how we teach

Your child will learn better when they’re happy, our teachers are dedicated to making that a reality.
  • Leadership Team
  • Elementary School
  • Secondary School


Richard Swann
Head of School
Dr. Swann holds two Baccalaureate degrees in education and music, a Master’s degree from the University of Western Australia, and earned his PhD in education from Florida State University (USA). He has served learning communities for over 35 years in Australia, the USA, Europe, the Middle East, South-East Asia and China, where he has been the principal/head of school in internationals schools as well as in bilingual schools.

In addition, Dr. Swann is also a professional musician. He is an orchestral and choral conductor, instrumentalist, and singer.
Nathan Burton
Secondary School Principal

Nathan has over 30 years of educational experience, including experience as an Assistant Principal, Athletic Director, Web Master. and professional tennis instructor.

A North Carolina native and world traveler, Nathan holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Education and a Master's degree in School Leadership. He brings his passions for service learning, global citizenry, and problem-based learning to DAIS.

Lubaina Essack
Secondary School Assistant Principal

Ms. Essack holds a Master's degree in Science and a PGCE in Education. Her professional experience includes being a Secondary School Principal, a Curriculum Coordinator, a Department Head, a Middle School/High School Science and Biology teacher and a School Guidance Counsellor.

As a school leader, Lubaina values authenticity, transparency, academic rigor, and the spirit of harmonious collaboration. Her primary educational focus is on inquiry and skills-based teaching that promotes critical and creative thinking, information literacy, communication, collaboration, and innovation.

Peter Row
Elementary School Principal

Peter graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2002 with a Degree in History and earned his Graduate Diploma in Elementary Education from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia in 2007. Peter has taught Elementary Education in Egypt, Australia, and China.

In 2014, Peter became the Elementary Curriculum Specialist at DAIS before enrolling in the International School Leadership Program through Washington State University and University of San Francisco, where he earned a Principal Certificate and Master’s in Organizational Leadership.

Mark Donagher
Director of Counseling
Mark has been in education for over 25 years as a teacher, Vice Principal and Head of Department. 

Completing his impressive resumé, Mark has held the position of High School Counselor in Canada, Brazil, and China. His qualifications include a B.A. Honors Degree in History from Carleton University, B.Ed. from York University and M.Ed. from University of Toronto as well as being a Specialist in Guidance and Career Education in his home province of Ontario. 


Miwa Gyoba
Grade 5 Teacher

Miwa graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2002.

After teaching in Taiwan for two and a half years, South Korea for two years, Japan for one year, and Egypt for three years, Miwa returned to school in New South Wales, Australia to complete a Graduate Diploma in Education at the University of Wollongong. She strives to be a caring and passionate educator valuing each student as a unique individual who has the ability to reach his or her full potential.

Robin Capozzoli
Grade 3 Teacher

Mrs. Capozzoli obtained her Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston. She also has a Master's degree of Elementary Education and a post graduate degree in Educational Psychology.

She has been in education for 20 years and working internationally for over 10 years. Mrs. Capozzoli has served in several roles including curriculum, leadership, and teaching a variety of grade levels.

Kara Harvey
Grade 1 Teacher

Kara Harvey is an early childhood and primary PYP and Montessori educator originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

She holds a B.F.A. in Ballet Pedagogy, a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education, AMS Montessori certification, and Category 1 PYP certification. Combining her knowledge of dance pedagogy and wealth of classroom experience, Ms. Harvey hopes to fuel children’s passion and ignite their creativity.

Fakazile Hlongwana
Pre-K Teacher

Ms. Hlongwana has acquired Bachelor of Arts in Primary Education and completed an 120hr TEFL program with ITOL institute.

She has taught in kindergarten both in South Africa and China and has an experience in a few education systems such as Montessori and Reggio Emilia approach. This speaks to her flexible style of teaching and ability to easily cater for each of her students' needs.

Martin Moratillo
Art Teacher

Martin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts, and a Master’s degree in Education Management.

Working in education since 1991, Martin taught in the UK and US as an artist and teacher visitor. He also traveled to Pakistan under a UNESCO scholarship to show his artwork and to teach drawing. In Peru, he taught Creativity, Art History and Drawing of the Human Figure in local universities and art schools. Recently, Martin has been giving talks and lectures to local art teachers in different cities of China, regarding Creativity, Art History, and Sustainability in Art Education. 

Chila Coloma
PE Teacher

Ms. Coloma has more than 14 years of international teaching experience.

She holds 2 bachelor’s degrees, one in Pedagogy in Elementary and Secondary Education and another one in Physical Education, Sports and Leisure Pedagogy from one of the best universities in Santiago, Chile. She also has a postgraduate degree in Psychology, teaching certificates from the International Baccalaureate (IB) and a TEFL Certificate.

Lelia Lemay
Music Teacher

Ms. Lemay has a Master’s degree in Music Performance from University of Montreal.

As a professional musician, Ms. Lemay toured in Europe and performed with several orchestras and ensembles in North America. She has 10 years of teaching experience in Canada, Haiti and recently in China. She has developed acute arts management skills, while working for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in their Education team. Her latest and proudest accomplishment has been designing and implementing a music program for the Canadian International School of Guangzhou.

Elyda Torres-Tafoya
STEM Teacher

Ms. Tafoya has more than 11 years of teaching experience.

