Mr. Dionisis Papadakis was born and raised in Athens, Greece. He studied Physical Education and Sports Science at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, where he earned his Bachelor's degree with specialization on swimming.
He was a competitive swimmer from a very early age and joined the Greek National Swimming Team at the age of 13. During his swimming career, he had the opportunity to represent Greece across many international competitions, including the World Championship as well as the European Championship, where he was a finalist. He has also won three Balkan Swimming Championships.
Mr. Papadakis has been a swimming instructor since 2000 and is passionate about teaching children of all levels. He served as the national team’s assistant coach from 2002 until 2005, and he was the coach who accompanied the Junior National Swimming Team of Greece to the World Swimming Championship in Indianapolis, USA, in 2017. Furthermore, he has been the head coach of swimming clubs, such as A.O. Egaleo and A.O.N. Psychico, and from 2010 on he has been the head coach and leader of all age groups of the Swimming Academy (SK.ROI). He served in the position of the head coach at Ziridi Elementary School from 2005-2010.
Mr. Papadakis began working at ACS Athens in 2010. He has been a swimming instructor in the after school program and the coaching of the Middle School and Academy swimming teams. He has been teaching Physical Education in the Elementary School since September 2017. His primary goal is to help students develop a complete personality that focuses not only on their fitness and skills, but also on the values ??of ethics, fair play, and teamwork.
Sophia Moros was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois where she completed her studies at St. Xavier University earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Literature and a Master of Arts Degree in Reading.
Sophia began her career teaching second and third grades in Illinois (1998 – 2001), but after obtaining her M.A. in Reading she worked as a Reading Specialist (2001-2005) between grades K-8 and had the honor to work with Sony Corporation Education to implement an interactive reading program called Lightspan. Through the use of the Sony Playstation she used educational software as her main tool to successfully bring the lowest twenty-fifth percentile students up to state standards. She has also worked as a Reading Literacy Teacher to ESL students (2007-2008), between grades K-6, and worked closely with colleagues in order to reach literacy goals through team teaching strategies. After 9 years of teaching Sophia seized the opportunity to study at Trinity College, Barcelona and earned both a TESOL Certificate and Business English Certificate. She also taught temporarily at this institute before deciding to move to Athens where she had accepted a position as the Director of English Studies in a large private language school.
With sufficient international experience and an open mind to possibilities, Ms. Moros began working at the American Community Schools, Athens in 2009 and has since created a nurturing, creative and empowering environment to her elementary aged classroom.
During this time, her professional growth included taking online certification classes focused on Dyslexia through Buffalo State University of New York (2010), participated in AERO International training for mathematics and social studies standards (2011), took part in European Council of International Schools (ECIS) conferences –the first in Athens, Greece (2012) and presented in Zuric!Ch, Switzerland (2015). In addition to this, she presented at the 9th Annual Learning Difference Conference to showcase an ACS Athens Elementary School initiative program she and Ms. Stavi Dimas created for second grade, called "iteach2!.” In April 2016 she had the privilege of presenting alongside Dr. Andreas Tsokos, the Academy Science Teacher and Division Chair of Science / Mathematics & Technology, at the ACS Athens Colloquium, in order to demonstrate how Conceptual Mathematics builds computational accuracy.
By June 2016, Sophia was already enrolled in an Academic Leadership Course for Standards-Based Curriculum in Arlington, Virginia U.S.A. in order to pursue her career goal of becoming principal. This past summer, June 2017, she revisited Virginia for continued training through the Office of Overseas Schools, AERO, U.S. Department of State Mathematic Workshop.
She takes great pride in being a member at ACS Athens and is always looking forward to implementing best practices and aligning curricular advances to the school. It is with this boundless enthusiasm and great honor she embraces her continued role as the Elementary School Principal for the second year 2017-2018.
Mr. Chris Passons was born and raised in Texas. After graduating high school, he served in the U.S. Navy, where he had the opportunity to visit nine countries, including Greece. After completing his military service, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from Western Governors University in Utah in 2008. In 2012, he received his Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and EC-12 Principal's Certification from the University of Texas in Tyler.
After completing his Bachelor's degree, he began teaching at Tool Elementary in Texas as a Special Education teacher. Since then, he has taught 2nd grade, 5th grade and elementary Physical Education at various schools in Texas.
In 2012, after receiving his Master's degree, he became an Assistant Principal in Midland, Texas. With his team of teachers and other administrators, Chris was instrumental in moving his campus from a state rating of "Improvement Required" to a "Met Standards" campus in just two short years.
In addition to these experiences, Mr. Passons has attended many professional development seminars and trainings, all over the United States. His most recent trainings include the Near East South Asia (NESA) Spring 2018 Educators Conference as well as a Stanford University's Mathematical Mindsets course.
Mr. Passons is excited about his move from 4 th grade teacher at ACS Athens Elementary to his new role as the Vice Principal. He and his wife, Heather who teaches chemistry at the Academy, joined our ACS community in 2017. They have a son and a daughter who attend ACS Elementary School. Mr. Passons and his family are enthusiastic about being at ACS. This will be Mr. Passons' 14th year in education. He looks forward to continuing his career at ACS Athens. As the Vice Principal, he is committed to listening, continuous learning, and supporting the staff and students to reach their fullest potential.
Ms. Chryssoula Xiggi was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She holds a Teaching English License in ESL recognized by the Greek Ministry of Education and a Certificate in Translation (English – Greek general and specialized translations).
At ACS Athens she has held the following positions: Middle School Counseling Secretary, Middle School Principal’s Secretary, Registrar, and Assistant to the IB Director. She currently holds the position of Administrative Assistant to the Elementary School Principal and she provides the translation services at ACS Athens.
Demetri Pelidis first starting working at ACS as a High School Counselor and has served in many capacities with both in the Middle School and Academy Counseling Departments. In his role this year as Pre-Junior Kindergarten-5 th grade School Counselor he is responsible for approximately 400 students. As the Elementary School Counselor he works with school personnel, secretaries and administrators to meet the needs of our students. Demetri serves as a consultant to teachers and parents by providing support in regard to meeting student academic and emotional needs. While working together with teachers and administrators he will strive to build a partnership between the school and the home life.
Born in Zimbabwe, Africa and reared in Athens, Greece, Demetri is a proud graduate of ACS Athens. He earned his Bachelor of Education from Boston College, a Master of Education (M.Ed), in Counseling Psychology, from Keene State College of New Hampshire, and his Advanced Graduate Degree, in School Counseling, from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Demetri has interned and worked in various school systems both in Boston, Massachusetts and New Hampshire School Districts. Demetri has completed over 25 years of professional experience in counseling and teaching students in middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate school levels. He is a certified school counselor from the state of Massachusetts, and actively enjoys his professional affiliation with ASCA-The American School Counselor Association.
Mr. Pelidis also assists our ACS athletic department as the Boys Varsity Soccer Coach. It has been a very rewarding experience for him! Over the years our Lancer Boys Soccer Teams have earned first place gold medals in ISST championships. Prior to coaching soccer for ACS, Athens, Coach Pelidis played his collegiate soccer for the Boston College Eagles, where he was named Senior Athlete of the Year. He continued to play professionally in the American Soccer league for the Boston Bolts.
Ms. Eleftheria Ferentinos has been a part of the ACS family and the Early Childhood Department since 2002. She was born in New York and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Science from St. John’s University. Ms. Ferentinos is certified in Early Childhood from the state of Florida. As well, she has completed the educator preparation institute at NCATE, the accredited Professional Education Unit of the University of West Florida.
Ms. Ferentinos attends the ACS annual Conference on Learning Differences. Also, she attended the ECIS conference held at ACS Athens. Ms. Ferentinos participated in the ACS Athens Colloquium where she presented, along with Ms. Kokkalis and Ms. Lamprou, strategies of conceptual and constructive teaching in mathematics for Early Childhood. Furthermore, through her Action Research, she researched ways of effectively teaching writing in Kindergarten while using the Writing Workshop method. In order to further her professional development Ms. Ferentinos, during the 2016-2017 school year, attended the Reflection and Revision course held by Mr. Medeiros and the Creating Respectful and Productive Learning Communities course held by Dr. Pellonis.
