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’s education training was at University in New York, where she received her Master’s in Education. Her Bachelor’s degree was in Early Childhood Education with a Mathematics concentration. She has taught in the U.S. and in Asia including using the Common Core standards. She also has a TEFL/TESOL certification and experience in teaching in a dual-language environment.

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.”

Andrea Cosgrove

Pre-Primary School Teacher, BEd

Andrea Cosgrove

Andrea’s teacher training was at Queen’s University, Belfast, where she received her Honours degree in Education with a focus on Early Years and Lower Elementary Schooling. Andrea has a wealth of experience in teaching and curriculum planning for both kindergarten and elementary classes from international schools in Qatar, Spain and Hong Kong. She has great expertise in inquiry-based teaching. Andrea values being a lifelong learner who incorporates a wide range of teaching strategies to ensure all children in her care are challenged and engaged in a secure and happy learning environment.

Andrea says, “I have a great passion for teaching, and it is my goal to engage and support students in their learning and cultivate their curiosity through the inquiry-based approach. I relish the opportunity to help my students reach their full potential and become independent learners. I am enthusiastic about promoting Stamford’s culture of kindness in my classroom and will encourage students to be compassionate and reflective global citizens.”

Grade 1 Teaching Team

Sharon Perez

Grade 1 School Teacher, BA

Sharon Perez

Sharon joined Stamford with significant international school experience teaching lower elementary students in the U.S., Spain, and Taiwan. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, along with an ESOL endorsement and TEFL certification. Sharon is bilingual in both English and Spanish.

Sharon says, “Learning a new language can be intimidating, difficult, or even scary. I love being able to help students overcome these fears and transform into bilingual individuals. Since I began teaching in 2011, all of my experience has been with EAL students, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to watch them grow. I am passionate about helping children overcome challenges and build confidence through language acquisition.”

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.”

Helene Bibeau

Grade 1 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 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.”

Caroline Kim

Grade 2 School Teacher, BA

Caroline Kim

Caroline joined Stamford with six 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.”

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.”

Melanie Cherry

Grade 2 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!”

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.”

Jim Nelson

Grade 3 School Teacher, BEd, MSc

Jim Nelson

Jim is an experienced educator and has been teaching for eleven years, seven of which have been in Hong Kong. He holds a Bachelor of Education degree and a Master’s degree in Psychology. He comes from Northern Ireland and first started learning Chinese as an exchange student during his teacher training. Jim is experienced in a variety of teaching strategies and is passionate about delivering personalized learning.

Jim says, “I find it fascinating how each child is so unique, not only in how they learn, but also how they develop their personalities and discover their passions. All these factors influence my teaching, and I find that I can learn a lot from my students by finding out how they experience the world.”

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.”

Gabrielle Gray

Grade 3 School Teacher, BA (Hon.), MEd

Gabrielle Gray

Originally from Toronto, Gabrielle has been living and working in Hong Kong for the past 5 years. Prior to joining Stamford, Gabrielle taught at international schools in Hong Kong using CCSS, NGSS, AERO, British National and IB curriculums. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Hon.) in Visual Arts, French and Art History from the University of Toronto before moving to the U.S. to complete a Masters of Science in Education and Early Childhood Education at Niagara University. Gabrielle has taught in classrooms in Canada, the U.S. and Hong Kong. 

Gabrielle says, “Encouraging students to develop curiosity, creativity and a love of learning while ensuring that students are emotionally supported is at the forefront of my teaching practice. Connecting with my students, families and community is a priority for me, as I strongly believe in a holistic approach to education. Facilitating student learning and observing students develop skills, confidence and self-esteem is something I look forward to each day.”

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.”

Angela Evans

Grade 4 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.”

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.”

Rachel Goss

Grade 5 School Teacher, BA, MA

Rachel Goss

Rachel joined the Stamford team with a wealth of knowledge in working with English as an additional language (EAL) learners. She received her BA from Indiana University in the U.S. and her MA from Heidelberg University in Germany. In addition to earning her TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification, Rachel became a Teach for America corps member, where she got her licensed teacher certification specifically focused on teaching English as an additional language. After two years of teaching in Nashville, Tennessee, she moved to Beijing where she taught Mandarin-speaking students from first to sixth grade. She also has experience with leading school-wide charity events, elementary school cultural events, soccer club and environment club. This is her seventh year of teaching.

Rachel says, “I’ve always been curious and passionate about learning new information by exploring the world around me. I make it my goal as a teacher to create that ‘spark’ for curiosity and questioning to help foster lifelong learners.”

Kim Blackhurst

Grade 5 School Teacher, BEd

Kim Blackhurst

Kim joined the Stamford team with experience teaching in an inclusive school in Cape Town, South Africa. She received a Bachelor of Education degree from Stellenbosch University and specialized in Mathematics and Science for the middle school years. With a passion for ICT, Kim is a certified Google educator, with the goal to become an Apple Distinguished Educator shortly. She has a passion for sports and is an experienced netball coach.

Kim 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.”