Ande is a true visionary and pioneer working with gifted learners and working in the field of problem-based instruction. She has 20 years of experience in education and educational administration. Her many years abroad and multicultural family at home have reinforced her passion for globally-minded education in the strategy and day to day practices of the school.X
Lindsey loves working with students and families and has truly found her school home in MIS. She has been working with students in a variety of facets for 18 years. Having worked as a professional school counselor for many of those years, Lindsey often finds herself partnering with various stakeholders to create innovative solutions. She has always believed that enthusiasm is one of her greatest strengths, and that is certainly evident in work with prospective families. Lindsey brings a detail-oriented focus to student schedules and other special projects.X
Tiffany Blassingame ``Ms. B`` is our Director of Academics who works to connect students, families, and teachers with necessary support inside and outside of the classroom. She also supports cultural diversity and underrepresented gifted populations in both the public and independent school sectors. Ms. B is a graduate of Columbia College with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s degree from Clemson University in Education Administration. She also holds endorsements in both reading and gifted education. She has varied teaching experiences in both private and public schools.
When she is not at MIS, Ms. B works as an educational consultant for non-profit organizations offering STEM and Literacy opportunities to students in rural communities. Additionally, Ms. B's passion is helping students and families to develop a more organized approach to home, work, and school as an Academic Life Coach.
Jason is our Director of Business Services and responsible for maintaining finance and accounting policies and procedures as well as reporting progress towards our stated goals. Jason is a graduate of the University of Virginia - Wise campus with a Bachelors degree and double major in Business Administration and Accounting. His experience includes financial statement auditing and tax consulting for publicly traded companies and non profit organizations including independent schools. Most recently Jason worked for a non-profit organization in Richmond, Virginia which specialized in the education of children with developmental disabilities.
Jason has a passion for cultivating the intellectual ability of the next generation of adults and making sure they have access to the tools that will allow them to thrive.
As a recent transplant from Virginia, when not at MIS Jason enjoys exploring Atlanta with his wife and two small children.X
Kascha Adeleye is a double graduate from the University of Georgia. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master's Degree in Education Administration and Policy. Originally from Augusta, Georgia, this will mark her third year in Atlanta and at Midtown International School. This will be her seventh year teaching elementary school, with experience in Fifth Grade, First Grade, and Kindergarten. She loves making learning fun and interesting for her students, all while making connections between the world and the classroom.
Kascha loves movies, spending time with her husband, Henry, and all their friends, and managing their bakery, Kupcakerie. Growing up overseas in Germany as a military brat, Kascha learned the importance of global learning experiences, which is what attracted her to Midtown International School. She is more than excited to begin a new adventure as Elementary Coordinator, allowing her to work with all students and teachers in grades Kindergarten through Fourth Grade as they become independent, global citizens and thinkers.X
Talia is a Jersey native who strongly believes all students deserve to feel a sense of belonging and connectedness at school! She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Ramapo College of New Jersey, and a Masters of Education (M.Ed) degree in Professional Counseling from the University of Georgia. For the past two years, Talia has worked as a Middle School Counselor for Gwinnett County Public Schools, and this is her first year at MIS. Prior to starting her counseling career, Talia was a 4-year collegiate athlete for the Ramapo College Women’s Soccer team, and later worked for the UGA Athletic Department as an academic mentor for student athletes. Additionally, she received a federally funded grant to undergo biopsychosocial-multicultural evidence-based trainings and delivered behavioral health services to at-risk students in grades K-12 in Northeast Georgia Regional Educational Service Agencies (NE GA RESA) school districts. Currently, Talia is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), and is in the process of obtaining her Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) certification. Talia understands the importance of self-care, especially in the field of education! In her spare time, Talia enjoys going for runs with her dog, traveling and exploring new cities, and attending social gatherings in the Atlanta area!X
