Gary Parkes Head Teacher Personal Statement

Cyber bullying information  (pdf 291 KB)


The following is an extract taken from "The Kids Are all Right" Website:

The social media background check: why your teen needs to be careful now - By Katie Adema.

Who checks social media? Karalyn Brown is the founder of InterviewIQ, a career marketing business for Australian jobseekers. She asked six employers if they check candidates' social media activity, and half of them said they did.

One employer told Karalyn: "This is the big mistake of the younger generation. Everything is fair game and they need to learn that if I saw behavior that I felt didn't fit with the team, or I discovered things about them that reflected negatively on their employer, or there is a pattern of behaviour that's likely to lead to work performance issues, then they won't be getting the job. People should assume that I am checking them out."

"By law, employers are not able to discriminate," says Karalyn. "But how would you know if you missed out on a job based on something they personally didn't like?"

Employers look for inappropriate material: Some sites or posts will be obviously inappropriate to future employers; others might not be so obvious. Employers are mainly searching for inappropriate material. And it may not be immediately obvious to you or your teenager what will be inappropriate to employers.

"If you're young and you like to party, someone will probably take a picture of you with your head in the toilet at a pub or club and post it on Facebook at some stage," says ABC Innovation's head of technology Craig Preston. "If it were me, I'd take it down. I have asked people in interviews how they feel about certain pictures of themselves or certain comments they've made. [It] gives a useful insight into character."

Employers look for signs of professionalism: Employers aren't only looking for questionable material; some are looking for indicators of professionalism.

"If a candidate looks interesting or is in the final shortlist, I always Google them," says Craig. "I look for the completeness of their digital identity as a sign of professional maturity. The younger they are the less complete it will be, but I expect people working in digital media to have a digital identity."

"If a candidate looks interesting or is in the final shortlist, I always Google them"

Not all employers will check social media, but be prepared:Not every potential employer will try to check out your teenager's online profile. Some employers still believe that an interview and gut instinct will tell them everything they need to know.

The most important thing is to be aware of what each site represents to an employer. ABC's Craig Preston suggests students consider the following guideline:

"LinkedIn is the professional profile, Twitter is your daily thinking and Facebook is the insight into your personality."

How to protect your teenager from future social media checks: Regular checks and reminders are the best way to help protect your teenager from inadvertently sabotaging future opportunities. If you can, make sure that they stick to the following guidelines. - See more at:

 Birrong Boys High School Fights Bullying

Ex-Parkes High School teacher Ms Debra Good sent us this film made by some of 'her boys' at Birrong Boys High School. They raised the money to buy the copyright to the songs they have used.


Bullying. No Way!

The Bullying. No Way! site was developed by the Safe and Supportive School Communities (SSSC) Project, which is made up of representatives from all Australian education jurisdictions – all state, territory and federal education departments, as well as national Catholic and independent schooling representatives. Members are working together to create learning environments where every student and school community member is safe, supported, respected, valued – and free from bullying.

The annual National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence occurs on the third Friday in March each year and is organised by all Australian education authorities through the Safe and Supportive School Communities Project.


Choose Kind is a new anti-bullying campaign based on the book 'Wonder' by R J Palacio. You can see a booktrailer and interview with the author on the ((Ms Dawson's Wish List))page.




An American movie Bully by director Lee Hirsch was released in Australia on 20 August 2013.

In this article by the Sydney Morning Herald, there is an interview with Hirsch by Gary Maddox and the reactions of students at Caringbah High School to the movie. See more here:



Jessica Anderson - Early Years Teacher

Jessica Anderson, a native New Yorker, received a BA in Art & Art History at City College of New York. After earning a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education at Hunter College, she eagerly left the United States for international adventures.  Ms. Anderson taught English in Barcelona, Spain and subsequently held positions at several IB World schools in London, England and Tokyo, Japan.  At these schools, she taught Year 1 and Reception, while also acting as PYP coordinator and mentor for newly qualified teachers.  Four years ago, Ms. Anderson moved back to New York and took a position at The International Preschools, where she remained until she got the exciting opportunity to work within a PYP programme once again – at BIS-NY!

In her spare time, Ms. Anderson is a music enthusiast and frequents live shows throughout Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.  She also enjoys planning upcoming holidays where she can travel and learn about the rich history and culture around the world.

Ms. Anderson is thrilled to be working within the inquiry-based, collaborative and international environment that BIS-NY offers.



B.A. in Studio Art / Art History, City College of New York

MS Ed. in Early Childhood Education, Hunter College, New York, NY

New York State Public School Certification to teach Birth – Age 8

TEFL certification – ITTT, Barcelona, Spain

Jonathan Campbell - Primary Years Teacher

Mr. Campbell believes very strongly that the ethos of creativity and individuality that flourishes at BIS-NY is one of our school’s greatest strengths. Emphasizing these traits as the foundation of a rigorous program of inquiry allows all of our students, regardless of their learning style, to thrive in our happy and secure school environment.

Mr. Campbell’s much-enjoyed nine years at The British International School cap a long and impressive career in education. In addition to six years working in child and adult art education in New Zealand, he has lectured in ancient history at tertiary level, taught in the Middle East, provided professional development for teachers in South America and taught for eight years in inner-city London schools.

A firm believer in lifelong learning for all, most recently, Mr. Campbell joined Harvard’s Graduate School of Education where he worked on producing a series of class-based practical research projects that focused on pedagogy and on helping children to make the most of their learning experience.

In addition to his work in education, Mr. Campbell is a published author who has written several textbooks on the art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome, both of which are now recommended textbooks for the senior secondary school examinations in classics.


