Ms Jennifer Le VargeElementary School Principal; PYP Coordinator USA
Ms Le Varge is originally from the State of Connecticut in the United States. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education (with honors) from Boston University’s School of Education in 2005. Jennifer has lived in several countries, as both a student and as a teacher, including: Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.
She has a Master of Arts degree (with high honors) in Cultural Anthropology from the American University of Beirut. Ms Le Varge is a member of the IB Educators’ Network as a Workshop Leader and School Visit Team Member. She is also co-Chair of the North China PYP Coordinators’ Network. She is a passionate supporter of inquiry, the learning environment, and Reggio-inspired pedagogy.
Ms Inna PolianskaElementary Student Support Services Coordinator; Optimal Learning Centre Coordinator Ukraine
Ms Inna Polianska comes from Ukraine, where she obtained her degrees in English Philology and Teaching English as the Second Language. She also has Master's Diploma in International Education from Framingham College in Boston, USA and Specialist Degree in SEN from Queen's University, Canada.
Inna started her teaching career in an International School in Kiev, Ukraine, where she worked in the mainstream classroom and Special Needs Department. In 2010 she embarked on her African adventure in Kampala, Uganda, working as a Primary Learning Support teacher and trying to learn as much as possible about the Pearl of Africa. She greatly enjoys working in multicultural body of international schools and being involved in different aspects of school life. She also likes discovering new places, learning languages and keeping active. Her hobbies range from reading and cooking to skiing and cycling.
Ms Nicole Son-CulbrethGrade 3 Teacher USA
Nicole was born in Philadelphia, PA in the United States and attended Penn State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After graduation she soon discovered a teacher-training program called the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows and decided to enroll. As part of the program, she earned a master’s degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Special Education and began teaching in public schools in Philadelphia.
She taught 7th grade learning support for 1 year and then taught students with autism for 5 years at a MYP school in Philadelphia. She then discovered international teaching and traveled all the way to Chile to teach 5th grade at her first international PYP school for 2 years.
Nicole’s teaching philosophy comes from her belief that any child can learn if given the right tools and resources. One of her favorite moments in teaching is witnessing the “light bulb” moment for a student and realizing that all their hard work has paid off.
In her spare time Nicole enjoys reading, singing, listening to music, traveling, and she hopes to one day visit all 7 continents (including Antarctica!).
Mrs Melaina TalamahinaGrade 4 Teacher New Zealand
From the Land of the Long White Cloud, Melaina Talamahina is a proud Kiwi-nesian (New Zealander/Polynesian). She studied at the Auckland University of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand where she completed her Bachelors degree in Primary Teaching. Her studies also involve specialist training in Montessori Education.
She has worked in New Zealand as a classroom teacher with several different age groups. She has also worked as a cover teacher, where she was able to move around to various schools and work with children of all ages, languages and backgrounds. Prior to BISS, she taught in an International School in Cairo, Egypt where her experiences included drama, music, netball, basketball, touch rugby, softball, coaching, choreographing, teaching/learning, Year group leader and working with the British Curriculum.
Melaina finds teaching and learning fun, engaging and rewarding and believes children should be able to enjoy their learning in a friendly and interactive learning environment.
Her family is her number one priority so luckily her children, Lynfid and Kurtley, as well as her husband, Nathan, love sports just as much as she does. Usually their weekly schedule is based around sporting events and school. She and her family also enjoy watching a bit of comedy and listening to music.
Mr. Bryan EllisonGrade 3 Teacher USA
Mr. Ellison is a veteran of international schools. Although he spent most of his childhood in the American state of North Carolina, he also lived in Belgium for 5 years. After high school, he earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees in history from Wake Forest University. Following several years in the insurance industry, he returned to school and earned his Masters in Teaching from the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore, Maryland.
Mr. Ellison taught upper elementary students for 18 years at Grace Episcopal Day School in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. He arrived in Beijing in 2013 to teach at Beijing International Bilingual Academy. After two years there as a grade 5 teacher, he spent a year exploring how to make content exciting and accessible to students with limited English knowledge as a grade 3 ESL teacher. He is excited to put his PYP and workshop knowledge to use at BISS.
Mr. Ellison enjoys traveling, making friends from around the world, eating, reading, and learning languages, especially Chinese.
Ms. Adrienn DomonkosPre-K Teacher Hungary
Ms. Adrienn Domonkos was born in Hungary where she obtained her Bachelors of Early Childhood teacher in 2010, with "English in the Kindergaren" specialization.
Since then, she has been working only in multicultural schools. In Hungary, she spent four years with a local international school where she taught pre-k, kindergarten and visual arts.
She is planning to continue her education as she pursues her Masters degree after spending some time in Beijing.
Outside of the classroom she enjoys travelling, keeping active (running, spinning), photographing and reading.
Mr Greg DopartESOL Teacher Poland
Mr Greg Dopart grew up in Poland. He spent the last ten years in the United Kingdom, where he graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University. He obtained Bachelor Degree in Spanish and ESOL. He also studied in Spain at prestigious University of Valladolid.
Greg is passionate about language and his personal goal is to speak ten languages fluently. Apart from Spanish and ESOL, he was also teaching French, German and Mandarin across variety of public and private schools in the United Kingdom. Another passion of Greg's is ultra running and he is looking forward to discovering new and astonishing trails in China.
Mr. Michael FrazerGrade 5 Teacher USA
Michael Frazer has been teaching third grade in Grand Junction, Colorado, USA for the past 6 years. Michael attended College at the Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction Colorado, where he received his BA in Elementary Education. Michael has also received the award for Excellence from Praxis II testing and is certified to teach Special Education as well as k-6 content.
As a teacher, Mr. Frazer tries to nurture and teach the whole child. His goals are not to get through this book or teach that math concept but to develop students that will become a valuable members of a global community. He prefers to teach concepts through understanding.
If he can express three main ideas to his students, they would be integrity, empathy, and ambition. Michael encourages students and parents to stop by his room at any time.
Ms Freda HumberElementary Arts Teacher USA
Freda Humber hails from America, but has been residing in China for the past two years. Before residing in Beijing she was employed at Fondren B World School in Houston, Texas as the department head of “Expressive Arts”. Freda holds her Category 1 and 2 MYP certifications. At Fondren she was nominated for teacher of the year award and won the “Transformer Award”.
Freda has been performing and dancing since the age of three. Before reaching her 16th birthday she had totaled more than 100 trophy's and medals in dance and drama competitions. Once graduating from Houston’s High School of the Performing and Visual Arts in the area of dance she went on to The University of Texas where she received a BFA in dance. In 2006 Freda obtained her MBA from American Intercontinental University and her M Ed from St. Thomas University.
Freda ‘s passion for the arts brought her to Beijing in 2014. She has been an advocate for the arts by build speaking skills, promoting confidence and collaborating through the world of drama as a lead teacher at Dreamaker Drama Academy. While in Beijing she has directed more than ten children’s productions.
Freda’s goal in life is to be a beacon of light by teaching, educating and motivating individuals who have the desire to succeed above their situations and circumstances.
When not teaching she loves to cook, travel and eat popcorn while watching movies at home.
Mr Nathan TalamahinaPhysical & Health Education Teacher New Zealand
Mr. Talamahina is English, Niuean, Samoan born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand. His wife Melaina is also a teacher and he has two children, Lynfid and Kurtley.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Sport & Recreation and a Post Graduate Teaching Diploma. Since then, he spent 10 years teaching in the public and state schools in Australia and New Zealand. Prior to coming to BISS, he taught at an International School in Cairo, Egypt.
Nathan likes basketball, rugby, baseball, cricket, travelling and all other sports!