Our Team


To contact a teacher, use the school email address: use first letter of the teacher’s first name followed by the last name@sdfrenchschool.org. Example: Paul Simon would be psimon@sdfrenchschool.org

Marion Addo Marion Addo
Middle School Coordinator, Coordinator of the French Program, and Middle School French Teacher - maddo@sdfrenchschool.org

Born in Lyon, Marion began studying Archeology and Classical Literature in Lyon, later continuing her studies in Athens. After receiving her Master’s in Classical Literature, she participated in a language exchange program in northern Greece. She then pursued studies in teaching French as a Foreign Language (FLE) and children’s theater. After this, she taught literature and theater, and served as the pedagogical coordinator in a French school in Istanbul, where she remained for eight years. An avid traveler and linguist, she continues to enjoy learning new languages and discovering new cultures. Thanks to her years working abroad, she speaks fluent English, Greek and Turkish. She has a passion for Japan, and has studied the language and culture of the country on her own for years. Her personal interests include gastronomy, archeology, theater, kendo, and yoga.


Sylvia Aka Sylvia Aka
Elementary School French Teacher - saka@sdfrenchschool.org

Sylvia was born and raised in Paris. As of a very young age, she developed a passion for teaching and for high-level athletics (gymnastics and judo). This passion drove her to undertake her studies in Sciences and Techniques of Physical Activities and Sports. Sylvia taught physical education and sports at the middle school level on Réunion island and in Paris. After the birth of her oldest son, she became interested more and more by younger children and decided to take her teaching credential for elementary school which she earned with high marks. She taught for 10 years in schools of diverse socio-economic and cultural profiles before settled in Arizona where she has served for four years as elementary teacher and French-as-a-foreign-language teacher at the International School of Arizona. Sylvia is always seeking out new pedagogies which allow her students to find in their learning both joy and confidence.

Mother of two boys, Sylvia devotes herself primarily to her family and loves to discover different cultures through numerous travels around the world.


Cathleen Anderson Cathleen Anderson
Elementary School English Teacher - canderson@sdfrenchschool.org

Ms Anderson is a native of Southern California, where she studied education at San Diego State University and began her career as a teacher. After traveling across Europe in 2009, she took a course to earn her certification in teaching English as a second language (TESOL). Teaching abroad for 2 years in Turkey and South Korea provided her an opportunity to teach children in different social, economic and cultural backgrounds that broadened her teaching experiences. She loves traveling and while abroad also visited such amazing places as Germany, Greece, China, Taiwan, Thailand and the Czech Republic. Ms Anderson loves using creative/artistic approaches to her curriculum, and in her spare time enjoys reading historical fiction, visiting museums, practicing yoga and playing beach volleyball!


Ariel Arsac-Ellison Ariel Arsac-Ellison
Manager of extracurricular programs and Lead Supervisor

I grew up in the Bay Area, California and attended a French-American School from Pre-K through 8th grade. It was at this international school that I grew my love and appreciation for academics. I had the privilege of working with some amazing, passionate teachers, which inspired me to pursue my own career in education. While working on my B.A. in English at San José State University, I worked at the same international school where I spent my formative years. Upon graduating, I started teaching French and Spanish in middle school until I moved down to San Diego. I was thrilled to find another French-American school to call home, and it’s been pleasure working here ever since.


Emilie Ballivy Emilie Ballivy
Preschool French Teacher - eballivy@sdfrenchschool.org

Originally from Lyon, Emilie holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Foreign Languages and International Management from the University of Lyon III. She worked for 4 years in the software industry in Ireland before deciding to dedicate herself to her passion: education. After earning a Montessori credential from St. Nicholas Montessori College in Dublin, Emilie taught three- to six-year-olds in Montessori schools for two years in Ireland and three years in France. Thanks to this education and work experience, Emilie draws on a scientific teaching methodology based on children’s natural psychological and physiological development. Emilie has worked as a substitute teacher at SDFAS from PK0 through 5th grade, and as an assistant in PK2. Her children, Julie and Jack, are students at SDFAS. Emilie loves traveling, hiking, wide open spaces, and the magnificent beaches of the West Coast. She earned her 12 Early Childhood Education units at San Diego Mirmar College and French Pre-School and diploma with Mission Laïque Française and University of Caen (France).


Murielle Brimaldi-Jensen Murielle Brimaldi-Jensen
Elementary School French Teacher - mbrimaldi@sdfrenchschool.org

Murielle is French-American and has been teaching pre-elementary and kindergarten for the past 14 years. She worked as an activity coordinator for children's summer programs in Italy, Switzerland, Greece, The Bahamas and Mexico. She then moved to the United States and began her teaching career at the Portland French School in Oregon. She moved on to teach at L'Ecole Française du Maine where she was a teacher and the curriculum coordinator for the pre-elementary and elementary grades. During her tenure in Maine, she taught CP and CE1 and was the study hall tutor for elementary grades. With her excellent experience as a first grade teacher and as a curriculum coordinator, Murielle is a well-rounded addition to the elementary school faculty.


Francis Carlier Francis Carlier
Director of Elementary School & Elementary School French History Teacher - fcarlier@sdfrenchschool.org

Originally from Bayonne (Pyrénées Atlantiques), Mr. Carlier studied at the Schools of Fine Arts in Pau and Lyon before his military service. He then enrolled at the University of Toulouse Le Mirail where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Art History. After teaching art in middle school for a year, he completed his Masters of Education at the Academy of Versailles. He taught at the French school for two years in Portland, Oregon and then moved to the east coast to join the faculty of L'Ecole Française du Maine, where he worked for three years before joining SDFAS. Since 2011, Francis has been the director of the Lower School, and he also continues teaching, as he loves to keep in touch with the students. In San Diego, he discovered a new passion: surfing.