Ms. Ferentinos believes in keeping up to date with new ideas and innovations in Early Childhood and has developed curriculum changes in the Kindergarten Program.
Ms. Ferentinos is passionate about helping children grow during the early years and is continually looking at elements of effective teaching. This will be her fourth year as a Kindergarten teacher with ACS Athens.
Ms. Christina Birbil is a Greek-American who was born in Spain and grew up in Spain, Italy, England, South Africa, Mexico, the United States (Austin, TX. and New York City) and Greece. A true citizen of the world and a self-professed (Adult) Third Culture Kid, she understands the make-up of our student body as she, too, has traveled the world attending international schools.
Ms. Birbil graduated Magna Cum Laude from New York University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education with a minor in Philosophy. She then pursued her teaching career while simultaneously receiving her Master’s degree in Education from The University of La Verne. With her Graduating Thesis, entitled The Socio-Emotional Benefits of Animals in the Classroom, and her Black Belt in Mixed Martial Arts, Ms. Birbil puts forth a select brand of empathy and perseverance into her life's work. She joins us for her thirteenth year here at ACS Athens.
In the fall of 2012, Ms. Birbil introduced Captain Chip (her tripawd rescue puppy) into the first grade arena and the ACS Athens community at large. As a pioneer, Captain Chip became the mascot of the elementary school and an inspiration both academically as well as socially. In 2013, Ms. Birbil and Mr. Koutsopoulos joined forces and created what is now known as the Dogs in Learning program. ACS Athens is now entering its sixth year in the program and an entire elementary school of faculty and students (1st-5th grades) who have worked with Captain Chip, as well as the Dogs in Learning program. Captain Chip continues to be both an integral part in classroom learning and an inspiration to all.
Throughout her career, Ms. Birbil has participated in various professional development training programs and seminars, including a PYP training seminar in Burgos, Spain; a NESA conference in Athens, Greece; and several Learning Differences conferences hosted at ACS Athens campus.
In June of 2012, she completed her Critical Friends Group Coaches Training and is an accredited facilitator for the National School Reform (NSRF). Ms. Birbil is currently one of four group facilitators here at ACS Athens, helping to create a trust-based community through collaborative group processes in which colleagues reflect on their practices, share ideas and promote problem solving.
In the spring of 2015, Ms. Birbil and Mr. Koutsopoulos (along with K9 companions) presented the ACS Athens Dogs in Learning Program at the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) conference in Zurich, Switzerland. At the ACS Athens Colloquium in 2016, Ms. Birbil and her first grade students held an interactive demonstration for visitors, "Captain Chip – A Canine Literacy Partner: Demonstration of a novel Early Elementary school literacy project." Also, at the ACS Athens Colloquium, Ms. Birbil and Mr. Hoc presented a Morphosis talk on Constructivist/Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning, illustrating "Design Time: An ACS Athens Elementary School Genius Hour".
Ms. Georgia Mente was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Primary Education from the University of Crete and a Master’s degree in Developmental and Learning Disabilities from the American College of Greece, in Athens. Passionate about teaching young children and committed to staying up to date with the most current trends in education, Ms. Mente is constantly pursuing new coursework and researching the literature for best practices. Throughout the past six years, she has attended multiple conferences, workshops as well as taken up online courses, including: a training program on the Organization and Administration of Education at the University of Athens, the workshop "Teaching and Learning through Art"; organized by the American College of Greece, as well as a Conceptual Math training by Erma Anderson, followed by an online course in the same area provided by Stanford University. Further building on her professional skills, in the summer of 2018 Ms. Mente attended the AERO international training for the New Generation Science Standards in Arlington, Virginia.
Ms. Mente has experience working with elementary school children within both Greek and American educational systems. In the beginning of her career, she worked in the field of Special Education as a special education teacher assistant at a Greek public school, a special educator at a private center in Athens, and a shadow teacher at ACS Athens. Following that, Ms. Mente gained ample experience working in Early Childhood, where she has served as a Junior Kindergarten and a First Grade teacher at ACS Athens for three years. Combining her education with the valuable experience she has gained, Ms. Mente is looking forward to leading her students to appreciate the thrill that comes with mathematics, the excitement as they become young scientists, the fun in reading new books, and the magic within the writing process.
Ms. Vicki Klimou was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. There, she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in French Literature and Linguistics and a minor in Psychology in 2006 at Simon Fraser University. She obtained her teaching certification diploma from Vancouver as well.
Prior to coming to Greece, Ms. Vicki Klimou's teaching career embarked at a Montessori school, teaching French at the kindergarten and preschool levels. In 2007, she decided to follow her dreams and move to Greece where she worked at a private language school teaching ESL, and she also taught at a Kindergarten. She has been educating at ACS Athens since 2008. As well as teaching the French language at the middle school level, her experience in early childhood is extensive. She has taught in the JK classroom both as an aide and teacher, has taught 1 st grade and is now very excited to be teaching 2nd graders.
She has attended many conferences since attaining her certification, including the annual conference on Learning Differences and Innovative Summit held at ACS Athens, as well as the ECIS conference which was held in 2012. Ms. Klimou is also very active in other areas of ACS Athens. She has taught the beginner's Greek course at the Institute for Innovation and Creativity. She has coached the JV Girls Soccer team and assisted with the Varsity Girls Soccer Team, and has also coached elementary soccer in the after-school programs. Moreover, Ms. Klimou has worked for the ACS Summer Youth for numerous years.
Ms. Klimou is passionate about teaching young children and strives to make every child in her classroom feel happy and safe. She believes education should empower a child to make a positive contribution to the world.
Ms. Lamprou was born in Connecticut and shared her childhood between the United States and Greece, her native country; however, she also lived in London. Her experiences in different countries has provided her with strong observation skills, an understanding of different cultures and an acceptance of all people.
Her education covers the education sector with a focus on special needs, with a B.A. in elementary and special education from Holy Family University (Philadelphia, PA). She received her certification from the state of Pennsylvania and with an MIS. (Master's in Information Systems and Technology) from Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pa). She has worked in schools, information systems, and in the advertising field.
Ms.Lamprou has been working at ACS Athens as a first grade teacher since 2010. Throughout her career, Ms.Lamprou has participated in various professional development training programs and seminars, including the ACS Athens annual conference on Learning Differences and Innovative Summit as well as the ECIS conference which was held in 2012. Ms.Lamprou participated in the 2016 ACS Athens Colloquium where she presented the finding of her action research project, along with Ms.Kokkalis and Ms.Ferentinos, strategies of conceptual and constructive teaching of number sense for Early Childhood.
Ms. Christina Venos was born in Athens, Greece and was raised in Chicago, Illinois. She traveled between Athens and Chicago all her life. She was raised in a very traditional Greek home that allowed her to keep her culture strong. She went to Northern Illinois University and earned her degree in Elementary Education, allowing her to teach from Kindergarten to 6th grade. She taught in a private elementary school in Chicago for 3 years and taught Greek school for 4 years on the weekends. She is fortunate that her passion was able to become a career, "Being in the classroom for me has never felt like a job, I enjoy every moment of it."
During her three years of teaching she earned her TESOL certification through Oxford University. She also started researching Growth Mindset. She attended the Learning and the Brain seminars in San Francisco yearly to expand her knowledge on Growth Mindset in the classroom from speakers such as Carol Dweck. During her teaching in Chicago she was chosen to lead the primary team in finding suitable curriculum to meet the needs of the students. She was able to introduce and implement a new math and ELA curriculum in her school. She became the primary department chair and received a Teaching Teams/Teacher Leader certification from Harvard in 2016.
