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), and 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 her 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 provided a nurturing, creative, and empowering environment to her elementary students.
During this time, her professional growth included 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 the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) conferences –the first in Athens, Greece (2012) and presented in Zurich, 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 Mathematics educator and Division Chair of 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 the Academic Leadership Course for Standards-Based Curriculum in Arlington, Virginia U.S.A. in order to pursue her career goal of becoming principal. In the summer of 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 of ACS Athens and is always looking forward to implementing best practices and aligning curricular advances in the elementary school. It is with this boundless enthusiasm and great honor she embraces her continued role as the Elementary School Principal for the fifth consecutive year.
Valeria Laitinen 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. She is currently working toward a Master’s degree in International Educational Leadership through Endicott University. Ms. Laitinen was born and raised in Milan, Italy until the age of 13 and moved to Newton, Massachusetts for high school.
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 and served as a study abroad advisor in The American Center in Dhaka.
Ms. Laitinen 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 and has used visible thinking strategies and routines from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education's Project Zero in the classroom. She has pursued training in Responsive Classroom, a classroom management approach that is designed to create a classroom community in which students feel safe, challenged, and supported. In her previous schools, Ms. Laitinen led staff development sessions on Growth Mindset, effective teacher language, and inquiry as well as professional book discussions. Growth Mindset is an educational theory that emphasizes that all students can learn through dedication and hard work and promotes resilience by encouraging students to take academic risks and learn through their mistakes. In addition to English, Ms. Laitinen speaks Italian, French, Russian, a little German, and is eagerly learning Greek.
Ms. Sophia Tsinakis was born in Houston, Texas, and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She has earned a Master's in Elementary Education and a K-12 English Language Learners endorsement at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology - with a minor in Art Therapy - from Lesley University in Cambridge Massachusetts.
After teaching for four years at an innovative elementary public school in Nashville, Ms. Tsinakis joined the ACS Athens faculty in 2018, originally teaching first grade during the 2018-2019 academic year and fifth grade during the past academic year. For the present academic year, she looks forward to furthering the aims of ACS Athens in the newly created position of Literacy Coordinator. The ultimate objective of the literacy program is the development of readers and writers across the grade levels. To this end, she will facilitate the development of an ongoing collaborative literacy learning culture that will align reading and writing curriculums (including Phonics and Grammar). Moreover, she will champion teachers to support students in writing with fluency for an audience, about topics they care about. Last, but not least, she is committed to contributing to the development of excellent online literacy learning at ACS Athens.
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. 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, compassionate, independent, and global learners. 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.
Ms. Tsinakis has a strong professional interest in curriculum design and professional development. Specifically, she has served as a scope and sequence writer for Metro Nashville Public Schools, was a member of the vertical K-4 planning team, and has led literacy workshops at the school and district levels. During the past two years, she provided ongoing literacy professional development in and outside of ACS Athens. In particular, she created and presented a professional workshop at the Pinewood American International School in Thessaloniki and one (in collaboration with Evi Eyloyias of ACS Athens) at the American Farm School in Thessaloniki. She served on the ACS Athens Elementary Literacy Team and implemented the balanced literacy model of instruction in her classrooms. Furthermore, in collaboration with her curriculum partner Laura Kollintzas of ACS Athens, she reshaped the Grade 5 literacy curriculum and augmented it with new components, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Throughout her career, Ms. Tsinakis has participated in various professional development seminars and webinars. For example, she attended the Teachers' College Reading and Writing Project Unit of Study seminar 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 Writing Institute: Grades K-8 (July 2017) in Barcelona. Most recently, she attended the virtual institute by Teachers' College Reading and Writing Project, Teaching Literacy Virtually and with Magic: Grades K-8 (April 2020). Additionally, she attended a number of webinars by Teachers’ College Reading and Writing Project: Building Schoolwide Excellence in Reading and Writing (December 2019); Deepening Reading Comprehension Across Complete Texts, based on Jennifer Serravallo’s research and education theory (May 2020) and by Chapters International - Coaching in Education: What it is, What it isn't, and Why Coaching is Essential by Jim Knight (May 2020); and The Power of Making Thinking Visible (June 2020) by Ron Ritchhart and March Church.
While teaching in Nashville, she was a finalist for the Teacher of the Year, recognized as a Literacy Leader by the District Director of Literacy, was interviewed and observed by the National Public Radio program, Mind/Shift, and one of her guided reading lessons was filmed by the district as an example of exemplary reading instruction. Additionally, she 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. Moreover, she is a contributing writer in the 2018 published revision of Word Sorts and More by Kathy Ganske.
Ms. Chryssoula Xiggi 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. Ms. Xiggi was born and raised in Athens, Greece.
Demetri Pelidis 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. Born in Zimbabwe, Africa, and reared in Athens, Greece, Demetri is a proud graduate of ACS Athens.
Mr. Pelidis first started 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-5th 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.
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 also played professionally in the American Soccer League for the Boston Bolts.
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 sixteenth year here at 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.
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 seventh 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 has been a group facilitator here at ACS Athens from the start, 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 holds a Bachelor’s degree in Primary Education from the University of Crete, as well as a Post-graduate Certificate in the Organization and Administration of Education from the University of Athens. Ms. Mente has also obtained her Master’s degree in Developmental and Learning Disabilities from the American College of Greece, in Athens and a TEFL certification from the University of Toronto (OISE).