Bachelor or Arts with First Class Honours; Classical Studies/History, Victoria University, Wellington, NZ

Graduate of the Graduate Teacher Programme, Kingston University, London, UK

Louise Ranger - Early Years Teacher

After studying for a specialized primary education degree, Ms. Ranger enjoyed a 15 year career in primary schools in the UK before moving to New York with her family in 2010.

As well as teaching across key stages 1 and 2, Ms. Ranger held a number of senior management positions including Key Stage Leader, Literacy Co-ordinator, Teaching and Learning Manager and mentor for Newly Qualified Teachers. She was also a Leading Teacher in Mathematics for her Local Education Authority.

Since arriving in New York, she has balanced raising her son with volunteering with the Make A Wish Foundation as a wish granter, PTA curriculum committee rep at her son’s school and co-ordinating various book clubs.


BA (QTS) in Primary Education with Creative Arts, Brunel University, London, England

Annette Ottley - Early Years Teacher

Annette Ottley is a skilled and dedicated educator who is passionate about the foundation stage because in those early years the children develop the foundation of inquiry and knowledge that will carry them through their years of schooling. For her own education, Ms. Ottley completed her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education at the Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus. After completing her studies and student teaching, Ms. Ottley worked at a prestigious independent school in New York City for over 6 years. Ms. Ottley is clear that her area of giftedness is with the Early Years and has been operating in this capacity at BIS-NY since 2008.

Ms. Ottley likens teaching to gardening. Her role as a teacher is to provide each and every child with the tools to cultivate his/her own garden of knowledge in fertile soil. As such, her classroom is a caring, safe, and equitable environment where each child can blossom and grow. Ms. Ottley plans “gardening” opportunities every day to allow the children to become responsible members of the classroom community. With a bit of sunshine and nurturing, the children blossom through class meetings, positive reinforcement, and democratic principles. In showing children how to become responsible for themselves as well as their own learning, Ms. Ottley gives them the tools to become successful in life, to believe in them, and to love themselves and others regardless of their differences!

Ms. Ottley is very keen of the IB PYP program because it so closely aligns with her educational approach and thinking. The PYP focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside. It also prepares students to be active participants in a lifelong journey of learning. It has been Ms. Ottley’s experience that children who are validated and valued engage positively in the process of education. Therefore, she seamlessly merges educational structure while exposing the children in her class to the Learner Profile. Overall, Ms. Ottley strives to provide an environment in which children feel safe, comfortable, important, respected and valued. She feels shaping young minds, in this holistic way, lends itself to greatness!

Ms. Ottley will continue to be the Head of the Glennie House for next year and is especially excited about continuing and enhancing the house system. Ms. Ottley is working closely with Ms. Carr and Ms. Scheiber to share her insights, skills and passions to reenergize the House System. It’s too soon to reveal any “House Secrets”, but she’s looking forward to bringing her personal love of traveling, cooking and reading to her work with Glennie and, every day, in the classroom!


B.A Early Childhood Education, Long Island University, NY

Amy Simmons - Early Years Teacher

Miss. Simmons was born into a teaching family and developed a passion for education from an early age. She remembers watching her mother prepare wild and whacky teaching resources for her primary school students and knew that she would eventually follow in her footsteps!

As a lover of reading and writing, Miss. Simmons completed her BA Honours degree in English Literature and Language at Sheffield University in the UK. She then went on to complete her PGCE in Primary Education at London’s Middlesex University. After completing her teacher training at a range of London primary schools, Miss. Simmons took up a Year Two teaching post at Abercorn School, BIS-NY’s sister school in central London. It is here that her love of hands-on, inquiry based learning has flourished and she prides herself on putting a creative stamp on anything she touches!

Having taught for two years in London, Miss. Simmons has decided to combine her passion for teaching with her love of travel to make the exciting move to New York. She brings with her a comprehensive knowledge of the English National Curriculum and looks forward to fusing this with the philosophical framework of the International Baccalaureate at BIS-NY.

In addition to classroom based teaching, Miss. Simmons is a qualified lacrosse coach and has put this to good use during summers spent working as a camp counsellor in the USA. Her last two years at Abercorn School also provided Miss. Simmons with the opportunity to let her full creativity flow, and she organised two infamous (if messy!) after-school clubs, known affectionately as ‘Horrible Science’ and ‘Crazy Craft’.


B.A. (Hons) English Literature and Language at Sheffield University, UK

Brigitte Gloor - Teaching Assistant

Swiss born and educated, Brigitte Gloor brings academic, professional and practical experience to language studies.

She received her B.A. in Education at the Lehrerseminar Solothurn, Switzerland and continued her education at the Institut Catholique in Paris, receiving a certificate in Advanced French Studies in 1975. Ms. Gloor taught and coordinated third year elementary school curriculum which included  French, German and Instrumental Music among other academic subjects for Swiss national certification and was a regional judge in piano and flute competition for elementary school children.
Ms. Gloor brings practical language skills as a Berlitz certified instructor and as a translator of legal and medical research documents for a New York law firm. She has been a private tutor for both adults and children for many years.

Outside interests include world travel, skiing ( Swiss certified ski instructor ) painting,  Spanish Language and different cultures.


B.A., Education, Lehrerseminar, Switzerland

Romea Hanif- Teaching Assistant

Romea Hanif began her teaching career in Lahore, Pakistan as a High-School Literature Teacher. In 1993, she moved to the US with her family and decided to devote her time to raising her two children. While a stay-at-home parent, she took courses in creative writing, computing and interior design. She started working as a Substitute Teacher for the United Nations International School in 2006. She substituted for grades one through eight as a Lead and Assistant Teacher and also taught specialist subjects such as Art, Technology, Music and Science. She joined the BIS-NY staff in 2014. She brings with her an extensive knowledge of instructing and nurturing children of different age groups and diverse backgrounds.