Ms. Tafoya has a Bachelor's degree of Applied Science in Elementary Education and Master of Arts in Elementary Education with a Math, Science, and Educational Technology (MSET) Concentration. Her prior roles include a classroom teacher, lead engineering teacher, reading interventionist, robotics coach, grade level design lead, and head of educational IT. 


Jordan Reed
English Language Arts Department Head
Jordan graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Art degree in Integrated Language and his secondary teaching certification.

In 2011, Jordan moved to Dalian to teach English in a different environment. Jordan is a lifelong learner who brings his enthusiasm for learning into the classroom every day. His love of writing and literature propels him to help students find a voice that is their own. 
Robert Flanagan
Social Studies Department Head

Bobby Flanagan serves as the DAIS Social Studies Department head and is an extremely proud graduate of the first public university in the United States, The University of North Carolina, with a Bachelor of Arts in History and currently working on a Master's degree in Educational Leadership.

His teaching experience started 20 years ago, and since then he has been working alongside grades 8-12. An expert in Geography and History, he has worked with both AP and IB curricula. Mr. Flanagan has been involved in all areas of school life, having been a Student Government advisory, grade level leader, Prom Coordinator, and varsity basketball, track, and soccer coach.

Shahidur Rahman
Science Department Head

Mr. Shahid Rahman has over 17 years of overseas experience in education as a teacher and Head of department. He has experience teaching Mathematics and Science in addition to his primary topic of Physics.

Mr. Rahman began his work as an A-Level Physics teacher in 2005 after completing his 4-year Bachelor of Physics and Master of Science in Nuclear Physics. His adventure in China began in 2018, and his professional experience includes working in a prestigious Chinese school in Xi'an and an American high school in Shanghai to assist students in achieving top exam scores.

Annie Cui
Mandarin Language Department Head

Annie graduated from Shenyang Normal University in 2008 with a degree in English and Education.

While completing course work for her bachelor’s degree, Annie took up a half-year internship in a Chinese public middle school, working as a homeroom teacher. She currently holds two official teaching certificates, a National Teacher Certificate and a Certificate for Teachers of Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages. Ms. Cui came to DAIS in the fall of 2009. She believes that it is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish, and she is very passionate about spreading Chinese language and culture to the world.

Jeff Jones
Physical Education Department Head

Jeff Jones has more than 25 years teaching experience. His career began teaching Social Studies in Alaska, while being the Head Boys Basketball Coach. his is also where he went to college (University of Alaska, Anchorage) and received his degrees in History and Secondary Education.

Jeff loves health and fitness activities. His favorites are stand up paddle surfing, mountain biking, and hiking, though he also enjoys swimming and CrossFit.

Meik Loughran
EAL Department Head

Meik Loughran joined the DAIS community in 2013. Born and raised in Colorado, he studied foreign language education at the Pädagogische Hochschule in Karlsruhe, Germany before graduating from the University of Northern Colorado in 2010 with a bachelor’s in German and philosophy. In 2016 he earned a master’s degree in EAL international education, curriculum and instruction preK-12 from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

He believes that even beginning-level English language learners can work at all levels of higher-order thinking and that reading and writing proficiency is dependent upon the development of rich oral academic language.

Matthew MacInnes
Athletics and Activities Director
Matthew graduated from the University of Edinburgh and taught in his home country of Scotland before moving overseas to Malaysia.  

in 2008, Matthew took on the Head of Physical Education position at Tenby International School. He went on to complete his Master's degree in International Education Administration through Endicott College in 2014, while serving as the Athletics Coordinator at the American School Foundation in Mexico City, Mexico. From 2017-2021 Matthew was the Director of Athletics and Activities at the International School of Panama and received the NIAAA's highest distinction of Certified Master Athletic Administrator (CMAA) in 2021.  
Scott Pare
Middle & High School Curriculum Coordinator
Scott earned his B.Ed. at Brock University, Canada and his MA at Columbia University, USA.  

In his last school, Scott served two years as K-12 Curriculum Coordinator and four years as Secondary Vice Principal. Before entering administration, he was an English Language, Arts and Social Studies teacher. The 2021/22 school year marked his 25th year in education, as well as working and living abroad. 


Our outstanding and experienced teachers belong to an elite group of professionals aligned to the highest international standards, that share best practices with their colleagues around the world, helping students reach their maximum potential.

At DAIS, we’re the most forward-thinking educators in the world, and we use our global reach to create a learning experience like no other. We have a highly qualified and experienced faculty. 77% of our teaching team hold a Master’s degree or higher.

We commit considerable resources for recruitment every year to hire the absolute best teachers for our students. DAIS's outstanding reputation for educational excellence for the past 15 years allows us to compete for top teaching talent.

The world’s best educators inspire our students to achieve their personal excellence.


Our international teachers continually educate each other and provide support while getting the best ongoing development training available.

Teachers join training at Nord Anglia University, meaning our educators are at the cutting-edge of their profession. We offer an Executive Master’s in International Education from Kings College, providing our teachers with an in-depth understanding of school leadership in international settings. We take select teachers on subject-specific training every year with MIT and Juilliard. Our Regional Education Team provides all teachers with Becoming Bilingual training.


Exceptional teachers make exceptional schools, and our educators are some of the very best. Our learning environment is enhanced by a balanced ratio of national and international teachers. 

Passionate about inspiring young minds and helping students thrive, our teachers never stop learning through local and global, continuous professional development programs – something that attracts talent both in China and from around the world. 
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