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 seven years, she has attended multiple conferences, workshops, as well as taking up online courses, including: the workshop "Teaching and Learning through Art", organized by the American College of Greece; a Conceptual Math training by Erma Anderson, organized by ACS Athens; an online Math 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. Within the last year, Ms. Mente participated in the Science training that ACS Athens provided for the Elementary School faculty, as well as completed the course “Teaching Foundational Reading Skills”. Lastly, she attended the 1st International Conference ιn play held in Athens, “Play On”.
Ms. Mente has experience working with elementary school children within both Greek and American educational systems. At 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 teacher for two years, while this will be her 4th year teaching First Grade at ACS Athens.
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.
Christiana Oikonomidi has been working in Education since 2009, both in Greece and Doha, Qatar. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Aegean University. She is experienced in the Greek Primary School National Curriculum, the British Early Years Foundation Stage, and the Montessori Method in Early Childhood.
Ms. Oikonomidi has experience teaching Nursery to Grade 4 and has worked as an educational administrator. To put into practice her belief of the importance of inclusion in the classroom, Ms. Oikonomidi completed a year-long Ministry of Education project that trained General Education Teachers to work with children with Special Educational Needs.
Ms. Oikonomidi was born and raised on the beautiful, cosmopolitan island of Rhodes, Greece, an environment that exposed her to many different cultures from a very young age. In 2013, she moved to Doha, Qatar, where she lived and worked for 7 years, gaining valuable life and work experience in a truly progressive, multicultural environment. Ms. Oikonomidi is thrilled to join ACS Athens as a First Grade Teacher.
Mr. Whalen holds a degree in audio engineering from Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida, as well as a BA in Interdisciplinary Education, specializing in Kindergarten through Grade 8, from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mr. Whalen has teaching experience in First and Fourth Grade classrooms in Michigan, working particularly closely with the school's special education program. During this time, he attended the MCTM Teachers of Mathematics conference, focusing on math instruction at the elementary school level. Mr. Whalen has also spent time as a volunteer teacher at Hestia Hellas, in Athens, Greece. While at Hestia, he was part of a team that taught English and mathematics skills to children from the ages of six to twelve. Prior to teaching, Mr. Whalen lived in New York City for twenty years, working as an audio engineer and studio manager at several of the city's premier music recording facilities.
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. In 2007, she obtained her teaching certification diploma from Vancouver as well.
Prior to coming to Greece, Ms. Vicki Klimou's teaching career began in Canada, at a Montessori school, teaching French at the Kindergarten and preschool levels. In 2007, she moved to Greece and worked at a private language school teaching ESL and also taught Kindergarten. She has been an educator at ACS Athens since 2008. She has taught French in the Middle School, Junior Kindergarten, First grade, and now is thrilled to be teaching Second grade for her third year!
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 2012 ECIS conference. Most recently, Ms. Klimou has participated in numerous webinars specifically geared towards online learning. In 2018, she completed a Stanford Mathematical Mindsets course. In 2019, she completed a “Teaching Foundational Reading Skills” course and is currently enrolled in a “Social and Emotional Learning for Educators” course. 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 Camp for numerous years.
Ms. Klimou is passionate about teaching young children and strives to make every child in her classroom feel happy, safe, loved, and accepted. She believes education should empower a child to make a positive contribution to the world.
Ms. Lamprou holds a B.A. in elementary and special education from Holy Family University in Philadelphia, PA, and a Master's in Information Systems and Technology from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa. She received her certification from the state of Pennsylvania. She has worked in schools, information systems, and in the advertising field.
Ms.Lamprou has been teaching in various settings and grade levels since 1998. She has been working at ACS Athens since 2010 in first grade and is now excited to be teaching second grade. 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 and the 2012 ECIS conference. Ms.Lamprou participated in the 2016 ACS Athens Colloquium where she presented the findings of her action research project, along with Ms.Kokkalis and Ms.Ferentinos on strategies of conceptual and constructive teaching of number sense for Early Childhood. She completed Conceptual Math training by Erma Anderson, organized by ACS Athens; and an online Conceptual Math course in the same area provided by Stanford University. She attended the NESA conference in Athens, Greece focusing on the NGSS component of the conference and completed the Science training that ACS Athens provided for the Elementary School faculty.
Ms. Lamprou was born in Connecticut, raised in Athens, Greece, and shared part of her adulthood between the United States, England, and Greece.
Ms. Christina Venos completed her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Northern Illinois University and is certified 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.
Ms. Venos 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. With this research, she was able to successfully implement Growth Mindset in her classroom and presented a workshop on Growth Mindset at the NESA conference in Thailand titled ‘An Educators Perspective to Growth Mindset.’ During her teaching in Chicago, she was chosen to lead the primary team in finding a 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.
Ms. Venos 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. Venos was born in Athens, Greece, and raised in Chicago, Illinois.
Ms. Bibidakis earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Cleveland State University with a concentration in math and science. She also completed her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and a STEM certificate through the University of Cincinnati. Two years ago Ms. Bibidakis attended the AERO conference where she focused on the English/ Language Arts standards, as well as, new teaching approaches.
