Meet Our Team

Dr D Gerard Joseph Louis

Chairman of Board of Governors
Crescendo-HELP International School

  • CEO of HELP Education Services
  • Dean of the Faculty of Behavioural Science, Education and Languages, HELP University
  • Founding Principal of HELP International School
  • PhD in Counseling Psychology from De La Salle University
  • Over 30 years experience in education

Mr Phillip Brisley

  • Founding Principal of Crescendo-HELP International School
  • Over 40 years of experience in education
  • Member of the Most Honourable Order of the British Empire (2002)
  • King Hussein Medal for Outstanding Achievement for Contributions to Education (2007)
  • Certificate of Education from the University of Nottingham and Bishop Lonsdale College, Derby, UK
  • Member of the College of Teachers (MCollT)

Mr Chow Kok Hiang

Board of Directors
Crescendo Education Sdn Bhd

  • Director of Crescendo International College.
  • Group financial controller of Kim Loong Resources Berhad.
  • Chartered Accountant with the Malaysian institute of Accountants.
  • Member of Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountant.

Ms Lee Mei Yeng

  • Practising lawyer with own legal firm in Johor Bahru
  • Joint honours degree in Law and Economics, University of Keele
  • A member of Inner Temple and a Barrister-At-Law of England and Wales

Mr Fang Kiam Hui

Chief Executive Crescendo International College

  • Over 20 years of experience in education
  • Bachelor of Economics, Universiti Putra Malaysia

Professor Dato’Dr Zakaria Ahmad

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
HELP University

  • Bachelor in Social Sciences (Hons) (NUS), MA (McMaster University), PhD (MIT)
  • Vice-President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia
  • Served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Tun Razak Chair at Ohio University

Dr Khoong-Lim Chooi Peng

  • PhD in Applied Linguistics (UM): MA Applied Linguistics, (University of Birmingham, UK): MEd (University of Pittsburgh, USA)
  • Former Sub-Dean (Alumni Affairs), Associate Professor and Head of Communication Skills and Language Unit at the School of Computer Engineering (NTU, Singapore)
  • Former President and CEO of HELP International College of Technology
  • Currently, Curriculum Development Advisor at HELP University

Paul Starkie


Mr Paul Starkie has almost 40 years in teaching and educational leadership in the UK and within high performing international schools around the world including Jakarta, Brussels, St Helena and Dubai. Other than being recognised by CIS (Council of International Schools) for his outstanding contribution to international education, Paul also completed his National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) and OfSTED (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills in the UK government) training. He is an avid participant and coach in various competitive sports. Paul joins the CHIS family, accompanied by his wife and son.

Ian Lovelady

Deputy Principal, Head of Secondary

Mr Ian joins CHIS as Head of Secondary and brings a wealth of experience. Having a first-class degree in mathematics, he started teaching mathematics, PE and ICT subjects. Mr Ian quickly progressed to the Head of Mathematics in an outstanding mixed comprehensive school of 1600 students and eventually onto a Senior in the UK.

Mr Ian was also previously Head of Secondary in Spain. He also held a position as a Deputy Head Teacher of a school with 1000 students and was instrumental in the improvement of the school to be judged as outstanding by OfSTED. He was also the Head of Sixth of 400 students in a large comprehensive school. In his previous role, Mr Ian is responsible for the curriculum as an Assistant Principal in a 3-19 school of 3600 students in Dubai.

Mr Ian is a qualified Mountain Leader and has led groups of students on expeditions to various parts of the world. He has a passion for climbing and arrives with his wife, Beth, a Biology teacher and his young daughter.

Tammy Cyngier

Deputy Principal, Head of Primary

Ms Tammy Cyngier graduated from the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff with a degree in Primary Education. She has since worked in various educational positions in primary classes in England and internationally with her most recent post in China. After establishing a successful language training centre in China, the call of the classroom and school life beckoned. She decided to join Crescendo-HELP International School and further her interest in English as a Second Language within the school context. Tammy and her husband are keen to discover more about their area in Southern Malaysia.

