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.
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.
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.
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.
Early Years 2 Learning Designer
Criselda (Crissy) Azurin is our Early Years 2 Learning Designer and has been an Early Childhood teacher for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education and is an advocate of early literacy and play-based learning. Crissy holds a Certificate in Play Therapy, and has been passionately working on her action research on Relational Pedagogy since 2014. She is from The Philippines and has travelled to different countries to speak about the importance of fostering positive relationships to facilitate authentic student learning and character building in the Early Years. Crissy is an experienced IB PYP teacher and is trained in Making the PYP Happen and Pedagogical Leadership in the Early Years. Her teaching is centered on empowering the 3C’s: creativity, confidence, and compassion. Aside from teaching, Crissy has a strong passion for psychology and the human mind. She is also interested in learning more about Entrepreneurship and exploring its role in education and development of life skills. In 2019, she started a metal straw brand in Singapore called Tropikai. She donates a portion of her profits to eco initiatives in the Philippines. Crissy feels blessed to be living her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher, and is excited to share this passion with like-minded individuals.
Early Years 3 Learning Designer
Nici Foote, our Early Years 3 Learning Designer, is an educator of nearly 20 years and has been teaching internationally for the last 13 years. She has taught in the British Virgin Islands, Singapore and China. Nici is from the United Kingdom and is an experienced Early Years IB PYP educator and is passionate about the importance of play in learning. She is a committed advocate of amplifying teaching and learning experiences and believes that we need to engage our students by solving challenging, real-world problems and puzzles that allow them to think critically and creatively. She has worked with educators in schools, conferences and online to support their professional teaching and learning. In the last two years, Nici has been a committee board member for the ACAMIS Technology Conference as well as working with 21st Century Learning to organize and host the teachers’ social and professional development learning opportunities. Nici is recognized and certified as a Google Innovator and Apple Teacher.
Early Years 4 Learning Designer
Nadia Erlendson is our Early Years 4 Learning Designer. She’s passionate about play and believes in the capacity of children to create their own meaning of the world through exploration and nurtured relationships. Nadia has a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and a teaching certificate with an emphasis on cross cultural language and academic development from Fresno State University, California. She began her international school teaching career in Yangon, Myanmar where she became an advocate for movement in the classroom. Her years as a cheerleader and dancer have inspired her to engage children in movement as they learn. Nadia has also taught kindergarten at an inclusive IB PYP school in Shenzhen, China. While in China, Nadia became a leader in her community by facilitating discussions and workshops in her areas of passion which include: self-regulation, gender inclusive pedagogies, and the need for developmentally appropriate teaching and learning- leading the way for play in the classroom. Nadia and her family love being outdoors and spend most of their free time playing games, dancing, and listening to music. As an intercultural family they are aware of how culture influences learning, love, and happiness and are excited to be one of the founding families at VERSO.
Early Years 5 Learning Designer
Elisabeth Tam is our Early Years 5 Learning Designer. Before moving to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to teach Grade 1 and kindergarten, Elisabeth taught in various cities and environments. She has taught theater in Boulder, Colorado and worked on an organic farm, leading service learning projects in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Elisabeth has also taught in Washington, DC and at a Reggio Emilia approach forest school in Richmond, Virginia. Elisabeth has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater from Virginia Commonwealth University in Virginia, USA and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Antioch University New England, New Hampshire, USA. Elisabeth is a true play advocate and passionate about utilizing the outdoors as much as possible for extending the learning and providing connections to the natural world. Elisabeth has seen the amazing ideas that grow and develop when children are given the opportunity to fully experience the world first hand through their own questions and curiosities. A lover of travel, food, music and dancing Elisabeth is thrilled to be joining VERSO and is joined by her husband Michael and two children, Isaac and Viviane.
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.
