Our Academic 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: Sophie Ricouard would be sricouard@sdfrenchschool.org

Marion Addo Marion Addo
Middle School Coordinator, French Curriculum Coordinator (PK-8), Middle School French & Classics Teacher

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

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

Ms Anderson was born and raised in 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!


Emilie Ballivy Emilie Ballivy
Preschool French Teacher

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).


Catherine Boukhamla Catherine Boukhamla
Elementary & Middle School Science (French Program)

Born and raised in the South of France (le Midi), Cathy earned her French national teaching certification in Science in 2001 (CAPES de Sciences de la Vie et de la Terre). She first taught in Nice and then abroad in Houston (Awty International School), Bogota, Bangkok and Santo Domingo. She took on New Zealand's "Te Araroa" through-hike in 2019 and enjoyed living four and a half months with only an 8 kg backpack. She enjoys playing guitar, all kinds of sports (especially martial arts), being around animals (yes, human beings count as part of this category), and a nice plate of cheese from time to time. She is very happy to be back teaching once again in the USA.


Emilie Bousquet Emilie Bousquet
Middle School History-Geography (French Program)

Emilie was born in Versailles and raised up in the Yvelines, a western suburb of Paris. After earning her high school baccalauréat, she moved to the South of France to Montpellier, where she earned her Masters Degree in Modern History. Emilie then returned to Paris to complete pre-doctoral work (Diplôme d'Études Approfondies), also in History of the Modern World. After teaching for a few years in suburb of Paris at the Fondation d'Auteuil and Le Campus des Métiers at Bobigny, Emilie decided to take a hiatus from teaching to explore the world. After a first experience in Thailand, Emilie lived and taught in Morocco for 3 years and then in Qatar for 5 years as a French and History-Geography teacher. One of Emilie's favorite literary quotes is from Emile Zola: "Rien ne développe l'intelligence comme les voyages." Indeed, ever since her first expat experience in Thailand, Emilie has yet to return to France as a place to live. Emilie still travels as much as she can. She loves meeting people from all over the world and sharing meaningful moments with them. She tells us she does her very best to keep them all smiling.


Murielle Brimaldi-Jensen Murielle Brimaldi-Jensen
Elementary School French Teacher

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.


Karin Brittain Karin Brittain
Elementary School English Teacher (Maternity Leave Replacement)

Karin is originally from Seattle and she holds a B.A. in Sociology and International Relations, a Master’s degree in Education, and teaching credentials for English, ESL, World Language French, and Social Studies. Karin had the opportunity to live in France (Bordeaux and Normandy) for two years where she worked as an English teaching assistant in public schools. She also taught ESL in Madrid, Spain and second grade at an international school in South Korea. Karin is excited to substitute teach at SDFAS since it is a dynamic multicultural and multilingual learning environment.


Francis Carlier Francis Carlier
Director of Elementary School & Elementary School French History-Geography

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.


Fabienne Debrand Fabienne Debrand
Elementary School French Teacher

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

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

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.


Tom Faure Tom Faure
Middle School Director, English Curriculum Coordinator (K-8) & Teacher of Middle School Language Arts

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

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.


Britta Fischer Britta Fischer
MS Teacher of Social Studies/Lunch & Extended Care Staff

As a result of her mother’s international career Britta has been lucky enough to live and learn in six different countries. She grew up bilingual, speaking both English and French until her mid-teens. She hopes to reignite her French skills where she left off! Her learning communities, peers, and teachers were a constant source of comfort and joy throughout her many moves around the world. These factors sparked her love for school and education. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA) in 2018 with a degree in Geography and Gender Studies. In early August 2021 she graduated with her Master’s Degree in Secondary Education in Social Studies with a certification in teaching English as an Additional Language from University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is thrilled to join the SDFAS learning community and hopes to inspire her students to love Social Studies as much as she does. Britta is new to San Diego and cannot wait to begin exploring the area with her dog, Misty. In her free time she loves to hike, cook, and swim.


Gladys Guesnard Gladys Guesnard
Substitute Teacher (French Program PK-8)

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.


Youssef Hajir Youssef Hajir
Middle School Math (French Program)

Youssef grew up in Nantes (known among other things for its muscadet white wine), a city on the Loire river of the Upper Brittany region of western France. Arriving from Morocco to France at the age of three and raised within a multilingual and multicultural environment, Youssef attended university in his home city of Nantes, earning a Master's degree in Mathematics as well as his French national teaching credential (Certificate of Aptitude for Secondary School Teachers). Youssef has taught at Middle School, High School and University levels for eight years, driven by a constant desire to inspire in his own students the same degree of passion he himself shares for the beauty and utility of Mathematics. Among other downtime interests, Youssef plays both basketball and soccer; and, he also loves reading, especially poetry.


