Staff

Who We Are

Our students, staff and faculty work together to make our
school a safe, engaging, rigorous, learning environment.

Full Staff Directory
Only the BEst

We Know How to Make Learning Fun For Kids

The mission of SAIS is to provide a progressive American style learning environment where all students develop and apply the knowledge, skills and habits of mind necessary for academic, workplace and personal success anywhere in the world.

Our small school serves as a community nucleus that invites strong support from parents and community members as well as closer working relationships among the school staff.

SAIS Staff

Dr. Laura Flaxman

Dr. Laura Flaxman

Principal

lflaxman@szsais.org

About Laura

Dr. Laura Flaxman holds a master’s and doctorate from Harvard University and began her teaching career in New York City. She has almost 30 years experience in education as a teacher, principal, school founder, non-profit leader, school designer, and coach. Dr. Laura Flaxman was most recently a Vice President at Pivot Learning, where she led school redesign and school culture initiatives. Dr. Laura Flaxman  also served as the Executive Director and Founding Principal of ARISE High School, the Co-Director of the Reach Teacher Incentive Fund Consortium, an English instructor for the Peralta Community College District, and as founding Principal of Life Academy of Health and Bioscience. She has worked for Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound besides consulting with many schools and organizations, including PBL Works. Dr. Laura Flaxman has co-authored Small Schools, Big Ideas: The Essential Guide to Successful School Transformation. Laura Flaxman is married and has two daughters.

 

Nathan Abbott

Nathan Abbott

Assistant Principal

nabbott@szsais.org

About Nathan

Nathan (Nate) Abbott has over a decade of experience in the classroom and over four years of administrative experience. He has enjoyed teaching students from kindergarten to university. He has a BA in Asian Studies and an MA in Secondary Education. Mr. Nate has presented at various trainings all over the United States on topics that included Project Based Learning, language acquisition, student engagement, classroom management, and staying in the target language. He has also had the opportunity to work with and give trainings for the Confucius Institute in Beijing, China, and he can speak Chinese fluently. Besides being a passionate educator Mr. Nate is a husband and father of 5.

 

Kenneth Purser

Kenneth Purser

Director of Instruction and Maker Education

kpurser@szsais.org

About Kenny

Kenneth (Kenny) Purser is an independent consultant helping schools and non-profits re-design their school and implement active, relevant, and engaging projects for students. Before becoming a consultant, Kenny developed his love for well-designed project based learning as a student who learned best by doing, creating, and designing projects. This passion found a great fit with Outward Bound and then Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound where he developed a foundation in project based learning, teaching science to middle and high school students in New York City, Boston, Berkeley, and Oakland. Mr. Kenny was one of the founding principals for Envisions Schools and then Regional Director for Expeditionary Learning. His varied career has focused on project based learning, experiential learning, Linked Learning, and the Maker movement. 

Geoff Stainton

Geoff Stainton

Director of Admissions

gstainton@szsais.org

About Geoffrey

Geoff has a BA (Hons) in Economic History and English Literature and a Masters in Business Administration from Bradford University School of Management in the UK as well as professional qualifications in International Trade and finance. His background is in manufacturing and has visited more than 50 countries throughout the world advising on production flows in the woodworking industry. For many years he ran his own company manufacturing industrial woodworking machinery before coming to China as a consultant where he was involved in change solutions for factories in the furniture industry. He has lectured at Guangzhou University of Foreign studies in business management as well as Technical Colleges in the UK in business economics and value engineering. Geoff believes strongly that the PBL philosophy of education reflects more fully the realities of 21st working practises and students will gain a fully developed education for the modern world.

Faculty

Janet Stainton

Janet Stainton

Kindergarten Teacher

jstainton@szsais.org

About Janet

BA in Early Childhood Studies

Teaching Certificate City and Guilds 710

This is my 10th year teaching abroad in China. My experience is mostly in pre-school and Kindergarten.

I have taught here in China at the Clifford International Kindergarten for 6 years and then I moved to American International School of Guangzhou in preschool for 3 years.

Previous experience has been teaching part-time in England teaching sports and dance whilst bringing my family up at home.

