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Cycle 1 Teaching Teams

Meet our Cycle 1 Teaching Teams

 

Petite Section (Pre-K3) - Classe homologuée

Ms. Nathalie Huet (French) joined Austin International School from Réunion Island, an overseas department of France located near Madagascar. Having begun her teaching career in 1993, she brings a wealth of experience to her classroom. She is teacher certified to deliver the official academic program of the French Ministry of Education. Growing up in her native Réunion Island, Nathalie is fluent in both French and Réunion Creole. She is excited to be able to share her language and cultures with our early learners!

Ms. Meghan Novello (English) joined the AIS community in 2019 from an early childhood teaching position in Round Rock. Prior to this, she worked at two schools in New Jersey where she taught pre-kindergarten and first grades. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and social studies and is certified in the areas of elementary education (advanced standing), students with disabilities, and early childhood education. Meghan is thrilled to be able to engage AIS students in their early childhood academic program in a warm, caring, and supportive environment.

Ms. Wilnelia Iglesias (Spanish), originally from Puerto Rico, joined AIS as the PS/MS Spanish teacher. Wilnelia has taught in pre-kindergarten and elementary school programs in both Texas and Puerto Rico for well over a decade, and has extensive experience in the development of material and methodologies to engage students in their learning. She holds a Master of Science degree in Counseling and Mental Health, as well as a Bachelor Arts degree in Anthropology and Elementary Education.

Ms. Amanda McKenzie (Librarian) joined AIS in August 2018 as our bilingual English/French Librarian. Prior to moving to Austin, Amanda worked as the Head Librarian and social studies teacher for students in Kindergarten through Middle School at The W.I.D.E. School in Houston. She also worked as a librarian at the Awty International School and the Holocaust Museum of Houston. In addition to her duties as a librarian, Amanda has experience creating and implementing a project-based curriculum for library skills. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and a Master of Science in Library Science. Of note, Amanda also completed her elementary and middle school education in French in an overseas MLF school.
 

Moyenne Setction (Pre-K4) - Classe homologuée

Ms. Marion Bigache (French) is from Lille, a city in northern France. In 2007, she decided to move from France to experience another country and another school. She had no plans of staying, but she enjoyed it so much that after nearly a decade, she is still here. She likes the mix of cultures, languages, and personalities which she lives with every day at AIS and in her family as well. Her husband is half Ecuadorian and half American, and their daughter is learning to speak French, Spanish, and English. Marion likes living in Austin and she loves teaching at AIS and working with children, as it is so rich and fulfilling. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Math at the University of Lille, but she has always wanted to teach for as long as she can remember. She narrowed her choice of teaching to primary school after working with young children during summer camps and for private lessons. She obtained her teaching certification in France in 2001. Since then, she taught for 6 years in different schools in France, mostly in preschool and kindergarten. She has taught for the last nine years at AIS and she is very pleased to start her tenth year with the AIS community this year.

Ms. Meghan Novello (English) joined the AIS community in 2019 from an early childhood teaching position in Round Rock. Prior to this, she worked at two schools in New Jersey where she taught pre-kindergarten and first grades. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and social studies and is certified in the areas of elementary education (advanced standing), students with disabilities, and early childhood education. Meghan is thrilled to be able to engage AIS students in their early childhood academic program in a warm, caring, and supportive environment.

Ms. Wilnelia Iglesias (Spanish), originally from Puerto Rico, joined AIS as the PS/MS Spanish teacher. Wilnelia has taught in pre-kindergarten and elementary school programs in both Texas and Puerto Rico for well over a decade, and has extensive experience in the development of material and methodologies to engage students in their learning. She holds a Master of Science degree in Counseling and Mental Health, as well as a Bachelor Arts degree in Anthropology and Elementary Education.

Ms. Houda Benchekroun (Assistant Teacher) was happy and excited to discover the school in 2006, and very much enjoys working at the school – a world of diversity and richness of cultures. “I like helping children discover the world and to teach them important values such as respect, work, and honesty,” she says. She is amazed how children see the wonder in everyday things, and how their imaginations know no limits. The innocence and eagerness of the children makes her look forward to seeing their progress and positive results. Houda has worked during our summer camp as well, which she values for seeing the pleasure children take in drawing, painting, and learning foreign languages. She has been at AIS since 2006. Houda enjoys interior design, cooking Moroccan food and pastries, and teaching belly dancing.

Ms. Amanda McKenzie (Librarian) joined AIS in August 2018 as our bilingual English/French Librarian. Prior to moving to Austin, Amanda worked as the Head Librarian and social studies teacher for students in Kindergarten through Middle School at The W.I.D.E. School in Houston. She also worked as a librarian at the Awty International School and the Holocaust Museum of Houston. In addition to her duties as a librarian, Amanda has experience creating and implementing a project-based curriculum for library skills. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and a Master of Science in Library Science. Of note, Amanda also completed her elementary and middle school education in French in an overseas MLF school.
 

Grande Section (Kindergarten) - Classe homologuée

Ms. Pénylène Rysak (French) joined AIS’s CM1/CM2 teaching team from the Lycée Français de Medellín in Colombia. Prior to this, Pénylène taught in overseas French schools in Cameroon, Malaysia, Thailand, and St. Martin; she has five years of experience working directly with CM1/CM2 students. She was an elementary school teacher at Dallas International School for a number of years and is excited to return to Texas! She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and French Language Education and a Master’s degree in Teaching. She has engaged in extensive ongoing professional development, with focuses on tech integration, writing, reading, and mathematics.

Ms. Jamie Wolter (English) began her teaching career in 1997 as a first and second grade teacher. Since then, she has taught preschool and Kindergarten classes as well. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Houston’s College of Education and is certified by the State of Texas to teach in pre-kindergarten through eighth grades. Jamie is excited to collaborate with her teaching team to develop engaging and exciting units of instruction for our young learners at AIS!

Ms. Amanda McKenzie (Librarian) joined AIS in August 2018 as our bilingual English/French Librarian. Prior to moving to Austin, Amanda worked as the Head Librarian and social studies teacher for students in Kindergarten through Middle School at The W.I.D.E. School in Houston. She also worked as a librarian at the Awty International School and the Holocaust Museum of Houston. In addition to her duties as a librarian, Amanda has experience creating and implementing a project-based curriculum for library skills. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and a Master of Science in Library Science. Of note, Amanda also completed her elementary and middle school education in French in an overseas MLF school.

Ms. Virginie Grimaud (Art, Sports, and Music in French) began teaching at Austin International School in 2012. It was an eye-opening experience for her as well after teaching for several years in primary schools in Marseille, France, after an earlier career in the private sector. She appreciates the insight gained from teaching with other teachers with different backgrounds who share their many experiences and different languages and cultures amongst the teaching team, and have new methods she can incorporate into her own teaching practice. Virginie loves to spend her free time with her family to discover Austin and surrounding areas, to travel around the USA, and take advantage of her time here to get to know the country. She also loves to read and to play the violin. Her teaching philosophy reads, “The class needs to be a safe environment to my students to allow them to learn from their mistakes and differences; therefore, I use both variety and consistency -- consistency to make my students feel safe and variety to reach all of my students.”