in the future.

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Nicola Fallows

Year 3 Yellow
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I originate from England and was teaching children in KS1 under the British National Curriculum and British Early Years Curriculum in the UK. I have worked with HeadStart since 2012. My qualifications consist of two degrees, a Master’s Degree in Criminology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology/Criminology. This was followed by a PGCE in Primary Education focusing on the KS1 and KS2 British curriculum. I have over twenty years’ experience in the field of industry and believe that many of these attributes have been reassigned into the classroom environment. Teaching in an English school was fast paced and challenging and I have gained extensive experience with the teaching of synthetic phonics and value the importance of this programme in order to give children a secure foundation to: understand the complexities of the English language, to be able to read, to write and to spell words. It is wonderful to see how children develop, both socially and academically as time progresses and I enjoy being part of their journey. Teaching is my passion and it is a privilege to be part of the pivotal moments when children’s understanding of the world grows. I consider myself to be a friendly, approachable person, but can present myself as firm but fair when the occasion is called for. I freely communicate with parents as I view our relationship as essential in order to ensure that each child is happy, secure and progressing within the learning environment – my door is always open. I enjoy being part of the HeadStart team and look forward to the new academic year of learning in Year 3 Yellow and building a relationship with you and your children.

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Mency Regalado

Year 3 Yellow
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Hello! My name is Mency Grace Regalado Sosa. I studied at the Adventist University of the Philippines and achieved a Bachelor Degree of Science in Nursing. My first teaching job was in Chumphon in Primary to Secondary, and then I became an English Homeroom Teacher for a Kindergarten 1 English Programme for 3 years. That was the time I realised that I wanted to pursue my teaching career, so I studied for a Diploma in Teacher Education and graduated last August 2017. I am currently studying for my Master’s Degree in Education with a major in Early Childhood. I really enjoy teaching young children. This is my third year at HeadStart and what makes this school so special to me is how clever everyone is. I hope that I can share what I learn from the school and share it with the students of HeadStart. Providing a fun, loving and learning environment is what I dream of so I am looking forward to having more years at HeadStart International School.

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Zoe Harvey-Graham

Year 3 White
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Hello everyone! My name is Zoë Harvey-Graham and I am a homeroom teacher for Year 3 White. I am new to Headstart this year and very excited to be working at such a great school. I come from Dublin, Ireland and have a Bachelor of Education with a minor degree in History. I have taught in a number of countries including Ireland, the U.K., Switzerland and Luxembourg. I have mostly taught Year 3 and Year 4. I love every minute of being a teacher and meeting children from all over the world, learning about their cultures and traditions and sharing my own in return. In my classroom, noise is good! I love to hear my pupils chatting and engaging with each other, learning in groups and from each other. In every lesson I teach I aim to make it as fun and engaging as possible. I like to have children learning by doing, therefore we will be completing lots of projects, investigations and enquiries this year. I encourage all my pupils to bring their unique cultures and experiences into the classroom so that we can all learn from each other and grow into multicultural global citizens. I cannot wait to begin the next academic year and get to know all of my students. If there is anything you would like to know or if you have any questions please do not hesitate to come talk to me. Thank you!

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Clyde Carlos

Year 3 White
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My name is Clyde B. Carlos from the Northern part of the Philippines -the Ilocos Region. I finished my studies at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU) Mid-La union Campus in 2009 with a Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education majoring in Home Economics (HELE). I successfully passed the Professional Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) in the same year. I had been teaching primary children at Tirad View Academy in my hometown before moving to Thailand in the year 2010. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work with different levels of children which makes me understand more about my profession and passion. I am an enthusiastic and committed educator who thoroughly enjoys working with children. I am looking forward to another exciting year in Year 3 White.