Masters in Language and Literature.

Certification of Lecturer in English Literature.

Jose Sosa - Teaching Assistant

Jose Sosa was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic. At the age of 14 he immigrated to the United States with his family and has lived here in New York since then. In 1997 he graduated from Alfred E. Smith H.S. in the Bronx. From 2002-2011, Mr. Sosa worked at Hunter College and Hunter High School. Whilst working, in 2007, he earned an associated degree in Art: Social Science and Humanities at LaGuardia Community College. Following this he went back to Hunter College to pursue his Bachelor degree in Psychology. In 2010, Mr. Sosa founded The Sosa Family Foundation, a non-profit organization to reach out the neediest and contribute to the education back in his hometown in the Dominican Republic. In 2011, Mr. Sosa joined the BIS-NY family and had made it his home ever since!


Stuart Buchan - Primary Years Teacher

Since graduating in 2011, Mr. Buchan has spent six years in the classroom. Prior to becoming a teacher, he worked as a youth support worker in his local community, mentoring and educating those not in education, training or full time employment.  At the same time Mr. Buchan worked in secondary schools across East London and Essex, running workshops designed to prepare pupils for work experience.

Mr. Buchan has an unerring dedication to providing pupils with the best possible educational experience.  He has a commitment to innovation in the classroom and enjoys working with colleagues to discuss and develop the best possible classroom practice.  Mr. Buchan is passionate about creating a classroom environment in which independence, resilience and growth mind-set is actively promoted and encouraged.  Prior to joining the British International School Mr Buchan worked as an Initial Teacher Training Leader, assuming responsibility for the mentoring of trainee teachers and newly qualified teachers.  In addition, he was responsible for moderating the mentoring provision across an alliance of local schools in East Essex.  Mr Buchan has held additional responsibilities in Music, Computing, Maths and English.

Mr. Buchan has taken part in many transnational projects, visiting and working alongside primary schools in Hungary, Bulgaria and Belgium. Most recently Mr. Buchan job shadowed in Bydgoszcz, Northern Poland.

Mr. Buchan’s interests include music, film and reading.  He also enjoys sports and played regular five a-side football back in England.


B.A. (Honours); Primary Education, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, England.

Joe Cockerell - Primary Years Teacher

Joe Cockerell earned his qualifications to become a Primary School Teacher in 2004, graduating from Northumbria University in the UK.  As well as his role as a Classroom Teacher, Mr. Cockerell has held leadership roles for both Physical Education and Mathematics.

Prior to gaining his qualified teacher status, he obtained a BA (Hons) Leisure Management and Sports Studies degree at Buckinghamshire University, and it was during this time that he also successfully completed a UEFA Football Coaching certificate.  This enabled Mr. Cockerell to work for Arsenal and Wycombe Wanderers Football Clubs for their Community programmes, and in 2002 he also spent a summer working in California as a coach.

Teaching sport to children has always played a significant part in Mr. Cockerell’s teaching profession.  As well as his experience as a P.E. teacher and subject leader he has coached various school sports teams, and at his previous school he was a member of a team of teachers that took pupils on an annual water sports activity week to Spain for many years.  He also used his previous experiences as a community coach, to organize and manage bi-annual Easter and summer sports camps for children aged 4-12.


BA (Hons) Leisure Management and Sports Studies, Buckinghamshire New University, UK

Post Graduate Certificate in Primary Education, Northumbria University, UK

Gareth Edwards -Primary Years Teacher

Mr Edwards grew up in South Wales and has also lived in Devon and in London, where he spent ten years before moving to New York.  After a period working in staff training and development in the energy industry, he completed a degree in Musical Theatre and worked as an actor and voice-coach before qualifying as a teacher. Although he no longer gets much time for acting he is still a very keen singer and has sung tenor with a variety of classical choirs in London.

A lifelong passion for science and maths has served Mr Edwards well as a teacher. He very much enjoys finding practical and exciting ways to teach difficult concepts and is an avid reader of popular science books.

Before moving to BIS-NY, Mr Edwards worked for four years in a successful independent preparatory school in South West London.  As well as being a classroom teacher he was also the school’s Head of Science and a Housemaster.

A keen amateur cook, Mr Edwards enjoys finding new recipes and he also likes to relax by hiking and enjoying the impressive landscapes that the USA has to offer.


B.A. (Hons, upper second); Musical Theatre, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
PGCE (Distinction); Primary Education, Kingston University, London, UK

Tim Ferguson - Asst. Head (Primary)

​Upon completion of his degree, Mr Ferguson spent several months travelling around France including a spell harvesting grapes in the prestigious Chateauneuf Du Pape region. He returned to the UK and moved to Kingston-Upon-Thames to study for a PGCE. Mr Ferguson starting his teaching career, as Year 6 Class Teacher specialising in Sport and French. He quickly progressed to Assistant Head of Year 6 and Head of Design and Technology.

Mr Ferguson moved to Surbiton High Boys’ Preparatory School in 1999. His role was Year 6 Form Teacher and Head of Sport. He quickly raised the standard and profile of sport. Every child received the opportunity to represent the school in the core sports several times each term. Links were forged with Fulham Football Club, Esher Rugby Club and Esher Cricket Club to use their coaches to further raise the standards of sport. As the profile for sports increased, the sports department expanded, from just himself to a team of 4 staff, including a member of gymnastics troupe Spelbound who helped develop a strong and successful gymnastics programme.

In 2007 he took on the role of Holiday Club Co-ordinator. This club had always been popular, however he raised its profile to such an extent that the numbers of pupils attending each day more than doubled. A greater range of activities were introduced to accommodate the growing numbers of pupils.

