Only the BEst
We Know How to Make Learning Fun For Kids
The mission of SAIS is to provide a progressive American style learning environment where all students develop and apply the knowledge, skills and habits of mind necessary for academic, workplace and personal success anywhere in the world.
Our small school serves as a community nucleus that invites strong support from parents and community members as well as closer working relationships among the school staff.
Darin Schmidt is proud to be the principal of the Shenzhen American International School. He began his career in 1993 as a music educator. Before coming to Shenzhen, Darin worked for seven years as a school improvement chairman and for six years as an assistant principal and principal.
As a music educator, Darin received numerous awards, including eleven Excellence in Education awards from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. He has served as a music curriculum consultant for the states of Michigan and Massachusetts, and he has given state-level presentations on fine arts curriculum and school improvement. Darin is currently in demand as a speaker and professional developer for project-based learning, with speaking appointments at major conferences in Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
Darin holds the Bachelor of Music Education degree and the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership degree from Western Michigan University. He also holds a Master of Music degree from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University-Bloomington. In his spare time, Darin enjoys travel, cooking, playing piano, gourmet food, and baseball.
Middle School Humanities
Mr. Jay Wesolek was born in Buffalo, New York. He is married and has two daughters attending SAIS. Jay earned his Bachelor of Arts, in Political Science, from UC Berkeley in 2003. He went on to earn a Master’s in Business Administration from Shanghai Jiaotong University in 2011. Jay earned a Master of Art’s in Teaching Degree from The University of Southern California in 2014. Jay has been teaching since 2008. He spent one year in South Korea, and has been in Shanghai since 2009. He has taught all ages and grade levels from two-years-old to adults in university and businesses. Jay looks forward to being a positive member of the SAIS family.
Julisa Rivera Del Toro
Mark has been a teacher for seven years teaching Pre K- K and has been living in China for six of those years. Mark completed his Master degree in Elementary Education and has completed a U.S Teaching Certificate in Early Childhood. His teaching philosophy is to form a strong healthy relationship with students, by finding out their interests and using their prior knowledge to plan interesting and fun learning activities for them. He aims to provide a welcoming all-inclusive learning environment using differentiated instruction to suit each learner. He’s a firm believer in student guided learning allowing the students the freedom to choose, question and direct their own learning. He guides students through both collaborative and independent learning to develop skills, knowledge and positive attitudes.
BA in Early Childhood Studies
Teaching Certificate City and Guilds 710
This is my 10th year teaching abroad in China. My experience is mostly in pre-school and Kindergarten.
I have taught here in China at the Clifford International Kindergarten for 6 years and then I moved to American International School of Guangzhou in preschool for 3 years.
Previous experience has been teaching part-time in England teaching sports and dance whilst bringing my family up at home.
I love teaching because it brings me great pleasure to see young children learn something new. I love that they are inquisitive and want to know many things. I want to help the children enjoy learning. I want them to be excited about learning. I believe that when children are happy they learn well.
My hobbies are sports and dancing. I love going to the theatre and seeing musical shows and spending time with my family.
Ms Pasco is bilingual, speaking English and Spanish. She was born in London and comes from a mixed family background where her mother is English and father Peruvian. Her interests are English and children as creative writers, enjoying math and Physical Education. She believes that children learn more when they are enjoying themselves whilst being challenged and independent.
During her spare time she enjoys spending time with her young family, cycling and sightseeing.
Edwin is extremely excited to be part of this great institution. He is originally from New York City, has been working in the field of education since 2005 and really enjoy teaching young minds. This will be his first-time teaching in China so he looks forward to learning so much from this country. Prior to moving to Shenzhen, he taught in South Korea for almost 7 years. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Nyack College in 2004 and currently working on his Master’s degree in Special Education at Touro College. He is bilingual, speaking English and Spanish both at native levels. In addition, he can also speak Korean and Chinese. During his time off he enjoys sight-seeing, learning, Latin dancing, and listening to music.
Kara graduated with her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education in 2005. Since then, she has taught elementary school students in Seattle, Washington and Phnom Penh, Cambodia before coming to S.A.I.S in 2015. In 2018, Kara received her Masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. She is passionate about encouraging the development of the whole-child in education, and believes that children’s natural creativity and curiosity needs to be nurtured and honored. Kara appreciates the creative arts, writing, exploring the outdoors, travelling, and learning about other cultures.