Carrie Haugh Carrie Haugh
School Counselor/Psychologist

After years of performing as an actress, working in children’s theater and television, Carrie acquired a Masters of Science in Education in School Psychology, Counseling, and Leadership and has worked as a school counselor with all ages in Brooklyn, San Miguel de Allende, and Mexico City at The American School Foundation. Carrie uses puppetry and theater to help teach Social/Emotional curriculum and has enjoyed running community workshops in Mexico City. Carrie is child-centered in her approach and loves working in a school with students, their families, and staff. She works to provide a safe, nurturing space for children to thrive and feel successful and to work on their academics, emotional intelligence, senses of self, and identity development.


Vesna Hunt Vesna Hunt
Preschool Assistant Teacher

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
Visual Arts and Ceramics

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, EdTech & Student Data Coordinator

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

Sarah Le Boyer holds a B.A. in Physics and French and a Masters degree in Education. She holds additional certificates in Supporting Children With Difficulties in Reading and Writing (Dyslexia) and Everyday Strategies (ADHD), Responsive Classroom and French as a Foreign Language (FLE/ESL). She has a diverse work history in education with experiences teaching at University, in High School, Middle School, Elementary school in addition to school administration and communication. After teaching in France for five years she moved to San Diego. She is raising a French-American family and has 2 children at SDFAS. She is a firm believer that bilingual education is a wonderful gift we can give our children!


Alexandra Lette Alexandra Lette
Preschool French Teacher

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.


Julianne Loly Julianne Loly
Elementary School English Teacher

Much of Julianne’s childhood was lived abroad. She was born in Australia and lived and traveled to many different countries throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East (Sri Lanka being her favorite adopted home). For the past 14 years, Julianne has taught 1st and 4th grade at a private school for gifted students in Encinitas, California. Prior to moving to San Diego, Julianne taught art and ESL to grades K-7 at The American School of Milan, Italy, The International School of Copenhagen (1st-9th Grades) and the International School of Monaco, France, where she taught a 3rd/4th combination class. Julianne also worked for several years teaching elementary school in Santa Barbara, California at a charter and private school. Julianne went to high school, undergraduate and graduate school in Santa Barbara, California. She has a BA in Liberal Arts (emphasis in psychology/art) and a MS in Organizational Management from Antioch University. Additionally, she has MA in Elementary Education and holds a Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential (K-6), an ESL and GATE Teaching Certificate. When Julianne is not teaching, she loves to spend time with her husband and three Pomeranians. She also loves anything to do with art (particularly ceramics). With a need to move around a little more this past year (and stop worrying so much), she started playing pickle ball and paddle boarding.


Paula Marra Paula Marra
Director of Enrichment Programs

Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Paula taught at the United Nations International School (UNIS) in New York for 11 years, and has also lived and taught in London and Los Angeles. She was the founding Chair of the STEAM Special Interest Group at the European Collaborative of International Schools (ECIS), has been a Design Thinking Coach with the Teachers' Guild/IDEO, and has co-led workshops at the Stanford d.School, Project Zero (Harvard University Graduate School of Education), NYSAIS, and the Metropolitan Museum of New York. She has been a Critical Friend for Teach to Lead, led a breakout session at the White House for Michele Obama's Better Make Room / Beating the Odds Summit 2016, and is a Studio facilitator at the Learning Environments for Tomorrow Institute (Harvard Graduate Schools of Education and Design). She is also an RSA Fellow.


Eve Mazuir Eve Mazuir
Elementary School French Teacher

Eve was born and raised in Nantes and graduated with a degree in Spanish from the l'Université de Nantes. She also participated in an exchange program in the south of Spain (in Sevilla). As a child, she wanted to be a teacher -and- she most certainly did accomplish her goal! Ève earned her French national teaching certification in Nice and worked with students with special needs for a few years before deciding to teach abroad. She has worked in Colombia, Thailand and Dominican Republic as a primary school teacher.
She enjoys cooking, baking bread, reading and hiking. In 2019, she crossed New Zealand on a through-hike that lasted four and a half months and was over 3000 kilometers long. She is really proud of this achievement in particular!


Cara Mitchell Cara Mitchell
Middle School English Language Arts

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.


Alexandra Mobley Alexandra Mobley
MS Science & Sustainability Coordinator (PK-8)

Alex has held a passion for the environment since a very young age. This passion led her to study marine biology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. During her studies, she traveled abroad to Australia to study adaptations in coral reefs at James Cook University. After graduating with her Bachelor of Science degree, she worked on the Great Barrier Reef as a marine biologist, teaching species identification and marine conservation. Once her visa expired, she moved to the British Virgin Islands to teach marine biology at Sail Caribbean. She earned her PADI dive instructor certification and became captain of a 50 foot sailing vessel and taught sailing, diving, and marine biology to high school students where her true passion for teaching emerged. Alex moved to San Diego in 2014 and taught marine biology at SEACAMP San Diego for a year before deciding to pursue a career in formal education. She earned her Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction and her single subject teaching credential in science from the University of San Diego. Alex has been teaching biology and environmental science in southeast San Diego for the past 6 years. She has also sailed from Australia to Papua New Guinea, developed curriculum for a nonprofit organization that connects young people exiting the juvenile justice system with nature, and studied inclusive and special education policies and practices in Cambodia. She enjoys life in sunny San Diego and spends her free time walking her dog, sailing, kayaking, camping, and just recently, roller skating.


