TAS Early Childhood & Elementary School Teachers
Ms. Lovely Coloma
Ms. Lovely Joy A. Coloma, has been named TAS Early Childhood Center teacher since August 2014. In her professional career, Ms. Coloma has taught in primary and preschool for six years in Philippines and three years of preschool in Vietnam.
Ms. Coloma loves to travel and explore different countries and their beaches. She has a sweet tooth, loves coffee, and music. During her spare time, she reads, paints and plays musical instruments. She is also fond of going to coffee shops and restaurants.
- BA Elementary Education, University of Southern Mindanao, Philippines
- MA Early Childhood Education, Philippine Normal University, Philippines
- Professional Teacher License issued by the Republic of the Philippines
- 9+ years of teaching experience in Philippines and Vietnam
Ms. Ana Lee
ES EAL Teacher
- BA Japanese Language, California State University Long Beach
- Master’s in Education with a focus on Teaching Multilingual Learners, Moreland University
- Washington DC Standard Teaching License in English as a Second Language PreK-12 Grade Level
- Washington DC Standard Teaching License in Early Childhood PreK-3 Grade Level
- TEFL Certificate
- Qualified Teacher Status from the United Kingdom Department for Education (UK)
After graduation, Ms. Ana earned the opportunity to teach English in Japanese public schools in Long Beach’s sister city, Yokkaichi (located in Mie, Japan), and has been teaching abroad since 2015. During her time in this role, she taught thousands of students at more than 10 junior high schools, two elementary schools, and various kindergartens. Aside from teaching duties, Ms. Ana also developed a curriculum for the city’s new kindergarten English program in addition to planning and implementing workshops for both Japanese teachers of English and Native English Teachers.
As a teacher, Ms. Ana strongly believes that all students should be given the same opportunities to learn and grow every day, regardless of their language ability. Through focused learning support and differentiation, she aims to help students become able to master learning standards. She thinks that if each student can realize their full potential and push beyond it, they will be able to take on challenging tasks, become self-actualized learners, and find success in the future.
Ms. Jessica Makona
Grade 1A Teacher
Ms. Jessica Makona has been named Grade One Elementary School Teacher beginning August 1, 2023. Ms. Jessica Makona was born and raised in The United States. She has taught for thirteen years in the U.S and in China, as a preschool, elementary, middle, high school, and
ESL teacher. This will be her ninth year with first graders. Over the years, Ms. Makona has had
the privilege of being a teacher, tutor, coach, and mentor to children and adults in and out of the
classroom setting. She is passionate about student-centered learning and encouraging all of her
students to see themselves as capable and worthy. She looks forward to getting to know the staff and families of TAS.
Ms. Makona is currently/(will be) holding the following degrees:
● B.A. in English Literature, Teacher Education Concentration – Washington and Lee
University, Virginia, USA
● M.S. (end of 2023) in Early Childhood Education – Northwest Missouri State, Missouri, USA
● Certification in TEFL/TESOL, 120 hrs – Ninja Teacher TEFL Academy
Ms Makona loves the arts! She enjoys singing, watching musicals, writing poetry, dancing, and
reading. She would love to learn how to play the guitar and piano. She also likes going for walks/hikes and trying new food.
Grade 1 Teacher
Ms. Tiffany Garris
Grade 2A Teacher
- Bachelor of Arts, Boston College, English
- Masters of Arts, University of Wisconsin, Afro-American Studies
WHO AM I?
I am a native of Washington DC. I have over fifteen years of working with children, including ten years of international teaching experience (Lebanon, Honduras, Thailand and now-Vietnam). I have taught a range of grades, from Kindergarten to Middle School. I enjoy learning about new cultures and communities. I am very excited to explore Vietnam and to be a part of the TAS family.
MY EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY:
Teaching is one of my greatest passions; for me, it is not a job, but a vocation. My primary goal has always been to motivate students to do their best and to achieve greatness, inside the classroom as well as outside of the classroom. I motivate my students to do their best and extend their own personal limits. I encourage them to construct their own learning environment, which stimulates and helps them to reach their full potential. I believe that a great teacher should be one that teaches the mastery of a specific subject, but also, he or she, should instill in students a sense of compassion, courage, and determination, which I believe would help with the betterment of humanity.
Grade 2 Teacher
Ms. Hinda Khogali
Grade 3A Teacher
My name is Hinda Khogali and I am from Scotland. I have taught primary school for the past 6 years in South Korea, Scotland and now Vietnam. Before I discovered my love of teaching, I was a Sound Engineer at an independent recording studio and I worked at the Apple Store Genius Bar as a Trainer, both in my hometown of Glasgow. I love learning and discovering new challenges. I have completed online courses in Child Psychology and Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) and I have also been involved in many summer and winter camp programs that help to introduce children to technology, filmmaking and the sciences.
My teaching philosophy leads towards creating a safe and happy environment where children are encouraged, challenged and motivated to achieve their full potential, feel confident and included in their education and believe they are in a protected and caring environment. I try to motivate my students through humour, common interests, and a passion to learn. I wish for students to want to share with each other and encourage them to band together to solve problems through creativity, innovation and teamwork and never be afraid to ask one another for help.