The role of Head of Pastoral Care was created to give Mr Ferguson greater responsibility to deal with the needs of pupils within Surbiton High Boys’ Prep School. He undertook a Masters degree in Education and Leadership, to coincide with this new role. His primary focus was on behaviour management, specifically looking at strategies for leading behaviour. Mr Ferguson changed the culture of behaviour management within his school, introducing novel strategies for raising standards of behaviour amongst the boys.

When his sons started playing rugby at Old Cranleighans Rugby Club, he started as a helper but his passion and knowledge of rugby quickly saw him progress to the role of Head Coach, leading a year group to success in a number of tournaments and festivals. Building upon this success he was instrumental in setting up the inaugural and hugely successful minis rugby tour.

Mr Ferguson is an avid sports fan, he enjoys watching most sports and is a keen athlete himself. His primary sport is triathlon in which he has competed at distances from Sprint up to Middle distance. He has participated in a range of sports, competing in open water swimming events, running races and cycling competitions both on the road and in the London 2012 Olympic Velodrome.


B.Sc. (Hons, 2ii); Applied & Analytical Chemistry Staffordshire University, Stoke-Upon-Trent, UK
PGCE Secondary Science, Kingston University, London, England.
MA Innovation in Education and Leadership, Warwick University, Coventry, UK

Katja Hudemann - Primary Years Teacher & Professional Development Coordinator

Miss Hudemann was born and grew up in Fulda, Germany.  After finishing school in 2001, she studied to become a teacher for Primary and Lower Secondary Schools at the University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany, specialising in Art and German language and literature.  Having passed her First State Examination in summer 2005, she decided to go travelling to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.  This experience cemented her love for the English language and for other countries and cultures which ultimately led her to her decision to move to the United Kingdom after passing her Second State Examination in Germany in 2007.

Throughout the past nine years in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, Miss Hudemann has taught at a variety of schools, both Secondary and Primary, and developed her interest in cross-curricular education through the use of the International Primary Curriculum.  She has led a number of subjects, including Modern Foreign Languages, Science, ICT and Maths, and has held leadership positions with responsibilities for whole school development.

Miss Hudemann believes in the importance of being a life-long learner and aims to develop children’s independence, resilience and tolerance within a supportive and stimulating teaching environment.  She is a passionate teacher with many interests and endeavours to bring these into the classroom to make learning exciting and meaningful.

In her spare time, Miss Hudemann is a keen traveller and combines this with her love for photography. She also enjoys reading and socialising.  Living in New York is fulfilling her life-long dream of experiencing life in one of the world’s most exciting cities.


First State Examination, University of Education Heidelberg, Germany
Second State Examination, College for Didactics and Teacher Training, Bad Mergentheim, Germany

Helen McGrath - Primary Years Teacher

Miss McGrath comes from a large family, with 2 brothers and 2 sisters, and always enjoyed playing ‘teachers’ from a young age. In her teens and early twenties she was involved in leading youth groups in her hometown just outside London, and from there she decided to train as a teacher. She has been teaching in inner London schools for 6 years across key stage two.

Teaching in inner London schools has given her experience in working with children from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures; she thrives on working in a diverse community and embraces the differing cultures, always keen and excited to learn about children’s lives and celebrate differences.

During her time working in London, Miss McGrath has taken on the role of art and display co-ordinator. She has elevated the profile of art in the school and has led projects such as the National Gallery’s ‘Take One Picture’, in which the whole school focus on one famous painting for a week, basing all work around the painting culminating in an art exhibition for parents. She has worked alongside local artists, and brought them into the school to work with children and also to deliver CPD to staff. She also has a passion for maths, and after acting as assistant maths co-ordinator in her first teaching post, in her next teaching post she involved and led the year 4 and 5 children in the Mayor for London project ‘Challenge 24’, aimed at improving mental maths skills. Miss McGrath loves to see children achieve things they didn’t think possible, and is passionate about seeing children gain a love for learning which extends outside the classroom.

After six years of teaching and having a secure understanding of the British National Curriculum, Miss McGrath is keen to combine this with the International Baccalaureate (IB), and is excited to be taking up the teaching post at BIS-NY and the new challenges and adventures it will bring.

Outside of teaching, Miss McGrath loves live music and also loves to holiday and travel, and exploring different cultures. She is thrilled to be teaching in a new country and city, and is excited to explore New York. Miss McGrath enjoys being active and loves a challenge; having recently completed Tough Mudder she is looking for a new challenge! 


B.A. (Hons, 2:1); English with Media Writing, University of Greenwich, London, England.
Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of Greenwich, London, England.

Alexis Sobell - Primary Years Teacher & Maths Chair

Growing up in North West London, Alexis Sobell always had a passion and enthusiasm for teaching. This led her to studying for her post graduate certificate of education in Primary Studies and consequently becoming a teacher. She has worked in 3 state schools in Greater London all boasting diverse communities.

Alexis Sobell was born in London, England and has lived there most of her life. Initially she pursued her passion for politics at Birmingham University and graduated with a BA Hons. Following this she reverted to her childhood love of teaching and completed her PGCE at the University of Hertfordshire.

Working in England, gave Ms Sobell the experience of teaching the National Curriculum in a creative and dynamic manner. At the first two schools she worked in, she taught years 5 and 6 (9-11 years old) and specialised in religious education and became the subject leader for this over 5 years.

After this Ms Sobell gained a promotion as the maths subject leader in a 3 form entry school. Here she had the opportunity to raise standards in maths and raise the profile of this subject and engagement across the school. Successfully she has led whole schools events in maths enrichment and organised trips, as well as this she has run 3 Year 6 productions which include: Oliver, Annie and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Ms Sobell is excited to take on a class teacher position at BIS-NY and she relishes the opportunity to combine her strong knowledge of the National Curriculum with the innovative and creative approach of the International Baccalaureate.


