Elementary School

  Amy Hill – Grade 3
Amy Hill graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and philosophy. While attending college, she played fastpitch softball on an athletic scholarship. Ms. Hill attended Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, WA, where she received her master’s degree in elementary education (K-8) and reading/literacy (K-12) in 2011. Ms. Hill is a National Board Certified Teacher with a certification track in Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood. She believes in developing the whole child and uses a student-centered approach in the classroom. Ms. Hill worked as a third grade teacher for Olympia School District in Washington State for six years before coming to DAIS in Fall 2018. She enjoys traveling, running, hiking, biking, skiing, paddle boarding, and just about anything outdoors. Ms. Hill has a Tonkinese cat named Cali.
  Ashley Hopper – Science
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 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.
  Beatriz Jimenez – Grade 2
Beatriz Jimenez graduated from Barry University in Miami, Florida with a Bachelor degree in Primary Education and a Master’s degree in Reading. Before coming to China, she taught English Language Learners in Florida for 18 years. Having been a young English learner herself, Beatriz’s approach to instruction is through the lens of both language teacher and language learner. She is committed to engaging her students in learning through a variety of meaningful and rigorous learning activities while providing a safe and loving classroom environment. Beatriz looks forward to her second year in China and hopes to learn more Mandarin.
  Catherine Stark – English as an Additional Language
Catherine Stark began her adventures in teaching 15 years ago, boarding a plane for Spain after finishing her undergraduate degree in communications and Spanish. Since that fateful first flight, she has taught English in the Czech Republic, South Korea, and Turkey, and Spanish in the United States. During that time, she also completed her master’s degree in Spanish literature and linguistics from Ohio University and her teaching license with a specialization in ESOL and English from the University of West Florida. She is proud to bring her passion for learning languages and for language learners to her position as an elementary EAL specialist for grades three – five at DAIS. When she's not working with her students, Catherine enjoys exploring the world around her - near and far. She also enjoys spending quality time hiking, cooking, and taking photos.
  Cody Gifford – Music
Cody Gifford teaches elementary general music and high school guitar at DAIS. For almost twenty years, Dr. G. has taught music in American public schools and international schools in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Israel, China, and the Dominican Republic. For most of that time, he directed bands and orchestras. He is a graduate of Arkansas Tech University (Bachelor of Arts - Music Education summa cum laude) and the University of Colorado - Boulder (Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts) where he specialized in instrumental conducting. Dr. G. is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, a method for helping students move with grace, poise, and good use of the self. In addition to music, he loves spending time with family, reading, cooking, and traveling.
  Grace Holstrom – Learning Support Coordinator
Grace Holstrom graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2011 with a dual bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special education. She has recently joined the DAIS community with her husband Ryne, who also teaches biology and chemistry at DAIS, and her two sons, Reed and Everett. Grace was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona where she has spent the last six years working in the special education field. Her educational philosophy is that all students can learn through consistency, hard work, and the support of teachers and parents. During her free time, Grace enjoys hiking/exercising, exploring new areas and spending time with her family.
  Jennifer Heming – Grades 2 and 3
Jennifer Heming has quite a range of elementary education experiences. With degrees in elementary education, special education and English as an Additional Language, she has worked with students from pre-K to fifth grade in a variety of classroom and specialist roles. She is currently working on a second master's degree in educational leadership through the University of San Francisco and Washington State University. Before coming to DAIS in 2013, Jennifer taught in the US states of Hawaii, Colorado and Virginia. Miss Heming is a lifelong learner who believes that learning in and out of school can and should be enjoyable and purposeful.
  Kellie Halpenny – Pre-Kindergarten
Kellie Halpenny graduated from Texas Christian University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in special education. She decided to take the leap to international teaching straight out of school, working at an international school in Malaysia for two years before coming to DAIS in 2017. Kellie loves working with young children and helping them grow into avid lifelong learners. She believes in hands-on, active learning to build strong foundations. Kellie likes to read and stay active in her spare time and looks forward to learning more about the Chinese culture.
  Kimberly Blake – Curriculum Specialist
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 – English as an Additional Language
