Highly Qualified International Teachers

Highly Qualified International Teachers

Over 70% of our teachers hold Master's degrees in their specialist subjects

Alongside our students, the core of ISHCMC – American Academy is our teaching staff highly experienced, dedicated, caring and passionate about their subject and student age range. Without exception, they are excited and motivated to work within our dynamic international community.

Open-minded and curious, they engage with students in helping to open their minds and form connections across disciplines and emphasize proactive, collaborative learning.

Our teachers benefit from continuous professional development as part of their own lifelong learning journey, via tailored courses, workshops, conferences and lectures by leading international educators and supplemented by regular team building activities. They – and in turn, our students – also benefit from being part of the Cognita family of over 60 schools across 3 continents, providing unique opportunities for global information sharing and cultural exchange. 

ISHCMC - American Academy Faculty

Mark Lewis
Head of School

Mark Lewis

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Mark has lived and worked in Los Angeles, Canada, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and China. In his previous positions, Mark has been instrumental providing leadership in best practices for instructing English Second Language Learners, developing Reading and Writing Workshop models for middle and secondary schools and developing assessment models that promote learning. Mark is very much looking forward to joining the ISHCMC - American Academy community and helping to build upon the wonderful work that has been done recently. He is an avid hockey fan, enjoys the outdoors and trying new experiences.

Education Background:

  • M.A Educational Leadership, San Diego State University
  • BEd University of British Columbia
  • Teachers College Reading & Writing Project – Columbia University Summer Writing Institute
  • Principal Training Center of International School Leadership
  • Harvard Graduate School of Education – The Art of Leadership

Heather Carreiro
Deputy Head of School

Heather Carreiro

Originally from Massachusetts, Heather has lived and worked in Morocco, Pakistan, the United States, and Vietnam. Since she arrived at ISHCMC - American Academy in 2012, Heather has been instrumental in building the school’s partnership with Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA). In addition to her administrative role focused on Curriculum & Instruction, Heather is the school’s certified adjunct instructor in Writing and English Textual Studies with Syracuse University. She also enjoys writing creative nonfiction, riding horses, and playing electric bass guitar.

Education Background:

  • M.A English, Bridgewater State University
  • B.A. Linguistics and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Massachusetts
  • Principal Certification Program, Schreiner University
  • English Language Arts Teaching License, State of Massachusetts

Michael Tower
Counselor

Michael Tower

Michael has worked in Nepal and the United States as a counselor. Originally from Massachusetts, he has worked with college-bound students for 10 years in a variety of roles. Michael guided students in applying for colleges at Upward Bound. As an experienced counselor and manager of human service programs, he has knowledge of how to help students develop personally and to perform their best academically. Michael also enjoys making pottery and creative cooking.

Education Background:

  • M.A Social Service Administration, University of Chicago
  • B.A Sociology, University of Connecticut
  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, State of Massachusetts and Connecticut

Robert Wilson
Dean of Students

Robert Wilson

Robert Wilson has been living and working in Vietnam for eight years. He has spent the majority of his time teaching Drama and working in school administration. For the past three years he has served as a senior administrator and school counselor at an American K-12 school in Saigon. He also headed the school-wide literacy program and coordinated events. In his free time, Robert enjoys joining charity activities and doing philanthropic work. He is an avid reader and is secretly a fan of extreme music.

Education Background:

  • MFA Dramatic Literature Pedagogy, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • BFA Theatre Performance, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Dramatic Arts Teaching Program, Helen O’Grady Drama Academy

Christina Nelson
EAL Coordinator

Christina Nelson

Originally from Kansas, Christina has lived and worked in the United States, Ecuador, and Turkey. Throughout her career she has taught EAL to students ranging from ages 10 to 20 and English Language Arts to middle school language learners. In addition to working with students, she has also enjoyed working closely with Common Core teachers to provide differentiated classrooms and lessons accessible to all students. However, just as much as she loves developing life-long learners, she loves being one. Christina makes a point to interact with other teachers and take advantage of professional development opportunities in order to continue growing as a language teacher. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, reading a good book with nature, and writing prose.