Ms. Bibidakis taught 4th and 5th grade at Paul L. Dunbar, a public school in Cleveland, Ohio. She also taught Greek to 6-8-year-old students in the Greek community in Cleveland. This is her third year teaching 3rd grade at ACS and she has helped revise the Dogs in Learning Curriculum. Ms. Bibidakis is very excited to be part of the ACS family. Ms. Bibidakis was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and shared her childhood between the United States and Greece.
Ms. Pinelopi Dimitroula holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Athens University of Economics and Business (ASOEE). She completed a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Pace University in New York. Upon graduation, Ms. Dimitroula remained in New York where she lived and worked for 14 years- most of which were in the field of Education.
Ms. Dimitroula holds a second Masters with dual specialization in Early Childhood Education and Students with Disabilities from Touro University, New York. Ms. Dimitroula is also licensed in both areas of specialization (Early Childhood Education and Students with Disabilities) in the state of New York. Ms. Dimitroula has worked for the Department of Education in New York at several different roles, as a shadow teacher, teacher’s assistant, and teacher. Ms. Dimitroula has worked in both general and special education classes where she worked extensively with a diverse school population ranging from Gifted and Talented students to students with severe disabilities.
Ms. Dimitroula is also a member of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BCBA) and is a certified and registered Behavioral Analyst. Ms. Dimitroula worked as a Behavioral Analyst consulting and working with the Board of Education in New York offering services and guidance to teachers in several schools in New York. Furthermore, Ms. Dimitroula was focusing on language acquisition, Greek and English, since she was consulting with many bilingual families and educators.
Currently, Ms. Dimitroula is pursuing additional teaching certification for Upper Elementary School and she is taking online classes from Touro College, New. York along.
Ms. Dimitroula is thrilled to continue her work at ACS Athens as a Third Grade year for the second year.
Ms. Christina Feskou 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. For the past three years, Ms. Feskou has been with the Elementary family as a Third 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 potential in all students.
During the school year of 2018-2019, Ms. Feskou participated and obtained a Certificate of Completion Training Program on “Teaching STEM in Elementary Education”.
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. Feskou was born in Athens, Greece and was raised in a bilingual Greek-English family.
Ms. Newton received a double bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her thesis project studied the effect of interdisciplinary studies on students’ learning. Ms. Newton was raised in Greenville, Alabama where she graduated Salutatorian of her high school class.
Ms. Newton taught first grade in Greenville, Alabama and third grade at an international school in Shanghai, China where she was the 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 also taught second grade in Valencia, Venezuela. There she helped recreate the second grade curriculum. While at ACS, Ms. Newton has worked with the second and third grades. She has helped revise the Dogs in Learning Curriculum, and held a student-led fundraiser for Puerto Rico as a design time project. She is also one of the sponsors for the Honor Club. This is Ms. Newton’s fourth year at ACS, and her eighth year of teaching.
Iliana Eleftheriou received her B.A. degree in Elementary Education, Grades 1 – 6 from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She completed 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 previously worked at ACS Athens as a Shadow and Substitute Teacher and collaborated with private psycho-educational centers using her expertise in Special Education. She has participated in various professional development courses and seminars offered by the British Council, the University of San Diego Extended, and Stanford University. She presented at the ACS Athens Colloquium in 2016, demonstrating the "Shadow Teacher Partnerships" and the "Role of the Shadow Teacher" within ACS Athens.
She is a firm believer that every student is unique and capable of success. Helping students achieve their full potential is her greatest reward! This is her seventh year at ACS Athens and her fourth year teaching 4th grade.
"Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world". - Nelson Mandela
Ms. Evi Evloyias completed her studies at Wheaton College, MA and graduated with honors from the American College of Greece (Deree) with a B.Sc. in International Business and European Affairs with a minor in Economics. She has earned a Masters in 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. 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 worked closely with the OLP department. Ms. Evloyias has also participated in math workshops led by Erma Anderson on Conceptual Mathematics and Dan Meyers on the Art and Science of Mathematical Storytelling, as well as science workshops led by Dr. Abour Cherif on Spurring Creativity in Science. She currently participated in webinars led by Chris Charnitski focusing on the K-5 Critical Areas in Science. She is a representative of the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas (NESA) and an AAIE Fellow. Moreover, she has been an advisor for the Honor Code and Student Council in the Elementary School. Mrs. Evloyias is currently the Co-Coordinator for Professional Development at ACS Athens and the New Faculty Orientation Program.
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 sixth year teaching 4th grade.
Sarah Kishawi completed her undergraduate degree, with a minor in Psychology at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. She completed a Masters Degree in Developmental Psychology and Learning Disabilities from the American College of Greece (Deree). Ms. Kishawi completed her teaching preparation practicum in the 1st grade at ACS Athens in collaboration with the University of West Florida. Ms. Kishawi is an ACS Athens alumnus who attended from Junior Kindergarten all the way to 12th grade.