Coming back to live in Greece and become a teacher at ACS has been a lifelong dream for Christina, so she can give back to her home the way that she can. She believes that teaching and learning become a simultaneous journey for both the teacher and students when the students’ energy is aroused by a teacher's genuine intensity for learning, because everyone is ready and willing to participate in active learning. To achieve active learning, a teacher must demonstrate enthusiasm and express confidence in the students abilities to learn and be successful. Her goal as a teacher is to instill a passion for lifelong learning within her students while providing them with an educational environment that is encouraging and positive. She aspires to provide the skills and tools necessary for success and foster the individual talents of each student, giving them the confidence to embrace their dreams and make them a reality.
Ms. Bibidakis was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and shared her childhood between the United States and Greece. She stayed in Athens for 12 years and when she was 17 she moved to Cleveland, Ohio.
Making a decision about her preferred job was always a very interesting and challenging topic to her. There are many reasons behind her decision to teach. In her selection process, certain role models affected her. Ms. Bibidakis had teachers and educators who devoted substantial amounts of time to teaching her how to master the various paths of knowledge. Their devotion, education, and manners did captivate her. Immediately, she realized that education is her field; she wanted to spend the rest of her life teaching and being taught, offering and being offered. Specifically, she picked younger students to teach. Children at this level are in a transitional stage and proper treatment has augmented positive effects. Math and science have always been her favorite fields since elementary school. She believes that better knowledge of the subject provides better results and productivity. For these reasons she attended Cleveland State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education. More specifically, her two areas of concentration are Math and Science. She is now completing her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction through the University of Cincinnati.
After receiving her Bachelor's, Ms. Bibidakis taught 4 th and 5 th grade at Paul L. Dunbar,
which is a public school in Cleveland. Additionally, she wanted to help the Greek
Community in Cleveland and taught Greek to students from 6-8 years old.
Outside of school, she enjoys to draw, travel and learn about new cultures but also to
spend time in Chalkida with her friends and family.
Ms. Bibidakis is very excited to be part of the ACS family.
Christina Feskou was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She was raised in a Greek- American environment and thus she is bilingual with her native language being English. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. She completed her Master's degree in Special Education at the University of East London. Her Thesis statement was "Students with learning difficulties being taught English as a foreign language."
Ms. Feskou has experience working with Elementary School children within both Greek and American educational systems. As a student teacher, she taught all elementary grades at a public Greek school. She has been part of the ACS family since 2016 when she worked as an aide in the OLP Department. During her time at the OLP Department she worked with all elementary and middle school grades. Last year, Ms. Feskou joined the Elementary School team as a 3rd Grade teacher.
Ms. Feskou has also attained a certification in "Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students' Potential through Creative Math, Inspiring messages and Innovative Teaching." She loves mathematics and uses innovative teaching in her classroom. She believes everyone can learn to love mathematics and she tries to find the most effective ways to unleash the math potentials in all students.
Ms. Feskou is also passionate about teaching young children and wants to be an inspiration for them to make a difference in the world. This year, she is very excited to continue teaching in Third Grade!
Ms. Newton was raised in Greenville, Alabama where she graduated Salutatorian of her graduating class. She then moved to Birmingham, Alabama where she received a double bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is now completing her Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
After receiving her Bachelor's, Ms. Newton moved back to her home town where she taught 1 st grade at the same school she had attended as a child. The next year she moved to Shanghai, China where she worked as a 3 rd grade teacher and team leader for two years. During her time in China, Ms. Newton also led professional development seminars for her colleagues in curriculum, assessment, and integrating centers in the classroom. Ms. Newton moved to Valencia, Venezuela in July 2016 where she taught 2 nd grade for a year.
Ms. Newton is interested in designing curriculum and creating interdisciplinary units for her students. She particularly enjoys teaching writing and science. It is her goal to one day work at the university level to help prepare future teachers.
Iliana Eleftheriou is of Greek origin. She received her B.A. degree in Elementary Education, Grades 1 – 6 from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She, then, obtained her M.A. degree in Special Educational Needs from the University of East London and earned her International Teacher Certificate (ITC) from the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and the University of Cambridge (International Examinations).
Ms. Eleftheriou has previously worked at ACS Athens as a Shadow and Substitute Teacher and has collaborated with private Psycho-educational Centers using her expertise in Special Education. She aspires to enrich her teaching experience by participating in various professional development courses and seminars offered by the British Council, the University of San Diego Extended, and the Stanford University, on an annual basis. Part of her lifelong learning quest was the presentation of a group poster at the ACS Athens Colloquium in 2016, demonstrating the "Shadow Teacher Partnerships" and the "Role of the Shadow Teacher" within ACS Athens.
She believes that every teacher should be familiar with inclusive and international education practices and she strives to implement both in her teaching. Helping students achieve their full potential is her greatest reward! This is her fifth year at ACS Athens and her second year in the 4th Grade team.
Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her two and four-legged friends as well as her family members.
"Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world" – Nelson Mandela
Ms. Evi Evloyias was born and raised in Athens, Greece. Her background is bi-cultural and she is a native speaker of both English and Greek. She completed her studies at Wheaton College, MA and graduated with honors from Deree College with a B.Sc. in International Business and European Affairs with a minor in Economics. She is currently completing a Masters on International Educational Leadership from Wilkes University.
Ms. Evloyias is certified to teach grades K-6 from the state of Florida, and has completed the educator preparation institute at NCATE, the accredited Professional Education Unit of the University of West Florida. Ms. Evloyias believes in keeping up to date with teaching and learning and has attended numerous professional development training seminars and conferences during her time with ACS Athens. She participated in the 2016 ACS Athens Colloquium, where with her team presented Exploring Colonial America through research-based creative writing: a 5th grade project. She has attended all the Learning Differences Conferences that have taken place at ACS Athens and has also worked closely with the OLP department. Ms. Evloyias has also participated in math workshops led by Erma Anderson on Conceptual Mathematics as well as science workshops led by Dr. Abour Cherif on Spurring Creativity in Science. She is a representative of the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas (NESA). Moreover, she has been an advisor for the Honor Code and Student Council in the Elementary School.
Ms. Evloyias is an ACS Athens alumni and started working at ACS Athens as a Shadow Teacher for six years, both in the elementary and middle school. This experience has given her a unique insight into the longitudinal educational experience of students in elementary, knowing both where they have come from and where they need to be when they reach middle school. Ms. Evloyias has also taught 5th grade and this is her fourth year teaching 4th grade.
Ms. Evloyias loves teaching and inspiring students to learn. She is a strong believer of what Ignacio Estrada had once said, "If a child can't learn the way we teach maybe we should teach the way they learn."
"The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows." Sydney J. Harris
Ms. Lia Sinouris is originally from Athens, Greece. She earned her Bachelor's degree in 20th Century European History from Connecticut College, USA, (spending semesters abroad in India and the Czech Republic) and completed her MA in Special Education (Inclusion Studies) in London, England, at the Institute of Education. Her International Teacher Certificate (ITC) was obtained from ECIS and the University of Cambridge (International Examinations). She is currently working on earning her Equivalency Degree from the Greek Ministry of Education.
Her "teacher calling" began 17 years ago where she tutored students with learning differences; she encouraged their learning styles and assisted them with their academic responsibilities. Since then she has worked in various international schools in Athens and remains fascinated with the realm of international education as she believes it provides the platform for authentic and innovative learning. She has previously worked at ACS Athens in the Optimal Learning Program for three years and avidly supports each student’s unique capacity to create magic and think outside the box. This year will mark her fourth as a member of the 4th grade team.
Throughout her academic career Ms. Sinouris has attended numerous conferences and seminars related to her areas of interest including NESA, the Learning Differences Conference hosted by ACS Athens and other professional development conventions (in Teaching Math, Teaching Reading and Spelling, Developmental Disorders, and Co-Teaching). Her participation in the 2016 ACS Athens Colloquium involved collaborating with another teacher to explore the effects of planning time within a partnership model. Learning in an intercultural context, dimensions of language, inquiry-based learning, and student transition are ongoing research interests. Her educational philosophy is found on the notion that we do not all learn in the same way.
Ms. Sinouris is overjoyed to be embarking on another learning adventure with the 4th graders this year and hopes to be able to leave a positive mark in all her wonderful students' lives.
