Secondary School Teachers

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Alexandra Cipriano

HEAD OF SECONDARY SCHOOL/HEAD OF ENGLISH

Ali was born and educated in the UK. She has been in the teaching profession for over 10 years in London, and prior to that has experience teaching in both Thailand and South Korea. She gained her undergraduate degree in English Studies from the University of Southampton, UK, and her Post Graduate Certificate of Education in English, Secondary Education, from Middlesex University, London.

Ali has spent her career working in high achieving secondary schools in North London. Her last position, at JCoSS – a large Jewish secondary school – was as Head of English where under her leadership, the faculty achieved results placing them in the top 10% of schools nationally for student progress. She was also an English Subject Adviser for a large cluster of North London Secondary schools, advising other leaders of English on best practice.

Ali is in Singapore with her husband, who is also a teacher, and two children, the youngest of whom is happy to be learning at SMMIS.

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Jason Shulman

HEAD OF CURRICULUM IPC/IMYC

Jason was raised and educated in Australia, teaching and leading in senior management roles across independent schools for over 25 years. He has a Bachelor of Education, Post Graduate Certificate in Curriculum Leadership and a Master of Education from the University of Melbourne.

Jason’s passion for and holistic approach to education extends to leading curriculum development and reform, encouraging staff and student agency, creating co-curricular and experiential learning opportunities and, importantly, ensuring that the wellbeing of his students and staff are always at the fore of his thinking.

Throughout his career, Jason has actively participated in a raft of educational learning opportunities, including the implementation of the International Baccalaureate MYP in schools, the Harvard University ‘Project Zero’ training programmes, Positive Psychology courses and Child-Safe, Mandatory Reporting & Restorative Practice training programmes. He has also worked extensively at facilitating and developing rich educational frameworks and curriculum to engage ‘youth at risk’ in the juvenile justice sector and for Australian Aboriginal children living in remote communities. His core values encompass social action, inclusion, compassion, respect, integrity, empathy and innovation.

Jason is incredibly excited at the opportunity to, alongside of his SMMIS colleagues, drive the implementation of the IPC & IMYC, and further develop and strengthen the teaching and learning practices and pedagogical frameworks across the school.

Jonathan Wilkinson

ABLE & AMBITIOUS PROGRAM COORDINATOR, HUMANITIES, ENGLISH, MEDIA

Jonathan was raised and educated in Australia.

Yin Mei Liauw

MATHEMATICS

Yin was born and educated in Singapore. She has been in the teaching profession for over 10 years in Singapore local schools as well as in an enrichment centre prior to teaching in SMMIS. She gained her Post-Graduate Diploma in Education from National Institute of Education in Singapore as well as her undergraduate degree from National University of Singapore.

Yin has spent her career working in planning and executing the secondary school Mathematics curriculum. She was also involved in pilot-testing the infusion of Information Technology into the curriculum with other teachers in her previous school. Previously, her students have achieved 100% passes and at least 10% of her students achieved value-added results in Mathematics (as bench-marked by National standards) before they graduate from their secondary schools.

While working in an enrichment centre, she was the team leader of the Secondary Mathematics Curriculum Planning team of the company. Whilst there, she led her team members to set the curriculum and also trained teachers on how to teach concepts in a more differentiated and structured way to the students in the centre, so as to help students achieve their desired outcomes.

To be able to see growth in each student, regardless of how small it may seem, is a sense of achievement. Yin hopes to train her students not merely in Mathematical knowledge but also inn getting them ready for 21st Century Challenges as well as to equip them with skills which will help them to achieve their dreams in future.

Shyla Menon

SCIENCE

Shyla Menon is an educator with over 25 years of experience in teaching and learning in International schools. A big believer in growth, she encourages her students to pursue challenges within and beyond the classroom. She is cognizant of the changing needs of the world and enjoys facilitating stimulating activities and lessons with these in mind. At SMMIS, she teaches Middle School Science, Primary 5 Math and World Religion, while also running the school’s recycling program.

