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Educational leadership team

Head of School

Stephen Dare

Secondary School Principal

Teresa Tung

Secondary School Assistant Principal / DP Co-ordinator

Joanna Crimmins

Secondary School Assistant Principal / MYP Co-ordinator

Kristen Feren

Primary School Principal

Virginia Hunt

Technology Director

Andy Birch

Learner Support Director

John Shanahan

Research, Development and Communications Director

Jennifer Swinehart

Head of School

Stephen Dare

In his 11th year as Head of School, Stephen believes that everyone in an organisation has the capacity to contribute to the co-construction of learning experiences that both elevate thinking and promote action in support of broader educational initiatives. He is passionate about creating opportunities to democratise learning and elevate student voice within schools. Stephen began his career as a preschool teacher in Southeast England, and has worked as an administrator in North and South America as well as Southeast Asia. He is the treasurer of the ACAMIS Board and is on the Next Frontier: Inclusion Design Team. Stephen is an Agency Trainer for the Thinking Collaborative and has embedded the work of Cognitive Coaching and Adaptive Schools into the professional learning culture of HKA, helping to implement the school’s mission and identity. He regularly presents courses on coaching and building institutional trust at international schools and conferences. Stephen initially left his home town for a two-year adventure overseas, and over thirty years later he continues to embrace the opportunities of working in a global culture.

Secondary School Principal

Teresa Tung

Teresa believes that great learning should support each child to know themselves, understand the world, and be joyful, successful and contributing global citizens. Teresa has previously served as a Global Citizen Diploma (GCD) Co-ordinator, and brings her passion for and experience with the GCD to help cultivate opportunities for student engagement in responsible action. An experienced International Baccalaureate educator, Teresa has taught three IB programmes and contributes regularly to IB curriculum development, participates in IB authorisation school visits, and leads IB workshops on cross-programme topics such as Approaches to Learning. Exemplifying contributions as a global citizen, she is a part of Compass Education, developing programmes for a sustainable future, and also a course leader for Sky School, a global high school that provides access to education for refugee learners. Teresa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters of Teaching from the University of Virginia, as well as a Certificate of International School Leadership from Principals Training Center. In her down time, Teresa is nourished by spending time with her husband and toddler son, creating podcasts, and doing yoga.

Secondary School Assistant Principal / DP Co-ordinator

Joanna Crimmins

Joanna is an experienced IB educator who believes that young people learn best when authentic learning experiences allow them to develop an evolving understanding of our changing world. Joanna has worked with young people for nearly 20 years in multiple countries around the world; originally from Wales in the UK, Joanna has also taught internationally in Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Joanna believes strong relationships with parents and the wider community are vital in ensuring students are supported as they move through their school life. Joanna is passionate about the HKA community and is delighted to be working together with students, staff and parents to support the ongoing growth of our secondary school programme. Joanna has a Bachelor’s degree in Drama and Education from the University of Wales and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from The Open University, UK.

Secondary School Assistant Principal / MYP Co-ordinator

Kristen Feren

Kristen believes that adolescents learn best in a caring and nurturing environment where constructivist, student-centered, inquiry-based approaches are the norm. She collaborates with Secondary School teachers on the articulation of the curriculum within the framework of the IB MYP, and with students in a pastoral capacity.  Prior to moving to Hong Kong, Kristen has worked as both an administrator and teacher in the United States and at international schools on three continents. She holds teaching and administrative credentials from the state of New Hampshire and Master’s degrees in Reading and Writing as well as in School Leadership, in addition to a certificate in International School Leadership from The Principal’s Training Center in Miami, Florida. Formerly a competitive swimmer and triathlete, Kristen now finds balance through running, cake decorating, and parenting her three children, all HKA students.

Primary School Principal

Virginia Hunt

Virginia believes that children make sense of their world by constructing meaning in an inclusive and authentic environment where students have opportunities for experiential learning by interacting with their social and natural world. She values diversity and the range of gifts students and adults bring to a learning environment. Virginia prides herself on the development and support of collaboration and self-directed learning in teachers and students. She is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World Leader Trainer and a Next Frontier Inclusion Reviewer, and is currently in the process of becoming an Adaptive Schools trainer. Virginia holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and an Advanced Master’s in Educational Leadership. She is certified by New York State. Virginia lives in Sai Kung and both of her children have attended Hong Kong Academy. Her children most valued the opportunities they had to explore an additional language and the range of sports on offer.

Technology Director

Andy Birch

Andy has been in education for over 20 years, and is passionate about the power of technology to offer meaningful and enhanced learning opportunities to staff, students and parents. During his experience at various international schools, as well as through developing the ICT in the PYP framework with the IB, and his Master’s in Educational Technology, Andy has developed a rich understanding of technology in education and is invested in guiding the school in digital wellbeing and the purposeful use of technology. As well as supporting multiple events, technical theatre, developing the technology infrastructure, and training staff, Andy presents at conferences around the world, with recent engagements including India, Thailand, China and the U.S. Andy is also a family man with two young children at HKA who is also balancing the powerful forces of technology within his own family, and along with his children, is enjoying exploring the amazing virtual environments offered through gaming.

Learner Support Director

John Shanahan

As a qualified educational and developmental psychologist, as well as a special education teacher, John believes in the importance of celebrating the uniqueness of every individual. Originally from the United Kingdom, John has spent most of his life living in Hong Kong and for the past 12 years has worked in private practice, providing psychological and educational support to families and international schools here and in the region. John consults and leads professional development around inclusion, socio-emotional resiliency and learning, and learning enhancement. He is also passionate about his work with non-profit organisations, and has served on the executive committee of the Dyslexia Association of Hong Kong and Psychotherapy Society of Hong Kong. John is currently an advisor to Kids4Kids, a local charity internationally recognized for encouraging international school students to engage with at risk communities in Hong Kong and also sits on the Safety Committee of Outward Bound Hong Kong as their Psychologist. John is also an HKA parent, and has children in Kindergarten and Pre-K.

Research, Development and Communications Director

Jennifer Swinehart

As an advocate for nurturing diverse and inclusive communities, Jennifer believes that all learners should be empowered to pursue their passions as inquirers, collaborators and innovators. Whenever she is working with a group of learners, Jennifer seeks to create joyful learning environments that stimulate self-advocacy and agency. In addition to working within her own school community to construct these types of authentic learning experiences for both children and adults, Jennifer is a trainer at the Principals’ Training Center, is in the process of becoming an Adaptive Schools Agency Trainer and regularly presents at educational conferences in the Asia-Pacific region. Jennifer’s love of literacy and communication led her to study Latin as her undergraduate major, and she is certified to teach both Secondary English/Language Arts and Humanities; her doctoral research explores secondary school student experiences through the lenses of culture, society and individual. In her free time, Jennifer is a keen nonfiction reader, Arsenal supporter and marathon runner.

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