The American School in SwitzerlandThe American School in Switzerland
TASIS Introduces New Faculty Members and Leadership Positions for 2021–2022 Academic Year
New Faculty 2021

The annual trip to Valle Verzasca for new faculty members and their families

New Faculty Members

We are pleased to introduce the talented group of educators who have joined the TASIS Faculty for the 2021–2022 academic year.

High School

Jerald Bleckel, who has spent most of his career teaching physics and mathematics in Hawaii and also previously taught in Switzerland for a few years, will join the High School Science Department. He comes to TASIS with a B.S. in Mathematics from Bucknell University and an M.A. in Mathematics from University of Oregon.
Emily Clark, who has taught English at King’s Academy in Jordan and The Taft School in the United States and previously led service trips to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam through her role at Rustic Pathways, will teach English and EAL in the High School. In addition to being awarded a fellowship for the Klingenstein Summer Institute through Teachers College at Columbia University, Ms. Clark earned a B.A. in English Creative Writing at Rhodes College and an M.A. in English at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.
Noah Clarke will teach Economics and History in the High School. In his previous posts at Phillips Exeter Academy, Shore Country Day School, and Miss Porter’s School, he has enjoyed guiding students through the ups and downs of learning how to question, think, and write like economists and historians. Mr. Clarke completed a B.A. in American Studies at Williams College, an M.A. in International Relations and Development at University of Barcelona, and an M.A. in Political Economy at King Juan Carlos University.
John Evans will serve as the Interim Director of University and College Counseling when Johanna Fishbein begins her maternity leave in October. His counseling career has taken him to schools in the United States, India, Pakistan, Zaire (now DRC), Hong Kong, Morocco, Bangladesh, China, and the Czech Republic; he has twice had the privilege of serving as president of the International ACAC; and he chaired NACAC's inaugural International Initiatives Advisory Committee. Mr. Evans’ educational background includes a B.A. in Sociology from Geneva College and an M.Ed. in Student Personnel Services from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University).
Conor Fritz will join the College Counseling team after spending 16 years in higher education at various universities in the United States—most recently at Claremont McKenna College, where he oversaw the international recruitment strategy and enrollment process for international students and US citizens abroad. Mr. Fritz is a graduate of TASIS England, earned a B.A. in Political Science and Secondary Education from St. Michael's College, and completed an M.S. in College Student Personnel at University of Tennessee.
Dr. Tom Jenner, who has taught biology and environmental science at schools in El Salvador, Mongolia, Sudan, China, and Brazil, is a new addition to the High School Science Department. He studied Animal Behavior for his doctorate at Edinburgh University and has taken advantage of the many interesting places he’s lived as an international teacher to conduct research, mainly on birds—regularly publishing his findings in academic journals. Dr. Jenner also earned a BSc in Zoology at Cardiff University and a PGCE at York University.
Gregory Kaskan, who spent the past six years teaching at Shanghai High School International Division and previously worked in Nepal and the United States, will join the High School English Department. He completed a B.A. in English at Williams College and an M.A. in English at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English.
Vivienne Mafé, who recently completed her B.A. in Psychology & Sociology (Honors) at Bishop’s University in Canada, will be an Administrative and Academic Intern in the High School. She served as a resident assistant while at Bishop’s and is eager to assist students at TASIS in community-building and teach them skills that benefit both the mind and body.
Jamie Magagna, who has taught English at King’s Academy, The Taft School, and Wyoming Seminary, will join the High School English Department. A graduate of The Lawrenceville School and Princeton University (B.A. in Comparative Literature), Mr. Magagna studied literature with teachers who instilled in him a love of books and a calling to the educator’s vocation.
Marcello Racchini, who has taught Italian and Latin language and literature at high schools around the world for the past 15 years, will teach Italian Literature in the High School. He comes to TASIS with master’s degrees in Classical Philological Studies (Università Statale di Milano, Literature and Philosophy College), Humanities and Classics Teaching (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano, Special School for Secondary Instruction), and Italian Language and Literature Teaching (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano, Special School for Secondary Instruction).
Athanasios Rodostianos is a new addition to the High School Science Department. He comes to TASIS with significant global experience in a range of roles and school settings and an educational background that includes a B.App.Sc. from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, a Dip Ed. from Monash University, a Grad.Dip in Educational Administration from Deakin University, and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Administration from Deakin University.
Elizabeth Rodostianos, who has taught science and math for 25 years in a range of secondary school settings, will also be joining the High School Science Department. She earned a BScH in Chemistry and Mathematics and a B.Ed. at Queen’s University in Canada.
Kari Rood, who has worked in higher education and student affairs since 2012 and has a passion for developing students and encouraging them to author their own lives, will serve as the Assistant to the HS Academic Dean. She earned a BBA in Financial Consulting at Southern Methodist University and an M.S.Ed. in Higher Education & Student Affairs at Baylor University.
Ann Yang, whose 21 years of teaching experience include stints in Canada, Kuwait, South Korea, and Jordan, will join the High School Math Department. She comes to TASIS with a B.A. in Applied Mathematics & Geography (Honors) from York University, a B.Ed. from Queen’s University, and an MMT from University of Waterloo.

Middle School

Michael Chellman is the newest member of the Middle School History Department. Through his many years of experience with both middle school and high school students, he developed his own mastery learning program called the “Green Mind,” which uses the latest brain research to help students learn more in less time and retain it longer—and has written two books on the subject. Mr. Chellman earned a B.A. in Government at Dartmouth College and an M.A. in History at New York University and Columbia University.
Ruth Viader García de Mendoza, who taught English in her hometown of Barcelona the past few years, will serve as an Academic Intern in the Middle School. She completed a B.Sc. in Psychology at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
James Williams, who has traveled far and wide filling seasonal positions across the globe, is the new Administrative Intern in the Middle School. He earned a Diploma in Learning Support Assistant for Classrooms and a Diploma in Higher Learning Support Assistant for Classrooms from Online Academies in the United Kingdom.