Kachelle Gras received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology as well as her Masters of Education in School Counseling from Georgia State University. She is extremely passionate about being a student advocate and enjoys helping each student to realize and grow towards their potential. She has a husband named Pablo, he is from Argentina and their two sons, Oliver and Julian. They are a multilingual family and enjoy traveling and exploring different countries and cultures. Kachelle enjoys practicing yoga and any activity in nature, from the mountains to the beach. She is excited to call MIS her home and loves that her goals, values, and beliefs about education and children are so well represented by MIS.X
Ronald has formally worked as an educator since 2006. Over the course of his career, he has had the privilege of working with students in grades 6-12 across a broad range of educational environments in both the United States and abroad. He has been employed in public, private, charter, and international schools as a middle school social studies teacher and later as a middle and high school counselor. He is excited about joining the faculty and staff at MIS. He is the proud husband of Rita and father of Janet and Kaleb.X
Katie Mathews has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Bachelor of Science in English Education degrees, both from the University of Georgia. She earned a Master of Arts in Teaching degree with an emphasis in Secondary English from the University of Southern California and received her gifted endorsement and certification from the University of North Georgia. Katie is in her third year at MIS and her twelfth year of teaching. She has experience teaching students from 4th through 10th grade, with the majority of that time has been spent teaching language arts at the middle school level. Katie loves traveling globally and exploring locally with her husband, Jackson, and her dog, Leon. She loves reading and writing in her free time and strives to instill her students with an appreciation and enthusiasm for these same skills. Katie’s favorite book is always changing, but she agrees with Harper Lee that “the book to read is not the one that thinks for you, but the one which makes you think.”X
World citizenship has always played a central role in Munib’s life: he was born in Belgium to Iranian parents and grew up in Brazil, Macau, China, and the United States. Munib received both his Bachelor’s in Film Studies & Creative Writing as well as his Master’s in Film Studies from the University of Miami in Florida, and holds a PhD in Communication with a concentration in Film and Media Studies from Georgia State University. He has presented original research in a number of regional and national conferences, including ones held by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, the Association for Asian Studies, the American Men’s Studies Association, the Association for Bahá’í Studies, and the Popular Culture Association. Munib has also worked as a script reader and editor for a number of media projects. When not writing about himself in the third person, Munib enjoys playing drums and the ukulele, watching movies, playing video games, and exploring Atlanta with his wife Melanie and their two sons, Tristan and Thornton.X
Ashley Scott serves as the Student Development Coordinator at Midtown International School. In this unique role, Ashley’s work centers on the student experience, assisting with the admissions, matriculation, and onboarding processes for new students, as well as coordinating and executing all travel experiences. Ashley’s passion for experiential student learning is demonstrated through his intentional planning and collaboration with all teachers to embed the curriculum in field trips, domestic, and international student travel. This commitment to student experience also comes through in his admissions work, where he learns about and develops a relationship with each potential new student at MIS, ultimately finding the right fit for their personal and academic strengths.
Ashley has vast experience in education, teaching in public, private, and charter settings for students ranging from grades Pre-K to 8th. In addition to his undergraduate degree from Georgia Southern University, Ashley received a School Master Gardener Certification from the University of Georgia to provide students with a hands-on opportunity for learning through cultivating raised beds, shade, bog and pollinator gardens, and caring for chickens.
Ashley’s passion for student travel also applies to his own life – since launching his international travel program for students, he counts 32 countries and 94 international cities on his personal travel résumé. His lifelong pursuit of learning is as immersive as his students’ – he spends a few weeks in Guatemala each summer, volunteering to teach English while learning Spanish. Ashley holds a title of Global Education Ambassador for Education First, and owns his own travel company, Abiri Tours, in order to facilitate meaningful travel experiences for individuals and families outside of the MIS community.