- BA Film and Media Studies, University of Stirling
- PGDE Primary, University of Aberdeen
- TEFL, 120 hrs, The TEFL Academy
- Sound and Audio Engineering Diploma, SAE Institute
Traveling is my passion and I have been to over 40 countries. My favourite destinations so far have been Indonesia, Argentina and Vietnam! I have been a keen swimmer since my childhood, and I am grateful that living in Vietnam allows me to visit the pool frequently. Although I grew up in Scotland, I can’t stand the cold! My favourite activities are going to restaurants with my friends, devouring books by the pool, kickboxing or watching an endless stream of movies.
Grade 3 Teacher
Mr. Justin Hurst
Grade 4 Teacher
Mr. Justin Hurst has been named Fourth Grade Homeroom teacher beginning August 1st, 2023. Originally from Palo Alto, California, Mr. Justin moved to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to teach English in 2011. He immediately fell in love with Vietnam and taught ESL at various language centers and public schools throughout the city until 2014. In 2015 he became an Elementary Homeroom teacher at The Korean International School where he taught 4th and 5th grade until he became the homeroom teacher for Class 5B at The American School for the 2021-2022 school year. After an amazing year at TAS, Mr. Justin went back to his hometown in California and taught 5th Grade at KIPP Valiant Community Prep. Feeling that his true home was back in Vietnam, he is coming back to The American School to teach 4th grade!
Mr. Justin holds the following degrees:
- BS from University of Oregon with a double major in History and Political Science
- Postgraduate teaching certificate program through Moreland University
- Washington DC Teaching License in Multiple Subjects Grades 1-6
- California Teaching License in Multiple Subjects K-12
Mr. Justin married his best friend Mara in 2018, who just gave birth to their second child, Malaya, in June. Their first child, PJ, will be rejoining TAS in ECC. In his free time, Mr. Justin loves to spend time with his family, play Zelda on his Switch, play basketball, and listen to his old funk records.
Grade 4 Teacher
Mr. Kasey O'Brien
Grade 5B Teacher
Mr. Kasey O’Brien — Spencer, Wisconsin, has been named TAS Elementary School Teacher beginning in August 2018. Since 2007, Mr. Kasey has been working in the TESOL field. He has done everything from teaching, teacher training, and managing English language centers. For the past 10 years, he has worked for a large English language school in Ho Chi Minh City, ILA Vietnam. Before teaching in Vietnam, he worked as a TESOL teacher in Prague, Czech Republic. He has taught a variety of ages, from elementary school to high school.
Mr. Kasey enjoys spending time with his family, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, reading about health and fitness, cooking, traveling, and drinking coffee.
- BA in Psychology from University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire
- Trinity Cert TESOL Certification
- Young Learner Extension to the CELTA (YLE CELTA)
- Diploma of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (DELTA) – all three modules.
- 6+ years of teaching experience in Vietnam and Czech Republic
Grade 5 Teacher
Mr. Michael Santiago
Grade 4A Teacher
- Bachelors Degree, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Concordia University Irvine
WHO AM I?
My name is Michael Santiago and I am from a small city in North West Pennsylvania (USA). I have been teaching in Vietnam for over the past 5 years and my wife and I have recently welcomed our first child into the world. Prior to coming to Vietnam, I have worked in a variety of different countries and settings in Central and South East Asia. I have also served with the U.S. Peace Corps as an educational specialist in the Kyrgyz Republic. In my free time, while I am not taking care of the baby, I enjoy reading, writing, cooking, playing with my dog and making new friends.
MY EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY:
My philosophy regarding education is that all students have the innate ability/potential to be whoever they want to be and accomplish anything they can imagine. I believe the role of an educator is to serve as a guide, helping students to understand not only who they are, but what they want to become one day. I believe that by helping each student find their path and by helping them attain the skills necessary to succeed upon this path will allow them to thrive in life. I employ this through my teaching by constructing classes that make students critically think and ask the question of why. I believe that having a friendly and understanding rapport with students helps them to feel more comfortable in class thus making them more open to ask questions, participate and learn.
I am an avid ice hockey fan and have played ice hockey since I was a child. My favorite ice hockey team is the Pittsburgh Penguins and I was lucky enough to meet a few of the players.
Mr. Jared Lucow
ECC & ES Music Teacher
- Bachelor of Jazz Guitar Performance at Humber College in Toronto, Canada
- Masters in Teaching Elementary Education, from City University of Seattle. This degree included a Washington State teacher educator certification.
Jared is a Canadian/American who comes from a musical family. By age 4 he was a roadie for his parents traveling musical stage show. Following high school he completed his Bachelor of Jazz Guitar Performance at Humber College in Toronto, Canada. During this time he also began teaching music.
The guitar has taken Jared around the world. He has performed in Spain, Italy, France, Cuba, South Korea, Canada, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, New York City and the Canary Islands.
