Faculty & Staff - AISN
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Faculty & Staff

Our school is home to a fine, professional family of faculty and staff members dedicated to serving our students.

Faculty and Staff

Heidi Cavanagh, Director: Ms. Heidi is delighted to be the incoming AISN Director for the 2021-2022 academic year. Currently completing her doctoral research in the area of school reform and student voice, Ms. Heidi is a curious and creative learner who seeks to include diverse voices to build better schools and a better school experience for the entire school community. Ms Heidi has a Masters in Educational Leadership from The College of New Jersey, a Masters of Science for Teachers in English from the University of New Hampshire and a Bachelors of Education in Elementary Education from McGill University, Montreal, Canada. With over 20 years as an international school leader, Ms. Heidi has led and taught from Preschool to High School. She has worked in Ontario, Canada; Istanbul, Turkey; California, USA; Havana, Cuba; Niamey, Niger; Gaborone, Botswana and is excited to be joining the AISN faculty in Nouakchott, Mauritania. Her interests outside of school include travel, creative and artistic endeavors, and spending time with her husband, Mr. Marc the Grade 4/5 teacher, and their 4 dogs. Contact: director@aisnmauritania.com.


Meghan Anderton, Academic Manager, English – Middle and High School: Ms. Meghan joined the AISN community in 2002, after having served two years as an Education Peace Corps Volunteer in Kiffa, Mauritania.  She holds a Masters Degree in Education Leadership from George Mason University (GMU) in Virginia and is a U.S. certified PreK-12 Principal.  Additionally, she is a U.S. certified teacher from the state of Virginia with a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from GMU; she also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and French from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, her home state.  Being an experienced and dedicated teacher, Ms. Meghan has taught from Kindergarten to High School over the past 20 years and additionally serves as Academic Manager of AISN.  Her interests outside of school include: her family, nutrition, running, reading, and nature.  Contact: meghan@aisnmauritania.com


Brad McDonald, Social Studies/English – Middle and High School:  Mr. Brad is from Michigan and joined AISN in 2020 after having taught in Albania for two years. Mr. Brad is a U.S. certified teacher, licensed in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Michigan State University with his Bachelors of Arts degree in International Relations. He received his Master’s degree in Cross-Cultural and International Education from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Additionally, he served as an International Student Advisor at Kansas State University. In his free time, Mr. Brad enjoys reading, playing games (board games and card games) and following the news. Contact: brad.mcdonald@aisnmauritania.com


Todd Eiholzer, Math/Science – Middle and High School: Todd joined the AISN staff in 2020 as a well traveled and experienced U.S. certified math teacher (20 years) having taught in the US, Jordan, Skopje and Abidjan. His 10 years of US institution work includes teaching High School Mathematics, Computer Science (Curriculum developer) and soccer coach in the state of Maryland where he is currently certified. He has been employed at several international schools in American systems and IB programs. He has sporadically tutored internationally and in virtual environments for the past 10 years. Todd’s degree is in Mathematics with a minor in Theatre Direction and he has recent course work in (and is a proponent of) blended learning. Additionally, he headed up the Environmental Program at his last school. His interests outside of school include: family, sports, theatre, film, traveling, cooking and music.  Contact: todd.eiholzer@aisnmauritania.com                 


Alex Datsiuk, Science/Robotics/Technology – Middle and High School: Alex Datsiuk joined the AISN staff in 2016 to teach Middle School and High School Science.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Biotechnology from the Technical University of Ukraine and is completing his U.S. teaching certification.  Mr. Alex has 12 years of experience of making Science fun at international schools in Mauritania, Ukraine, and Myanmar.  His wife, Ms. May, is Grade 3 teacher.  Mr. Alex is wholeheartedly a Science guy and loves to inspire others through his passion!  Contact: alex.datsiuk@aisnmauritania.com




Marc O Droma, Grades 4-5: This will be Mr. Marc’s first year at AISN, Mauritania. He holds a U.S. teaching certification and Masters in Education from the College of New Jersey USA, a program approved by the State of New Jersey Department of Education to teach Kindergarten – Grade 6. He also has an International Teacher Certificate from the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and the University of Cambridge, England as well as an undergraduate degree in Human Geography and Economics from SJM University in Liverpool, England. Mr. Marc’s most recent teaching assignment was at the American International School of Niamey (AISN), Niger where he taught PK, K, 1 and 2. He also taught K-5 Physical Education and coached Saturday Soccer, bringing together students from AISN (Niger) and other children in the surrounding neighborhood to play together against other local teams. Previously, he was the Middle School Dean of Students and the Physical Education teacher at the International School of the Peninsula, a bilingual French American dual language independent school in California, USA. Furthermore, he has also taught Grade 3 and Grade 5 at the International School of Havana, Cuba. Community relationships and service learning are important to Mr Marc. In addition to the Saturday soccer program, Mr. Marc and his primary students supported a 150-plot school garden in Niger, worked with a local group of youth performers in Cuba, and promoted clothing and book drives as well as a meningitis inoculation program for local staff’s children during a meningitis outbreak in Niamey. Mr. Marc is an avid traveller who has visited over 100 countries, of which 26 of the countries are on the continent of Africa, mostly by local transport. He is looking forward to his second visit back to Mauritania after an absence of 25 years.  Contact: marc@aisnmauritania.com


