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
Mihoko Chida, our Lower Loop Leader, was 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.
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.
EY2-3 Learning Designer
Criselda Azurin (Crissy) 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.
EY4-5 Learning Designer
Chandler Audette (Cha Cha), our Early Years 4 Learning Designer from the US, has been an Early Years educator for the past six years, beginning her career shortly after graduating from the University of Hawaii. She has experience teaching students from 1-6 years old. As an educator, she has a passion for child development and enriching the minds of little learners through play-based learning, student agency, and mindful experiences. Cha Cha puts a strong emphasis on forming positive relationships with her students, teaching team, and the parents of her students, as she believes that it is essential in creating a learning environment and community, where students feel valued and confident enough to take risks and be their authentic selves!
She was born on a cattle ranch in the small town of Washougal, WA, USA, where she spent her days picking blackberries, trail running, and barrel racing. It was here that her love for adventures and the great outdoors began. In her spare time, you can find her hiking, paddling, free-diving, practicing yoga, or lost in a good book on her rocking chair. She values quality time, honesty, authenticity, and compassion and aims to bring that to all areas of her life. She is super excited to be part of the VERSO team and to begin this next journey!
EY4-5 Learning Designer
Maheshika Mackenzie-Baker (Myshi), our EY5 Learning Designer, has been working with children for the last decade and has always been curious about the minds of young children. Myshi specialized in Child Development in University of Dundee, in 2009, where she carried out research as a part of her dissertation, which was published as the first study of its kind. Myshi continued her journey as a researcher and got the opportunity to explore key issues regarding vulnerable groups in Scotland. She discovered, firsthand, the influence adults can have in children’s lives and it was at this point that she knew she wanted to become a teacher. Of Sri Lankan and Scottish background, Myshi and her husband moved to Thailand in 2012 and have been in love with the country, and teaching, ever since. Myshi has taught children from 2-10 years old, but her passion is working with early years children. She spent the last 6 years as the Early Years coordinator at a world IB school in Bangkok.
Outside of teaching, Myshi is a mum of two and loves living life to the fullest! She spends her spare time doing activities with her family, fitness challenges and exploring the vast range of explorations that Bangkok has to offer. She is a big believer in trying new things and seeing new places. She is delighted to be a part of the VERSO team and cannot wait to meet, learn and grow with her team members!
1-2 Cohort 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 abroad 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.
1-2 Cohort Learning Designer
Having already taught in three amazing cities such as London, Taipei and Bangkok, Emma Weston, our 1-2 Cohort Learning Designer, is excited to continue her teaching practice at VERSO.
Having taught children from ages 2-14 years, Emma has a strong understanding of child development, knowing where the children are going and where they have come from.
A passion for developing teachers to be the best they can be has followed Emma throughout her career. This began with her setting up an Early Years Network group in London where teachers were invited to join and host different workshops. Emma has also presented in a Foundation Stage JAWS workshop in Indonesia and hosted teacher CPD (Continuing Professional Development) in Bangkok alongside Early Excellence.
Originally from the UK, Emma attended the only university in the world to offer Citizenship alongside Primary Education as a BA degree, which allowed her to continue to place character education at the heart of her practice.
In her spare time, Emma loves spending time with her daughter and husband in the jungle, trekking and camping under the stars.
3-4 Cohort 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!
3-4 Cohort Learning Designer
Dr. 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 Certified Educator, 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 true.
Tom has planned 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 is also very happy with the new addition to his family, Minnie. Finally, 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 BA in International Finance and Banking from Foreign Trade University, Vietnam and a MA in Multidisciplinary Studies/ International Learning Styles, with a focus on Social Emotional Studies from the State University of New York, USA. She is currently pursuing her Mindfulness Teaching Certification from Mindful Schools, CA, USA.
Yupawan Baines (Coco), 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 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.
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.
Vorapitcha Petcharanont (Nungning) our Learning Assistant, graduated from Silpakorn University's Faculty of Arts, with a major in Japanese and a minor in English. She started her career as a childcare coordinator at Club Med Phuket where she discovered her passion for working with kids.
She also became a teacher assistant at “Khu Khanan parallel hybrid homeschool”, where she learned about project-based learning and child development.
Nungning loves traveling, swimming, and yoga.