Kathryn Sutherland

Assistant Principal Whole School

Ms Kathryn comes from Australia and has a wealth of experience in education management and teaching. She holds a Master of Contemporary Asian Analysis, Postgraduate Diploma in Arts, Bachelor of Education (Primary and Secondary), Bachelor of Science and Diploma in Modern Languages.

As part of her Master’s degree at the University of Melbourne, Ms Kathryn worked as a volunteer in East Timor for 12 months on sustainable development projects in education, health and micro-finance. Inspired by these experiences, Kathryn obtained a Bachelor of Education and started her teaching career at Kormilda College, Northern Territory, Australia. Ms Kathryn held various leadership roles at Kormilda College, including Deputy Principal Academic. She also worked for the Northern Territory Department of Education as the Manager of Non-Government Schools.

For the last six years, Ms Kathryn has been in leadership roles at international schools in Malaysia and China. She has worked with the Australian, International Baccalaureate and US curriculums. She is passionate about global education, in particular working with staff to provide equal opportunities for all students to embrace learning, and to support wellbeing. Ms Kathryn believes in education that equips students with the skills and capabilities they will need to be successful global citizens with a high level of self-awareness and intercultural understanding, as well as the motivation to support sustainable development. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, outdoor activities, learning about new cultures and trying new cuisine.

Khoyes Miah

Assistant Principal Secondary

Mr Khoyes has a Master’s degree in Chemistry and has taught Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths. He was recognised as an Advanced Skills Teacher in the UK and also previously worked with schools across the UK focusing on improving the quality of teaching and learning and school improvement.

It was an assignment in a school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and his impact on the school that he was appointed as Head of Secondary. Whilst at CHIS as Key Stage Coordinator, Mr Khoyes has contributed significantly to the Secondary and whole school initiatives.

He is very much looking forward to his new role as Assistant Principal, Secondary. In his spare time, Mr Khoyes enjoys travelling, reading and spending time with his family.

Rayne Chow Wan Sean

Assistant Principal Secondary

Ms Rayne was one of our founding members of staff and during this time she has been a highly effective Head of Languages incorporating 18 Members of staff. Her commitment to the school has involved in supporting very many school events including the coordination of Chinese New Year. Ms Rayne brings a wealth of knowledge with BA and MA degrees in Chinese Languages and experience of development of learning and teaching and academic monitoring of student progress. She will add much to the work of the Secondary Leadership Team.

Joanne Ong Kee Ling

Assistant Principal Primary

Ms Joanne graduated from Multimedia University with a Bachelor (Hons) in Multimedia. Her education includes CIDTT which she obtained in the year 2010 and has recently completed her Masters in Education, specialising in Education Psychology. Ms Joanne brings 17 years of experience teaching English, Maths, IPC and Character Education in various international schools in Malaysia. She has held several middle leadership positions including Students Affair Supervisor, Head of Fine Arts and most recently Milepost 2 Coordinator. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her family.

James Hornby

Assistant Principal Primary

Originally from England, Mr James had been a teacher for 24 years and has spent the last 15 years teaching internationally in Egypt, Vietnam and Thailand. He said he is ‘still amazed that I get to do the job I love while also getting the opportunity to experience and learn about fascinating places and meet so many wonderful people’.

Mr James initially studied Geography at Loughborough University in England. His interest in Sport and the outdoors has continued throughout his life and he loves spending time playing sport, running, hiking and diving. This love of the outdoors led him to complete a MA in Outdoor and Environmental Education Management. Mr James believes learning outside the classroom, whether simple activities around the school site or residential activity trips take children out of their comfort zone; challenge them and help them to develop as individuals.

Mr James is committed to providing a safe yet challenging learning environment where the children are not afraid to ‘have a go’ and make mistakes. Ensuring children thrive as learners, understanding children learn in different ways, enjoy different things and achieve differently and at different rates. 

Mr James is accompanied by his wife and daughter, and is looking forward to the exciting challenges that lie ahead.

Winny Wong Kai Li

Head of Key Stage 5

Ms Winny obtained her Master’s Degree in Chemistry and has taught Chemistry and Science for many years. Prior to teaching at CHIS, she had taught A-Levels and Foundation Programmes at universities and colleges since year 2010.

