Peter Gruber International Academy Staff
Gloria Zakers, Director International Academy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Originally from Colorado, Ms. Zakers has a B.S. in Marine Biology. Prior to joining the team at VIMSIA in 2006, she worked as a marine biologist and education specialist at Coral World Marine Park, as well as a coral reef researcher and science educator for UVI. She played an integral role in attaining our IB MYP and DP authorizations. Her efforts over the years with our own Middles States Accreditation have led her to work with that organization to audit and accredit other schools in the Caribbean. Ms. Zakers oversees all administrative and curriculum aspects of the PGIA. She has two children, Diego & Bella, who also attend VIMSIA.
Melissa Bump, English (email@example.com)
Ms. Bump is a native Virgin Islander and alumna of VI Montessori School. She received a Bachelor's in English from Drew University and a Master's of Science in Teaching from Fordham University. She taught for over ten years at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School before joining our staff in 2013. Her family has been very involved in building our school community for over forty years. Her daughter, Kiyalyn, and her son, Andreas, have been attending VIMSIA since the age of two.
Kara Chipley, Math (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kara Chipley is a small town girl from the great state of Missouri. Being the child of an elementary teacher, she knew beyond all shadow of a doubt that she never wanted to teach. But life has a habit of opening your eyes to possibilities you had never considered. While exploring career options during college she came to a startling conclusion…what she wanted most was to share her passion of mathematics with others. After completing a rigorous Teacher Certification Program, she graduated from Columbia College (Columbia, MO) with a B.Sc. in Mathematics. Following graduation, she was hired at the Marian Baker School in San Jose, Costa Rica, where she taught for three years. This is Ms. Chipley's third year with VIMSIA.
Elizabeth Elger, Director of College Counseling, Math, Interact Mentor (email@example.com)
Ms. Elger is from Cornelia, Georgia and joined our staff in 2012. She has a degree in Sociology and Italian Studies and an M.A. in Education. She studied at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and spent her post-graduate year taking courses in US History and Celtic Christianity. She has worked as Assistant Director of Admission at Oxford College of Emory University, has served as a Graduation Coach and has worked as a college counselor. She has traveled extensively in the US, the UK, Europe, South Africa, and Australia and has worked at schools in the Saipan, the country of Georgia, and the USMs. Elger’s husband, Joey, is also on staff, and their daughter, Niall, is a current VIMSIA student.
Joey Elger, Humanities, MYP Coordinator, Soccer Coach (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Originally from Georgia, Mr. Elger has travelled the world. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a B.A. in American Studies and and holds a M.A.T. in Secondary History from Piedmont College. He has taught in the US, Saipan and Tbilisi, and the Republic of Georgia. He is a US Soccer licensed coach and FIFA-certified referee and coaches VIMSIA varsity soccer. Mr. Elger is the MYP Coordinator for the PGIA as well as teaching History and Humanities. Mr. Elger’s wife, Elizabeth, is also on staff at VIMSIA, and their daughter, Niall, is a current VIMSIA student. Mr. Elger joined VIMSIA in 2012.
Jana Ferguson – Arts, Arts Infusion Coordinator, DP Coordinator (email@example.com)
Originally from Iowa, Ms. Jana Ferguson graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with an emphasis in Drawing. She was introduced to the International Baccalaureate programme while completing her student teaching at the American School of Brasilia in Brasilia, Brazil. Ms. Ferguson has worked and traveled in Japan, Europe and Brazil. She joined our VIMSIA staff in 2013 from Des Moines, Iowa where she taught MYP Visual Arts and Photography.
Andy Gever, Spanish, Spanish Infusion Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Originally from California, Señor Gever has travelled extensively. He holds a BA in African and Latin American Studies, with minors in geography and anthropology. He also has studied foreign languages such as French, Spanish and Italian. He has lived in Europe and Latin America, the great majority of these years in Spain, where he worked as an English teacher and translator. Señor Gever teaches Spanish in both the Montessori program and the International Academy and he coordinates our Spanish Infusion Program - which covers Casa through the DP. He joined VIMSIA in 2012.
Chet Passerella, MYP Drama and Music, Montessori Drama and Music (email@example.com)
Mr. Passerella joins us this year after teaching music and drama internationally and in the U.S. for many years. He has a degree in music education and a teaching certificate for K-12 music. Mr. Passerella is bringing the music and drama to VIMSIA and he does so with a wealth of both professional and teaching experience in all things music and theater, including IB music. It is fabulous to hear the sounds of music (or stomping dancers) wafting over campus from the music room everyday! Mr. Passerella (Mr. Music) also offers several after school programs - see the schedule for details.