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Kirsty Hark

Year 4 Blue
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Hello and Sawadee ka! My name is Kirsty and I am from Manchester in the North West of England. I have a degree in History and Sociology from the The University of Leeds, and gained my Post Graduate Certificate of Education at The University of Manchester through the TeachFirst graduate programme. I am now entering my seventh year of teaching at the primary level and my third year of teaching here at HeadStart. Alongside being a Year 4 Homeroom Teacher, I am also the Subject Coordinator for Primary Science and the Phase Leader for Lower Key Stage 2. I have experience working across both Key Stage 1 and 2, and am very passionate about developing positive relationships with pupils, as well as providing creative and engaging learning opportunities. I aim to inspire a love of learning within children, and develop inquisitive and creative learners who are keen to investigate and ask questions throughout their learning journey. Through creating both a safe and challenging learning environment, I am also keen to develop resilient learners with a commitment to overcoming challenges with the support and collaboration of both their peers and teachers. I believe it is vital to provide children with a wealth of experiences and opportunities in order for them to flourish in all areas of the curriculum. I have a passion for reading and am keen to install my love of reading and stories within the pupils. Outside of the classroom, I also have a keen interest in History and learning about the past and culture of other places. I therefore love to travel and enjoy exploring the many beautiful places both within and around Phuket. I am really looking forward to the year ahead and can’t wait to support the progress your children will make throughout their time in Year 4.

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Jo Ann Capalihan

Year 4 Blue
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Hi, my name is Jo Ann and I am the Year 4 Blue Deputy Teacher. This is my seventh year at HeadStart and I am very excited about continuing to work with children. I am from the Philippines and graduated from the University of San Agustin in 2004 with the degree of Bachelor of Elementary Education. I started teaching in 2005 in my country until I came to Thailand. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunities to educate students, who have had a variety of education needs. This has giving me a fantastic range of experience and I am very passionate about the importance of education. I believe that teachers are life-long educators and we never stop learning ourselves. The more teachers can learn, the more they can impact others. I’m eager to inspire, uplift and share the joy with my student by emphasizing the fun in education and fostering a love of learning. I am sincerely looking forward to our educational journey in the new academic year!

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Ben Stephenson

Year 4 Yellow
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Hello and Sawadee ka! My name is Ben Stephenson and I am Homeroom Teacher for Year 4 Yellow. I am so excited to start working at HeadStart and to experience living and working in Phuket! In 2011, I completed a Bacherlor’s Degree in English Language and then trained as a teacher and completed a Postgraduate Certificate of Education. This year will be my seventh year as a teacher and my first year working outside of the UK. I have been lucky enough to teach in all four years of Key Stage 2 and I thoroughly enjoy working within the Primary phase! My primary focus whilst teaching is to ensure that all of the children in my care feel happy, safe and encouraged. It is my job as their teacher to help them progress and reach their full potential. My classroom ethos is focussed around teamwork, challenge and resilience and I do my best to ensure that all of my lessons are creative and fun for all. Teaching is a collaborative process and I am excited to learn from the children as well! I have travelled extensively around the world to explore and for charity and I cannot wait to get settled in Phuket and HeadStart and bring my best to the team. If there is anything you wish to discuss with me, please feel free to come and see me. Thank you and knob kun ka.

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Ayce Rico

Year 4 Yellow
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My name is Ayce Rico and I am from the Philippines. I have been living in Phuket since 2010. I am very excited about this coming academic year as I am looking forward to my fourth year as a Deputy Teacher of Year 5 Blue at HeadStart International School. I graduated in year 2010 at Romblon State University with the degree in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Management and I successfully completed my Diploma in Teaching Education at Ifugao State University in year 2016. I have been working at HeadStart since 2011 and throughout the year I have had the opportunities to educate students, which enables me to be more flexible, and efficient in performing my duties. I developed my passion with children helping them to engage in a creative and fun learning experience. I hope to encourage the children to enhance their development and also inspire in them a love of lifelong learning.

