Elementary Faculty



Ashley Hopper
Ashley Hopper is from Colorado Springs, Colorado and in her free time can be found in the Rocky Mountains hiking, snowboarding, and rock climbing. Her love for the outdoors led her to focus her studies in natural science, graduating from California State University in 2011 with a Bachelor's in Liberal Arts: Natural Science. With the experience gained during her undergraduate studies she went forth and taught English in South Korea and confirmed her passion for teaching. After returning to Colorado she attended the University of Northern Colorado and completed a Master's of Arts in Teaching. During her studies she fell in love with naturalistic education for its attempt to use Earth and its resources as a motivator in teaching science as well as various other subjects.


Benjamin Newton

Ben Newton comes from the state of Texas. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1999 with degrees in political science and public administration. In 2000, he was accepted by Houston Independent School District’s alternative certification program. During his career since then, Ben has taught English as a Second Language, Special Education, and International Baccalaureate courses. In 2009 he became International Baccalaureate coordinator in Austin, Texas. Later that year he received his Master’s degree in Educational administration. In addition to teaching, he has worked extensively on curriculum, assessment standards, school operation, gifted and talented, and community outreach. He is currently certified in the areas of English as a Second Language, English Language Arts, Special Education, Science, and Administration. Ben has an excellent rapport with students and teaches them with the intent to expand their curiosity and learning interests. He joined DAIS in August of 2014.

  Cynthia Perez
Cynthia (Cindy) Perez joined DAIS in August 2011 as a second grade teacher. Mrs. Perez has a home in Brownsville, Texas, but was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. She earned a bachelor degree in Elementary Education from Wichita State University and taught kindergarten and designed an instructional television program for a district wide pre-kindergarten project. During her fifteen years in Brownsville she also completed her master’s degree in Supervision and became Bilingually Certified. She has taught in Somalia, Southern Peru, Syria, Tunisia, and finally a founding member of a new ISS start-up school in Beihai, China. During this time, Cindy along with her husband raised two children who are currently living and working in the United States. Mrs. Perez loves reading, traveling and visiting with her family via Skype.
  Isabel Heredia
Isabel Heredia joined the Dalian American International School in August of 2011 as the Elementary Science Teacher. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz, Elementary Education Certificate from William Paterson University and a Master of Science degree in Education Media Design and Technology from Fullsail University. In 1997, she took a 6 month trip to South America and ended up staying 6 years. During that time she taught for 2 international schools, the Colegio Britanico de Cartagena and the Colegio Jorge Washington, in Colombia. In 2002, she took a 6 month hiatus from teaching and went to live on the island of San Martin de Pajarales, where she worked at the Oceanario Islas del Rosario and volunteered for the Research, Education and Recreation Center, CEINER. In 2003, she returned to the states and worked as a middle school science teacher in New Jersey before moving to the state of Florida, where she taught for the last 6 years. Ms. Isa (as she is known among her students) is very passionate about teaching science and believes that all children are natural scientist. In her classroom, she helps children discover that “science” is truly all around them!
  Jennifer Heming
Jennifer graduated from Geneva College (Pennsylvania) in 2000 with a dual Bachelor's in Elementary and Special Education. She is presently working on a Master's in International Education and ESOL through George Mason University. In the last twelve years she has taught in a variety of special education, classroom and ESOL positions in a variety of public, private, and charter elementary schools in Hawaii, Colorado, and Virginia. This will be Jennifer's first overseas position since student teaching in Kenya. She is looking forward to living in China and joining DAIS as an elementary ELL teacher.
  Kimberly Blake
Kimberly Blake happily joined Dalian American International School in August 2010 as a second grade teacher, and gladly transitioned with her students to third grade in the fall of 2011. Ms. Blake grew up in Southern California and lived most of her adult life in Northern California. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Childhood Development with a minor in Psychology from California State University, Stanislaus. She then spent a year and a half abroad working as a nanny in London, England and traveling extensively throughout Europe. Upon returning home from her European experiences, Ms. Blake attended Sonoma State University where she received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She then spent the next 20 years teaching elementary school children in Rohnert Park, California. During this time she served on various committees for the betterment of the school environment and educational experiences for children.
  LiTonya Roy
LiTonya Roy joins the DAIS family this year from Katy, Texas. This is her 15th year of teaching and she enjoys it to the fullest. She joins our team with six years of experience as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. She also has experience teaching both 1st and 3rd grades. She has two awesome sons named Josh and Caleb that she absolutely adores. Her family is of utmost priority and their motto is “Live, Laugh, & Love often!” She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education & she also holds a Master of Science Degree in Education Management as well. She truly believes that all children have the desire and passion to learn. It is her goal as an educator to make a difference in the lives of every child that she meets one step at a time and in a fun and meaningful way.
  Michelena Mcpherson
Michelena joins DAIS with her husband, Joseph, and their daughter, Naia. She and Joseph began their teaching careers in Japan. They are leaving Albuquerque, New Mexico where she taught 1st through 5th grade to regular and gifted students in a dual language setting for the past 8 years. Michelena believes in fostering students’ love of learning through building community, exploring literature and world cultures, and undertaking student-centered projects. As a child her love of reading fueled her curiosity about other cultures. She looks forward to feeding this curiosity and sharing her love of teaching at DAIS. Michelena has a BFA in Photography, a Masters degree in Gifted and Special Education and a Bilingual Education endorsement from The University of New Mexico. In addition to teaching she likes traveling, sculpting, and experimenting in the kitchen.
  Miwa Gyoba
Miwa Gyoba is originally from a small town in British Columbia, Canada. She graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science in 2002. After teaching in Taiwan for two and a half years, South Korea for two years, Japan for one year, and Egypt for three years, she returned to school in New South Wales, Australia to complete a Graduate Diploma in Education at the University of Wollongong. Miwa strives to be a caring and passionate educator valuing each student as a unique individual who has the ability to reach his or her full potential. Outside of the classroom, Miwa enjoys travelling to as many countries as she possibly can, reading at every opportunity, and trying her hand at drawing and watercolor painting.
  Peter Row
Peter Row has an adventurous spirit and a love of bringing the world to his students. After earning a Bachelor's Degree in History in 2002, he left Canada to begin his adventures by teaching in South Korea and Japan. Discovering a passion for education, he furthered his own by obtaining a Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia. From there, his journey took him to the Middle East where he taught grade four at the American International School of Cairo. After three successful years, Peter left Egypt to travel back to Australia where he taught a variety of grade levels in New South Wales. Peter is a firm believer of lifelong learning, and when teaching, he values each student as an individual while investigating the world in a fun and engaging way.
  Ryan Simonet
Ryan was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a musician, graphic designer, painter, world traveler and life long learner. He holds degrees in Graphic design/fine arts and primary education. Ryan Has been living in Qatar for the past 5 years. Since that time, he has been honored to be known as the American School of Doha's lower elementary IT teacher. Ryan embraces the next chapter of his story and sincerely looks forward to his new life in Dalian as the lower elementary IT integrator teacher.

