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2016-2017 New Staff Members

Nicole Soogrim, Early Childhood Teacher

From: Canada
Education: Bachelor of Education, Nipissing University; Honours Bachelor of Arts, Wilfrid Laurier University
Other Schools: Victoria Kindergarten, China

Hello! My name is Nicole Soogrim and I am from Ontario, Canada. Traveling and experiencing other cultures has always been a passion of mine. Upon graduating university I was blessed with the opportunity to combine two things I love; teaching and travel. I am very physically active and enjoy running and practicing yoga in my free time. For the past 3 years I have been living in Shenzhen working at a kindergarten, however I am looking forward to the opportunity I have been given at Shekou International School! I really enjoy living in Shenzhen and being able to experience many different cultural and western things easily. I am happy I will be able to continue this while moving from the Futian area to Shekou!

Benoit BRANDT, French Bilingual Program Director

From: France
Education: Bachelor’s Degree of Commerce and Management, University of Roubaix, France; Professional Primary School Teaching Diploma, French Education Council

Other Schools: Jules Guesde School, France; French school of Siem Reap, Cambodia

Hello, my name is Benoit BRANDT. My family and I moved to Shenzhen in July 2016 after 7 years in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I have taught classes from grades 2 to grade 5, mostly teaching multiple-level classes and was the director of the French school of Siem Reap. We really enjoyed Cambodia but after 7 years there, it was time for us to move. We were interested in moving to China and we are very happy and curious about discovering Shenzhen and joining SIS. My wife Gaelle is textile designer and Shenzhen seems to be a good place for the fashion industry. We have one son, Armel, who just celebrated his first birthday in March. SIS will be an excellent opportunity for him to have a better English accent than his parents. When I’m not in the classroom, I’m playing percussions and saxophone. I like spending time with my family, reading, swimming, discovering other countries and learning about new cultures. I am very pleased and proud to join the SIS community.

Sandrine Denis, Grades 1 and 2 Teacher in the French Bilingual Program

From: France
Education: Bachelor of Arts ( French Literature ) from Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Blaise Pascal, France. Teaching certificate: Professional primary-school teaching diploma, French Education Council, Department of Education, France
Other Schools: Public School in Brezons, France; Public School in Glénat, France; Public School in Giou de Mamou, France; French-Qatari School of Voltaire, Doha, Qatar; French American School of Norfolk, Virginia, USA; Public School of Jussac, France; Demonstration public School of Les Frères Delmas, Aurillac, France.

My name is Sandrine Denis and I am from Aurillac, in Auvergne, an area with old, extinct volcanoes, in France. I like traveling, and during my trips, drawing people, landscapes, traditional buildings. Moreover, I write and illustrate books for children in my country, using black and colored inks. I hope to learn other drawing and painting techniques in China. I am so happy to join SIS. I think it will be a new and rewarding experience to work in this school in Shenzhen.

Dallin Bywater, Elementary Counselor

From: I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in Singapore, China, New Zealand, and the USA.
Education: B.A. in Chinese, Brigham Young University; M.A. in Counseling Psychology, University of Hawaii at Hilo
Other Schools: Hawaii public schools, Kamehameha Scholars, Utahloy International School, Zengcheng, China

My name is Dallin Bywater, and I am a proud Third Culture Kid who has lived outside my passport country for about half of my life. This will be my fourth year in China, and tenth year in Asia. My wife and I look forward to joining the international community here at SIS with our son. We speak Chinese, and have a love for music, athletics, and living an international life!

Xiaoying Jiang, Elementary Mandarin Teacher

From: China
Education: B.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, Beijing Language and Culture University; M.A. in Teaching and Curriculum, Michigan State University
Other Schools: Oakbrook Elementary School, United States; Shenzhen Institute of Technology, China

My name is Xiaoying Jiang and I am from Jiangsu, China. After fours years in Beijing and three years in Michigan, I am happy to be here in Shenzhen with the warm weather. I love all kinds of animals and I want to have a dog after settling down. I also love traveling, especially with a group of friends. I have taught Chinese in an elementary school in the U.S. for three years. It is a challenging but rewarding experience for me. After that, I decided to continue to be a teacher as I really enjoy the time with my students. I am so excited to join SIS and be a member of this caring big family.