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Jen Rapkins

Year 4 White
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My name is Jen Rapkins. I joined HeadStart in August 2018 as the Year 4 White Homeroom Teacher after teaching for five years in an international school in Bangkok. My move from the city to the island means I can still indulge my love of travel and scuba diving by continuing to explore the wonders of Thailand, Asia and beyond. Before moving to Thailand in 2013, I was teaching for many years in a middle school in Poole, Dorset in the UK. Despite originally specialising in teaching KS1, the majority of my teaching experience since then has been in Years 3 and 4 although I have also taught in Years 5, 6 and even Year 7 French! My passion for teaching has grown with each year and it is my privilege to work with each and every child and guide them along their journey as lifelong learners. I believe that by capturing their interest and imagination through engaging and innovative lessons in a safe and stimulating environment, children will strive to remain resilient, show consideration and be the best they can. In turn, they will effectively develop their abilities to communicate, to collaborate and to think both creatively and critically. As the new academic year starts, I am looking forward to getting to know all the children in my class, along with their families, throughout this year. To contact me please send an e-mail to: [email protected]

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Jaysel Dollolasa

Year 4 White
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Hello! I am Jaysel Anne, Year 2 Yellow Deputy Teacher. I’ve been working at HeadStart since 2011 and I am very excited for another year of exploring new knowledge, enjoying activities and experiencing great adventures that I will be spending together with amazing kids in this institution. I am from the Philippines and I graduated a four-year degree of Bachelor in Elementary Education (BEED) at University of Antique in 2009. I had worked for a year as a Public School Teacher in our country until I got an opportunity to work abroad. In 2010, I worked in a Bilingual School in Chalong before joining HeadStart. My experiences throughout these years made me aimed more to support the children enhance their learning capabilities as well as upkeep their strengths and boost their weaknesses. Being a professional educator, I know that every child is special in different ways and it is important to discover child’s abilities, assets and flaws in order for a teacher to determine what methods and practices should be used to provide a suited learning that encourages children to pursue academic excellence. And give the children a safe and motivated environment to discover and involve themselves in every situation wherein they can learn and acquire desirable performances and achievements. I am looking forward to a year full of fun activities and great learnings. See you all.

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Carla Whitehead

Year 5 Blue
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Hello and Sawadee ka! My name is Carla Whitehead and I come from a small city in the South West of England called Gloucester. I started teaching at HeadStart International School in 2019 and I am very excited to continue my teaching journey here this year as the Year 5 Blue Homeroom Teacher. My teaching journey began in 2010 at The University of Gloucestershire where I completed a BA (Hons) degree in Primary Education. I then went on to teach in a local primary school for six years before deciding to seek an international job to enable me to combine my passions of teaching and travel. I absolutely love living in Phuket and I am extremely thankful for this opportunity in my life. I am an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher with a strong belief that children should be given a wide range of opportunities in order to promote a life-long love of learning. I enjoy looking for ways to encourage self-identity and individuality in the classroom by teaching creatively. I also provide as many opportunities as I can in my teaching to endorse empathy and respect for others and the environment. Outside of the classroom I enjoy hiking, keeping fit, photography, taking part in charity events and spending time at the beach. After such a brilliant year last year, I am really looking forward to getting to know the children and parents of my new class this year while facilitating a learning environment where all students can fulfil their potential in a fun and engaging environment.

Heidi Secker

Year 5 Blue
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Hello! I am Heidi Secker and I will be joining HeadStart in the academic year of 2020/21 as a Deputy Teacher in Year 5 Blue Class. I am moving to Thailand from a town in Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom, where I have gained an Undergraduate Degree in Fashion Design and a Postgraduate Degree in Academic Practice. Since studying my degree, I have been teaching Undergraduate and Postgraduate students who study Design courses as a supporting lecturer. Upskilling and delivering workshops on creative software’s as well as practical art techniques such as Silk Screen and Sublimation printing. I have also assisted students in model making using 3D Printers and laser cutters. I enjoy problem solving with students, especially with anything creative and want to ensure students feel encouraged, supported, and motivated to achieve their goals. As I am relatively new to the Primary setting, I am excited to learn more about my class, their personalities and how best I can support them with my teaching experience. I aim to bring creativity and enthusiasm to the classroom which I hope inspires the children to love learning. This is my first time in both an International School and Thailand, so I am eager to learn more about the culture, the school and to experience a new lifestyle here in Phuket.