I love teaching because it brings me great pleasure to see young children learn something new. I love that they are inquisitive and want to know many things. I want to help the children enjoy learning. I want them to be excited about learning. I believe that when children are happy they learn well.

My hobbies are sports and dancing. I love going to the theatre and seeing musical shows and spending time with my family.

Edwin Nieves

Edwin Nieves

G1 Teacher

enieves@szsais.org

About Edwin

Edwin is extremely excited to be part of this great institution. He is originally from New York City, has been working in the field of education since 2005 and really enjoy teaching young minds. This will be his first-time teaching in China so he looks forward to learning so much from this country. Prior to moving to Shenzhen, he taught in South Korea for almost 7 years. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Nyack College in 2004 and currently working on his Master’s degree in Special Education at Touro College. He is bilingual, speaking English and Spanish both at native levels. In addition, he can also speak Korean and Chinese. During his time off he enjoys sight-seeing, learning, Latin dancing, and listening to music.

Finnbarr O'Callaghan

Finnbarr O'Callaghan

ELE2 Teacher

focallaghan@szsais.org

About Finn

Mr. Finn grew up near Washington D.C. in the United States. His passion for science led him to become a certified science and social studies teacher. He has been teaching in America, Korea, and China since 2014. Mr. Finn aims to promote a love for science while challenging his students’ ability to understand the mysteries of the world around them. Mr. Finn is an outdoorsy guy who spent much of his childhood catching various animals at the local creek. Along with this, he is an avid golfer and fisherman.

Michael Penney

Michael Penney

PE Teacher

mpenney@szsais.org

About Mike

Mike grew up in Belleville, Ontario, Canada and graduated from Nipissing University with a Bachelor of Physical Education and a Bachelor of Education. He is currently completing a Masters of Education from the University of Ottawa (M.Ed.) and will graduate in December 2020. Mike has been teaching Physical Education in China for over 7 years, and at SAIS for 3 years. When not at school Mike enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, geocaching, and travelling.

Matthew Koo

Matthew Koo

Middle School Teacher

mkoo@szsais.org

About Matthew

Matt is a Canadian certified teacher who completed both his Honours of Science degree and his Bachelors of Education degree at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. Matt has worked with learners of all ages, specializing in inquiry-based teaching and one-on-one tutoring. For the past two years, Matt has been the IB Coordinator at Hokmah International School. 

Matt is a passionate teacher who strives to help his learners reach their full academic potential. He aims to push his learners to do their best, all while maintaining a safe and friendly learning environment. Throughout his teaching career, Matt has worked extensively in developing a variety of differentiated teaching techniques and incorporating them into his classroom. As a strong advocate for inquiry-based learning, Matt uses activities such as games, puzzles, and scenarios in his lessons to give learners both an engaging and meaningful learning experience.

Anel Tromp

Anel Tromp

Art Teacher

atromp@szsais.org

About Anel

Anèl grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. She graduated from The Open Window Institute with a  Bachelor of Art in Visual Communication Degree as well as a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from UNISA. Before teaching in China, she taught English and Art in South Korea for 3 years. This will be her second year teaching Art in Shenzhen. She is passionate about Art as a way of enriching learning. Her hobbies include drawing, painting, cooking, reading, sport and travelling.

Ellen Abbott

Ellen Abbott

ELE1 Teacher

eabbott@szsais.org

Laura Felusiak

Laura Felusiak

Teacher

lfelusiak@szsais.org

About Ms. Felusiak

Ms. Laura Felusiak holds Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and German from the University of Szczecin, Poland and Fachhochschule Dortmund, Germany. She has earned her Master’s degree in Germanic Studies – Second Language Acquisition from the University of Texas, and Master of Business Administration from the Texas A&M Prairie View University, USA.

She is Texas State certified in the areas of social studies, German Language, and English as a Second Language and has taught all these subjects, including AP Economics, World Geography and Sociology.

Her teaching philosophy relies on a student-center approach. She believes that effective learning occurs when students are engaged, and when new knowledge is relevant and applicable to their daily lives.

At SAIS, Ms. Felusiak is teaching Humanities, and is looking forward to enjoying and contributing to the dedicated SAIS community.