Suneeta Cohen Suneeta Cohen
American Mathematics Teacher - scohen@sdfrenchschool.org

Suneeta was raised in New Jersey. She studied biology and English at Drew University and began teaching shortly thereafter. For two years, Suneeta taught at an inner city high school in New Jersey, where she developed additional learning and enrichment opportunities for students. Upon moving to San Diego in 2005, she started teaching at a private K-8 school. For thirteen years, Suneeta taught math, science, vocabulary and health to junior high students, and she helped facilitate projects and applications for the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. Passionate about yoga, Suneeta is a certified yoga instructor. She also enjoys hiking, 80's music and spending time with her husband, daughter and cats.


Kelly Daniel Kelly Daniel
Kindergarten English Teacher - kdaniel@sdfrenchschool.org

Miss. Kelly is originally from the Washington, D.C. area but has called Southern California home for almost 5 years. Prior to moving to California, she attended George Mason University and in 2011 earned her Master’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in U.S. History. Concurrent with her studies, she has taught in a variety of roles including lead teacher in pre-k, kindergarten, and second grade, as well as had experience as an assistant teacher, camp counselor, and tutor. 2019 she began as a Kindergarten English teacher with SDFAS and looks forward to immersing herself in the French language and culture that exists in the school community. Kelly believes in developing the whole child through engaging and meaningful lessons in addition to integrating social-emotional skills into the English/Language Arts curriculum. She also strongly believes in cross-curricular learning experiences that highlight student diversity and learning styles by integrating a variety of activities that spark student curiosity. When not in the classroom she enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and Mini-Dachshund exploring San Diego, discovering new recipes to cook at home, and hand-lettering for her Etsy shop.


Fabienne Debrand Fabienne Debrand
Elementary School French Teacher - fdebrand@sdfrenchschool.org

Originally from Jura in France, Fabienne holds a doctorate in pharmacy from Université of Besançon. While traveling around the world with her family, she has accumulated multiple teaching experiences starting at Lycée Francais de Bangkok, then as English tutor in mainland China for a private company and more recently with the French International School of Philadelphia (EFIP). She has also taught music to private students for several years. Mother of two children who both attended SDFAS, she enjoys traveling, discovering new cultures, hiking and cooking.


Gaëlle Deriot Gaëlle Deriot
Preschool French Teacher - gderiot@sdfrenchschool.org

Gaëlle Deriot was born and raised in the western part of Paris. She earned her high school diploma at the Lycée Français de Baden Baden in Germany and her teaching credential and elementary school teaching diploma at the University of Saint-German-en-Laye in 1998. She then taught in preschool in the Yvelines suburb of Paris until her departure for the United States. In 2002, with her three children, she followed her husband to California, landing first in Silicon Valley and then in San Diego. In 2009 she joined the teaching team at SDFAS to work as a substitute teacher for short and long-term assignments. Her children now grown up, it is with pleasure that she has decided for the 2018-19 school year to teach full time in PK0. Outside of school, with a friend who is also a teacher, Gaëlle develops pedagogical material designed for students in preschool, marketed under the brand name “dito”. She is also happy to be able to participate in a program helping homeless individuals in Del Mar.


Pauline Dubeaux Pauline Dubeaux
Preschool French Teacher - pdubeaux@sdfrenchschool.org

Pauline was born and raised in Paris. It is also where she obtained her bachelor's degree in Spanish literature and civilization. After earning a master of education she taught three years in Paris before leaving for San Diego in 2017 She has been teaching 2nd grade and Spanish before joining the preschool at SDFAS this year. Since she arrived in San Diego she has had two babies and she loves spending time with her family and walking by the beach.


Julie Ducloux Julie Ducloux
Middle School French Science Teacher- jducloux@sdfrenchschool.org

Once graduated from high school, she studied for one year in South Carolina to learn English. She then joined a European science preparatory class in Nancy and finally studied physics and chemistry to become a teacher. She began teaching in high school, then in agricultural high school and finished in a training center where she teaches mathematics and applied physics until BTS. She then moved to Colombia, and started to work at the French high school of Pereira where she will be for almost 10 years, science teacher. With her biology colleague, she sets up scientific trilingual educational projects (French English and Spanish), organizes ecological outings and exchanges with local schools. She attends classes and training in cooperative education She likes to include daily life, art and ecology in her teachings always seeking to stir up the curiosity of her students. She has just finished a DU in photography at the University of Pereira Colombia and was able to exhibit on several occasions. Mom of a little girl, she likes to share with her his passion for art and museums. Together, they enjoy meeting people, traveling, drawing, walking in nature and going on horse trails.


Caroline Dumas Caroline Dumas
Elementary School French Teacher - cdumas@sdfrenchschool.org

Caroline was born in and worked in the Paris region. After studying English at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, she obtained her teaching degree at l’IUFM d’Etiolles. Her teaching career began in France, in Essonne, where she worked for four years in the elementary grades, from 1st to 5th. Her desire to pursue her career abroad brought her to the U.S., first to the Lycée Français de Los Angeles where she taught for three years, and then to the Dominican Republic, at the Lycée Français de Saint Domingue. In the classroom, she places a high level of importance on creating a pleasant working environment: her wish is for her students to feel comfortable and safe, to blossom, and to feel like they are part of a second family. Caroline enjoys sports, especially hiking, jogging, and badminton. She also enjoys creative activities, such as making jewelry and decorative objects.