Education Background:

  • M.A. Curriculum and Instruction, The University of Kansas
  • B.A. Curriculum and Instruction, The University of Kansas
  • English Language Arts License, State of Kansas
  • EAL License, State of Kansas

William Hanrahan
IT Integrationist

William Hanrahan

After finishing university, Bill worked for a magazine and radio station in Phoenix, Arizona. He continued working in the media field for the History Channel in New York City, until he decided to become a teacher. Bill’s first teaching experience began in Queens, New York teaching Social Studies. He was also a certified special education assistant for one of the highest achieving school districts in the State of New York. His adventurous spirit led him to Beijing, China to further his teaching skills. Bill later accepted a two year contract as the Social Studies Department Coordinator at the Schools of North America, Ho Chi Minh City. Bill is anxious to continue his career with ISHCMC - American Academy. He is an outdoor enthusiast and has a love for sports. He is also a certified advanced scuba diver.

Education Background:

  • MS Education, Queens College New York
  • B.A. Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University
  • Special Education Certification, College of Saint Rose

English Language Arts & EAL

Matthew Russell
Department Head

Matthew Russell

Originally from Texas, Matthew has lived in worked in the United States, Cameroon, and Vietnam and has twelve years of teaching experience. Matthew has taught students from grade one through grade twelve. Since arriving at ISHCMC - American Academy in 2012, he has been an integral part of building the school’s English department and raising student achievement. Mr. Russell is the school’s grade ten and eleven language arts teacher and head of the English department. He also enjoys listening to music, dining, watching Australian football, and traveling.

Education Background:

  • BA History with a minor in English Literature, Texas Tech University
  • English Language Arts Teaching License, State of Texas

Elizabeth Cominole
Librarian

Elizabeth Cominole

Originally from New York, Elizabeth has lived and worked in Massachusetts and Vietnam. This will be Elizabeth’s second year at ISHCMC- American Academy. Elizabeth has been working to implement an Information Literacy Curriculum and strives to transform the library into a 21st Century learning and innovation commons. She also enjoys reading, running, and outdoor adventures.

Education Background:

  • MS Library and Information Science, Simmons College
  • BS Hospitality Management, University of New Hampshire
  • School Library Media Specialist Teaching License, State of Massachusetts

Cameron Arnold

Cameron Arnold

Cameron grew up in Virginia and first started teaching English in Italy. She worked for nationally-recognized arts and education programs in New York City before moving to Asia seven years ago. Prior to Vietnam, she taught English in Thailand, India, and Timor-Leste, where she was an English Language Fellow with the US Embassy. In her free time, Cameron enjoys reading, music, and learning new recipes.

Education Background:

  • MA Linguistics, New York University
  • BA, Italian Studies and Fine Arts, College of William and Mary
  • TESOL Certification, Oxford Institutes, New York City
  • ABCTE English Language Arts Teacher Certification, Washington DC and Virginia

Julie Facine

Julie Facine

Originally from Michigan, Julie has lived and worked in the United States, South Korea, and Turkey. For the last seven years, she has taught English Language Learners across a variety of subjects and grade levels. She joins our EAL support team this year as a teacher passionate about helping students access curricular content through prescriptive linguistic instruction. Additionally, she has been involved in developing curriculum and assisting with teacher training and looks forward to similar upcoming professional opportunities. She also enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking.

Education Background:

  • BA Elementary Education, Oakland University
  • ESL Teaching Endorsement, College of Linguistics, Oakland University
  • Science Teaching Endorsement, Oakland University
  • Mathematics Teaching Endorsement, Oakland University

Lars Tatlock

Lars Tatlock

Lars has worked previously in Japan and Indonesia. He has been in Vietnam since 1993, and has worked at ISHCMC since 2001. He has taught EAL and Language Acquisition classes in the IB Middle Years Program (Grades 6-10) and also in the Diploma Program (Grades 11-12). Long ago, he was a carpenter in professional theatre, and he still enjoys working backstage in drama productions. He also enjoys reading and travel.

Education Background:

  • MA Teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language, San Francisco State University
  • BA English Literature, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York

Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Originally, from the United States, Robert has taught and lived in Korea, Costa Rica, China, Vietnam, and his native state of California. Since graduating, Robert has strived to be an international educator. While in Costa Rica, he was in charge of implementing Common Core into the school’s curriculum. While in China, Robert gave several workshops on the uses of technology in the classroom to the staff. Robert has a passion for project-based learning and using technology to enhance student outcomes. He also enjoys playing the guitar, studying history, and surfing.