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Dan Nicholson

Year 5 Yellow
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My name is Dan Nicholson and I am originally from Grimsby, in the North East of England. I have lived in Thailand since 1999 and so I now consider it to be my second home. I began my International school teaching career as an Early Years teacher in Bangkok. After 5 years in the capital, I moved to Pattaya, where I lived for a total of 12 years; working as an Early Years teacher and then as a Primary Year 2 teacher. I completed a BSc with the Open University and then earned a PGCE (International) from the University of Nottingham, while working as a full time teacher. I thoroughly enjoy the challenge and rewards of teaching pupils from diverse cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds. I believe in setting high expectations for attainment and behaviour and that a positive attitude to learning is a key component of success. I try to engage students with a combination of individual and collaborative learning opportunities, which allow them to build on their existing knowledge and skills. I think that providing tasks with the right balance of challenge and reward is the key to motivating students and fostering a love of learning. I’m a keen amateur cricketer and spent 5 years as a player and committee member at Pattaya Cricket Club, which included several playing trips to Phuket. I enjoy hiking, cycling and playing the bass guitar; which I do with more enthusiasm than skill. I’ve been with HeadStart since 2017 and I’m pleased to be part of the school’s continuing growth. I look forward to getting to know both students and parents in the coming weeks.

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Josephine Taypoc

Year 5 Yellow
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Hi! My name is Josephine Paulino Taypoc. I feel so grateful and excited to be part of HeadStart as the Year 5 Yellow Deputy Teacher. In fact, this will be my third year in this amazing year level. I am from the Northern part of the Philippines and studied at Benguet State University, gaining my Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education majoring in General Education. My combined years of experience as an ESL and regular school teacher provide me with an avenue for enabling myself to become a more effective and efficient teacher whilst conveying enthusiasm and interest in promoting a dynamic, conducive, exciting, and positive learning environment that empowers both the teacher and students to pursue learning. I believe passionately in knowing the students’ personalities, strengths and weaknesses allowing them to explore, unleash and enhance their potential, ignite imagination and instil a love of learning. May this be a year full of memories and learning. I am so excited to teach and get to know all of you!

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Michael Orr

Year 5 White
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Hello and Sawadee Ka! My name is Michael Orr (Mike) and I am the Homeroom teacher for Year 5 White. I joined HeadStart in 2019 and have thoroughly enjoyed working at the school. I have a Bachelor degree in Primary Education with a minor in Criminology, from Victoria University in Wellington New Zealand. Prior to moving to Phuket I taught in Dubai at Deira International School for 11 years, mainly in Year 5 and 6 but also as the HASte (highly able students) coordinator teaching students from years 1 through to 9. Previous to that I was teaching in London for 4 years. My first teaching job was in Seoul, South Korea as an English teacher. (Annyeonghaseyo) I believe that it is important to create a positive, safe learning environment where all children are treated with respect and are encouraged to reach their full potential, as they continue on their educational journey. Inspiring the children to become independent learners, I feel is a very important role of a classroom teacher in the senior Primary school, in order to develop the necessary strategies to succeed when they continue their education in the Secondary school and beyond. Being willing to take a risk and learn from mistakes is a key to learning! Any question is a good question. Having the inner-determination to work through problems to find solutions, never giving up and having confidence in their own abilities to preserver and be resilient are extremely important attributes for any learner to have. READING is the KEY to success… I am very much looking forward to this next academic year, getting to know my new class and helping them to progress. If there is anything you wish to talk to me about please do not hesitate to come to see me. Thank you and knob kun ka.

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Hydie Tuldague

Year 5 White
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I am Hydie and I graduated Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education at Saint Louis University in the Philippines. I majored in Physical Education as I really love doing various kinds of sports and outdoor activities as well as teaching others to do so. I have taught in both private and public schools in the Philippines. Aside from teaching Physical Education, I also had the opportunity to teach English to students of various nationalities such as Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese and Koreans. I gained valuable insights on how we could get along well with others despite the differences in culture, language and age. Moreover, I have also spent some of my weekends and summer breaks teaching children in an NGO in my town as well as in other places. Joining Headstart in 2018 made me see how all my experiences would be very helpful in effectively teaching international students. I am so excited and I am looking forward to having new experiences here while contributing to the growth of this school.