Andrew Mitchell Ericson Andrew Mitchell Ericson
Middle School English Science Teacher - aericson@sdfrenchschool.org

Born in Colorado and having completed his University studies in Pennsylvania, Andrew Mitchell Ericson is a professional archaeologist and science teacher with over fifteen years of practice in research and field capacities in academic, museum, corporate, and non-profit environments.  He has completed over 35 major archaeological projects throughout the United States and is specifically experienced in the excavation of stratigraphically complex sites.  Mr. Ericson has developed curriculum and taught both general and specialized science courses at the High School level. In addition to his archaeological and teaching experience, Mr. Ericson has consulted on issues of culture for public policy and non-profit purposes.  In this capacity he has held the positions of Executive Director for I-WAKE Human Rights; elected Vice-President and President of the Colorado State Wraparound Coalition; Co-Chair of the Juvenile Justice League of Colorado; and Political Campaign Manager for races for the Colorado State House of Representatives and Denver City Council. Mr. Ericson believes that education is a public service and that quality scientific discovery is predicated upon rigorous standards applied consistently.  It is this philosophy that guides his work at the San Diego French-American School.


Violaine Estève Violaine Estève
Elementary School French Teacher - vesteve@sdfrenchschool.org

Born in the town of Gap in the French department of the Hautes-Alpes, Violaine studied history at the university of liberal arts of Aix-en-Provence before obtaining her teaching credential from the same university. In parallel to her studies, she was engaged for a long time in the practice of athletic gymnastics and coached many groups of young gymnasts. Her career as an elementary school teacher began in Marseille after which Violaine seized the chance to teach in the United States, in the bilingual school of Cambridge in Boston. Her two children were born in Massachusetts. Her husband’s profession brought the family back to France to the region of Bordeaux and then Grenoble, from where the idea to again live abroad took root. Violaine especially likes to travel and discover new horizons but also enjoys hiking, volleyball, skiing with her children, wandering around artisanal shops and reading.


Tom Faure Tom Faure
MS Director and English Program Curriculum Coordinator K-8 - tfaure@sdfrenchschool.org

Raised in a French-American family in New York—by way of Paris, Tokyo, and London—Tom Faure has international education in his blood. His bilingual education prepared him well for his Bachelor’s degree studies at Columbia University, after which he embarked on his journey as an educator at the French-American School of New York. At FASNY, Tom developed his teaching practice in English and English as a Second Language in both Middle and High School. He also served as faculty advisor to the student newspaper and to the LGBTQIA+ affinity group while coaching several athletic teams. While immersing himself in the life of his school, Tom pursued an MFA in Fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts, cementing his expertise in literary craft and instruction. In 2015, Tom joined FASNY’s administrative team, continuing to teach while managing the school’s schedules and academic reporting. In 2018, Tom took on the role of High School Dean of Students, supporting the Assistant Head of School with managing the school’s French and International Bac programs. Tom was recruited as SDFAS’ next Head of Middle School in the fall of 2020, bringing with him the same core values of our school—open-mindedness, empathy, drive, imagination, and integrity.


Anne Ferton Anne Ferton
Kindergarten French Teacher - aferton@sdfrenchschool.org

Anne is French, born in northern France and raised in the Alps. In 1994 she completed her Master of Science degree in Management at the Lyon School of Management (EM Lyon), with an emphasis on Marketing and Communication. For the next 18 years she worked in leadership roles at several international companies, before accompanying her husband to San Diego where he was transferred for professional reasons. It was at this point that she decided to put her passion for working with and serving children into action, shifting her career in the direction of education. She earned her Teaching Certificate in Early Childhood Education (ECE) at San Diego’s Miramar College, followed by a French elementary teaching diploma with the La Mission Laïque Française and the University of Caen. She began working at SDFAS as a substitute teacher in the Preschool and Elementary School, and then became a PK2 Assistant. With her varied work experience as a strength informing her approach, Anne emphasizes cross-disciplinary teaching with a sense of responsibility for the environment and for humankind, and respects the individuality of each child, preparing her students to become stewards of the earth and citizens of the world. Mother to three young children, Anne is passionate and engaged. Sports have always been a part of her life, highlighted by numerous volleyball and snowboarding competitions. Free time is now devoted to outdoor sports, individually or with her family: surfing, paragliding, skiing, and snowboarding. Anne studied music and piano from the age of 7, and was a singer in a rock band for 10 years before coming to the U.S.


Nicolas Giot Nicolas Giot
Middle School French Mathematics Teacher - ngiot@sdfrenchschool.org

Nicolas comes from the Normandy region of France, which is where he completed his studies. After following the science track in high school, he did intensive post-secondary coursework in advanced mathematics (classes préparatoires) and continued on to the Université de Caen, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Fundamental Mathematics. After passing the French national competitive examination (CAPES) to become a teacher, he taught grades six through nine in the Paris region. He enjoys sharing his passion for mathematics by innovating in the classroom and making the subject as interactive as possible. Nicolas enjoys film and theater. He also loves to travel and participate in sports, particularly surfing.


