New Teachers


I am British born and spent the first five years of my life in Cyprus before my family moved to Hong Kong to work as teachers for ESF. After finishing school, I spent nine years studying and working in various countries, before returning to Hong Kong in 2015 to become a teacher myself. While starting out as a mainstream class teacher, my love of the arts has always been a driving force in my teaching and I feel passionately about fostering creativity in young minds. My love of art and design at secondary school led me to study Design at University and I have since developed a particular interest in finding ways to be sustainable with creativity. I love everything about nature, and when I am not in the classroom, I enjoy exploring the hills – always on the hunt for Hong Kong’s best views and waterfalls.


Originally from the United States, I have been living and working in Hong Kong since January 2003. Since then I’ve worked in several IB-PYP schools as a teacher, PYP Coordinator and Vice-Principal. I obtained my Masters in Educational Leadership and Change from the Education University of Hong Kong in 2013. Most recently I served as Vice Principal at ESF Kennedy School. I also work extensively for the IB across the Asia-Pacific Region evaluating schools, leading workshops and consulting. When not working, I enjoy acting, most recently as Dame Mary Propper in the HK Players Christmas Pantomime, cooking, baking, collecting picture books, travelling and spending time with my family – my two and a half-year-old son, Isaac and my partner, Taka.

Candice CHEN

I was born and raised in Guangxi province, which is close to Hong Kong. I have been teaching Chinese as a first and second language after I graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2012. I love being a Chinese teacher and I really enjoy exploring the beauty of Chinese language and culture with my students. In my spare time, I like reading fiction, watching movies and travelling.


I was born and brought up in India but have lived overseas for many years now. For the past ten years, I have worked in primary and secondary special education in ESF and other international schools in Hong Kong. As a SEN teacher, I support students in the mainstream classroom and in 1:1 setting. Outside school, I love to cook for my family, play tennis, go for runs and read.

Nicola GRANT

I’m originally from Greater Manchester, but have spent the majority of my career on the south coast of England teaching Social Sciences and Humanities. My family and I moved to Hong Kong in 2016 and love what this vibrant city has to offer.
In my spare time I love to read and listen to music. I also love to travel and do so as much as possible. I also take the opportunity to hike with my family, as we have such amazing trails on our doorstep.


I was born, raised and educated in central Texas and earned my Master of Science in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry before becoming an educator in 2009. My goal is to inspire students to learn and love science as much as I do. While biology is my passion, I am also a woman in STEM advocate and have helped build robotics programs in my previous schools where females made up half of the team.
I am an avid traveler and love being outdoors. I try to hike to the tops of mountains and scuba dive in the deep sea as often as possible. My desire to explore and experience the various cultures and regions of the world has led me to the international teaching community for the past three years.

Valerie MAO

My name is Valerie Mao, a China-born Singaporean. I came to Hong Kong with my husband and daughter to settle down here in 2016. Mandarin is my native language and has been my career passion. Prior to joining DC, I taught full time Mandarin for students from Secondary to Pre-University level. I also taught Mandarin HSK, GCE, IBMYP, IBDP, IGCSE and Common Core curricula in China, Singapore and Hong Kong respectively. I am an IBMYP Mandarin Moderator since 2012 and now an ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview Tester. In my spare time, I used to be a fan of fashion designing, but now nurturing a young child has occupied my personal life, which is a good balance with my job. I am looking forward to working with DC and settling into the DC community.


I am originally from Akron, Ohio, USA, but began my teaching career in the Pacific Northwest in Portland, Oregon. I found my passion for international education while teaching kindergarteners in Seoul, South Korea, and pre-kindergarteners in Shanghai, China. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of immersing myself in another culture, language, and way of life. From these experiences, I knew I wanted to be a part of the international community at Discovery College. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by like-minded students and staff where international-mindedness is valued and global citizenship is practiced on a daily basis. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy reading, hiking and exploring Hong Kong.


Born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand, where I also taught for six years before moving to Hong Kong with my husband in 2019. I have always had a passion for Health and Physical Education, I believe that it is an important part of a student’s education, which is reflected in my teaching. Outside of the classroom, I stay active through competitive sports and exercise, including playing netball, supporting the NRL and exploring the Hong Kong trails.


I was born and raised in Spain. As soon as I graduated from University, my love for languages and appreciation for other cultures brought me to live and work in a diversity of countries. During my teaching career I have taught in the UK, Thailand, China, UAE, Brazil and Turkey. As a teacher I believe we never stop learning. I am currently working towards a Masters degree in International Education. I also enjoy cinema and working out in the gym.

Rebecca RYDER

I am originally from Canada and have had the opportunity to teach at a variety of international schools in some wonderful locations, such as Uganda, Shanghai, Toronto and Hong Kong. Hong Kong has been home for more than 10 years. When I’m not busy teaching, my family and I love hiking DB, exploring the city and traveling around the region. I am a passionate PYP educator who has a keen interest in cultivating curiosity, especially in the early years.


I am from the United States and I grew up just outside Chicago. I studied Chemical Engineering in college, but quickly realized that the classroom was my calling. I started my teaching career in New York City, but I’ve spent most of my career at international schools overseas in Costa Rica and Spain. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, running and playing field hockey.

Fiona TATE

I was born in Hong Kong but was educated in Mauritius, Hong Kong and Canada. My upbringing has made me interested in exploring the connection between language and culture, which is a very exciting topic in the Language and Literature program. In my spare time, I enjoy baking, reading, exploring the world with my family and practicing yoga.


Born and raised just outside of Portsmouth, on the south coast of the UK, I have always been drawn towards waterside living. Following a degree in physics from Imperial College in London and a PGCE at Oxford University, I spent a few years working in the city, as a Chartered Accountant. However, my real calling has always been as a science educator. I have been teaching physics and general science for over 20 years, in a range of high performing schools in the UK and Switzerland, most recently as Head of Science at Aiglon College. My approach is always to seek to go far beyond the knowledge-based curriculum, so that students develop skills, dispositions, and a love of learning that will stay with them forever. Beyond the classroom, I have made significant contributions toward policy development and improving practice. In the last decade, I set up and led international service projects to Thailand and Cambodia, organised a weeklong residential educational conference and have taken students on educational visits to top scientific research observatories and laboratories across the world. In any free time, I love drumming, reading, thinking, and silliness.


I was born in Australia but grew up in Hong Kong and call Asia home. I am an avid traveller and have worked in Canada, England, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and USA. I have a passion for inquiry and a Master of Science and spent five years as the Head of Primary Science. I recently lectured pre-service teachers in technologies at a university as I presented findings from my PhD research, interested in how emergent bilinguals learn science. I am grateful to be back in Hong Kong at such a wonderful school where I can spark students’ passions again through inquiry. When I find spare time I enjoy kayaking, diving, hiking and painting. I also love watching musicals and training my new cavoodle puppy.