Welcome New Hires 2024-25

The Graded Gazette


Erika Allen 
K-12 Optimal Learning Services (OLS) Teacher 

Erika joins Graded with 13 years of classroom experience, most recently as a third-grade teacher at a Brazilian international school. She previously worked for two years at Avenues Shenzhen in China as an academic support specialist. Before her international adventures, Erika spent eight years teaching at independent schools in Tennessee and Ohio, including a three-year stint at KIPP Memphis Academy, where she led the Literacy Department. She holds a BA in sociology from The University of Memphis and an MEd in early childhood education from the University of Dayton. Erika loves to immerse herself in books and podcasts and plan her next travel escapades. She has explored three continents. Standout trips include those to Dubai, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Thailand. 



Catherine Bae 
Lower School Librarian 

Catherine, who proudly identifies as Korean Australian, will arrive in Brazil from her most recent position as an elementary teacher-librarian in verdant Malaysia. Catherine’s interest in teaching began over 22 years ago in Melbourne, Australia, born out of a love for the opportunity to have fun while learning. The desire to see the world led Catherine and her husband, Jeff, to Suwon, South Korea, where they had their first international teaching experience. Taipei, Doha, and Kuala Lumpur followed. She holds a Bachelor of Education (primary) from the University of Technology Sydney and a graduate diploma in educational studies with a minor in learning disabilities from the University of Melbourne. Driven by curiosity and a passion for teaching research, Catherine was inspired to also earn her master's in teacher-librarianship through Queensland University of Technology. When she’s not finding fabulous stories to connect with students, she dabbles in the kitchen, experimenting with flour and heat. Who wants a slice of sourdough bread? 



Catherine (Cat) Beaulac 
Middle School Counselor 

Cat has worked as an educator/counselor for more than 20 years. She is currently a middle school counselor at the International School of Dakar in Senegal, where she has worked for two years. Before moving to Dakar, she was a counselor and head of house at Branksome Hall Asia in Jeju, South Korea. Cat holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and English literature, a Bachelor of Education, and a Master of Arts in counseling psychology from the University of Victoria. Hailing from Canada, she is fluent in English and French. She has been studying Spanish for two years and has begun learning Portuguese. Cat loves being outdoors, whether cycling, hiking, swimming, or kayaking. She also loves to read and write.



Melissa Bueno 
Lower School Grade 1 Teacher 

Embarking on her seventh year as an educator, Melissa brings a wealth of diverse experiences to the vibrant Graded community. Hailing from the lush landscapes of Manaus, nestled in the heart of the Amazon, her teaching journey is fueled by a lifelong passion for English and education. Before answering her true calling in the classroom, Melissa pursued a BA in law and practiced as a lawyer for a stint. Yet, the dynamic realm of teaching ultimately captured her heart. She proceeded to earn a BA in English language and began a fulfilling career at international schools across Brazil. Outside of school, Melissa loves singing, dancing, and playing sports.



Patricia Cardoso 
Lower School Pre-primary Teacher 

Before her current role as a pre-primary assistant at Graded, Patricia worked for many years as a teacher in the school's former Toddler Program. Patricia is delighted to take on a classroom teaching role once again. She holds a BA in psychology, a BA in education, and an MA in education from Michigan State University. She also has an international pre-primary Montessori diploma. Her love of learning was what sparked her passion for teaching. Patricia takes great pride in inspiring her students and helping them grow. She adores animals, nature, and the ocean, and is an avid reader.



Travis Evans-Sago 
Lower School English Language Learner (ELL) Teacher 

Travis Evans-Sago brings 15 years of education experience to Graded, following his most recent tenure at Escola Americana de Campinas. With a passion for language and culture, he holds a PhD in Hispanic linguistics from Indiana University, Bloomington, specializing in second language acquisition and sociolinguistics, with a particular interest in the role of the learning context in language acquisition. Travis's teaching journey has taken him across continents, where he has educated learners in China, France, Spain, and Chile. He has also contributed his expertise to institutions such as the University of Indiana and the College of Charleston. Travis joins the community with his husband, Gabriel. Beyond education, Travis enjoys gazing at the stars, watching films, and playing with his two cats, Yuki and Meimei. 