Gladys Guesnard Gladys Guesnard
Preschool French Teacher - gguesnard@sdfrenchschool.org

Originally from Brittany, Gladys left France in 2004 after her studies. She lived 5 years in Prague and 7 years in Sweden where she taught french in elementary school and High School. She worked in preschool and learned a lot about the Scandinavian education practice . She arrived in San Diego in 2018 and she started working at SDFAS as a substitute teacher, from PK0 to 8th grade, before becoming a PK0 assistante and PK1 teacher. She has 3 children at SDFAS. She loves travelling, meeting new people and exploring cultures. She also enjoys hiking, riding and swimming.


Marie-Pier Goulet-Lyle Marie-Pier Goulet-Lyle
Mathematics Coordinator & Elementary School French Teacher - mpgoulet@sdfrenchschool.org

Marie-Pier was born in a francophone community in Quebec City, Canada, where she developed a diverse work history in education with teaching experiences across multiple disciplines, including kindergarten, elementary school, middle school and university. While completing a four-year bachelor degree in Elementary Education, Marie-Pier explored different opportunities like tutoring in Africa and teaching in disadvantaged areas of Montreal. Her passion to make a difference in education led her to pursue a Master’s Degree focusing on specific links that exist between reading skills and mathematical word problem performance. The results of her Master’s thesis led her to undertake a Ph.D. in Education. With her doctoral studies completion, Marie-Pier undertook two additional online courses to expand her knowledge in the field of learning differences, resulting in certificates related to ADHD and dyslexia in students. Marie-Pier previously worked for six years as a research assistant at the University of Quebec in Rimouski, where she also taught Mathematics Education for five years to future primary school teachers pursuing a Bachelor of Elementary Education and Special Education. Based in San Diego County with her husband since 2016, Marie-Pier enjoys hiking and running under the California sunshine, as well as trying new restaurants/foods. She is also a soccer player and a former soccer coach.


Vesna Hunt Vesna Hunt
Preschool French Teacher - vhunt@sdfrenchschool.org

Born and raised in Serbia where she studied French to specialize in FLE (French as a Second Language), Vesna knew when she heard French for the first time as a little girl in school that it would occupy a central role in her life. At a young age, Vesna learned how to sew, and by the end of high school, she was earning her pocket money by custom making clothes while dreaming of becoming a fashion designer in Paris! Wars in her country after high school led her to a different but equally rewarding path: teaching. Working as a FLE teacher with different age groups for 14 years in Serbia, Vesna developed her passion for language education. When she arrived at SDFAS as an Assistant Teacher ten years ago, she discovered Preschool and fell in love with it. During her studies, Vesna also lived in Paris for a year as an “au pair”, an experience that enriched her life and her professional knowledge in many ways. As a young girl, she became a member of a ‘’National Traditional Dances Troupe'' and traveled around the globe, discovering different cultures and developing an appreciation for multicultural environments. In her free time Vesna enjoys reading, dancing, and cooking/baking.


Jacob Johnston Jacob Johnston
English Art Teacher - jjohnston@sdfrenchschool.org

The son of a university art professor and sculptor, Jacob has been immersed in art culture his whole life. His father's studio was his first classroom where he learned all the aspects of working metal on a large scale, from welding to operating milling machines and lathes.   He was born in Utah where he lived until he reached middle school and at which point his family relocated to Southern California.  As a 9th grade student, Jacob took his first ceramics course and knew he had found his passion.  He continued pursuing ceramics in his studies at Cal State San Bernardino.  In his free time, Jacob loves spending time with his family at the beach, traveling, playing music and searching for the best fish taco in San Diego.


Alice Kong Alice Kong
STEAM Coordinator - akong@sdfrenchschool.org

Ms. Alice holds a Master’s Degree in Education from UC San Diego, with additional certifications in Bilingual Education, Business Management, and Computer Concepts. She is trilingual in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese. A firm believer in teaching all subjects in a cross-curricular setting, Ms. Alice plans lessons that integrate art, music, math, science, history, technology, and language arts. She loves to ignite her students’ curiosity with engaging, purposeful, and hands-on projects. Ms. Alice enjoys teaching all subjects, especially science, mathematics, and technology. Her goal as an educator is to provide instruction in all the ways that her students need, whether they are spatial (visual), aural (auditory-musical), linguistic (verbal), kinesthetic (physical), logical (mathematical), and/or interpersonal (social or solitary) learners. Ms. Alice has teaching experience at elementary schools in Poway, San Diego, National City, and Oceanside. After many years of teaching in our elementary school, Ms. Alice took on the position as STEAM Coordinator. In addition to engaging students with new and emerging educational technologies, she is also determined for all students to achieve and understand digital literacy, online safety, digital responsibility, digital health and wellness, and cyberbullying prevention through Digital Citizenship classes and activities. Ms. Alice is a certified yoga teacher. She treasures alone time for reflecting and thinking, reading, gardening, paddle boarding, singing, and walking on the beach.