Thamarai (Tammy) Naik worked for the South African Department of Education schools for 25 years as a teacher, Grade head, Head of Department and Acting Deputy Principal. She received her HDE from Transvaal College of Education, Curriculum Management from Unisa, B.Ed. (cum Laude) Hons from Tshwane University of Technology. Currently, Thamarai is completing her Masters in Education Management at Unisa.
Over the years, she has taught English, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Remedial.
In 2002, Thamarai was presented with a National Teaching Award by ex-President Thabo Mbeki and the following year, was chosen to represent South Africa in a youth exchange programme in Japan. Over the years she has been project manager for Collaboration Projects and trained over 1000 teachers in Curriculum.
Recently in September 2017, Thamarai was awarded a Mathematics Teaching Award by the Western Cape Education Department.
She has presented many workshops for the South African Department of Education and she has developed various training manuals that are conducive to the vision and mission and the specific training needs of various companies or schools.
Marc proudly joined the SAIS family at the beginning of this school year, having 20 years of teaching experience.
Originally from New York, he obtained a degree in Elementary Education and taught for the New York Public School System.
Later on Marc went on to get his Masters in Science degree with a major in Education in California.
He has been an International educator in Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines and Shanghai.
He loves living in Shenzhen, with his wife and adopted cat Ming and they hope to stay here for many years to come.
In his spare time Marc enjoys, travelling, hiking and walking in the park.
As an educator, Marc’s main goal is to motivate his students to excel and reach their own personal goals and limits, he is looking forward to a enjoyable and exciting year at SAIS.
Ms. Haley is from the U.S. She has 7 years of teaching experience. Her qualifications include: a B.A. in architecture, a license to teach, and a TEFL certificate. Her second languages are Spanish and Mandarin. She has a 10-year-old daughter who resides with her in Shenzhen. Her hobbies include: yoga, acroyoga, tai chi, salsa dance, Spanish corner, board games, baking and natural living. China has been her home for 7 years, 3 of them in Shenzhen.
Ms. Haley’s 5th grade teaching goals are IQ and EQ focused. Through every learning moment, students are not only learning a standard, but also how to be independent, respectful members of a multi-cultural society. Her class will involve PBL throughout the subjects, with a high focus on PBL in Science and Social Studies. 5th graders will have an engaging year!
Ms. Leung graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management in Information Systems. She then obtained her California Teaching Credentials at San Francisco State University specializing in Business and Computer Learning. She brings teaching experience from the diverse classrooms of San Francisco, as well as teaching computer skills to adults in her native community. Ms. Leung’s educational philosophy is to inspire lifelong learning so that each student is equipped with the necessary skills for personal success and motivation to make positive contributions to the world as our future leaders. When not at school she is active in the growing Shenzhen Maker community.
Mike grew up in Belleville, Ontario, Canada and graduated from Nipissing University with a Bachelor of Physical Education and a Bachelor of Education. This will be his first year teaching PE at SAIS. Before arriving in Shenzhen he spent 4 years teaching PE in a Canadian school in Jilin city, China. When not at school Mike can be found searching for geocaches and travelling.
Be Active. This is my personal motto. Education, exercise, music, and cooking are my passions and I strive to always be doing one of them and remain active. I majored in musical literacy in college at Vanderbilt University with a minor in English literature. I received my Master’s of Education at The City College of New York. I have taught in America for 4 years and China for 4. Living in China is amazing and have taken advantage of the opportunity to travel, learn Chinese and eat a ridiculous amount of dumplings and hot pot. I am incredibly happy to live in Shenzhen and teach at SAIS!
Dawn graduated from Beijing Normal University with a master degree in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. She is an excellent Putonghua speaker, holding a Certificate of Results of Putonghua Proficiency Test, A Level. She had taught Chinese in several local schools in UK. After she came back to China, she has worked in several international schools. Dawn has a wealth of experience both in Chinese and Western education. Based on the experience, she compared and analysed the two different education systems. At SAIS, she combined with PBL teaching philosophy to develop a bunch of Chinese courses which are applicable for international schools.