Jennifer (Jen) Gagner 
High School English Teacher 

Jen is entering her twentieth year of teaching, the past seven of which she has spent at the American School of Antananarivo teaching IB Middle Years and Diploma Programmes and high school English. She has also served as MYP coordinator. Before moving to Madagascar, Jen taught English and Latin at The Equity Project Charter School in New York City. During that time, she was an adjunct professor for the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences and a course developer for their Professional and Continuing Education Program. Jen holds a Bachelor of Arts in classical studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction from the University of San Diego. She enjoys CrossFit and yoga and holds a 200-hour RYT certificate from Yoga Works. Jen is excited about experiencing the vibrant Brazilian culture and bringing her love for language and literature to the Graded community.



Martin Greenblat 
High School Social Studies Teacher

Martin Greenblat will enter Graded after five years teaching business and economics in São Paulo at St. Nicholas. Before becoming a teacher, Martin spent more than 25 years in consulting and technology at Accenture, Microsoft, and several Silicon Valley startups. He joins the Graded community with his ninth-grade daughter, Rafaela. His son, Rodrigo, studies at Insper. Martin earned his MS in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Following a few years working in Europe, he returned to the United States to pursue his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoys recording educational TikToks, playing volleyball, and learning new languages. If anyone is interested in practicing Italian, please let him know! 



Hina Hashmi 
High School Associate Principal 

Hina Hashmi grew up as a third culture kid in the Middle East, which sparked her lifelong wanderlust. She will begin her seventeenth year as an educator at Graded after having spent the past 16 in Scotland, Mexico, and most recently, Turkey. Before teaching, Hina worked as a broccoli sorter, professional makeup artist, and white water rafting guide. Hina has an honours degree in parasitology from the University of Glasgow, a PGDE in secondary biology from the University of Edinburgh, and an MEd in leading learning and teaching from the University of Dundee. As you have probably guessed, Hina is Scottish, but equally proud of her Pakistani and Kenyan heritage. She joins the Graded community with her husband, John, and two children, Roxana (Roxy) and Jasmine (Jelly). Roxy will be starting K3 in August. Jelly is still trying to nail walking. Hina is most likely to be found buying outrageous shoes, hunting for snacks, or making obscure pop culture references that people politely laugh at but no one really understands. 


Elissa Ko 
Lower School Grade 3 Teacher 

Elissa Ko, who joined Graded in January 2024, is a grade 3 teacher with over a decade of teaching experience. Born in São Paulo and raised in South Africa, the US, and South Korea, Elissa's diverse cultural background has instilled a deep appreciation for multiculturalism. A graduate of Biola University, Elissa is committed to fostering inclusive learning environments and promoting cross-cultural understanding among her students. She is fluent in English, Korean, and Portuguese and strives to connect with students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Returning to São Paulo after 12 years abroad, Elissa is eager to reunite with her family and contribute to the educational landscape of her hometown. She is dedicated to continuous professional development and is enthusiastic about making a positive impact as an educator at Graded. Elissa enjoys painting, singing, journaling, playing the piano, and spending quality time with her husband and two children.


Evelyn Lichtenauer 
Lower School Grade 5 Teacher 

Evelyn is excited to be joining Graded this year as a grade 5 teacher. She is arriving from Milan, Italy, along with her husband Mike (who will teach middle school math), and their two children, Wesley Rose and Atticus. Previously, Evelyn and her family have lived and worked in Russia, Indonesia, and Colombia. She began her career in Round Rock, Texas, teaching middle school English and social studies for ten years before embarking on the international adventure that allowed her to discover her love for teaching fifth graders. Evelyn has a BS in applied learning and development from The University of Texas at Austin and an MEd in leadership from Texas State University. Her love of teaching ultimately inspired her husband to become a certified teacher and join in all the fun! She enjoys reading and exploring new places with her family.


