Lorne Brandt, Baishan AWS Program Director, began his education career in 2000 after graduating with a teaching certificate from Winthrop University. His first eight years were spent teaching Advanced Placement visual arts and coaching boys varsity soccer for a large public school near Charlotte, North Carolina. During these years he became chair of the Fine Arts department.
In 2009, Mr. Brandt became certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and then earned a master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction in 2012. Seeking international teaching opportunities, he joined an international school in Qingdao, China, to establish the International General Certificate of Secondary Education Arts program and implement the school’s new information system.
Mr. Brandt returned to the U.S. in 2017 and married his wife, whom he met in Qingdao. He worked at a reputable school system in the fastest growing county in America. He returned to China in 2017 to establish a high school art program at an international school in Chengdu and was named Head of Faculty for the Expressive Arts and P.E., and chaired the Standards Committee.
Lorne and his wife are residents of the beloved city of Qingdao, China, where they are close to family and intend to stay. They both enjoy exercising, hiking, and traveling. Mr. Brandt is a practicing artist, producing oil paintings and pastel drawings that often illustrate traditional Chinese architecture. He is passionate about international education and continues to teach International Baccalaureate Diploma Program students.
Associate Head of Annie Wright Schools, Tacoma, USA
Susan joined Annie Wright Schools in 1990 as an English teacher and later College Counselor and Director of Upper School. After earning English and education degrees from the University of Puget Sound and Lewis and Clark College, Susan was a teacher and administrator at Oregon Episcopal School in Portland, OR. In addition to her leadership duties, Susan teaches an Upper School English class, enduring her passion for students, English and teaching.
Director of International Advancement
Annie Wright Schools, Tacoma, USA
Rex joined Annie Wright Schools in 2008, although his association with the school as a parent, trustee and Board Chair dates back almost 25 years. Rex's first career was in independent education as a history teacher, dorm parent and coach at Shattuck St. Mary's School. He followed that with almost thirty years in multiple leadership positions at State Farm Insurance Company.
Principal Assistant, Student Life, Inter-school coordinator
Claire Wen joined Qingdao Baishan School in the spring of 2019, right before Baishan AWS launched in Qingdao, China. As an American Certified Public Accountant, Claire was majored in accounting and obtained a Master Degree in University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2012, Claire moved to Atlanta, Georgia and worked as an auditor adapting at account management, internal auditing, financial reporting, budget forecasting and analysis in both private and public sectors.
Claire’s education career began with Baishan AWS. As the program coordinator, she actively participated in student recruitment, marketing promotion, parent communication, student management, daily administration, etc. She is also responsible for the coordination between Baishan AWS and Baishan School.
English Teacher & Department Head
Gaukhar Shakirova earned her Master's of Arts in English Language Teaching from the University of Sussex. She worked for the Nazarbayev Intellectual School in Nur-Sultan for 5 years as a tutor, IB MYP Language Acquisition teacher, IB DP English B, and Theory of Knowledge teacher, and as the Coordinator of Creativity, Activity, Service component. She also has experience working for the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan as the English Language Coordinator. Gaukhar enjoys baking, planting house plants, and spending time with her cat and dog. She also has a passion for traveling and exploring new places and cultures.
Alzhan Achilov has experience in the IB Diploma Program and in the IB Middle Years Program. In 2017, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology degree from Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan. From 2018 to 2021, he worked at Nazarbayev Intellectual School in Nur-Sultan as an Anthropology teacher, Extended Essay Coordinator, Social Studies teacher and Theory of Knowledge teacher. Alzhan values curiosity and openness in his students the most. In his free time, Alzhan enjoys cooking and hiking. He has a dog named Aki and a cat named Misha.
JiaJia’s love for Chemistry kept her studying at university for 7 years. After earning a Bachelor degree in Applied Chemistry, she continued to achieve her Masters in Organic Chemistry.
Jiajia has been teaching Chemistry for eight years, including six years at international school and two at Chinese traditional school. She is experienced with IB DP Chemistry, AP Chemistry and Chinese Chemistry. In addition to teaching AP Chemistry for Baishan AWS, JiaJia also teaches IBDP Chemistry at Qingdao Amerasia International School.
She enjoys cooking, traveling, and reading in her spare time.
English Language Teacher and Executive Administrative Assistant
Iris graduated from Shandong Normal University in 2006. She has since been engaged in English Language teaching and administrative work. Iris has taught many English courses, including English Literature, SAT, TOEFL, ESL. Iris has been teaching for more than 15 years and during her working, she has received many positive evaluations for her responsibility and proficiency. Besides, she is good at communicating with students in accordance of their aptitude.
Chinese Language and Culture Teacher
Emilia graduated from Beijing Language and Culture University with a Master of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (MTCSOL). Since 2008, Emilia has taught with different international schools in Beijing and Qingdao, with over 10 years teaching experience, including AP Chinese, IB Language and Junior high school Chinese curriculum. As the leader of Chinese group, Emilia excels at integrating multi-cultural and human history disciplines with management and curriculum development experience. She has earned a high school Chinese teacher qualification certificate as well as the Chinese international teacher qualification certificate. She also keeps current with training.
As an experienced Advisor, Emilia is also familiar with helping young adults with growing needs. She enjoys teaching and is happy to be part of the continuous improvement and educational transcendence.
In her spare time, Emilia enjoys reading, traveling and sports. The world is a kaleidoscope to her. She explores beautiful scenery and discovering interesting different customs and cultures, constantly seeking to be a global citizen with an international vision.
Music & Drama Teacher
Upon graduation, Miss Deborah worked in a music studio as a production assistant and taught music in a music academy for three years. She has produced albums for various budding artists, and composed music for a few TV series, in Malaysia.
Miss Deborah switched to full time teaching when she found her passion was in teaching music and not producing music. In 2013, she started teaching in international schools in Malaysia. In 2017, she travelled to Tunisia to teach in British International School of Tunis. She is also a singer songwriter in Malaysia. She has traveled to different parts of Malaysia sharing her songwriting stories. Some of her students have followed in her footsteps and have become well known singer songwriters in Malaysia.
Andy Xu earned his Master’s degree from Renmin University of China, TEM8, and a Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT) from Cambridge University. Andy makes use of professional background by integrating big data into TOEFL reading and teaching, analyzing and utilizing massive data of students’ problem-solving, and by transforming it into the core power for students’ learning.
Mila graduated from Shanghai University of International Business and Economics with a Master’s degree. She has taught students from primary school to senior high school. Since she has been engaged in teaching, she has been trying to teach students in accordance of their aptitude and promote their interest in English. Mila hopes students can broaden their horizons through English as a language bridge, and view issues from different perspectives to better themselves.
Curriculum Facilitator & Administrative Assistant
Kristine Qiu studied in France for six years pursuing her bachelors and master degree in Lyon 3 Jean Moulin University, majoring in Applied Linguistics and Business Management. Kristine’s experiences include working in the French Embassy in China - Beijing in 2018 with responsibilities of checking student online Visa application documents and helping Chinese students pass the Visa interview. Additionally, Kristine has experience as a marketing assistant for a French E-commerce company in Paris during 2020.
Kristin has always been passionate about languages, specifically French and English. She loves dancing, hiking, and doing yoga in her spare time.