U.S. Curriculum Faculty

Cristina Celaya, Early Childhood U.S. Curriculum Teacher

Ms. Celaya is a native Phoenician with a passion for teaching and learning. She has a Masters in Early Childhood Education with many years experience working in local and international schools. Her overseas experiences took her to the Philippines and Brazil. She holds a Reading Specialist certificate and has worked as an English Language Learner teacher, as well as, an Outdoor Environment teacher. Ms. Celaya grew up speaking Spanish and English in a bilingual environment and values the importance of learning about different cultures and languages. 

Kari Nehlson, U.S. Curriculum Teacher

Ms. Nehlsen was born and raised in French-speaking West Africa. She has spent the last 5 years in New York City, obtaining her teaching degree and working toward her Masters degree in Special Education. She has been a camp counselor, youth mentor and most recently taught 4th grade in a small suburban town in New York.

Marlena Sypel, Lower School U.S. Curriculum Teacher

Ms. Sypel graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in English, a teaching certificate from Saint Mary's College and a Master's in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. Starting her career in Indiana, she moved to Arizona 2 years ago, working in the public system as an educator, academic coach and curriculum specialist. Marlena enjoyed a Study Abroad experience in London, where she developed a commitment to the global context of education by interning with a member of Parliament. Marlena is passionate and committed to her daughters' bilingual education and considers ISA as 'home.' She is honored and humbled to join the team and support our learning community as a member of staff, as well as a parent.

Vern Nicholas, Instructional Technology Specialist, Middle School Mentor, Grades 4-8 Computer Science Instructor

Mr. Nicholas is from Portland, Oregon. He is a certified teacher and holds a Masters degree in Education as well as a Master's in International Education Administration. He has over 10 years teaching in multiple subjects from K-12. Mr. Nicholas has teaching and overseas experience living and working in Vietnam, Mexico, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Spain. He is fluent in Spanish.

Verne Nicholas - English & Social Studies Teacher
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