Primary School Teachers

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Maire Clapham

LITERACY LEAD PRIMARY SCHOOL/ GRADE 5

Maire Clapham comes from a long line of teachers in her family and as such grew up in a household passionate about education. It was only natural that she followed in these footsteps, graduating from La Trobe University with Bachelor’s degrees in Arts and Education in 2012. For the last six years, she has been fortunate to work in outstanding schools in Melbourne, Australia, where she developed her dedication to personalised learning and collaborative teaching. She has also worked with the Victorian Government on projects designed to assist schools in improving student outcomes. Maire is a Grade 5 teacher at SMMIS and the Primary School Literacy Lead.

Derek Bickerstaff

GRADE 4

Derek Bickerstaff attended Birmingham City University where he received his BA Honours in Primary Education with QTS. He has taught in a mainstream school in England and, most recently, at a Chinese bilingual, international school in Shanghai, China. He is a teacher with a passion for learning, with an interest in integrating coding and robotics into the curriculum. Away from the classroom, he enjoys both participating and spectating in sports such as football (soccer), golf and pool. I love to travel and have visited many countries across Europe and Asia.

Jasmine Kaur

GRADE 2

Jasmine is an honours graduate from the University of London, majoring in Mathematics and Economics. She is an experienced educator, having taught at both primary and secondary levels in Singapore. Jasmine is currently in her third year at Sir Manasseh Meyer International School, teaching Grade 4 and 5. As an educator, Jasmine is passionate about developing young minds and nurturing students, especially while teaching subjects such as General Studies. She believes in the value of nurturing a love of learning while developing confidence and self-belief within her students, by providing a creative and inspiring learning environment.

When she’s not in school developing young minds, Jasmine enjoys hiking and discovering different places. She is also a huge fan of Marvel superheroes.

Navvab de Leon Ramirez

GRADE 3

Navvab has been in the teaching profession for the past 18 years. Currently teaching third grade, she pursues her commitment to be an effective educator by implementing current research-based strategies in the classroom.

She was born and raised in the Philippines and comes from a family of math and science educators. Her passion for teaching children was ignited at a young age when she experienced first-hand the joy of teaching handwriting and maths to her own siblings and neighbours.

She holds a degree in BS Chemistry from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, Philippines and a teaching diploma from St. Nicholas’ Teaching Centre for the Montessori Method of Education, UK. She is also a Certified Academic Language Practitioner with the Academic Language Therapy Association, US.

She firmly believes in the power that education has in bringing out the nobility and latent potentialities in each child. She has dedicated over 25 years serving as a Baha’i children’s class teacher in several countries including the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Singapore.

Navvab is married and has two teenage children.

Victoria Villaganas

GRADE 2

Victoria is a young and dynamic educator, who believes that learning should be fun. She has a Bachelors in Science and took up Early Childhood Care and Development Certificate at First Learning Centre, Singapore. She has taught preschool, and furthered her studies obtaining a Graduate Diploma in Education and Child Psychology from Arium School of Arts and Sciences, Singapore. Prior to becoming an educator, she was a registered nurse, and has practised this profession in the Philippines for about two years, before she moved to Singapore.

She consistently incorporates games, songs and innovative activities for students to enjoy their learning. 

Victoria lives in Singapore with her husband and son and she enjoys travelling.

Tammy Sion

GRADE 1

Tammy Sion holds a Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education from Monash University as well as a Diploma in Teaching, with Merit Award. Ms. Sion has worked in a variety of settings during her 25 years in the field of education and has taught students ranging from preschool to grade 3. She is also a qualified language therapist and is trained to use a multisensorial approach to enhance students’ reading, writing and spelling skills.

Tammy joined SMMIS in 2006 and she believes that her responsibility as a teacher is to facilitate and scaffold each child to reach his or her maximum potential and feel good and confident about themselves through their success in the classroom environment. She has a lovely daughter that she and her husband love spending time with. They love to go swimming, nature walking and traveling.

Michelle Samtani

K2 TEACHER

Michelle was born and raised in Hong Kong, and has just moved to Singapore this summer. Previously Michelle has worked at International Schools in Hong Kong, including Carmel School; a fully accredited IB Jewish school in Hong Kong. At Carmel she taught Nursery and Grade 2. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science degree from King’s College London and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Sunderland. From a young age Michelle has loved working with children and strives on being the kind of teacher who helps children feel appreciated, empowered and engaged. In her free time Michelle loves to travel with her family, practice yoga, read and share meals with her friends. She is very excited to be a part of the SMMIS family!