Sarah Leboyer Sarah Leboyer
Elementary School English Teacher - sleboyer@sdfrenchschool.org

Alexandra Lette Alexandra Lette
Preschool French Teacher - alette@sdfrenchschool.org

Alexandra worked in France as a Primary teacher and with various non-profits, tutoring and promoting reading amongst disadvantaged children, before joining SDFAS in 2007 and teaching PK1 for 3 years. She thoroughly enjoyed the team spirit and learned a great deal about bilingualism. Her first class graduated from 8th Grade in June,  2017! After her first stint at SDFAS, she left on a voyage with her husband on their sailboat Shalimar, traveling the South Pacific. During that time she experienced life at a slow pace, the strength, magnificence and richness of the sea, self-sufficiency, Polynesian culture, and the generosity of Islanders. Teaching stuck with her; she tutored along the way, collecting books and having children visit the boat and its library. She also experienced bilingualism first-hand when she had her daughter, Stella. Alexandra and her family returned to San Diego in 2016. She worked on a book and a course about French civilization at UCSD, taught Art in French at the French Montessori Preschool of San Diego, and tutored Middle and High School students. She also moved into a house where she loves to work on renovating projects and the yard. Her family is also embracing life in San Diego, visiting museums, the theater, exhibits, and, not forgetting the great outdoors, going back to rock climbing, camping and visiting National Parks.


Emily Loomis Emily Loomis
Elementary School English Teacher - eloomis@sdfrenchschool.org

A San Diego native, Emily graduated from the International Baccalaureate program at San Diego High School. She completed her undergraduate studies at San Diego State University in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Art History. Later she earned her California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and her Masters Degree in Educational Technology also at SDSU. She has taught Kindergarten, 2nd grade and 4th grade in San Diego. A highlight of her career was a semester as a peer teacher for Hofstra University's Odyssey program, traveling through 14 countries throughout Europe. She also spent a year teaching 4th grade at an American school on Ambergris Caye, Belize. One of the most gratifying experiences she has had teaching was working at a school for orphans in Nairobi, Kenya. Ms. Loomis especially enjoys teaching literature, history, and how to use technology. Her personal interests include marathon running, rowing (crew), yoga, art, and travel.


Cara Mitchell Cara Mitchell
Middle School English Teacher - cmitchell@sdfrenchschool.org

Originally from Boston, Cara earned her B.A. in Educational Studies and Africana Studies at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. After graduating, she earned her Masters in Education through the Shady Hill School’s Teacher Training Center and Lesley University, both in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cara was drawn to teaching and working with middle school students because of the period of great change and growth that characterizes this time in a young person’s life. She is passionate about helping students navigate their ever-growing sense of identity and independence. To this end, she loves to use the study of humanities as a lens through which to understand ourselves and the worlds we inhabit. Cara has also taught at The Philadelphia School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as well as the Oak Hall School in Gainesville, Florida. Cara lives in Encinitas with her husband and toddler, Wes. As a family, they love traveling, hiking, gardening, and cooking.


Anne-Sophie Nguyen Trégouët Anne-Sophie Nguyen Trégouët
Kindergarten French Teacher - anguyen@sdfrenchschool.org

Born of Lebanese-Vietnamese origin near Paris, Anne-Sophie earned her B.S. in Cell Biology and Physiology at the University of Paris North and a Master's of Education in the Academy of Livry Gargan. She taught for four years in the Paris suburbs to help children in need. With her husband, François Trégouët, they moved to the United States in 2007 to work in a French-American School in New York where they discovered the bilingual education system. Then they had the opportunity to open a bilingual school in the city of Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates which has enabled them to discover the traditions and cultures of the Middle East and to explore the desert. Anne-Sophie specializes in science and she loves singing and walks along the ocean. Through her travels in Mexico, Vietnam and Nepal, she had the opportunity to meet local families, and to better understand their traditions and living conditions. She speaks English and Spanish and enjoys traveling.


Birka Nielsen Birka Nielsen
Elementary School English Teacher  - bnielsen@sdfrenchschool.org

Birka Nielsen was born in Germany and grew up in San Diego. She received her B.A. in Education and Elementary Teaching Credential from the University of San Diego. She received her M.A. in Language Arts Curriculum Design from San Diego State University. After teaching in the Solana Beach School District, Birka joined SDFAS in 2005. Birka has two children who attend SDFAS and they enjoy visiting family in Québec, Canada during the summer. Teaching is a true passion for Birka and she loves working with children of all ages. Birka is pleased to be part of the vibrant SDFAS community as a teacher and as a parent.


Yuriko Patino Yuriko Patino
Spanish Teacher - ypatino@sdfrenchschool.org

Ms. Patino was born in Puebla, and has been in San Diego for seven years. Working at San Diego French-American School for four years in the preschool, she teaches Spanish in our middle school. Passionate about education, she continues studying for her BA in education and currently holds an AA degree in preschool teaching. She is fluent in Spanish and English and speaks some French. Married, she has a daughter and a son, and of course, she loves working with children.


Elisabeth Perdereau Elisabeth Perdereau
Elementary School French Teacher - eperdereau@sdfrenchschool.org

Ms. Perdereau was born in Paris, France the oldest of four children. She holds a degree in English from the University of La Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, and is accredited as a teacher from Pre-K to 5th grade by the IUFM d'Antony, Academy of Versailles. She also completed a Masters in French as a Second Language, University Stendhal, Grenoble. She worked mainly in North America at the French American School of San Francisco (one year), she substituted in French for private American schools in the Mainline area (Philadelphia), French International school of Philadelphia (two years) and the French International School of Vancouver in Canada (two years). Her daughter was born in the US and attends San Diego French-American School. Ms. Perdereau loves traveling, arts, reading and genealogy.