Mark Moran

Mark Moran

Humanities Teacher

mmoran@szsais.org

About Mark

Mark grew up in Maryland, USA before teaching in African-American and Latino communities in Chicago. Along with degrees in international studies and education, Mark has an MA in English from the University of Nottingham, UK and has taught English across a variety of levels in Thailand and Cambodia helping to establish an IGCSE program at a top bilingual school in Bangkok and recently teaching A Level English in Phnom Penh. He also has acted in the theater and has sung in classical choirs and operas. An avid cyclist, Mark looks forward to exploring Shenzhen and beyond on his bike.

Cristen Haynes

Cristen Haynes

Teacher

chaynes@szsais.org

About Cristen

Cristen Haynes currently has six years of classroom teaching experience. She earned her BA in Cultural Anthropology and TESOL certification from the University of Utah, and her Teaching License from University of West Florida.

Cristen has lived in Zhuji and Shanghai before coming to Shenzhen two years ago. Prior to China, Cristen lived in Rabat, Morocco. Although she is quite at home in Shenzhen, she considers moving to Portugal to explore her ancestry, but also looks forward to eventually returning her birthplace on the central coast of California in the United States.

Cristen is an educator who guides students towards the attainment of their individualized learning goals. She takes great pride in seeing her student make academic gains, but she places an equally strong focus on social and emotional learning and emphasizes growth mindset. Ultimately, she hopes her time with students will contribute to their becoming creative, resilient, life-long learners.

Parker May

Parker May

Teacher

pmay@szsais.org

About Parker

Parker May is a professional teacher with half a decade of experience in the classroom. He has inspired students from Kindergarten to Primary school. Parker left his hometown in New Jersey to study art and design in Philadelphia receiving his BS in Art and Graphic Design. Besides inspiring students and teaching in the classroom Parker enjoys training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Andrew Slingerland

Andrew Slingerland

Teacher

aslingerland@szsais.org

About Andrew

Andrew grew up in New York State before moving to Ohio to study at Capital University for his Bachelor of Music in music education, with a concentration on instrumental music. His primary instrument is the saxophone, but he learned to play and teach several instruments as part of the degree. In 2019, Andrew completed his Master of Music in Music Education through SUNY Buffalo State.

Andrew has been teaching internationally for more than seven years having taught music in Sweden, South Korea, and China with students of all ages. He enjoys seeing pupils develop as musicians, and encourages a style of teaching that enables students to find their own voice in music incorporating new practices learned in each teaching situation.

In his spare time, Andrew enjoys running, cooking food from different cuisines, practicing instruments, attending concerts or musicals, and traveling to explore new experiences and cultures.

Sam LoveTro

Sam LoveTro

Teacher

slovetro@szsais.org

About Sam

Sam grew up in Mesa, Arizona until the age of 18. He then moved to Los Angeles, California to attend university. He studied Sociology and also swam and played water polo at his university. Sports are a big part of Sam’s life and along with swimming and water polo, he also enjoys playing volleyball, badminton, and table tennis. During university, Sam studied in Hong Kong and Chile, both for one semester. Sam moved to Shenzhen, China after university and began teaching. At first he taught English but eventually he received in American teaching certification and Masters in Education while working at various schools all over Shenzhen. Sam married Claire Xu in 2015 and they have traveled to over 20 countries together. In 2018, Sam and Claire moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE to begin working at Sheikh Zayed Private Academy. This is a school named after the founder of the UAE, the best school for Emirati students. After two years in the desert, Claire and Sam have decided to return to China to be closer to family and enjoy all that Shenzhen has to offer!

Omar Maklad

Omar Maklad

Teacher

omaklad@szsais.org

About Omar

Omar graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.S. in Mathematical Statistics and a M.S in Applied Economics from Georgia Southern University. He is a certified Mathematics (Grades 6-12) and TESOL (K-12) teacher. Omar has taught in the USA, South Korea, Japan and China. He has worked with students from elementary to high school.

Omar engages students through thought provoking lessons to connect mathematics to the student’s life. He has a strong passion for teaching mathematics and wants students to enjoy the subject as much as him.