Ms. Kishawi has participated in a variety of seminars and conferences related to child psychology and education. She has always had a strong passion in working with children. While living in Beirut, Lebanon, she volunteered as a teacher in the Insan Association where she supported underprivileged children (street children and illegal immigrants) with their math, English and science courses. While completing her Masters in Deree, she worked as a peer tutor with the Student Academic Services where she assisted undergraduate and graduate students with writing essays. In addition, she worked both as a volunteer and as an employee in various NGO’s such as Doctors of the World, MSF, IMC, and DRC. She worked on a regular basis with children who faced various psychological struggles such as trauma, anxiety, and depression. Moreover, she has worked at ACS Athens as a shadow teacher, teacher assistant in OLP, a permanent substitute, and a 4th grade homeroom teacher.
Ms. Kishawi is a passionate, well-rounded and creative teacher. Her goal as an educator is to lead the students to solve the mysteries of math, to discover the beauty in science, and to stir up their imagination in reading and writing. She puts all of this together in a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment where her students can build their confidence, and feel empowered to be life-long learners.
Ms. Lia Sinouris 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 19 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 sixth year 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). She has, additionally, co-written articles for the ETHOS magazine and presented at the 2016 ACS Athens Colloquium on 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 founded on the notion that not all students 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 students' lives.
Ms. Dimas 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. Recently, she 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 was born and raised in Washington, DC.
Ms. Dimas has taught kindergarten for two years and third grade for three; this will be her fourth year as a fifth grade teacher. In addition to teaching, 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 seven years, Ms. Dimas has served 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 is also advisor to the ACS Athens Elementary School Honor Code for the last six years.
Ms. Dimas has presented at multiple workshops and conferences over the last few years. 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. Ms. Dimas and Ms. Moros also represented ACS Athens at the ECIS Early Childhood Conference in Zurich, showcasing the implementation of ‘iteach2!’ as a learning tool in elementary school classrooms. 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 multicultural 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. In 2018 she served as the 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).
Niki Kitsiou received her B.A. degree in Elementary Education, Grades 1 - 6, from the University of Crete, Greece. She specialized in Special Education through an Expertise Program in the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. She is also completing her M.A. degree in Language Education for Refugees and Migrants in the Hellenic Open University. Ms. Kitsiou is an ACS Athens alumni who attended from 10-12th grade on a basketball scholarship. She has worked as a teacher and as a researcher with multilingual and multicultural, refugee and migrant students in the context of refugee camps and NGOs. Ms. Kitsiou has also worked for 3 years at ACS Athens as a Shadow Teacher and at this time she was given the opportunity to co-present a workshop about sketchnote-taking and the importance of differentiated material on childhood education, at the ECIS Conference in Luxemburg, in 2019.
Her philosophy as a teacher is to guide her students to learn to think critically, work collaboratively and act boldly. She looks at each student's individual needs, values their creativity and ways of learning, as well as provides them with the skills to blossom through a safe and structured learning environment that values the human spirit and the physical, emotional, social and cognitive development of each student. In this environment students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge and provided with the freedom and the tools to pursue answers to their own questions.
As a teacher her goal is to make sure that her students believe in themselves, embrace their uniqueness, and work towards building a future that points the way to a more socially just world. She is overjoyed to join the 5th Grade team!
Ms. Laura Kollintzas graduated from Deree College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and continued her studies in Great Britain, where she received a Postgraduate Certificate in Early Childhood Studies, from Roehampton University, and a Masters in Early Childhood Education from UCL-Institute of Education. Further, Ms. Kollintzas is a Certified Elementary Teacher for grades Pre-K to 6 from the state of Florida. She has taught elementary students for 10 years in pre-k, kindergarten, second grade, and fifth grade, allowing her to develop a solid understanding of the learning progressions. Ms. Kollintzas is also an ACS Athens graduate who attended from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Last year, Ms. Kollintzas received certification from Harvard Graduate School on Educating Global Citizens. Furthermore, she took two courses focused on teaching the United Nations Sustainability Goals, in order to better understand how to integrate them into curriculum and use them to further develop conscious citizens. Over the years she has participated in a variety of seminars and conferences, such as the 2012 ECIS conference, centering on "The Changing Landscape in Early Childhood Education", and the 2016 ACS Colloquium, which involved the innovative approaches which ACS Athens and its faculty implement in order to holistically educate their students. 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, a course offered by Stanford University dedicated to creating mathematical mindsets, training in the New Generation Science Standards by Dr. Abour Cherif, and a year of professional development in teaching literacy using the Lucy Calkins reading and writing curriculum as a tool. Moreover, she assisted in the further development and fine tuning of the Dogs in Learning curriculum for second grade.
Since 2016, her passion for community service and the well-being of animals urged her to become the advisor of the ST.A.R.T. Club (Stray Animal Rescue Team), a club created initially by elementary school students, who engage in a range of activities in order to raise awareness regarding stray animals as well as to raise funds for animal shelters in Greece. Finally, she is proud to have been a part of the ACS Athens initiative "Youth to Youth- Home Project", which involved developing curriculum and 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 educator to be crucial and vital in creating future global ethical citizens. Her priority and goal as an educator is to promote and sustain an environment which nurtures happy, secure, and confident children, and strives to motivate students to develop into life-long learners with a strong sense of empathy for the world around them.
Ms. Penny Kynigou 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. Ms. Kynigou was born and raised in England.