She is a trained Cambridge A-Levels Chemistry teacher and also has experience as a University Placement advisor who gives guidance and advice on university applications. She is a passionate teacher who wants to make a difference in her students’ lives.

During her free time, she enjoys watching movie with her family.

Kirk Baker

Head of Key Stage 4

Mr Kirk has a B.A Degree in Geography. He has over 20 years of experience where his specialism is teaching Geography to KS3, IGCSE and A Level. He has been a lead practitioner and has also taught the subject History, Politics, and Travel & Tourism.

Mr Kirk has also held a number of leadership roles in schools including leading the curriculum, learning, and pastoral care.

Aainaa Haizun

Head of Key Stage 3

Ms Aainaa graduated from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia with a Masters of Educational Psychology (2012) and Science and Computer with Education (Chemistry) (2009).

Since 2009, she has been involved in teaching Malaysian and Cambridge Curriculum in other government and international schools. She has a passion in bringing the future leaders to their greatest potential by empowering their education.

Artem Firstkin

Head of Year 11

Mr Artem Firstkin graduated from Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University) with a Master’s degree in Engineering (Mathematical Modeling) and a Master’s degree in Economics (Data Management). He then completed his military service in Serpukhov Academy of the Rocket Forces in the rank of lieutenant.

After starting his teaching career in Malaysia, Mr Artem obtained his Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching, Cambridge International Certificate in Teaching and Learning with distinction. He achieved his Qualified Teacher Standard (Russia) as a Mathematics teacher. He has experience teaching KS1 – KS5, Checkpoint, IGCSE and A-Levels students. His teaching philosophy is that ALL STUDENTS CAN LEARN!

Mr Artem creates a classroom where students can flourish and explore to reach their full potential. His main goal as an educator is to make the learning process inclusive, engaging and fascinating. He had participated in a co-curricular life of the school as the Student Council coordinator for two years, and now he joins our pastoral team as the Head of Year 10. He is looking forward to working closely with all the members of our CHIS community: students, parents and his colleagues.

Tan Woen Tian

Head of Year 10

Mr Tan joined CHIS as a Secondary Mandarin teacher. He earned his Bachelor Degree (Hons) from University of Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), majoring in Chinese Studies. He enjoys teaching, and has taught in Chinese Independent school and International school in Kuala Lumpur.

During his leisure time, he enjoys playing badminton, jogging and philosophizing. His next life challenge is to experience the way of St. James.

Ryno Weyers

Head of Year 9

Mr Ryno joined CHIS in August 2019 along with his wife Ms Marissa Weyers. After graduating with a Bachelors’ Degree in Education with a focus on Economic Methodology, he taught in South Africa for several years. During his time in South Africa he had the privilege of working with students from various different backgrounds. In his last few years in South Africa he was also the master-in-charge of boys’ discipline. 

This role required Mr Ryno to spend a lot of time with his male students to ensure they were respectful towards teachers and their peers and that they spent enough time focusing on their schoolwork. He also worked with students who were affected by gang violence, the loss of a parent or domestic violence.

 His role in their school career/ lives was to ensure that they reach their full potential, share their feelings and emotions with someone they trust and that they don’t backslide into a life of crime and violence. He still has contact with those students today. Mr Ryno is also a World Rugby qualified rugby coach and he has helped several players to qualify for scholarships at major universities in South Africa. He firmly believes that teaching is a passion and not an occupation and that working with kids is one of the biggest privileges there are.

Maria Gabriela Marinescu

Head of Year 8

Ms Maria has earned a BA in Psychology from the Faculty of Sociology-Psychology from Bucharest. She obtained her Master’s degree in Teaching Spanish from the University of Lleida, Spain. She is also a qualified DELE (Spanish as a Foreign Language) examiner by the Instituto Cervantes, sanctioned by the Spanish Ministry of Education.

She is currently working on her PGCE international certificate from the Liverpool John Moores University, England. She has had the opportunity to live in Spain before moving to South Carolina, USA, where she worked for four years at a Montessori Elementary School. She enjoys the challenge of experiencing other cultures and their languages, as well as travelling and seeing new places.

