Meet the STIS team!
Peter C. Meltzer, Grade 4
I am currently teaching Grade 4 because that is the age of the Orca class. But I started teaching them when they were around 4 years old. Herme and Solo were part of that original homeschool group. Hilight joined around 4.5. Pink and Krit came in around 5 years old. Namhom joined the class around 6 years old. As a group, they have been learning together for about four to five years. They know each other well and work exceptionally well together as a team.
In addition to teaching, I also do my best to run the school, help teachers whenever they ask for it, meet with parents, interview new students, run the Super English side of things, and hire and train new teachers. When I'm not doing that, I spend time with my wife and son. We like to travel but also enjoy spending some quality downtime at home. I have been in Thailand for 16.5 years and have no immediate plans for leaving. It's a nice place to live : )
Quick list of things I like: teaching, coming up with new ideas to use in the classroom, seeing teachers and students succeed at STIS, Deadpool, Arrested Development, American Chinese food, Mexican food, almost all kinds of music, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Judge Dee novels (old Chinese detective stories), and living in Thailand.
Megan Diffey, Grade 3
Hello! My name is Megan Diffey and I am the current grade 3 teacher! I grew up central Florida and then went to the University of Central Florida. I studied Psychology and received a TEFL certificate over my four years at UCF. I often volunteered at local elementary schools and taught ESOL classes with the Junior Achievement program as well as tutoring English language learners at the Center for Multilingual Studies at my university. I fell in love with teaching and ended up moving to Seoul, South Korea, soon after graduating. I taught a kindergarten class for a year as well as other primary school grades. It was a truly amazing experience that fueled me to find a job teaching in a more creative and challenging work environment. This quest brought me to Surat Thani International School.
My time in Surat has been truly amazing. There is a great community of teachers and the town is in the perfect location to travel around Thailand. It is more traditional than other popular teaching destinations, which it makes it an immersive experience. The food here is excellent, and the Thai people are helpful and kind. Plus, STIS is an excellent place to work! There are small class sizes that let us have more creative freedom to do more interactive activities. The classes are fun, fast paced, and versatile which makes teaching exciting and challenges me to think of fun ways to teach the curriculum. I’ve enjoyed it so much I have signed on for another year and I’m excited to continue living in Surat and teaching at STIS!
emily dickinson, Kindergarten 2B
Hi! My name’s Emily and I’m the Kindergarten 2 Bears teacher at Surat Thani International School! I first moved to Thailand in 2013 after finishing my degree in Criminology and Forensic Science at Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK! But I’m originally from a small town called Carlisle in North West England. I have lived in Thailand for around 5 years now! I previously worked at another school in Surat Thani but this is my first year at STIS! I love working and living in Thailand and I have had a very positive experience at my new job at STIS! My class is great, I have 18 students ranging from 4-6 years old. I always find it very gratifying teaching this age group as you can see them grow and learn so much over the course of the year. STIS is a great school to work at and there is always such a positive working environment here! I am definitely going to stay at this school next year because I have enjoyed working here so much!
kari williamson, kindergarten 2A
Hello! I am Teacher Kari from Kentucky. I’m from Barbourville, a small town in Southeastern Kentucky, so the small town feel of Surat Thani was easy to adjust to! Teaching and traveling are my passions, and I’m lucky to be able to unite the two here in Thailand. I studied Secondary Education and English in the states, and I also have experience teaching ESL in Nepal, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Serbia.
I traveled quite extensively throughout Asia, Europe, and a bit of Africa before making the move to Thailand. I briefly visited northern Thailand in 2012 and quickly fell in love with the people, culture, and amazing food! After being in Surat Thani for a little over a year, I can definitely say it is a place I will forever consider home.
I currently teach the Rabbits in Kindergarten 2, and though I’m a bit biased, they are the best! We have lots of fun in class and they constantly surpass the goals I set for them. They make my job easy and incredibly enjoyable.
meredith gallinger, Pre-K
My name is Meredith Gallinger and I am the Head Teacher at STIS. When I’m not helping the teachers, I am the main teacher for the Pre-K class, which is the Dolphins this year. I also teach Math to Grade 1 and 2 and Science to Grade 4! I am from Ottawa, Canada and I received a Bachelor’s Degree from Carleton University where I majored in Canadian Studies.