Ashley has two sons, DJ (22) and Amir (15) who is a 10th grade student at MIS.X
Laura is entering her eleventh year in education and holds a Bachelor’s degree in mass communication/journalism, a Master of Arts degree in elementary education (K-8), and a gifted endorsement. Laura is excited to enter her fourth year with MIS as the Junior High Coordinator, English, and National History Day teacher. She had the unique opportunity to spend her career focused in gifted education by creating a gifted program for a private school south of Atlanta, and has served as the Educational Specialist for Gifted Education in Baltimore City Schools where she created gifted programming for the district. In her spare time, Laura enjoys reading, hiking, kayaking, and working out with her husband Ben (also a teacher at MIS). They have a full house with three boys, Alex, Matthew, and Zach, three dogs, and two cats.X
A native of Chicago, Sana Ahmed received her B.A. in Economics from DePaul University and her Masters in Public Health from Benedictine University. Her real passion, however, has been developing and educating the minds of our young people. She has a long-standing history of volunteering in educating underprivileged youth, teaching basic reading and writing, as well as more recently getting involved in Kindergarten. Prior to working at MIS, she has devoted her time fully to the rearing of her two girls, Emaan and Nurah. She has had a life-long love of math and engineering and has transmitted this to her daughters, taking away the myth that math is not for girls. She is excited to teach middle and high school math at MIS this year, but even more excited about helping shape these wonderful kids.X
Andy Betz grew up in St. Louis and lived in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he attended Lehigh University (’87 in Engineering Physics and ’94 in Chemistry), worked at Bethlehem Steel as a chemist, and for the City of Bethlehem Fire Department as a firefighter. Moving to Georgia, he was a Loss Control Consultant (teaching firefighters), a contractor for the CDC (through the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) as an Emergency Response Coordinator, and in risk management for the AJC. Andy continued tutoring math, chemistry, and physics, then teaching the same at a variety of high schools (during the day) and Gwinnett College (at night). He also is a certified American Heart Association CPR/AED/FirstAid instructor. He is happily married to his wife for 25 years.X
Aaron hails from Perth, Western Australia where he received a Bachelor of Secondary Education and a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in European Studies and History at the University of Western Australia. Aaron is currently our 7th and 8th grade Social Studies Teacher and is loving his time in the US. Having previously taught at international schools in Kuwait and Albania, Aaron has been fortunate enough to travel to over 80 countries throughout his career. He brings this experience to his classroom where he encourages students to approach everything from a global perspective, making sure to explore history from many different angles. Aaron believes in lifelong learning and regularly employs collaboration and problem solving within his classroom. Outside of the classroom, Aaron enjoys travelling as often as possible, photography, scuba diving and watching Australian Rules Football.X
Traci Bryant is an Atlanta native and a third generation educator. To say that teaching is in her blood is an understatement (and also very cliche`). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Spelman College and a MBA from American Intercontinental University. She also studied Campaign Management at The George Washington University School of Political Management in Washington D.C. In addition, Traci has enjoyed an extensive career developing and leading training programs within various industries . Ultimately, it was her fascination with Global Studies and her inherited desire to teach that led her to Midtown International School.
Traci’s Philosophy on education is deeply rooted in the belief that Teacher’s have the most important job in the world, shaping the future of our society. She believes that a passion for learning can be infectious and that everyone can be inspired to learn from someone who is passionate about what they are teaching.
Outside of the classroom, Traci enjoys spending time with her family (Husband Christopher & Son CJ) and Volunteering at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She also enjoys an occasional TV Show marathons on Netflix.
Mariaelena Buresh is the English Language Arts and Math teacher for 5th grade. She graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She also teaches Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to students 3-6 years old, and attends Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church.
Mariaelena was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico to a Spanish father and French mother. Her diverse cultural up-bringing helped to instill a great love of travel and a fascination with different cultures. As a child, she would often visit her family in France and Puerto Rico, as a result she is fluent in Spanish and French. After she graduated from high school with honors, she travelled Eastern and Western Europe, as well as the Soviet Union. These experiences afforded her a unique global perspective that is inherent to her teaching style.
She is married to Scott Buresh, entrepreneur and CEO, and has two beautiful daughters. It was her love of her children,and all children, that prompted her to pursue a rewarding career in education. After working as a substitute andvolunteer for many years and interning at MIS, Mariaelena has committed herself to inspire each child to be their very best while continuing to further her own education.