Hazila Asni

Head of Year 7

Ms. Hazila has a Master’s degree in Physics granted by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. Before joining CHIS, she taught Physics and Mathematics for more than 10 years at a private college and several international schools in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Johor Bahru.

During her career, Ms Hazila has contributed significantly as a Physics Team Leader, Expedition Campus Leader as well as a supervisor for many successful students’ projects. She believes by being a proactive and caring teacher, she can help students to find their true potential. Ms Hazila loves spending time with her kids and always finds time to go on picnics and camping together.

Renuga Govalan

Head of Year 1

Ms. Renu is originally from KL has LL.B and completed her teaching practise from Montessori Centre International UK specializing in Early Child Hood. Ms. Renu has obtained many certificates in early childhood as she has much passion and desire in handling younger children.

She started teaching in 2010. Ms. Renu was an Assistant Principal SS2, PJ, Selangor before she decided to move to JB in 2018. She is happily married with 2 beautiful children. She started her career with CHIS in 2018, teaching MP1 students.

As a teacher, she believes that active learning that involves fun and movements gives more effectiveness to the lesson. Outside of school you will generally find her busy with family, sampling great food & cooking and adventuring as far as she can with her family.

Shalini Prabakaran

Head of Year 2

An enthusiastic child squeals excitedly, “Oh, I get it now!” It is for moments like these that Ms Shalini Prabakaran decided to become a primary school teacher. Ms Shalini started teaching in 2011, after graduating from UNISEL with a B.Ed(Hons)degree specializing in TESL.

Prior to joining CHIS, she has worked with two other international schools in Johor Bahru, which gave her numerous opportunities to work with both secondary and primary students. She believes that a positive attitude and a little smile goes a long way.

Lalitambika A/P G Palaniesamy

Head of Year 3

Ms Lalita stated teaching in 2011, after graduating from UNISEL with B.Ed.TESL(Hons) and continued her Masters (M.Ed TESL) in University Teknologi Malaysia. She has been working in the teaching field for the past 11 years.

Teaching isn’t her job, it’s her passion. Her great passion in teaching has become the main motivating factor in making it her career. Besides that, she is a well-trained Indian classical dancer as she loves dancing.

Rekha Silvaraji

Head of Year 4

Ms. Rekha graduated from RoeHampton University, UK and holds a Bachelor (Hons) of Arts in Education. She started her teaching career as a PYP homeroom teacher in Fairview International School Kuala Lumpur in 2012. After experiencing the IB school for 3 years, Ms. Rekha joined Taylor’s International School Puchong in 2015. She worked as part of the leadership team in the process of implementing, monitoring and achieving the school priorities and targets. Ms. Rekha served the school as a Year Leader for 3 years before relocating to Johor Bahru. Her experiences as a homeroom teacher have afforded her the opportunity to interact with diverse student populations and engage them in learning. Ms. Rekha strives to ensure that every student achieves excellence!


Head of Year 5

Casey Volden

Head of Year 6

Mr Casey was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. He has been living in Asia for more than 15 years, with many of those years spent in the field of education. After obtaining an ESL Diploma in Canada, Mr Casey taught English as a Second Language in Northern China for 7 years, where he also learned to speak Mandarin fluently.

After moving to Malaysia with his wife in 2016, he decided to join the international school circuit. Mr Casey holds a Diploma in Advanced Teaching from John University in the UK and is currently studying a Teaching Diploma course from Cambridge University.

Grace Sylviarani

IPC Coordinator

Ms Grace graduated from University of Hertfordshire, UK and obtained her MBA from Asia Metropolitan University. She also pursued a Diploma in Educational Studies from College of Teachers in UK. Prior to teaching at international schools, she has been lecturing at colleges in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru.

She has extensive experience working with children of all ages and enjoys supporting her students as they learn through an inquiry approach. She is very dedicated, resourceful and goal-driven professional educator with a solid commitment to the social and academic growth and development of every child. She abides by the principle that a happy teacher creates a happy school.