B.A. (Hons); Political Science, University of Birmingham
P.G.C.E; Primary Education, University of Hertfordshire

Vic Smith - Primary Years Teacher

An enthusiastic, vibrant and highly motivated educator, Victoria Smith is dedicated to contributing to the wider school community and helping children to achieve their best in the classroom and through extra-curricular activities.


 A committed, creative and flexible teacher who enjoys making a difference in a child’s life. Ms. Smith’s enjoyed a successful five years teaching experience in the UK where she taught Years 1 and 2 using the International Primary Curriculum. As Literacy Coordinator for Key Stage 1 and 2 she focused on the development of literacy in Year 3. She ran the Local Authority’s Gifted and Talented children Project and was a trained mentor for student teachers.


As she begins her sixth year at BISNY, she is excited to once again immerse herself in the international learning environment and inspire the creative learning of the individuals in her class. 


Her role as the Community Outreach Coordinator allows her the opportunity to work with global charities, encourage the whole school community to take action for international initiatives and organise events such as BISNY Cares Day.


Ms. Smith loves to travel internationally and immerse herself in the local culture and experience new places. In her spare time, she enjoys attending dance classes, Zumba and loves to go to live music events.

Qualifications B.A. (Hons) Literary Studies and Social Sciences, University of Manchester, UK Post Graduate Certificate in Primary Education, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK

Katherine Bateman -MYP Teacher

Katherine Bateman is a learning enthusiast! With almost a decade of experience working as an educator in Montreal and Toronto, Ms. Bateman has a wide berth of experience and expertise including: working in experiential education settings, developing individualized learning plans and curriculum and teaching and providing counseling services in post-secondary institutions. She is passionate about inquiry-based experiential education that engages students’ strengths, develops their weaknesses and nurtures curiosity. Ms. Bateman received a BA from Concordia University, an MA from McMaster University and completed her B.Ed. at the University of Toronto. On her time off she enjoys biking, running, rock climbing, sewing and arguing! Ms. Bateman is excited to be teaching at such a beautifully situated IB school and continue her own learning journey among such curious and active minds. She is also thrilled to be heading BIS-NY’s growing debate program and nurture some of NYC’s finest arguers!   


B.A. in Women’s Studies, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
B.Ed. University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
M.A. Cultural Studies and Critical Theory, McMaster University, Ontario

Adam Bernard - MYP Teacher & English Chair

Mr. Bernard’s first great love is and has always been literature. This passion took him to the unlikely setting of Leicestershire where he read his degree and studied, what felt like, everything that has ever been written in the English language, from the times of knights and jousting to visions of dystopian futures.

As an avid reader, Mr. Bernard has always been passionate about imbuing his students with a love for stories and helping children unlock their creativity through the power of the written word. He has always enjoyed helping young budding writers on their quest to becoming the next Rowling or Collins.

Having taught English to children aged 11-18 for a year, he then moved to a boys independent school where he had the privilege of preparing students for such prestigious schools as Westminster, Harrow, Eton and City of London. Mr. Bernard places great importance on developing an understanding and appreciation of language in learners. He hopes to enrich the lives of the students placed in his care through a journey of discovery into this world of language and believes that English is one of the most important tools you’ll ever need no matter what career you choose!


P.G.C.E (English), The Institute of Education, London.

B.A. English Language and Literature, The University of Leicester.

Paul Davies - MYP Teacher

Mr. Davies, educated at Chatham House Grammar School for Boys in Kent, earned his honours degree in Mathematical Statistics and Operational Research from the University of Exeter. He followed this with a Certificate in Education in Mathematics and Sport from the University of Bristol.

His first teaching position was at Stowe School in Buckingham, where he lived as a boarding house Under-Housemaster.  After four years he was given the opportunity to run the Mathematics Department in a school in the Bahamas and then onto an American school for student-athletes on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. Returning to the British system, he took up a post at a school in Oxford before moving on to a British school in Spain.

At BIS-NY, Mr. Davies runs the Middle School Mathematics Department and overseas the ongoing school placement for our graduates.


B.Sc. (Hons) Mathematical Statistics and Operational Research, University of Exeter, UK
P.G.C.E. (Mathematics and Sport), University of Bristol, UK

Oliver Goldstein - Asst. Head (Middle Years) & Specialist (Head of Music)

Mr. Goldstein has extensive experience of the British education system, firstly being educated King Edward VI Grammar School for Boys in Birmingham, before moving to the University of Sheffield to gain his honors degree in Music. He then moved back to study for a Post Graduate Certificate in Secondary Music Education at Birmingham City University.

He has held two posts in large English schools, where he has diversified from his passion for music, to also teach Maths, Physical Education and Drama in his eleven teaching so far. He has a passion for education and in particularly providing a wide range of musical opportunities for all his students.

Mr. Goldstein is also a keen sportsman, having played field hockey in the English National League, and hopes to contribute further to the school through sporting activities and trips.

As a middle years’ specialist, Mr. Goldstein is extremely excited to have the opportunity to lead further development of the outstanding work happening at BIS-NY in his new position as Assistant Head (Middle School).


B.Mus (Hons) Music, University of Sheffield, UK
P.G.C.E. (Music), Birmingham City University, UK

Ann Marie Hourigan - MYP Teacher, Head of Science & MY IB Coordinator

Ms. Hourigan taught Sciences in secondary schools in the UK and Ireland before moving to New York in 2013. She has held various levels of leadership including Middle School Leader and Key Stage 4 Assistant Headteacher. In June 2016, Ms. Hourigan received the Blackboard Award Honor for Excellence in Education in recognition of outstanding work for New York City students at New York Institute of Technology on Broadway and subsequently featured in New York Family.

