Our elementary team of passionate educators embrace the challenge of supporting our students in developing a strong foundation of both academic and socio-emotional skills. Our experienced team fosters our student's natural curiosity and encourages them to embraces challenges both in and out of the classroom.

Pre-Primary Teaching Team

Jessica Lau

Pre-Primary School Teacher, BS, MSc

Jessica Lau

Jessica is a highly experienced elementary school teacher. She has taught in multiple schools in New York and has been teaching in Hong Kong for the past six years. Jessica has her Bachelors in Early Childhood and Childhood Education with a Mathematics concentration, along with a Masters in Special Education. She also holds a TEFL/TESOL certificate. She taught in a dual-language environment throughout the majority of her teaching career. She is a passionate teacher who encourages her students to take risks and find joy in learning.
Jessica says, ”I teach to inspire and to encourage. I teach so students can create dreams and develop a passion for learning. I teach to build love, kindness, honesty, and strength in students”.

Mandy Yang

Pre-Primary School Teacher, BEd, MEd

Mandy Yang

Mandy has experience in bilingual curriculum planning and teaching English and Mandarin as a second language at schools in Hong Kong and China. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language Education, a Master of Education in Educational Psychology and is also certified in Montessori Early Childhood Teaching. Mandy is well trained in Apple Education and has a strong passion for incorporating technology to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom.

Mandy says, “I am passionate about education because I believe it shapes the future of our world. Being a teacher, I can share knowledge and thoughts, morals and love for the next generation and incubate dreams.”

Grade 1 Teaching Team

Amelie Sun

Grade 1 School Teacher, BA, MSc

Amelie Sun

Amelie is one of our highly experienced bilingual teachers from the sister campus in Singapore. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics, and she has earned her TESOL/TCSOL Bilingual Teaching Qualification from Columbia University. Amelie is experienced teaching the Common Core Plus standards and inquiry-based International Baccalaureate framework, and she is also a promoter of developing individualized learning plans for each child based on MAP® assessments.

Amelie says, “I’m passionate about teaching because it is exciting to ignite the inner curiosity and inspire diverse thoughts, so students could fully explore their potential and interests.”

Maria Evans

Grade 1 School Teacher, LLB, MA

Maria Evans

Maria joins Stamford with 4 years teaching in Spain and the UK. She has a Degree in Law from Salamanca University and a Masters in teaching Spanish from Alicante University, both based in Spain. She went on to work at Hock School in the UK where she introduced students at the elementary level to Spanish. After a year there, she returned to Spain where she worked for nearly two years at Newtown College. Whilst there she taught English as an additional language and also Spanish to Elementary and Middle School students.

Maria says, “As I myself studied languages in school and always found learning them exciting I wanted to continue this as I moved onto university and into the professional world. I understand how to help students use the skills they already possess to pick up a new language, as I have gone through that process myself. I love the freedom of learning a language gives you. As it gets easier and easier to travel and work abroad, a foreign language can open so many doors for you, both personally and professionally. Outside of Stamford, I enjoy traveling and learning about new cultures, and I always try and find the time to go for a run or hike to escape the hustle and bustle of town down Hong Kong.”

Taryn Marks

Grade 1 School Teacher, BEd

Taryn Marks

Taryn joined Stamford with a wealth of teaching experience in Elementary schools in South Africa, excelling as a teacher of math and literacy. Outside of teaching, Taryn is also a passionate singer, dancer and ultra-marathon runner. She has earned a Bachelor of Education degree with a specialization in early childhood development.

Taryn says, “I am passionate about teaching because I love the feeling of being surrounded by individuals that are decades younger than me and knowing at the end of the day when I return home with color stained hands, that somewhere in their day I made some kind of impact on them. Whether it was laughing together, painting together or making that connection when they have finally understood a concept.”

