Dr. Mark Wenzel
Mark joins Stamford from Washington State, where he has served as superintendent in two districts over 12 years. 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. Mark 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 (11), Eli (8) and Finn (6). Hobbies include singing, acting, hiking, reading and travel. Fun fact: Mark spent several hours on Skype working with a dialect coach in London last year to master the traditional RP British accent for a role as Henry Higgins in a local production of My Fair Lady.
Dr. Steven Desroches
Steve has 23 years of experience as an educator. He has a proven track record in recruiting high caliber staff, and guiding their professional growth. Originally from Canada, Steve has spent his previous 21 years in Latin America. As Head of the George Washington School in Cartegena and Head of the Panamerican School of Bucaramanga, he led school strategic planning initiatives and improvement goals through balanced scoreboards and key performance indicators aligned to the school's mission and accreditation process. He has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, a master's degree in Education from the University of Alabama, and two bachelor's degrees in Education (University of Toronto) and Environmental Studies (University of Waterloo). Steve joined Stamford with his wife, Zoraya and three children. Fun Fact: Steve serves as an advanced scout and secret agent (highly confidential and not to be shared) for the Canadian government plot for world dominance.
Executive Director of Teaching & Learning
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, will be a first-year student in biosciences at the University of Exeter in the U.K. this fall. He enjoys swimming, photography, writing, and Liverpool Football Club. Fun fact: last summer, Tom performed two of his poems at the Boston Poetry Slam.
Secondary School Principal
Ocki joined Stamford from Graded, the American School in Sao Paulo, Brazil where he served as High School Principal for five years. Ocki has been an educator since 1980 having taught in South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil. Before going on to the international circuit, Ocki was a lecturer at the College of Education of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Ocki served as IBDP Authorisation Team Leader and MSA Accreditation Team leader in Africa and the Middle East for 18 years. Ocki 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
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, is the Head of Mathematics in the High School here at SAIS, and they are joined by their two children, Philippa (class of 2021) and Owen (class of 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.
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 still 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 has been with Stamford for almost eight years. He worked in the elementary division as Deputy Principal for two years and is now Principal of Early Years at the Early Learning Village. His wife, Heather, works in Stamford’s Lincoln Library and they have two children, Lachie (Grade 9) and Sophie (Grade 6). Before joining Stamford, Michael worked in Australia in educational leadership positions for close to 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
Ian has over 14 years of professional experience in the field of English language acquisition. He began his career in China, where he taught Western Civilization, US Government, and a host of other content-rich English language courses in the Chinese University system. Ian also served for eight years as Dean of International Students and Director of ESL at Montverde Academy in Florida, where he pioneered a summer school program in Shanghai. Ian is an avid student of Chinese language, history, and culture. He is especially interested in the over 50 ethnic minorities of China. He spent a year and half living with a Naxi family in Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China, where he researched Yi culture and how ethnic minorities fit into mass Chinese society, while also teaching at Yunnan University of Culture and Tourism. He holds a bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies and History from Colby College, a master's in International Affairs and Administration from Missouri State University, and a master's in East Asian Studies from Washington University in Saint Louis. Ian moved to Singapore with his wife, Angel, and son, Trevor.
Athletics and Activities Director
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 (daughter Steffi, Grade 2 at Stamford and partner Kim Cheah, Head of College Counseling). In his spare time, Erik can be seen playing piano or drums, running or biking, adventure traveling, or eating at Hawker Centers. Erik is beginning his second year at Stamford as Athletics Director.
Director of Digital Learning
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, and 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.
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Chief Operating Officer, Cognita Schools Asia
Eric Van Den Berg
Eric joined Cognita Schools as a Chief Operating Officer Asia in June 2017. Prior to this, he had over 20 years of experience in the logistic industry, with his recent role as Regional Vice President of FedEx Express, South Pacific.
In addition to Singapore, he has been based in the Netherlands, Germany, and China where he held roles that ranged from Marketing, Strategy, Operations & Engineering and General Management.
He has played a leading role in key projects like the acquisition and integration of companies into in Germany, market entry into China, and leading change in the management across a number of strategic programs. He also thrives on large transformational assignments and driving business results through strong performance management.
Eric holds a Master of Business Administration from the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), in Communication at The Hague University of Applied Science.
His hobbies are playing drums, Thai boxing and Scuba Diving. As a Dutch native, he enjoys good food and fine wine.
Eric is married to his wife, Emily and has two boys.
Managing Director, Operations
Jeremy Yeo joins us as Managing Director, Operations. He has 20 years of general management experience, spanning across industries in hospitality, real estate and infrastructure. Prior to joining Stamford, he was based in Beijing, China, with the Shangri-La Hotel Group. He was also part of the leadership team managing the Jewel Changi Airport development. Jeremy holds a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the National University of Singapore. He devotes his free time to long runs, reading history and songwriting. He is married to an educator, Adeline, and has three children.