Staff Directory

  • Daniel "Danny" Aarons

    Biography:

    I am a teacher of Mathematics and Science. Prior to arriving in Suzhou, I’ve taught for over 20 years in a variety of places, including NSW and QLD (both in Australia), Beijing, Malaysia and Vietnam. I have taught students from Grade 5 to Grade 12 in subjects including English, IT, Humanities and PE, however Science and Maths are my real passions. I even spent a year as an IB Coordinator.

    My wife, Ruth, works in the Elementary School while two of our three beautiful children have accompanied us to SSIS. When I’m not teaching I enjoy watching sport (and playing it if it’s at a slow pace), eating good food and hanging out with our kids.

  • Ruth Aarons

    Biography:

    I joined SSIS in August 2014 as a member of the Grade 1 team. I have a Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) from the Australian Catholic University. I worked in Australia for many years before beginning my first overseas adventure in Beijing. Prior to joining SSIS I taught Kindergarten at the Australian International School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I particularly enjoy working with young children in their first few years of formal schooling. My husband Danny who teaches Maths and Science in the Secondary School joins me in Suzhou. Our two young children, Charlie and Roma, attend the SSIS Elementary School. We are very excited to be living and working in China once again.

  • Jennifer Arvay

    Biography:
    I joined SSIS in 2015 as a MYP and DP Visual Arts teacher. I hold a Bachelors degree in Art Education with an emphasis in Printmaking. As an artist my other strengths include working with Ceramics, Fiber Arts, and Painting. Prior to coming to SSIS I worked for five years teaching art and AP Art History in the United States and spent the last three years working at an American school in Kuwait. In my classroom, students experience a multicultural education with a focus on exploring themes like identity and universal interconnectedness. I promote a healthy lifestyle and enjoy engaging in physical activity and cooking in my free time. I am excited for the challenges and rewards in the years to come and being part of the community at SSIS.
  • Ewen Bailey

    Biography:

    My passion for education developed during my teacher training in Manchester as a Teach First participant between 2009 and 2011. The experience of working with motivated and idealistic professionals opened my eyes to what is possible through education.

    I have a BSc (Hons) in Zoology from the University of Dundee and have since gained an MA (Educational Leadership) from the University of Manchester.  After Teach First, I worked as a science teacher, pastoral coordinator and curriculum coordinator during three years at Al Sahwa Schools in Muscat, Oman. I joined SSIS in August 2014 with my partner, Katie, and look forward to contributing in as many ways as possible to the SSIS community. I am equally excited about discovering more about China and its culture.

    I like to keep active and particularly enjoy football (soccer); although I would probably benefit from spending less time watching it and more time playing it!

  • Susan Barker

    Biography:

    I joined SSIS as an elementary music teacher in 2016. Prior to moving to Suzhou, I taught elementary music in Tianjin and Hanoi and secondary music in Australia. After graduating with a Bachelor of Music, I worked for sixteen years as Principal Flute in Melbourne’s ballet and opera orchestra and taught flute at The University of Melbourne and The Victorian College of the Arts. I left the orchestra to bring up our four children and gain teaching qualifications. Working with young children to discover the joy of music is a pleasure every day. I am joined in Suzhou by my husband (who makes musical instruments) and my youngest son. We are thrilled to be living in Suzhou and be a part of such a vibrant school.

  • Emma Barnes

    Biography:

    I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be the Elementary School Counsellor. I love having such a versatile role in an international school setting and being able to enable students in different capacities. A strong multicultural approach is central to the way I work and at the same time I maintain the focus on each individual´s needs and emotions. I have worked in the therapeutic and educational field for over 20 years, as a Teacher, Advisor, Early Years Specialist and Counsellor. The bulk of my clinical experience is in Private Practice and Multi-Agency Children Centres. My therapeutic work is rooted in Play and Arts Counselling well as one to one sessions and group therapy work. I graduated with a B.Ed. (Hons) and gained EYP status at University of Norwich where I lectured in Education and Mental Health. I have a PG Advanced Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and completed four years professional training at Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute. I have developed both professionally and personally in the USA, UK, Israel, Italy, the Middle East and am pleased to continue my journey here in China.

  • Martha Barraza

    Biography:
    My passion for learning and teaching languages comes from my own experience as a language learner. I join the SSIS team as the Grade 4 English as a Second Language teacher. I have been in the field of education for over 20 years. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Bilingual Education and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Reading. I have taught in Mexico, Italy, and the United States. This is my first time in Asia and I am looking forward to learning and discovering many new things. When I am not teaching, I enjoy traveling to visit my three children and their families, reading, watching foreign films and cooking new recipes.
  • Donita Bell

    Biography:
    I came to SSIS in 2012 from Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. After attaining my diploma and bachelor teaching qualifications at two different stages of my 20 year teaching career, I have experienced teaching in various locations in remote and suburban Queensland before moving here for my first International teaching role. My husband, Tim, also teaching at SSIS and our three children have reveled in the incredible opportunities of working and living abroad. I love the PYP philosophy and have a passion for nurturing life long learners with a global perspective. I feel incredibly fortunate to live and work within the SSIS community.
  • Tim Bell

    Biography:

    I am from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia where I have worked with elementary aged children for almost 20 years. I received my Bachelor of Education in 1995. Before teaching at SSIS I taught in a number of small schools scattered throughout rural Queensland. I enjoyed the experiences of living in a small community but also am loving the opportunity to live and work in a country as large and dynamic as China. I have been working at SSIS since 2012 with my wife, Donita, and our three children who attend SSIS.

  • Katja Bennini

    Biography:
    I joined SSIS in 2015 as the Early Years German teacher. I graduated from the Technical University of Chemnitz, Germany in 2004 and hold a Master of Arts degree in Education. Prior to moving to Suzhou in July 2014 I worked for two years as teacher at a Kindergarten teacher college in Germany. I also have gained various experiences in teaching young adults and working with elementary students. In my classroom, I encourage Pre Kindergarten and Kindergarten students on various ways to actively use the German language. My aim is to support students to become inspired and curious learners. I am excited to be part of the community at SSIS.
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