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 five 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 your 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

Sharon Perez

Grade 1 School Teacher, BA

Sharon Perez

Sharon joined Stamford in 2017 with significant international school experience teaching lower elementary students in the United States, Spain, and Taiwan. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, along with an ESOL endorsement and TEFL certification. 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 every day.”

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.”

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

Lisa O'Mahony

Grade 2 School Teacher, BA, PGCE

Lisa O'Mahony

Lisa is an internationally experienced elementary school teacher who has extensive knowledge of how to use the Common Core standards and MAP® testing effectively in an American international school environment. She has effectively developed Student Learning Plans and Individual Education Plans and understands whom to deliver personalized education. She is trained in STEM education.

Lisa says, “Teaching is a passion of mine, and throughout my learning journey, I have gained immense satisfaction in seeing the pupils in my care learn in different ways, gain confidence and self-esteem and share their views and ideas. I like using innovative teaching strategies that improve student engagement. I like to empower students so that they can become independent learners. I hope that my passion for education promotes a love of learning in my students, which in turn promotes lifelong learning, which has been proved vital in shaping and developing the future of each student.”

Nina Buckton

Grade 2 School Teacher, BA

Nina Buckton

Nina is a highly experienced elementary school educator with international experience focusing on inquiry-based learning. She specializes in differentiating her learning programs to suit individual student’s need. Nina has taught in Talented and Gifted programs and is experienced in the delivery of the Apple education model including using iPads in the classroom.

Nina says, “I love being a teacher because I love the impact that an amazing teacher can have on a child’s life. As a child, I had many teachers who inspired me and made me believe in myself, and this is what led me to teach. I love seeing students grow in confidence over the course of the year and feel lucky to be able to help mold our future generation into caring global citizens.”

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.”

Karen Costigan

Grade 2 School Teacher, BA, PGDE

Karen Costigan

Karen joins Stamford American School Hong Kong with ten years of international teaching experience from Ireland, England, France, Spain, and Hong Kong. Karen obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Language and Cultural Studies (French), which encouraged her to delve into the area of Global Education. She then gained her Post-Graduate Certificate in Education and has been teaching internationally ever since. Karen has also held middle leadership positions in curriculum planning, focusing on inquiry-based learning. Karen strives to create a classroom in which diversity, caring and active learning are prevalent. 

Karen says, “My love for teaching comes from the opportunity to contribute to the holistic development of children. I see myself as a facilitator of learning, empowering our youth to become inquisitive, independent, and inspired individuals. Getting the opportunity to be part of this journey is why I love teaching.”

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.”

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.”

Julia Chan

Grade 3 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."

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.”

Grade 4 Teaching Team

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.”

Katie Ennis

Grade 4 School Teacher, BA, MS

Katie Ennis

Originally from Buffalo, New York, Katie has a Master’s degree from Duquesne University in ESL, and Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Katie brings enthusiasm and excitement in addition to her experience of student teaching in Ireland and multiple schools throughout Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Katie is passionate about collaborative learning and building a strong core of knowledge.

Katie says, “I am motivated every day by the teachers and students around me. I had a very enthusiastic and creative teacher in third grade that inspired me to become a teacher myself. She made learning hands-on and applicable to everyday life. I hope to do the same with my students at Stamford.”

John Carr

Grade 4 School Teacher, BA (Hons), QTS

John Carr

John is a highly experienced teacher having taught students across the elementary age range in Hong Kong, U.K. and Brazil. He was most recently serving as a Year 5 lead teacher in the U.K. where he was also tasked with developing a whole-school Computing Curriculum. Additionally, John was a Maths 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 certification at the world’s leading University for Education, UCL Institute of Education, achieving an ‘Outstanding’ judgment of his teaching practice. Prior to his career in teaching, John enjoyed a successful career in Broadcasting, working at a managerial level for global companies such as MGM Studios, BSkyB and BBC. He brings these creative and technological skills to the classroom with a passion for developing innovative thinkers.

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.”

Grade 5 Teaching Team

Trishna Harjani

Grade 5 School Teacher, BA

Trishna Harjani

Trishna has been living in Hong Kong for twelve years and has three 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 Master’s degree in Science in Digital Age Learning at Johns Hopkins University. Trishna initiated a “Child’s Right to Education” program, where she supports the education of over ten children in India.

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.”

Angela Evans

Grade 5 School Teacher, BA, BEd

Angela Evans

Angela comes to Stamford with ten years of international school teaching in Hong Kong. She has taught in both elementary and middle school and most recently worked as a Grade 5 and 6 Humanities Teacher and the Middle School Literacy Coordinator. Angela has a passion for literacy and especially enjoys teaching the “workshop”. She has extensive experience teaching a variety of curricula including IB PYP, US AERO and US Common Core and attended Columbia University’s Teachers College Summer Institute. Before coming to Hong Kong in 2009, she lived and taught in Korea and Northern Canada. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Education with a focus in elementary and plans to start her Masters of Education in Reading and Literacy soon. 

Angela says, “I love teaching and have known my path since the 4th grade. That school year, I made a presentation to my class about my future goals. It laid out my plans to go to university I went to and to become a teacher. I had an amazing teacher who inspired me every day and made learning fun. I felt loved and supported by her. I strive to make my students feel the way she made me feel so many years ago, and I believe that I do. My ability to form strong teacher-student relationships based on trust and mutual respect is likely my best attribute as a teacher. I’m so excited to be back in 4th grade where the foundation of my love of learning was established.”

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.”

Caroline Kim

Grade 5 School Teacher, BA

Caroline Kim

Caroline joined Stamford with 6 years of experience in teaching literature and reading to international school students. Born in South Korea, raised in New York City, and having lived in Hong Kong for 13 years, Caroline has first-hand experience in learning English as a second language and adapting to new cultures. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and also obtained TEFL certification. Caroline is bilingual in both English and Korean. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking, playing squash and spending time with her three sons. Prior to teaching, she worked in journalism and media.

Caroline says, “As a lifelong learner, educator, and mother, I am passionate about making learning fun for students and watching them thrive both academically and socially. My goal is to inspire students to dream and help them develop learning skills that would prepare them for the next step in their lives.”