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.
Megan Ames, Deputy Head of Admissions and Operations
A Vermonter who also loves cities, Megan studied French and Creative Writing at Emory University before moving overseas to teach in Cambodia, China, and France. After completing her TESOL certification in Phnom Penh, she taught elementary school students in Xiamen and Nîmes for three years, and then returned to the US for a Master’s degree in International Education Policy and Management, along with a Certificate of Asian Studies, at Vanderbilt University. For the following three years, she supervised international students and scholars in the Fulbright Program at the Institute of International Education in Washington, DC, before moving to IIE’s Thailand headquarters in Bangkok to serve as an Outreach Specialist to bring students from Southeast Asia into international education programs. For the past three years, Megan was the Human Resources, Publications, and Communications Manager for Concordian International School, an English-Chinese-Thai IB World School, just outside of Bangkok. She is thrilled to be back on the East Coast closer to home, and to be joining Tessa where she knows the combination of bilingual immersion, the social and emotional learning curriculum, and the IB Primary Years Program will create an invaluable educational environment for every Tessa student.
Marie Lavigne, Assistant Director of Admissions for Programs and Outreach
Born and raised in France, Marie moved to the US with her husband and their 2-year old twin daughters over 20 years ago. She started her career in IT Services in Paris before settling in Central New Jersey. She began her journey in bilingual education as a mother raising bilingual children before leaving behind her corporate life and taking a different career path at the French American School in Princeton, NJ.
Marie brings over 15 years of extensive school leadership and administration experience in a French American independent school, holding various roles as Assistant Head of School, Director of Admissions & Marketing, and Development Head. Her expertise lies in enrollment management, school marketing, fundraising and community outreach. During her tenure at FASP, she also served on the steering committee of the Admissions Group of French American Schools in North America.
Marie and her husband relocated to Hoboken in 2020. Having seen firsthand the benefits of a bilingual education, both as parent and educational professional, she is very excited to join Tessa to lead the admission efforts for the French track and develop strong partnerships with the community in Hoboken.
Amélie M. Tareen, Deputy Head of Curriculum and Learning & IB 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 14th year as a teacher, she wished 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.
After being a teacher for Primary classes at Tessa, she is excited to join the leadership team as our PYP Coordinator and Deputy Head of Curriculum and learning.
Léa Pean, Head of Auxiliary Programs
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!
Marine Jolain, Head of Marketing and Communications
Marine was born and raised in France, where she obtained a Master’s in international business. Her love for intercultural communication pushed her to live, study and work in varied countries from a young age. Among others, her experiences in Spain and South Korea helped her improve her language skills; she speaks French, English, Spanish, a little bit of Korean and even studied Mandarin for a few years. She strongly believes that languages and cultural awareness are a door to a more peaceful and understanding world. When she was 19 years old, she volunteered as a co-teacher and tutor at a Cambodian orphanage; it was then she understood what a key factor and privilege education is in a child’s life, and felt she wanted to participate in that mission.
Marine joined Tessa in 2019, and is proud to be part of the Tessa team, and help carry the strong values of the school, which very much align with hers.