Grade 1 Learning Designer
Munira Tejpar is our Grade 1 Learning Designer who started her teaching career at an IB World school in Mombasa, Kenya. She taught Grade 1 through the school's bilingual language program, where one day the students would learn in English as the medium of instruction and the next day they would learn in Kiswahili. After Kenya, Munira moved to Ho Chi Minh City where she taught at a kindergarten that promoted play based learning. In 2016 Munira moved to Vientiane, Laos where she taught at an IB World School as a kindergarten teacher for three years. During this time Munira transformed the Early Learning outdoor space to create an interactive 3-6 years old learning environment to foster children's connections with the natural world, encourage interaction between multi aged learners and promote the power of purposeful play and creativity. Munira has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the European Global School in Paris and a postgraduate diploma in Early Childhood Education from Warwick University, UK. An advocate for play, Munira values the importance of connecting with learners interests and curiosities and providing them with opportunities to show us what they want to learn. She strives to create meaningful connections with the real world in order to encourage children to develop empathy, compassion and appreciation. Munira is a foodie and enjoys reading, social gatherings, group fitness challenges and has an unconditional love for the beach. She is thrilled to be a part of VERSO’s amazing journey.
Grade 2 Learning Designer
Cloé Lacombe-Bar is our Grade 2 Learning Designer who was first introduced to the international education world as a student. Originally from Kervoyal, France, her family moved abroad during her childhood and she attended international schools in 6 different countries (Morocco, Malaysia, France, India, Senegal, and the USA). Cloé developed her love of learning through her experiences aboard and decided very early on to pursue learning and teaching as a career. Cloé has six years of experience teaching in international schools from preschool to the fourth grade. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education along with a Minor in Mathematics from Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA. As an educator, Cloé is a strong believer in concept-based learning and is an advocate for student agency. Cloé enjoys reading, drawing, and playing the ukulele and is always up to participate in friendly football or volleyball matches.
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.
Grade 3 Learning Designer
Katie Sadaphal, our Grade 3 Learning Designer, grew up in the Caribbean and is looking forward to once again living in a tropical climate. She has a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from the University of The West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago. Her teaching career began as a participant in the Japanese Exchange Teaching (JET) Programme in Nabari, Mie-Ken. Excited to explore city life in Japan, Katie moved to Tokyo and taught at a Reggio Emilia Primary School. Three years later, she went on to complete a Postgraduate Teaching Certificate (PGCE) in Primary Education with a focus on Special Educational Needs at Goldsmiths, University of London. Since then, she has taught in primary schools in England and her home country, Trinidad and Tobago, and at Atlanta International School in Georgia, USA. Katie loves to spend time outdoors, is a bit of an adventurer but is always up for a good “lime”, the Trinidadian word for social gathering!
Grade 4 Learning Designer
Tom Johnson our Grade 4 Learning Designer is a Canadian, born and raised in Niagara Falls. He holds a PhD in instructional design for online learning and several degrees in education, leadership and art. Tom is a Google Certified Individual, a Seesaw Ambassador, an intrapreneur, a learning coach, an artist/designer, a technology integration specialist, an educator, and a founder of the Learning and Technology Exchange Network (LTEN) in Eastern Europe. Living and learning around the world are not new to Tom. He started his career in Canada, but then made a great decision in life and moved overseas. His first post was in Guatemala where he truly got the travel bug. He then decided to live and work in Hsinchu, Taiwan, Bangkok, Thailand, Istanbul, Turkey, and Nanjing, China. Thailand caught his heart though and he has dreamed ever since of moving back. He is elated that it is finally coming true. Tom is planning a lot of fun for the future. He is excited to bring new adventures of choice to his students, his community, and his half Thai son, Mickey. He loves the ethos of Nam Jai and plans to live through this spirit as he learns more about Thai language, people, and culture.
Emi Sekiguchi is our Learning Assistant with over 10 years of teaching English and Japanese. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare from Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai, Japan and a TTCE (Teaching To Children English) program certificate from King George International College in Vancouver, Canada. She has also taught in an online English school for 2 years. Emi grew up in Bangkok and appreciates the generous and caring nature of the Thai people. She is glad to be back to her second home with her family. She has two daughters joining VERSO and loves to spend her time with them doing exercises, singing and cooking.
