Andrew VanderMeulen

Head of School

Andrew began his career in education at the turn of the millennium in small town Ontario, Canada. After three years of experience teaching History, Mathematics, and Law, the call of overseas teaching proved irresistible, and ever since 2017 he’s delighted to call Zhuhai home.

Previous to joining ZIS, Andrew and his wife Mirjam found themselves in wonderful schools in Yemen, the Bahamas, Tanzania, and most recently in Shanghai, China. Along the way their family grew and together they learn about what it means to be global citizens.

Andrew holds an MA in Education with a focus on Educational Leadership and Management from the University of Bath and a BA from Queen’s University in History and Religious Studies. He is certified as a Principal by the Ontario College of Teachers and is a member of the Ontario Principals’ Council.

When not on campus, Andrew can most likely be found on the running track or the football pitch. Breaking away from civilisation from time to time, he likes to find secluded campsites and wooded trails to share with family and friends.


Dr. Alanna Staton

Head of Early Years and Primary

Lana was first introduced to international teaching and the IB curriculum many years ago while teaching special education in Ethiopia. Since then, her love of inquiry-based learning and travel has prompted her and her husband to teach in Ecuador, the United Arab Emirates, and throughout their home country of the United States.

With a doctorate in Educational Leadership, a Master’s in Emotional and Behavioral Disorders in Special Education, and a BA in Elementary Education, Lana has a host of experience leading, educating, and counseling in a variety of settings. Digging deeper into her love of learning about how the brain functions, she recently continued her post-graduate studies in Neuropsychology. She is an Associate Educational Therapist, Certified Trauma Professional, and holds certifications as a teacher and administrator.

Joining Lana in Zhuhai are her two children (Logan and Abby), and her husband, Rob, who is working at a nearby university. For fun, she enjoys hiking outdoors with her family, reading, watching movies, and learning something new every day.


Mirjam Berghuis

Head of Learning Services

Curiosity, creativity and self-motivation will blossom in a place of possibility.  The classroom is not defined by measurable dimensions; any space can be a learning environment, as long as there is a conscious effort to encourage growth.  Students need room to make mistakes and realize those mistakes are not failures but opportunities.  Creating this school environment is our first goal at ZIS.  Through careful consideration of students’ needs, relevant and engaging material and clear outcomes and expectations, students trust they can take a risk and engage.

After studying both French and Education at Ottawa University, Mirjam began her career as a French Immersion teacher.  A few years later, together with her husband Andrew, they decided a little adventure was in order before settling down. This temporary move overseas turned into a career. Mirjam has taught French, English and History in Yemen, the Bahamas, Tanzania and China.

15 years into her career, Mirjam made a shift and became certified by the Ontario College of Teachers as a Special Education Specialist.  Inclusion, admissions, curriculum writing and language programming became a bigger focus.

Mirjam is a Workshop Leader and Examination Visitor with the IBO, allowing her to work with fellow professionals to further develop educational practices. She is currently our Head of Learning Services and our College Counsellor.