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 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 just turned 25, has her BA and MPA from NYU and works providing grants to nonprofits worldwide. Kate is fluent in Mandarin, having graduated herself from an IB school. 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.
Daniel Buck, Senior Deputy Head of School
Daniel has a Bachelor’s in Performing Arts and two Masters in Primary Education and Education Administration and Leadership. He worked as a primary school teacher for nine years and as deputy head of school in charge of the early years (Nursery – Grade 5) for four years. He has worked in schools in the US as well as Norway, Morocco, Brazil, and many more. Daniel has significant expertise in the International Baccalaureate.
Project-Based Learning, The Primary Years Program (PYP) and Destination Imagination are three of Daniel’s passions as an educator. He loves inspiring young minds to inquire, solve problems, and express themselves about their solutions. Daniel also has a passion for incorporating the Arts, as well as technology, in the classroom. Daniel’s family is bilingual (French and English) and he adores adding foreign words to his own vocabulary, particularly Portuguese, German, and French.
Jessica Panicola, Deputy Head of School
Jessica is a native New Yorker with international teaching experience in Bolivia, Morocco, and South Korea. She was a K-12 Visual Arts Educator during her time abroad and she is well versed in choice-based and project-based learning. Jessica holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Studio Art and two Masters in Art Education and Design for Social Innovation.
She is in charge of admissions, communication with Tessa families and with the teachers.
Léa Pean, Afterschool and Camps Coordinator
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 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!
Gabriela Mella, PYP Coordinator
Gabriela was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from UNIBE University in the Dominican Republic and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University in Chicago, Il, USA. Her teaching philosophy is based on constructivism, entitling students to their own learning and serving as a guide providing the necessary tools, support, and experiences in order for the students to construct their own learning.
Her teaching journey began 10 years ago. She has worked with multiple ages from 3 years old all the way to 12 years old. The majority of her teaching experience was in private American schools in the Dominican Republic. She has experience working with the Orton Gillingham and Handwriting Without Tears approaches. One of her teaching methods is the use of multiple intelligences in the classroom. She believes students learn in different ways and that as an educator, she has to adapt her instruction to meet the needs of all of her students. She is also teaching Grade 1 students in Spanish. Gabriela enjoys reading, exercising, writing, traveling around the world, and spending time with her family and loved ones.
Amélie M. Tareen, French Coordinator
Born and raised in Belgium, Amélie graduated in Education, with the Haute Ecole Roi Baudouin, in June 2007.
Throughout her career, she has been able to broaden her skills in four different countries: Belgium, Congo DRC, Cambodia and now the USA.
Fast approaching the end of her 13th year as a teacher, she wishes to deepen and diversify her knowledge in an International school.
Her travels and experiences, across multiple continents with diverse environments, have enriched her with practical and beneficial skills such as the ability to adapt to cultural diversity, the means to grow rapidly in an unknown environment, and the capacity to achieve efficiency despite, sometimes, unusual working conditions.
She is very excited to start this adventure with Tessa.