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 29 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 andFacilitator 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 of 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.
Josef Torres earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, both from the University of Arizona in Tucson. He is currently working toward the completion of his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy, also from the University of Arizona. Mr. Torres has eleven years of experience as an educator; eight years at the elementary school level and three as an administrator.
Mr. Torres spent four years at Calderwood Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona, an alternative school for students with severe behavioral needs, where he taught 3rd grade, 5th grade, and 7/8th grade. While teaching in Phoenix, Mr. Torres was trained in a specialized classroom management system that prioritized a safe and positive learning environment for students in need of intensive behavioral interventions. Mr. Torres credits this experience for strengthening his knowledge and skills and his ability to effectively manage a positive learning environment in multiple grade levels. In 2011-2012, Mr. Torres was named Westside Impact Teacher of the Year at Calderwood Elementary.
Mr. Torres then returned to Tucson to pursue his Master’s degree at the University of Arizona. In Tucson, Mr. Torres taught 5th grade for four years at Canyon View Elementary School. Mr. Torres embraces a student-centered approach to education and is passionate about helping students realize their true potential both personally and academically. Mr. Torres emphasizes that building positive connections and relationships with his students is vital to maintaining a stimulating, safe, and collaborative classroom environment. Upon earning his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, Mr. Torres was hired as an assistant principal at Flowing Wells High School in Tucson, where he worked for the previous three years. During this time, Mr. Torres decided to pursue his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Arizona. In 2017, Mr. Torres was named an Erasmus Circle Scholar at the University of Arizona, awarded to outstanding students who show promise in their area of study and have made contributions to their communities and college. In 2018, Mr. Torres was named a UCEA Jackson Scholar, awarded to Ph.D. students who are committed to the improvement of leadership and policy that supports the learning and development of all youth.
Mr. Torres is proud to join the ACS Athens community as a 5th grade teacher and is excited to engage the minds of his learners.
Dr. Elina (Eleni) Giatsou earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Thessaly and continued her studies in Chicago, Illinois, where she received a Masters of Education degree in English Language Teaching and Learning and recently a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Loyola University in Chicago. Dr. Giatsou was born and raised in Volos, Greece.
During her time in Chicago, Dr. Giatsou worked as an adjunct professor for the School of Education at Loyola, instructing undergraduate and graduate teacher candidates in various courses focused on educational psychology, literacy, culturally and linguistically responsive teaching, and data-based decision making. She also worked as a Kindergarten-through-Grade 6 after school educator in a Chicago public school, where she designed the after school curriculum creating and teaching lesson plans in ELA and Science in collaboration with the after school team.
Over the years, Dr. Giatsou engaged in rigorous research, participated and presented in various conferences. In 2017, she took part in a roundtable paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting, centered on Different Approaches to Implementation Fidelity and Vocabulary Instruction in Urban Kindergarten Classrooms. In 2018, she gave a paper presentation at the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies annual meeting focused on Curricular Influences of Power and Privilege. Finally, in 2019, she examined the efficacy of integrating ESL across teacher education programs.
Dr. Giatsou is a contributing author of the chapter “Preparing all teachers for culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms: Teacher expertise for English learners” in A. J. Heineke & A. M. Ryan (Eds.), Teaching, Learning, and Leading with Schools and Communities: Field-based Teacher Education. She also co-authored a variety of articles including “Learning from Students, Teachers, and Schools: Examining the Efficacy of Field-based Teacher Education for English Learners.”, published in the Journal of Teacher Education, and “Developing Literacy Minded Educators: Authentic Field Based Teacher Preparation.” published in Literacy Research and Instruction.
As a 3rd grade teacher at ACS last year, Dr. Giatsou motivated students to become active participants in the learning process by providing the support they needed to meet challenging academic demands. This year she is very eager to embark on her new role as an ESL teacher and meet the educational needs of an increasingly diverse student population.
Ms Ghada Akkari received her Baccalaureate in the Arabic Language from the Libyan School in Athens and her BA from the University of Pireaus, School of Finance and Statistics, Department of Banking and Financial Management. Her love of education and children led her to teach Arabic for the last 15 years with all her creativity and enthusiasm for bringing out the best in her students.
Ms. Akkari was born in Syria and raised in Athens, Greece.
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.
Steven Baldino received a Bachelors of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Painting and Drawing from California State University Long Beach. He holds a K-6 elementary licensure and certification from the state of Florida. Mr. Baldino’s experience in education includes teaching in the Californian private school sector, volunteering locally, teaching internationally, and tutoring privately. Prior to joining ACS, he taught visual arts for the Primary Years Program and Middle Years Program at Chatsworth Hills Academy, an International Baccalaureate school in Los Angeles, California.
Mr. Baldino is passionate about combining aspects of mindfulness with creativity in the class studio and the impact this can have on cultivating social-emotional skills. In his own art practice, he creates multimedia art and experimental electronic music that focuses on improvisation and aspects of self-exploration through the creative process.