Michael (Mike) Lichtenauer 
Middle School Mathematics Teacher 

Mike is returning to South America to begin his eleventh year of teaching. He has lived in Colombia and worked at schools in Indonesia, Russia, Texas, and most recently, Italy, where he taught mathematics and technology integration in the MakerSpace. Before getting into education, Mike worked at a large international engineering firm. He joins the Graded community with his wife, Evelyn (a grade 5 teacher), and their two children, Wesley Rose and Atticus. Mike has a BA in economics from The University of Texas at Austin and an MEd in instructional technology from Texas Tech University. He is currently working on his doctorate in educational technology from Central Michigan University. Mike enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and spending time at the beach with his family. He also appreciates anything with an engine and exploring new places on two wheels.  


Cristin (Crissy) Loschi 
High School English Language Learner (ELL) Teacher 

Crissy comes to Graded with 17 years of teaching experience, most recently in Uzbekistan. She has also taught in Jordan, Tanzania, and Cameroon. Before entering the educational field, Chrissy received her BA in communication and worked in television production. She went on to earn her MS in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) from Hunter College of the City University of New York and began her teaching career in Brooklyn. She joins the Graded community with her husband, Steve, a middle school science teacher, and their son, Nelson. Crissy fell in love with kitenge in Cameroon and has been obsessed with textiles ever since. She enjoys second-hand markets and repurposing and upcycling her thrifted treasures. She also loves listening to music while cooking (mostly) vegetarian meals, exploring cities with great architecture, and being beachside with her family.


Stephen (Steve) Loschi 
Middle School Science Teacher 

Steve comes to Graded with more than 20 years of teaching experience, most recently at Tashkent International School in Uzbekistan, where he teaches middle school science and math. He previously worked at the American Community School of Amman in Jordan, the International School of Tanganyika in Tanzania, and the American School of Douala in Cameroon. Before teaching internationally, Steve spent six years in Brooklyn Public Schools. He also served in Cameroon as a US Peace Corps Volunteer. Steve earned an MA in general science education from Brooklyn College and a BS in biology from Old Dominion University in Virginia. While Steve has had a wonderful teaching career, what he really wants to be is a rock star. He has played in bands since his teen years and writes record reviews and interviews for several online music magazines. He enjoys reading good books, creating top-ten lists, and watching baseball and basketball. 


Jeff MacRaild 
Lower School Grade 3 Teacher 

In 2006, Jeff and his wife, Catherine (lower school librarian), put their belongings in storage and left Australia to teach internationally for a two-year adventure. Fifteen years later, they saw a pattern emerging, so they decided that it was time to empty their storage unit. Now, 18 years on, the prospect of experiencing new cultures, food, landscapes, and communities continues to entice them. After working in South Korea, Taiwan, Qatar, and Malaysia, Jeff is excited to join the Graded community in São Paulo. Equipped with bachelor's degrees in biology and K-12 education, Jeff has taught across grade levels from first to tenth. His roles have included homeroom teacher, math/science instructor, and differentiation coordinator. Interested in the diverse needs of learners, Jeff pursued graduate studies focused on learning difficulties and subsequently earned a master's degree in gifted education. He is excited to contribute his skills as a third-grade teacher at Graded.


Louisa Magano 
Lower School English Language Learner (ELL) Teacher 

Louisa is entering her second year at Graded. She began her Graded journey as a first-grade teaching assistant. After that, she transitioned to High School Optimal Learning Services (OLS). Now, she's returning to the lower school as an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher. Louisa spent the first decade of her career working in business and marketing at corporations in São Paulo. Deciding to change course, she earned a teaching degree and cut her teeth at another São Paulo international school. An avid outdoors enthusiast, Louisa enjoys running and hiking; she’s explored trails throughout Brazil and Peru on hiking expeditions. 