During her free time, she loves reading, enjoying nature and watching movies with her two children.


Literacy Coordinator


Numeracy Coordinator

Joselito Eduardo Torre Dela Luna

Head of Physical Education

Mr Ed as he wishes to be known is thrilled to be joining CHIS as Head of Physical Education. Having been based in Malaysia for 16 years, he considers Malaysia as his second home. Originally from the Philippines, the land of smiles, Mr Ed brings a huge level of experience as Head of Department in 3 schools and during this time he has coached Basketball, Football, Athletics and T-Ball teams and to success in FOBISIA. 

Mr Ed is committed to sharing and developing best practice and his experience of teaching physical education and sports coaching in different sports disciplines. He believes in “Play and Learn” where every child is given an opportunity to experience sports in a safe environment. Mr Ed is a sports enthusiast, is a keen sportsman himself and you will find him taking part on the field on the basketball court and in the gym. Mr Ed loves the outdoors and will be using his travel opportunities to go hiking or motorbike camping.

Karlene Rainham

Head of English

Kia ora is the salutation from Ms Karlene Rainham, an English and Drama teacher who hails from New Zealand and has a BA with a Diploma in Teaching. Ms Karlene has a real passion for international teaching and has enjoyed working with learners from all over the world. She  has taught in Brunei, Kazakhstan, China and Peru, and of course we can’t forget New Zealand. She has extensive leadership experience having been Head of English and Drama in a number of schools. Her curriculum experience is equally wide ranging to include teaching English at IB, UK Cambridge curriculum at KS3, IGCSE English and Drama.  

After 27 years of teaching young people the world over, she commented that she ‘believes very much that young people are our future and they make the future look bright’. She loves working with teenagers as they discover the joy in learning and the inner spark that will guide them to their bright future created for themselves.

Ms Karlene has run two marathons, (Singapore and New York) and many half marathons, and hopes to rekindle her running in Johor Bahru.

Aenie Law Mun Yee

Head of Languages

Ms.Aenie holds a Bachelor Degree in Languages and Linguistics (Major in Chinese Language) in University of Malaya. She has also obtained her additional teaching qualification in Teachers of Chinese as A Foreign Language at Beijing International College. Prior to CHIS, she was teaching IGCSE as well as Mandarin Language B for the IB Diploma program. She is also a qualified HSK and YCT examination coordinator. She enjoys travelling and listening to music.

Gabrie Supra

Head of Design & Technology

Mr Gabrie obtained his bachelor’s degree from North-West University Potchefstroom in South Africa. In South Africa, he taught Engineer’s, Graphics and Design and Mechanical Technology for six years before moving abroad. While teaching in Shanghai, Mr Gabrie completed a TESOL course that helped him understand his students’ difficulties while learning.

During his free time, Mr Gabrie enjoys playing and coaching rugby. According to Mr Gabrie, sport and learning go hand in hand. In sport, you need to respect your teammate, equipment, coach and opponent. The same goes for the classroom.

Abdul Wafi

Head of Arts

Mr Abdul Wafi is a secondary Arts teacher at Crescendo-HELP International School. He is a Johorian and graduated from Cosmopoint College of Technology in Computer Arts & Graphic Design. He has been awarded ‘Anugerah Bestari’ for being the Top 10 students in Malaysia and Top Student in Johor Campus. He has also completed his Cambridge International Certificate for Teaching and Learning. He is now pursuing Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies.

With more than 10 years of teaching experience, Mr. Wafi continues to bring out the artsy talent in our future generations. In his free time, he enjoys doodling, water-colour painting and anything artsy. Mr Wafi believes that “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain as an artist once we grow up” – Pablo Picasso.

Tang Siu Kiong

Head of Mathematics

Ms Tang Siu Kiong is a secondary Mathematics teacher at Crescendo-HELP International School. She began teaching in various Malaysian national schools in 1983 after completing a teacher training course at Batu Lintang Teachers’ Training College, Kuching, Sarawak.