Patrick Magnus, K-5 ELL French Bilingual Program Teacher

From: United States
Education: B.A. in interdisciplinary Studies, Johnson State College; Trinity London College Certificate in TESOL

My name is Patrick Magnus and I am from the very small town of North Hartland, Vermont. My fiancé and I are finishing up our first year here in Shenzhen, and we have enjoyed the bustling busy feeling that comes with living in the city. In our free time you will most likely catch us reading, playing with our cat Oscar, competing in a board game, or out looking for something new and delicious to eat. I have been working with english language learners several years in higher education as a Financial Aid Counselor and New Student Advisor, and have transitioned into teaching after completing my TESOL certification through Trinity London College. After subbing and tutoring over the past year at SIS, I am thrilled to now be working with the students in the K-5 ELL French Bilingual Program and look forward to a full year of creative, challenging, and personalized learning experiences!

Nadia Erlendson, Kindergarten Teacher

From: United States
Education: B.A. in Liberal Studies with a Teaching Option, California State University Fresno; Multiple Subject K-8 California Teaching Credential, California State University Fresno
Other Schools: Asia Language and Business Academy, Myanmar; International School of Myanmar, Myanmar

Originally from California, but having spent the past three years in Myanmar, I am excited to start a new adventure at Shekou International School. I love to dance and this past year I discovered that I am also passionate about yoga! My husband and my one year old daughter will be joining me in Shenzhen and we look forward to being part of the innovative and caring community at SIS.

Robyn Gibson, Kindergarten Teacher

From: Canada
Education: B.A. in English, University of Manitoba; Bachelor of Teaching - Primary, University of Western Sydney; MS of Multidisciplinary Studies, State University of New York
Other Schools: International School of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Korea International School, Korea; Hangzhou International School, China

My name is Robyn Gibson and I was born and raised in the centre of Canada – Winnipeg. It is best known for its -40 degree winters – I’ve lived in Europe, Australia, and Asia for the past 20 years, and am excited to have found another home with more reasonable seasons! My husband Andrew, who will be teaching high school math, and I are excited to be a part of the SIS community! I will be joining the elementary school as a kindergarten teacher. Our daughters Mackenzie and Kennedy will enter grades 6 and 4 this year at SIS – I now have a middle-schooler! I enjoy hiking, camping, reading, yoga, baking, and shopping – watch out Hong Kong!

Linda Ill, Kindergarten Teacher

From: United States
Education: B.A. Developmental Psychology and Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara; M.A. Educational Leadership, Curriculum, San Diego State University
Other Schools: Bobier Elementary School,California, USA; Caltex American School, Sumatra, Indonesia; Optimal International School, Malaysia; Pasir Ridge International School, Borneo, Indonesia; American School of Doha, Qatar; International School of Aberdeen, Scotland

My name is Linda Ill and I am looking forward to joining the kindergarten team at SIS. My husband and I are hooked on adventure and new experiences. The progressiveness and excellent professional development opportunities at SIS are especially appealing to us. While we enjoy travel immensely, we also enjoy establishing a comfortable home base and being part of a teaching community. We have two sons attending university in the US and two cats who will come along with us to Shekou. In my spare time I enjoy the outdoors- hiking, cycling and gardening. I am also an avid reader and like to be a book club member. I enjoy cooking, entertaining and spending time with friends and family.

Sherri Banner, Grade 1 Teacher

From: United States
Education: B.S. in Elementary Education, The College of Saint Catherine, Minnesota; M.S. in Special Education, National University, California
Other Schools: San Diego Unified School District, California, USA; Bellingham School District, Washington, USA; Colegio Maya, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Raffles American School, Malaysia

My name is Sherri Banner and I am originally from Joshua Tree, California. I grew up in California but also spent time living in Minnesota for undergraduate school and Washington State after completing my master’s degree. I met my husband Benjamin Banner in Lagos, Portugal as we were both there traveling and experiencing new adventures independently. Ben and I welcomed our first son, Ezra James Banner on July 5th, 2014 and he was born in Singapore. We anxiously await the arrival of our second son that will also be born in Singapore. As a new mom, I enjoy spending time with my family and exposing my son to new cultures and experiences. My husband and I chose SIS as our next teaching post because of the opportunity to grow professionally and the rich team approach the school takes. The positive, strong community that has already been active in welcoming us to the school gives me a sense of pride joining such a great team of teachers.

