VERSO LEARNING DESIGN TEAM
At VERSO, we intentionally call every teacher a Learning Designer.
They are passionate, highly-qualified international educators hired for their experiences
working in progressive educational models worldwide. They work collaboratively
in Design Teams, using their diverse talents and skills to create and deliver high
impact projects and deep learning experiences for students.
Founding Head of School
Cameron has been immersed in international education for more than 25 years and has been involved in the VERSO project from its inception. Originally from Scotland, Cameron has lived and worked in Hong Kong since 1993, and for the past 14 years has served as the Head of School at the American International School. As well as being a long-serving Head of School, he has significant expertise in school accreditation through his work with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). As an experienced and respected WASC Visiting Committee Chair, Cameron has worked with many international schools across the East Asia region to support their ongoing growth and school improvement processes. As a school leader Cameron is inspired and excited by the future of education. By reimagining and redesigning the school experience in a bold and exciting way, VERSO offers students, teachers and families a learning environment that will inspire everyone to reach beyond the traditional expectations of school.
MEET OUR LEARNING DESIGNERS
MEET OUR LEARNING DESIGNERS
Lower loop (Early Years 2 – Grade 4)
Lower Loop Leader
Karen O’Neill from Australia is our Lower Loop Leader, facilitating a team of educators in designing and implementing the unique learning experiences at VERSO. Karen received her diploma in teaching in Queensland, has a bachelor’s degree in Education and a master’s degree in Learning Management. She has 30+ years of experience teaching a diverse range of students from kindergarteners to seventh graders, including 20 years of leadership across Australia, Japan and Thailand. She loves children and is especially fascinated by their innate sense of curiosity and wonder. Karen has coached and mentored teachers on educational leadership and has worked with indigenous communities in reshaping and repositioning schools to embrace current practices in teaching and learning. “Seeing kindergarten students documenting their learning on iPads and sharing it with their parents, makes me reflect on how much learning has changed in schools, and it’s a wonderful profession to be a part of,” says Karen. When not in the classroom, Karen is learning how to dance flamenco and wants to learn surfing.
WHY VERSO? “The opportunity to work at VERSO is gift. I am delighted to be a part of a school that has the foundational pillars, mindsets and learning experiences created by IDEO and to bring that alive to create a learning experience that will support students to be successful in this constantly changing world.”
Nicholas Garvin (Nick)
Early Years Cohort Leader
Nicholas Garvin (Nick) is our Early Years Cohort Leader who has worked in six of the seven countries he has lived. He is a workshop facilitator & conference organizer for the 21st Century Learning Conference, an annual event in Hong Kong where teachers, staff, and school leaders come together to learn, share, and discuss current and emerging topics in education with thought leaders, technology and learning experts, and their peers.
Nick has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Walsh University, Ohio, USA and an associate degree specializing in Early Childhood Education from Stark State College, USA. He is also a Google Certified Trainer and a Google Certified Educator : Level 1 & 2, a Common Sense Media Certified Educator and an Apple Certified Teacher w/ Swift Code Certification.
An adventure-seeker, Nick has gone shark diving in South Africa, bungee jumping in Cyprus, and skydiving in the US. He attributes his career in education to his grandfather.
WHY VERSO? “I am looking for an opportunity where I can help ‘create change by design’. Joining a diverse team of progressive international educators, willing to challenge the status quo and make global impact was an opportunity I couldn’t resist.”
Moira (Moi) Litchfield
G1 - G2 Cohort Leader
Moira Litchfield, our G1-G2 Cohort Leader, believes in the importance of building a strong culture where every learner feels empowered to take risks in new, challenging and unfamiliar territories. From Australia, Moi has worked with learners aged 2 to 16 in diverse environments including a small NGO school in Tanzania, alternative education units for youths at risk in Australia, bilingual international schools and a large, well-established IB PYP international school in Bangkok.
Moi loves the outdoors and continually seeks new ways to experience the world around her. She enjoys scuba diving and is currently learning to kiteboard.
At VERSO, she is excited about the opportunity to re-imagine the education system so that it aligns with how children learn and to meet the ever-changing needs of our world.
“Schools have been making incremental changes in response to new insights about how we learn, and to the demands of modern life, but there is still so much more that needs to happen in our education systems if we are to truly meet the needs of our youth and our communities. At VERSO, we are designing a learning environment where the needs of our learners are at the center of everything we do,” she says.
WHY VERSO? “It’s time to overhaul our education systems to align with the ever changing needs of our world and our learners. VERSO is a place where we believe in the need for change and have insights into how to make change happen in schools.”
G3 - G4 Cohort Leader
Mihoko Chida is our G3-G4 Cohort Leader. Born in Japan and grown up in California, Mihoko holds a BA from Occidental College, an MA from UCLA, and is working on her Doctorate in Education through East Carolina University. She started teaching in public schools that served students from low socioeconomic backgrounds in Southern California. Fluent in Japanese, she worked at Nishimachi International School in Tokyo for eight years, serving as the Curriculum Coordinator for three years and as the Elementary School Principal for three years. She has always wanted to work in education because of her love for learning and enjoys being in a ‘job that allows you to be creative, solve problems, and forces you to think on your feet’. She has presented at EARCOS conferences and served on accreditation teams for WASC and CIS at schools. She admits to loving boy bands, was known to be ‘very shy and quiet’ in high school and loves to travel.