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Sophie Cunningham

Year 6 Blue/Phase Leader& Maths Coordinator
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Hello and Sawadee ka! My name is Sophie Cunningham and I am Homeroom Teacher for Year 6 Blue. I am excited to be returning to HeadStart as the UKS2 Phase Leader and Maths Coordinator. I worked in HeadStart previously for nearly 3 years and left to take up a Deputy Head’s position in Muscat, Oman. Living and working in Muscat was a great experience however I missed Phuket and Thailand and the wonderful community of HeadStart and am delighted to return. I have been a teacher for many years and have a BA (Hons) degree in Primary Education. Most of my teaching career has been in a high performing school in Cardiff in the UK. Cardiff is the capital city of Wales and I am very proud of my Welsh heritage. When I left the UK, I had the role of Assistant Headteacher predominantly responsible for Key Stage 2. As a professional I recognise individuality in children and will strive to meet the needs of all students and ensure that each child knows they are valued members of my class. I have high expectations of my students and hope to inspire their love of learning. I am committed to creating a safe, challenging, stimulating and positive learning environment. I believe it is important for students to develop skills working both independently and collaboratively and I provide a variety of opportunities for students to develop these skills. I like my learning environment to be vibrant and stimulating and a place that celebrates the students learning. When I was living in Thailand previously, I was lucky enough to visit many places in Asia, including Bali, the Gili Islands, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore. My favourite place is still Thailand, for the people, the culture and, of course, the food! I am looking forward to the new school year ahead at HeadStart, teaching Year 6 Blue and getting to know pupils, parents, and teachers!

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Deborah Langcao

Year 6 Blue
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Hello! I am Deborah but most prefer to call me Dheb. I have been working in HeadStart for 3 years now and it excites me to be here for another potentially great academic year. Prior to HeadStart, I studied at the University of the Cordilleras, gaining a degree in Bachelor of Secondary Education major in English. After graduation, I was able to pass my board exam and get my Philippine teaching license in the same year. I was given the chance to gain experiences in teaching, both in a Philippine and Thai setting. Those experiences gave me opportunities to work with a variety of administrators, co-teachers and students. I believe that all children are unique and have something special that they can bring to their own education. I will assist my students to express themselves and accept themselves for who they are, as well as embrace the differences of others. Every classroom has their own unique community, my role as the Deputy Teacher will be to assist each child in developing their own potential and learning styles. With utmost effort, I will be a guide in each child’s path to the future.

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Sean Clarke

Year 6 Yellow
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Hello and sawasdee krap! My name is Sean Clarke and after two years teaching Year 4 at HeadStart, I am very excited to be the homeroom teacher of Year 6 yellow! I am originally from Yorkshire in the north of England. Prior to embarking on my teaching adventure in Thailand, I worked as a videographer for a media company after completing an undergraduate degree in Film and Television production. I enjoyed my time in the media industry; however I missed working with children. I then completed a PGCE in Primary Education and began my teaching career near my home town in Leeds, England. After two years of teaching and working as the schools PE coordinator, I developed and improved my own teaching skills as well as the attitude towards sport and exercise across the school community. Under my guidance the school received a Gold active schools award for the two consecutive years that I held that position. I strongly value student success outside of academics. During my two years in Phuket I have really enjoyed immersing myself into the local culture and island life. Along with football, rugby, swimming, yoga and fitness, I have taken up surfing; a sport that I am immensely enjoying on the island’s beautiful beaches. In my classroom you will find a fun environment where hard work and laughter go hand in hand, as well as an environment where children are supported, encouraged, challenged and engaged in their learning. I am very excited to teach Year 6 this year and all of the added challenges; I am looking forward to make sure that all of the children are prepared for life after primary school.