Education Background:

  • BA Degree in History, California State University Sacramento
  • Teaching Credential in English & Social Studies, California State University Sacramento

Mathematics

Andrew Gibson
Department Head

Andrew Gibson

A native of Toronto, Canada, Andrew has taught high school mathematics at international schools for 12 years in China, South Korea, and now Vietnam. His passion for math will culminate in his AP Calculus course this year. Although Andrew comes from a family of math teachers, he also makes time to play hockey, ultimate frisbee, and has learned to play netball. Andrew is looking forward to coaching the high school girls basketball team again this year. Go Sun Bears!

Education Background:

  • MA Multidisciplinary Studies, State University of New York, America
  • Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary), University of Western Sydney
  • Bachelor of Arts, Trent University, Ontario, Canada

Lisa Gordon

Lisa Gordon

Lisa is from Boston, Massachusetts and has been teaching in Cambridge, MA for the last five years. She spent two years teaching 7th and 8th grade math, and three years teaching 6th grade math. Her experience includes working with students from all over the world, including Africa, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean in Cambridge’s Sheltered English Immersion program. Lisa will be teaching Pre-Algebra I, Pre-Algebra II, and Algebra at ISHCMC - American Academy. She enjoys running, yoga, cooking, and travel.

Education Background:

  • Masters of Education, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA
  • BA Government, Colby College, Waterville, ME
  • Middle School Math (5-8) Teaching License, State of Massachusetts

Sandra Orrega

Sandra Orrega

Sandra is from Cali, Colombia and has enjoyed living and working in the United States, Italy, and Australia in recent years. Originally an industrial engineer, the transition to teaching has been an experience she has enjoyed very much. This is her first year teaching full-time at ISHCMC - American Academy and she looks forward to being a contributing part of a very dynamic Math department. Sandra also enjoys traveling, dancing salsa, and practicing yoga.

Education Background:

  • BA Industrial Engineering, Universidad Autónoma de Occidente, Cali, Colombia
  • Teacher Certification in Math Education, The College of New Jersey, USA

Science

Nora Matell
Department Head

Nora Matell

Nora teaches 10th grade Chemistry, AP Chemistry, and 6th grade Earth Science. Before ISHCMC - American Academy, she lived and taught in the western United States. She has done geology research in Alaska, Virginia, and Norway, and analyzed water and soil chemistry in California. Outside of school, she likes to bake cakes and do active things like biking, running, climbing, hiking, and swimming.

Education Background:

  • MS Geological Science, University of Colorado Boulder
  • BA Geosciences, Williams College
  • Secondary Science Teaching License, State of Colorado
  • Secondary Mathematics Teaching License, State of Colorado

Jozef Bendik

Jozef Bendik

Mr. Bendik was born in Slovakia and studied in several European countries. He has lived in England, Romania, China, Singapore and moved to Vietnam in August 2015. Mr. Bendik loves science. He has been teaching Biology for over 15 years. In addition to his teaching experience, he is also an author of online Psychology study materials. He is fluent in several languages and enjoys any competitive sport.

Education Background:

  • MA Biology, University of Matej Bel
  • MA English Language and Literature, University of Matej Bel
  • Certificate in Environmental Policy, Postgraduate Program of Academia NOVA, Bratislava
  • TESOL certificate, Trinity College, London

Duarte Carreiro

Duarte Carreiro

From an early age, Duarte has had a deep interest in science and mathematics. His enthusiasm for academics, along with his desire for new adventures, has led him to teach Physics and Mathematics in both Pakistan and Vietnam. From the time he arrived at ISHCMC - American Academy in 2012, Duarte has been tasked with teaching Geometry, Algebra, Physical Science and Physics. This year, he is excited to teach Pre-Calculus, a subject that is fundamental to the underlying mathematics found in both of his AP Physics courses.

Education Background:

  • BA with a major in Physics and a minor in Secondary Education, Bridgewater State University
  • Physics and Mathematics Teaching License, State of Massachusetts

Deepa Rani

Deepa Rani

Originally from Rajasthan, India, Deepa has extensive science teaching and learning experience in India, United States, Nigeria, and China. She has found that Iiquiry- orientated science programs such as project-based science support students’ significant increases in science concept learning on both lower cognitive level (recall) items and higher cognitive level (transfer and application) items. During act of teaching, she is a motivator, diagnostician, guide, experimenter, researcher, collaborator and learner. She likes exploring the customs and traditions of the people of various countries. Additionally her interest is focused in flora and fauna, as she is a science teacher.