After receiving my TESOL certification, I moved to Surat Thani, Thailand a year ago to teach and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I love to travel, draw, paint, hike, swim, play with my cat Carrot, watch movies, and listen to music. I am extremely passionate about STIS and am always striving to help make it the best school for teachers, students, and parents alike. I look forward to continuing my fantastic journey at STIS!
Mitch Rioux, Kindergarten 1
My name is Mitchell Rioux and I am proud to teach the Kindergarten 1 class at STIS, which is the currently the Kangaroo class. I am from the cold country of Canada or more specifically its capital city of Ottawa. I received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Ottawa with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology before completing my TESOL certification and moving to Thailand.
I came to Thailand a year ago to teach and have absolutely loved my time in this wonderful country. The people of Surat Thani are extremely friendly and welcoming. I also love living so close to the beautiful lakes and forests of Khao Sok National Park as well as the pristine beaches of Khanom and the many islands just off the coast. When I’m not travelling around Thailand, I love to play football, watch movies, listen to music, cuddle with my cat Carrot, eat delicious food, and teach at STIS!
katie suitor, kindergarten 3
Hi! My name is Katie and I currently teach the energetic Hamster class at STIS. I'm from Ottawa, Canada and was late joining the STIS team in September 2017. I attended Trent University where I got my BSc before completing a Master’s of Science in Human health and nutrition from the University of Guelph right before moving to Thailand. I was excited and ready to experience a completely different way of life, which is exactly what I got! I am grateful that I am able to share my love of learning with my kids every day. It's such an incredible feeling when I see how far they've come and how much they've grown since I've been with them! We have such an awesome team at STIS, I count myself lucky to be a part of it!
Michelle Bourassa, Grade 2
My name is Michelle and I'm the Grade 2 “Pandas” teacher at Surat Thani International School. I have a Joint honours Degree in Communication and Sociology from the University of Ottawa. After graduating from University, I got my TEFL/TESOL certificate and moved to Vietnam to teach for 6 months. Soon after, I moved to Surat Thani. STIS is an amazing place to work! The kids are amazing and the staff is always ready to help. It’s been a fantastic year!
Kyle Miller, Grade 1
My name is Kyle Miller and I am currently the teacher for Grade 1 for the 2017-2018 school year. I am originally from St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States and this is my first teaching experience away from home. However, I have volunteered at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2015 and I received my TEFl certificate teaching in Costa Rica in 2017. I attended school in Missouri and have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and another bachelor’s degree in child and family development. I enjoy playing/watching sports, watching movies, listening to music, and hiking/exploring new places.
Heather White, Pre-Kindergarten
My name is Heather, and I am Surat Thani International Schools’ newest teacher! I am very excited to be the teacher of the new Starfish pre-kindergarten class that began in January, 2018. I hold a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Canadian Studies from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada where I also completed a year abroad studying in the north of England. Travel is an important part of my life, and so after completing my degree I wanted to move abroad once again and gain experience teaching before heading back to school to begin my Bachelor of Education. A few of my favourite things include watching Grey’s Anatomy, hanging out with dogs, and exploring new places.
I grew up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, where the temperature is -45 degrees on average in the winter months so I am happy to be in warm Thailand! From what I have seen so far it is beautiful and I am looking forward to my time here in Thailand and especially at STIS!
Cati Vanden Breul, August, 2015 - June, 2017 *STIS Recommended Teacher*
My name is Cati and I'm the K1 teacher here at Surat Thani International School! I'm originally from Wisconsin, but moved to Minnesota for college at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where I studied Journalism and German. I stayed in Minneapolis until moving to Prague in 2010 to get my TEFL certificate. Since then, I have taught in the Czech Republic, South Korea, the United States, and Thailand. I lived in Chiang Mai for a year-and-a-half before moving to Surat Thani, and have really fallen in love with Thailand! It's a beautiful country with friendly people, great food, and amazing travel opportunities. This is my second year teaching at STIS. In my free time, I enjoy practicing yoga, writing, reading, and especially traveling around Thailand or SE Asia on holidays or three-day weekends!
