Educational Leadership Team

Chris Akin - Head of School

Chris Akin is from Guelph, Ontario in Canada. He earned his two Bachelor degrees majoring in Physical and Health Education and History/English from Queen’s University, Canada. Chris gained his Master of International Overseas Education from The College of New Jersey, USA. He also has the Principal Certification and the Principal’s Training Center Certificate of International School Leadership.

Chris is an experienced school leader who has dedicated his entire career to International education. He has led schools across the globe, from Peru and Paraguay in South America to Switzerland and Indonesia over the last 20+ years in positions from Athletics Director to Head of School. Immediately prior to joining BCIS, Chris worked as the High School Principal of the American School of Lima – Peru.

Chris has a thorough appreciation and understanding of the power of an International school education, and he has been trained in each of the IB programs: Diploma (DP), Middle Years Program (MYP) and Primary Years Program (PYP.) Chris is a former DP Coordinator, has taught the MYP and most importantly, has learned a great deal as a PYP dad! Chris is also a lifelong learner, high energy, people-orientated and outgoing leader and he is delighted to be part of such a warm, inviting learning community.

Chris is joined here in Beijing with his wife, Sandra, a professional chef, and his two children, Mathias and Tamara, who are busy learning and growing at BCIS as well..

Julie Lawton - Elementary School Principal, Deputy Head of School

Julie is originally from Yorkshire, in the North of England. She gained her BA in German, Spanish and Business Studies in 1988 in the UK. She then went on to study for her Post Graduate Certificate of Education (Primary) and her TEFL/TESOL Diploma.

Julie's first teaching position was for 2 years as a Grade 2 homeroom teacher in a small school in her hometown. She then chose to head overseas and worked as a Grade 3 homeroom teacher for 2 years in Kuwait. Julie moved to Beijing and joined an international school in 1996 where she held a variety of positions including G3, G4 and G5 homeroom teacher, G1-6 ESOL teacher, Primary Years Programme (PYP) Coordinator, Assistant Principal and Lower School Principal.

Julie was delighted to join BCIS as the founding Elementary Principal in August 2005 and is proud of the achievements of the school to date.

Julie has worked closely with the International Baccalaureate for many years, has benefited from a variety of professional development opportunities and is a life-long learner.

Julie’s has three children, Jack, Finn and Molly. Jack graduated from BCIS in 2016 and Finn and Molly currently study at BCIS.

Colleen Drisner - Secondary School Principal

Colleen hails from Canada and holds a Master’s degree from Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Colleen also has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo with a joint honors degree in Applied Business Studies and English Literature as well as a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto, Canada.

Colleen first came to China in 1994 where she trained teachers at the Hainan Institute of Education. In addition to a career in Education, Colleen has served as a Director for a non-profit organization and been involved in numerous business development projects in Southeast Asia.

Colleen joined the BCIS team in 2011 as a teacher of Business Management and English Literature. She then worked as the DP Coordinator for two years before becoming Secondary School Principal.

Alan Cox - Early Childhood Center Principal

Alan is originally from Powell, Ohio in the Great Lakes section United States of America. Having earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Elementary Education from The Ohio State University, Alan spent three years honing his teaching skills in southern Maryland from 1997 to 2000.

From teaching in America, he then journeyed to Berlin, Germany where he taught at the John F. Kennedy Schule, a bilingual school in the German public school system, for the next two years. In 2002 Mr. Cox joined an IBPYP international school here in Beijing teaching Grades 5 and 6. It is here that he first became an IBPYP Coordinator and helped to facilitate the school’s 3-year IBPYP self-study report and evaluation. In 2005 Mr. Cox qualified to be trained as an IBPYP workshop leader for the Asia Pacific region and began to conduct IB workshops and school evaluations in the region.

Alan was excited to join BCIS in 2006 as IBPYP Coordinator. Alan is currently the Early Childhood Center Principal and serves as a member of the Educational Leadership Team.

Allen Lambert - Director of Technology

Allen received his Bachelor of Science in Management and Communication from Corbon University in Salem, Oregon and pursued a career in business before going into education. He served as director of two Non-Profit Community Organizations. While working as an assistant English teacher in the French university system, he was inspired to return to school to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching from Southern Oregon University and then later a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from Arizona State University.

Allen has worked in schools both in Oregon and Arizona as well as abroad. In his teaching career, he has distinguished himself as an intervention specialist focusing on language acquisition, mathematical fluency, and gifted programs. He has served in leadership roles such as head of department and climate consultant to the superintendent. He believes in building leadership capacity in students and staff and recognizes that the culture of a community should be purposefully developed in order to achieve our mission. Before coming to China, he taught in a Middle Years Program in Beirut, Lebanon.

Allen joined the BCIS team in 2012 as an English Language Support and MYP teacher and from 2013-2016, served as Secondary School Deputy Principal. He recognizes that our school sets high standards for our students while providing a caring and supportive environment. He hopes that he will be able to learn from our community as he supports them in his new role. He loves making a difference by helping students to achieve success in their personal pursuits and academic careers. In August 2016, he began to serve in his current role as Director of Technology.