Ms. Dimas was born and raised in Washington D.C., USA. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the American College of Greece with High Distinction and a Master's degree in Museology from the University of Leicester with a concentration in Museum Education. Ms. Dimas received her teaching certification from the state of Florida, and has completed the educator preparation institute at NCATE, the accredited Professional Education Unit of the University of West Florida. She just recently embarked on her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Glasgow. Prior to joining the ACS Athens Faculty, Ms. Dimas worked from 2009 – 2012 with school and family groups at the Hellenic Children's Museum in Athens, specializing in inquiry-based learning and constructivist teaching models.
Ms. Dimas has contributed to ACS Athens across the grade levels. She spearheaded the "iteach2" project together with Ms. Sophia Moros in the second grade, and the Writing in Action workshop with Ms. Amalia Zavacopoulou for middle school students. For five years, Ms. Dimas has had the opportunity to act as advisor to the Forensics academic team, Group Discussion, where she works closely with high school students to realize their potential as conscious and active members of an ever-changing global community. She has also had the pleasure of serving as advisor to the ACS Athens Elementary School Honor Code for the last three years as well as mentor to the fifth grade student initiative HEART.
Ms. Dimas has attended multiple workshops and conferences over the last few years, not only as a participant, but as a presenter as well. In 2013, she presented the iteach2! initiative at the 8th annual Conference on Learning Differences (Innovative Teaching and Inclusive Learning) together with Ms. Sophia Moros. The next year, Ms. Dimas and Ms. Moros had the pleasure of representing ACS Athens at the ECIS Early Childhood Conference in Zurich, showcasing the implementation of the iteach2! learning tool. In September 2015, Ms. Dimas was invited to speak at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., at the annual International Council of Museums Conference on Education and Cultural Action. Here, she shared her work on the implementation of informal education learning techniques as teaching tools in a multi-cultural classroom setting.
At the ACS Athens Colloquium in 2016, Ms. Dimas presented a Morphosis Talk together with Ms. Amalia Zavacopoulou. Under the heading of Teaching Writing to Think and Learn, she and Ms. Zavacopoulou analyzed the project "Making Stories at the Acropolis Museum," which they had designed for the high school Honors Humanities course together with Ms. Kathy Jasonides. The initiative merges the writing process, informal learning resources, the course syllabus, and student ingenuity in order to reach its end goal.
Ms. Dimas recently wrote an essay, "Improving Multicultural Learning through Interpretations and Interactions with Museum Educational Practice," which was published in the Journal of Visual Literacy. Last year, she had the honor of serving as guest editor for a double issue of the same journal. She has also completed the Critical Friends Group Coaches Training and is an accredited coach for the National School Reform (NSRF).
Every day, Ms. Dimas is inspired by the spontaneity, creativity, and wisdom she observes in her students. She firmly holds the belief that each student has his/her own approach to interpreting and internalizing knowledge and learning experiences. Therefore, she believes her role as an educator is to serve as facilitator and mentor to the unique abilities of each child. Ms. Dimas has taught kindergarten for two years and third grade for three; this will be her second year as a fifth grade teacher. She is thrilled to continue to be a part of the ACS Athens family!
Ms. Laura Kollintzas was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and moved to Athens, Greece at the age of 5. She is an ACS Athens alumni student, attending the school from kindergarten all the way through to 12th grade. Ms. Kollintzas graduated from Deree College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and continued her studies in Great Britain, where she received a Post Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Studies, from Roehampton University in London, and a Masters in Early Childhood Education, from UCL-Institute of Education in London. Further, Ms. Kollintzas is a Certified Elementary Teacher for grades Pre-K to 6, from the state of Florida. Her work experience in the elementary grades consists of six years teaching in pre-k and kindergarten, including one year of volunteer work, and 2 years in the second grade, one of which she did her teaching preparation practicum in collaboration with the University of West Florida.
Over the years, Ms. Kollintzas has participated in a variety of seminars and conferences. More specifically, she has attended a number of seminars while studying at UCL-Institute of Education, topics which included "Transitions and Children's Working Theories", and "International Early Years Provision." Additionally, Ms. Kollintzas attended the 2012 ECIS conference, focusing on "The Changing Landscape in Early Childhood Education." Other seminars involved "School Management and Leadership", a yearlong series of seminars and training in "Teaching through the Arts", and seminars held by UCL-Institute of Education, titled "For teachers by Teachers-Learning through Observing Each Other." She attended the 2016 ACS Colloquium and had the opportunity to observe numerous inspiring presentations which involved the innovative approaches which ACS Athens and its faculty implement in order to holistically educate their students. Finally, during the past few years at ACS Athens, Ms. Kollintzas has participated in various courses and workshops offered by the school, topics including "Creating Respectful and Productive Learning Communities", "Leaders and Learners", a training workshop led by Mrs. Erma Anderson focused on teaching math conceptually, and a course offered by Stanford University dedicated to creating mathematical mindsets.
Since 2016, Ms. Kollintzas is the advisor of the ST.A.R.T. Club, a club created initially by elementary school students, who engage in a variety of activities in order to raise awareness regarding stray animals, and more, raise funds to donate to animal shelters. Moreover, beginning spring 2017 she is proud to be part of the ACS Athens initiative "Youth to Youth- Home Project", which involves teaching English to unaccompanied refugee children on a voluntary basis.
Ms. Kollintzas is very passionate and enthusiastic about teaching, and considers her role as an early childhood educator to be crucial and vital in creating future global citizens. Her priority and goal as an educator is to promote and sustain an environment which nurtures happy, secure, and confident children, and motivates students to develop into life-long learners.
Ms. Kynigou was raised in England. She received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University and then qualified as a teacher at the London University, Institute of Education.
She taught at St Paul's Primary School, London, UK and at TASIS Elementary School, Athens before joining ACS Athens in 1990. She has actively developed curriculum innovations for Early Childhood, 4th and 5th grade levels over her 28 years teaching at the school. In addition to her teaching role, Ms. Kynigou is the co founder and co-coordinator of the ACS Athens Collaborative Learning Community (CLC), a forum for professional reflection, problem solving and growth. She and David Nelson presented about the CLC during the ACS Athens Colloquium. Ms. Kynigou is also an accredited National Trainer / Facilitator for the National School Reform Faculty (NSRF). She specializes in creating trust-based communities through collaborative group processes and facilitating Critical Friends Groups in which colleagues reflect on their practice, share ideas and promote problem solving. In addition to her CFG training, she also attended the Adaptive Schools training held during the 2015 NESA Spring Educators' Conference for advanced training in facilitation techniques.
Ms. Kynigou first represented ACS Athens at TESOL, Athens 2008 presenting on teaching language arts skills through research. At the NESA Spring Educators Conference 2010, she presented a workshop on the creation on the 5th grade play, which she was also invited to present at the Constructionism 2010 conference at the American University of Paris. During the ACS Athens 6th Annual Conference On Learning Differences, 2011, she presented "Me and My Shadow" with Ms. Angelik Grigoratos: a workshop about building student success through teacher/shadow teacher collaboration. She attended the 2012 Jefferson Overseas Schools Technology Institute and the NESA Spring Educators Conference in 2013. She has been a frequent contributor to the school Ethos Magazine, writing about using blogging and a writing workshop approach to teach writing. She attended the NESA Spring Educators' Conference 2017. Finally, in collaboration with Helen Sarantes, Elementary Technology Specialist, she has written a chapter, "Setting the Stage for i2Flex, The View from the Elementary School," for the newly published "Revolutionizing K-12 Blended Learning through the i2Flex Classroom model" by Dr. Maria Avgerinou and Dr. Stefanos Gialamas.
Ms. Kynigou inspires students to ask questions, take ownership, experiment and self-reflect on their learning as they prepare for the transition to Middle School. She brings her wealth of experience in collaborative practice to her classroom and emphasizes the value of working with others and learning together, building the foundations which lead to the culminating 5th grade exhibition of learning: the Living Museum of the Ancient Agora in the early summer.