When Mariaelena is not reading or creating fun lessons, she loves biking, baking, swimming, meditating, playing with her dogs, and above all spending quality time with her family.
Jordan is in her 5th year as an MIS Science Lab Instructor. She is the K-4 STEM Coordinator, 5th/6th grade Robotics Instructor, HS Marine Biology Instructor and Director of MIS Summer Camps. Her holds a Master's of Science in Science Education from Montana State University where her research focused on using executive function in the 2nd grade mathematics classroom. Jordan earned her Bachelor's of Science from North Carolina State University, a Specialized Certificate in Gifted and Talented Education from San Diego State, and her teaching certification form West Florida University. She has presented at The Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary on Executive Function in Gifted Learners as well as the Georgia Association for Gifted Children on problem-based learning and atthe National Association of Gifted Children on underrepresented populations in STEM. Jordan also directs the STEM Club afterschool program with fellow NCSU alum Grace Ward. Go Pack! Additionally, Jordan loves all things weird and wacky as well as talking to her cats. She is a mom to rising MIS fourth grader, Michael, and rising second grader Katie.X
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
- Nelson Mandela
Eli was born and raised in Nicaragua and attended college at King University in Bristol, Tennessee. At King, He received a bachelor’s in Spanish and participated in the men’s soccer program. Eli has previously worked with elementary, middle, and high schools around the tri-cities area, helping children with learning disabilities as well as teaching English to speakers of other languages. In the classroom, he focuses on broadening students’ perception of the world by teaching them the value of diversity in people, cultures, and languages.
Growing up in a different culture opened his eyes to a radically different worldview – He believes this is where his passion for languages was born and is now fluent in Spanish, English, French, and Portuguese.X
After 13 years in Henry County middle schools, Selina is thrilled to have the opportunity to join the MIS family. She has held numerous leadership positions, including gifted coordinator, curriculum chair, and team/grade level leader, as well as serving as yearbook and newspaper advisor. Since 2006, the majority of her classes have been gifted. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (Georgia State University), a Master of Arts in Teaching (Emory University), and a Gifted Endorsement.Before she was a teacher, Selina was a freelance writer and business owner. In her spare time, Selina enjoys being outside, reading, writing, traveling, weight training, and DIY home projects. She and her husband Scott have two grown daughters, two dogs, two cats, and a turtle.X
Elaine has been an educator for over forty years and has enjoyed the last sixteen years teaching Gifted Education. As the Literature Coordinator, she bridges her expertise in Language Arts and her love of the printed page by overseeing the three MIS libraries. Elaine leads the elementary book clubs in literary pursuits and supervises the Reading Bowl team. She has a great love for the humanities and enjoys building educational opportunities that reflect an interdisciplinary approach. Elaine engages students in creative moments that develop critical thinking and expertise in problem solving. She is a voracious reader and loves to travel, exploring museums and architecture all over the world. During school holidays, Elaine particularly enjoys visiting her two sons in New York and California, and playing with her new grandson.X
Lisa is passionate about teaching students scientific literacy within the context of real-world issues. This will be Lisa’s sixth year as a member of the MIS science team, having joined the faculty in the school’s first year. Over the last six years, she has had the privilege to teach all ages K-10. She has previously taught biology, genetics, and microbiology, and will teach high school chemistry this year.