Born and raised in rural Ireland, Ms. Hourigan knew from an early age that she wanted to teach and graduated from the University of Limerick in 2004 in Science Education. She obtained a first class Master’s Degree in the UK in 2009 and has maintained links there as a PGCE mentor (Post Graduate Certification in Education) in an international setting for The University of Sunderland.  

As Head of Science at The British International School of New York, Ms. Hourigan initiated the integration of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) into the Middle Years Program. Students received nominations and won international awards for various inquiries at COBIS (Council of British International Schools) for Best Biology (nomination 2015), Best Physics (nomination 2014) and Best Scientific Investigation (winner 2014). In 2016, students received the highest number of nominations for Best Scientific Investigation, Best Scientific Theory Explanation and Best Film about Light.

Ms. Hourigan has received many opportunities to combine work with travel. Whilst in London, she visited many schools in Australia and Canada to examine the role of technology in Science teaching. In 2011, she visited the Galapagos Islands to explore first-hand the endemic species of the Ecuadorian province. In New York, Ms. Hourigan has led Year 8 excursions to London and California as part of the MYP program. In 2016, students travelled to Arizona to explore Geology at Grand Canyon National Park as well as taking part in an array of outdoor pursuits and community service work in the Navajo Indian Reservation.

One of the highlights of this past academic year for Ms. Hourigan has been co-teaching the Forensics elective. Next academic year, Ms. Hourigan is looking forward to creating the science  curriculum offer for BIS-NY Upper for implementation in 2018.



Bachelor of Science Education (Biology & Chemistry) – University of Limerick, 2004

Masters of Arts (Educational Leadership) – St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham, 2009


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Laya Ballesteros - Specialist (Art)

Laya Ballesteros is an art educator who is passionate about teaching art to young children. She loves for her students to explore and discover through the art making process. Ms. Ballesteros received her undergraduate degree in 2001 from the University of Maryland in Art Education. She went on to teach in a suburb outside of Washington D.C. for 6 years where she held annual International Nights and participated in county wide art fairs.

In 2007, Ms. Ballesteros had a great professional opportunity to be a founding art teacher for a charter school in Bushwick, Brooklyn. During the past 9 years, she has worked tirelessly to build a program that uses artistic expression to give her students a voice. She has served as a team leader where she was responsible for advocating for the arts in her school and within the network. Ms. Ballesteros has led professional development workshops for the network of classroom teachers in Connecticut and New York. She also led workshops and webinars to develop the art teachers in Brooklyn.

In 2015, Ms. Ballesteros received her M.S.Ed from Bank Street College in Educational Leadership with a focus in Technology and the Arts. She really enjoyed her time at Bank Street where she expanded her knowledge on the social-emotional needs and the developmental stages of children. She wrote her master’s thesis on student voice and the importance of building relationships with children to better meet their needs.

In her spare time she loves to go on adventures throughout the city, watch football, and is a foodie. She is also a huge Janet Jackson fan, obsessed with the Olympic Games and loves to laugh and enjoys a good joke.


M.S.Ed Educational Leadership in Technology and the Arts, Bank Street College, New York, NY
B.S. K-12 Art Education, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Sandrine Beddou - Specialist (Head of World Languages)

Ms Sandrine Beddou is a dedicated, enthusiastic, and determined educator who takes pride in teaching languages and improving pupil’s achievement.

Her infectious love for languages and cultures make for fun and dynamic lessons, where children of all levels feel happy and successful in their progress.

Born from a North African father and a British mother and raised in the South of France close to the Italian and Spanish borders, Sandrine Beddou developed a very early passion for multiculturalism and travel.

A placement on the ERASMUS University Exchange Program in Leeds, UK, was the start of her real international adventure and in 2001 she earned her Bachelor Degree in International Business.

She then spent a year travelling Europe, and two months living and working in Madrid, Spain to improve her Spanish skills. She achieved her QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) in 2004 from Trinity and All Saints College in Leeds, and spent the first 3 years of her career teaching French, Spanish and German to secondary students in academically challenging schools.  While there, she has gained great experience at working with children of all levels and needs.

Wanting to further her horizons, in 2007 Ms. Beddou accepted a position at the American International School in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E, where she spent a year teaching French to Grades 6, 7 and 8 and Spanish IB initio to Grade 11. While there, she got to experience firsthand the local culture, and discover the wonders other parts of the world have to offer. She took advantage of her geographical location to explore further other countries and continents, meeting people from all over the world.

In 2008, she was offered to return to the UK to help in developing a KS2 program and the International Dimension of the school she worked at before moving to the UAE. She spent the next year working alongside the L.E.A (Local Education Authority) and the local primary schools to introduce and train teachers in teaching languages to Years 3 to 6. Together with other teachers in the department, she also helped achieving the British Council International School Award in 2009.

She then went on to accepting her role as Head of Year, which she carried out for one year, leading a cohort of 109 year 8 Students through their academic success, and emotional and social development.

In 2010, Ms Beddou followed her New-Yorker husband home where she accepted the position of developing the international dimension of BIS-NY.

In her spare time, Ms Beddou enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, and helping others. She takes pride in participating to various charitable events, donating her time and efforts to those who need it most. In 2006, she spent a month living in the Ecuadorian jungle in Oriente with a Shuar tribe as a member of a French charitable association, and she is now looking forward to spending her vacations taking part in similar projects.