Teresa Arrastia
Teresa Arrastia has been teaching overseas for thirteen years, having taught in Amman Jordan, Dhaka Bangladesh, and most recently Sao Paulo Brazil. Prior to teaching overseas she worked in the Seattle, Washington area organizing Family Literacy Programs. She has her Bachelor’s degree from The Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Washington and her Master’s degree from State University New York, at Buffalo. Teresa is part of a teaching couple with her husband Steve, and they have two children. Their son Sebastian who will be with them at DAIS who will be in the 10th grade and their daughter Gabriella will be starting college in Seattle this September. They are very excited about their new adventure in China and joining the DAIS faculty.

  Yuan Kou
Yuan Kou is the Mandarin teacher at DAIS. She came to DAIS in 2007 as a Teaching Assistant and then joined the Mandarin teaching team. Before she came to DAIS, she was an assistant at Campus Village and tutored foreign residents in Mandarin there. Ms. Kou is from Ji Lin province and lived in Ji Lin city. She graduated from Chang Chun Normal University. She has a certificate to teach English as a foreign language. She began her teaching in Dalian Jia Qi Foreign Language Training Center where she taught English to adults and children and she also taught Mandarin to foreigners.
What Parents are Saying

"DAIS is more than just a school.. we are a community. And I am so lucky to have my children growing up in such a loving, caring environment. The small classroom and warm environment at DAIS have provided my children with such a unique education... our family is grateful for the opportunity. My kid are excited every day they leave for school. The feel at home in the halls at DAIS and are having so much fun, they don't even realize they're learning!"
Jennifer (America)

"This is our fourth year at Dalian American International School. The teachers and administration at DAIS truly care, and do anything to help the students. We are seeing strong academics and small class sizes but learning here is also about building character. Our children are becoming well-rounded thinkers that see themselves as an important part of a bigger community."
Brianna (America)

"I have seen my children bloom educationally during the last two years while they have attended DAIS. The school has a focus on small class sizes, an excellent teaching staff and a friendly international environment which has created a positive learning atmosphere for my daughters. My kids look forward to school on a daily basis and I feel that says it all."
Nathalie (Canada)
Live on Campus and Walk to School

Campus Village is an international housing community interated into the campus of Dalian American International School, and an important part of the school community. Your children can walk to school in a matter of minutes and avoid the chaos of Chinese streets. Visit the Campus Village website at http://www.campusvillage.org to get more information.

Recent Events at DAIS 


P: +86 (411) 8757-2000

F: +86 (411) 8791-5656

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Address (English)

2 Dianchi Road; Golden Pebble Beach

Jinzhou New District

Dalian, P.R. China 116650

Address (Chinese Pinyin)

2 Dianchi Lu; Jinshitan

Jinzhou Xinqu

Dalian, Zhongguo 116650