Isabelle Bonneau – Founder of Tessa International School
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.”
Kathleen Visconti – Head of School
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 works for the Comptroller of NYC in pension investments and Worker’s Rights. 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!
Marie Lavigne – Assistant Director of Admissions for 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 School for Curriculum and Learning & IB Coordinator
Born and raised in Belgium, Amélie graduated in Education, with the Haute Ecole Roi Baudouin, in June 2007.
She holds a Bachelor degree in Education and a License in Education.She is currently finishing her Master in Training Practices & Engineering Trainer training.
Throughout her career, she has been able to broaden her skills in four different countries: Belgium, Congo DRC, Cambodia and now the USA.
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.
Amélie joined Tessa in 2020 as a lead Teacher and French Coordinator and the leadership team, in 2021. She is happy to continue the beautiful “Accreditations/IB/Curriculums/Learning” adventure in a school that advocates for education without borders to stimulate international sensitivity and consideration.
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.
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!
Lauren Brostow – Director of Human Resources and Operations
A native to New Jersey, Lauren Brostow graduated from Rowan University with dual BAs in Early Childhood Education and American Studies and from Wilmington University with a MA in School Leadership. She began her career as a Preschool Teacher for Disabled children in Camden NJ. She continued her career working in Uganda as a Program Manager with a small organization called Inspiring Teachers followed by teaching 2nd grade at the American School of Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia. Most recently she worked in Pilot Station, Alaska as a Vice Principal. She is excited to be closer to home while combining her love of Early Childhood Education and International Education at Tessa International School.
Daisy Adorno- Reception and Administrative support
Daisy was born and raised in New Jersey. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing her masters degree in school psychology from Kean University.
She is fluent in Spanish as both her parents were born and raised in Mexico. In her free time, she likes painting, reading and most recently, baking!
Daisy has been part of Tessa since 2018 and is very excited to continue on being part of the tessa team! We love her warm smile and always positive and helpful attitude.
Barbara Contreras – Custodian
Barbara was born and raised in New York City. Her parents being from Dominican Republic, she was raised bilingual and speaks Spanish. Barbara worked for 10 years in hotels on 5th avenue, before joining the Tessa team. In her free time, she loves to play soccer, play the drums and skateboard. She’s also a dog lover. At Tessa, she enjoys being surrounded by kids, by friendly teachers, and immersed in various cultures and languages. It’s an opportunity for her to improve her language skills, she even started to learn French! She teams up with Michael Johnson, our cleaner, to make Tessa a clean and healthy environment.