License in International Business and Languages (English and Spanish) – Universite d’Avignon, Avignon, France
P.G.C in Education, Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds, UK

Maria Beatty - Specialist (Latin)

The daughter of a teacher, Maria Beatty was born & educated in Greece. She attended the elite Arsakeion High School for Girls (specializing in Classical Education) on a full academic scholarship, attending classes six days a week from age 8 to 18. She graduated magna cum laude.

This prepared her for admittance to Athens University which required high scores on special entrance examinations. At Athens University, which excels in teacher training, Maria completed a degree in Classics & a degree in French Language with additional studies in Byzantine Art & Greek Folk Architecture.

In New York, Mrs. Beatty earned a Master’s Degree in French Language & Civilization from New York University.

Maria has taught in Greece & in the United States.

Mrs. Beatty is beginning her eighth year teaching Latin at BIS-NY. Previously, she taught Latin, Greek Mythology, Homer & Etymology at the United Nations International School for several years. She also taught Greek History & Mythology, Science, English & Sanskrit at The Philosophy Day School for five years. As a private tutor, she has taught Greek, Ancient Greek, French, Latin & Sanskrit.

A lover of wisdom, Mrs. Beatty studied philosophy for sixteen years at the School of Practical Philosophy & Meditation in New York City & was an assistant tutor for Plato Studies. She was also a member of the Translation Group that translated the letters of Marcilio Ficino from Latin to English. Mrs. Beatty also attended various Educational & Philosophy Workshops in New York City & Lucca, Italy.

Special areas of interest are etymology, philosophy & writing. Maria has written children’s books, stories & plays, some adapted from Greek Mythology. She is married to Glenn Beatty, an actor, director, writer & video producer.


M.A. French Literature, Language and Civilization, New York University
B.A. Greek Language and Literature, University of Athens, Greece

Serdar Eker - Specialist (PE)

A love of sports, fitness, healthy living, and team work are just a few of the many things that led Mr. Eker on his journey towards working with children. Growing up on the coast of Turkey, he spent most of his days swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.  Swimming came naturally to him, and his interest in other sports followed. Mr. Eker continued as an athlete throughout his schooling, participating in basketball, swimming, dance, and soccer.

Sports and physical fitness helped him to learn the importance of leadership and team work, and helped him to develop self-confidence and awareness.  Mr. Eker went on to study Physical Education for his Bachelor’s degree, and he has been teaching students physical activity ever since. Mr. Eker is a big believer in the importance of self-confidence, self-awareness, and happiness for children’s success. He believes one powerful way to build self-confidence in children is through engaging them in physical education and sports, while teaching with children’s psychology in mind.

Mr. Eker has worked with very diverse populations ranging from  teaching folk dance to special needs children, rehabilitation work in a shelter for abused women and children, teaching swimming to international children, and teaching Turkish Folk dance, music and culture to Turkish families living in New York and New Jersey.  In all of these cases, good instruction was built around developing skill, self-confidence, and all-around happiness, and instilling a love of learning in students through sports and physical education.


B.A. Physical Education & Sports Teaching, Afyon Kocatepe University, Turkey

Alana Grainsky - Specialist (Director of Creative and Performing Arts)

Alana Grainsky is a passionate educator committed to bringing out the inner artist in all of her students and growing the community outreach program at BIS-NY. Having taught in IB schools for the past seven years, Ms. Grainsky has developed a strong commitment to the holistic and inquiry based approach of the philosophy. Originally from Connecticut, Ms. Grainsky earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Art Education and Social Justice from the University of Vermont in 2007 and most recently, her Masters of Science in Educational Leadership in Technology and the Arts at the Bank Street College of Education in partnership with Parsons The New School for Design in 2015.

When Ms. Grainsky first arrived at BIS-NY in 2011 she taught MYP Art and Humanities. She was thrilled to become the Head of Art in 2013. Ms. Grainsky loves that she gets to hang out in the art room all day, work alongside the other visual and performing arts teachers, and hopes to inspire and motivate all of her students to find their unique and creative artistic identities. Other components of Ms. Grainsky’s job that she adores are working with the set-design club to design and create the sets and costumes for the annual drama performances and leading MYP excursion trips.

Prior to moving to New York, Ms. Grainsky spent three years teaching MYP humanities and visual art at the Canadian International School in Singapore. At the Canadian School, Ms. Grainsky developed the MYP Humanities curriculum and spearheaded the first PYP/MYP visual arts program. Ms. Grainsky also served as the Community Outreach Coordinator at the Canadian School where she led service trips to Cambodia and India, and engaged the school community in outreach and service initiatives to build a school culture that embraced service, diversity and awareness. Ms. Grainsky has brought this experience with her to BIS-NY and is proud of the development of the BIS-NY Community Outreach program so far.

Teaching abroad inspired Ms. Grainsky’s love for travel but she appreciates living in New York because she is closer to her family and friends. In her free time, she loves to be outside, active and adventuring. Ms. Grainsky is also a practicing artist, and you check out her work at


M.S. Educational Leadership in Technology and the Arts, Bank Street College of Education, New York, NY

B.S. K-12 Art Education, The University Of Vermont, Burlington, VT

Thomas Hunt - Specialist (Head of PE)

Since moving from England in 2002, graduating with a BSc Sport & Exercise Development, Mr. Hunt has never been far from the sporting scene in the NY/NJ area.  Prior to accepting the position as Head of Physical Education at BIS-NY, Mr. Hunt taught Physical Education at the Stevens Cooperative School in Hoboken/Jersey City NJ, where he helped develop the PE curriculum for close to 300 students to suit their urban environment.  Mr. Hunt has also coached soccer at The Pingry School, NJ and helped develop and elite Academy program in Montclair, NJ. Mr. Hunt is the main point of contact for overseeing and development of competitive sports teams at BIS-NY.