Stéphanie Pinel Robbe Stéphanie Pinel Robbe
Preschool French Teacher - srobbe@sdfrenchschool.org

Born and raised in the Occitane region of France, Stéphanie obtained her college degree in Sociology from the University of Toulouse Le Mirail before earning her teaching credential from the UFM d’Etiolles, Académie de Versailles. She began her teaching career in the Paris region in multi-level classrooms where she was able to collaborate with teachers specialized in differentiated instruction and she is constantly researching new pedagogical methods. Passionate about Italian language and culture, Stéphanie joined the teaching team of the Institut Saint Dominique in Rome, an accredited French school. She arrived in the United States after having lived in numerous European countries (Luxembourg, England and Switzerland). She has taught in different private American schools in the State of New York and in North Carolina. Stéphanie likes ethnic cuisine, loves to hike and, of course, travel.


Olivier Prud'homme Olivier Prud'homme
Middle School History and Geography French Teacher - oprudhomme@sdfrenchschool.org

Born and raised in the Versailles region of France, Olivier Prud’homme completed his studies in history and geography at the University of Paris VII – Denis Diderot where he obtained a Master’s degree in History and a second level Master’s degree in the teaching of history and geography. After having earned his CAPES (French teaching certification), he had the opportunity to live and work back and forth between France and Latin America teaching history and geography in grades 6 -12. In France, he worked in the academy districts of Lille and above all Versailles. In Latin America, he worked at the Lycée franco-salvadorien (AEFE) in El Salvador for five years and most recently at the Lycée franco-péruvien (AEFE) in Peru for four years. He has participated as well in university projects in Central America. A fluent Spanish speaker, he has published articles on the contemporary history of El Salvador and continues to conduct research on the subject. He adores running, and after having discovered the Peruvian Andes, has also learned to enjoy running in the mountains.


Catherine Rebiffé-Newnam Catherine Rebiffé-Newnam
French as a Foreign Language Teacher - cnewmam@sdfrenchschool.org

A native of Chartres, France, Catherine’s passion for the English language and teaching began well before she earned her baccalaureate degree. After studying English culture and literature for a year in the EF International School in Brighton, England, Catherine returned to France to earn her bachelor’s degree in English. She was subsequently awarded a Fulbright scholarship, which funded a year-long study of English Literature in Davidson College, North Carolina, where she met her future husband, Michael. In Tours, France, Catherine completed her Master’s Degree in teaching French as a Second Language. Next, she obtained the CAPES teaching credential and taught high school English for four years in the Académie de Versailles. In 2005, Catherine moved to San Diego to begin teaching at SDFAS, initially as a preschool teacher (PK2 and PK1). Since 2007, she has taken charge of the French as a Second Language (FLE) program and now teaches both FLE and ESL (English as a Second Language) to Elementary and Middle school students. Catherine enjoys running, Flamenco dancing, cooking, and doting on her beautiful boy, Jack.


Barbara Regan Barbara Regan
Middle School English Teacher - bregan@sdfrenchschool.org

Barbara Regan was raised in a Navy family and has lived all over the United States. At the age of 10, she was first exposed to French at Sacred Heart School in Coronado, where she fell in love with the language and continues to cherish it to this day. Ms. Regan earned a B.A. from the University of Florida, and because she is a Francophile, she studied for part of one summer at L'Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France. She earned a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from San Diego State University and an M.S. from National University. After teaching for 10 years and then spending several years raising her two sons, she was drawn back to her love of teaching by a substituting position at Bishop's and then at SDFAS. Now with some 15 years experience teaching in both elementary and middle school, she still delights in reading to and with her students, always searching for a new opportunity to expose her students to good writing. When not teaching, Ms. Regan enjoys running and swimming to stay in shape. Ms. Regan is the proud mother of two sons who graduated from The Bishop's School: Sam, who graduated from Macalester College (MN) and Tom who is attending Boston University.


Laurette Reinhardt Laurette Reinhardt
Kindergarten French Teacher - lreinhardt@sdfrenchschool.org

Laurette was born and raised in a small town in Northern France and holds a Master’s Degree in Translation from the University of Lille 3. She has worked in schools in England, Australia, France, India, and the US, which provided experience in a variety of teaching methods and environments. Before joining SDFAS, she was a founding faculty member at a new French-speaking school in Oakland, California. She has also worked as a volunteer for literacy and refugee programs. Her passion for travel and education has taken her all over the world, including backpacking across Asia. She believes that discovering new cultures is the best way to open minds and build a better and more tolerant community.


Anne Ricart Anne Ricart
Librarian - aricart@sdfrenchschool.org

Mrs. Anne Ricart came to the United States for the first time as an exchange student when she was 18, lived with an American family for a year and graduated from the high school she attended. Back in France, she majored in English with a minor in French as a Second Language (Français Langue Etrangère) from the Université de Provence and spent another year in the States, this time as a French teaching assistant in a small college. She then obtained her Professional Secondary Teaching Credentials with an emphasis on Information Science. After four years as a school librarian in France, she was hired by the Lycée Français de New York where she worked for five years. She is now married to a Californian, and perfectly at home in San Diego where she joined the SDFAS team in 2006.


Sophie Ricouard Sophie Ricouard
Director of Preschool - sricouard@sdfrenchschool.org

Born and raised in Brittany (France), Sophie received her bachelor of of Arts Degree in Foreign Languages with a majored in  English and Spanish and Economics. After she earned her Master’s of Education, she taught 3 years in France in multi-level classrooms. With her husband, she moved to NYC and taught at the Lycee Français of New York where she discovered  the power of bilingual education. This amazing first experience was a revelation for her. Teaching  and co-teaching in a bilingual environment became her passion. She continues to enrich her experiences using different pedagogical approaches, working methods and teachintechniques/practices.  Before joining the SDFAS community in 2009 as a mother and Kindergarten Teacher, she taught at Ecole Bilingue in Berkeley. After many years of teaching, Sophie is now the preschool pedagogical director . Her children, Jane and Gabriel, are students at SDFAS. During her free time she enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with her family.