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Alex Bell

Year 6 White
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Hi! My name is Alex Bell and I am the homeroom teacher for Year 6 White for this academic year. I am a new teacher at HeadStart this year having spent the last year teaching at a school in my hometown of Farnham, in the UK. I am very much looking forward to contributing to the education and development of all the children at HeadStart and becoming an integral member of the school community. Having moved to Phuket for the first time way back in 2001 as a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor, I am returning to live on this magical island for the first time in 15 years! In the intervening years, I lived and taught in two far flung corners of Thailand – Sisaket in the north-east and Chiang Mai in the north. I completed my PGCE in the UK in 2011 and worked as a Year 5 and 6 teacher at a British International School in Chiang Mai until last summer. My nearly 20 years in Thailand has enabled to me pursue my great passions of exploration and experience, something I hope to share with everyone in the HeadStart community, especially the children. I strongly believe that children learn best when they can make connections to their everyday experiences. I make every effort to ensure that learning both in and out of the classroom is holistic, creating lifelong learners who value the world they live in and the people around them. I trust that we will all work hard, make great memories and have a lot of laughs on our learning journey together!

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Hannah Soriba

Year 6 White
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My name is Hannah, and I come from the city of smiles, Bacolod City in the Philippines. I completed my Bachelor in Elementary Education and then passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers in the year 2005. I am currently taking up a Masters of Arts in Education Major in Educational Management. This is my third year working at HeadStart and will remain as a deputy teacher in Year 6. I’ve been living in Thailand for 13 years and have had the opportunity to teach various subjects to all levels from kindergarten to college students. My exposure to different educational settings has made me flexible and easy to adapt to new situations and faculty concepts. Throughout my career, I have followed the philosophy of motivating and developing an urge of learning amongst my students as I want them to be excited about coming to school, engaged purposely in their learning and be aware of their potential. I am a very active person. Outside of the classroom, I love to go outdoors running and swimming. I go to Yoga and Muay Thai weekly and I also have a passion for street photography, travelling and cooking.

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Toribio Fabila

Art Teacher
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Mabuhay! I am Toribio III Fabila and I come from one of the many islands in Western Visayas in the Philippines. I am a graduate with a Bachelor of Special Education Specialising in Teaching the Mentally Challenged at the University of Antique in the year 2009. I have had the opportunity to teach in my country in both private and public schools which enables me to more flexible and adoptive teacher. I have a passion for teaching and moulding young people’s minds and I think it is very important to show respect to each child and treat them as individuals. My classroom environment is always a place where children feel safe and secure. I have been working at HeadStart for 8 years and I can say that I am very fortunate working with these amazing educators from all over the world. This year, I have the opportunity to teach in Foundation and Primary as an art teacher. I am passionate about doing arts and crafts as my hobby and that inspires me to share, motivate and express their young minds through their own creativity. I am an outgoing person and I have travelled for almost 30 countries. In my spare time, I love going to the beach, participating in running events on the island and joining yoga classes. I am looking forward for another fantastic year with the children!

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso
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Wei Wang

Mandarin Coordinator and Teacher
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你好(Ni Hao)! My name is Wei Wang and I come from Anhui, China. I first came to Phuket in 2009 when I was studying for my master’s degree in Jinan University(暨南大学), China. I taught in Prince of Songkla University for 1 year to get the experience to finish my essay. It was a nice experience and people were very friendly here. Since then, I’ve made up my mind to come again for a job. After my graduation, I got a job in Khonkaen for teaching Mandarin to primary students; I love my students and learned a lot more Thai there as people there do not speak much English. I stayed in Khonkaen for 2 years, and then try to look for a job in other places in Thailand. And I found HeadStart! After working at HeadStart for seven years, I have seen the growing of the school and me. The students here are lovely and they have a passion to learn Mandarin. They experienced Chinese culture and tasted Chinese food during traditional festivals. They are also curious to learn a totally different writing system (汉字Chinese character). Learning Mandarin not only let them to get to know another language, but also broaden their eyes and teaches them to look into things in different ways. My Mandarin classroom is always filled with laughs as I teach them in a creative way. There is an old saying in China “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. (不闻不若闻之,闻之不若见之,见之不若知之,知之不若行知)Students are encouraged to involve themselves as much as possible in class. I look forward to see all of you in my Mandarin class!

