Superintendent

Dr. Mark Wenzel

Dr. Mark Wenzel

Dr. Wenzel brings 20 years in education leadership to his role at Stamford, with 14 years as superintendent. His career also includes positions as a communications director for a school district of 18,000 students; teaching at the middle school and college level; television broadcasting; and political communications. Mark earned his doctorate in Education Leadership from the University of Washington, with master's degrees from the University of Washington and the London School of Economics. He was born in Ethiopia, where his father worked as a diplomat. He lived in Japan and Korea for 10 years. His wife, Julie, recently completed a master's degree in school counseling. They have three Stamford lions: Ruby (12), Eli (10) and Finn (8).

His hobbies include singing, acting, hiking, reading and travel. In 2022, Dr. Wenzel was selected as one of 17 heads of school from the U.S. and overseas to receive a two-week leadership fellowship at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Deputy Superintendent

Dr. Thalia Nawi

Dr. Thalia Nawi

Dr. Nawi leads the organization's academic operations. She worked for six years as lead strategist and senior consultant with National Center for Teacher Residencies and Education First Consulting. A former teacher, principal, state level policy advisor and founding program director of the Denver Teacher Residency, she has served in school leadership in the United States, India, and The Gambia. Thalia holds a doctorate in Education Leadership from Harvard University and a master's in Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington.

She is joined by her daughter, a feisty toddler, and together they explore arts, cultural events, and scenic swimming spots.

Executive Director of Teaching & Learning

Tom Marshall

Tom Marshall

Tom comes to Stamford from the American International School in Israel, where he served as Director of Teaching & Learning and Deputy Head of its Jerusalem campus. He has served at public, independent, and international schools including Shanghai American School, St. John's International School in Belgium, and the American College of Sofia in Bulgaria. Tom also spent a decade working as a full-time education journalist, covering statewide and national news for Florida's largest daily newspaper, and contributing to outlets including The New York Times, Associated Press, and NBC News. Tom earned master's degrees from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education and Columbia University's School of International Affairs. His daughter, Olivia, studies biosciences at the University of Exeter in the U.K.

Tom enjoys swimming, photography, writing, and Liverpool Football Club. Fun fact: recently, Tom performed two of his poems at the Boston Poetry Slam.

Secondary School Principal

Ocki Fernandes

Ocki Fernandes

Prior to joining Stamford in 2018, Ocki served as High School Principal in Brazil for five years. He has been an educator since 1980, having taught in South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil. Other work includes college lecturing and IBDP Authorization/MSA Accreditation Team leader in Africa and the Middle East for 18 years. He earned his academic and professional qualifications from the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of South Africa. Most recently he completed his certification in Leading Schools and Leading Change through the Harvard Business School.

Ocki is in Singapore with his wife, Lila. He is the proud dad of Carina, a medical doctor, and grandfather to Shaun and Kara. Ocki competed in trampoline, tumbling and gymnastics at the international level and was the South African Tumbling Technical Coach for many years. His hobbies include swimming, running, playing guitar and flying jets. Fun fact: Ocki and a teacher colleague set a new 24-hour biathlon world record in 2004 that still stands.

Middle School Principal

Elizabeth Durkin

Elizabeth Durkin

Prior to joining Stamford in August 2019, Liz served as Secondary School Associate Principal at Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan for six years. Originally a teacher of secondary school mathematics, Liz has taught in New Zealand, England, and at the Anglo American School of Moscow and Jakarta International School. Liz holds a bachelor's in French and Mathematics and a master's in Computers in Education. Liz also has a certificate in International School Leadership from the Principals' Training Center. Her husband, Peter, teaches math in the High School. Daughter Philippa (Stamford 2021) attends University College London and son Owen graduates in 2022.

Liz enjoys walking, swimming, traveling with the family and learning new languages when time permits. Fun fact: Liz is from New Zealand, Peter is from Northern Ireland, while Philippa and Owen both speak with an American accent.

Elementary Principal

Clare Johnstone

Clare Johnstone

Clare has been part of the Stamford community for the last six years, after being an educator in Australia for 30 years. Her career includes deputy principal, curriculum director, and various leadership and classroom teacher roles across many Australian private elementary schools. Clare earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Deakin University in Australia. She is also an international trainer for Kagan Cooperative Learning out of the US. Clare is married to Peter, who joins her in Singapore and together they have adult children who are currently living in Queensland, Australia.

Clare loves the beach and loves to spend many hours there, having lived on the beautiful Australian coast her whole life. Her family home remains on the gorgeous Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Contrary to popular belief, Clare maintains that she is 5 foot 4 inches tall but avoids all forms of measurement to justify this belief.

Early Years Principal

Michael Day

Michael Day

Michael has been with Stamford for nine years. He worked in the elementary division as Deputy Principal for two years and has worked in the capacity of Principal of Early Years at the Early Learning Village for the remainder of his time with Stamford American to date. His wife, Heather, works as a school librarian, and they have two children, Lachie and Sophie, who are in Middle and High School.

Michael holds a Master of Education in Education Management from Northern Territory University, Darwin, Australia. He also has a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Pre-service) and a Bachelor of Business - Accountancy from Queensland University of Technology Kelvin Grove and Gardens Point respectively. Michael is also qualified in Australia as a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) and is currently registered with the Queensland College of Teachers, Australia. 

Before joining Stamford, Michael worked in educational leadership in Australia for 10 years. The last role he held in Australia was Head of Middle School at Brisbane School of Distance Education. Prior to this, he held various appointments in a wide variety of educational institutions ranging from small country schools to large metropolitan schools. Heather and Michael both taught at one of the most remote schools in Australia, Doomadgee State School, nine hours’ drive to the nearest town. They have fond memories of exploring the outback from Doomadgee in their old Landcruiser.

