on Friday, August 15, 2014
Dear Parents and Students,

Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year.

I am looking forward to seeing our returning students and their families and welcoming those of you who are new to AISB in the coming week.

I had a lovely vacation, enjoying two weeks of sunshine, sea and the delicious food of the Mediterranean in Greece and Turkey. I then headed home to see my family in Melbourne, Australia where it was the depths of winter. It was 5 degrees when I left to come back to Mali. Needless to say, I am very happy to be back!

In our absence, the support staff has been busy with maintenance work and cleaning to help prepare the school for the coming year – thank-you to all of them for their hard work.

I hope the following information will be helpful as we all prepare for the year ahead. I look forward to seeing students back at school on Tuesday 19th August.

We had very few teachers leave at the end of last school year so we have just a few new teachers this year. Several of them have already been working at the school in some capacity so you will see some familiar faces below. I am sure you will join me in welcoming them to the AISB community.

Christina Arn

Christina Arn was born in Switzerland and spent her first five years in the United States. She grew up in a musical family and learned to play the violoncello amongst other instruments. She studied Design at Zurich University of the Arts, Sound Design at Berlin University of the Arts and Teaching at Bern University of Teacher Education. She has been working as an artist and musician in Europe and the US, creating audio plays, sound installations and music compositions for theater, art exhibitions and the radio, for which she also has been traveling to Mali to record the rhythms of work and music. The last five years she started giving music workshops to children at theater institutions and public schools. She loves to travel, to invent new instruments and discover music from around the world. She will be the music teacher.

Tikva Chofi

Tikva Chofi is the ESOL teacher this year and will also serve as the 11th grade advisor. She is originally from Chicago where she taught for 6 years.  She and her husband moved to Mali in December 2013. Last school year, Tikva enjoyed teaching ESOL at AISB to support staff and also in AISB’s After School Program for outside students. She fell in love with the school community and is excited to be back as a full time staff.  Some of the other things she enjoys about living in Mali are eating Tigadegue, learning French, and dressing for hot weather all year round.

Kadiatou (Dija) Kounta

Kadiatou graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and Child Development. I enjoy teaching children and watch them grow.  Kadiatou is a mother of three. She enjoys cooking and traveling and having new adventures. Kadiatou lived in the US for 15 years and she has 7 years experience working with and teaching diverse groups of children. She is excited to teach Prek-2 and after school English program at AISB.

Carrie Navin  

Carrie Navin is originally from Princeton, New Jersey. She studied International Relations with a focus in Africa and Development at American University before joining the United States Peace Corps and serving in Zambia. After that, Carrie pursued her Masters in Elementary Education at The College of New Jersey. She then taught second grade at Union School Haiti for two years. In her spare time, Carrie likes to read, sew, and play tennis. She hopes to become familiar with Bamako and improve her bike riding skills. She will be teaching the 1st and 2nd grade at AISB.

Mela O’Brien

Mela O’Brien has been teaching for 17 years, first in Alaska then in South Korea and for the last 4 years for AISB at the Sadiola School. She has taught all levels from Kg to 8th grade and enjoys integrating subjects and hands on learning. When not teaching she enjoys creative pursuits such as fabric arts, dance, music and making things for her granddaughter. She also enjoys traveling curling up with a good book. Alaska is her home base when she is in the US. She is looking forward to joining the AISB community this school year teaching kindergarten.

Alexis Schultz 

Alexis Schultz was born in Georgia and moved to Indonesia at 18 months. Since that time she has lived in Indonesia, Malaysia, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, and the USA. After graduating from Emmanuel College with a degree in exercise science, Alexis got a job as a physical therapist technician where she has been working until the present time. Upon joining the staff at AISB, Alexis will be teaching PE and coaching a variety of sports. In her spare time Alexis enjoys working out, playing sports, hiking, and hanging out with family and friends.

Cecilia Soares

CecĂ­lia is Portuguese. From 2001 until 2013 she worked at the Dutch embassy in Lisbon, taking care of finances. There, she met her husband John Smit who also worked at the embassy. She is the mother of 7 years old Beatriz, in 2nd grade.
Cecilia loves animals, she has 2 dogs that came with her and family to Bamako and, after the first months, she now feels really comfortable in Bamako. 
This year she is working hard to make the beginning of the school year go smoothly for everyone.

Jenise Thompson 

Jenise Thompson has been a lover of theater since a young age. She has acted in productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Carousel, Grease, and (her personal favorite) The Crucible. Last December, she was featured as one of the evil stepsisters in Citronella: A Cinderella Story here at AISB.

Jenise also wrote and directed In A Good Book, featuring scenes from five well-known books and a cast of AISB students, AISB faculty, and other adults from the Bamako English-speaking community. She is very excited to teach drama to the students at AISB this coming school year and hopes everyone will enjoy the performances to come.

Orientation for New Students and Their Families
Orientation sessions for new students will be held on Monday 18th August to help new students feel ready for their first day of school. During these sessions I will share some general information, introduce teachers and students will have a chance to visit their classroom and meet their teachers. 
School supplies and lunch tickets will be available for sale at this time. Help your child settle in by making sure they have all the required school supplies for their first day of school.

All new families are welcome to attend. The times are as follows:
Monday 18th August:
  • PreK – Grade 5: 2:00 – 3:00p.m.
  • Grade 6 –Grade 12: 3:00 - 4:00p.m.
Information packets to help you learn about the school, our expectations and routines are available to be collected from school any time this week or next Monday.
Please see the list on the home page of the website or attached here.

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