Grade 2 Teaching Team

Sharon Perez

Grade 2 School Teacher, BA

Sharon Perez

Sharon is a founding member of Stamford, having joined in 2017. She has significant international school experience teaching lower elementary students in the United States, Spain, and Taiwan. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in her home in Florida, USA. She has a wealth of experience with EAL learners. Her enthusiastic energy gets her students excited about learning and keeps them motivated. Sharon is bilingual in both English and Spanish.
Sharon says, “I began my professional teaching journey in 2011, and over the years have come to learn endless ways to help my students become their best selves. The process of watching them develop socially, emotionally, and academically has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work and grow with new children every year, creating a classroom setting where they can feel safe and cared for and look forward to coming to school every day.”

Rita Xiong

Grade 2 School Teacher, BA, MA

Rita Xiong

Rita has been teaching elementary children of all ages for 9 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English language and a Master’s degree in Translation and Bilingual Communication. Prior to joining Stamford, she taught at a private school in Hong Kong, working with students with different cultural backgrounds. This experience allowed her to be even more open-minded, and more tuned to respect each student’s individuality and learning pace. She uses a variety of hands-on activities and different teaching strategies to accommodate diverse learning styles. 

Rita says, “I want my classroom to be a comfortable, positive yet challenging learning community where teachers, students and parents can all contribute, and to make the learning process fun, meaningful and purposeful. I love teaching because, for me, it’s also learning. My students can be so inspiring, so talented and so sweet that they give me new ways of thinking, new perspectives and new views of the world. I’d love to devote myself to the lifelong inquiry of this world together with them.”

Julia Chan

Grade 2 School Teacher, BSc, PGCE

Julia Chan

Julia was born and raised in Hong Kong in a multicultural family thus developing her bilingual language skills in English and Chinese. She received her Bachelor of Social Sciences in Psychology at The University of Hong Kong with a particular interest in pursuing Educational Psychology. This led her to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Education through the University of Sunderland in 2018. Prior to joining Stamford, Julia has taught at another international school in Hong Kong for three years and is experienced in Kindergarten through Elementary years. 

Julia says, “I love fostering and nurturing curiosity in children. They are by nature incredibly inquisitive and boldly imaginative and it is most rewarding when their faces light up because they are excited by their own learning and the new connections that they have made. I remind myself daily that my role as a teacher is not to impart knowledge but to guide, challenge and inspire discussion and to learn alongside students."

Grade 3 Teaching Team

Kristen Struble

Grade 3 School Teacher, BS, MAT

Kristen Struble

Kristen has a high level of experience in delivering the International Baccalaureate and inquiry-based teaching at her previous schools in both the U.S. and Brazil. She has a Master’s degree in the Art of Teaching for kindergarten to grade 6 and also has a K-12 Gifted and Talented endorsement. Kristen is adept in using MAP® testing to inform teaching and learning and incorporates technology to enhance lessons and teach 21st-century skills. Her years of experience in the classroom in addition to her education give her a variety of strategies to ensure that every learner in her class is engaged and challenged.

Kristen says, “I remember I was so excited my first day of kindergarten because I loved the idea of going to school and getting to learn all day. Years later, I still have that love of learning because I had teachers who fostered my joy and challenged me always to keep searching for answers. Now, I get to spend each day trying to instill that same love of learning in my students and learning from them in return. My favorite part of any day is when students, who keep trying even when something is difficult, finally understand. You can see the joy on their face and pride in themselves, and that’s all I need to know that I made a difference.”

Helene Bibeau

Grade 3 School Teacher, BEd, MEd

Helene Bibeau

Helene is originally from Montreal, Canada, where she completed a Bachelor of Education in Kindergarten and Elementary Education and a Master of Education in Educational Psychology at McGill University. She was a French Immersion kindergarten teacher in Victoria, Canada for one year before moving to Hong Kong in 2016. She taught early learners for two years in Hong Kong where she learned more about the Reggio-Emilia philosophy and inquiry-based learning.

Helene says, “My passion for education stems from the opportunity of contributing to the holistic development of children and observing as they grow into inquisitive, independent and creative individuals. I feel very thankful for the opportunity I have of teaching at Stamford and I feel very inspired by its culture of excellence, and a sense of belonging and community.”