A volunteering experience at a local art center in Hanoi, Vietnam saw Ha Trinh, our Learning Assistant, change her career from finance and banking to education. Working at a risk center in an art center, Ha was inspired to help people discover things about themselves that they had not known. She strongly believes that at VERSO, the sky's the limit for anyone who wants to do something different in education. Ha has a bachelor’s degree in International Finance and Banking from Foreign Trade University, Vietnam and a master's degree in Multidisciplinary Studies/ International Learning Styles, with a focus on Social Emotional Studies from the State University of New York, USA
Preedee Chivatanaporn is our Learning Assistant. Prior to joining VERSO, he was a substitute teacher and a football coach at several international schools in Bangkok. Tent graduated in 2017 from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Ohio with a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Management and a minor in exercise studies. He loves playing football and tennis.
Richelle Montemayor Ong is our Learning Assistant from the Philippines. She has worked and volunteered as an educational assistant in both Canada and Thailand. Richelle graduated from Lyceum of the Philippines University Manila with an Associate Computer Science diploma. She enjoys playing badminton and Zumba!
Yupawan (Coco) Baines, our Learning Assistant, has been teaching Thai at Vientiane International School for 7 years and was a substitute teacher throughout the school. She has also been sharing her passion for teaching arts and crafts at VIS. Previous to that she worked in government administration in Thailand. Coco has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business from Ramkhamhaeng University, a Master’s Degree in English for Career, and a TESOL certificate from Thammasat University. Coco is very excited to relocate back to Thailand and is very happy to be part of the Makerspace at VERSO.
Amm Phanarinrat, our Learning Assistant, graduated from Bangkok’s Srinakarinwirot University, with a major in children’s literature and a minor in acting. She is passionate about organizing creative activities for children to enhance their development. She started her teaching career at a kindergarten in Bangkok and later became a swimming instructor at Aquababies. She has also worked as a librarian at an international school in Bangkok. Amm spent 1 ½ years in as an aupair in New York and California where she spent time with young children and took the opportunity to learn about different cultures, travel and meet people, and received a certificate in American Culture, with a focus on Fashion through the Decade and Celebration of Holidays from New York and studied the excel program while in California.
Ezra Thampraporn our Learning Assistant has been working as a teacher assistant for the past 12 years in several schools prior to joining VERSO. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Education, majoring in Early Childhood, from Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, Bangkok. She is interested in innovative teaching techniques, enjoys traveling and jewelry designing.
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.
Jonathan Campbell joins VERSO as our G5-G6 Cohort Leader. After growing up on a pear orchard in Perth, Australia, Jonathan’s claims to fame are that he knows all the World Capitals and that in 2004 he was nearly a state Monopoly champion, coming 6th in Western Australia. Despite these high-flying achievements, Jonathan also has considerable time spent completing a Bachelor of Education degree from Murdoch University, Australia along with an Advanced Diploma of Film & Television. His first teaching job was teaching French, Art, Drama, English & Social Studies at his former high school, which led to him becoming a Middle School teacher in both public and private schools in Australia before a trip to Lesotho, Africa led to a career change. He spent six years at World Challenge, organizing student-Led expeditions to 40 different destinations around the globe. For the last eight years, he’s been working with international and private schools solely in Experiential Education. He has visited several countries in Central and Southeast Asia to trek, took Wilderness First Aid courses and did some sustainability work.
Ashley Durdle our Grade 7 - 8 Learning Designer, hails from a small island on the east coast of Canada and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Holistic Nutritionist counseling designation from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Ashley was bitten by the teaching bug when a position opened up for her to teach grades 11 & 12 Math and Chemistry in Canada. She immediately and unexpectedly fell in love with everything about education and this prompted her to go back to school for her official Bachelor of Education degree in High School Science. She's worked in the Canadian public school system as well as the Colombian, Indian & Thai international school systems in various roles ranging from the age groups of 10-18. In her downtime, Ashley enjoys practicing & teaching yoga, hiking, trying out food fads, and talking endlessly about permaculture, sustainable architecture & all things plant-related.