Lisa is native of Charlotte, NC, but grew up in the Atlanta area and graduated with a B.S. in Microbiology from Auburn University. After working for one year at the Auburn Vet School, she completed an M.S. in Microbiology at Auburn in 1998. She worked at a small biotech company in Huntsville, AL for two years until 2000, when she then went to work in a forensic biology lab. Lisa and her husband moved to Maryland in 2002 to work at The National Institutes of Health. She has also held adjunct faculty roles at three community colleges where she taught biology and microbiology. Lisa returned to Atlanta in 2005 with her family. When she is not at school, she enjoys reading science fiction, playing her flute in a quintet group, working out, and traveling internationally as much as possible.X
John is a well-rounded mathematical scholar who is proud to be a member of the staff at MIS. He has over eight years of experience instructing mathematics and physics starting with tutoring in a small library in Snellville all the way to giving supplemental instruction in the library of the University of West Georgia (UWG). At UWG, he attained his bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics. As a member of the American Astronomical Society and the Georgia Academy of Science, he conducted astrophysical research using R-Matrix calculations to model photo ionization in planetary nebulae. He also has seven years of experience with music theory playing guitar for rock bands, jazz ensembles, and orchestras throughout his high school and college career. In his spare time, he cooks and prepares food at the Carroll County soup kitchen and volunteers to teach at The Literacy Center.X
Hillary Koning is a passionate advocate for individualized education and meeting each child's unique needs. With over 15 years experience working with children, she combines a love of learning alongside her students with a sense of humor and connection. After receiving her BA degree in Psychology and Spanish at Willamette University, she completed a masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Portland State University. Her practice areas focused on serving children with language and literacy needs, as well as Autism Spectrum Disorders, and she added an Autism Specialist certification to her resume before moving to Atlanta. In her classroom, Mrs. Koning seeks to inspire her students to think globally, consider other perspectives, and make connections between cultures and history. She has been lucky to live and travel abroad, and she enjoys sharing those experiences with her husband and three children. On the weekends her family enjoys hiking and exploring Georgia's state parks, and learning more about the history and culture of the Southeast.X
Gabbi loves working with students and finding creative ways to keep learning fun. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor’s in Education, and also holds a Masters degree in Psychology from Tennessee State University. Growing up with a Haitian mother, Gabbi gained an understanding of the importance of international education. She loves to learn, and her favorite part of teaching is learning with her students. She has taught students from pre-k through 5th grade and enjoys their curiosity, energy, as well as their belief in magic and what some consider the impossible. Away from school, Gabbi likes to hang out with her favorite person - her daughter Elise - read, try anything craftsy and travel.X
Tone has been in theatrical arts as both a seasoned entertainer and proficient educator for more than thirty years, and enjoyed the last seventeen years teaching Arts Education to children. At MIS, Tone brings his expertise to our gifted learners in two amazing programs, theatre and public speaking. Tone has enormous passion for civility, particularly where human communication and interaction take place. He will inspire our students this year in a course entitled “Civic Connectivity” that will engage students in a year long journey that will expand both their personal and student tool-sets. This year in particular, Tone has crafted a school wide endeavor that will take all of us on a journey to improve learning and relationships at MIS. “The Art of Consideration” (AOC) will engage our administration, faculty, students, and parents. This year-long journey will broaden self-awareness and help strengthen learning and relationships here at MIS. Tone is extremely active in his community and helped establish bylaws for his community. Tone enjoys fitness, cooking, music, journaling, graphic design, meditation, photography, publishing, painting, the company of family, friends.X
Heather Mobley is a native of south Georgia with strong, familial ties in the Atlanta area. She obtained a B.A and M.A in English and History, respectively, from Fort Valley State University. Mrs. Mobley also holds a master’s degree in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University. Prior to working at MIS, she has worked for Bellsouth, IBM, the University System of Georgia, and the Technical College System of Georgia. In her spare time she enjoys reading, sewing, baking and spending time with her family. She and her husband have three children.X
Matthew Morley was born in Tripoli, Lybia, and grew up in France and Switzerland. He attended public school in France, and developed a life-long passion for French language and culture. As a third-culture child, Matthew is interested in comparative cultural studies, cultural conflict, and seeks to develop students’ overall cultural IQ in and out of the classroom. Matthew holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina Charlotte in Geography, an M.A. in French from Georgia State University and completed M.A. French coursework at the Université de Paris-Saclay, France. Prior to MIS, he taught French as an adjunct instructor at GSU and philosophy as a GTA at Florida Atlantic University. He also has 15 years of work experience in the IT field.