Preparatory Course for Secondary Principal

Ave Womack

Ave Womack

Ave is a globally-minded international educator who has worked 13 years in international schools and in the U.S. Prior to his current position as PCS Principal, Ave served as the High School Deputy Principal at Stamford for three years. He also served in leadership positions in Shanghai, China, and his hometown of Los Angeles. Ave places great value on high quality instruction, collaboration, teamwork, cultural awareness/sensitivity, and cultural diversity. As a lifelong learner and IB educator, Ave believes every student can learn, and he is committed to assisting students in discovering their innate and unique abilities.

Ave holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Pepperdine University, a global MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management, a certification in Educational Leadership from The College of New Jersey, and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from The College of New Jersey. He is conversant in Mandarin. He is a proud father of two boys and two girls. Ave enjoys traveling, exercising, watching movies, and learning languages.

Athletics and Activities Director

Erik Richardson

Erik Richardson

Erik Richardson hails from Colorado but has lived and worked as an international educator since 1995. As an undergraduate in drama, Erik's initial intentions were to act on stage. But a path of life-long learning taught him to play many different roles in schools around the world. Bulgaria, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and The Philippines are countries where Erik has worked in a variety of capacities: secondary PE teacher, elementary classroom teacher, drama teacher, climbing wall supervisor, Athletics and Activities Director, and coach of several sports.

Erik speaks German and Malay decently and is learning Mandarin slowly. He is also a lover of spicy food, football (soccer), music, and his family. His daughter, Steffi, is Grade 3 at Stamford and partner Kim Cheah, heads College Counseling. In his spare time, Erik can be seen playing piano or drums, running or biking, adventure traveling, or eating at Hawker Centers.

Director of Digital Learning

Paul Swanson

Paul Swanson

Paul began as Director of Digital Learning at Stamford in 2019 after working for six years as MS/HS Tech Coordinator at the United Nations International School of Hanoi. Prior to that, he taught social studies and worked as tech coordinator at a small independent school in Indiana, where he earned his master's degree in education. Paul has lived, worked, and studied in Ghana, Nepal, Brazil, India, Japan, and Vietnam, but he grew up in Boston. For the past 30 years he has also studied a variety of martial arts and musical instruments. World music has been a passion for years. As an undergraduate, Paul designed his own major in ethnomusicology at Oberlin College. He met his wife, Melissa, in Vietnam where they had their daughters, Hazel and Maya.

EAL Director

Rena Brown

Rena Brown

Rena's focus is on supporting English language learners across all grade levels, supporting teachers, and designing and implementing Stamford’s comprehensive EAL programs alongside the amazing team of EAL teachers. She has been at Stamford for nine years, teaching grade 1 through grade 9, developing pathways for English language learners and supporting teachers across divisions.

Both of her children have graduated from Stamford and have gone on to find success in university and life. She attributes a lot of their success to the teachers they have had, the experiences Stamford provided for them and the culture of care and global citizenship. Her family is Stamford proud!

Over the past 27 years, she has lived and worked in the U.S., Mexico, and Shanghai. These experiences have shaped her deep desire to understand languages, language learning and the cultural influences that impact language development. She and her family love to explore new places. Fun fact: Rena grew up on an Arabian horse ranch in California. Needless to say, she loves horses!

Director of Professional Learning

Courtney Malone

Courtney Malone

Courtney joined Stamford in 2020, bringing 20 years of experience in international education. Born and raised in the US, she has supported students in Portugal, Thailand, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, Albania, and now Singapore. She is deeply committed to helping learners of all ages find pathways to grow and develop. Serving in a range of teaching and leadership roles in US, UK, and IB curriculum schools, she has more recently focused her attention on the learning of the adults in a school community.

She is currently completing a Doctor of Education degree through Drexel University in the US, holds two Master’s degrees, and earned a Certificate of International School Leadership.

Her husband, Richard, is a fellow musician and international school leader. Together they are exploring Singapore with their three children - Elliott, Greta, and Naomi - each with their own wonderful characters.

Director of Student Support Services

Bethany Blevins

Bethany Blevins

Bethany joined SAIS in July 2020 and was previously at the American Embassy School in New Delhi (2017-20) where she was the Director of Student Support Services.  Prior to AES, Bethany worked for KIPP Public Schools in Austin, Texas as a Chief Academic Officer (2015-17), Principal (2010-16), and Director of Academics (2008-2010). Bethany also worked as an Academic Support Teacher and K-12 Department Head at the Shanghai American School (2006-2008). Bethany began her teaching career in the Teach for America program and earned her Masters of Education in Exceptionality Education from the university of St. Thomas. She is joined at Stamford by her husband Saleem and three children.

Managing Director, Operations

Belma Yebka

Belma Yebka

Belma joined Stamford in July 2021. She spent 15 years in healthcare, managing operations with a focus on safety, quality and efficient clinical care delivered to patients.

Belma started her career in humanitarian logistics working for Doctors Without Borders and Action Against Hunger, delivering assistance to the most vulnerable across central Africa. Other work includes managing medical emergency assistance centers and running medical clinics across Singapore.

Belma holds a Master’s of Science in Management of Healthcare Industries from the ESSEC Business School, a Diploma in Healthcare Leadership and Management from the Singapore Management University, and a Bachelor of Humanitarian Logistics from Bioforce Institute in Lyon, France.

Belma is 6 foot 1 and a passionate volleyball player. She also enjoys running at the MacRitchie Reservoir and never gets bored of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, where she has raised her three children over the past 12 years. She’s married to Kader, a passionate rugby player, and their children are Naël (15), Emil (9) and Imaé (5).
 

For more information about School Management, click here.