Middle Loop Project
Oliver Pennington, our Middle Loop Project Learning Designer, began his teaching career as a participant on the Japanese Exchange Teaching (JET) Programme in Nabari, Mie-Ken. After working in Japanese middle schools for three years, Oliver returned to England to complete a Postgraduate Teaching Certificate (PGCE) in Secondary Design and Technology Education at Greenwich University, London. After working in London for four years, Oliver moved to Trinidad & Tobago and then on to Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Oliver has been teaching MYP IB Design at Atlanta International School for the past five years. Growing up, Oliver attended international schools in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain before moving to the UK. Oliver obtained his BA Hons Degree in Sustainable Three-Dimensional Design at Falmouth University, Cornwall, England. In his spare time, Oliver loves to SCUBA dive, snowboard, travel and see the sea!
Charis Smuthkochorn is our Learning Assistant. Her background is in sustainability consulting, with a focus on business and human rights. She has extensive experience working with several leading Thai companies to move from business as usual towards sustainable practices. Charis loves singing with her guitar and attempting to be funny at Artbox. Charis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from Clark University, Massachusetts, USA and has traveled the world as one of the founding students of THINK Global School, the world’s first traveling high school. She is passionate about climate change and social justice, and is looking forward to creating a learning environment that leads to empowerment and inspiration.
Warunee Premo is our Learning Assistant and has worked as a translator while she was studying for a degree in Traditional Arts and English. She has worked for multinational companies in various departments including education, graphic design, sales and marketing, publications, branding, social media advertisements and communications. She is a life-long learner and is interested in animals, arts, people, equality, cultures, and nature. She loves spending time with her family.
Upper Loop Leader
Jarret Voytilla, or J, is our Upper Loop Leader who started teaching Science in Mexico back in 2003 as a gap year project, intending to return to Canada for a MSc the following year. That did not happen. Seven years later he left Mexico as an IB teacher of Environmental Systems and Extended Essay Coordinator and a lead teacher and curriculum designer for biology, chemistry, and physics. This was a significant shift in his career trajectory. He then joined Think Global School, a non-profit traveling boarding school, and spent the next 9 years homeless and exploring the world with 30 amazing students and 10 other educators. The Think Global Odyssey has helped J become a versatile, flexible, and innovative curriculum designer who adapts quickly to new scenarios and information, and has shaped him into a compassionate and empathetic human. J holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Alberta, Canada, a Postgraduate Certificate Education (International) and a Masters of Arts in Education from Nottingham University. He admits to having served in every post within the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), but is now a reformed educator who believes that traditional pedagogy is obsolete, and standardized testing does not fairly measure learning, nor prepare anyone for the future. In an interconnected world of easily accessible artifacts of knowledge, it is skillsets of knowledge application, collaboration and evaluation combined with creativity that have the most value for tackling the new challenges and complexities that will arise in our children’s future.
Upper Loop Cohort Leader
Thomas Tran, our Upper Loop Cohort Leader, is a multi-disciplined educator coming from a background in product design and architecture. Before entering the education industry, he created design experiences for some of the world’s leading brands such as Microsoft, Samsung, Gatorade, The North Face and more. His move into education saw him as a Director of Innovation Center where he supported schools in the development of ‘innovation spaces’ and their creative programs. He has since been consulting with schools around innovation and design in Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Hong Kong. Thomas has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Industrial Design from the Cleveland Institute of Art. He also possesses a certification in English Language Teaching holding Cambridge’s Certificate of English Language Teaching to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA). He has 3+ years of industry experience in design and 5+ years of education experience. An artist at heart, nature lover, and avid traveler, you can find Thomas often on top of mountains doodling the scenery and landscapes in the distance.
Upper Loop Cohort Leader
Suzanne Joy Kitto is our Upper Loop 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 and a self-taught graphic designer. 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.”
Hub Director & Designated Child Safeguarding Lead
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.
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.