Melanie Cherry

Grade 3 School Teacher, BA, MS

Melanie Cherry

Melanie is a highly qualified teacher with over a decade of teaching experience in the classroom and as a professional development facilitator, both in the U.S. and internationally. Melanie has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with an emphasis in English Language Arts. She earned her M.S. at Columbia University in Neuroscience and Education and is passionate about learning and the brain. Melanie has experience creating curriculum, analyzing growth assessment data, incorporating technology, and creating meaningful-differentiated lessons. 

Melanie says, “Education is my passion. Helping my students get excited about learning and motivating them to set and reach goals brings me great joy. My classroom is a place where students feel safe, eager to learn, and are willing to take academic risks. I am a lifelong learner and continually work to further my education, sharpen my teaching skills, and challenge myself!”

Ivy Li

Grade 3 School Teacher, BA, MA

Ivy Li

Ivy has tremendous experience base in teaching Mandarin and English as a Second Language at schools in the U.S. offering the IB curriculum. Ivy graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies from Mount Holyoke College and recently completed her Master’s TESOL program at Columbia University. Ivy is skilled at teaching various age levels and has taught children from the lower elementary grades all the way to university students. Ivy is also fluent in Spanish and is an expert in the STEM program.

Ivy says, “Many teachers have shaped my life and aroused my curiosity in linguistics and the sciences. I would like to be this kind of teacher who can inspire students and accompany them in their lifelong learning journey. I am passionate about preparing my students to be global citizens for the future.”

Grade 4 Teaching Team

John Carr

Grade 4 School Teacher, BA (Hons), QTS

John Carr

John is an experienced international educator, having taught students across the elementary age range in Hong Kong, U.K., and South America. Prior to joining Stamford, he served as a Year 5 lead teacher and Computing team lead in the U.K. John has also held the position of Mathematics Curriculum Lead and has mentored junior teachers in developing curriculum knowledge, pedagogy, and behavior management.

Following a First Class Honours degree in English at the University of Southampton, he gained his Qualified Teacher Status at the world’s leading University for Education, UCL Institute of Education, achieving an ‘Outstanding’ judgment of his teaching practice. Most recently, John was shortlisted for Hong Kong Teacher of the Year 2021 in recognition of his ongoing commitments to quality-first education.

John says, “The reward of inspiring others to become passionate about their own learning is like no other. As a teacher, I have the unparalleled opportunity to help the leaders and innovators of tomorrow become engaged, empowered, and liberated individuals, encouraging them to look at the world with wide-eyed wonder and make their voices heard. Teaching allows me to help shape young minds, and in doing so, build a community of critical thinkers and problem-solvers, artists, and poets. I strongly believe that every student I teach has huge potential to become a catalyst for change, and being in a position to nurture and guide inquisitive minds for each step that builds towards this realization is an absolute privilege.”

Mallie Buffum

Grade 4 School Teacher, BEd, MA

Mallie Buffum

Mallie joined Stamford after five years of teaching in Denver, CO. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Skidmore College and a Master’s in curriculum and instruction with a focus on math and science from the University of Colorado. She is passionate about driving the student voice in the classroom and led her previous school’s student council. One of the main focuses in her professional learning is about bringing creativity into the classroom, especially in math and science. 

Maille says, “I am passionate about engaging students in their learning by fostering their interests and connecting them to the curriculum I am teaching. I like making learning fun and creative, and love seeing students exploring their passions and figuring out who they are as people.”

Valerie O'Meara

Grade 4 School Teacher, BSc (Hons), B.Ed

Valerie O'Meara

Valerie is a Canadian teacher who has significant experience implementing an international and inquiry-based elementary curriculum. She has worked internationally for over 8 years before coming to Stamford and has had the opportunity to work in schools in Korea, China, Georgia, and Saudi Arabia.

Valerie says, “Learning is a lifelong endeavor. Our job as teachers is not only to share curriculum content but to equip our students with the tools they will need to be successful within the classroom and beyond. Developing a student’s resilience, resourcefulness, and reflectiveness will allow them to positively engage with the world around them in order to become confident and self-reliant global citizens.”

Jared Scotchmer

Grade 4 School Teacher, BA, PGCE, and Med.