May Datsiuk, Grade 3:  Ms. May joined the AISN community in 2016.  She is a U.S. certified K-6 teacher and holds Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.  She received a Bachelor’s degree in Physical therapy (PT) from the University of Medical Technology. Additionally, she holds a CELTA (ESOL) from Cambridge. She is also certified through Cambridge’s TKT. She has been in the international teaching field for a decade including teaching in AISN as well as in international schools and English language centers in Myanmar. Being a dedicated and innovative educator with over 10 years of teaching experience, yet eager and quick to learn, Ms. May loves children and supports school as a learning place for all community members. Her husband, Mr. Alex, is the secondary school Science teacher at AISN. Other than teaching, her hobbies include reading, yoga, physical fitness, meditating, visiting the beach and picnicking. Contact: may.linn@aisnmauritania.com


Valerie Paul, Grade 2:  This will be Ms. Valerie’s first year at AISN.  She is referred to by her son, who will be joining her at AISN in middle school, as a traveling teacher.  She holds U.S. K-6 Elementary Certificates through the state of Hawaii and the American Board.  Additionally, she is certified in K-12 ESOL. Furthermore, Ms. Valerie has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology along with a TESOL certification and is currently working on her Masters of Science in International Relations and additional endorsements for History and Special Education. Before joining AISN, she taught various levels over the past 15 years in different countries, including South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Mongolia.  She looks forward to joining the diverse AISN community and supporting all types of learners as they make connections with their learning and become more confident in their abilities.  Ms. Valerie enjoys exploring new places with her son, learning different languages, listening to audiobooks while doing chores, and looking for opportunities to give back to the community while advocating for neurodivergent learners.  Contact:  valerie.paul@aisnmauritania.com


Christine Icarangal, Grade 1: Christine Icarangal, or Miss Cookie as she is called by her students and colleagues, joined AISN in August of 2018. She is a U.S. certified teacher and holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.  Additionally, she also holds a Bachelor Degree in Economics.  She has over 10 years of teaching experience, focused on children aged 3 to 8.  She has taught in the Philippines, Mexico and Myanmar. Miss Cookie believes that having a positive relationship with her students is the first step to help them achieve their potential. She makes sure that her students feel safe in their learning environment. She loves to inspire them to be responsible for their actions and help them achieve continued success, not just in academics but also socially and emotionally. When Miss Cookie is not in the classroom, you can find her catching up on her readings, exercising, Skyping with family and friends, and doing some Pinterest-ing.  Contact: cookie.icarangal@aisnmauritania.com


Amel Kheloui, Kindergarten: Ms. Amel has been teaching at AISN since 2000 and is a U.S. certified teacher.  She is currently enrolled in a Master’s program in Early Childhood Education at Moreland University. Ms. Amel holds an International Teacher Certificate from the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and the University of Cambridge as well as a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering with a concentration in Animal Science from Algeria. Ms. Amel is a dedicated teacher that has 20 years of Early Childhood teaching experience. Her daughter, a recent AISN graduate, began her schooling with her mom as her PreK teacher. Ms. Amel has lived in Mauritania for 23 years, and while not busy challenging her students at school, she enjoys running, swimming and traveling the world to discover new places and learn about different cultures. Contact: amel@aisnmauritania.com  


Victoria Georges, Pre-K:  This will be Ms. Victoria‘s first year at AISN.  She is a U.S. certified teacher from her home state of Florida with 5 years of teaching experience between Thailand, Kuwait and Egypt.  Additionally, she also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a minor in Sociology. She is excited to start this new journey in Mauritania and looks forward to energizing the PreK program at AISN.  In her free time, Ms. Victoria enjoys reading and traveling.  Contact: victoria.georges@aisnmauritania.com




Mohamed Sidi Ali Francois, French,  6-12/Technology : Mr. Sidi has been teaching for 35 years, 30 of them at AISN where he has taught French, English as a Second Language (ESL), Mauritanian Studies, Physical Education and IT. He coaches the school’s swimming and soccer teams. He worked for the Peace Corps Education Program to train new volunteers in teaching in Mauritanian schools. Mr. Sidi holds a Bachelor’s degree in education, a certification in ESL/EFL from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, a certification in American curriculum Advanced Placement (AP) French and Culture from Texas Christian University, and a certification in teaching foreign languages (French and English) from the Teachers’ Training College in Mauritania. He is also certified in teaching Windows/Microsoft Office.  Contact: sidi@aisnmauritania.com  


