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.
Nathan (Nate) Abbott is a proud husband, a father of 5, and an educator. He has over a decade of experience in the classroom and over 6 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.
Throughout his educational career he has had the opportunity to present and give trainings all over the United States and also had the opportunity to work with and give trainings for the Confucius Institute in Beijing, China. The topics included Project Based Learning, language acquisition, student engagement, classroom management, and staying in the target language. He is a deep believer in children and their ability to learn and absolutely loves his job.
All of his children are learning Chinese and he has loved exposing them to the wonders of China. He is passionate about education and connecting teachers, parents, and students as a community.
Lucy Zeng has worked in international education for over a decade. She is the administrative backbone of Shenzhen American International School and has been part of the core team that has built the first Project Based Learning school in Shenzhen. She has a deep understanding of what administrative needs are required to create a thriving makerspace in an educational setting, as well as administrative support that is required to produce student platforms.
Lucy has been on the producing team of the Nanshan School Maker Faire for the past four years. Lucy is a strong advocate of PBL, Maker culture, and Design Thinking as she believes these methodologies bring about meaningful learning to students.
Head of Early Years
As Head of Early Years at Shenzhen American International School Janet brings a wealth of experience to the role. As well as a Kindergarten teacher for 4 years at SAIS she has also taught at the American International School of Guangzhou for 3 years and 6 years at Clifford International School in PanYu, where she was awarded teacher of the year – the first Kindergarten teacher to achieve this award among the 150 foreign faculty – and ending her time there as Dean of Curriculum and Instruction.
Considered to be one of the most imaginative and forward-thinking Early Years professional in the schools she has been employed, she brings a creative energy to the classroom that results in students developing a life-long love of learning.
My hobbies are sports and dancing. I love going to the theatre and seeing musical shows and spending time with my family.
Melinda Ann Alford
Director of Instruction
Melinda Alford is a whole school curriculum and educational technology fanatic with seventeen years experience serving international schools. The majority of that experience has been in China . She is a Harvard certified educational leader and is ISTE, WIDA, Google, and Apple certified as well as Apple Distinguished Educator. Melinda is known across Asia as a frequent speaker at conferences such as EARCOS, ACAMIS and Learning 2.0. Melinda’s experience includes literacy coaching, leading a full library redesign, leading mission/vision teams, technology directorships and much more. She is a recognized expert in accreditation within the China context and also serves as a CIS/WASC accreditation team member. She serves as a charity advisor and consultant to many schools in China. She lives in Shenzhen with her husband Tim who is also an educator and their daughter Audrey.
Director of Admissions
Mabel Choi grew up in New York City. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Nyack College and has a TESOL certificate from American TESOL Institute. After college she was a Mental Health Worker at New York Presbyterian hospital working at a psychiatric unit for five years. She wanted to pursue her other passion, which is teaching and decided to move to Korea. She taught English in korea for five years and worked with elementary students most of the time. After that her family decided to make a life in Shenzhen, China.
Mabel missed teaching and felt she is ready to teach again, now that her daughter is six years old. Being a teacher and a mother helped her understand the importance of child development. She cares deeply about how kids develop and grow. She uses her experience and her understanding of psychology in her classroom. She believes the first five years of a child life is so crucial. To her a teacher is a role model and must help students develop and learn in a safe and happy environment.
Her hobbies are reading, scrapbooking, and spending time outdoors with her family and friends.
Grade 1 Teacher
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.
Grade 2 Teacher
Queila Galan is an experienced Primary School teacher. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelors in Resource Economics. She then attended Fairfield University where she graduated with a Masters in Teaching. She has been teaching for over 7 years around the world. Queila has taught in the US, Egypt, South Korea, Japan, and in China. She has taught students of various ages including preschool, primary, middle, high school and adults. She believes that any student can learn regardless of prior knowledge and experiences. Every child has the capability to learn new knowledge with the right methods, and teacher. She creates a positive and supportive classroom environment for all students to be successful. In her free time she enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with loved ones.
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.
Zee is from Johannesburg, South Africa. She has a Business Management diploma from QUALIFI in the UK, A TEFL certificate from The TEFL Academy in the UK as well as a BA(Hons) Management degree from the Anglia Ruskin University in the UK. She has worked in corporate South Africa and Africa for more than 17 years where she held numerous executive management positions. She has vast experience in project management, management consulting, mentoring, coaching, and facilitating training for both junior and senior levels. Zee arrived in China (Shenzhen) during April 2018 and loves living in the vibrant expat community of Shekou. She has experience teaching kindergarten, primary and middle school but is passionate about teaching kindergarten students. Zee believes that a solid foundation for young learners is key to the future of society. She strongly endeavours in leading by example, has an extremely high work ethic, and is always willing to learn new skills. Zee is in the process of completing her post graduate diploma in Educational Management and Leadership. She loves colouring abstract designs, is passionate about reading, and enjoys travelling across the globe. “Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.”– Maria Montessori
Grade 4 Teacher
Grade 5 Teacher
Tim is an educator and motivational speaker from the United States. He has lived in China since 2011 and is in his fifth year in Shenzhen. He speaks to schools around China on the topics of “Overcoming Adversity” and “Public Speaking Confidence”. He is also an accomplished educational conference speaker on “Humor in the classroom” and “Gamification”.
Tim has multiple degrees in business and will be completing a Master’s Degree in Special Education this year from Moreland University. He is a recent graduate of Harvard University’s yearlong School Management and Leadership certification program.
Tim chose education over a career in business because he loved working with students from all over the world. He encourages you to please come enjoy his 5th grade classroom as an honored guest.
In his spare time, Tim loves to sing and direct theatre performances. He also loves enjoying the Shekou harbor walk and can be found there exercising as the sun rises daily over China’s beautiful coastline.
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!
Grade 3 Teacher
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.
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.
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.
English Language Art Teacher
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.
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.
Katleho Dawn Meje
Katleho Dawn Meje is proudly South African. She graduated from the North-West University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, with minors in French and Linguistics.
Katleho has done multiple courses for play-based learning for younger children, and she is currently completing her PGCE in English, social studies and physical education.
Before teaching, Katleho worked within the marketing department of a corporate company, but her love for education pushed her to change her career path. She packed her bags a few months later and has been teaching in Shenzhen for over three years. She is known to her students as Miss Kay.
Her appreciation for sports stems from her upbringing- she was raised in an athletic household. She has participated in numerous sports and competed in regional and provincial levels in sports such as hockey, netball, soccer, athletics as well as cheerleading and dance. Currently, she practices two Mixed Martial Arts disciplines: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai.
The philosophy that “every champion was once a contender” is what she lives by, and she encourages her students to always try their best, no matter how challenging the work may be.
When Miss Kay is not teaching or at the gym, she enjoys hiking, travelling, reading and artwork.
My name is Patrick White, and I am the Science teacher at SAIS this year. I am from Asheville, North Carolina, USA. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Methodist University, and I previously worked as a financial counselor. I have been a teacher for three years in China. I earned my teaching degree from the University of West Florida in secondary Science and Biology. I enjoy teaching Science because students can learn through experience, while also improving important cognitive and social skills. I believe in helping students become critical thinkers and independent learners, so that they can grow and adapt to changes in their future.
I live with my wife, Faye, and our cat, Lupita. In my free time, I enjoy playing guitar, cycling, and reading good books.
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.