Education Background:

  • MA Science Education, Teacher College, Columbia University New York
  • MA in History JNVU, Jodhpur, India
  • BEd in Chemistry and General Science, JNVU, Jodhpur, India
  • BSc in Chemistry, Botany and Zoology JNVU, Jodhpur, India

Social Studies

Seth McClellan Laffin
Department Head

Seth McClellan Laffin

Seth is originally from Colts Neck, New Jersey but has lived in several states in the USA. He has taught in Alaska Public Schools, Taiwan, China, and Vietnam. Seth arrived at ISHCMC - American Academy in 2012 and is presently the Social Studies Department Head. He is also a certified adjunct professor in Public Affairs with Syracuse University. Seth enjoys the outdoors, travelling, and running.

Education Background:

  • MAT Secondary Teaching, University of Alaska Southeast
  • MA International Studies, University of Otago, Dunedin New Zealand
  • MA American History, Western Carolina University
  • BA History, University of Alabama
  • Alaska Type A Secondary Teaching Certificate

Frank Cafarella

Frank Cafarella

Frank is originally from Upstate, New York. Before arriving in Vietnam he taught in New York City and Connecticut, as well as, internationally in Taiwan and Costa Rica. Mr. Cafarella brings with him a vast knowledge and passion for both world and American history. Extracurricularly, Mr. Cafarella has taken on leadership roles as a Model United Nations adviser and student activities coordinator. He is a strong believer in the cultivation of character outside of class as well as the pursuit of academic excellence inside. Aside from teaching Mr. Cafarella is an avid reader, photographer, foodie and traveler.

Education Background:

  • MA, Adolescent Social Studies Education, Brooklyn College, City University of New York
  • BA, History, New Paltz, State University of New York
  • Teacher Certification Social Studies 7-12, New York State

Jennifer Pratt

Jennifer Pratt

Born and raised in the small town of Kars, Ontario, Jenn is arriving in Vietnam via Beijing, Helsinki, Nairobi and London. She has been teaching Social Studies, Economics and History in international schools for 15 years with the bulk of that experience in the International Baccalaureate programs. Her current professional areas of interest include online, blended and experiential learning environments and alternative forms of assessing skills and understanding. Outside the classroom she plays Gaelic Football, sings in a band and tries to keep up with her three year son.

Education Background:

  • BEd Secondary Humanities, Queen’s University
  • BA World History, Queen’s University
  • Member of the Ontario College of Teachers

Electives

John Blofeld-Watson
Department Head

John Blofeld-Watson

Graduating from university in the United Kingdom, John worked as a computer programmer in London. Qualifying as a teacher and having worked in Japan and Thailand, he has been with ISHCMC - American Academy for 4 years and has introduced computer programming to the Middle School and High School Computer Technology curriculum. John caters to many interests in his Elective courses. Students study Programming, Video Production, Graphic Design, 3D Modeling and Simulation, Robotics and Data Management. He has also introduced AP Computer Science A to the curriculum.

Education Background:

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education, Nottingham University, England
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honors), Napier University, Scotland
  • Advanced Certificate in TESOL, University of Leicester, England

Darren DePass
Athletics Director

Darren DePass

Originally from New York, Darren has lived and worked in a number of places including Italy, the United States, Colombia, and Vietnam. This is his third year at ISHCMC - American Academy as a Physical Education teacher, and he looks forward to expanding upon and improving a well-established Electives Department. In addition to his teaching role, Darren is also the school Athletic Director and expects the Sun Bears to continue their winning ways well into 2016 and beyond! When he is not teaching, Darren enjoys playing sport, going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends.

Education Background:

  • M.A. Physical Education, Adelphi University
  • B.A. Environmental Studies, Adelphi University
  • Physical Education Teaching Certification, State of New York

Allen Miles
Art Teacher

Allen Miles

Allen is from Buffalo, New York, which is famous for its snowfall, averaging some 3 meters every winter! He comes from a family of professional educators, and has taught at many schools in the United States and in China. At ISHCMC - American Academy since 2012, he has built up a strong Visual Arts curriculum. In addition, he also is coach of the Boys Basketball teams, which captured its first SISAC Championship with the Middle School team, and finished as Runners up in the High School division in its first year in league play. Besides art and sports, he enjoys reading, astronomy, and spending time with his family.