LiTonya Roy joined the DAIS family in 2016 as an elementary English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher. She is from Katy, Texas and this is her third year at DAIS. She has been in the field of education since 1998 and she enjoys it to the fullest. Prior to DAIS, she taught in Katy ISD for six years as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. She also has experience teaching both first and third 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. 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.
  Lizzy Gong – Mandarin Language
Lizzy Gong graduated from South Central University in Hunan, China with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. After graduation she worked in the business field for several years, where she developed a strong belief in attitude and self-reflection. A good attitude is the first step to achieving anything in life. Self-reflection taught her how to work better with her clients after each business deal. Before coming to DAIS, she worked in Nansha College Preparatory Academy in Guangzhou, China for four years. She was trained in standards-based curriculum and EAL pedagogy. She hopes to bring her positive attitude and education strategies into her current teaching position.
  Lynn Stehling – Kindergarten
Lynn Stehling received her degree in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University where she majored in Elementary education and specialized in Early Childhood and Physical Education. She spent over 20 years teaching kindergarten and first grade in Texas before embarking on her international teaching career. She joined the DAIS family in 2016 where she teaches kindergarten. Lynn provides students with a positive, upbeat, environment, where children are encouraged to work together, independently apply inquiry and take risks, which ultimately results in each child reaching their highest potential of educational success.
  Marsha Faires – Grades 4
Marsha Faires has been roaming the world for over 30 some odd years teaching and exploring. She comes to DAIS by way of Madagascar, Vietnam, Pakistan, China, Japan and the USA. She has a Master’s degree and Elementary B.S. degree with endorsements in Special Education, English Language Learner, and Kindergarten. She is very interested in the emotional and social aspects of children. She has 30 post graduate hours in early childhood counseling and is a certified Mindful School teacher and yoga instructor. She finds peace and inspiration in nature, walking, reading and drinking tea.
  Martin Moratillo
  Michelena McPherson – Grade 5
Michelena joined DAIS with her husband, Joseph, and their daughter, Naia. She and Joseph began their teaching careers in Japan. Prior to coming to Dalian, they lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico where Michelena 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 Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, a Master 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 – Grades 4 and 5
Miwa Gyoba is originally from a small town in British Columbia, Canada. She graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor 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 an 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.
  Nicholle Garcia – Grade 1
Nicholle Garcia was born in California but grew up in Medford, Oregon. She is the first in her family to have graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology and a Masters of Arts degree in Teaching from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. After teaching for one year in Oregon, she moved to Texas where she taught various grade levels from 1st- 5th in public and charter schools for 7 years. From her teaching experience, she has established herself as a caring, innovative, and sets high expectations for all students while providing supports for them to be successful. Nicholle decided in 2017 that she should add more tools to her toolbelt and chose to venture into international teaching. This is where she is now, a first grade teacher at Dalian American International School.
  Sarah Applegate – Technology Integration Specialist
Sarah Applegate has been teaching for 23 years and is looking forward to her second year at DAIS. Sarah graduated from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington with a BA degree in 1992 and a Master in Teaching degree in 1995. She spent her entire US teaching career in the same high school, first as an English teacher and then as the teacher librarian. The year prior to coming to China, Sarah worked for a nonprofit organization supporting schools, districts and the Washington State Department of Education in implementing teacher leadership. Sarah believes teacher leadership can transform schools and improve student learning. Sarah is thrilled to be teaching in the same building where her daughter goes to school and cannot wait to explore more of China during her second year at DAIS.
  Yuan Kou – Mandarin Language
Yuan Kou graduated from Chang Chun Normal University in 2006 with a degree in teaching Mandarin and English as a secondary language. She joined the DAIS community in 2007. In the past 11 years she has taught Mandarin native speakers and non-native speakers from kindergarten to grade 12. Now she is an elementary Mandarin teacher. Ms. Kou likes teaching and learning. She would like to bring Chinese culture and language to our community.


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 integrated 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

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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