Marcus Wykes, October, 2015 - June, 2017 *STIS Recommended Teacher*
My name is Marcus Wykes, proudly the first British teacher at Surat Thani International School! I come from Newcastle Upon Tyne a small city in the North East of England. In 2014 I graduated from the University of Liverpool where I studied Economics and Geography. Not long after graduating from university I moved to Thailand to teach English as a foreign language. I taught in a rural school not too far from Surat where I taught up to 50 students at a time! I adore Thailand, it is such a remarkable place.There is so much to see and do here. I want to keep exploring the astonishing and memorable sights Thailand has to offer.
My time teaching at STIS is approaching its first anniversary. I have been very fortunate to work with the majority of the classes here so have developed some great relationships with students of all ages. Currently I am known as "the math and science teacher" for the Zebras (Grade 2), the Orcas (Grade 3) and the Pandas (Grade 1). As well as this I am making good use of my Geography degree and teach Grade 2 and 3 Geography. So far my time in STIS has been so enjoyable and I can’t wait to continue on my journey as a teacher here.
Terrance Masso, February, 2016 - June, 2017 *STIS Recommended Teacher*
My name is Terrance also known as Mr. T, I have a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Business Management. I was born in Minnesota and did four years of service in the U.S. Navy stationed in Beaufort, South Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida. I originally came to Thailand in March of 2012 to the capital city of Bangkok. It was a great experience with a blend of East meets West, amazing shopping and great food from all over the world and easy transportation with the Sky trains. Once I arrived in Thailand I did a TESOL program and jumped right into a classroom teaching college age young adults and doing some corporate teaching in the evenings. I eventually was offered a position working with children between the ages of one and a half years old up to three years of age. I loved it and had a great time with my role at that school. Eventually, being that I am from Minnesota, a state known for its beautiful nature, I grew a little tired of the big city living and was looking for a more natural and scenic living thus being how I ended up here in Surat Thani.
Megan Farmer, June, 2016 - June, 2017 *STIS Recommended Teacher*
My name is Megan and I teach the K3 Penguins at the Surat Thani International School. I am from Central Florida but it’s always been a dream of mine to experience living in a different country. I love teaching so I figured, why not teach abroad! I got my Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and when I started looking for somewhere to go, Thailand seemed like a great place! It’s been an amazing experience. I love the kids in my class and I greatly enjoy teaching them! We have fun playing games and singing songs that go along with what we are learning. The teaching team here at STIS is also great. We work together and share resources to help everyone succeed. STIS is an awesome school to be a part of and Thailand is the perfect place to be!
Kevin Wolfe, June, 2016 - June, 2017
My name is Kevin and I teach K1 with the Cubs. I grew up in the small town of Marshfield, WI and, after graduating high school in 2007, went on to graduate from the University of Wisconsin – Stout with a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Design in 2013. After working as a Design Engineer for 2 ½ years I decided to get my TEFL certification and shortly after accepted my current position with STIS. I love to SCUBA dive, hike, snowboard, travel, and work with my hands. STIS is an amazing place to work for many reasons but a few of the major ones would be the freedom you’re granted when it comes to teaching your class, the great co-workers you interact with every day, the high quality of students, as well as the small class sizes. All of these factors makes working at STIS feel relatively stress free and allows you the comfort of knowing that should you have an issue, someone will always be there for you to turn to for help. I absolutely love working at STIS as well as living in Thailand and while this is still my first year here I know there are many more to come.
Taylor Sruba, June, 2016 - June, 2017 *STIS Recommended Teacher*
I’m Taylor! I teach the K2 class at STIS, which is currently the Hamster class. I’m from Michigan and I first moved to Thailand in 2010. I studied Thai language and culture in Chiang Mai. There I fell in love with the country, its customs, and its people. After earning a BA in Anthropology and Sociology and working in the United States for several years, I made my return to Thailand in 2014. I have been teaching in SuratThani ever since. I love my life here! I can sneak away to an island on the weekends or participate in one of the many teacher community events during the week. In addition, I have formed relationships here with people from all around the world. Everyday I continue to learn from and be inspired by them.
This is my first year at STIS and I have really enjoyed my time here so far. I have an affectionate and energetic group of kids. It is extremely gratifying to see results from them and know how far they have come since the beginning of the year. I love working with my kids and the classroom we have created together!