Elementary School

Marziya Fazal, who has 13 years of experience in early years and primary education in schools in England, Tanzania, Ireland, and Japan, will join the Elementary School Faculty. She completed a B.A. in Early Childhood Care and Education at Mary Immaculate College (University of Limerick) and studied Montessori and Early Childhood Education at Montessori Centre International.
Melissa Fogal, who has 17 years of elementary school experience and is passionate about giving children the language tools that help them express their sophisticated thinking, will serve as the EAL and Literacy Coordinator in the Elementary School. She earned a B.A. in Biology and Elementary Education at Metropolitan State College of Denver and an M.A. in Culturally Responsive Teaching, Curriculum, and Instruction Reading/Writing at University of Colorado.
Veronica Jenner, who has taught and helped shape curriculum at elementary schools in El Salvador, Mongolia, Sudan, China, and Brazil, will now teach in the TASIS Elementary School. She completed a B.A. in Psychology at Universidad Francisco Gavidia, San Salvador, and a Masters in Sciences at Buffalo State University.
Danelle Kritzinger, who previously worked as an elementary school teacher in her home country of South Africa, will join the Elementary School Faculty and looks forward to creating a classroom environment where students can investigate, wonder, and innovatively solve problems. She earned a B.A. in Creative Writing, Psychology, and Ancient Culture Studies (Honors) and a PGCT (Upper Elementary and Middle School) from University of Pretoria.
Mary Ann Scott, who has taught at schools in Thailand, Hong Kong, the United States, and the Czech Republic, will be an Elementary School teacher. Although she has taught all ages, Ms. Scott particularly loves working with young children and focuses on building a safe, comfortable, and happy community of learners. She completed a B.A. in American Studies at Wesleyan University and an M.A. in Curriculum and Teaching at Michigan State University.

Multiple Divisions

Lia Axenbeck will serve as an Elementary School Academic and Middle School Residential Life Intern. She recently completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Education with a specialism in Physical Education at University of Worcester and also earned a B.A. in International Tourism Management at Robert Gordon University.
Tanya Jovanovic, whose career in education has included teaching history and English at the middle and high school levels, serving as head of school at an international school in Serbia, and spending 12 years as a school counselor in two secondary schools, will be the new School Counselor (grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12) at TASIS. Her educational background includes a B.A. in Secondary Education with a concentration in Comprehensive Social Studies from University of Akron and an M.Ed. in School Counseling from Kent State University.
Adrianne Poulos will be the Elementary and Middle School Counselor. She has worked as both a teacher and school psychologist since attaining a B.A. in Psychology from Bishop's University and an M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from Simon Fraser University.

Margaret Villeneuve, who has enjoyed working in the Health Center during the TASIS Summer Programs at various points over the past 13 years, returns to the School as a nurse for the 2021–2022 academic year. She earned her nursing degree at St. Joseph School of Nursing and has worked in intensive and critical care units in Canadian hospitals.



Leadership Positions

Several current members of the TASIS Faculty will be assuming new leadership roles this year.

Tim Venchus, who formerly served as ES Technology and Math Coordinator, will now be the PK–12 Technology Development Director, an important and historic new role at TASIS. He will primarily nurture the growth of faculty, administration, staff, and students in the skilled application of technology in both the classroom and workplace while continuing to develop and monitor the School’s overarching technology strategy.

Mary Baxter has assumed the role of Director of the Learning Resource Center (LRC) after co-leading with Hermione Fadlon last year. Ms. Fadlon will continue to lead the LRC’s efforts in the Elementary School.
Hope Schlict, who has taught EAL and served as both a Dorm Head and Duty Administrator, will now be the Assistant Dean of Students in the High School. She replaces Kate Abisi, who is taking a leave of absence as her daughter transitions to college in the United States.
High School Math and Computer Science Teacher Isaac Carey will serve as AP Supervising Teacher and Registrar Elide Scurio will fill in as AP Coordinator during High School Math Teacher and AP Coordinator Kerry Venchus’s leave of absence.
High School Math and TOK Teacher Anthony Panontin will be the TOK Coordinator while High School History Teacher and TOK Coordinator Dr. Tom Mauro steps away for a year. 
There will be two new Dorm Heads in the High School this year. Vítor Mendes, who served as a Middle School Administrative Intern and dorm parent the past two years, will now lead the De Nobili Boys Dormitory. High School Math Teacher Deborah Tompkins takes over as the head of Del Sole.
Holly Wiens, who became the Middle School English Coordinator last year, will add English as an Additional Language (EAL) to her duties. Her new title is Middle School English/EAL Chair. Patrick Alava, who has taught both mathematics and history since starting at TASIS in 2011, will now be the Middle School Math Chair.
The Elementary School will have a restructured leadership model this year. Lisa Olsen (grades 2–3), Amy Shields (grades 4–5), Veronica Maffezzini (Italian Section), and Melody Tibbits Zanecchia (Specials) will assume the role of Team Leader for their respective areas, and Laurent Carsana will serve as the ES Operations Liaison. Erin Fitzgerald, whose previous role of EAL and Literacy Coordinator has been filled by new hire Melissa Fogal, will replace Alyssa Uecker as ES Librarian. 

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