Sally Lean, our Languages Director, began learning Chinese in middle school which kicked off a lifelong language adventure. Later majoring in Chinese at university, Sally spent a year studying in China as part of her degree. After graduating, she first taught Chinese in Australia, then moved to China to teach and lead programs. Since then, Sally has lived and worked in Asia for over 20 years. Sally holds a Bachelor of Chinese Studies from the Australian National University, a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education from Canberra University and a Master of Arts in International Teacher Leadership from the University of Northern Iowa. Sally was the interpreter for the Seven Network Australia during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and has been invited to lead a teacher-training project for one of the district governments in Beijing which involved 13 schools, hundreds of teachers and almost 10,000 students in 3 years. While working in China, Sally was invited to be one of the founders of the ACAMIS Chinese Conference organizing committee, which she co-chaired for 6 years. Currently she is a committee member of the Asia Pacific Chinese Language Teachers Association. With all the research on the benefits of being bilingual (or multilingual), Sally believes that having a firm grasp of at least one other language, and the culture of that language, should be a key part of every students’ skills set in order to be ‘future ready’.
Performing Arts and Music Project Learning Designer
Graham Baines, our Performing Arts and Music Project Learning Designer, is a passionate educator who has worked internationally for almost 20 years. Music has always been a big part of his life and he’s been playing the drums for many years, in many bands, as well as composing, mixing and mastering electronic music for most of his adult life. He has worked on solo tracks and collaborated with people from all over the world on a variety of projects, including a collaboration that topped the BBC Radio 1 online charts. Graham has been on a mission to revolutionize the way we teach and learn performing arts through individual inquiries and the promotion of learner agency. This was inspired by his experience facilitating the ‘PYPx’. He has been sharing the joy through Twitter, as well as presenting the vision at the East Asia Regional Council of Schools(EARCOS) conference held in Bangkok in 2019. Graham recently has spent time in Melbourne, Australia, to assist a PYP school in re-imagining their performing arts program. Before moving to Bangkok, Graham taught at Vientiane International School in Laos.
Gabriel Mellan is our Project Learning Designer who has been a kid his whole life. From living in a jungle on Maui to navigating public school systems in Tokyo, his empathy and curiosity for people and the earth are what anchor him. Gabriel believes life is all about the relationship we have with others and the planet. Gabriel has been most recently working as a private educator focusing on character development and family relational health by way of epic adventures, making things, and navigating danger together. He believes that a courage to try something new and willingness to fail are foundational skills for any learner. Exploratory play, making things without a plan, collaborative deconstruction, and imaginative silliness are activities that Gabriel both facilitates and models. With his background in non-traditional learning spaces, museums, maker spaces, and the forest, Gabriel employs his graduate degree training in art education, a child-like curiosity, and emphasis on the relationship with the learner in his passionate work as an educator. He believes in making sure the learner keeps their hands on the steering wheel of their education.
Chinese Language Project Learning Designer
Jack Zhao is our Chinese Language Project Learning Designer with 18 years of teaching experience not only in Chinese, but also in other subjects such as English, Math, Social Studies and Science in kindergarten - grade 6, and Special Education Gifted Program. Jack has a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Shanghai Jiaotong University. He is passionate about language learning and can’t wait to share his professional teaching pedagogies as well as his personal learning experience with students. As a global citizen who has travelled to or lived in more than 50 countries, Jack loves Thailand and the Thai people. Other than teaching, he loves playing soccer and tennis.
Chinese Language Project Learning Designer
Ellyn Gao is our Chinese Language Project Learning Designer with 15 years of teaching experience in international schools. She has taught both Chinese as a foreign language and Chinese as a mother tongue from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in the American, British and IB curriculums.. She speaks both the Anhui and Shanghai dialects, loves to teach Chinese language and learn new languages. Ellyn has a master’s degree in International Education from University of Bath, UK. She enjoys teaching, exchanging culture, loves to travel, read and try all kinds of food and spend quality time with her toddler son.
Thai Language Project Learning Designer
Pattawan Panchai (Pat) is our Thai Language Project Learning Designer with 5 years of teaching experience. She was a volunteer teacher at Wat Thai in Los Angeles, USA for a year and has taught in an international school. Pat grew up in the northeast part of Thailand and loves spicy food, Mor Lum (northeastern-style music) and is fluent in the Isan language. Pat has a Bachelor of Education degree in Thai and Counseling Psychology and Guidance from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. She loves teaching, is passionate about cultures, likes collaboration and believes in life-long learning She enjoys traveling, reading books, practicing Muay Thai and feeding stray animals.