Alice Cheung, Grade 2 Teacher

From: United StatesEducation: B.A. in International Relations, University of Davis, California; Master in Education, University of California, San Diego
Education: K. International School, Tokyo, Japan; Beijing City International School, Beijing, China

I grew up near San Francisco, California and my family is originally from Hong Kong. My international teaching career began in Kobe, Japan where I taught English. I then taught Grade 2 at an international school in Tokyo and currently in Beijing. I enjoy teaching and am passionate about helping children develop confidence and a love for learning. Besides teaching, I also like to hike, run, do yoga, travel and eat! I enjoy being in China and is excited to be closer to nature in Shekou. I’ll be making the move down with my boyfriend, Freddie, who is originally from Sweden and have been living in Beijing for seven years. Our dog, Haley, will be joining us. We’re looking forward to meeting everyone at SIS!

Anton Musker, Grade 3 Teacher

From: England
Education: B.A. in Primary Teacher Education, Oxford Brookes University
Other Schools: Dulwich College Beijing, China; Compass International School, Qatar; Warden Hill Junior School, England

Joining SIS is exciting for me because after having been to many countries, I'm now wanting to live and work in an area that allows me to feel settled. SIS is part of a great community and Shekou is a fantastic place to live. Furthermore, SIS offers an excellent education with much innovation, particularly with technology, which is an area that I am passionate about. Outside of work, I like to do many things, with my main hobbies being reading, creative writing, exercising, traveling, and learning Chinese.

Benjamin Banner, Grade 4 Teacher

From: United States
Education: B.A. in Environmental Studies, The Evergreen State College; M.S. Education, Old Dominion University
Other Schools: Colegio Maya, Guatemala; Raffles American School, Malaysia.

Hi! My name is Benjamin Banner and I am moving to Shekou with my wife Sherri and our two young sons. I grew up in Washington State, USA, in the beautiful San Juan Islands! My wife and I have spent the last five years teaching in both Guatemala and Malaysia. Our sons were both born in Singapore though we live across the border in Johor, Malaysia. As a lifelong learner with an appreciation for travel and life experiences, I am extremely excited to start this new adventure. I have a strong belief that students can achieve greatness when given the right support and opportunities. My classroom facilitates independent, critical thinkers who know how to solve problems and feel empowered to explore their passions! Sherri and I chose SIS because we would love to join and support the caring community that defines the Shekou International School experience!

Yvette Cuenco, Middle School Counselor

From: United States w/ roots in the Philippines
Education: B.A. in Anthropology and Asian American Studies, University of California at Los Angeles; Master's in Social Work, New York University
Other Schools: Concordian International School, Thailand; Tashkent International School, Uzbekistan; Schools in Brooklyn, NY

My name is Yvette Cuenco and I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Though I am a Bay Area native, I lived in Brooklyn, NY for 7 years and still consider NYC my other "home" in many ways. Furthermore, my family originally hails from the Philippines and I am very excited to live/work in the region of the world where my parents are from. I am an avid photographer, music/art enthusiast, and cook who is looking forward to exploring the creative arts community and cuisine in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. I will be accompanied by my dog, Milo. We are really excited to join SIS for the 2016/17 school year and look forward to being a part of its awesome community!

Brad ILL, High School Physical Education

From: United States
Education: B.S. in Physical Education, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, California; M.A. in Educational Leadership, San Diego State University, California
Other Schools: Julian High School, California; Lincoln Middle School, California; Caltex American School, Indonesia; Optimal International School, Malaysia; Pasir International School, Borneo; American School of Doha, Qatar; International School of Aberdeen, Scotland.

My name is Brad ILL and I’m from California although we plan to start spending our summers in Oregon. It’s hard to believe that my wife Linda and I have been teaching overseas for 23 years. We started out our international careers working for ISS schools in Indonesia and Malaysia. I will be teaching HS PE at SIS and look forward to this opportunity and the challenges ahead. My main hobbies are climbing, surfing, and mountain/road biking. We have two boys – both in University in the States.