Valeria Laitinen grew up as a third culture kid and continued on to become a third culture adult. She was born and raised in Milan, Italy until the age of 13 and subsequently moved to Newton, Massachusetts for high school. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Harvard College and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Prior to becoming a teacher, Ms. Laitinen worked on promoting democratic practices and free and fair elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nigeria and Bangladesh through internationally funded NGOs. In Bangladesh, Ms. Laitinen also designed and taught a course on resume writing and interviewing skills at East West University. She also served as a study abroad advisor in The American Center in Dhaka.
After the birth of her children (now teenagers at ACS), Ms. Laitinen completed her Teaching Certification from George Mason University in Virginia. She has taught in international schools in Slovakia, Uzbekistan and Ukraine and spent three years at a Title I school in Springfield, Virginia that had a large ESL population. She has used the rich cultural and linguistic diversity in each of her classrooms to promote open-mindedness and empathy.
Ms. Laitinen is passionate about creating a culture of thinking in her classroom, using visible thinking strategies and routines from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education's Project Zero. She has pursued training in Responsive Classroom and participated in a study on the impact of Responsive Classroom on test scores led by the University of Virginia in selected Title I schools. In her previous schools, Ms. Laitinen led staff development sessions on Growth Mindset, effective teacher language, and inquiry as well as professional book discussions. In addition to English, Ms. Laitinen speaks Italian, French, Russian, a little German and is eagerly learning Greek. She is looking forward to becoming part of the ACS family.
Ms. Sophia Tsinakis is a Greek-Hispanic-American who was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. The treasured visits to Greece throughout her life have brought her close to her Greek family and her father’s roots. She earned a Master's in Elementary Education and a K-12 English Language Learners endorsement at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 2014. Additionally, she earned a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Art Therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge Massachusetts. For the past four years, she served as a first-grade teacher at Dan Mills Elementary School, an innovative school in Nashville, and maintained close professional ties to Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Ms. Tsinakis has a great passion for teaching and her priority as an educator of young minds is to assist children of diverse backgrounds to find meaning, passion, and direction in their educational experience, and ultimately in their lives. She gives high priority to authentic independent and collaborative learning, rigor and critical thinking, accountable talk, differentiated and integrated instruction, multiple intelligences, and hands-on experiences. The principles and inspiration of Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project have been a guiding influence in her pursuit of refining and growing her literacy instruction. In fact, Lucy Calkins and Katie Wood Ray inspired her master's thesis, Making Meaning: The Links of Drawing and Writing. Moreover, John A. Van de Walle's work provides a basis for her mathematical instruction by leading students from concrete to pictorial to eventually stricter mathematical concepts. Ms. Tsinakis is committed to fostering, inspiring, and sustaining high levels of authentic learning in all students as a path through which they become active, kind, independent, and global learners.
In 2018, she was a finalist for the Teacher of the Year award by Dan Mills Elementary. Her individual growth scores and overall effectiveness at Dan Mills earned the highest level of achievement. In 2016, she was recognized as a Literacy Leader by the Director of Literacy at Metro Nashville Public Schools, was interviewed and observed by the National Public Radio program, Mind/Shift, and one of her guided reading lessons was filmed by the Metro Nashville Public Schools as an example of exemplary reading instruction. She has collaborated in the SAIL Project (Survey, Analyze, Infer, Link) with education researcher Kathy Ganske of Peabody College to pioneer innovative and engaging word study instruction. She was featured in the November/December 2016 edition of The Reading Teacher, in the article SAIL: A Framework for Promoting Next-Generation Word Study by Kathy Ganske. Further, she is a contributing writer in the 2018 published revision of Word Sorts and More by Kathy Ganske.
Ms. Tsinakis has a strong professional interest in curriculum design and professional development. In particular, she has served as a scope and sequence writer for Metro Nashville Public Schools, has been a member of a vertical K-4 planning team at Dan Mills Elementary, and has led workshops on Balanced Literacy, Authentic and Elevated Text Discussions, Integration of Interactive Writing/Read Aloud, Accountable Talk in Classroom: Moving Beyond Agree and Disagree, and Emergent Writers and the Writing Process. Most recently, she co-created and facilitated with Evi Eyloyias (ACS Athens) the professional development workshop, Writing Workshop in Elementary School, at the American Farm School in Thessaloniki, Greece. In the past three years, she has attended the Teachers’ College Reading and Writing Project Workshop in Atlanta (December 2015); the English Language Learners Summer Institute of Metro Nashville Public Schools (June 2016); and the Teachers' College Reading and Writing Project in the Barcelona Writing Institute (July 2017).
Ms. Tsinakis is thrilled to be a member of the ACS Athens family.
Born in Alexandria, Egypt, and raised in Kuwait and Athens, Farida El Gazzar, an ACS Athens alumna, graduated from Vakalo School of Art & Design, in Athens, and then moved to London where she earned her Bachelor of Arts Hons degree from Kingston University, and her Master of Arts degree from the Royal College of Art.
Prior to joining the ACS Athens faculty, she gave seminars for portfolio preparations and art drawing classes to ACS Athens students in collaboration with AKTO School of Art & Design.
From 2003 to 2007, she was co-founder of the creative team WARDA. Ms. El Gazzar was an artist-in-residence in Cairo 2008, and in Bahrain 2009, where she gave workshops to local artists.
She is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens-Thessaloniki and has exhibited in Greece and abroad. She is an artist and freelance illustrator. Among her clients, she has collaborated with the National London Theatre, Hayford & Rhodes, the Greek Ministry of Environment, ATHENS 2004, Cornell University Press, DOL; Lambrakis and Kathimerini publications. Her works are with institutional collections such as The Barjeel Art Foundation and major private collections in Europe, the USA and the MENAM.
Ms. Jenny Grigoropoulos was born in Athens, Greece, and raised in Maryland, U.S.A. where she graduated from high school. She attended the University of Maryland for her first university years and she graduated from the University of La Verne with a B.Sc. degree.
She received her M.A. degree in International Management and Business Administration and she earned her teaching certification in the United States, qualified by that to teach ESL and EFL Kindergarten – 12 and Business Studies 6 – 12. She is also an IB examiner for Business Management. She teaches ESL in the Elementary School for grades K – 5 to non-native English speakers. She has been an ESL teacher for 23 years, overall. She worked with the ESL/EFL department in the Middle School for the past four years. Ms. Grigoropoulos has been actively involved with the Youth-to-Youth program, providing unaccompanied minors with skills and knowledge of the English language, on Saturdays. She is a contributing author of the book "Revolutionizing K-12 Blended Learning through the i2Flex Classroom Model". She has authored articles and has presented her work in colloquiums/conferences. She was one of the founding members of the Recycling initiative.
In her pursuit of an educational doctorate degree, she has fulfilled her coursework requirements and is anticipated to graduate in May 2019.
She enjoys painting, yoga, pilates, and traveling.
Ms. Papageorgiou was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece. She holds a B.A. in Greek Literature with major in Ancient Greek Literature and Latin from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Ms. Papageorgiou worked many years as a teacher of Greek and taught students of all grades (elementary through high school). She has also worked in a publishing house for two years as an editor of Greek Language and Literature schoolbooks.
Ms. Papageorgiou teaches the Language Arts and Advanced classes at ACS Athens Elementary School since 2007 and also teaches Greek in the Middle School. She has taught at the Elementary Writing Center guiding students between grades 1 -5 with their writing. Furthermore, Ms. Papageorgiou has taught the Greek Isotimia Program of ACS Athens High school for several years.
Ms. Papageorgiou has published articles in Ethos magazine on Greek language instruction and celebrations. She has also attended many educational conferences – seminars on Teaching, Technology in Education and Learning Differences.
Irini Rovoli was born in Athens, Greece. She holds a B.A. in Education from the University of Athens, School of Philosophy, and an M.A. in the Psychology and Education of Children with Special Needs from the University of London, Institute of Education. She also pursued advanced piano studies in the National Conservatory of Athens and studied Drama at Veaki Drama School, Athens.