Education Background:

  • MS, Multidisciplinary Studies, State College of New York at Buffalo
  • BFA, Fine Arts, Ohio Wesleyan University
  • Permanent Art Certification, New York State

Scott Rogal
Music Teacher

Scott Rogal

Scott has taught Instrumental music in Canada, Hong Kong and Vietnam. His bands have been acknowledged for their high quality, winning many National and International awards. Scott has also composed commissions for several musical groups; his last work was composed for the International Honor Band in Myanmar. Scott teaches and conducts the ISHCMC - American Academy Band program, which grew from 27 students to 85 accomplished musicians in the last year. He is still composing, studying the dan bau, and playing tenor sax with a Latin/Reggae Band “Bad Neighbours”.

Education Background:

  • BSc Music Education, Mary College

Suim Shin
Health & Physical Education Teacher

Suim Shin

Suim is originally from Seoul, Korea and has lived and worked in Korea, USA, Myanmar, Mongolia and Vietnam. This will be her 10th year teaching and 3rd year working at ISHCMC - American Academy. She has taught Physical Education from age 4 to high school and has also coached sports teams such as tennis, badminton, table tennis and soccer. She enjoys reading, gardening, practicing yoga and playing tennis but most of all she enjoys her family time.

Education Background:

  • MEd International Teaching, Framingham State College
  • BS Physical Education & Sports and Leisure Studies, Yonsei University
  • PE & Health Teaching License, State of Montana

World Languages

Dao Yen

Dao Yen

Yen has worked in Marie Curie High School and ISHCMC - American Academy. She arrived at ISHCMC - American Academy in 2011. She tries to build an interesting syllabus that will attract students to take part through exercises, essays and outside activities. She varies her method between group discussions and giving lectures for a given subject or elective subject. She continuously encourages her student to develop individual creativity. She also enjoys reading books, cooking and listening to music.

Education Background:

  • Bachelor of Vietnamese Linguistics and Literature, HCMC University of Pedagogy.

Huynh Tam

Huynh Tam

Originally from Binh Thuan, Tam has lived, studied and worked in Ho Chi Minh City since 1996. Tam worked at Dong Do and Marie Curie High School. Since she arrived at ISHCMC - American Academy in 2010, she believes in a holistic approach to learning and wherever possible tries to encourage students to discover their own links to the world outside the classroom.

Education Background:

  • Bachelor of Vietnamese Linguistics & Literature, HCMC University of Pedagogy

Nguyen Hoang Anh

Nguyen Hoang Anh

Hoang Anh joined ISHCMC - American Academy in 2014. Up to now, he has 8 years of teaching experience. In addition to teaching History, he used to be a homeroom and life skills instructor. He loves traveling, sports and reading in his free time.

Education Background:

  • Postgraduate History, HCMC University of Social Sciences and Humanities
  • BA History, HCMC University of Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Certification Outperformer at Grassroots Level, HCMC DOET
  • Certificate of Completion, Intel Teach Program Elements PPA Course

Nguyen Van Anh

Nguyen Van Anh

A Vietnamese native, Van Anh has devoted herself to the benefit of ISHCMC for over 10 years. Her contribution is critical in the coordinations of various Vietnamese cultural events such as the Tet Celebration. She has sacrificed her time taking students on charity trips in poverty areas. Her burning passion to help the community has inspired many students to join the Global Issues Network on campus. Van Anh loves to listen to the dreams of the ISHCMC - American Academy adolescents, hoping that every one of them would succeed.

Education Background:

  • BA Geography, HCMC Pedagogy University
  • Elementary Certificate Program, Sai Gon University

Wenyan Zhuang (Helen)

Wenyan Zhuang (Helen)

Originally from China, Helen has lived and worked in Thailand, China and Vietnam. Since she arrived at ISHCMC - American Academy in 2013, Helen has been instrumental in building the school’s partnership with Mandarin official exam (HSK). She also enjoys playing table tennis, swimming and playing chess.

Education Background:

  • MA International Secondary School Education,The College of New Jersey
  • BA Chinese and Literacy, Renming University of China
  • Chinese Language Arts Teaching License, China
  • Teaching Chinese as a Second Language Certification, IPA, USA

Where to find us

ISHCMC - American Academy, 16 Vo Truong Toan Street, An Phu Ward, District 2, HCMC

Location