In the classroom, Matthew focuses on developing students’ French speaking and writing skills. His students are encouraged to discover cultural variety through comparative study, usually between the U.S. and Francophone cultures. He focuses on activities which require creativity and collaboration to solve problems and develop a consciousness of inquiry - while having fun, being creative and innovative. He gains great satisfaction from connecting with his students, and really enjoys facilitating class discussions that dig below the surface and foster critical thinking and metacognitive skills.
Matthew loves to travel, and spends several weeks a year in France and Switzerland visiting friends and family. He also enjoys reading, gardening and hiking.X
Marysa, a native of Atlanta, graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She is delighted to join the Midtown International School community, where she brings her excitement and enthusiasm to teach Second Grade. Prior to joining MIS, Marysa trained at an autism center and provided behavioral therapy with one-on-one teaching at an Atlanta area preparatory school. Through teaching different elementary grades during her college internship, providing various childcare services, and tutoring in math and reading, Marysa has experience working with children of many ages and backgrounds. In her free time, she enjoys running, yoga, tennis, and anything outdoors.X
Travis is very excited to be starting his third year teaching math at MIS. Before joining the team at MIS, Travis was a teacher at the International School of Helsinki, in Finland, where he learned about Finnish culture, explored Europe, and taught a diverse group of students from all of the world. Travis found working in an international environment to be extremely fulfilling and an ideal education setting where students are encouraged to become empowered, global citizens. These are just a few factors that make MIS such a great place! Before moving to Finland, he received his Master’s of Arts in Teaching Mathematics from Georgia State University after earning his Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from Emory University. Travis loves incorporating liberal arts into his math lessons, and believes that math can be found all around us. In his free time Travis enjoys playing tennis, cooking, and cheering on the Atlanta Falcons.X
Latisha (Chef Tish) Rodgers is a chef and native Of Detroit MI. Chef Tish is a US navy veteran and the newest member to the MIS team. She was one of the first twenty five females aboard the US Navy Amphibious ship USS (Devil dog) Belleuwood LHA 3 homeported In Sasebo Japan. She actively participated in a ship to crew Hull swap with San Diego California based ship the USS Essex LHD 2. Within her first two year’s aboard the USS Essex Latisha was awarded both her Surface warfare and Air Warfare qualification pins making her number three out of over 120 seaman to be duo warfare qualified. While stationed in Japan Latisha visited countries and places such as Thailand, Singapore, Korea, Australia, Philippines, China, and Guam. Latisha worked as a Navy Master at arms (military police) where she discovered her passion for teaching by operating as a Field Training officer as well as a non-lethal weapons instructor, weapons instructor and journeyman instructor. While in law enforcement she actively pursued antiterrorism and homeland security qualifications up to Antiterrorism Specialist. In her Travels Latisha was assigned to Gaeta and Sicily Italy where she lived and worked completely immersed in the Italian culture for four years. Latisha speaks intermediate Italian and specializes in Italian Cuisine. Italy is where she decided to cook professionally. Changing her career Path she exited the military and pursued her dream. She holds individual certifications in culinary arts and Baking and Pastry from Le Cordon Bleu Atlanta. She has an Associate’s degree in culinary operations from Le cordon Bleu Scottsdale and has worked in Atlanta’s finest dining establishments as a Farm to table Chef for the last Five Years. Latisha has cooked with establishments such as Turkish cuisine Café Istanbul 1 in Decatur, The esteemed Ritz Carlton Buckhead, Ford Fry/Rocket farm restaurants JCT kitchen and bar and the trendy Victory brands such as Little Trouble, Victory sandwich bar and SOS Tiki bar. She has competed on Food Network shows such As Guys Grocery games Holiday veteran show down and owns and operates her own specialty food and intimate catering company Comfortable Gourmet. Latisha’s enjoys all things art in cooking, music, dancing and literature. Spreading her knowledge with others mixed with philosophy of ”One Can never stop learning” is what drove her to MIS. With full initiative she plans to bring her love of growing and cooking to the students by creating a curriculum based farm to school program. A fun and creative program with great daily food experiences to include trips to visit local farms to learn the benefits of seasonal eating and local outsourcing.X
Karen comes to MIS from Evansdale Elementary, where she worked for 21 years as an administrative team. She is very detail oriented and efficient with deadlines. Karen worked as a bookkeeper and registrar but her favorite job is meeting people and problem-solving with students, staff and parents. Her favorite pastimes are reading and walking. She and her husband, Dave, have one daughter, Melissa, who is a special education teacher at Evansdale.X