Ms. Rovoli began teaching at high school level in London first and then in the Greek public sector. She joined ACS Athens in 1995 and has been a teacher of Greek in the Elementary and Middle School ever since. Ms. Rovoli actively contributed innovations in the Greek language curriculum of the elementary (content design for grades JK-5 Greek curriculum and the elementary Greek national celebrations). She also taught 5th grade English Language Arts class and has served as Team Leader. In 2017, Ms Rovoli was also assigned the role of Elementary Interim Vice Principal, a rich professional experience that broadened her perspective and deepened her appreciation of ACS Athens colleagues, students and parents.
Ms. Rovoli has published articles in the British Journal of Educational Psychology, Institute of Education Alumni magazine, NESA News magazine, and ACS Athens Ethos. As co-advisor of the ACS Athens Elementary Turtle Club, she presented this innovative environmental initiative on student leadership and action through Project-Based Learning at the ECIS Conference in 2012 in Athens, and at the NESA International Conference in 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. Her presentation at the ACS Athens Colloquium 2016 was her original work on rhyming grammar rules for the Greek language learners.
In 2013, Ms. Rovoli became a certified Critical Friends Groups coach (National School Reform Faculty). She is currently a facilitator in the ACS Athens Collaborative Learning Communities which promote teacher collaboration and professional growth, and has also attended the ACS Athens workshops of 2017 and 2018 as well as the NESA 2018 International Conference in Athens, Greece.
Her educational interests include teacher collaboration, student creativity, language development and learning differences.
Ms. Accari is the Arabic language teacher at the Elementary school. Born in Latakia, Syria, Ms. Accari became a certified elementary teacher by the University of Latakia. She has a rich experience in teaching all levels of the Arabic language and has been at ACS since 1990.
Ms. Accari has attended various international and local conferences on language teaching, assessment and education practices.
More information will be added soon.
Helen was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She earned her B.Sc. in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has thirty years of experience in teaching technology at the elementary school level and has witnessed the transformation of computers from the simple 64-kilobyte home computers to the current high speed devices of today.?
Ms. Sarantes is an active participant in a research study for the development of the new educational search engine, Choosito! Her current teaching focuses on using technology as a tool for learning which is critical for students’ lives in the 21st century.
Her professional growth includes attending various NESA and ECIS conferences and is a frequent contributor of articles for the school Ethos Magazine. In April 2016, she presented, "A Demonstration of Student Learning" at the ACS Athens Colloquium.
Ms. Sarantes was nominated for the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) 2016 Outstanding Teacher Award and is a co-author for the recently released book, "Revolutionizing K-12 Blended Learning through the i2Flex Classroom Model." Her contribution focused on, "Setting the Stage for i2Flex: The View from the Elementary School."
Ms. Peggy Apostolou was born and raised in Athens, Greece. After completing her school, and music studies at the conservatoire, she went on to higher education in the UK. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music from Napier University, Edinburgh, and a Master's Degree in Ethnomusicology as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Goldsmith University, London.
Ms. Apostolou started teaching music in schools whilst in London. She worked as a secondary school music teacher and a piano teacher for many years and involved herself with music and dancing from various parts of the world.
Upon her return to Greece, Ms. Apostolou started working at ACS Athens where she teaches music to elementary school students from Kindergarten to grade five. Through a musically varied, but well structured curriculum, Ms. Apostolou helps her students develop their skills, knowledge, and understanding with singing, dancing, instrumental skills, theory, and live performances being at the core of their learning.
Ms. Efi Karatopouzi was born in Greece having a Greek Australian citizenship (Australian mother) and was raised abroad until she finished first grade. Then, she came to Greece where she graduated from Greek High School and continued her studies at the School of Physical Education and Sports Science at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, where she earned her B.A. with specialization on Track and Field. In 2017, she earned her B.A. in Child Psychology at the University of the Aegean. She is currently pursuing her M.A. in School Psychology. She holds a degree in Yoga and has participated in personal development courses regarding teaching methods for large classes as well as teaching physical education to kids with autism. She is an official Archery, Track and Field, and National Nordic coach.
Ms. Karatopouzi has a rich experience in physical education. She has worked as a fitness teacher for many years in several sports clubs for adults and children and as a volunteer physical education teacher at Zanneio Institution, where she worked with abused children. She has been a member of the Greek National Track & Field team for 15 years and has competed in national and international competitions in Greece and abroad. She is co-founder and co-creator of Fitness Nordic. She is also the author of a children's book on exercise; a new way to make kids' fantasy work with creativity by listening and exercising.
Ms. Karatopouzi began working at ACS Athens in 2016 as a Physical Education Teacher in the Elementary School and has undertaken different posts in the Athletic Department in all three schools and ACS Athens Summer Camp since then. In 2017 -2018, she piloted a mindfulness program for students in Junior Kindergarten classes, which will continue to run this year also. Her pilot mindfulness research paper was presented at the International Mindfulness Convention, held in Slovenia. She has also offered her services voluntarily to the Youth to Youth Program at ACS Athens.
Ms. Sana Kassem has been a chemistry and biology teacher at ACS Athens since 2004. She earned a B.Sc. Science (Biology/Chemistry) from the American University of Beirut and a M.Ed. from the University of LaVerne, Athens.
She taught biology and chemistry for IGCSE, A level, AP, French Baccalaureate and IB classes in many international schools in Beirut, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Athens. In addition to teaching she has worked as an academic advisor for curriculum development of science at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi, as Head of Science in International Schools in Abu Dhabi and Athens and has been an IB Biology examiner since 2000 and an AP Biology examiner since 2014. In 2015, Sana was selected by the IBO to be a team leader for IB biology examinations. In 2015, she took the challenging task of teaching science in the elementary school, servicing grades JK to grade 5. She has developed an inquiry-based science curriculum, the goal of which is to provide plenty of opportunities for the children to experience things in a hands-on way in order to encourage and increase their curiosity and to instill in them the lifelong love for science.
At ACS Athens Colloquium she presented the approaches and methods applied during inquiry- based lessons and had two demonstration sessions with elementary school students doing different science activities. In addition to this, she published the article "What Are We Doing Today" in the Ethos Magazine of Winter 2015.
She co-authored with Dr. Stefanos Gialamas and professors from 3 different institutions two articles that were published in Journal of Education and Practice, "Which Sweetener Is Best for Yeast? An Inquiry-Based Learning for Conceptual Change", (www.iiste.org, Vol.8, No.2, 2017) and "Where Have the Beans Been? Student-Driven Laboratory Learning Activities with Legumes for Conceptual Change." Where Have the Beans Been The two articles were published in Journal of Education and Practice (www.iiste.org, Vol.9, No.11, 2018).
In March 2017 Sana presented her work in the advancement of science in the ACS Athens Elementary School's Science Program at NESA conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Ms. Kassem shared her curriculum design, vision & methods to colleagues from international schools in the region in her workshop entitled, "The Mother of All Methods: A Unified Vision for Teaching Sciences".
In June 2017 the first online IGCSE Biology book that was published by www.Kognity.com where Ms. Kassem has co-authored five chapters of the book.
Trina Langsenkamp is originally from Rochester, New York. She holds a Masters degree in Arts in Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Art Education from The Ohio State University. She holds a K-12 visual arts education licensure and certification from the state of Ohio.
For the past year, Trina was working as an Artist in Residence for Project Zero (PZ) at Harvard University. During the residency and in conjunction with PZ's Out of Eden Learn project, she developed methods and practices for integrating mindfulness into arts curriculum to work with students to create abstract landscape paintings. She ran workshops with graduate students and professors at Harvard University, and from there developed a K-12 curriculum unit.
Prior to that, Trina worked as an educator at Urban Arts Space, a contemporary art gallery in Columbus, Ohio. In this role, she designed and taught courses in art history and art making for community members of all ages and abilities. She also ran weekly art classes for adults with developmental disabilities in conjunction with VSA-Ohio and organized community engagement events outside of the gallery.