Eman Passerella, MYP and DP Maths (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Born in Cairo, Egypt, Ms. Passerella was educated in foreign private schools. She studied Architecture and holds a Bachelor's degree in the field as well as a certificate of Engineering Project Management from the American University in Cairo. She worked in multi-national construction companies for 8 years before getting married in 2001 and changing her career to Education. Ms. Passerella holds a Master's Degree in Secondary Education as well as a Teaching Certificate for Secondary Math Education. She has significant experience and professional development specifically in IB Maths. She speaks English, Arabic, and a little Hebrew, German, French and Spanish. Ms. Passerella comes to VIMSIA with her husband, Chet, who teaches music and drama.
Lucinda Prosterman, MYP and DP English (email@example.com)
After twenty-four years teaching Language Arts at Heights High School in Wichita, Kansas, Lucinda Prosterman moved to St. Thomas to join her husband. She graduated from Wichita State University where she received her Bachelor of Arts, in Secondary Education and is certified as a Highly Qualified Teacher of English, Speech, and Theatre. Throughout her career, she has put her certifications to good use teaching a wide variety of courses and developing creative approaches to developing strong reading and writing skills. She is very excited to be joining the VIMSIA staff and working with our PGIA students.
Camille Santiago, MYP and Montessori Spanish (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Señora Santiago was born in Puerto Rico and is a long time resident of St. Thomas. She graduated from University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. Being fully bilingual, she had the opportunity to teach English in Puerto Rico and taught Spanish and Art in St. Thomas for 17 years. She has been with VIMSIA since 2011 and was our first Spanish Speaking Teacher's Assistant. Ms. Santiago has been instrumental in developing our Spanish Infusion Program and looks forward to teaching Spanish full time for Montessori and PGIA.
Helen Sidiropolous, DP Dance, MYP Movement/Arts, Enrichment Coordinator (email@example.com)
"Ms. Helen" began her dance training at age two. Her studies include classical ballet and pointe, tap, jazz, flamenco and Latin dance. She studied at the State University of New York at Albany and performed with Danceworks, Inc. Dance Troupe. She also worked and studied at EBA Dance Company, under the instruction of Maude Baum & Company in Albany, New York. She taught at Skarla's School of Classical Ballet and has performed with her dance troupe at many universities, and colleges. In 2000, she moved to St. Thomas and began teaching dance for various after school programs. She has been with VIMSIA since 2003. Her daughter, Imani, attended VIMSIA.
Alexandra Silva, Biology, Environmental Systems and Societies
Hailing from Chicago, Ms. Silva earned her B.S. at Cornell University and holds an M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education and an M.S. in Ecology & Evolution from the University of Illinois at Chicago. As part of her graduate career, Ms. Silva studied issues related to urban ecology and education, while also working with UIC's Learning Sciences Research Institute to develop programs that integrate technology and science education. Since 2009 she has led explorations of wildlife and conservation for National Geographic Student Expeditions, venturing from the Galapagos Islands to the coast of Namibia. Ms. Silva is also a science education writer for National Geographic Education.
Dr. Parrish Staples, Science, Physics and Design Technology (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Parrish has a doctorate in Physics from the University of Massachusetts, and over 20 years of technical and management experience primarily in international cooperative and cross-disciplinary programs that utilized communication skills, cultural awareness and business acumen as much as his physics expertise. He has personally worked in over 30 countries, and was the director of the European, African and Middle East office of a nuclear security program for the U.S Department of Energy for a number of years. He will be applying this experience to instructing the MYP Design and Science courses as well as to the IB Physics course. His son Vladimir is attending the VIMSIA.
Matthew Stocking, Humanities, PE, Coach (email@example.com)
Originally from New York, Mr. Stocking has his B.A. in Secondary Education and Social Studies, a certificate in Special Education and a Masters in Education. He has over ten years of experience coaching basketball and is bringing the sport to VIMSIA. He has been teaching History, Humanities and P.E. in Mali, West Africa, the Philippines, and in Beijing. Mr. Stocking joined VIMSIA in 2014.
Michele Weichman, IA and Montessori Spanish, Student Council (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Michele Weichman was born in New Jersey. She holds a B.A. in Spanish from Rutgers University and is currently working on her Master's Degree in Education Administration. She has taught in the United States and in St. Thomas. Señora Weichman teaches Spanish in both Montessori and PGIA and is the student council advisor. Señora Weichman joined VIMSIA in 2013 and her daughter, Carly, is currently in the PGIA.