Jamila is thrilled to join the staff here at MIS! Jamila attended the University of Georgia graduating with a BSEd. In addition to science, Jamila also pursued her passion of sports by working for 4 years as a student athletic trainer at UGA, interning with the Women’s Sports Foundation and the local hospital. Before joining the team, she spent over a decade teaching science to students of all ages and greatly enjoyed helping students see the value of science in everyday life. Most recently, Jamila provided the academic and social support needed for students and families to develop a plan for college and upon acceptance persist to graduation. In addition, she has planned and conducted many domestic and international trips and service learning projects. During her free time, Jamila enjoys participating in outdoor activities, designing/building, traveling, volunteering, spending time with family and seeking out diverse learning experiences.X
In his third year as PE instructor and soccer coach at MIS, Alan believes physical education should feel more like play than work. From a competitive soccer team learning zone defense to a playground group sharing made-up rules of foursquare, everyone should be having fun. Alan finds true joy in athletic games and challenges, and he seeks to create a learning environment where each student can find a positive relationship with fitness that will last a lifetime.
Alan is a nationally licensed soccer coach and is excited to be a part of the growing athletics program at MIS. After a successful year of 6th-8th grade competing provisionally in the Metro Atlanta Athletic Conference (MAAC), Alan is eager to guide the middle school teams through their first year of full competition. Go Lynx!
On a personal note, Alan addresses three pressing questions: Beatles over Rolling Stones, Coke over Pepsi, Messi over Ronaldo.
Ben is new to MIS this year and brings 13 years of physical education experience. He has a Bachelor’s degree in physical education and health, and is a certified fitness instructor for the R.I.P.P.E.D and Body Pump programs. He has worked with students in grades kindergarten through high school and believes that physical education is an essential part of a child’s education. With a focus on lessons that involve sportsmanship, teamwork, friendly competition, and risk taking, Ben’s goal is to help students grow socially while developing a positive self-image. He also enjoys integrating math, science, reading and other core subjects into his lessons. “By building a positive relationship with my students I hope that each student will be intrinsically motivated to eat healthy and exercise for the rest of their lives.” When Ben is not teaching or working out he enjoys kayaking and staying active with his family.X
Nana is a highly established Concierge/Supervisor with over 10 years of experience in hospitality. His strengths lie in his ability to build relationships as well as make people feel at home and welcome wherever he is. Nana is known for his infectious smile and positive attitude he brings to every situation. He is a graduate of St. Paul's Technical School in Accra, Ghana, and also holds GATE, OHSA certificate and also ALICE Instructor. He speaks fluent Akan, Ga, French and some Ewe (all local dialects). He is a firm believer in hard work and believes anything can be accomplished when you apply yourself and work hard. He is committed to displaying qualities such as team spirit, pride, trust and group identity wherever he works.
Nana lives in Atlanta with his wife, Joan and his two sons, Jerryl (Kweku) and Kende. He is a diehard futbol (soccer) fan. Although Arsenal is his favorite team, any team playing will suffice. Outside of his regular work, Nana is a Boot Camp Instructor (ASFA, NASM Certified)and Advance Personal Trainer and also enjoys basketball and just hanging out with his family. He is a member of the Tabernacle of Praise Church International.X
Henry has a passion for the English language and is a self-proclaimed ‘word-nerd.’ He received his BA in English/Creative Writing from Miami University of Ohio, where he also earned a minor in Japanese. Combining his BA with an MAT in English Education from Boston University has taught him to value imagination and investigation in his classroom. Henry spent seven months in Osaka, Japan as a study- abroad student at Kwansei Gakuin University, where he enjoyed tutoring the native students in English as much as grooming his own skills in Japanese. In the classroom, Henry’s objective is to equip his students with a ‘tool-belt’ of practical, critical thinking, and observational skills to assist in their becoming well-rounded citizens of their communities and the world. Originally from Stamford, Connecticut, Henry grew up in the Atlanta area. In his spare time, he enjoys writing, hiking, and camping in the north Georgia mountains and South Carolina, as well as spoiling his two cats, Dino and Lucia.X
Humans have an innate capacity for artistic expression. Like anything else, that capacity for expression grows and changes with practice and experience. In Kyle's classroom, students, teachers (and parents!) engage with our identities as musicians and artists as peers through a program focused on the influence of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade on music, art, and culture.