She also has experience in teaching various levels of mathematics in the United States, having migrated there in 2001. She received her BA (Mathematics with Education) in 2009 and Masters in Applied Statistics in 2013 from University of North Texas and University Malaya respectively.

With close to four decades of teaching experience, Ms Tang brings a wealth of knowledge and strategies to the classroom. In her leisure time, she enjoys travelling, researching and window-shopping.

Beth Lovelady

Head of Science

Mrs. Beth joined Crescendo-HELP International School as Head of Science from an outstanding school in Dubai, bringing with her over 20 years of teaching and leadership experience in Science and during this time has been developing new teachers from various parts of the world.

Mrs. Beth has been in Science leadership positions in outstanding schools in the UK, Spain and the UAE. She has also been able to share her enthusiasm for climbing by teaching GCSE and A level rock climbing. Whilst Mrs. Beth’s specialism is Biology she has also taught Chemistry to A level and been an examiner across all 3 Sciences and Key Stages in the UK.

She particularly enjoys the practical investigative aspect of teaching Science and thrives on watching students develop their own hypotheses to then test experimentally in the lab or field. She has led practical field-trips for students across the UK, Sweden and Spain and is looking forward to doing this in Malaysia.

Mrs. Beth fell in love with Malaysia whilst volunteering at a Children’s home in Kuching when she was 18, where she taught music and English and got her first real taste of teaching. Mrs. Beth is looking forward to exploring Malaysia with her family once this is allowed. She also enjoys running, climbing and skiing.

Nuala Frances Power

Head of Humanities

Ms Nuala obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Southampton University and her Masters degree from Winchester University. She has taught History, Geography at IGCSE Level and Philosophy to A-Level. In the UK she gained a variety of leadership roles in a top Grammar school which she taught at for 15 years before moving to Asia. She has taught in another school in Malaysia and also in Shanghai.

Ms Nuala gained her Trinity College Cert Tesol in India during the summer holidays three years ago. Ms Nuala loves learning as much as she does teaching and is currently working for her level two Bahasa Malaysia. She enjoys learning Malaysian cooking, and exploring the culture and History of Malaysia. She also likes swimming and yoga.

Yap May Ling

Head of Finance

Ms Yap joined CHIS as an Head of Finance under the Finance Department. She has more than 15 years of taxation and accounting experience. Currently, Ms Yap is an Associate Member of Chartered Tax Institute of Malaysia (ACTIM). In her free time, she enjoys jogging and dancing.


Head of Marketing/Admissions

Ms.Bhanu graduated from University of Hull, UK with a Masters in Business Administration (Finance) and has more than 15 years of working experience in General Management and Marketing. She also pursued and completed a Diploma in Psychology from ACC Counselling School in Singapore in order to be better equipped to handle the growing problems among the youths today. Bhanu is an avid traveller and enjoys playing badminton and squash.

Carene Wong Wei Fen

Head of Operations

Ms Carene completed her Diploma in Business Administration from the Association of Business Executives, UK. She worked in a financial institution as an executive in the Mortgage Department for over 10 years. She also held the role in Admissions and Marketing in an international school prior to CHIS. In her free time, she likes to play badminton, swim and cycle.


Head of Human Resources

Ms Shamini Sally has completed her Master in Human Resource Development from University Technology Malaysia (UTM). She is a HR practitioner with more than 20 years of working experience in a fast paced business environment and multinational corporation. She enjoys exploring new opportunities and strongly believes lifelong learning helps to enrich your personal growth. During her leisure time, she loves listening to music, dancing and participating in sports activities.

Mera Vansathakumaran

Head of ICT

Ms Mera completed her Bachelor of Degree (Hons) in Computer Engineering from University Malaysia Sabah. Prior to joining CHIS, she worked as an ICT teacher in a computer school for 5 years and  has trained students for ICAS (International Competitions and Assessments for Schools) and MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) exams. She also worked as a Desktop Engineer and Trainer at a school in Singapore for 2 years. During her spare time, she enjoys travelling, dancing and listening to music.

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PTD 204446, Jalan Lebuh
Cemerlang, Taman Desa Cemerlang,
81800 Ulu Tiram, Johor.

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