Between 2009-2017, Jared was primarily stationed in Phuket, Thailand performing in boutique resort hotels and the Hard Rock Cafe. He also taught music at International Schools. Teaching has always played a vital role in his musical balance and joy. During this time he was also writing and recording his first three albums of original music.
In 2020, he seized the opportunity to return to his studies and earned his Masters in Teaching Elementary Education, from City University of Seattle. This degree included a Washington State teacher educator certification.
As an instructor Jared prides himself on inspiring each and every student. To help them foster their own creativity and sense of self. Through sharing, experimenting, and musical discovery. Most of all to have fun and experience the joy of making music. His combination of performance and teaching experience allows him to create individualized plans to help each student grow and succeed in their own way. Jared is thrilled to have this opportunity to work with the students and faculty at TAS.
ECC & ES Music Teacher
Mr. Bryan Turner
ECC & ES Art Teacher
Mr. Bryan Turner has been named Elementary Art teacher beginning August 3, 2023. After growing up in North Carolina, USA, Mr. Turner began his teaching career in South Korea teaching ESL. After teaching in all grade levels for 10 years, he went back to the states and obtained his Master’s Degree of Arts in Teaching and obtained a teaching license for Elementary Education. After teaching in North Carolina, he went back overseas to Taiwan and taught ESL once more. However, his Bachelor’s degree was in Art and he always wanted to get back to his real passion of working in the arts. Having incorporated many project-based learning activities in his teaching career, he is excited to engage in this new adventure and share his passion of art with his students at TAS. He hopes to promote a creative and imaginative classroom environment where students can express themselves visually
through the projects throughout the year.
Mr. Turner holds the following degrees and license:
- BA in Art from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
- Master’s Degree of Arts in Teaching from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington
- State of North Carolina teaching license in Elementary Education (K-6)
Mr. Turner enjoys traveling, experiencing new cultures, and tasting delicious food from around the world. In addition to exploring new places, his main hobby is woodburning popular animation characters and reading graphic novels.
ECC & ES Art Teacher
Ms. Dianne Buisan
ECC & ES PE Teacher
Mrs. Dianne E. Buisan has been named TAS Early Childhood and Elementary School Physical Education & Health teacher since August 2015. She has been teaching for 10 years here in Vietnam and in the Philippines. She went to the University of Southern Mindanao, Kabacan, Cotabato, Philippines for her undergraduate studies and Sultan Kudarat Polytechnic State University, Tacurong City, Philippines for her graduate studies.
When Mrs. Buisan is not teaching, she enjoys dancing and playing with her hyperactive kids, biking, doing outdoor activities that strengthens both body and mind. Her family loves to explore and travel together, since this brings them together with uninterrupted quality time.
- MA Teaching Physical Education, Sultan Kudarat State University, Tacurong City, Philippines
- BA Secondary Education major in Physical Education, Health and Music, University of Southern Mindanao, Kabacan, Cotabato, Philippines
- Teaching License Certificate – Professional Regulation Commission, Philippines – License #0825251
- 10+ years of teaching experience in the Philippines and Vietnam
ECC & ES PE Teacher
Mr. Ken Calipjo
Lead of Library
The one who will be leading our school libraries at The American School of Vietnam, starting August 2023, is none other than Ken Mervin T. Calipjo, our new Librarian.
Ken is a passionate advocate for information literacy and a dedicated lifelong learner. With a proven track record in developing impactful library programs within international schools in the Philippines and Qatar, Ken is well-equipped to foster student engagement and promote a love for reading among our students.
During his tenure as a Librarian in Qatar and Philippines, Ken spearheaded innovative library events, igniting a passion for books and learning among the students. As a one-man Librarian, he skillfully revamped library spaces, streamlined services, and enhanced cataloging and acquisitions to meet the diverse needs of the school community.
Ken holds the following degrees and certifications:
- Bachelor of Library and Information Science, University of the Philippines School of Library and Information Studies
- Registered Librarian, Professional Regulation Commission, Philippines
- ECIS Level 1 Certificate in Child Protection
- Google Certified Educator Level 1
His commitment to supporting the school’s mission of educating the whole child is unparalleled. Together with Ken, we aim to create a thriving and dynamic library that fosters a love for reading and lifelong learning. In addition, he loves to travel and do Karaoke.
Ms. Tam Ngo
Vietnamese Studies Teacher & Vietnamese Studies Department Head
Ms. Tam Ngo has been named the TAS Elementary Vietnamese Studies Teacher since March 2013. In her professional career, Ms. Tam Ngo has taught Vietnamese Studies and was support for elementary ESL teachers for ten years in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
Ms. Tam is an active teacher who enjoys everything especially singing and dancing with her students. She also likes to spend her free time teaching for the disadvantaged children, translating, traveling and learning new cultures.
- BA Elementary Education, Saigon University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) certificate
- 10+ years teaching experience in Vietnam
Vietnamese Studies Teacher & Vietnamese Department Head
Vietnamese Studies Teacher
Vietnamese Studies Teacher