Mr. Tassos Benetatos studied music at Northwestern University in Illinois where he obtained his Bachelor in Music in 2002. In 2004 he moved to Berlin where he obtained a Diploma in Classical Guitar Performance at the Hochschule fur Musik “Hanns Eisler” in 2008. Having a strong inclination towards musicology he has spent many years studying and playing professionally as a guitarist the music that was recorded in Greece before 1950 on 78 rpm records. He has also worked for many years as a private music instructor.
Mr. Tassos Benetatos is an ACS Athens alumnus and this is his third year teaching at ACS Athens.
Mr. Orestis Charachousis holds a Bachelor degree in Physical Education & Sports Science from the University of Thessaly on the Elite Sport Performance (ESP) pathway with a speciality in swimming. He is a certified lifeguard and has successfully completed the Emergency First Aid Response Course. He was was born and raised in Athens, Greece. He is a former competitive swimmer with multiple awards at the national level.
Mr. Charachousis has a rich experience in physical education. He has worked as a fitness coach, lifeguard, and swimming coach for many years in several sports clubs for adults and children.After the third successful year at ACS Athens after-school swimming program as a swimming coach, he took over the Middle School Physical Education position in grade 8 and he is currently teaching Physical Education in the Elementary as well as coaching after-school activities.
Originally from Athens, Ms Martha Chiskaki was raised in Bulgaria, Italy, India, and Thailand, where she attended a variety of international schools. She holds two Bachelor Degrees. One in English and Greek Language and Literature and one in French Language and Literature both obtained from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She received her Master's Degree in Business Administration at the Bolton University, UK. Her dissertation was based on Adopting and Implementing Change Management in Digital Marketing focusing on Instagram Marketing Strategy. She is fluent in four languages - Greek, English, French, and Italian, and an experienced tutor of English and French.
She has worked at the National Bank of Greece and at the European Public law Organisation as junior editor for the European Review of Public Law.
Being her second year of teaching at A.C.S. Athens, Ms Martha Chiskaki is currently teaching English as a Second Language in the Elementary School.
Ms. Justine Cox completed her B.S. in Elementary Education with minors in Middle School Mathematics and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN.
For the past 5 years Ms. Cox has worked at a new, small, predominantly Muslim charter school in Minnesota. While at the school, she did a little bit of everything from teaching elementary school and 6-8 mathematics, to leading the STEM club and organizing the school book fair.
Ms. Cox is excited to be helping elementary students develop their love and understanding of mathematics this year. This is her second year at ACS. Previously, she taught mathematics in the middle school.
Ms. Cox was born in Wisconsin and grew up in West Virginia and Minnesota.
Ms. Farida El Gazzar graduated from Vakalo School of Art & Design in Athens, before moving 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. Ms. El Gazzar is an ACS Athens alumna. She was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and raised in Kuwait and Greece.
Prior to joining the ACS Athens faculty six years ago, she gave seminars for portfolio preparations and fine art drawing classes to ACS Athens students in collaboration with AKTO School of Art & Design. In parallel, she is entering her third year of teaching at the Fine Arts and Graphic Design departments of the American College of Deree.
From 2003 to 2007, she was co-founder of the creative team WARDA. Ms. El Gazzar was an artist-in-residence at The Townhouse Gallery in Cairo 2008, and at Al Riwaq Gallery in Bahrain 2009, where she also gave workshops to local artists.
She is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens-Thessaloniki and has exhibited in Greece and abroad. She is a visual artist and freelance illustrator. Her artworks have been exhibited at Art Basel, Miami and Hong Kong, Frieze London, The Armory New York and are among institutional collections such as The Barjeel Art Foundation and major private collections in Europe, the USA and the MENAM. Among her clients, she has also collaborated with the National London Theatre, the Greek Ministry of Environment, ATHENS 2004, Cornell University Press, DOL Lambrakis and Kathimerini publications.
Dr. Jenny Grigoropoulos was born in Athens, Greece, and raised in Maryland, U.S.A.. She holds a B.Sc degree in Business Administration from the University of La Verne.
She received her M.A. degree in International Management and Business Administration and earned her teaching education and certification in the United States, qualified to teach ESL/EFL K–12 and Business Studies 6 – 12. She is an IB educator as well as an IB examiner for Business Management. In May 2019, she graduated from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, earning her Doctorate Degree in Education, Leadership, and Management.
She has been teaching ESL in the Elementary School for grades K – 5 to non-native English speakers since September 2018. In previous years, she worked in the ESL/EFL department in the Middle School. Overall, she has been an ESL educator for 24 years. Dr. Grigoropoulos has been actively involved with the Saturday Youth-to-Youth program since the initiation of the program, providing unaccompanied minors with skills and knowledge of the English language.
Dr. Grigoropoulos is a contributing author of the book "Revolutionizing K-12 Blended Learning through the i2Flex Classroom Model". She has authored articles, such as The Role of Ethics in the 21st Century Organization (IJPE-April 2019), and is the co-author with Dr. Gialamas of the manuscript, Educators Leaders: Inspiring Learners to Transform Society by Becoming Architects of their Own Learning (IJPE - October 2018). She has presented her work and practices in colloquiums and conferences. She is one of the founding members of the Recycling Project, which is a school-wide initiative.
