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Staff Appreciation Week 2022

Happy Staff Appreciation Week! This week, our entire faculty and staff were celebrated by ISI families, the Parent Association, Board of Directors, and School Leadership for all of their hard work. Thank you to the ISI staff that makes everything we do possible! Keep reading for more information about some of our incredible faculty and staff members.

RJ Jensen - Upper School Drama & Theatre Teacher
Years at ISI: 3
Country of Origin: Iowa, United States

What is your proudest accomplishment from your time at ISI?
All theatre productions are my proudest moments, especially since we kept putting on shows during the pandemic. Most importantly, I love it every time a student discovers a moment of creative expression and their love for the performing arts. When students find their authentic selves in theatre, I know I’m doing my job well. 

Lingyan Shao - Grade 3 Mandarin Teacher
Years at ISI: 12
Country of Origin: China

What is your favorite memory from your time at ISI?
My favorite memories from ISI were meeting a lot of talented colleagues, supportive parents, and lovely students. I have really enjoyed the different cultures and languages in the school. 

Joel O’Neil - Upper School Athletic Director
Years at ISI: 6 as AD, 5 as soccer coach previously
Country of Origin: United States

What is your favorite memory from working at ISI?
Favorite memory was beating University High School's boys soccer team for the conference title in 2015.  I'm proud of our return to sports this year after covid and getting back to growing our sports programs.  There's still so much work to do though, the best is yet to come.


Jenny Howell - Head of Upper School Individuals & Societies Department, DP History, and Individuals & Societies Teacher, Model UN Advisor
Years at ISI: 10
Country of Origin: United States

What is your favorite memory from working at ISI?
This is hard. I am so proud of my students and their achievements. I am so happy to have been a part of their MUN, CAS and History journey over the years. It has been such a joy to watch them grow, challenge themselves, be risk takers, and I have enjoyed being a part of that process collaborating and encouraging them along the way.

Emily Griffin - Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Years at ISI: 3
Country of Origin: United States

What is your favorite memory from working at ISI?
One of my favorite ISI memories is the 2019 Parade of Nations and International Fest, because our whole community came together to celebrate what makes us all unique. I also love seeing students and staff dress up during Spirit Weeks! 

In October 2020, I felt so proud of and excited for the whole ISI community when we broke ground on the Chen Family Lower School. The feeling of pride returned just a couple weeks ago when we premiered the building during the International Gala. It was so great to see everyone's faces light up as they walked through the doors for the first time!  

Pauline Durance - Pre-Kindergarten French Teacher
Years at ISI: 3
Country of Origin: France

What is your proudest accomplishment from your time at ISI?
My proudest accomplishment at ISI is watching my Pre-Kindergarten students start speaking more and more in French throughout the school year.


Blanca Montero - Grade 2 Spanish Teacher
Years at ISI: 11
Country of Origin: México

What is your proudest accomplishment from your time at ISI?
My proudest accomplishment was celebrating 10 years working at ISI. It’s a wonderful community with such amazing people! I am very happy to be here!

Sarah Kgagudi - Upper School Music Teacher
Years at ISI: 1
Country of Origin: Born and raised in USA, call South Africa home

What is your favorite memory from working at ISI?
I think the Upper School's choir at the DP Visual Arts Exhibition, which physically brought some people to tears, has been my favorite memory so far at ISI. I am so proud of how well the choir performed and that we were able to support the Visual Arts students in this way. I am also incredibly proud of my MYP 4, MYP 5 and DP 1 classes for the amount of material that they have covered. Every single student in each of those classes has really challenged themselves and grown in some aspect of their musicianship this year, and for that I think I am most proud of my work in supporting their growth.

Carol Mark - School Nurse
Years at ISI: 17
Country of Origin: United States

What is your proudest accomplishment from your time at ISI?
My proudest accomplishment from working at ISI is actually from what the last 2 years have created-  helping  ISI navigate the past 2+ years of COVID.  I feel like all of the very long and odd hours were worth it as I really believe we did our utmost to make the best decisions regarding the health and safety of all of our ISI family!  I feel like this whole process was a new and different learning curve that helped me grow my knowledge and skill base, and have had the great blessing of working more closely with our Senior Leadership team.  


Timothy Davis - Director of Information Technology and Taurel Facilities Manager
Years at ISI: 6
Country of Origin: United States

What is your proudest accomplishment from your time at ISI?
My proudest accomplishment during my time at ISI is updating the school technology infrastructure. 

Sylvie Garner - Upper School French Language Coordinator and French Language & Literature Teacher
Years at ISI: 14
Country of Origin: France

What is your favorite memory from working at ISI?
I have many wonderful and fun memories of going on exchanges to France with grades 9 and 10 all those years, the students making new friends and memories in their favorite language that will last a lifetime. It is also so rewarding to have these experiences with the students outside the classroom. 

Claudia Rodriguez - Kindergarten Spanish Teacher
Years at ISI: 8
Country of Origin: México

What is your favorite memory from your time at ISI?
I have many great memories from working at ISI. A student parade outside my house when we were teaching remotely, all the Hispanic celebrations, the ISI sleepovers, going to Flat Rock camp. And then it’s the small but meaningful moments we get to experience every day. A student just told me that “she loves me more than 100 hundred pizzas” - moments like that makes being a teacher the best job in the world.

Jiawei Gu - Upper School Mandarin Language Coordinator, Mandarin Language Acquisition, Mandarin Language & Literature Teacher
Years at ISI: 7
Country of Origin: China

What is your favorite memory from your time at ISI?
My favorite memory here is in 2018, we brought our Grade 6, 9, 10 students in the Mandarin track to China for two weeks, one week in Beijing and one week in Changzhou living with local Chinese families. This was a successful trip we made, and this trip gave students chances to use and practice their language, to engage with native speakers and to explore some Chinese history and scenes. 


Elisabeth Dione - Pre-Kindergarten French Assistant
Years at ISI: 5
Country of Origin: Senegal

Any words of wisdom you’d like to share with our community?
I will always keep in mind that the universe is ruled by laws and regulations supposed to ease our living, our life in communities. So it is important to teach kids at a young age that life is not only about what they like to do or to have. It is also about what can ease understanding, love, harmony, simply about what can ease life wherever we are, come from or whoever we are or intend to be.

Whitney Ramsay - Director of Admissions
Time at ISI: Just over a year
Country of Origin: United States

What drew you to working at ISI?
Having recruited FROM ISI for 2 different colleges/universities, I knew what a transformational experience ISI was, and was interested in the opportunity to recruit students TO ISI to have that same experience.

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