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Apinya Jekphu

Thai Teacher
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Hello! My name is Apinya Jekphu and my nickname is Kru Way. I attended Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi, Pathumthani, where I achieved my Bachelor of Biology in Science. After that, I enrolled in Graduate Diploma Program in Teaching Profession, in Phranakhon Rajabhat University Bangkok, after which I officially earned the teaching license from the Teachers’ Council of Thailand. My teaching style focuses on student orientation where students can freely share their ideas, experiences and knowledge. I also encourage my students to be independent and develop their critical thinking. Besides that, my responsibility as a teacher is to be a source of knowledge, gathering information and transferring it to my students. Time goes by so fast; my third years at Headstart International School went very well. I enjoyed teaching and seeing my students developing Thai language skills. So, this is my fourth year working here and I am happy to continue working with great colleagues and students. Thank you all colleagues, parents, and students at HeadStart International School. Please contact me at: [email protected]

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Phenpaka Damrongkun

Thai Teacher
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My name is Phenpaka Damrongkun or Kru Pim. I graduated from Bansomdet Chaopraya Rajabhat University in Bangkok with Bachelor degree in Elementary Education in 1995 and I hold Master's degree of Psychology Educational at Khon Kaen University in 2003. I started my teaching career at Saint Joseph Convent School, Bangkok as a Primary Thai Teacher for 2 years, before I continued teaching at Rajini School, Bangkok for another 3 years. After 5 years in Bangkok, I decided to move back to Khon Kaen in 2000 where I was an alumnus, and it was then that I was appointed to be the Head of Academic Department at Holy Redeemer Northeastern Region School. I worked there for a total of 15 years. In addition, I also worked at Hua Khiew Wittayalai School in Khon Kaen as Head of Academic Department where I was promoted as a Deputy School Director during 2015 -2016. Aside of being a Head of Academic Department, I also teach students in Primary in order to maintain and develop my teaching skills. Over 25 years in different schools and in different roles as a professional educator has given me a wealth of experience and knowledge. Now that I am a Thai teacher in an international school, I hope to do my best for my students and help them to be successful learners while learning the Thai language and our valuable national heritage. I am so glad to have received the good opportunity to teach Thai First Language classes in Year 4 - Year 5 and Thai as a Second Language in Year 6 in this academic year. I am so thankful for the great opportunity that the school allows me to be part of a high quality school and looking forward to providing a good learning experience in order to meet school goals and inspire students, parents and colleagues.

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Liping Zhu

Chinese Teacher
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Hello! my name is Liping Zhu and I come from Shaanxi province, China. I will be the Mandarin Teacher for Years 1-4. I graduated from Tianjin Vocational College of Commerce with a major in Management. By destiny, I came to Thailand as an exchange student for an internship in Phuket and decide to settle down here because of the friendly people and atmosphere, including the cuisine. I have realized that teaching is the thing which I really want to do for the rest of my life after I have a chance to take care and work with children from various countries with different cultures. I decided to further my studies and am now doing a Master degree and I am really keen on using what I learn in practice. After I graduated, I began teaching at a Language institute. I am not good at public speaking where there are big audiences, however I really enjoy when I teach small group of students where I can deliver most effective lessons and be close to the children so I can emphasize and know students individually. I keep developing myself in any updated material and teaching methods which support my lessons. I am energetic and empathy and I work on this principle. I like to make my classes active. There are no right or wrong idea in class. I love to listen to the student’s opinion in lessons and find which missing jigsaw pieces I should put in to support him/her. I cannot wait to see what we can learn this coming academic year!