James O'Connor 
IB Coordinator 

James O'Connor is entering his fifteenth year of teaching. He will join Graded after three years at GEMS Dubai American Academy, where he served as assistant IB coordinator (TOK and EE lead) and managed a cohort of 230+ students per year. An Irish native, he received teacher training in history and modern foreign languages at University College Dublin and earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and Spanish at NUI Maynooth. James holds a master's in education leadership and management from The Open University UK, where he focused on the impact of organizational culture on staff turnover in international schools. James has been an IB examiner and Theory of Knowledge and history team leader for a decade. He also served as CAS coordinator at Greengates School in Mexico City, where he worked for eight years. James speaks fluent Spanish and looks forward to the challenge of learning Portuguese. He and his wife, Fabiola, a nutritionist and dietitian, celebrated the birth of their son, Rían, in January. Apart from spending time with his family, James enjoys visiting historical sites, exploring local cuisine, and playing or watching most sports.


Charles Pimentel 
Upper School Design and Technology Teacher 

Charles will join Graded after teaching at the American School of Rio de Janeiro. He holds a postgraduate degree in information technology applied to education and a master's degree in education informatics from the Computer Science Institute of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). In his master's studies, he focused on strategies for teaching artificial intelligence concepts in K-12 education through educational robotics. Charles is a member of Columbia University's FabLearn Fellows, and is currently a PhD candidate at UFRJ, researching critical data literacy. He is married to psychologist Patrícia Pimentel and is the father of two children, Letícia (15) and Daniel (8). In addition to spending time with his family, Charles loves binge-watching series and experimenting with new technologies. He enjoys the beach, biking, and soccer. 


Austin Schmidt 
Lower School Grade 1 Teacher 

After four years in Korea, Austin is ready to trade in his 김밥 for some Feijoada. He is very excited to join Graded’s incredible team of educators and cannot wait to experience all that São Paulo has to offer. Before teaching first grade at Korea International School, Austin called Kuwait, India, Bahrain, Germany, Japan, and China home, although he originally hails from Iowa in the USA. Austin received his BA in elementary education and MA in educational leadership from the University of Northern Iowa. In the classroom, Austin is passionate about building community and making all students feel safe and welcome in the space that they share. Austin enjoys traveling, hiking, rollerblading, and reading. Dust off the Duolingo; Austin is coming over!


John Tilert 
Middle School Science Teacher 

John comes to Graded with 12 years of teaching experience, most recently at Buffalo Public Schools, where he teaches general science and living environment. Before returning to his hometown of Buffalo, NY, he spent ten years abroad at international and bilingual schools in South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. John holds a BS in adolescence education (biology and general science) from SUNY Oswego and an MS in teaching English as a second language from the City College of New York. He enjoys hiking, CrossFit, cooking, and sharing delicious meals and conversations with friends. John loves to travel and looks forward to exploring all South America offers.


Richard Young 
High School English Teacher 

Rich is currently in his seventeenth year of teaching. He has spent the past nine at the American School of Campinas, where he teaches English literature and global politics. Before that, he taught in Thailand, Vietnam, and Turkey. Rich graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in cultural studies and later earned his diploma in English language teaching. He is a proud father of two young children, Sofia and Anna Luisa. Rich enjoys reading, watching football, talking politics, and playing sports. He is a keen traveler and has explored more than 70 countries; his favorite, of course, is Brazil.


Joyce van den Hoven 
High School Optimal Learning Services (OLS) Teacher 

Joyce, originally from Belgium, grew up and spent many years living in the United Kingdom. She is bilingual in English and Dutch. Joyce initially began her career as a mathematics and physics teacher but has been working as a learning support and inclusion teacher for the past 22 years. She has spent the last 12 of those years at international schools in Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, and, currently, Indonesia. She has an MA in inclusive education as well as an MSc in psychology, both from UK-based universities. Her personal hobbies include baking and cake decorating, sewing, traveling, and hiking. She loves hearing about and seeing students' passions (both inside and outside the classroom) and looks forward to working with both students and parents to continue building on their successes.