Chad Walsh, our Middle Loop Leader, is an experienced international educator. After completing his degree and teaching in Australia, he has spent the last 20 years working as a teacher and administrator across the globe with positions in Australia, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Up to now he has held teaching and leadership positions in 7 different countries. This is his second time in Bangkok. His educational philosophy has been influenced by strong pedagogical mentors that he still connects with from time to time.
Chad embraces new opportunities for learning, reflection and growth. His passion as an educator lies in developing connected and meaningful relationships.
Chad believes learning should be inclusive, flexible, challenging, and fun. He believes that our role as educators is to inspire and empower learners to explore and discover who they are by providing them with authentic experiences. He believes that promoting a culture where students learn to struggle, fail, and make mistakes is essential.
Chad is excited to gear up for year 2 at VERSO and build a school where there is a rich and rewarding culture of collaboration among colleagues and learners. That way, learning at VERSO can be vibrant, meaningful, and relevant for everyone.
5-6 Cohort Leader
Jonathan Campbell is our 5-6 Cohort Leader. After growing up on a pear orchard in Perth, Australia, Jonathan’s claims to fame are that he knows all the world capital cities and that in 2004 he was nearly a state Monopoly champion, coming 6th in Western Australia.
Jonathan has 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 him to becoming a middle school teacher in both public and private schools in Australia and around the world. He has spent 15 years working in middle schools on student leadership programming and experiential education.
Jonathan believes in student leadership and empathy for the modern learner.
"In a complex and diverse world, I can't think of anything more important than putting that in the front and center of a progressive education that creatively supports our youth to develop their confidence and write their own future," he says.
7-8 Cohort Leader
Ashley Durdle, our 7-8 Cohort Leader, hails from a small island on the east coast of Canada.
She 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 Secondary Science.
Ashley has a BSc in biology, a diploma in Holistic Nutrition, a BEd and is currently working on her Master of Education degree.
She has worked in the Canadian, Colombian, Indian & Thai international school systems teaching students from grades 5 -12.
Ashley loves the beach, is a music freak & loves of all things food - growing it, cooking it, sharing it, and eating it. She is a big fan of hiking with her pup, napping in hammocks, and talking endlessly about permaculture and sustainable architecture. Living abroad, she is fascinated by how we balance our urban realities with our ancestral, rural roots.
5-6 Cohort Learning Designer
Jennie Thompson, our Cohort 5-6 Learning Designer from the United States, has been living and teaching in Bangkok for the past six years. Prior to Thailand, Jennie taught in Indonesia and the United States. She has been in the classroom for over 15 years working with students from ages 5-15 years.
Jennie has a passion for literacy which she wants to share with her students. She graduated from Villanova University in Pennsylvania, with a BA in English Literature. However while pursuing her degree, she knew she wanted to share her passion by becoming a teacher. She received her Master of Education from West Chester University specializing in literacy. Half of Jennie’s educational career has been as a reading specialist and coach. She believes all students can be successful, lifelong readers and writers when they are challenged with appropriate and engaging text.
When Jennie is not curled up with a good book, she enjoys exploring, creating art, and spending quality time with friends and family.
5-6 Cohort Learning Designer
John Slack, our Cohort 5-6 Learning Designer, was born and raised just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. He has been an international IB, MYP and DP science teacher for the past 14 years and has lived and taught in NYC, China, Peru and Qatar. He has taught science for every grade from 6 to 12.
John has a BA in Anthropology and a MS in Elementary Education with a specialization in teaching Middle School. He believes in a student-centered approach to education, where the student has a voice and choice in the why, the what, and the how of their education. He believes in a restorative approach to creating an effective and safe learning environment. Students gain and achieve more when they believe they are valued, and understand they are an important part of something greater than themselves alone.
John is a dedicated father and husband. His wife Wendy, is from China and their two children, Johnny and Ava are fully global citizens. John enjoys hiking, reading, traveling, SCUBA diving and video games. He is excited to dive into the Thai culture.
7-8 Cohort Learning Designer
Alan Dexter is our Cohort 7-8 Learning Designer who has been teaching science and technology in Thailand for the last 8 years. During this time, he has been developing learning experiences based on STEM, gamification and inquiry-based learning. He has experience with Singaporean, Thai, American, and British curriculums and has taught ages 10 to 18. years. For the past 3 years, he has been teaching IB Physics and Design Technology using project-based learning, focusing on robotics and coding.
He has also helped run Thailand's regional VEX IQ robotics competition for the last 2 years.