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Maripet Porte

Music Teacher
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Hello! I am Maripet Victoria from The Philippines. I studied at Benguet State University with a degree in Education and took English as my field of specialisation. Previously, I worked as an Online English Tutor for 4 years after graduating. After that, I worked as a Violin and Basic Piano Teacher at a music school. At church, I was part of directing musical productions and managing music tutorials. I also worked as a private tutor, teaching music instruments and English for about 5 years before having the opportunity to work at HeadStart International in 2017. My experience in teaching English Language, instruments and directing musical productions, gave me an opportunity to work with different age groups from ages 3 to 49 years old. Those experiences made me understand the true meaning of teaching and learning and that is, “age does not matter in learning and in teaching, as long as we have the passion for it, we are able to accomplish so much.” As a teacher, I have learned and gained more understanding on the value of time given to each of the students’ learning. I am excited to be able to share what I have learned over the years and be a part of the learning journey of the students.

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Annie Cusworth

Year 2 White
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Hello and Sawadee ka! My name is Annie Cusworth and I am Homeroom Teacher for Year 2 White. I joined HeadStart in 2017 and thoroughly enjoy working at the school. I was born in Brighton, in the South East of England and grew up in a small town near to the coast. I have an Undergraduate Degree in Social Anthropology and a Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Education. Prior to moving to Phuket, I taught for 4 years at a Primary School in England and I have taught Year 6, Year 1 and Year 2. I really enjoy and value my role as a teacher and take a great pride in ensuring that all pupils in my care receive the support, encouragement and challenge to reach their full potential. Making sure my learning environment is stimulating and engaging is an important part of my practice and I take time to make sure that children feel safe and secure in their classroom. In my classroom, learning activities that are fun and creative motivate pupils and I link learning to pupils’ individual interests; from dinosaurs to Kings and Queens! Developing pupil independence and confidence in their own abilities to solve problems is central to our role as educators and I work hard to encourage pupils to be resilient and love the process of learning by teaching them to keep on trying and never give up! I am very much looking forward to this next academic year and getting to know a new cohort of pupils and helping them to progress. If there is anything you wish to talk to me about please come to see me. Thank you and knob kun ka.

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Dina Kalmakhelidze

Russian Coordinator and Teacher
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My name is Dina and I've been working as a teacher in Phuket for 10 years. When I was finishing school, I knew of the career path I should take. My mother and grandmother have been teaching Russian language for 35 and 55 years accordingly. I loved spending time at school and university environments and loved when I was given tasks. I felt proud I could take part at school life and help them, my first and best teachers. Learning is an enjoyable experience and I love when children arrive and leave school with smiles on their faces and I feel I make a positive impact on the student’s life and they also influence me. When you are with kids, you see the world through their eyes and immerse in the world of magic, creativity and laughter. I love teaching as I think it is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world and I love making a difference in my students’ lives. I know children learn best when they enjoy their environment, when it is stimulating and when they are given opportunities, promoting a lifelong love of learning where they can learn, grow, discuss and are not afraid to make mistakes as they can learn and find something new out of them. I feel my role is more than just teaching Russian language; I feel it is about supporting the children, teaching them to understand the culture and applying their knowledge to their daily life. Then I feel my role is accomplished.

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Benoit Pierre

French Teacher
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Hello and Sawadee krap! My name is Benoit Pierre and I am French Teacher for Primary. I joined HeadStart in 2020 and I am delighted to be part of this great project. I have a teacher's certification in French as a foreign language and a Bachelor degree in Business. Prior to get employed by HeadStart, I taught for 4 years at Alliance française. I really enjoy and value my role as a teacher and take a great pride in developing and executing comprehensive education in a multicultural environment. I am really passionate, warm and caring teacher who wants all children to be successful learners and work to create a classroom atmosphere that is stimulating, encouraging, and adaptive to the varied needs of students. I make sure that my class participate and leaves no student by the path. I strive to give them the confidence to express themselves and have the autonomy to face the difficulties they encounter. Above all, my goal is to cultivate a language experience that is organized, meaningful, and enjoyable. Their progression is at the core of my teaching method and I am very much looking forward to this next academic year, getting to know my new classes and helping them as much as I can. If there is anything you wish to talk to me about please come to see me. Thank you and krob khun krap.

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