Megan Ryan Megan Ryan
Elementary School English Teacher - mryan@sdfrenchschool.org

Originally from the North Bay, Megan earned her BA in History from Pepperdine University, and then moved to Seattle to earn her M.Ed. from the University of Washington in Educational Psychology for the Learning Sciences and Human Development, with an emphasis in Project Based Learning, Gifted Education, and Social Justice Education. For the past 5 years she has been teaching at a project based school for gifted students in the Bay Area. Prior to that, she tutored student athletes at the University of Washington, worked as a Research Assistant studying the relationship between morphological awareness and reading comprehension, and worked as a preschool teacher. She recently moved to San Diego with her fiancé and is very excited to be here. Megan firmly believes that quality education starts with strong, healthy relationships. She wants all her students to feel like school is a secure, reliable, and inviting place, and to leave her room feeling both confident and deeply valued for who they are. Megan also highly values international travel and international communities, and finding ways that people and cultures around the globe are connected. She has travelled to 22 countries, and some of her favorite past trips include walking pilgrimages across both Spain and Italy, and driving across Norway, beginning above the Arctic Circle.


Diesa Eléonore Seidel Diesa Eléonore Seidel
Director of Athletics and Physical Education Teacher - dseidel@sdfrenchschool.org

Diesa holds French and American nationalities. She has a French mother and an Austrian father. She has progressed through her life-experiences and initiations as a collegiate scholarship athlete, professional athlete, private school teacher, coach, and ultimately as the founding director for the accredited non-profit United Initiatives for Peace. After a distinguished athletic career at Red Hook High School (Red Hook, NY), Diesa graduated cum laude from Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY), receiving her B.A. in Psychology/Public Relations. Following a professional basketball career in France and Italy, Diesa developed a passion for teaching and became a Physical Education teacher. She taught for four years at St. Virgil's Academy in New Jersey. During that time, Diesa also worked on creating a character education through sports curriculum with Peace Dream Foundation, where she co-presented seminars to thousands of athletic clubs throughout south Asia. Diesa participated in numerous international service projects, completing over 15 programs in 13 countries with four organizations. Through her experiences, she has honed a keen interest in global issues, specifically those invoking gender equality. Diesa is bilingual in English and French and has traveled and served in more than 58 countries on five continents. Her untiring commitment to positive social change has been recognized worldwide. Today, Diesa enjoys competing in triathlons and marathons, snowboarding, surfing, hiking, cycling, indoor rock climbing, coaching basketball, and organizing service trips that bring sports and recreation to under-served populations.


Claire Selva Huerta Claire Selva Huerta
Coordinator of the Art Spectacle & Elementary School French Teacher - cselva@sdfrenchschool.org

Originally from the Southeast of France (Ardèche), Mrs. Selva Huerta received in 1995 the female scientific achievement award (Rhône-Alpes region). After two years of intensive math prep courses (Math sup, Math spé) in Grenoble, she entered the ENESAD (Dijon) and graduated in 2002 with an M.S. in engineering, with a specialization in agriculture. After spending four years working in the development of agriculture, she moved to California to be with her husband. In November 2006, Mrs. Selva Huerta joined San Diego French-American School as a preschool assistant and a substitute math teacher from 2nd to 8th grade. In the meantime, she earned her certificate in early childhood education (ECE) from San Diego City College, as well as her French elementary school teacher certification. Passionate about music, Claire started playing the flute at the age of seven. Since September 2007, Claire has been teaching in PK classes and sharing her passion for music by directing the school choir. She is trilingual in French, English and Spanish and loves traveling, ceramics, South-American dances, and outdoor sports (climbing, skiing, and hiking).


Isabelle Senecal Isabelle Senecal
Preschool French Teacher - isenecal@sdfrenchschool.org

Isabelle was born in Dijon and raised in a franco-portuguese bicultural setting that nurtured her love for travel, languages and cultures. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Translation in Portugal, she arrives in California in 2006 where she starts working in a preschool with a French immersion program. Since then she has loved watching children grow while helping them know their full potential. Isabelle starts working at SDFAS in 2017 as a PK1 assistant and then earns a French elementary teaching diploma with La Mission Laïque and the University of Caen. With two sons attending SDFAS, Isabelle loves sports, nature and music.


Cindy Sierra Cindy Sierra
Preschool French Teacher - csierra@sdfrenchschool.org

Born and raised in France, Cindy holds a bachelor’s degree in Intercultural Communication and Translation from the Institute of Intercultural Management and Communication in Paris. Due to these studies, she is trilingual in English and Spanish as well. She has lived in Spain and Canada where she worked as a translator and a project coordinator. However, Cindy always was determined to follow the American dream of living in the United States and decided to settle in San Francisco in 2007. It was during this stay that she discovered her love and passion for teaching young children and changed her career path by earning an Early Childhood Teacher Associate of Science Degree and Site Supervisor permit from Saddleback College. For the past 8 years, she has been working in American and French preschools as well as advancing her education via different types of philosophy of education courses and observations to continue to develop her teaching skills. She sees the education field as a continuous and lifelong learning process in which teachers can always improve, so she is completing her master’s degree of Arts in Education at Alliant International University in San Diego.