Dex believes what makes teachers great is a passion for their craft. Passion and enthusiasm in the classroom are infectious. He is excited to join VERSO, sharing his love for science and technology with his students and colleagues.
Dex graduated from Kingston University, Surrey in the UK in 2010 and, during this time, took part in a placement abroad carrying out lab-based research, some of which has been published in a scientific journal. After gaining management and teaching experiences he went on to complete his Qualified Teacher Status.
When Dex is not taking apart household devices and blasting water rockets onto roofs, he has a long list of activities he likes to engage in: long-distance cycle touring, powerlifting, running marathons, climbing, boxing, ice skating, diving, freediving and climbing mountains. He is constantly bullied by his two rescue dogs, who he has allowed to develop the bad habit of waking him at 4am in the hopes of receiving a snack.
7-8 Cohort Learning Designer
Hailing from Catawba Island, Ohio, Bobby Good is our Cohort 7-8 Learning Designer. He’s learned alongside his high school students the past 11 years in Ohio, where he started his career as a STEM educator. He designed and built a 400 sq m makerspace, became department head, scene shop foreman, started a drone racing team and traveled across the USA to compete with the robotics team.
Bobby was initially an international business major studying at Audencia Business School in Nantes, France through Bowling Green State University (BGSU). He discovered his passion for facilitating learning and changed his major. Bobby graduated in 2010 from BGSU where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Technology Education and his Master’s in Technology Management specializing in engineering technology. He is licensed as a career technical grades 4-12 technology education educator and is a Google, EdPuzzle and SolidWorks certified educator.
Fifteen years ago Cupid’s arrow hit Bobby and his wife, Pookie, at her father’s Thai restaurant where he worked the front end and cooked in the back. They’ve since had two children and have always dreamed of moving to Thailand. They are head over heels excited for their children to attend VERSO and experience the culture of their mother firsthand.
Warunee Premo (Amy) is a multi-disciplined Learning Assistant with experiences in education, graphic designs, publications, branding, sales, program management, marketing and communications. Amy holds a degree in English, a degree in Traditional Arts and Crafts from Thailand, and a few statements of accomplishment in different subjects of study, which is led by her curiosity. She has always believed that learning is a passion and there is always an opportunity to acquire new knowledge or skill through everything around her, no matter how trivial it is.
Choochai Hu, our Learning Assistant, is Thai/Taiwanese and previously, worked at an online English Edtech company as an educational consultant for 3 years. He has also been a swimming and volleyball coach for an international school for 2 years.
In his free time, King loves to be active. Feel free to ask him to do anything related to sports, whether it is hiking, kayaking, or ice skating. He prefers to play volleyball, but any sport will do!
Middle Loop Project
Oliver Pennington, our Middle Loop Project Learning Designer, began his teaching career as a participant on the Japanese Exchange Teaching (JET) Program 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 from Falmouth University, Cornwall, England. In his spare time, Oliver loves to scuba dive, snowboard, travel and see the sea!
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 and Lead Designer
Thomas Tran, our Upper Loop Cohort Leader and Lead Designer, 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 and Curriculum Coordinator
Suzanne Kitto, our Upper Loop Cohort Leader and Curriculum Coordinator, is a Kiwi who has spent almost two decades living and working at international schools in Asia - Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand, with her child, Sam, in tow.
Suzanne started her career as a Japanese Second Language, English and Social Studies teacher in New Zealand before being introduced to the International Baccalaureate, specifically the Exhibition year of the PYP. Wanting to share her experience, Suzanne became an IB workshop leader and school visit team member. She has led professional development workshops at conferences all around Asia.
Suzanne has long held beliefs that education systems are flawed, favoring satisfying bureaucratic and political agendas over the best interests of the learner. She became particularly interested in learner-driven pedagogy when given the opportunity to pilot a self-directed learning model at the International School Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam in 2017.
Suzanne’s hope is that VERSO will provide an environment where transferable skills are at the forefront of learning and the traditional university to track is merely one option among many when transitioning into life beyond school.
Christina Nagle joins us as our 9-10 Cohort Learning Designer Humanities Specialist four years as the Head of Humanities at a British curriculum school in Bangkok. Chrissy is a huge advocate for project-based learning, having worked as a multi-disciplinary teacher on two continents (so far) after gaining her BA in History from the University of Liverpool and a PGCE in Citizenship from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom.