François Moret, French, PreK-5: This will be Mr. François’s first year teaching at AISN.  He holds two Master’s degrees: the first in French as a Foreign Language from the University of Franche-Comté in France and the second in Political Science from the Free University of Brussels. He has taught French at various levels and studied in several countries, including the People’s Republic of China, the West Bank, Kuwait, and Belgium. Having first arrived in Nouakchott in 2017, Mr. François taught French at another local American school before joining our community.  Additionally, he has previous experience working with children in after school and summer childcare programs. He is married to an American with whom he has two little boys. They love reading and playing games together;  Mr. François is currently teaching his 2-year-old how to swim. He takes advantage of his free time to learn more about Arab cultures, history, and politics – which is why he has been studying standard Arabic and Hassaniya for several years.  Mr. François is excited to start teaching at AISN, as he places great value on diversity, hard-work, and creativity.  Contact:  francois.moret@aisnmauritania.com


Moussa Mamadou Diarra (Papis), Music, K-12: Mr. Papis has been part of our AISN community for 11 years and has a total of 28 years of music experience, including taking specialized courses in music teaching and music conducting.  Before working at AISN, he collaborated with local schools to provide musical and storytelling presentations to students.  During his free time, Mr. Papis enjoys playing in his own pop band and staying active by participating in a variety of sports. Additionally, he provides guidance and support to local musicians, helping to advance their careers.  Contact: papis@aisnmauritania.com




Sidi Mouhemed Ahmedou Yahya,  Art, K-12:  Mr. Sidi Yahya, an accomplished Mauritanian artist, has been teaching at AISN since 2006.  In total, he has been teaching art for a total of 19 years and managed his own art school for children before joining our community.  Since 1987, his artwork has been exhibited in Mauritania as well as in several European and African countries.  Additionally, Mr. Sidi Yahya holds a B.A. in Arabic Literature.   His favorite hobbies include being creative and making new discoveries about the world.  Mr. Sidi Yahya received the United Nations Arts Initiative (UNARTS) 2020 Mauritanian Award for his artistic and humanitarian achievements. Contact: sidiyahya@aisnmauritania.com



Basma Najjar, Physical Education, K-12Ms. Basma has been living in Mauritania for almost 29 years and is originally from Tunisia.  Before joining the AISN community in 2014, Ms. Basma was the manager of the Racing Club, a local sports and cultural organization, for 19 years.  She is currently pursuing her U.S. teaching license and has more than 18 years experience teaching fitness classes and aerobics and is a certified tennis and Zumba instructor.  She holds a Baccalaureate in Literature and spent 2 years studying literature and civilization at Sousse University in Tunisia.  In addition, she also has a Masters in English Language and Literature from Nouakchott University.   In her free time, Ms. Basma enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 daughters, playing tennis, going to the movies, and traveling.  She also is an avid runner and has won various championship titles for 10K and 21K competitions. Contact: basma-najjar@aisnmauritania.com


Aicha Fall, Librarian: Ms. Aicha joined AISN in 2016.  She is an alumnus of the World Learning Program and benefited from a US State Department Scholarship that allowed her to study at Tennessee Tech University in the United States for a semester.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering.  Her hard work in the community was recognized by the US State Department when her project, SANA for Development, which aims to improve the resilience of rural communities in Gorgol, was awarded a large grant.  Ms. Aicha speaks six languages including English, French, Arabic, and 3 local languages.  Contact: aicha.fall@aisnmauritania.com




Classroom Assistants

Haboussa Mamad, Teacher Assistant, PreK: Ms. Haboussa has worked at AISN for 17 years as a PreK classroom aide.  She holds a Diploma for International Teaching Assistants from the Council of British International Schools.  Before coming to AISN, she provided daycare services for the US Embassy.  Ms. Haboussa is married and has one child. During her free time, she likes to travel, read and visit with friends.





Hawa Issa Ba,  Teacher Assistant, PreK: Ms. Hawa joined our Early Childhood Department in 2015. Before joining our team, she worked at Notairy as a secretary and has additional experience working with various types of technology.  During her free time, Ms. Hawa enjoys reading.






Sophia McKeown Anderson, Teacher Assistant, Kindergarten:  Ms. Sophia, who is from Ghana, first came to Mauritania in 2008.  She became a member of our Early Childhood team in 2016.  Ms. Sophia hold a diploma for International Teaching Assistants from the Council of British International Schools.  Before coming to AISN, she studied Business Management in the Gambia while teaching English to children part time.  Additionally, she has experience providing child-care services in Nouakchott.




