The American School in SwitzerlandThe American School in Switzerland
A Summer Well Spent

TASIS Foundation Board member and TASIS S.A. Academic Committee member Dr. Michael Aeschliman, associated with TASIS since 1971, recently published “Three Great Critics: F.R. Leavis, T.S. Eliot, and C.S. Lewis,” a lecture given at Cambridge University in September 2015, in the 2016 F.R. Leavis memorial issue of “The Literary Criterion” (Mysore, India). His essay “Trumpery and Social Darwinism” appeared on August 9 on “National Review Online” (N.Y.), for which he writes regularly. He also addressed a multi-national doctoral summer school in Cultural Tourism and UNESCO World Heritage Sites held in Armeno (Novara), Italy, on September 8, and on October 17 Dr. Aeschliman will be giving an address to faculty and senior students at the International School of Geneva (Ecolint), the largest and oldest international school in Europe, where he gave the Pedagogical Day Address to its faculties in 2007. Professor of Anglophone Culture at the University of Italian Switzerland and Professor Emeritus of Education at Boston University, Dr. Aeschliman is also on the Search Committee for the new TASIS Headmaster.

Elementary School Teacher Carol Anklan completed two challenging bike tours with Bike-Dreams: Tutti Dolomiti and Les Dix Alpes. In 23 riding days she covered 1364 miles and climbed 27 miles of elevation gain. In the Dolomites she rode over most of the famous passes, including Passo Pordoi, Passo di Giau, Passo di Fedaia, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Passo di Gavia, and Passo dello Stelvio. While on the Les Dix Alpes tour, Ms. Anklan traversed many of the famous cols of the Tour de France: Col de l'Iseran, Col du Galibier, Col d'Izoard, and Col de la Bonette. She also tackled a number of lesser known but not less challenging climbs, such as the Simplon Pass, Col du Petit St. Bernard, Col du Grand St. Bernard, Col de Vars, and Col de Lautaret. Nine passes were above 6,560 feet—plus the legendary climb to the ski resort of l'Alpe d'Huez.

Guia Berera, Elementary School Assistant Head and Italian Section Coordinator, attended a Cognitive Coaching course in Genoa.

Middle School and High School Science Teacher Amy Bloodworth went to the UK for a Lego Robotics course for teachers at Legoland Windsor, completed a distance course with the STEM Centre at York University entitled “Differentiating for Learning in STEM Teaching,” and worked both sessions of the TASIS Summer Programs, running a Friday afternoon science club for the Middle School Program.

MJ Breton, Middle School Dean of Student Affairs, spent one month in St. Petersburg and Siberia for a Russian Language and Cultural Immersion Program. After also studying in Russia last summer, she now speaks the language at an intermediate level. Ms. Breton is fluent in English, French, and Italian and can also speak Dutch, German, Spanish, and some Turkish.

Valerie Bijur Carlson, High School Theater Director, spent the summer between Massachusetts; Washington, DC; and New York, where she stage managed the American Film Institute's AFI Docs film festival and the Berkshire Playwrights Lab's season of new play readings, participated in drama education conferences with the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the American Alliance for Theater & Education, and spent four intensive days in stage combat workshops with New York Summer Sling.

Carolyn Heard, English as an Additional Language Department Chair, took a three-week intensive course in Modern Greek at the high intermediate level on the Cycladic island of Syros. Included in the program were Greek dance lessons and evenings enjoying Greek food, wine, and music in a local taverna.

High School English Teacher Anna Kavalauskas attended the Exeter Humanities Institute at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. This week-long conference was dedicated to the student-centered, discussion-based Harkness method of teaching. Ms. Kavalauskas earned 42 hours of credit by engaging in discussions exploring topics in the humanities, collaborating with other Harkness teachers, and conducting research on the method and its implementation and successes.

High School History Teacher Dan Kirsch attended an IB Workshop at the United Nations International School (which has even more nations represented on campus than TASIS!) in New York City to prepare to teach IB History this year. He described the workshop as “a challenging learning experience, and a great way to network and share ideas for the classroom.”

Peter Locke, 11th/12th/Postgraduate Dean and AP Coordinator, finished the second summer of his master's degree program in Private School Leadership at Teachers College (Columbia University) in New York City. His coursework included classes on marketing, finance, law, leadership, and design thinking. Pending the completion of one fall semester course, he will graduate in May 2017.

Middle School Music Teacher Sarah Grove Locke took a two-week intensive course in Orff Schulwerk at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. The Orff approach to Music Education emphasizes creative movement, composition, improvisation, and use of instruments to promote musicianship in students. As part of the course, she took recorder, ukulele, and xylophone lessons, as well as folk dancing classes and pedagogy.

Italian Section Teacher Chiara Maspero took a professional development course about learning disabilities.

After finishing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Zurich last spring, High School German Teacher and Elementary School Counselor Dr. Lea Richter spent the summer in Canada, where she shingled a house and canoed for the first time.

Assistant Director of Admissions Helen Roowalla continued her artistic production and exhibitions with the alias hERO ( She was an extra for a local production of a film with an artistic theme that premiered this summer along with a joint art exhibition, and her exhibition schedule will pick up in the fall with exhibits in Lugano and Padova, Italy. Ms. Roowalla also taught art for the Middle School Program during the second session of the TASIS Summer Programs.

On August 21–22, High School Math Teacher Danny Schiff completed a 100-mile trail race in Leadville, Colorado, in 25 hours, 56 minutes, and 3 seconds. Mr. Schiff, who spent the five preceding months training all over the world—including in Cambodia, South America, the Swiss Alps, and Colorado—described the completion of the ultramarathon as one of the major accomplishments of his life. (He has previously completed nine regular marathons and one ironman triathlon.) “Crossing the finish line alongside my family, which was supporting me, was a triumphant moment!” he said.

Claire Thomas, High School Science Teacher and Learning Support Teacher, completed an online course on Differentiation for Learning for STEM teachers with the University of York’s National Stem Learning Centre—the same course taken by fellow Science Teacher Amy Bloodworth. “It was good doing a course with a colleague so we could discuss the topics and share our ideas,” said Ms. Thomas.

Andrea (Dorm Parent and Coach) and Matthew Walker (High School Science Teacher) welcomed their second child, Matthew Greyson, in late August. Greyson was due early in the month but decided that he wanted to build the anticipation of his arrival and give his mother a few bonus weeks of pregnancy! He is welcomed by proud two-year-old sister Evalyn.

Elementary School Music Teacher Melody Tibbits Zanecchia and freelance videographer Milo Zanecchia ’08 were married on Isole di Brissago (Lago Maggiore) on June 12. They celebrated their honeymoon with a three-week overland camping journey that took them across Europe to Portugal. Upon their return, Melody recorded several songs with the Swiss rock band Gotthard, and Milo shot three new promotional videos for the TASIS Summer Programs and an M. Crist Fleming tribute video in celebration of the School's 60th anniversary.

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