Punitha Kannayan

K1 TEACHER

Punitha is born and educated in Singapore and she has completed a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education University of Wales. She enjoys teaching young children and this has always been the heart of her passion. With this passion, she has been in the teaching profession for 26½ years. She has worked in a few preschools in Singapore and gained knowledge on teaching children aged 4 years to 6 years old. This is her 7th year working at Sir Manasseh Meyer International School and she enjoys getting to know children and people from diverse cultures. Working with the younger children has taught her the infinite journey of learning, discovery, imagination, curiosity and joy.

She enjoys being the class teacher for K1 this year, and she believes in guiding and help the children through their early school years, have fun together, resolve problems, learn to support one another and make compromises. During her leisure time she loves to spend time with her family and friends and enjoys travelling. She finds great solace in listening to music, as well as in reading and cooking.

Alelee Ricafort

K1 TEACHER

Alelee C. Ricafort was born and educated in the Philippines. After five wonderful years of teaching in the Philippines, she moved with her family to Singapore in 1996. Her teaching journey in Singapore started at a Singapore Pre-school in 2000. She has a Degree in Elementary Education and a Diploma in Pre-school Education.

She is a curious and open-minded person. These qualities characterise her work at school every day, in maintaining and promoting the children’s natural curiosity. As a class teacher, she tries to look at the students’ growth individually, to help them learn and grow at their own pace. To guide the children through their first school experience is what she enjoys the most. She enjoys working with friendly and motivated colleagues, the parents and most of all the children.

Pre-School Teachers

Justine Fredman

HEAD OF PRE-SCHOOL

Justine was born and educated in Australia. She completed a 4-year degree in a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Studies and is trained in Reggio Emilia. Upon completion of her degree Justine moved to the UK where she worked in a Jewish day school as the Grade 1 and Reception class teacher for 7 years. Moving back to Australia to start a family, Justine worked at a Jewish day school as the Year K teacher for 3 years. After having her 3 children Justine successfully opened up her own family day care which catered for children from 1-3 years old. She moved to Singapore with her family in 2015 and began working at SMMIS in 2016. She is now Head of Pre-School and has a strong philosophy of learning through play, creating child centred and hands-on approaches to learning, development and growth.

Veenu Thapliyal

NURSERY

Veenu is a passionate Early childhood educator who has been in the teaching line for more than 14 years. Having finished her Bachelors in commerce from Delhi university, she obtained her Diploma in Preschool teaching and leadership. After the combined experience of teaching in local, international as well as private school in India and Singapore, she decided to go further in preschool education and obtained her Master of Education Degree with specialization in Early Childhood Education from Monash University, Australia.

Nithya Kumar

TINY TOTS

Nithya was born and educated in Singapore. She discovered her passion for teaching from a young age. Determined to fulfill a childhood dream of being a teacher, she pursued and graduated from the University of Southern Queensland with a Bachelors in Early Childhood Studies, Australia.

After gaining valuable classroom experiences in International school settings; which deepened her love for teaching and working with children of all exceptionalities; she went on to pursue her Master of Education and Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Murdoch University; Australia.

Nithya has over eight years of teaching experience and facilitates young minds by providing a safe, welcoming and stimulating learning environment. She believes every child brings something unique and special to the classroom. She is patient and is dedicated to ensure every child’s learning needs are met and grooms emerging learners into high performers in all areas of development. She is glad that SMMIS in a nurturing environment where children can learn and experience new challenges.

Nithya enjoys volunteering in social service organizations and helping out those in need. She has a passion for music and believes the use of musical elements to promote social and emotional well-being of individuals.

Jewish Education Teachers

Tsipi Mirilashvili

Tsiporah has being teaching at SMMIS school for the past 18 years in the Hebrew and Jewish education department. Through the years she has taught classes from tiny-tots to Grade 7 and was instrumental in establish the Tal-Am program in school.

She is a graduate of “Achva College” in Israel and holds a B.E.D and teaching Diploma. She is driven by her love of the Hebrew language and the Jewish heritage Studies.

Tsiporah her husband and their four children have in Singapore for 18 years. Tsiporah is also an active member of the Jewish community and loves spending quality time with her family and friends.

Tamara Lasnitzki

Tammy was raised and educated in Melbourne, Australia and has always had a passion for education. For the past 6 years, she has been working at the largest Jewish school in Melbourne teaching all high school levels in English and Judaic Studies. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Monash University majoring in English and Jewish History.

