Fine Arts Department
|Olga van Doorn – Instrumental Music, Fine Arts Department Chair
This is Olga's first year at DAIS and she is thrilled to be here. Having previously taught in Africa, southern China, and Cambodia, Olga brings a wealth of international experience and perspective. She holds dual Master degrees in pedagogy and methodology in both music and primary education, and she has experience teaching all levels of band, choir, and music theory. Her mission is to inspire students to love music as much as she does and to be lifelong learners. She draws her inspiration from her students and feels fortunate that her life allows her to contribute to their musical development.
|Cody Gifford – Guitar
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.
|Helen Mortlock de Gil – Visual Arts
Helen Gil has taught art in high schools for over 30 years in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Venezuela. The expressive and visual arts are a necessary part of education. Through the arts each student can develop a true sense of identity and find a way to comment and express that self-understanding. Her aim as a teacher of visual arts is to make students feel successful so that at some time in their life a few years on they will pick up a brush, a pencil, or a pen again and begin to do something that they learned during their time in her classes. She is a founding member of AVA, the Venezuelan Watercolour Association, a member of the Caracas Drawing Circle (Circulo de Dibujo), and the Caracas and London Urban Sketchers group. She has become passionate about urban sketching.
|Logan Bryant – Drama
Mr. Bryant graduated from the University of Southern California in 2014 with a degree in international relations with an emphasis in Pacific Rim studies. Growing up, Mr. Bryant was an actor auditioning for major television network series and films. In college, he began studying Chinese language and culture, seeking a slightly different career path. In 2014, Mr. Bryant moved to Shanghai, China and studied Chinese language at Fudan University. Mr. Bryant has been with DAIS/Huamei for two and a half years and is looking forward to teaching drama and EAL this year. In his free time, Mr. Bryant likes playing with his dog, making Chinese food with his wife, playing video games, watching films, and writing for his blog.
|Meghan Peter – Visual Arts
Meghan Peter has over eight years of experience in education. A California native, she studied Visual Arts at the University of San Diego on a NCAA Division 1 swimming scholarship. After graduation in 2008, she dedicated a year of service work in Sacramento through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She earned her teaching credential in Art from Brandman University with Magna Cum Laude honors and has taught elementary, middle, high school, and Advanced Placement Studio Art. She enjoys practicing and teaching all art media, and especially enjoying exploring the world through the lens of a camera. She employs an active approach to learning, focused on guiding students to realize and cultivate their extensive and exciting creative potential.
|Melody Gifford – Choral Music
Melody Gifford joins the DAIS community this year as the middle school and high school choir teacher. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Colorado and her master’s degree in choral conducting from Penn State University. This year begins her 20th year of teaching, having previously taught music and choir in Colorado, Israel, China, and The Dominican Republic. She is passionate about creating a safe space for her students to grow as they explore music in the ensemble setting as well as for their own personal enjoyment. She loves to see students gain confidence in performing and celebrates students’ successes on the stage and in the classroom. She is joined by her husband, Cody Gifford, who is the elementary school music teacher, and their two daughters.