Isabelle has both extensive experience in multilingual education and an extensive international business background.
She started Be Lingual, a premier language program for schools and language immersion summer camp, in 2007 and has acquired broad expertise in the education industry thanks to this eight year venture.
Before switching to education, Isabelle worked internationally for 8 years for a leading hospitality group and for an international finance consulting firm. She holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Booth School of Business (University of Chicago). For her undergraduate degrees, she studied at ESCP Europe in France, the UK, and Germany, and holds business degrees from the three countries.
Born and raised in France, Isabelle settled in the Tri-State area in 2001. In her daily life, she is immersed in an international environment as her husband is Greek Cypriot. Her teenage son speaks three different languages, goes to a top bilingual school in the City, and is fully comfortable with different cultures. “I believe that language education can provide children with improved communication abilities, and help build self-confidence and adaptability – assets that serve children as well as adults, both in their professional careers and in their private lives.”
Daniel Buck, 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, Interim 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 support to Dan.
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!
Padmaja Naidu, PYP Coordinator
Padmaja was born and raised in India in a rich multi-lingual environment. Growing up, she learned to speak, read and write in English, Telugu and Hindi. She has a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Osmania University, Hyderabad, in India. She has a Master in Elementary Education from Walden University, Minneapolis, USA.
Her teaching journey began 20 years ago as an early years teacher in Beijing, China. Since then, she has worked in international cities such as Hong Kong, New Delhi, Guangzhou as an early years and elementary school educator in diverse international settings before moving to New York City early this year. As an IB PYP educator, she is an avid believer in inquiry-based learning that fosters deep conceptual understanding based on big ideas and international-mindedness. As an educator she believes in engaging different sensory modalities in a child by providing varied learning experiences and a literate rich environment. Padmaja is our PYP coordinator, and is enthused at the idea of taking Tessa through the IB PYP authorization journey. IB PYP had been a transformative experience for her both as an educator and as a parent, and she is happy to guide our families through the IB PYP program. She is also teaching Grade 1 students in English.
Maritza Meza, Spanish Coordinator
Maritza was born and raised in Colombia. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Pedagogy of the written language. She has worked with the Reggio Emilia educational approach, which is based on the idea of the child possessing a strong potential for development. In addition, Maritza is skilled in the Blending Learning Model, which provides students with the necessary tools to explore their world with meaningful learning experiences and to become 21st century learners.
She worked at a prestigious private international school in Bogota for 18 years as a preschool teacher and also in a Pre-K English immersion program. One of her pillars as an educator is to respect students’ individual learning processes and maximize their potential in a fun and caring environment. One of her great passions besides education is writing articles related to her educational experiences with children and sharing them with teachers around the world.