Chrissy has spent her life as an educator, agitating for changes to the way humanities skills are developed in young learners and how these skills are valued by schools and employers. Chrissy believes her role is to prepare students to enter the world as rounded and passionate global citizens by helping them to develop the skills to ask the right questions about the world around them.
As we live in a huge, interconnected web of systems that all affect one another, it only makes sense to help students to learn in a way that embraces that. Traditional teaching and exam-based assessment does not adequately prepare learners for life outside of the classroom. A big part of helping young people to make a difference in the world will be changing the way they are taught to understand it.
Our 9-10 Cohort Learning Designer Math SpecialistDr. Heidi Rhodes, joins VERSO from Washington, USA via Guangzhou, China, with a strong background in mathematics instruction, educational leadership, and curriculum and instruction. Heidi likes to say that she became a teacher in grade 9 when her Algebra teacher helped her to understand what it meant to really learn - to ask questions, seek connections, find patterns, and justify reasoning with evidence. When she tutored her friends, she realized that much of her education was about reciting answers rather than developing understanding. Her entire career as a teacher, instructional coach, mathematics and learning specialist, and curriculum coordinator has been centered on furthering her own understanding of what learning entails and working with adults and students to do the same.
Heidi demonstrates lifelong learning, earning her Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with educational leadership credentials, and a PhD in mathematics and science education.
When she isn’t working or studying, she loves to quilt and knit, spend time in nature, and travel. Heidi is married with two grown children. Having lived in China three times since 1988, she and her husband are very excited to be moving to Thailand and to be working at a school that is as passionate about providing real learning experiences for kids and adults as she is.
Our 9-10 Cohort Learning Designer Joseph Brown has been evolving his understanding of content delivery and classroom environment for 9 years with 14 years of coaching athletics in the United States. He joins VERSO after a 4-year adventure in China building a STEM program and growing his academic leadership. During this time, his understanding has evolved towards patterns, parallels, and connections.
No matter the scenario, music, sports, or academic performance, there are skills used that transcend and can be used for future success. Risk-taking and perseverance can provide learning opportunities, and reflection can be an effective way to articulate the growth made and determine the next steps to continue one's personal journey.
Students are capable of achieving more than they can imagine, says Joe, who is excited to be at VERSO because "together we can cultivate an environment that guides and supports personal voice and choice so all students can reach their full potential."
Performing Arts Specialist
Our 9-10 Cohort Learning Designer Joseph Mercurio was born in Melbourne, Australia and raised in Fremantle, Western Australia. He joins VERSO from Western International School Shanghai, where he taught Production Arts (Technical Theater), Personal and Professional Skills in the Career related Pathway program and managed all events on campus as Theatre Technical Manager.
Joseph has a BA in Performing Arts and a Masters of Education. He designed, developed and delivered a three year undergraduate program for the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne. He was awarded the 2016 Faculty Teaching Award for his innovative student focused technology centered teaching practice from the VCA University of Melbourne.
His belief in creativity, communication, and creative problem solving combines with the knowledge that every person has a superpower and unlocking that creative potential will allow students to flourish.
Joseph has worked and travelled across the world as both an educator and professional lighting designer/technical director. He is also a passionate cook with a devotion for pizza, focaccia, and sourdough (among other food).
Matthew Bonnell is from the United Kingdom and has joined the Upper Loop as a learning designer focusing on all that is STEM education. He has taught Science, Mathematics, Computing, Robotics & Design Technology at schools across the globe. Most recently he has spent the time developing curriculum and leading a team to deliver a project based learning approach at a school in Bangkok. He has created National events like the VEX robotics tournaments in Thailand and has a real passion for anything creative, making or tinkering.
Matthew has a Bachelor's degree in Control Systems Engineering from University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, and a PGCE teacher qualification from Cardiff Metropolitan University. He taught for over 12 years in schools.
With a passion for creativity, Matthew loves to spend time composing, and working in the studio as a producer to create music. He can play many instruments including the piano, guitar, clarinet, drums, and ukulele. He also has a strong sense of adventure, and loves going trekking, cycling, climbing, camping, and often spends his holidays on multi day adventures with friends and family. He also has a two-year-old daughter who keeps him pretty busy!