Trina also has extensive work with integrating creative arts into summer camps and programming. In 2017 alone, she was an Artist in Residence at Camp Stomping Ground in Deposit, New York, a counselor and workshop leader for Grrrls Rock Columbus, and worked as an arts specialist at Creative Themes Day Camp in East Rochester, New York. She also has experience teaching in elementary and high school art classrooms.
Ms. Langsenkamp is currently a freelance painter whose work primarily focuses on abstraction and landscapes. In 2015, she presented at the Ohio Art Education Association conference on her work with sensory engagement in art making and was recipient of the 2015 Fergus Fellows Award. Trina's interest in international arts education began when she studied in Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. She later studied at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica, where she worked directly with arts educators in public, private and non-traditional education sectors. She is excited to begin her role as the elementary art teacher and is ready to guide her students in making art that is exploratory, exciting and creative.
Fotini Chatziantoniou was born in Athens and raised in Karpathos. Ms. Chatziantoniou holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Pedagogy and Psychology with a major in Pedagogy, from the the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and an M.A in Technologies of Learning and Communication from the European University of Cyprus. She has completed her internship teaching Modern Greek Literature & Ancient Greek in 7th and 9th Grade, at Second Expiremental School of Athens.
Since 2012, Ms. Chatziantoniou has been employed in these areas and has gained extensive experience in teaching and tutoring kids of all grade levels. In parallel she has actively participated in various seminars and lectures regarding Special Abilities Education. Specifically, she has participated in seminars with a focus on the following subjects: Psychological Health and Modern Society, Learning Disabilities: Dyslexia, Team/Collaborative Teaching And Knowledge, Diagnostic Tools for Learning Disabilities, Educational Methodology, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Occupational Therapy and Therapeutic Treatment for ADHD. She also, has participated in the 4th Karpathian Folklore Convention, organized by the University of Athens and the Karpathian Cultural Institute.
Ms. Chatziantoniou is excited to be teaching the Greek Language through up-to-date methodologies and a personal way of approaching students in order for them to love and succeed in language learning. This is her third year at ACS Athens hoping to create a caring learning environment within which her students will be able to reach their full potential. She believes that learning is an active process that lasts a lifetime, and her educational goal is to inspire students while supporting them in the learning process.
Ms. Minoudi was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She is certified in Special Education and Information Services and Communications. She has worked at Kalograia, a center of foreign languages in Thessaloniki, where served as a teacher and Administrative Assistant.
Ms. Minoudi joined the ACS Athens community in 2013. She has worked in the Middle School as the Discipline and Attendance Coordinator and has taught Greek Language Arts to Greek native speakers in the Elementary and Middle School. In addition, she has been the Middle School Yearbook Advisor for two years. Over the past two years, she served as the Service and Citizenship Coordinator in the Academy, as well as CAS Advisor to IB Students, providing them with guidance in order for them to complete successfully their CAS Projects.
She is passionate about teaching and interacting with students so as to motivate them and play an active role in their academic and social growth. Ms. Minoudi is very excited to be teaching Greek in the Elementary and Middle School this year.
Tassos Benetatos was born in Athens Greece and was a student at ACS from Junior Kindergarden until his graduation from high school in 1997. During his years in high school he attended the National Conservatory in Athens as a student of the classical guitar progressing quickly through the established grade levels so as to reach the highest grade before leaving Greece to study music at Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois. At Northwestern, beyond his studies in the classical guitar he was very involved with the university radio station doing weekly presentations on a wide range of music from classical to traditional music from around the world.
Upon returning to Greece after attaining his bachelor in Music he attended classes for a year with the renowned guitarist Evangelos Boudounis and then left Greece again to continue studying in Berlin at the "Hanns Eisler" Hochschule fur Music where he attained his Diploma as a classical guitar soloist. While in Germany he played and worked with a wide range of musicians including Jazz musicians, Griot musicians from Senegal and traditional musicians from Greece.
In 2008 Mr. Benetatos returned to Greece and decided to focus his energy on developing his understanding of Greek music traditions as they were before the 1960’s by working closely with many professional musicians, scholars and 78rpm record collectors all of whom are dedicated to this era of Greek music. He has worked as a professional musician since then playing in Athens, his home island Kefalonia, and the Peloponese. At the same time he has been a private tutor to adults and children.
In 2009 he established a successful summer rental business in Kefalonia with his sister who is also an ACS alumnus and having spent so much time in that beautiful rural landscape he developed an interest in agriculture which led him to attend a series of seminars on organic and biodynamic agriculture, along with a series of seminars at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki on the cultivation of aromatic plants and the production of essential oils.
In 2017 he established himself in Athens permanently where he now lives with his wife and one year old daughter. At ACS he works as a part time elementary school music teacher assisting Ms. Peggy Apostolou with her task of teaching music to a large body of young students.
Zacharo Diamanto Gialama was born in Chicago but mostly raised in Athens, Greece. She came to ACS Athens in 2006 and graduated in 2011. She received her bachelor's in Political Science with a minor in Creative Writing from The George Washington University in D.C.
She also received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Fiction from Chapman University in California.
Ms. Zacharo has worked at ACS through a variety of ways. She started working at the ACS Athens summer camp ten years ago, she has worked as a volunteer and for the past few years, she has been an English/Dance teacher. She has also proctored IB exams and worked in the administration with faculty members on a variety of projects.
In general, Ms. Zacharo's work experience ranges from working in the service industry to working as an administrative assistant for the Greek Embassy in D.C., to working at RAINN, an organization that helps and supports survivors of sexual abuse.
She was the narrator and a co-creator of a student-based documentary for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A year later, they were all privileged enough to travel to those areas and get live footage for a second one. Finishing the second documentary is a long-term goal.
Ms. Zacharo has also written articles for Kathimerini and The Daily Caller. Currently, she is working on a novel called Eros. It's almost done! The first ten pages of it have been published on Eunoia Review with the title Two Boys.
Last year, she was the Elementary School Writing Studio Coordinator. She offered writing support to grades 1-5. This year, she will be splitting her time between teaching 6th grade Social Studies and the ES Writing Studio.
Ms. Zacharo's main goal is to inspire and teach students through writing and all forms of literature. She also believes that, "To teach is to learn twice," Joseph Joubert.
Caroline Miller was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated from Furman University in Greenville, SC in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. In 2009, she received her National Board Certification in Literacy and in 2011, she received an endorsement for Gifted and Talented education through the College of Charleston.
Mrs. Miller has 17 years of experience teaching grades 1 – 5 in public and private schools. She has spent the last 11 years teaching 3 rd grade in Charleston, SC. During those years she has participated in various gifted and talented educational conferences with renowned speakers such as Michael Clay Thompson and Dr. Shelagh A. Gallagher. She has been trained in STEAM education through Clemson University and was instrumental in facilitating a STEAM project in her school about ocean pollution. She has been a facilitator for professional development in her school district for ways to use literacy stations in the elementary classroom. Also, Mrs. Miller was selected for a team of educators in her school to develop a more effective process for weekly, professional collaboration for the faculty of her school. This resulted in times for each grade level team to be more strategic, student-centered, and innovative with instructional strategies.
Mrs. Miller's family has been considering a move to Europe for the past several years as they are drawn to different cultures and international environments. The opportunity to come to Athens became a reality this year, and she is excited to have moved this past summer with her husband and their youngest child. She is thrilled to be able to continue her professional role as an educator here at ACS.
Ms. Meleki is an ACS Athens graduate of 2001. She has been working at ACS Athens Elementary School as a Media Assistant since 2003.
Mr. Naoum was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa and holds a coaching certificate in soccer.
He has coached boys and girls soccer at all levels and has also been a Varsity Coach at ACS Athens for several years. As an athlete Mr. Naoum has played soccer in semi-pro level and was a member of the Belgian league for the team of Anderlecht. Mr. Naoum is an ACS Athens alumnus (class of 1979).