Ramatoulaye Anne, Teacher Assistant, Grade 1: Ms. Rama graduated from the University of Nouakchott with a B.E. and a Masters degree in English.  She holds a diploma for International Teaching Assistants from the Council of British International Schools. Before joining our Early Childhood team in 2018, she was an assistant director at a local Turkish company as well as an assistant director at Ecodev.  She also has experience working as a receptionist.  Ms. Rama speaks English, French, Arabic and several local languages.  After work, she enjoys staying with her family and taking care of her children.




Olga Ntumbamuadi, Teacher Assistant, Grade 2:  Ms. Olga, originally from the Congo, became a part of our Early Childhood Program in 2017.  She holds a diploma for International Teaching Assistants from the Council of British International Schools as well as a BTS2 and a License in Business Management. Before joining our AISN community, she was the Assistant to the Director at a local business, Africatel.  Ms. Olga also speaks English, French, and Spanish.  When not working, Ms. Olga likes to learn about different cultures.




Administrative Staff

Thierno Djigo, Accountant: Mr. Djigo joined AISN in 2005 as part of the Business Office Staff.  He holds a B.A. degree in French Literature and certifications in Accounting and English.  He is also a multi-lingual speaker of Pulaar, Arabic, French, Wolof, Hasiniya, and English.  Mr. Djigo taught French in the Mauritanian Education system for 7 years and currently has 15 years accounting experience at AISN.  He is passionate about politics and in his free time enjoys spending time with his family and friends, tending his garden, and reading.  Contact: thierno-djigo@aisnmauritania.com




N’deye Wade, Receptionist:  Ms. N’deye joined AISN in the fall of 2019 as a Teaching Assistant.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature as well as an English license from the University of Nouakchott. Ms. N’deye also is multilingual, speaking English, French, and all the local Mauritanian dialects.  Prior to coming to AISN, Ms. N’deye worked as a child-care provider for local expat families.  She is a talented singer and dancer which has benefited AISN, especially during Mauritanian Day when she shares this passion with students and staff.  Ms. N’deye also enjoys cooking, reading, and athletics.  In her free time, she appreciates traveling and discovering new cultures as well as spending time with family and friends.  Contact: ndeye@aisnmauritania.com




Support Staff

Mensan Batao, School Driver and Head of Maintenance: Mr. Mensan joined our Support Staff team in 2015 and hails from Togo.  Prior to working at AISN, his past experience includes personal security, construction supervision, and transportation services.  Mr. Mensan is an active soccer player and enjoys racing and biking in his free time.





Hameth M Sy (Pappis), Office Assistant:  Mr. Pappis has been part of our Support Staff since 2001, for a total of 20 years.  He taught sign language at a local deaf school before joining us at AISN.   He communicates through sign language as well as English, French, and Hassaniya.  Mr. Pappis enjoys biking and holds a black belt in karate.





Harouna Camara, Custodian: Mr. Harouna came to Mauritania in 2002 from Sierra Leon.  He joined our Support Staff in 2017 after working as a store master at the University of Nouakchott as well as a French to Arabic translator for a local security agency.  Mr. Harouna likes to keep active with a variety of sports, including weight-lifting and running.





Binta Mary, Custodian: Ms. Binta, originally from Senegal, came to Mauritania in 2002.  She has several years of housekeeping experience from working with the expat community in Nouakchott and is currently in her third year at AISN.  In her free time, Binta enjoys spending time with her family and taking care of them.





Amadou Wagne, Custodian: Mr. Amadou joined the AISN community in 2019.  His prior work experience includes working as a security guard at the port of Nouakchott as well as the general manager of a hotel in Boghe, Mauritania.  In his spare time, Mr Amadou likes to play soccer as well as read.






Alioune Diop, School Driver: Mr. Alioune joined our support staff in 2017.  Before working at AISN he was an active member in the local community, participating in training to assist handicapped children.  He also received children protection training through Unicef and the Haut Commissariat des Refugees (HCR).  Additionally, he has worked with Malian refugees in the camp of Mberra.  Mr. Alioun is also a karate teacher and possesses a black belt in this martial art.




Ibrahima Abdoulaye Wagne, Security Guard:  Mr. Ibrahima joined the AISN community in 2019 with multiple years of security guard experience at local enterprises.  When not at work, Mr. Ibrahima enjoys running, playing soccer, and training in Kung-Fu in which he hold a brown belt.





Youba Hassen Dieng, Security Guard:  Mr. Youba joined the AISN community in 2019 after having served in the Mauritanian National Guard for 23 years. He has completed various formations throughout his military experience including airdrop operations and platoon leadership. In 2013, Mr. Youba was honored for his meritorious service in the Mauritanian military. Additionally, he is a professional dog trainer and enjoys running in his free time.