Before teaching, our 9-10 Cohort Learning Designer Michael Delfino worked as a firmware engineer. He has a BS and MS degree in Computer Science from the University of Kentucky and Georgia Tech, and a Master’s in Secondary Math Education. He has taught in Kentucky, Bangkok, and New Delhi.
Since he got into teaching, he’s wanted to do things differently. The first school where he taught was centered around project-based and experiential learning. He loves collaborating with other educators to break down perceived walls between subjects and is a big proponent of having students engage in authentic work, bringing guests into the classroom and getting kids out into the community as much as possible. Most recently, he was teaching IB Computer Science and while he gained valuable experience, he’s happy to be joining a school where he’ll be able to iterate on his approach to teaching and learning in an environment that embraces design thinking and experimentation.
Michael is originally from Louisville, Kentucky and has two children, ages 10 and 12 years and enjoys reading, writing, swimming, guitar, board games, and playing and developing his own video games. When he was making the transition from an engineer to a teacher, he got into performing stand up comedy as a way to get comfortable performing for crowds.
Creative Arts Specialist
After graduating from the University of Southeastern Philippines with a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology, our 9-10 Cohort Designer Gideon Doron began working as a web developer and graphic designer for a US-based business solution company. He worked his way up from there, progressively pursuing his passion for art education. He taught secondary art and coached students for competitions before relocating to Thailand. He also volunteered as a core member for the Davao Graphic Designers Community, where they organized events to nurture and showcase their local artists and designers' talents.
Before joining VERSO, he worked as an Art and Design teacher and department head at an international school in Bangkok. He is now pursuing a Master's Degree in Education, majoring in Arts Management. Learning and sharing diverse arts, cultures, and stories and promoting them through visual arts bring him great joy and he is excited to do the same thing with VERSO students.
Yi Lin Huang brings her Social Science background and her passion to work with adolescents and young adults to VERSO.
Her journey began in 2015, when she volunteered to teach refugee children and youth in Bangkok. Since then, she has led undergraduate student leaders at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to advocate for issues on human rights and discrimination. She has also facilitated language workshops for newly resettled immigrant families in Canada. From her experience working with various socioeconomic and cultural populations, she believes that empathic and resilient mindsets are crucial for adolescents to thrive as global citizens. She is committed to nurturing learners to fulfil their individual potentials while developing the empathy and resilience to face the rapidly changing world.
Yi Lin is Hong Kong-Taiwanese and has a MSc Public Policy degree from the University of Edinburgh and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UBC. She also completed the IB diploma from a traditional international school in Bangkok as a third culture kid. She enjoys learning new dance choreographies, doing yoga, and playing the piano.
Dr. 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.
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 Lower Loop and Middle Loop 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 believes in the concept of education for the future, the idea that the walls of any classroom do not confine education. Instead, the purpose that students learn in interdisciplinary project-based learning inspires creativity, individuality, and confidence.
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.
Student Success Learning Designer
Munira Tejpar, our Student Success Learning Designer ,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,she 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 BA degree in education from the European Global School, Paris and a postgraduate certificate in 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.
Student Success Learning Designer
Our Student Success Learning Designer Dr. Buaphrao Raphiphatthana was born and raised in Bangkok for the first 10 years of her life before moving to New Zealand to study and then to Australia to conduct research.
She has always been passionate about the human mind, which led her to studying psychology at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Her interest in mindfulness and positive psychology informed her doctoral research which took her around the globe, studying how mindfulness could be used to support positive development in young people, across cultures.
She then joined a mental health research team in Australia. The team specializes in using strengths-based approaches and co-design practices to support the well-being of youth and adults from various cultural backgrounds.
By using a person-centered and holistic approach, Bua aims to empower the students at VERSO to discover their strengths, grow, and flourish. Apart from keeping up-to-date with new psychological interventions, Bua loves cooking, baking, eating, and exploring hidden corners of the world.
Well-being Learning Designer
Garrett Cutler joins us as our Well-being Learning Designer. Originally, from New York, USA, this is his 10th year teaching abroad. He started his teaching career in East Hampton, NY, USA for 5 years. He then moved to Phuket where he taught for 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 back to his “home away from home,” Thailand, and to be a part of the founding faculty working towards the same amazing vision.
Well-being Learning Designer
Patrick McDonah is our Well-being 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 1/2 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 Programs.
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.
Well-being Learning Assistant
Preedee Chivatanaporn (Tent) is our Well-being 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.