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.

Secondary Teachers by Faculty

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Modern Foreign Language Faculty

Karin Raffa
Karin RaffaHoF Languages / Residential House Parent
1st State Examination Modern Languages, PGCE Modern Foreign Languages, MA Education

Originally from Berlin, Germany, she holds a degree in Modern Foreign Languages and earned her MA Education from Edge Hill University. She has taught in schools in the UK, Switzerland and Germany before moving to South East Asia. She is a residential boarding parent and joined Uplands with her two daughters.

Florence Dass
Florence DassPrimary & Secondary Malay Language Teacher
BA Bahasa Malaysia

Florence Philomenathan, from Kedah, Malaysia, obtained her degree in Arts (Malay Language major) from the University Science Malaysia (USM), Penang. She lectured in Malay Language and General Subjects at Tunku Abdul Rahman College (Johor and Penang) for a combined period of 2 years and 6 months. She has taught Malay at Uplands for 11 years to both Secondary and Primary students.

Mathave Vadiveloo
Mathave VadivelooHead of Bahasa / Malay Language Teacher
MA, BA, CELTA, Teaching Cert

MPS Mathave Vadiveloo, a Malaysian citizen, after qualifying as a teacher, went on to obtain a degree from the University of Science Malaysia, with a major in Translation and a minor in Japanese. She also holds a Master’s degree from the same university in Translation (English-Malay). She taught various subjects in Malaysian schools for many years before joining Uplands to teach Malay. She has worked as a freelance translator-cum-editor of bilingual and trilingual dictionaries (English-Malay-Tamil) and is Examiner Responsible for the International Baccalaureate’s Malay Ab Initio paper, Her areas of interests are lexicography and etymology.

Carole White
Carole WhiteFrench Language Teacher

Originally from Savoie, France, after graduating with a Masters of Foreign Languages she set off for 1 year in Australia as a French exchange teacher and stayed 14 years. After having a family she moved back overseas to teach French in International Schools in Oman, Dubai, and Syria before moving to South East Asia. Her daughter has just graduated and completed her IB diploma and she has a son in Year 8.

Cai Qin (Alicia)
Cai Qin (Alicia)Head of Mandarin / Mandarin Language Teacher / Year 8 Tutor
MA & BA (Chinese Linguistics & Language)
Farah Buruhanudeen
Farah BuruhanudeenPrimary & Secondary Malay Language Teacher
PGDE, BSc.(hons) Management

Farah hails from Penang, Malaysia. She graduated with an honours degree in Hospitality Management from Mara University of Technology, Shah Alam, Malaysia. After her graduation, she taught at KDU College, Kuala Lumpur followed by KDU College in Penang. Later she moved to Disted College Penang teaching Management subjects in the Hospitality Industry and also Bahasa Malaysia for Expatriate and local students. She has been a member of the languages departments of MRSM Balik Pulau in Penang and Mara University of Technology, also in Penang.

Maria Rosario Sanchez Andres
Maria Rosario Sanchez AndresSpanish Language Teacher
BA Spanish language and literature, PGCE, HoD Spanish

Ros, obtained her degree in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Valencia, Spain. She has been teaching Spanish in Spain in different language schools. She came to Penang two years ago and worked in USM, Universiti Sains Malaysia as a teacher and coordinator of Spanish department. She has been an examiner of DELE (Spanish Diploma as a Foreign Language) granted by Cervantes Institute for the last two years.

Zeng Fengmei
Zeng FengmeiMandarin Language Teacher / Year 7 Tutor
BA Teaching Chinese as Second Language

Zeng Fengmei has been teaching Mandarin since 2006. She taught Mandarin in Hanoi, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh and Beijing. She took her bachelor degree at Beijing Language University as teaching Chinese as Second Language. Before she join Uplands, she is teaching IB Mandarin and AP Mandarin at American International School in Ho Chi Minh City.

Yoshiko Fox
Yoshiko FoxJapanese Language Teacher / Year 7 Tutor
BA Spanish Lang & Lit, Teach Cert Jap.

Yoshiko is originally from Kumamoto, Japan. After completing her degree in Spanish Language and Literature with a Japanese teaching qualification from Seisen University in Tokyo, she headed overseas to teach in various international schools, first in Bangkok, then China and now here in Penang. She has taught in American and British Style international schools and has experience teaching GCSE, IGCSE, and IB Japanese (A, B and ab initio). She is also an IB examiner. Yoshiko has 2 sons in Years 5 and 6.