She is dedicated to fostering a Jewish identity for her students while helping them to become global citizens. Her personal experiences being a member and leader of a Jewish youth movement, living in Israel for a year and working at a Jewish school, have developed this passion and inspired her to continue to build this legacy for current and future students.

Tammy has moved to Singapore with her husband, young daughter and pet dog. She is excited to begin her time at SMMIS and to explore Singapore with her family.

Kohi Naishtein

Kohi was born in Israel and has been living in Singapore since 2001. Kohi holds a Bachelor of Business from Derby university in Israel. In Singapore, Kohi completed several additional certificates. These include Teaching and Supporting Children with Special Needs, and a course on Learning disabilities As well as this, In addition Kohi has also completed the Tal Am training programme.

Kohi lives in Singapore with her husband and two children. She has been working at SMMIS since 2004 in a variety of roles including Art Teacher and most recently Jewish Education and Hebrew Teacher. In addition, Kohi also has worked at the Sunday School teaching Hebrew. Kohi passion is teaching the Hebrew language and teaching children a love for Israel.

Melissa Winkle

This is Melissa Winkle’s Fifth year at SMMIS. She attended Arizona State University and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. In 1977, she left the USA to live on a kibbutz in Israel, fell in love with the country, made Aliya and stayed for 11 years. Upon her return to the USA, she began teaching in a Jewish Day School, Tucson Hebrew Academy, as well as in Sunday/after School Hebrew schools in various synagogues around the city. In 2014, she was offered an opportunity to teach at SMMIS in Singapore, and accepted a position on the Jewish Studies team and she has very much enjoyed working in this unique community.

Odelia Rivni

Odelia was born and educated in Israel. She was a teacher for 2 years in Rambam school in Israel and currently teaches in SMMIS for the 12th year. She taught students from pre Nursery to grade 8, focusing on Jewish education, Tal Am and Hebrew studies. Odelia holds a B.E.D. and teaching diploma, and was trained for Talam program in Israel and in Singapore.

Odelia and her husband, Rabbi Netanel Rivni moved to Singapore to join the Chabad Shluchim and serve the Jewish community with all the Jewish aspects and needs since 2006. Odelia vision is to empower the children with Jewish education through passion and love, that will remain with them in their future. She  Is the principal of Sunday school and runs two educational camps every year.

Odelia has five children, four of them are happy students at SMMIS.

Yonit Mills

Yonit was born and educated in Israel, she holds a diploma from Tel Aviv College. Yonit is an experienced Pre-School educator and has been teaching children from Tiny Tots to Nursery over the last three years here at Sir Manasseh Meyer International School. Yonit has also taught her own children through home-schooling for 4 years, Yonit and her husband moved to Singapore 16 years ago from Hong Kong, they have 6 children, four of which are currently happy studying at SMMIS.

Specialist Subject Teachers

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Tamy Ambarchi

ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (ESL)

Tamy was born in Australia and has been living in Singapore for the last 14 years. While living in Australia, Tamy gained her undergraduate degree in Arts majoring in Sociology and History. Also, Tamy completed a Graduate Certificate in Rehab Counselling. Following these studies, Tamy obtained her TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language Certificate). While living in Singapore, Tamy undertook her Masters of Teaching (Primary).

Tamy lives in Singapore with her husband, three children and dog. She is a long time parent of SMMIS.

Victoria Haigh

SEN

Victoria is originally from the UK, despite having left nearly a decade ago she still feels most at home in the beautiful Devon countryside. Victoria has lived, studied and worked in multiple countries over the years.

She moved to Hong Kong to complete her MA in Social Work at Hong Kong University, after which she began working at an international school as the Student Support Coordinator. Victoria moved to Singapore last year with her husband and is delighted to be working as the SEN coordinator and counsellor at SMMIS.

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Christina Govi

SEN

Christina was born and educated in Singapore. She has been passionate about contributing to the special needs community since her high school days. As a stepping stone, she completed her Bachelors in Commerce with a major in Psychology and Human Resource Management from Murdoch University, Australia to realise her dream of becoming a special needs educator. She began her career at a locally renowned special needs institution, performing the role of a special needs educator for three years. 