Ms. Efi Karatopouzi earned her BA with a specialization in Track and Field at the School of Physical Education and Sports Science at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. 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 on 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.This year Ms Karatopouzi earned a Mindfulness certificate in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) from the University of Michigan. She holds a life-guarding certification from the Red Cross. Ms. Karatopouzi was born in Greece and grew up in Australia and Greece.
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 in ACS Athens Summer Camp. In 2017, she piloted a mindfulness program, called Mind Body Soul (MBS) for students in Junior Kindergarten classes, which will continue to run this year. The MBS Program is also continuing in a very positive way in all classes in Elementary school She presented her research findings about this pilot program at the International Mindfulness Convention, held in Slovenia. She has also offered her services voluntarily to the Youth to Youth Program at ACS Athens. She also presented a workshop on mindfulness strategies to use in the physical education classroom at the ECIS Physical Education Conference in Barcelona.
Andreas Kokkinos was born and raised in Athens, Greece. He holds a B.A. in Theatrical Studies from the Faculty of Fine Arts, obtained from the University of Peloponnese. During his B.A. studies, Mr. Kokkinos worked in the elementary school of Kyveri, Argolida as a drama practitioner. This was an excellent experience that truly sparked his interest in working with children. In 2015, he moved to the United Kingdom and pursued an M.A. in Applied and Participatory Theatre at Royal Holloway University of London.
After concluding his studies, Mr. Kokkinos worked at the St. Mark’s Social Education Day Service in London for three years. There, he gained extensive training and valuable experience in the fields of autism, special education and social training. This professional experience taught him to truly recognize, understand and cater to students’ unique personalities and traits, encouraging and assisting them to improve their capabilities and talents through specialized and goal-driven educational methods. During his time at St. Mark’s Social Education Day Service, Mr. Kokkinos also obtained the Diploma Level 3 in Health & Social Care (autism specific) from Pearson Edexcel and First Aid training.
Upon his return to Athens, Greece in 2020, he joined the ACS Athens community as a shadow teacher. During his time as a shadow teacher, Mr. Kokkinos supported the student academically by implementing Optimal Learning techniques and exercises in the student’s daily schedule. He also devised creative organizational methods to support the student in following the pace of the classes, staying up to date with responsibilities and commitments as well as developing concentration, participation and multitasking skills. Mr. Kokkinos also takes great interest in building students’ self-confidence and social skills within the school environment. He is very committed to meeting students’ personal, unique needs and improving their skills through his collaboration with them. Last but not least, Mr. Kokkinos’ work ethic and trust in his students are driving forces in not only helping the students improve their academic performance but also motivating them to thrive in anything they set their hearts and minds on conquering.
Ms. Orgianopoulou holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Greek Philology with a major in Greek Literature and Byzantine Language and a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Education from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She has attended various trainings and seminars related to the approach of teaching Greek as a second or foreign language.
Ms. Orgianopoulou began teaching the Greek language to refugees and immigrants in Samos and in Athens by funded NGOs. She also served the Youth-to Youth-Program assisting young unaccompanied refugees to learn Greek and integrate into the ACS Athens as well as the Greek community. This year, she is teaching the Intermediate level to Elementary students and Greek 1 in High School. Ms. Orgianopoulou will continue teaching the Greek class for the Youth-to Youth-Program.
Ms. Papageorgiou holds a B.A. in Greek Literature with a major in Ancient Greek Literature and Latin from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Ms. Papageorgiou was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Ms. Papageorgiou has taught 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. She has also worked in a publishing house for two years as an editor of Greek Language and Literature text books.
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.
Ms. Dimitra Psoma holds a Greek Language and Literature Bachelor’s Degree from the National University of Athens (Greece) majoring in Linguistics, and a Master of Arts in Translation from the University of New Hampshire (USA).
Ms. Psoma has been teaching English and Greek to students of all levels, as well as preparing students for their university Entrance Exams for 12 years. Last year, she taught the Greek Isotimia Program at ACS Athens and also served as the Writing Studio Supervisor. This year, she is teaching Greek to elementary students from kindergarten to-5th grade and Greek 2 in Middle School. This is her fifth year at ACS Athens.
Irini Rovoli 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 at the Hackney Community School in London and in the Greek public sector at Varibopi Athens High School for Repatriated Greeks. She joined ACS Athens in 1995 and has been a teacher of Greek in the Elementary and Middle School ever since. 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.
Ms. Rovoli actively contributed innovations in the Greek language curriculum of the elementary, including content design for grades JK-5 and the elementary school Greek national celebrations. She co-authored an article in the British Journal of Educational Psychology, and has published articles in the 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 a facilitator in the ACS Athens Collaborative Learning Communities, and attended the ACS Athens Faculty leadership workshops of 2017 and 2018 as well as the NESA 2018 International Conference in Athens, Greece.
Maria Veloudi holds a bachelors’ degree in Pedagogy and a masters’ degree in Educational Policy and Administration from the Philosophy school of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She also holds a diploma in Special Education.
Before joining ACS, Ms. Veloudi taught Greek at the International School of Piraeus to both Greek nationals and non-Greek students where she differentiated and tiered learning activities for all students. Prior to that experience, Ms. Veloudi worked at the Museum of Education, planning and delivering various learning activities for students of ages visiting the museum,
Ms. Veloudi is passionate about teaching and very excited to share her love of teaching and learning with the ACS students. Ms. Veloudi will continue teaching the Greek class for the Youth-to-Youth program.