Sibylle-Ev Mergens
Sibylle-Ev MergensGerman Language Teacher
1. and 2. state examination in Germany

Sibylle majored from the University of Trier, Germany, in German and French for professional teaching. After her education, she worked in her first teaching position at a secondary school on the Mosel river, a famous wine area in Germany. Primarily driven by her interest in the field of literature and book publishing, she also started a career at a publishing house, “Ravensburger”, on Lake Constance in the south of Germany. This company with the blue triangle logo is internationally also renowned as a producer of games and toys. Here, she gained valuable experience working as an editor specialising in learning games, arts and crafts, first in development and later as a product manager. After getting married, Sibylle moved to Bavaria where she continued her teaching career in French and German in a secondary school. Working at Uplands is her first experience in an International school

Physical Education Faculty

Gary Zuko
Gary ZukoHoF PE / Head of Secondary PE / Year 9 Tutor
BPE; BEd; M Education Science and Health

Gary is originally from Alberta, Canada. He is a retired administrator that has pursued his career in coaching University Basketball in Canada and Professional Basketball for the Saigon Heat in HCMC. As of this year, “Zuko” was recruited to work for the UFC-Asia as a master in MMA and is currently creating curriculum and education programs for coaches, trainers and fighters in Vietnam. He obtained his education degree from the University of Alberta and working on his PhD in Exercise Science, Health and Physical Education at the University of Victoria. He has played university volleyball, basketball and junior football with a walk on with the Seahawks back in the ‘80s. He has a lifetime of sports and aquatics experiences at all possible levels. He enjoys playing golf and watching movies on his down time. Zuko is looking forward living in Penang with his amazing wife and two beautiful children.

Eduardo Cary
Eduardo CaryHead of Primary Physical Education / PE Teacher
Physical Education and Sports Degree

Eduardo has been an International Educator for the past 12 years, having taught in Portugal, Scotland, Thailand, Sudan, Qatar and now Malaysia. He has been teaching the PYP programme in Physical Education for the past 5 years and is a strong believer in the core values of the programme. Eduardo has coached athletics, swimming and several team sports throughout his teaching career, including the preparation of primary FOBISIA teams. He has joined Uplands in 2016 and is enjoying his experience in Penang with his wife and two young boys.

Ben Lim
Ben LimSwimming Coach
BSc Chem (Hons)

Ben Lim is from Kulim, Kedah, Malaysia. He obtained his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) with Honours in Chemistry from the University Science Malaysia (USM), Penang, Malaysia. He was captain of USM Swim Team for 2 consecutive years. During his university life, he went to Chiang Mai, Thailand for the Asean University games in 2010 and Adelaide, Australia for RESCUE 2012, a lifesaving world championship in 2012.

Andre Double
Andre DoublePE Teacher / Year 10 Tutor
BSc Sports Studies, P.Dip Sports Development

Andre graduated from De Montfort University in England with a BSc in Sport and Leisure. This was immediately followed by a Post-Graduate Diploma in Sports Develop from Cheltenham and Gloucester. Andre arrived after an eight year spell at a rapidly improving Academy in the South Coast of England. He also spent three years previously working with ‘at risk’ pupils and those excluded from mainstream education in London. Having been one of the first ever years to take GCSE PE, Andre now teaches it alongside Mr Pearson. He is passionate about rugby, badminton and football. Andre joined us in 2014 and is hugely excited about the prospect of working in Asia and being a part of the well renowned FOBISIA games in the future.

Choong Kei Yern (Philip)
Choong Kei Yern (Philip)Swimming Coach

Philip is from Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. He graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Management majoring in Finance. He enjoys playing all kind of sports with swimming being his main sport. He has been involved in competitive swimming for 20 over years and is excited to share his knowledge and experience in the sport.

