Kathleen has her BA in Special Education and K-8 Education and started her career as a special needs teacher in Florida, concentrating on emotional and learning differences. She has her MA in Administration and Supervision, and principal’s certification in NY. Kathleen is a recent graduate fellow of The Klingenstein Heads of School at Columbia University. Kathleen moved to Europe and taught in a small international school in Genoa, Italy- 3⁄4 grade, and at The University of Genoa. She moved to Germany and sold educational texts for Macmillan McGraw Hill worldwide for 7 years- traveling the world and visiting international schools, colleges, and Department of Defense schools. Next, she moved back to the USA and worked at United Nations International School that has the IB and languages, some public schools in NJ, and an early childhood center, before moving into admissions at Far brook School in Short Hills. She moved to CA to Silicon Valley and continued as Admissions Director, before moving to DC as the Enrollment Director at Washington International School that had both the IB and immersion in Spanish, French and Dutch. She has led in two of the biggest international schools in the USA and been in senior leadership for over 20 years. Seven years ago, Kathleen joined The Elisabeth Morrow School in Englewood, once of the most diverse schools in the country. She moved to Hoboken, where both of her parents were born and grew up, so has a heartfelt connection to this city. Kathleen’s daughter Kate has her BA in Econ and Mandarin and MPA from NYU and is a Chief of Staff in the Comptrollers office. Kathleen is delighted to find a bilingual IB school right here in Hoboken and is honored to be joining the Tessa family. Her strengths include strategic planning, helping parents with concerns about learning styles, building enrollment and community partnerships, structures and programs, diversity and inclusion, and communication. She often presents national and international workshops on creative outreach.
Léa Pean – Deputy Head of School for Enrollment Management
Lea was born and raised in France, in a little town of Loire Valley, located between farms and vineyards. She has a Masters degree in humanitarian and social work with a focus in communication from Ircom, in Angers.
Lea has always wanted to serve different communities since a very young age. She was involved many years with the Girl Scouts. She spent months volunteering at an orphanage in India, and she is the co-founder of non-profit organization in France which helps people by organizing social and cultural events. Since she arrived in the States a few years ago, she has volunteered in several non-profit organizations, including America Scores, which provides afterschool programs in soccer, poetry and service learning. From these experiences and thanks to her mother who has been a dedicated teacher for 35 years, she learnt that education is the key to development in all communities.
She has been Head of Auxiliary Programs at Tessa for 3 years, running a wonderful Summer Camp every summer.
She believes that school instills confidence, knowledge and an open mind to our future generation to be tomorrow’s leaders. She is proud to be part of Tessa, which represents an education of excellence through bilingualism!
Sarah Scanzoni, Deputy Head of School for Teaching, Learning, & Curriculum
Sarah, a North Carolina native, has lived an international life for nearly a decade. Growing up in Asheville, she nurtured a love for exploration, hiking, and the region’s diverse food culture. She pursued her academic passion at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, earning both a BA and M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education and Teaching English as a Second Language.
Her academic journey led her to a transformative teaching experience in Kuwait, marking the onset of her dedication to international education. Following this, she expanded her teaching horizons in Hangzhou, China. In the realm of IB PYP, Sarah deeply recognized the boundless potential of immersive experiential learning and inquiry-based education. She has played pivotal roles in her teams and departments, fostering environments that pique students’ curiosity and encourage a love for lifelong learning.
As she joins Tessa International School, Sarah is excited to infuse her global experiences into the school’s unique curriculum framework. Beyond her professional pursuits, she has visited over 40 countries, reflecting her unwavering zest for exploration. She is an enthusiast of cycling, whether it’s the serenity of nature or the energy of a spinning class. Sarah is eager to immerse herself in the Hoboken community, building connections and enriching her new local environment.
Summer Bolton – Associate Director of Enrollment and Outreach
Summer was born and raised in New Jersey. She has a Bachelor of Arts, degree in Public Relations and Business from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY on the Hudson River. She was a four year Division 1 Women’s Rowing team member.
Summer has placed roots here in Hoboken with her husband and two children. She has been a part of the Hoboken community for 15 years. Summer has spent the last seven years as the General Manager for a local business, overseeing events and outreach. She is excited to use her local connections and passion for building relationships to add to the continued success of Tessa.
In her free time Summer loves running along the Riverfront, spending time with her family and playing catch with her dog!
Dragana Paulsen – Senior Office Manager
Dragana comes from Serbia and has an extensive international experience. Having resided in Serbia, China, and Norway before relocating to the United States in late 2019, she has embraced the diverse perspectives and customs of each country. Therefore, she speaks 4 languages: Mandarin, Norwegian, English, and Serbian. This linguistic prowess enables her to effectively communicate with people from various backgrounds and forge connections across borders.