Jamie Bacigalupo, High School English

From: United States
Education: B.A. in English Education from Gustavus Adolphus College; Master's in Curriculum and Instruction from St. Catherine's College
Other Schools: Aurora Central, Aurora, Colorado; Jefferson Bloomington, Minnesota; Colegio Americano,Quito, Ecuador

I decided to teach abroad three years ago with the desire to mix life up a bit...or entirely. I hadn't traveled internationally in 10 years and I needed a great new challenge. I had planned to return back to the school from which I was on a leave, but international teaching and a life abroad has enchanted me, challenged me, and fulfilled me a great deal. Thus, I continue. I am uber excited to be joining the SIS community as I have learned of the collaborative environment that supports professional growth in authentic ways. China, while not originally on "my list" has also begun to intrigue me. I look forward to observing, better understanding, and being part of a new culture.

Aaron Brice, High School Chemistry and Biology

From: United States
Education: B.S. in Bioengineering, Rice University
Other Schools: North Miami High School, Miami, Florida; Guangya IB School, Dujiangyan, China; American School of Belo Horizonte, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Journeys School, Jackson, Wyoming; Idyllwild Arts Academy, Idyllwild,CA

My name is Aaron Brice and I am originally from beautiful and rainy Portland, Oregon. I am a high school science teacher and am currently teaching and living in a small mountain community called Idyllwild in Southern California. My wife, Laura, and I will be joining the vibrant international community in Shekou along with our dog. We lived in Sichuan, China from 2008 to 2010 and are excited to return. We are avid foodies and adventure travelers and can't wait to the explore exotic foods and cultures of Southern China. We love hiking and nature, and we hope to adventure to remote areas of China where we can experience the biodiversity and unique cultures that make China such a rich place.

Vanessa Coetzee, Middle and High School Instrumental Music

From: South Africa
Education: B.A in Orchestral Studies
Other Schools: American International School of Johannesburg, South Africa; Independent Schools Riau, Sumatra Indonesia

I am excited to join the SIS community. I will be moving to China with my husband, Phillip and our son Aidan, who will start grade 1 in August. I taught at the international school in Johannesburg for 12 years, and in Indonesia for 3. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family and friends, Master's swim team, walking and reading. I will be completing my Masters degree this year, so a lot of my spare time is taken up with studies at the moment!

Andrew Gibson, High School Math

From: Canada
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Environmental Resource Studies, Trent University; Bachelor of Teaching - Secondary, Mathematics, University of Western Sydney; MS of Multidisciplinary Studies State University of New York
Other Schools: International School of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Korea International School, Korea; Hangzhou International School, China

My name is Andrew Gibson and I am from Toronto, Canada. I am excited to join SIS and the high school math department. My wife Robyn, who will be teaching kindergarten, and I are looking forward to returning to China as we started our international teaching careers in Hangzhou. We lived in Hangzhou for 7 years, where our two daughters spent their first few years. They will be entering grades 4 and 6 at SIS. After Hangzhou we have lived in Korea and Vietnam. I love to play many different sports and have learned to play salibandy, netball, and cricket overseas, though of course being Canadian hockey is my passion!


Shekou International School

Early Childhood and Elementary School Mountainside Campus

Jing Shan Villas, Nanhai Blvd
Shekou, Nanshan,
Shenzhen, Guangdong 518067 PRC
Phone: 86-755-2669-3669
Fax: 86-755-2667-4099

Middle School and High School Bayside Campus

A-101, Coastal Rose Phase 2, Wanghai Road,
Shekou, Nanshan,
Shenzhen, Guangdong PRC, 518067


International Schools Services

15 Roszel Road, PO Box 5910
Princeton, NJ 08543
Phone: 01-609-452-0990
Fax: 01-609-452-2690

About SIS

Welcome to Shekou International School (SIS). Established in 1988, SIS is dedicated to meeting the diverse educational needs of the expatriate community in Shenzhen and Hong Kong.


Shekou International School presently has over 800 students representing more than 40 different countries including the US, Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong, France and Germany.

Learning @ SIS

At SIS learning is the focus. See how students are challenged from an early age in a contemporary and academically rigorous environment.

Life @ SIS

SIS provides students with a wide range of creative, scholastic and athletic experiences to engage in.

Working @ SIS

Are you a passionate educator looking to join a contemporary learning community? We'd love to hear from you.


Stay connected. Keep in touch with key information for parents and guardians of our students.

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