Sofia Gennimata was born in Thessaloniki, Greece and has lived most of her adult life in Athens; however her educational experience in Florida, U.S.A during middle school was what shaped her life. Being an ESL student in Florida, she looked up to her teachers and that is when the spark of teaching ignited. Upon her return to Greece, she pursued a B.A in English Language and Literature at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. At that time, she started working with students learning English as a second language. In 2016, she earned her M.A in Developmental and Learning Disabilities from Deree - The American College of Greece, where she completed her Practicum as an intern in the Optimal Learning Program (OLP) at ACS Athens. After her Masters, she joined the OL Program of ACS Athens working with Middle and High School students. She later started working in the Elementary School and this will be her 5th year as an OLP Specialist.
In her work, Sofia assists students in reaching their true potential through differentiating classroom curriculum and accommodating resources based on student needs. She continues to expand her knowledge and dive deeper into education through participating in various courses and programs. She has attended courses on "Differentiated Instruction in the Classroom", on "Conquering Behavioral Challenges" and on “Inclusive Virtual Learning Practices for Diverse Learners” among others. Currently she is working on earning her Reading Specialist Certification from the Wilson Reading System and is eager to apply this teaching approach to the ACS Athens population.
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 22 years. She has taught students with learning differences and disabilities ranging from Junior-Kindergarten to the 12th grade.
This is her 15th year at ACS Athens in the 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, and ADHD conferences across Europe. 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 Affairs Department. She is an advocate for early intervention, for focusing on each child’s best interests and for building each child's confidence to become the architect of his or her own learning.
Ms. Zoe Karatza received her B.A in Early Childhood Education from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She completed courses in the field of Psychology on Learning Disabilities and Psychology of Emotions during her studies at the Italian University of Padova. Ms. Karatza has also completed her M.A. degree in Information and Communication Technology in Education (ICTE) from the National and Kapodistrian University, University of Thessaly and Technological Education Institute of Piraeus. Her research entitled "Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a Tool of Differentiated Instruction: An Informative Intervention and a Comparative Study on Educators’ Views and Extent of ICT Use” was presented at the 7th International Conference on Education and Management Innovation in Italy and published in the International Journal of Information and Education Technology.
Ms. Karatza worked at a STEM learning center as an Early Childhood teacher as well as the Coordinator of the Early Childhood Programs (in Coding) developing the curriculum, implementing it as well as training teachers. Ms. Karatza has worked with learners across grade levels at ACS Athens as an assistant to the Optimal Learning Program (OLP) for Elementary School, Middle School, and Academy. Having been exposed to different instructional environments in the Elementary School over the past three years, as the OLP assistant, the Permanent Substitute Teacher and Learning Support Specialist, Ms. Karatza has gained valuable experience in incorporating motivational activities and positive reinforcement, integrating engaging teaching methods as well as supporting students with learning differences. She has also been involved in many aspects of school life as a Learning Enhancement After School Programs instructor, the ES House System Coordinator and ES Student Council Advisor. She is very excited to begin this new adventure as the Technology Teacher.
Caroline Miller 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. Ms. Miller was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina.
Mrs. Miller has 19 years of experience teaching grades 1 - 5 in public and private schools. During her 12 years of teaching in Charleston, South Carolina 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 giving presentations such as using 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.
This will be Mrs. Miller’s 3rd year at ACS Athens and 2nd year as the teacher librarian and media specialist for the elementary school where she has transformed the ES library into a welcoming space and learning hub for our students, faculty, and parents. She looks forward to a 2nd year to continue developing the library curriculum and events where excitement for reading and literacy abound.
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.
Mr. Nick 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).
Angela Zamanis was born in Canada and has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications with a double major in Political Science from McGill University. She also holds a Certificate in Communicative English Teaching from the Hellenic American Union and is licensed by the Greek Ministry of Education to teach English as a Foreign Language.
She is a native English speaker and an experienced EFL/ESL teacher who has worked with students of all levels from many different countries both in Canada and in Greece for more than 25 years. She taught intensive English immersion programs to international students in Canada and has worked with private language schools in Greece. She is an ACS Athens graduate and as such she has a deep understanding of the school and its educational philosophy.
She is currently teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL 1) to non-native speakers in the Middle School and English as a Second Language (ESL 3, 4, 5) in the Academy.
Ms. Anneta Archontidou holds a bachelor's degree in Physical Education from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.She has also earned foreign language certificates in English, Spanish and Italian.
She has been working with children for the last 26 years, in private educational institutions. During this time she held both management and teaching positions.
She is a lifelong learner, never missing the opportunity to expand her knowledge and experiences. She is a member of the organising committee for major events, such as the MTPI Special Olympics, while also volunteering for several years in schools for children with special needs. Additionally, she is a former member of the Greek National Handball Team and has served as a handball coach for over two decades.
She has been a part of the ACS community as a substitute teacher since the Fall of 2018 and is currently the Elementary permanent substitute teacher. She has a passion for helping children find their voice, strengthen their own skills, reach their full potential and enjoy life!
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.
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.