Kyle attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where he studied Instrumental Music Education with a focus on educational leadership. Eager for growth, Kyle sought to diversify his experiences from the normal western art music curriculum through performing with the Miami University Men’s Glee Club, Steel Band, african drumming ensembles, and was the director of the Miami University Klezmorim. He took on private studies in west african dance drumming with Dr. Chris Tanner of Miami University and choral conducting and score study with Dr. Ethan Sperry of Portland State University. Kyle is an active musician and educator in the Atlanta area and is the assistant director of Eclectic Music and the Little Middle School and is the musical director of the Metrognomes jazz band, an ensemble of the Atlanta Freedom Bands.X
After completing a yearlong cultural exchange program in Madrid, Spain, Grace is enjoying her return to the classroom. During her time abroad, she lived with a local family, participated in a language immersion program, interacted daily with the regional culture, and traveled around Europe as often as she could. Hoping to one day become completely fluent in the Spanish, Grace looks forward to continuing her practice of the language in Atlanta. In the spring of 2011, Grace earned a degree in Elementary Education from NC State University, and then went on to teach 2nd grade for two years in Raleigh, NC. Grace completed her Master’s Degree in Global Studies in Education from the University of Illinois. In her classroom, she places a large emphasis on global citizenship and diversity. Her students spend a lot of time learning how to be productive team members by effectively working together both in and out of the classroom. In order to foster this philosophy, Grace participated in an extensive research study with NC State University in her second year of teaching that was based around how to create a classroom centered on student discourse. She strives to integrate this learning into her each of her classes at MIS, as well as her enthusiasm for cultural studies, mathematics, and adventure seeking.X
When asked why teaching Gifted students is important to her, Eydie explains how they have not only helped her grow as a professional, but more importantly, they are the driving force behind her encouragement to grow into the best version of herself. “Together, our curious natures, our shared interest in ‘digging deeper,’ and our everquestioning mindset consistently takes us down paths where creativity, imagination, and innovation reign. Our shared passions are the gateway to exploration.” With a steadfast learning-attitude, Eydie knew she still had a lot to gain from her students the day one of her first-graders beat her at a game of chess; she was thrilled. As the Elementary Computer Science teacher at MIS, Eydie intends to exemplify a quote from Seymour Papert, an MIT Professor who discusses how children use computers as learning tools for mathematical reasoning skills and creative, concrete sequential thinking. Seymour explicates, “Children learn to program the computer instead of the computer programming the child.” Eydie feels that having this understanding will give students empathy within a complicated world and in doing so they will gain the ability to creatively solve problems they care about. Eydie currently holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Miami University and a Master of Arts, Teaching and Learning Elementary Math from Nova Southeastern University. In addition to her passion for all things education, Eydie has a love for reading, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with family.X
Dongxiong has B.A in Marine Engine Management from Jimei University in Xiamen, China. He earned a Master of Laws from Huazhong University of Science and Technology. In 2008 he passed the judicial examination and received the legal professional qualification. Dongxiong is in his third year at MIS and thirteenth year of teaching. He taught at the middle school level and law at Xiamen Ocean Vocational College in China. Additionally, He enjoys teaching and helping students learn more about Chinese culture. He also loves to play basketball, soccer, table tennis, and Chinese chess.X