Anna Makris was born and raised in Athens, Greece, and is an alumna of ACS Athens. Ms. Makris is a Licensed Psychologist and has received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto with a double major in Psychology and Sociology as well as a Master of Science in Psychology from Kingston University. In addition she is trained in psychoeducational diagnostic testing and is one of the founding members of the Educational & Diagnostic Testing Center at ACS Athens.
She began working at ACS Athens in 2012 as an Academic Advisory Specialist and IB CAS Coordinator, assisting Junior and Senior students with the university application process as a whole. Ms. Makris is currently the Academy Counseling Coordinator in the Office of Student Affairs.
Sarah Kaldelli earned her Bachelor’s degree, in Elementary Education from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, U.S.A. Her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education was achieved from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. She has also acquired her Degree Equivalency from the Greek Ministry of Education.
She has worked in international schools in Greece, and in the Greek private school sector for the past 20 years. She has taught students with learning differences and disabilities ranging from Junior-Kindergarten to 7 th grade.
This is her 13th year at ACS Athens with the Elementary Optimal Learning Program (OLP). For the first 12 years, she was the Elementary School Optimal Learning Specialist, and is now working as the Coordinator for OLP. She has experienced many diverse professional development opportunities such as ECIS, NESA, the Learning Difference Conferences at ACS Athens, ADHD conferences and the ACS Athens Colloquium of 2016. She also routinely benefits from online coursework through the University of Phoenix. She has been a mentor to those seeking teacher certifications and to those doing internships during their academic studies. Additionally, she has authored and co-authored articles for the ACS Athens Ethos magazine. She played an active part in the development and establishment of the ACS Athens Diagnostic Center, and continues to collaborate closely with both the Center and the Counseling component of the Student Services Department. She is an advocate for early intervention, for focusing on each child’s best interests and for building confidence toward learning.
Inspired by her mom, Ms. Karatza knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher. She earned a B.A in Early Childhood Education from the University of Athens and she has also completed courses in the field of Psychology during her studies at the Italian University of Padova such as Learning Disabilities and Psychology of Emotions. Zoi has recently completed her M.A. in Information and Communication Technologies in Education from the University of Athens, University of Thessaly and Technological Education Institute of Piraeus. The subject of her thesis was: "ICT as a tool for differentiation of the learning process: A comparative study of educators' views and use of ICT tools and an informative intervention through digital material". Her interest for continuous training and professional development led her to attend many training courses such as: Educational and Psychological Measurements in Special Education (George Washington University), Conceptual Math Training for grades K-2, Special Educational Needs (British Council) and Supporting children with difficulties in reading and writing (University of London, UCL Institute of Education and Dyslexia International). During her two-years internships and her work as a private tutor, teaching elementary students, she developed custom curriculums, including homework and assessments, identified the needs of learners and developed academic strategies to improve students’ self-sufficiency.
Ms. Karatza has had the opportunity to work with learners across grade levels, as an assistant to the Optimal Learning Program (OLP) for both Middle School and Academy for the last two academic years. This is her third year at ACS and she will work with Elementary students, as an assistant in OLP and she is more excited than ever!
Penny Koutoulakou was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She holds a Bachelor Degree in English Language and Literature from the National Kapodistrian University of Athens and her focus was Linguistics and Pedagogy. This year, she will begin her Master Degree Program on Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL.)
Ms. Koutoulakou has been teaching English since 2012 to children ages 3-15 both privately and in Foreign Language Institutions. She has completed her internship teaching English in 5th and 6th Grade, in a Greek Public School. Her passion for teaching has led her to always look for new innovative ways to teach and during all these years, she has obtained Seminar Certifications on Introduction to NLP, Speed Reading, Modern teaching strategies integrating Technology and a Workshop on Lesson Planning. The most recent Workshop she completed was on Teaching Conceptual Mathematics for Primary Education by Emma Anderson.
At the same time, she has been learning various Foreign Languages, such as French, German, Chinese and Spanish and loves to further develop them as well as acquire new ones.
In 2016, she was working at ACS Athens as a Substitute in Residence and later within the same year, as a Junior Kindergarten Teacher. Penny also enjoyed coordinating Elementary Students for the Storytelling Center, during the Literacy Festival (2016) at ACS Athens. These experiences gave her the opportunity to familiarize herself with ACS Community and the academic development required for all grade levels. This year she will continue to teach Junior Kindergarten with great enthusiasm.
Penny believes in meeting every child's needs and inspires her students to love learning. Her goal is to engage students through wonder and excite their natural curiosity. She looks forward to creating a happy learning environment and she is eager to start her students on a new learning adventure.
Theo Koutsopoulos, after graduating from High school in Athens, traveled to the U.S. and attended West Virginia Canine College (Accredited College U.S.A.), where he received a diploma in Professional Dog Training. He successfully completed his study in the areas of obedience training, protection training, advanced tracking (man trailing), schutzhund training, kennel management, vet care, business ethics and management and more.
Upon returning to Greece, he started his own dog training school exclusivek9 that is still in operation. For nearly 20 years, he has trained dogs and their owners with great success in basic and advanced obedience, property protection, personal protection, non-criminal tracking, training for dog shows and training canine units for civil disturbances.
During 1997 – 2003 he became a full member of the Schutzhund Club (the 1st working dogs’ club in Greece) and passed the Sch H3 – IPO3 exam in 1999. Following his training at the Canine Behavior Centre in London, Theo was the first dog trainer to introduce the concept of Animal Behavior and Behavior Modification in Greece.
Mr. Koutsopoulos is the co-owner and director of Pallini Kennels - Athens Pet Resort a state of the art center for pet care, a leader of its kind in Greece. The establishment includes boarding facilities for dogs, the exemplary Centre for Dog Training and the first dog Hydrotherapy Unit in Greece.In September 2014, Theo started the Professional Dog Trainers Institute, the first state-approved school for dog trainers in Greece. Together with his team of skilled instructors they teach students the standard and proven methods, but also innovative dog training techniques. The curriculum includes theory and application on basic and advanced obedience, dog psychology and behavior modification, personal protection, property protection, training for k9 units, kennel management, tracking, veterinary care and more. The school will offer certification in the field of dog training.
Dr. Sax holds a Bachelor's degree from Hampshire College (U.S.A.) in Psychology and Child Development. She graduated from New York University (U.S.A.) with a Clinical Master's degree in Clinical Social Work; Children, Adolescents and Adults. She has completed her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology and Supervision in Counselor Education at Argosy University (U.S.A.).
She has been a Psychology Lecturer of Clinical Interviewing and Consultation, Child Psychology, Life-Span Development, Cultural Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Advanced Psychopathology and Group & Music Therapy. Currently, she is an Adjunct Professor at the Hellenic American University in Athens, teaching graduate students of the Psychology Department. She is also a licensed psychotherapist who has been in private practice for twenty -four years with children, adolescents and adults.
From September of 2006, she was working at ACS Athens Elementary as the Counselor for grades PK-5. Since 2011, Dr. Sax has been the Coordinator of the Psychology Intern Program with the Department of Student Affairs. As of 2012-13, Dr. Sax has also been providing PK-12 school wide services as Counseling Psychologist, via the Wellness Center. Additionally, Dr. Sax provides all clinical supervision to faculty and staff of the Counseling Office, as well as the Educational Testing Center.
Dr. Sax also presents her work at Professional Conferences within the ACS Athens Community and throughout Europe and has published articles and book chapters on her research interests and clinical work in the field. She currently is a member of the editorial board and peer reviewer of the American Journal of Applied Psychology, The International Journal of Elementary Education of SciencePG and The International Journal of Progressive Education. She is a member of the European Branch of the American Counseling Association and RSA Fellow (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).
Xenia Vafopoulou, graduated from The American College of Greece earning a Bachelor's degree in Marketing Communications. She continued her studies at the University of Westminster where she earned her MA in Arts (Master in Public Relations and Public Communications).
She worked in the Marketing and PR department in two educational organizations, until she decided to follow her dream and earned her diploma in Professional Dog Training from Exclusive k9/Athens Pet Resort and is currently working as a dog trainer.