Our school is home to a fine, professional family of faculty and staff members dedicated to serving our students.
Faculty and Staff
AISN School Director, Mark J. Decker is an American educator with 35 years’ of experience in both teaching and leadership roles that include most recently serving as a School Superintendent (ie. School Director) in Washington State. He has been a school administrator at international schools in Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and China, as well as taught at the International School of Bangkok in Thailand. As an International Principal, he has led International Baccalaureate (IB) reviews, helped bring about IB Diploma and IB Primary Years Programs, as well as taught IB Higher Level Physics. In addition internationally, he coached boys varsity basketball. State-side in Montana, he was a secondary education teacher of Chemistry, Advanced Science Topics, Physics, Earth Science, Montana Natural History, Biology, and Technology, as well as a Student Council Advisor and a Track Coach. Currently, he is an American Certified School Superintendent (Director) and Principal, as well as Academy for International School Heads (AISH) certified. He is a past certified secondary education teacher of the sciences. Since the 2000 – 2001 school year, he has been administratively involved directly in five major school construction projects, ranging from four to fortysix million dollars. Beginning in July 2020, School Superintendent Decker and his four member School Leadership Team built on the shoulders of others in completing the design plans and construction of a new school in western Washington State during the pandemic. Furthermore, his team successfully designed the educational systems to move into the brand new, state of the art K12 facility for 150 students in early August 2022 for the 2022-23 school year. Advanced Placement (AP) programs were being introduced and like many schools the Covid pandemic caused various interruptions and challenges. Learning models at his school went from classroom based to hybrid to fully online using Google Applications For Education. A focus on preserving, protecting and enhancing tribal language and culture was an important pillar as well in the school and was consistently demonstrated through access to authentic Indigenous educational student and staff experiences in and out of the classroom regularly involving elders from the community.
Director Mark J. Decker was born, raised and educated on the traditional lands of the Salish, Pend d’ Oreille and Kootenai indigenous tribes in what is now western Montana in the United States. His bachelor’s degree is from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana and his masters degree is in School Leadership from the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. He has two adult sons, both with college advanced degrees in Art and Navajo tribal members and reside in western Montana. He is blessed with four grandchildren, who are descendants of the Salish and Navajo indigenous tribes and are learning and honoring their native language and culture. Director Mark J. Decker is married to Kathy Decker and during the past 15 years have supported each other in adventures around the world.
Irina Ly, Pre-K Teacher: Irina will join the AISN staff in Fall of 2023. Hailing from the U.S. State of North Carolina, Irina holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education & Child Growth and Development, and a minor in Humanities. Irina has over 25 years of experience working with young children in different capacities, from teaching to directing Pre-K- Grade 8 schools in the USA. She is excited to join AISN to contribute to its mission by teaching its youngest students through the creative explorations of their learning environment.
Amel Kheloui, K-1 Teacher & Elementary Academic Coach: Ms. Amel has been teaching at AISN since 2000 and is a U.S. certified teacher who also holds Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Amel additionally has an International Teacher Certificate from the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and the University of Cambridge as well as a Bachelor of Science Agricultural Engineering with a concentration in Animal Science from Algeria. Ms. Amel is a dedicated teacher who has 21 years of Early Childhood teaching experience. Her daughter, an AISN graduate, began her schooling with her mom as her PreK teacher. Ms. Amel has lived in Mauritania for 24 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.
Gillian Brigham, Grades 2-3 Teacher: Ms. Gillian is a U.S. certified K-6 teacher and holds Master of Science in Childhood Education. She has been teaching in international schools in China and Argentina for 9 years. She is trained as a Cambridge International Exams invigilator. She enjoys designing and writing curriculum in all subjects and bringing her love of travel and culture into the classroom. A firm believer that we learn best when we are happy, her classroom is a fun and playful environment. Ms. Gillian is from Vermont originally, though now has a home base in Scotland as well as Chicago. Ms. Gillian is an animal lover and brings her rescue dog, Ollie, with her around the world. Africa will be Ollie’s fifth continent! She also brings her husband, Steve, who is an avid fisherman from Scotland.
Lisa Abraham, Grades 4/5 Teacher: Ms. Lisa Abraham will join the AISN staff in Fall of 2023. She is from the U.S. State of Michigan and has over 23 years of teaching experience. 16 of those years teaching (JK-8th grade) in Michigan, 3 and 1/2 years teaching 4/5 split class and 8th grade science in Abu Dhabi UAE, and 3 years teaching 5th grade in Shenzhen China. Besides teaching homeroom classes Ms. Lisa has also ran Drama Club, Science Fair, and monthly assemblies. For the past two years she has been teaching PE and Computer/Tech classes to JK-6th graders. Her teaching philosophy is to look for lessons that are engaging and allow students to be creative and problem solvers. Learning that goes beyond the classroom. Ms. Lisa is excited to return to teaching abroad.