Christina firmly believes that every child is different and not less than the other. She believes in the importance of identifying and addressing a child’s learning needs to enable them to maximise their learning potential. She endeavours to create a fun, positive and innovative learning environment, and strives to cater to the different learning needs of every child.

Christina has a keen interest in understanding different cultures and languages. This has enabled her to learn and speak five different languages!

Liu Guo Xia

MANDARIN

I have been a Chinese language Teacher since 2001. I am a certified Chinese Language Teacher and was awarded the Diploma in the Specialty of Common Teaching in China in 2001. I worked as a Chinese Language Teacher and form teacher for P1-P3 in Pioneer School from 2001 to 2009 in China.

I was a lead mandarin teacher in White Lodge Kindergarten from 2010 to 2016 in Singapore and I obtained my 2nd diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education from KLC International Institute. I also conducted Baby Sensory class and Chinese Language lesson in schools.

I have been at SMMIS for a year and I very much enjoy my job and am happy to be with kids.

Leong Yue Hoong

MANDARIN

Mr Leong graduated with a MA in Teaching Chinese as an International Language from the National Institute of Education at NTU. He believes that a good teacher should allow every student the room to grow in accordance to their traits and aspirations.

Mr Leong is a subscriber to Malcolm Knowles’ hypothesis that students approach learning differently. In his teaching, he likes to include a variety of delivery methods that address the distinctive features of listening, speaking, reading and writing, in the acquisition of a foreign language.

Through the process of mastering a foreign language, he hopes to inspire students to develop a strong sense of self-belief, and to cultivate a passion for learning that lasts throughout their lives.

Sara AK

ART & PHYSICAL EDUCATION

It takes passion to become a teacher and when you find it rewarding to be able to put smiles on the faces of children and empower them with the skills needed to succeed in life, then you know that’s the job for you.

After finishing high school in Singapore, during which Sara was made captain of the school’s netball team, she pursued a professional qualification for Specialised Teaching in Early Childhood Development for PE and Art both locally and overseas in New York. She has been teaching and working with children for 23 years and gained valuable experiences not only in Singapore but in New York and London, allowing me to experience teaching children at different stages and from different cultures and nationalities. Working overseas also meant that she had the pleasure of meeting other international artists, exposing herself not only in their differing stylistic artwork, but also to their unique culture.

Outside of school, you can find Sara either painting, experiencing different food cultures in Singapore and abroad, finding new mediums of art, researching the various trends in the art industry and combining old art traditions with new-age trends – and obsessing over her two cats, Saber and Big!

Victor Malwa

SWIMMING COACH

Victor Malwa was born in Zambia and joined SMMIS in March 2016. Prior to arriving at SMMIS, he worked as a development swimming coach at United World College (UWC-EAST Campus) Tampines. He also served as a Head Coach at Simba International School in Zambia and the Battersea Jacks Swimming Club in South London.

With over 15 years of competitive swimming coaching experience, Coach Victor was former competitive swimmer, representing Zambia at the All African Games in 1999, plus he was also awarded a swimming scholarship to train at Bolles School in Florida USA – one of best competitive swimming teams in America. Bolles School has been attributed to producing many Olympic swimmers, including Joseph Schooling of Singapore.

Coach Victor became the first black African to successfully swim across the English Channel in August, 2005. Coach Victor holds BA (H) in PE and Sports from the University of Greenwich (London) and a Masters in Coach Education and Sports Development from the University of Bath, UK. In addition, he holds several swimming teaching and coaching qualifications that include UKCC/ ASA level 2 swimming coaching, ASA level 2 Swimming Teaching and Adult & Babies qualifications. Coach Victor’s coaching philosophy focuses on creating a safe, enjoyable and challenging experience for students, providing them with an array of essential life skills.

Vidya Laxmi

LIBRARIAN

Vidya was born in Singapore and educated in Australia & Singapore. She has been working as a Librarian for 25 years. She has vast experience in setting up libraries in various organisations and also worked with a team of staff at Singapore International Enterprise, to implement WEB 2.0 as Knowledge Management Officer.

She gained her undergraduate, degree in Communication-Information Management from the University of Canberra, Australia; attained a Diploma in Library studies, from Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore; in addition to that she has a Certificate in Training and Assessment (ACTA) from Institute for Adult Learning, Singapore.