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Elementary School Division-Wide Faculty




Jim French, Elementary School Principal

Jim French is from Emo, Ontario, Canada. He holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from Xavier University, a master’s degree in Business Administration from Webster University, and a K-12 Principal Certificate from the state of New Jersey. Jim joined KISJ in 2015-16.

I think everyone should read… Creative Schools by Ken Robinson.

Outside of school, I most enjoy… exploring the world and the beauty it holds with my family.

I’m inspired by… the wonder in students’ eyes every morning as they come to school ready for a new day.



Mareena Kohtala, Elementary School Associate Principal


Mareena Kohtala is originally from Finland, but grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She most recently worked in Qatar. She holds an Ed.S. in Instructional Technology from Kennesaw State University, M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Georgia, and her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Auburn University. Mareena joined KISJ in 2018.


I think everyone should read the Pete the Cat series by Eric Litwin.


Outside of school, I most enjoy team sports like soccer, being outside or anywhere near water, and exploring new places.


I’m inspired by people, creativity, laughter, and challenges.




Ryk Newcombe, Instructional Coach

Ryk Newcombe is from Noosa Heads, on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, but most recently worked in Malaysia. He holds a master’s degree in Leadership from The Australian Lutheran College, and a bachelor’s degree in Education from The University of Southern Queensland. Ryk joined KISJ in 2017–18.

I think everyone should read… again and again, Winnie-the-Pooh stories by A.A. Milne and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. 

Outside of school, I most enjoy… golf, hiking, swimming, the theatre, and playing the guitar. 

I’m inspired by… people with positive attitudes.






Theresa Cook, Counselor (Grade 4-5)

Theresa Cook is from Seattle, Washington. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Eastern Washington State University; a Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling from University of Idaho; a Professional Certification in Teaching with endorsements in Elementary Education, Psychology and Sociology from Central Washington University; and a TESOL Certification from Pacific Lutheran University. Theresa joined KISJ in 2013-14.

I think everyone should read… Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.

Outside of school, I most enjoy… reading, dancing, hiking and talking with friends.

I’m inspired by… beauty in nature.



Michelle Pownall, Counselor (G1-3)


Michelle Pownall is from Phoenix, Arizona, but most recently worked in Suwon, South Korea. She holds a master’s degree in Education specializing in Guidance Counseling from Ottawa University, and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University. Michelle joined KISJ in 2019-20. 


I think everyone should read… Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. 


Outside of school, I most enjoy… photography, travel, and visiting Disney parks. 


I’m inspired by... random acts of kindness.


Esther Hockey, Counselor (JK-K)

Esther Hockey was born in Korea and have lived in five countries including Sri Lanka, India, and the US. Before moving back to Korea in 2016, Esther lived in Brisbane, Australia with her husband Justin and son Luke. Esther most recently worked in NLCS Jeju. She holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Queensland, and a bachelor’s degree in counseling. Esther joined KISJ in 2018. 


I think everyone should read…"the Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran. 


Outside of school, I most enjoy reading, listening to music, yoga and meditation. 


I'm Inspired by Oprah Winfrey and my son Luke who provides me with endless entertainment and laughter!



Jennifer Newcombe, ES Information Literacy Integration Specialist

Jennifer Newcombe is originally from Noosa, Australia, but has spent most recent years in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. She holds a master’s degree in Education from the Australian Lutheran college, a bachelor’s degree in Teacher Librarianship from Monash University, and a diploma of teaching from Charles Sturt University. Jennifer joined KISJ in 2017–18.


I think everyone should read… Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Outside of the classroom, I most enjoy… exploring national parks and watching wildlife, communicating with our three grown-up children, and walking our dog. 

I’m inspired by… Lucy Calkins, the author of the Reading & Writing Workshop Units of Study.



John Kintanar, ES Technology Integrator


John Kintanar is from Monrovia, California, but most recently worked in Kuwait and Venezuela. He holds a master’s degree in Education and a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from California State University of Los Angeles. John joined KISJ in 2019.


I think everyone should read… Kindred by Octavia E. Butler.


Outside of school, I most enjoy… scuba diving, mountain biking, playing viola, and dining.


I’m inspired by... UNESCO World Heritage Sites, seeing underwater sea life and structures.



Kevin Pape, ES Learning Specialist


Kevin Pape is from St. Louis, Missouri, but has worked in New York City, Nigeria, and Japan. He holds a master's degree in Special Education from Pace University and a bachelor's degree in International Studies from the University of Missouri. Kevin joined KISJ in 2019.


I think everyone should read "All the Pretty Horses" by Cormac McCarthy.


Outside of school I most enjoy hiking, camping, and seeing new places.


I'm inspired by nature and my family. 


8 Global Edu-ro 260beon-gil, Daejeong-eup
Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea 63644
Tel. +82 (0)64 741 0509
Fax. +82 (0)64 792 0509

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