Jared Scotchmer

Jared is originally from Toronto, Canada, and before moving to Hong Kong, he spent the previous eleven years teaching in South Korea, Vietnam, and China. He most recently spent five years in Shanghai as Grade 5 Team Leader and Head of Curriculum Development for Science and Social Studies. He has a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, along with a Masters in International Education. Jared is passionate about engaging students’ natural curiosity and developing a collaborative classroom environment. 

Jared says, “I love making the classroom a fun and engaging place that allows students to explore the topics they are passionate about. I was fortunate enough to have teachers who did this for me while growing up, and I want to be able to do the same for my students here at Stamford American School. I also hope to help develop resilient and creative thinkers who look at the world with open minds.”

Yilu Xie

Grade 4 School Teacher, BA, MA, PGDE

Yilu Xie

Yilu joined Stamford after teaching International Baccalaureate to fifth graders for 4 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chinese language and literature from Jilin University and a Master’s degree in English literature from the University of Southampton. Yilu was also trained to be a teacher at SOAS University of London. She is passionate about creating a safe and mindful environment and facilitating a learning community where compassion is highly valued, and students are encouraged to grow as life-long learners and global citizens.

Yilu says, “I believe that collaborating bilingually with students and teachers of international backgrounds happens through immersion and mutual understanding of different cultures. It allows for efficient and long-term knowledge of bilingual learning. I want to instill and model a growth mindset and open-mindedness with my students, which will help them become a well-rounded 21st-century learner.”

Grade 5 Teaching Team

Trishna Harjani

Grade 5 School Teacher, BA

Trishna Harjani

Trishna has been living in Hong Kong for 17 years and has six years of teaching experience at international schools in Hong Kong. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education at the University of Nottingham and is currently completing her Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership and Management. Trishna believes in embracing diversity and open-mindedness in the classroom; nurturing global citizens is an integral part of her teaching. 

Trishna says, “Growing up in Nigeria and then moving to Hong Kong; I observed inequality in education. This motivated me to pursue teaching as a career, with the intention to ensure that every child has the opportunity to receive a quality education. Having been exposed to several different cultures, I believe in the importance of embracing diversity and being compassionate and open-minded towards uniqueness and identity.”

Aric Cherry

Grade 5 School Teacher, BA, MEd

Aric Cherry

Aric brings his enthusiastic and compassionate personality to Stamford after teaching in China for five years. Originally from the United States, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Master of Education. Aric has classroom teaching experience in both the primary and middle school grades as well as experience in teaching physical education.

Aric says, “Having been raised in a family of teachers, the education path was an easy one for me to follow. I have a passion for growing a class community and enjoy seeing my students transform throughout the school year. I love to witness the ‘ah-ha’ moments that occur in the classroom when a student learns or understands something for the first time as that shows growth; if you’re not growing, you’re standing still.”

Julia Wales

Grade 5 School Teacher, B.G.E, B.Ed.

Julia Wales

Julia joined the Stamford team with experience teaching in the Early Years in Hong Kong after moving from Stellenbosch, South Africa. She received a Bachelor of Education degree and a B.Ed Hons in Educational Support from Stellenbosch University and specialized in English and Geography for the middle school years. Julia has a passion for sports and looks forward to time spent integrating Stamford’s core values into all aspects of students’ day at school. 
Julia says, “I love the excitement that every day brings in my profession. As teachers, we have the wonderful privilege of observing young minds achieving more than they believe they can, as well as facilitating the development of determination and grit in everyday situations.”

Pennie Zhang

Grade 5 School teacher, BA, MA, PGDE

Pennie Zhang

Pennie is a passionate teacher and has been teaching elementary students of all ages for 6 years in Beijing, the Philippines, and Hong Kong. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Studies from Beijing Jiaotong University, a Master’s degree in International language education from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and a post-graduate diploma in education from the Hong Kong University. As an IB certified educator, Pennie specializes in delivering the International Baccalaureate with an inquiry-based approach and fostering students’ bilingual literacy. 

Pennie says, ”Teaching is in my blood. I feel excited when I dive into the learning journey with my students. I want to develop my students to become compassionate learners, active inquirers, and responsible citizens with global-mindedness. My classroom will be a supportive place where students could feel comfortable and confident to explore knowledge in both languages.”