Karen Kang - Director of Operations

Sam Savou - Director of Communications

Sam has been a parent and a member of the BCIS community since 2008, when he moved to China as a diplomat with his family. He joined the BCIS team in June 2015 as Director of Communications.

Sam is a Fiji native with over 20 years international marketing experience with global multinationals Nestle, Vodafone, Giesicke & Devrient and as a diplomat focusing on economic development and cooperation between China and the Pacific Island countries.

Sam holds an MBA from the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and a Diploma in Project Management from the University of New England in Australia. He also has interests in Productivity & Innovation and Value Chains & Connectivity.

He is a former Director and Trustee of the Vodafone ATH Fiji Foundation, a past-President of the Rotary Club of Suva North and a former Chairman of ‘The Learning Centre’, a private self-funded Primary School in Suva, Fiji. Sam is also an active sportsman who enjoys traveling and meeting people of different cultures.

Wang Yan - BCIS Chinese Director, YERI Executive Dean

Wang Yan has been working, first as Executive Director at YueCheng Educational Innovation Center (YEIC) since August 2010, then as Executive Dean at YueCheng Education Research Institute (YERI) since June 2012 and as Chinese Director at Beijing City International School (BCIS) since January 2016.

Before she Joined YERI and BCIS, Wang Yan worked at Western Academy of Beijing (WAB) as School Affairs Director for 11 years, worked at China Office, World Bank as Administrative Officer for 7 years, worked at Ministry of Education, P.R. China as Senior Officer for 2 years.

Wang Yan received two master degrees (Med and MA), one in Educational Administration and the other one in Higher Education from Teachers College Columbia University. Before she studied in NYC USA, she studied at Guangxi Normal University locating at Guilin Guangxi.

Wang Yan is an active advocator for creatively and authentically implementing the Chinese national curriculum in an internationalized way. She promotes Differentiation (Personalized Learning), Professional Learning Community (PLC), Cognitive Coaching and other advanced educational theories and practices through conducting PD workshops for national as well as international educators here in China. She is an expert in school accreditation.

Wang Yan is one of the committee members of NCCT International School Accreditation Committee, Ministry of Education, P.R. China and also one of the members of IBO Regional Council (Asia Pacific).

Deputy Principals

Kate Mancarella - Early Childhood Center Deputy Principal, PYP Coordinator

Kate comes from Melbourne, Australia where she started her teaching career as a G1/2 teacher. She graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Primary Education, specializing in Language and Literacy. She also completed her post-graduate studies in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Kate came to BCIS in 2009 as a homeroom teacher and then became the Elementary School PYP Coordinator, helping to implement the curriculum from Nursery to Grade 5, before moving into her current role as Deputy Principal / PYP Coordinator at the Early Childhood Center. She also works for the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), where she is a workshop facilitator, a consultant for new-to-IB schools, and also evaluates established PYP schools.

Kate is currently studying her Master of Early Childhood Education and has enjoyed being able to apply her learning to the development of the Early Childhood Programme at BCIS. She is a strong believer that young children learn best through a play-based environment where a student’s voice and interests are at the center of their learning environment.

Kate lives in Beijing with her partner Kieran, who is also a teacher at BCIS. Outside of work, she loves to travel to new and interesting places.

Sally Richmond - Elementary School Deputy Principal, PYP Coordinator

Sally comes from England and gained her Bachelor of Arts in Education and English Literature at the University of Winchester. During her time there, she took part in an exchange program with the University of Wisconsin and spent some time teaching in an American Elementary School. After leaving university, she spent four years teaching at a local village primary school and gained experience teaching children between the ages of 4 and 10. However, working overseas was always something she was keen to try. So in 2001, she moved to Kuwait to work at a large international school. In 2011, she moved to Beijing with her family to work at BCIS.

This is the seventeenth year that Sally has been working overseas. She has thoroughly enjoyed the challenges she has faced when working with children for whom English is a second language, while also working with native speakers. She has completed a tutors' course entitled, "ESL in the Mainstream for the Early Learner," which allows her to train other teachers. She enjoys working with colleagues from around the world and also with children from many different nationalities. This year, she has taken on the role of Elementary School Deputy Principal and PYP Coordinator.

When not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Matthew, and children, Jacob and Annabel. She has a number of interests and enjoys reading, photography, and trying out different types of exercise. She is an active participant in the Beijing International Triathlon and has helped encourage many of her colleagues to join in on the fun too!

Stuart Mcdonald - Secondary School Deputy Principal

Stu is from New York State, but calls Chicago home. He completed his undergraduate studies in Forestry at Syracuse University and spent a short time as Smokey the Bear. Before long he discovered his calling in education, completed his Masters Degree in Secondary Science Education and taught high school science for a decade in upstate New York. Since then he has taught middle school and high school math and science in Cairo, Beirut, Chicago and Jakarta. Just before joining the BCIS family he was 8th grade team leader for five years at Jakarta Intercultural School where he helped multidisciplinary teams develop units of study based on transferable skills. He is passionate about helping young people find relevancy in school and develop well rounded and balanced lives. He is a lifelong learner and has earned a certificate in Educational Leadership from the Principal’s Training Center. He is an avid scuba diver, enjoys playing the guitar, and is a crossword puzzle enthusiast.