Shelly Amizur

Shelly Amizur

Teacher

samizur@szsais.org

About Shelly

My name is Shelly Amizur. I have been working in the education field for the past 12 years. I have a wide range of teaching experience. My experience includes kindergarten and PE teaching, managing a scouts association branch in my hometown, Kindergarten, English and PE teacher for the past three years in Chengdu. I have a Bachelor’s degree in education and am currently pursuing a Master’s in education at Glasgow University of UK. I thouroughly enjoy working with young children because I love the way they perceive the world. Its fascinating to see them grow and experience new things in my classroom. I love witnessing each students learning progress and the class as a whole. For me, educating the young generation is a mission, where the foundation of the children’s education has great impact on their future and the world’s future. It is crucial to shape their lives in a way that will contribute to their personal growth and within society.

Michael Wilkinson

Michael Wilkinson

Teacher

mwilkinson@szsais.org

About Michael

Michael has over 6 years teaching experience with a wide array of age groups taught. I left the Washington, DC area to move to South Korea to teach which turned into over 6 years of experience teaching and educating kids aged from Kindergarten up to high school. I have spent 5 years teaching in South Korea, focusing on middle and high school students with the past year spent teaching in Shenzhen, China. I look forward to a great year ahead!

Ming Hong

Ming Hong

ESL Specialist

Amelia Hu

Amelia Hu

ESL Specialist

Claire Xu

Claire Xu

Teacher

cxu@szsais.org

About Claire

Claire Xu has a BA in Pharmacy and Masters in International Education from Teach-Now Graduate School of Education, USA. She is certified to teach secondary science in Washington D.C, and has 5 years of international school teaching experience, including at one of the best private schools in the United Arab Emirates. During the past two years, Ms. Claire became an Apple certified teacher, and integrated various technologies into teaching and learning, students were highly engaged and excited to utilize different tools in exploring new concepts.

Outside of the classroom, Claire likes traveling, paddle boarding, doing yoga and playing board games. She believes that we should always make time for new experiences.

Cindy Shi

Cindy Shi

Chinese Teacher

cshi@szsais.org

Dawn Yu

Dawn Yu

Chinese Teacher

dyu@szsais.org

About Dawn

Dawn graduated from Beijing Normal University with a master degree in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. She is an excellent Putonghua speaker, holding a Certificate of Results of Putonghua Proficiency Test, A Level. She had taught Chinese in several local schools in UK. After she came back to China, she has worked in several international schools. Dawn has a wealth of experience both in Chinese and Western education. Based on the experience, she compared and analysed the two different education systems. At SAIS, she combined with PBL teaching philosophy to develop a bunch of Chinese courses which are applicable for international schools.

Yvonne Yang

Yvonne Yang

Chinese Teacher

Teacher’s Assistants

Jewel Guo

Jewel Guo

ELE1 TA

Miki Wu

Miki Wu

ELE2 TA

Adena Li

Adena Li

ELE2 TA

Summer Wu

Summer Wu

ELE2 TA

Rachel Guo

Rachel Guo

Middle School TA

rguo@szsais.org

Emily Liu

Emily Liu

Kindergarten TA

Bella Zhang

Bella Zhang

Kindergarten TA

Lois Hu

Lois Hu

Kindergarten TA

Jessica Li

Jessica Li

Kindergarten TA

Tina Zhang

Tina Zhang

G1 TA

Peitan Lee

Peitan Lee

G2 TA

Sonia Wu

Sonia Wu

G3 TA

Yvonne Siu

Yvonne Siu

Maker Coach

Administration

Lucy Zeng

Lucy Zeng

Principal's Assistant

Amy Huang

Amy Huang

Admissions Assistant

Isis Lai

Isis Lai

Admissions Assistant

Zac Zhang

Zac Zhang

IT Supervisor

zzhang@szsais.org

Crystal Chen

Crystal Chen

Administration Officer

Jerry Chen

Jerry Chen

Security

Zhang Xiaoyuan

Zhang Xiaoyuan

Security

Josef  Chen

Josef Chen

Logistics Supervisor

Jack Liu

Jack Liu

Security