Robert Price, Middle School/ High School History: Mr. Robert was a respected high school history/literature teacher during his first stint at AISN. He and his wife Luz Maria are returning to AISN after an eight year absence. Mr. Price will be teaching 7-12 history and social studies. Forty-one years a teacher in the United States, Honduras, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, and Myanmar, Mr. Price has been a committed teacher and mentor to hundreds of international students. He has taught AP US, World, and European history as well as political philosophy. For over a decade Mr. Price was an AP US History reader. It was he who first prepared AISN students for the AP US and World History exams. Beyond his wife, Luz Maria and his students, Mr. Price has an interest in theater and film, and of course a passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most of all, Mr. Price loves history. At home, he devours histories and historical documentaries. Much to his wife’s lament, even their vacations are organized around visits to historical sites.
Yero Baba, Math – Middle and High School: Mr. Yero joined AISN in 2022 and holds a Master’s degree in Education with a major in secondary education from Xavier University in Ohio, USA. He also holds a United States teaching license in Integrated Mathematics for middle and high school. His Bachelor of Science degree, with a major in Communications Engineering, is from the Fachhoschule Hannover in Hanover, Germany. Mr. Yero’s 16 years of teaching experience includes teaching mathematics in the United States, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, and United Arab Emirates. He has also served as the Head of the Mathematics department at previous schools. As a Mauritanian, Mr. Yero is delighted to be back home and enjoys exploring different cultures, ways of living and thinking, learning from people, and listening to a variety of music genres and styles.
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 2-3 teacher. Mr. Alex is wholeheartedly a Science guy and loves to inspire others through his passion!
English – Middle and High School: Ms. Bijou joined AISN in 2022 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and postgraduate teaching qualification in English and History. Ms. Bijou is from Botswana and has served as the Head of the History department and an English teacher. She has taught the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme, Cambridge IGCSE and is excited to pursue her U.S. teaching certification and a U.S. Master’s in Education. When Ms. Bijou is not teaching, she enjoys watching anime and sci-fi films, writing poetry, and going on new adventures. Ms. Bijou runs an anime club with members across 14 different countries and is excited to add Mauritania to the list.
Mohamed Sidi Ali Francois, French, 6-12/Technology : Mr. Sidi has been teaching for 37 years, 32 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
François Moret, French, PreK-5 & Test Coordinator and College Counselor: Mr. François joined the AISN community in 2021. 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.
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: email@example.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.
Basma Najjar, Physical Education, K-12: Ms. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
May Datsiuk, Permanent Certified Substitute Teacher: 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.
Aicha Fall, Librarian/ Community Liaison Specialist: 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.
Katherine Decker, Library Substitute: Ms. Kathy Decker has worked at the American Cooperative School in Tunis and the International Programs School in Saudi Arabia as the After School Activities/Marketing Coordinator and the Year Book/Marketing Coordinator. Back in the U.S. she was the Marketing Manager for a newspaper and prior she owned her own clothing retail storefront and online business. Kathy and her husband Mark love to travel and explore new countries, meeting new people and making friends along the way. Their travel map is quite extensive. Kathy went to HS and college in WA state, studying fashion and business. Kathy and Mark own a home in the cool Pacific NorthWest where she likes to garden, hike and put together puzzles in her free time.
Haboussa Mamad, Educational Assistant: 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, Educational Assistant : 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, Educational Assistant : 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, Educational Assistant : 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 Ntumba muadi, Educational Assistant: 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. She also holds a baccalaureate in Literature. Before joining our AISN community, she was the Assistant to the Director at a local business, Africatel. Ms. Olga also speaks English, French, Spanish, Tshiluba, Lingala. When not working, Ms. Olga likes to learn about different cultures. She has always been passionate about Music and reading.
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.
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: email@example.com
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.
Mamadou Oumar Sow, Custodian: Mr. Mamadou joined our Support Staff in the the spring of 2022. He has prior custodian experience with the World Vision Community Center in Boghe as well as at a private school, also in Boghe. Additionally, he previously worked in the fishing industry. In his free time, Mr. Mamadou enjoys playing soccer.
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.