Cindy has two children, who are also students at SDFAS and love their school and community. She is raising them to become trilingual as well as she strongly believes in the benefits of learning various languages. During her free time, she enjoys traveling and visiting new places, listening to music, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.


Erin Stoller Erin Stoller
SEL Program Coordinator and High School Placement Counselor - estoller@sdfrenchschool.org

Erin joins SDFAS after 20 years at the French-American School in San Francisco, as Middle School Coordinator and High School Dean of Students. Born and raised in California, she attended Mills College, spent her junior year abroad in Aix-en-Provence, graduated with a double major in French (with Honors) and International Economics, and was awarded a Fulbright Assistantship to teach English in elementary schools in Arles, France. Her love for the French language and culture and deep belief in the benefits of a bilingual education have informed her career path. Her desire to bring more mindfulness, dialog, intuition, empathy, and compassion to the educational setting led her toward an M.Ed in Integrative Learning, completed in 2013 with Endicott College. For pleasure, Erin enjoys reading in English and French, hiking, yoga, swing, dancing, and horseback riding.


Natalie Thorpe Natalie Thorpe
Preschool English Teacher - nthorpe@sdfrenchschool.org

Natalie Thorpe was born and raised in Kent, 'The Garden of England' located just south of London in the United Kingdom. She completed her undergraduate B.A in Education Studies followed by her Post Graduate Certificate in Education at the University of Roehampton and graduated in 2014 with a Qualified Teacher Status. After several years teaching at a Primary School in the English countryside Natalie emigrated from the UK to the USA to finally begin a life with her American husband. Upon arriving in the United States, Natalie quickly gained a position at the Haddonfield Friends School in New Jersey as a Pre-Kindergarten Co-Teacher. Within a few months she was promoted to Kindergarten teacher and opened up her own classroom alongside the existing Kindergarten teacher. Natalie loves to travel. She recently drove across America with her husband and golden retriever from Philadelphia to San Diego. Natalie looks forward to discovering her new home.


Sylvie Toudic Sylvie Toudic
Middle School and Elementary French Teacher - stoudic@sdfrenchschool.org

Sylvie was born and raised in Lyon. She graduated from The International School of Lyon (IOB) and the Catholic University in Lyon with a Masters in International Laws. After ten years in business as a credit manager, she followed her husband to London (England) and obtained her Qualified Teacher Status in 2005 from the Institute of Education in London. She taught French as a foreign language to students from K to 12 and native French students at primary and middle school levels. She soon became Head of the French department and Primary Coordinator. After 6 years in England, Sylvie and her family moved to New York. Sylvie was Chair of the World Language at Leman Manhattan Prep school where she implemented the IB program. She then worked for 6 years at the French American School of New York and Mamaroneck High School as a French teacher. She has 2 daughters Lisa, studying Biology and Theatre at USC, and Juliette, who will be attending SDFAS. She has a passion for Musical Theatre and has been the Vice President of the Westchester Children Chorus for the past 3 years. She also loves traveling and cannot wait to explore California. She is thrilled to join SDFAS.


Estelle Truche Estelle Truche
Elementary School French Teacher - etruche@sdfrenchschool.org

Estelle was born and raised in Savoie, in South-East France. After scientific studies and obtaining a Bachelor of Psychology, teaching quickly appeared as her vocation. She earned her French teaching diploma, CAPE, from the Grenoble Academy. She taught for seven years in primary school in the French Alps. Then she joined her husband in Paris, where she worked as a temporary teacher in primary school while working as a private teacher to prepare college students for the DNB (French National Diploma). She has recently taught Mathematics in middle school in 6th, 7th, and 9th grades in a bilingual French / English school welcoming gifted children. At the same time, she pursued studies at La Sorbonne, Paris V, where she obtained her Masters in Educational Sciences. Then, she continued with doctoral studies to do research in Education Sciences on the relationship of students' knowledge in Mathematics and participated in numerous international conferences. She is convinced that teaching is more effective through an active, caring, and differentiated pedagogy promoting the fondness for research, accuracy, and rigor while allowing experimental trial and error. She arrived in San Diego in September 2019, studied FLE (French as a Second Language) at the Alliance française de San Diego. She is incredibly happy to join the SDFAS team at the start of the 2020 school year. She is also the happy mother of two boys: Raphaël, who attends SDFAS, and his big brother Amaury, who graduated from La Jolla High School in 2020. When not teaching, she enjoys gastronomy, travels, plays the piano, and practices Thai Chi Chuan.


Carrie Vo Carrie Vo
Elementary School English Teacher - cvo@sdfrenchschool.org

Ms. Carrie was born in Saigon, Vietnam and moved to California when she was 7. She spent most of her life in Southern California, but is happy to call San Diego home. She earned her bachelors in History and the Study of Religion, and her Masters of Education from UCSD. Ms. Carrie has been teaching for 10 years and is a licensed K-8 elementary teacher from the state of California. She values integrating multiple subjects and content areas through project based learning. Ms. Carrie explored the world and taught internationally in Vietnam, Japan, and India for the last 7 years. After deeply immersing herself in many different cultures, she finally returned home to be close to family and friends. Ms. Carrie enjoys hiking, cycling, camping, learning about different cultures, traveling across the world and cooking. Ms. Carrie has a deep love for learning and is currently learning Mandarin and French. She loves animals and dogs!