Dean Metcalfe
Dean MetcalfePrimary PE & Swimming Teacher, CCA Coordinator, HoY 7 & Y6 Transition
BA(Hons), PGCE/QTS, PGC Sport & Culture

Originally from Cumbria in North West England, Dean has been teaching for 16 years; working in Taiwan, South Korea, UK, Vietnam and Malaysia. Along with his family, he is returning to Uplands after 1 year back in the UK. He has a wealth of experience, having taught classes from Exam PE at IGCSE and A level right down to Reception. Dean is looking forward to taking up the HoY 7 & Y6 Transition and again being a part of what is thriving Roar Sports Programme. A keen sportsman in his junior years, he competed in a range of sports; representing Cumbria at Rugby Union, Hockey and Cross Country. Over the past 10 years he has taken part in a range of endurance running/triathlon events, always enjoying the process of training and preparation as much as the actual competing. He is already looking forward taking part in his 6th Penang Bridge Marathon in November. This will be his 7th year teaching Physical Education at Uplands.

Rosetta Zuko
Rosetta ZukoPrimary PE Teacher / Year 11 Tutor
BSc; BEd

Rosetta was born in Bangkok with a Vietnamese heritage, but grew up and educated in Alberta, Canada. She began teaching in Canada and transitioned into teaching internationally in Vietnam in 2011. She obtained her two Bachelor degrees from University of Alberta. She has worked in many different capacities as a classroom teacher across all year levels, science, math, visual arts, ICT, P.E. teacher, ESL and special needs. She feels very spirited about playing and coaching all different sports. Her first teaching experience was in gymnastics, for over a decade, she has taught all different ages and levels. Rosetta was a highly competitive gymnast with aspirations of joining the National Team in Canada. She is a passionate and successful coach in volleyball, basketball, badminton, track and field. Rosetta is looking forward to an exciting life at Uplands with her lovely husband and two children.

Ashleigh Grant
Ashleigh GrantPrimary PE Teacher
Bachelor of Business and Graduate Diploma of Education

Ashleigh is originally from New Zealand but has spent the last two and a half years teaching in the United Kingdom. She has worked in many different capacities: classroom teacher across all year levels, Computing specialist and Physical Education specialist. Ashleigh will be joining the Physical Education department and has a particular strength in swimming, waterpolo and netball. We are looking forward to Ashleigh joining the team and the Uplands Community.

Student Services

David Johnston
David JohnstonCounsellor
CSS, NVQ4 (Social Care Management), dip HYP.

After leaving school in 1976, David worked in Australia the US, South Africa and the UK as an Outdoor Education Instructor specializing in white water kayaking and rock climbing. He qualified as a Social Worker in 1993 and has worked therapeutically with young offenders and survivors of abuse for over 25 years. In 1998 he founded, and was the CEO of, Carevisions, currently the largest therapeutic childcare provider in Scotland. He has also worked for the National Health Service in the UK in the CAMHS team (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team). Prior to joining Uplands he worked for a year at Kodaikanal International School the top ranked International boarding school in India as the School Counsellor.

Libby Matheson
Libby MathesonCAS Coordinator
BA Asia Pacific Community Development, Post. Grad. Asian Studies.

Libby has almost thirty years experience working in Australia and internationally, starting out at Greenpeace Australia in 1989. She has worked across a range of government and NGO agencies, her focus on research, project management and capacity building within government, health and education sectors. For the last 15 years she has specialised in increasing the capacity of agencies to work with culturally and linguistically diverse communities, ensuring effective communication and access. She has a particular interest in China, sustained engagement and environmental sustainability. She has called Penang home since 2015.

Lynne Pearson
Lynne PearsonESL / Boarding Houseparent / Year 10 Tutor

Originally from Newcastle in the North East of England, I have been teaching ESL in international schools for my entire teaching career. I worked in two international schools in the UK, where I met my husband, Bob. When our son, Andrew was 18 months old we moved to Cairo where I was Head of English. After 3 years, we moved to Bangkok with our son and our daughter, Holly, who was born in Cairo. We have been in Bangkok for the last 12 years. I have taught at two schools here in Bangkok, teaching ESL to beginners through to IGCSE and IB. Outside of school I enjoy keeping fit, yoga and reading.


Senior Leadership Team | Secondary Senior Management Team | Primary Senior Management Team | Secondary Heads of Faculty
Secondary Heads of Year | Secondary Teachers by Faculty  | Primary Teachers and Class Assistants | Finance | Administration

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Updated on 20 Sept 2017