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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 nearly 15 years later 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.


Michael Coffey

Head of Secondary

Michael is from the UK and first started teaching English and Drama in a rural Norfolk school. He holds three education-related degrees and have worked for long periods in southern cone countries, Madrid, and China. Michael met his wife in Beijing and brings two small children with us to Zhuhai. Michael teaches MYP English language acquisition and Year 12 TOK, supporting the secondary school in all areas of student life and academics. Beyond school, Michael enjoys spending time reading literatures, producing media, and having fun with water, bubbles, lego and sand.

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 Special Education, and a BA in Elementary Education, Lana has a host of experience leading and educating in a variety of settings. 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

When first learning how to fish, Mirjam was encouraged to try different methods and be patient with herself. A safe learning environment created by a caring instructor who had time made all the difference.

As an educator, Mirjam knows that compassion, creativity and collaboration lead to positive results.

After studying both French and Education at Ottawa University, Mirjam began her career in 2000 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 and Tanzania. 7 different curricular programs later and it became clear that the IB was the best fit as it lead to greater innovation, in-depth exploration, and student development in her classroom.

As the Director of Languages at the Western International School of Shanghai, admissions, curriculum writing and language programming became a bigger focus.

Mirjam is a Workshop Leader with the IBO specializing in Language Acquisition. This allows her to work with fellow professionals to further develop educational practices. She is currently our Head of Learning Services.