Audrey Monpays Audrey Monpays
Elementary School French Teacher

Audrey was born in Pau and raised in the south of France! When she was younger, she already enjoyed working with children as a recreation center facilitator. She obtained a Master's degree in Mathematics in 2006 and has been a teacher since 2007. Prior to joining the SDFAS teaching team, Audrey worked for ten years in a bilingual school (French-Occitan). This wonderful experience afforded her the opportunity to understand first hand the many benefits of a bilingual education for children. She is dedicated to making her students feel comfortable in school so that they can thrive academically, socially and emotionally. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, cooking and traveling. She enjoys meeting new people, discovering new cultures and learning about new and innovative ways of teaching!


Bastien Monpays Bastien Monpays
Elementary School French Teacher

Originally from Tarbes in the southwest of France, Bastien graduated in Physics and Chemistry from the Université de Pau before earning his teaching credential in Toulouse in 2007. Passionate about the English language, he participated in the creation and development of the first French-English bilingual teaching program within his administrative "département" of France, in 2016, in Bagnères de Bigorre. He has been working in this program as a teacher and English program coordinator ever since, committed to providing students with a meaningful and innovative English learning experience. He also recently earned a FLE degree (the teaching of French as a second language) to further deepen his skills in didactics and with the use of best practices for teaching language acquisition. In addition to his commitment to education, Bastien is devoted to protecting people and the environment. He volunteered in France as a firefighter and first aid instructor for almost 10 years. Looking for peace and serenity in the wilderness, Bastien enjoys cross-country skiing, paragliding and mountain biking.


Birka Nielsen Birka Nielsen
Elementary School English Teacher 

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 (Pre-Elementary and Elementary)

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

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

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.


Camille Plantier Camille Plantier
Kindergarten English Teacher

Camille was born and raised in Orange County, California. She got her Bachelor's Degree at UC Berkeley in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Education. After graduating, she moved to Baltimore, Maryland to get her Master's Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education at Johns Hopkins School of Education. While in Baltimore, she was also in a teaching program called Urban Teachers for four years. She taught 2nd and 3rd grade her first year as a resident teacher and then taught Kindergarten at a charter school for three years. Her passion is making sure school and learning are fun, engaging, and interactive! In her free time, she likes to play with her Australian Shepherd named Indie, try new food places, and travel.


Catherine Rebiffé-Newnam Catherine Rebiffé-Newnam
French as a Foreign Language & ESL Teacher

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.


Laurette Reinhardt Laurette Reinhardt
Kindergarten French Teacher

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 and Media Specialist

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
Academic Director of Pre-Elementary (PK/K)

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

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 ("SeiSei"))
Physical Education Teacher and Sports League Coach/Coordinator

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
Elementary School French Teacher and Musique/Chorale/Arts du Spectacle Coordinator

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

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

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
High School Placement Counselor and SEL Advisor (campus-wide)

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

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 French Language & Literature

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
Substitute Teacher (French Program PK-8)

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.


Mayra Vazquez Mayra Vazquez
Middle School Spanish & Spanish Curriculum Coordinator (PK-8)

Mayra was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. She moved with her family to the United States when she was in the 10th grade. After graduating high school, she attended San Diego State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and had the opportunity to study abroad in Madrid, Spain. Mayra then joined the Teacher Credentialing Program at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). Successfully credentialed and with several years of teaching experience under her belt, Mayra went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Spanish from CSULA in the Spring of 2020. For the last six years, she has taught Spanish to native, heritage and non-native speakers in both public and charter schools. She also has experience teaching Advanced Placement courses approved by the College Board and served as World Language Department Chair for four years prior to joining SDFAS. During her free time Mayra enjoys spending time and traveling with family and friends.


Carrie Vo Carrie Vo
Middle School Mathematics (English Program)

Ms. Vo was born in Saigon, Vietnam and moved to California when she was seven. She spent most of her life in Southern California, but is happy to call San Diego home. She earned her Bachelors in History and Religion, and her Masters of Education from UCSD with a Specialty in Mathematics. Ms. Vo has been teaching for 10 years and is a licensed K-12 teacher from the state of California. She values cross-curricular projects and connecting academic disciplines through project based learning. Ms. Vo explored the world and taught internationally in Vietnam, Japan, and India for seven years prior to joining SDFAS. After deeply immersing herself in many different cultures, she finally returned home to be close to family and friends. Ms. Vo enjoys hiking, cycling, camping, learning about different cultures, traveling across the world and cooking. Ms. Vo has a deep love for learning and is currently learning Mandarin and French. She loves animals and dogs!