Why VERSO? “We're challenging the status quo and questioning everything (including ourselves). Students are at the heart of what we do. I chose to come to VERSO because it allows me to question the things I have been upholding in schools for most of my career. It’s challenging but such a learning experience!”
Middle loop (Grade 5 – Grade 8)
Middle Loop Leader
Chad Walsh is our Middle Loop Leader. After completing his bachelor's and master's degree in Australia, Chad spent the last twenty years as a teacher and administrator across the globe with positions in Australia, Europe, Africa and Asia. He has held teaching and leadership positions in eight different countries. Chad has presented at EARCOS conferences and served on accredation teams for WASC and CIS schools. His educational philosophy has been influenced by Loris Malaguzzi the founder of the Reggio Emilia approach. Chad believes that children are powerful people, full of the desire and ability to construct their own knowledge and understanding. When adults get out of the way, children thrive and show us how best to connect with their unique talents, skills, and capabilities. Chad wears his heart on his sleeve and believes the greatest gift you can offer someone is time. His passion as an educator lies in developing connected and meaningful relationships. His role as a pedagogical leader is to inspire and empower learners to explore who they are and for them to discover who they want to be. For Chad, promoting a culture where students learn to struggle, fail, and make mistakes is essential and this is the magic of learning.
WHY VERSO? “For many years I have been dappling in a tiny space to offer students opportunities to drive and focus their learning on the things that matter to them. VERSO is completely reimagining the concept of time by empowering learners to take the lead. Learning Designers are to observe, listen and understand each individual learner and context deeply. At VERSO, we now have the opportunity to scale this up and no longer operate in small experimental spaces. VERSO is taking a stand and is designing a school for the future. This is who we are, and what we focus on every day. Being with innovative people in innovative spaces where we are building allies and networks, brings a place of hope for those demanding different in schools.”
Suzanne Joy Kitto
G7 - G8 Cohort Leader
Suzanne Joy Kitto is our G7-G8 Cohort Leader and is helping to create a VERSO classroom environment that is conducive for learning and living the 3 VERSO pillars. Suzanne holds two bachelor degrees – one in teaching and another in Japanese from the University of Waikato. She started her teaching career in New Zealand as a Japanese as a Second Language middle school teacher and then moved to Japan in 2005 to teach in an international school, where she worked in the PYP Exhibition year and held coordinator positions for both PYP and Primary Maths. She has lived in New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Vietnam and Singapore and leads workshop across Asia. Suzanne was a founding member of Studio 5 (self-directed learning model) at the International School Ho Chi Minh City. She has coached netball teams for a local primary and high school. She was also the goalkeeper for the hockey team at university, is a self-taught graphic designer, and proud mom to her daughter, Trinity.
Why VERSO? “Joining VERSO means stepping out of your comfort zone to make real change happen. I look forward to ‘being a part of a revolution in education that reprioritizes the uniqueness of each learner and instills the understanding that school is about cultivating a love of learning and independent thinking.”
Paul O'Neill, our Hub Director, is tasked with designing and implementing the unique learning experiences at VERSO. His role is centered around building networks and partnerships with the local and global community to support our program.
Paul has a diploma of teaching and a master’s degree in further education and training. He has taught visual and performing arts, was a senior project officer for Education Queensland for eLearning Model Schools, and a manager for library and digital services.
Paul was drawn to teaching design technology because ‘I love making things with my hands’ and felt inspired to ‘make learning more connected and relevant for young people’.
Prior to joining VERSO, Paul was Director of Learning Innovation at the American School in Japan, where he and his colleagues developed the IMPACT Program, an incubator space, for a year-long mentorship program around big ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Paul speaks French & Japanese and once owned a restaurant in his home country Australia.
WHY VERSO? “In my view there’s no other school in the world that’s being real and brave enough to turn the old narrative of schooling on its head. VERSO will be a unique school where we are creating something very agile, flexible and responsive for the future.”
Rolly Maiquez is our Technology Director and tasked with leading, planning and implementing the educational and operations technology at VERSO. Rolly holds a Doctor of Education, an MA in Counseling Psychology, a BA in Psychology, and an AS in Biology. He has lived and worked in six countries: Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong, England, Guam (US), and the Philippines. He has always been involved in volunteer work serving in the Catholic Church, running outreach projects, working as a physical therapy volunteer and an environmental cleanup volunteer. Rolly was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2010 and has set up robotics competition teams and programs in the previous schools he’s worked with. Hidden talent: He can play the keyboard and his original composition was selected for the South Pacific Games in Guam in 1998.
Why VERSO? “VERSO is different and I enjoy working with students. We have an opportunity as a team to bring something new into the world of education that could hopefully be seen as a model for other schools. Starting with a clean slate, we aim to create an educational experience that will truly prepare our students for the future.”