Thai Language Project Learning Designer
Joe Watcharachotewisit is our Thai Language Project Learning Designer with 20 years of teaching experience. Extremely knowledgeable in Thai culture and the traditional ceremonies, Joe has organized and supported countless Thai traditional events in international schools where he previously taught. Joe completed his Bachelor of Education from Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok. He loves to encourage learners to take pride in their language and to share with them lifelong learning experiences. Joe loves playing golf with his friends, cooking Thai food and is an avid fan of MasterChef.
Student Success Learning Designer
Maria Pannakan is our Student Success Learning Designer (EAL) who has lived and worked in Thailand for almost 25 years. She fell in love with the calm attitude of the Thai people as well as a warm life under the sun. During this time, she worked in international schools supporting learners to develop language and content skills. She is passionate about multilingual language development and considers the learners’ languages and cultures as a valuable resource. Maria has a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of East London, and a Graduate Diploma in Elementary Education from The College of New Jersey. Prior to joining VERSO, Maria worked in an international school in Malaysia, where she supported students to develop language skills through an inquiry based curriculum. She loves to support students taking action and ignite their curiosity to find their own passions. Maria speaks Thai and enjoys supporting animal welfare in Asia, especially elephants and local animal rescue shelters. She is a mother to two young adults and a few dogs and cats! She loves playing games, kayaking and snorkeling around Thailand's beautiful islands.
Student Success Learning Designer
Wit Pilunthanakul is our Student Success Learning Designer (Learning Support) and has worked as an international Learning Support Teacher in Australia and Thailand for more than 10 years. A true third culture kid who found a passion for supporting individuals with educational needs, Wit is a strong believer in interdisciplinary education and the philosophy that education is not confined by the walls of any classroom. Wit has a Bachelor of Science in Neuropsychology from the University of Westminster in London, UK, and a master’s degree in Teaching (Secondary) specializing in Gifted Education from the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is also a certified Management of Actual or Potential Aggression (MAPA) trainer from the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI), UK. WIt has created, designed and piloted an Alternative Day Class Program, which is a uniquely crafted program designed for children and young people with different abilities who are better served by learning within the framework of a mostly individualized program. Wit has a strong passion for 21st century tech or aka Mr. Gadget. He loves to travel with his family and be exposed to historical architectural design. He enjoys water sports, motorsports, and obstacle sports.
Physical Education Project Learning Designer
Patrick McDonah is our Physical Education Project Learning Designer from Nova Scotia, Canada. He has been an international educator living abroad for the past 8 years. Prior to moving away from Canada he spent 6.5 years in the military where he taught for 4 years. Patrick has a degree in Holistic Nutrition, a Post Graduate Certificate of Education, and a Masters of Education degree. Patrick is an experienced IB educator who has created Physical Health Education Frameworks for the Early years, Primary Years, & Middle Years IB Programmes. His approach to education is based on three principles: Inquiry, Exploration and Environment. When he is not teaching, Patrick spends his time learning French, cooking, hiking, scuba diving and playing sports such as ice hockey, golf, basketball and many more. He is a very active person who loves to have new and exciting experiences.
Physical Education Project Learning Designer
Garrett Cutler joins us as our Physical Education Project Learning Designer. Originally, from New York, USA, he has been teaching abroad for the last 8.5 years. He started his teaching career in East Hampton, NY, USA for 5 years. He then moved to Phuket, Thailand where he taught for 5.5 years before teaching in Bali, Indonesia for the last 3 years at Green School. Garrett’s favorite part about being an educator is showing students how to be passionate about having a healthy lifestyle. He feels that there is nothing better than being able to help someone discover a love of physical activity in their own way. Garrett is extremely excited to be coming back to his “home away from home,” Thailand, and to be a part of the founding faculty working towards the same amazing vision.