Stephanie O'Bryan, October, 2016 - June, 2017
My name is Steph and I currently teach P2, the Zebra class, at Surat Thani International School. I am originally from the upstate New York. I attended the University at Buffalo as well as Buffalo State College to complete my Bachelors and Masters degrees in English Literature. I finished my second degree in May of 2015 and went on to complete my TEFL Certification course in order to teach abroad. I have been teaching here in Thailand for just about a full year now. I am honored to be an asset of STIS this year. The opportunity to work with such talent, students and staff alike is truly rewarding. Aside from my passion for learning and teaching English, I also enjoy playing soccer and exploring this beautiful landscape. Thailand has left me with nothing to be desired. This is an incredibly rich opportunity and I feel lucky to be able to live here and experience this culture and its breathtaking surroundings.
Lauren Rosborough, May, 2014 - December, 2016
My name is Lauren and I teach P1, currently the Panda class, at Surat Thani International School. Originally from California I grew up in New Jersey before heading out west again for University. I graduated with a BA from University of Colorado at Boulder in 2012. Before embarking on a teaching year in China I received my CELTA. I love being outdoors; at the beach, hiking a viewpoint, or kayaking around. And Thailand is just the place. This is my third year at STIS and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else! Working with the best students actually has me looking forward to Mondays! Working with the best coworkers makes even lunch time something to look forward to. Teaching P1 has made me eager to continue my own learning and I am currently earning my teaching certification. Although teaching takes up most of my time, I have managed to sneak off to some incredible places that most people save up for years to get to!
Candace Lee, May, 2014 - June, 2016
Howdy y’all! My name is Candace Lee aka Teacher Candy and I am the K-3 teacher at Surat Thani International School. This will be my fourth year teaching English in Thailand. I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas U.S.A. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio. I have a love for knowledge and continuing educational goals. I absolutely adore teaching, and I could see myself doing nothing else. My hobbies include swimming, traveling, music, movies and spending time with my wonderful co-workers and friends here in Thailand. I feel very fortunate to be employed here at Surat Thani International School, and I’m looking forward to a fantastic year!
Sean Donovan, May, 2014 - June, 2015
Hi, my name is Sean Donovan and I am the Grade 1 teacher at Surat Thani International School. I am originally from the great state of North Dakota in the United States where my family has a ranch. I attended school at the University of Minnesota and majored in International Relations and French. Back home, I loved to kayak, hike, ski, go to concerts, and spend time with friends and family. I still love North Dakota and Minnesota but after another 8 month winter (25th in a row!), I decided I should try a new place and a new career. While I miss home quite a bit, my time in Thailand has been a real gift. I love travelling the country, seeing the sites, eating a lot of Thai food, and working as a teacher at STIS. Helping open the school has been a blast. The students are all amazing and I love figuring out new ways to teach different subjects. It can be difficult at times, but nothing is better than when a student finally "gets it". STIS rocks and I'm very much looking forward to the rest of my time here!
Christel Chappell, October, 2013 - December, 2015
Christel Chappell is a Southern Belle that was born and raised in the sweet state of Georgia, where peaches and peanuts are national treasures. She grew up on a dairy farm in Plains. In her mid-teens, she was accepted into a program attending an art magnet high school in Alabama. It was a high school unlike any other that focused on excellence in the arts, as well as the academics. From there, she moved forward and was accepted into the University of Alabama, where academics and athletics both thrived. Because of her attendance at this particular university, “soccer” will forever be the black and white ball that gets kicked around a field, and “football” will forever be the brown, oval-shaped ball with white stitch marks, with players who make a habit out of slamming into each other, and with multiple championships and celebrations.
Aleya Staggs, August, 2015 - June, 2016
My name is Aleya Staggs and I teach K1 at Surat Thani International School. I'm from Chicago, Illinois, the perfect mix of big city with country nearby. I have a BFA from The Illinois Institute of Art, a TEFL certification and over 2 years of teaching experience. This is my first time in Thailand and I love the wide range of landscapes. It's great to be able to visit a lush jungle or pristine beach with only a few hours drive. Also the Thai people are always helpful and the food delicious but a little spicy. My hobbies include reading, traveling, and mystery television.