Dragana holds a Masters’s Degree in Chinese Society and Politics from the esteemed University of Oslo, where she gained an in-depth understanding of the complex dynamics shaping Chinese society. Prior to that, she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese Language and Literature at the University of Belgrade, further enhancing her linguistic and cultural expertise. Throughout her professional journey, Dragana has explored diverse roles, showcasing her versatility and adaptability. She has excelled as a journalist, a translator, and a teacher. Dragana has found her place in Office and HR management. Her expertise in this area has not only streamlined operations but also fostered a harmonious work environment.
Beyond her professional pursuits, Dragana treasures her family’s affiliation with a sailing community in Jersey City. Dragana loves enjoying a boating life together with her family and friends. Dragana is enjoying being a part of Tessa’s wonderful international team and is looking forward to contributing even more to its exciting and growing community!
Marine Jolain – Public Relations Specialist
Marine, born and raised in France, holds a Master’s degree in international business. With a passion for intercultural communication, she has lived, studied, and worked in various countries, including Spain and South Korea, enhancing her language skills in French, English, Spanish, and a bit of Korean. Marine believes that languages and cultural awareness pave the way to a more peaceful and understanding world.
During her time as a volunteer co-teacher at a Cambodian orphanage at the age of 19, Marine realized the vital role and privilege of education in a child’s life. This experience fueled her desire to contribute to this mission.
In 2019, Marine joined Tessa, proud to align herself with the school’s values and be part of their team. She wholeheartedly embraces the opportunity to support Tessa’s commitment to education and make a positive impact on children’s lives.
Elodie Poons – Accountant
Elodie was born and raised in Belgium. She has two bachelor degrees-one in advertising and one in office management. She moved to the United States for the second time in September 2021 with her husband and two boys. She had spent the previous 3 years living in Milan, Italy, learning the Italian language and culture.
Elodie is the longest Tessa employee! She worked for the School during her first stay in the US and was instrumental in its opening. At the time, she had helped set up various functions ranging from administration and human resources to accounting. She is currently in charge of Tessa’s bookkeeping, accounts receivable and payable, and compensation and benefits.
Her kids have been exposed to 3 languages since they were born- French, Dutch and English. They learned Italian when they lived in Italy. They learn so quickly at this age and they understand which language to use when communicating!
Hayley Sears – Head of Auxiliary Programs
Hayley is a Massachusetts native, and relocated to New Jersey in 2020. Her academic journey began at the University of Vermont, where she pursued her passion for exploring different cultures and languages. After years of dedicated study, she proudly obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Global Studies and French. Driven by her desire to make a positive impact in education, Hayley continued her educational pursuits at Saint Peter’s University, focusing on honing her teaching skills and earning her Master’s Degree in Education in 2022.
Hayley’s love for other cultures has taken her on incredible adventures, immersing herself in countries like England, France (Clermont and Montpellier), and Spain (Tudela). In France and Spain, she found joy in teaching English to children of all ages at various schools. Hayley embraces the opportunity to share her knowledge and foster cross-cultural connections. With six years of teaching experience, she has developed a deep passion for working with children, especially when she can utilize her French and Spanish skills to create engaging learning experiences. Outside of the school, Hayley enjoys exploring her culinary creativity, hiking in nature, and indulging in captivating narratives found in good books. Excited to join the Tessa team, Hayley looks forward to contributing her skills and knowledge to Auxiliary Programs, driven by her enthusiasm for education, multiculturalism, and fostering meaningful connections with children and colleagues.
Valeria Deza – Front Desk Administrator & Assessment Coordinator
Valeria is a first-generation daughter of Peruvian immigrants who developed fluency in both English and Spanish thanks to her multicultural upbringing. Born and raised in Northern Virginia, in close proximity to Washington D.C., Valeria’s fascination with political current events and cross-cultural communication began from an early age. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh, accompanied by minors in both French and Korean. Driven by a passion for community betterment, she embarked on a teaching career following graduation, obtaining her K-6 teaching certification through the Teach for America program while working at a public school in Newark, New Jersey. In her prior role, Valeria honed organizational, multitasking, and communication skills while nurturing a continued commitment to education and language development in her ESL students. Valeria is highly regarded for her work ethic, proactive mindset, and collaborative spirit by her colleagues. With her diverse skill set and experiences, she brings exceptional expertise to the Reception and Administration support role, and she eagerly anticipates contributing to the team’s success.
Aude Rolland – Auxiliary Program Assistant Trainee
Aude is a French-American, who was born in Greenbrae, Marin County, California, where she spent the first three years of her life. She then returned to France, where she spent most of her childhood, before spending four years in Tahiti.
She grew up in the South of France, near Béziers. She studied Hypokhâgne and Khâgne, specializing in English literature. After these two years of advanced studies, she entered the Strasbourg School of Management, near Germany. Thanks to this school, she was able to do a year’s exchange at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. She is still studying for a Masters in Management. Before starting her traineeship at Tessa, she worked as our TessaPrep French afterschool teacher, and assisted the French class during Summer Camp.
She enjoys watching films, listening to music, and reading French classics in her spare time.