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Dear Hong Kong Academy Community,

HKA’s mission statement describes HKA as a “dynamic learning community.” Students, faculty, staff and parents are all actively engaged in learning, both on their own and in partnership with one another. The diversity of learning is a strong theme in this issue of HKAVoices, from theatre to sports to inclusion, as an organizing principle for the school.

With three issues now published, we turn the page over to you, the reader. If you’d like to comment on anything you’ve read in HKAVoices, please send your thoughts to the editor at

Happy Year of the Sheep or Goat ... your call!

Laura Mitchell Communications and Advancement Director


STEPHEN DARE Stephen Dare is the Head of School at Hong Kong Academy. He has worked in international schools in North and South America and South East Asia. For the last five years, Stephen has been a co-trainer for the Principal’s Training Center Summer Institutes for Curriculum and Leadership and, more recently, for Leadership and Group Dynamics. He currently sits on the Advisory Board for the Next Frontier Inclusion Project and is a member of the ACAMIS Board. He originally leſt the UK for a couple of years to explore the world of international education and to travel to Machu Picchu. He never made it to Peru and is still working overseas 25 years later.

AARON COOK Aaron Cook is HKA’s Athletics Director. In addition to supporting physical education, he coordinates the school’s inter-school and conference athletics teams. This year he will oversee HKA’s first on-campus SCISAC tournament, and last year he oversaw HKA’s first on-campus ACAMIS tournament. Aaron also manages the school’s Aſter School Activities Programme, which has grown substantially under his leadership.

GABRIEL & OBI G5 STUDENTS Grade 5 Students Gabriel and Obi interviewed Nicole Bolle, HKA’s Facilities and Operations Manger, to learn about what her job entails and why she likes working at HKA.

MICHAEL HEMSLEY Michael Hemsley joined HKA in 2011 and teaches IB Diploma physics and mathematics. In addition to his work in the classroom, Michael is the technical theatre manager, helping coordinate events and the students who help with them, especially in the secondary school.

ELAH HIRSCHBERG Elah Hirschberg, Class of 2017, enrolled at HKA in 2011 in the 6th grade. Elah’s passion is dance, and her long-term goals include working professionally in that field. To that end, she recently departed from HKA to continue her studies at The McDonald College of Dance in Sydney, Australia. HKA wishes her well in this new adventure!

STELLA IRELAND, PhD Stella Ireland, PhD currently teaches MYP Drama and DP Theatre at HKA. She has over twenty-five years of experience working with youth and young adults, having taught theatre arts to K-12 students and at the university level. In addition to directing and producing plays, she is also the author of 13 plays, including two musicals. Over her career she has worked with diverse populations, including the Swinomish and Upper Skagit Tribes of Washington State, migrant workers and indigenous tribes from Oaxaca, and Latino youth. In 2005, she was awarded the “Making a Difference for Women Award” by Soroptimist International.

HEATHER LINHARDT Heather Linhardt is HKA’s Commercial and Sustainability Coordinator. She has 16 years combined experience in environmental education, non-profit management, organizational development and classroom teaching. Before moving to Hong Kong, she co-founded an NGO in Mexico devoted to environmental education. She aslo served as Executive Director of Outward Bound Mexico and worked with service learning and experiential education programmes in IB schools in Mexico.

KARIN MADDOX Karin Maddox has been a faculty member at Hong Kong Academy for 10 years. Currently a teacher for Grade 2, she has also taught PK1 and PK2. An avid HKA Dragon Boater, she and her husband Jeff have three children, two of whom, Lucy and Sam, will graduate this year. Daughter Olivia will graduate next year and will be one of the first students at HKA to have attended from kindergarten straight through to Grade 12.

BILL POWELL Bill Powell, along with his wife Ochan Kusuma- Powell, is a founding member of the Design Team for The Next Frontier: Inclusion, an international organization dedicated to inclusive education. They are the co-authors of several publications about inclusion and currently focus their attention on teacher professional development, school leadership and governance training. They are consultants for Education Across Frontiers and Associate Trainers for Thinking Collaborative (Cognitive Coaching and Adaptive Schools). Bill serves as a trainer for the Principal Training Center, and Ochan for the Teacher Training Center.

JENNIFER SWINEHART Jennifer Swinehart is HKA’s IB Middle Years Programme Coordinator and provides leadership for the MYP curriculum. She joined HKA in 2010 and teaches MYP English language and literature and DP English literature. An enthusiastic member of the school’s dragonboat team, she is also currently pursuing a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction.

KRISTEL SOLOMON-SALEEM Kristel Solomon-Saleem is HKA’s Learner Support Director. Now in her 5th year at HKA, Kristel has provided key leadership for the Learner Support Programme and vision for the Sa i Kung campus’s innovative LS facilities. As an active participant in The Next Frontier: Inclusion organization, she coordinated NFI’s Fall 2014 conference at HKA.

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