B.S. Sport & Exercise Development, University of Sunderland, UK

Mónica Lachman - Specialist (Spanish)

Mónica Lachman is a dedicated, expert educator with over 20 years of teaching experience. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ms. Lachman graduated from the Universidad de Belgrano. She moved to New York City where she taught Spanish at all levels in reputable institutions including Adelphi Academy, Notre Dame Academy, Bank Street School for Children, The Dwight School, IDEAL School and Academy, and The Berkeley Carroll School. She has earned her MAED in Spanish and MSED in Special Education from City University of New York’s Hunter College and College of Staten Island. Ms. Lachman is also a certified International Baccalaureate School Consultant and Academy Member. Ms. Lachman incorporates her international experience into her lesson plans and practices inclusion in her holistic approach to teaching. Her teaching philosophy is “All children deserve an education that is tailored fit to their strengths, weaknesses and learning style”.

“As an educator, it is my responsibility to challenge and support all students according to their individual needs. It is my duty as an educator to pre-assess students in order to modify lessons, assignments, and assessments appropriately”. Ms. Lachman has two children, graduates of Boston University. One is a clinical psychologist and the other an advertising writer and marketing specialist.

She lives on Staten Island with her husband.


M.A.Ed, M.Sc Ed, in Special Education
DP Spanish Teacher
MYP Spanish Teacher

Rhiannon Rees - Specialist (PE)

Ms. Rees studied at the University of Chichester on the south coast of England for four years gaining a BA(hons) QTS in Teaching Physical Education in 2007. She worked for four years at The Hayesbrook Boys School as a teacher of PE and English before becoming Head of Faculty for Physical Education in 2010. She has worked in collaboration with the University of Brighton and Canterbury Christchuch University as a subject mentor for trainee teachers. She has lectured  at the University of Brighton to trainee PE teachers about being a female PE teacher in an all boys school and written in the ‘PE Matters’ publication. 

She has been an accomplished horse rider since she was young, regularly competing in one -day events  in rural England. Throughout school she regularly played netball and field hockey and continued to play hockey for her university team. In England she enjoyed an active outdoor lifestyle, in particular surfing in Devon and Cornwall, and a love of travel.


Qualifications: BA (hons) Physical Education (QTS), University of Chichester, UK

Lilli Scheiber - Specialist (Drama)

Lilli Scheiber is a passionate and dedicated teacher who believes in the power of drama and its impact on social, emotional and cognitive development in children of all ages. She received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in 2007. During this time, she had the opportunity to spend six months at Regent’s College in London, where she studied two of her passions: theater and poetry.

On completing her bachelor’s degree, she spent two years living in Florida and the Dominican Republic as a kids club counselor and children’s program manager for Club Med. Through this experience, she gained a real understanding of the dedication needed to inspire and empower youth.

Upon returning to her hometown of New York, Ms. Scheiber gained her M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College while teaching in a preschool before joining BIS-NY, where she has been a T.A. in Year 2 and Reception prior to creating the drama specialty here.  She is most excited for the annual school production and to continue her duties as Head of the Shakespeare House - Go Shakespeare!

Throughout all these experiences, Ms. Scheiber has taught a variety of activities to children including drama, dance (ballet, hip hop and Broadway), music, tennis, soccer, gymnastics, and swim. She spends her summers as Head of Performing Arts and Special Events Director at Elmwood Day Camp in Westchester, NY.


B.A., English and Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

M.S., Early Childhood Education, Hunter College, New York, NY, USA

Gianna Viola - Specialist (Music)

Gianna Viola is a committed and vibrant life long learner and educator who wholeheartedly believes in the power of the arts and education in developing well rounded and kind global citizens.  The arts have always been a part of Ms. Viola's life with an early foundation in piano and voice lessons, as well as thorough experiences in musical theater.  In 2013 Ms. Viola graduated magna cum laude from NYU Steinhardt School with a B.A. in Music Education and a minor in Italian Studies.  While at NYU Ms. Viola followed a concentration in classical vocal studies in the studio of Kristen Ruiz and enjoyed performing in a variety of choirs at NYU and throughout New York City.  Currently she is pursuing her master's degree in Music Education at Hunter College.

At BIS-NY Ms. Viola teaches Early Years and Primary general music, directs the Junior and Senior Choirs and assistant directs the school play and the Empire State of Sound.  The Empire State of Sound is BIS-NY's traveling choir, which has had opportunities to perform as part of the American Young Voices concert as well as in venues throughout New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Nashville.  

Ms. Viola is also passionate about the social and emotional learning and well being of BIS-NY students and has enjoyed being an advisor and mentor to MYP.  This year she is very excited to a be a Year 9 mentor and advisor and helping to guide Year 9 students through the placement process.  

Ms. Viola's foremost aims as a music teacher is to encourage an understanding and appreciation for music while developing self confidence and expanding creativity for all students.  As a life long learner, Ms. Viola is always looking forward to seize opportunities and growing with each school year!


B.A. Music Education, Concentration Voice;  New York University, NY

Colince Tamoka - Specialist (French)

Colince Tamoka believes in the importance of education and is a lifelong learner himself. He believes that learning to speak another language equips one with skills that will be useful throughout one’s life.  Mr. Tamoka earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at Bayero University in Nigeria, then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree and a masters in linguistics at the University of Rouen in France. He also possesses 17 years of teaching experience at the French International Schools in West Africa. Colince Tamoka is also a Certified Database administrator.

Mr. Tamoka believes in the IB system and aligns with its objectives of making the students lifelong learners through the implementation of the IB program. Teaching and learning go hand in hand and over the years as a teacher, he has developed the ability to learn and improve his teaching techniques, which will always remain work in progress as long as teaching is concerned.


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