Staff and Faculty

The International School of Penang (Uplands) is extremely proud of its multicultural staff, boasting fifteen different nationalities amongst their academic faculties. Our staff know the importance of intellectual engagement, communication skills, leadership, and focus on student growth and discovery.

Senior Leadership Team

Giles Mongare
Giles MongarePrincipal (Acting)
NPQH, BEd Music

After a career in the British Army, Giles went to university in Birmingham and then joined the teaching profession where he took up his first teaching post in Somerset. He has worked in a number of different Educational environments – UK state school, Private and 5 International Schools, 3 of which he has been Head. Giles has held a number of positions throughout his career – Teacher, Head of Department, Head of Faculty, Assistant Head, Deputy Head and of course Head.
Giles has worked with organisations such as Ofsted, CIS and CfBT on visits to other schools and joins Uplands from a very large International school in the UAE.

Alison Nicholson
Alison NicholsonHead of Primary School
Dip. Ed. B.Ed.

After completing her studies at Otago University and Dunedin Teachers College, Alison Nicholson taught in New Zealand schools for fifteen years before moving to Indonesia. During her time in Bali she became involved in the IB Primary Years Programme and, now as Head of Primary, she has continued to develop and implement the programme over the six years she has been at Uplands.

Jo Loiterton
Jo LoitertonHead of Secondary
Master of Educational Leadership, Master of Arts (Psychology), Bachelor of Social Science, Bachelor of Music Education, Registered Psychologist (AHPRA)

Jo Loiterton, originally from Australia, has worked in international schools since 2004. As well as being a school leader, Jo has worked as a music teacher and as a registered psychologist and counselor, both in educational and community settings. Jo enjoyed providing counseling and college counseling services to students and families in the UK, China and Indonesia, before becoming High School Principal in Warsaw, Poland. Most recently, Jo has been the Secondary Principal in Vientiane Laos where she has also enjoyed the luxury of getting back into the classroom and teaching IB DP Psychology. Jo loves long-distance hiking and anything to do with the outdoors, the arts, and playing ukulele. She also enjoys following many sports, but has a particular passion for long distance bike racing. Jo is moving to Penang with her husband Mark who will teach Drama. They are both very much looking forward to being part of the Uplands community.

Renee Tan Chooi Cheng
Renee Tan Chooi ChengHead of Finance
CIMA, CGMA, MBA, CA

Ms Tan is a member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA), a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and also Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). She obtained her Master in Business Administration from University of Portsmouth, UK.

She is currently the Head of Finance and has been with Uplands since 2011. Prior to this appointment, she held senior positions at controller level overseeing Finance, Human Resources, Purchasing and IT, across numerous industries in both local and international organisations. She was also instrumental in setting up the financial system for a subsidiary company in the United States of America.

As an ex-trainer cum consultant, she has conducted training courses on finance, credit management, risk management and internal audit to non-finance personnel and organisations. She has also conducted lectures for final year accounting students for the strategic level paper on Management Accounting – Risk and Control strategy.

Her areas of strength include financial management and analysis, strategic business planning, risk management and policy development.

Surik Sher Gill
Surik Sher GillHead of Administration
B.A. (Economics)

Surik Gill brings to this position over 17 years of logistics and supply chain management experience, working for multinational companies such as DHL, TNT and FedEx. During this time, he has held various positions such as senior manager for corporate accounts and customer service; he was also the Global Account Manager managing large portfolios clients for DHL and was also a Head of Department for Trade Lane, a role in logistics where he was involved in developing intra-Asia, Europe and North America business strategies. After graduating with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Business Administration from Memorial University in Canada in 1995, he returned to Penang and interestingly enough taught Sociology at Uplands secondary on Kelawai Road for a while. When he isn’t working, Surik enjoys spending time with his 2 young children and wife, either cooking for them or doing some kind of outdoor activity.

Phil Macoun
Phil MacounDigital Learning Coordinator
BSc., Dip. Ed, MEd Leadership

Phil is originally from Canada. He first trained as a Science teacher, and worked for five years in Jakarta, Indonesia, teaching Science and Math. In 2003, Phil moved back to Canada and helped start an independent IB school, where he taught for 12 years. Over this time he held numerous positions, which included MYP Design teacher, MYP Coordinator, and whole school Technology Coordinator. He also trained as an IB MYP site visitor and workshop leader. Since moving to Penang, Phil has completed a Masters in Educational Leadership and Management with a focus on technology integration in the IB context. He is also a Google Certified Trainer and was recently selected to be a Google Certified Innovator. Phil lives in Penang with his wife, who is a Senior Scientist at WorldFish, and his daughter. Outside of teaching, and his family, Phil’s interests include climbing, exploring and paddling.

Updated on 30 October 2017