Primary Teaching Team

Primary 6 Homeroom Teacher



Rebecca Peters
Ms Rebecca has a Post Graduate Certificate of Education from the UK. She has 12 years’ experience teaching primary students in the UK, Mexico, Montenegro and Spain, and is excited to be starting this next chapter of her career at BIS. She believes that teaching children to read is one of the biggest gifts we can give them and that it’s never too early to start teaching independence. When she’s not teaching, you’ll find her taking long hikes with her two dogs or relaxing on a comfortable chair with a good book.

Primary 6 Co-Teacher

Elvira Tonueva
Ms Elvira studied Linguistics and New Computer Technologies at Bishkek Humanities University. Before joining BIS in August 2017 as a Primary Co-Teacher, she studied at Kingsborough Community College in New York. Ms Elvira is currently undertaking her Masters in the Art of Teaching with American University of Central Asia and Bard College, New York.

Primary 5 Homeroom Teacher


Rona Butler

Ms Rona graduated from the University of California with a degree in Political Science, then later trained as a teacher. She has worked in South Korea as both an English language teacher and for 10 years as a teacher trainer for the Seoul Metropolitan Education Training Institute. During that time, she completed her Post Graduate Diploma at the University of Birmingham. After leaving South Korea, Ms Rona taught in a research center for autism at Youngstown State University, Ohio. Ms. Rona joined BIS in August 2018 as Primary 5 Homeroom Teacher.

Primary 5 Co-Teacher

Nuraida Asanbaeva

Nuraida Asanbaeva

Ms Nuraida graduated from the Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University and has a diploma in the Theory and Practice of Translation. She has 5 years’ experience working with school students from age 7 to 10. She very much enjoys the opportunity to be with children to help them grow and flourish. Ms Nuraida joined BIS in August 2019.

Primary 4J Homeroom Teacher


James Long

Mr James graduated from the University of Wisconsin Platteville (B.A. in English) and received his teaching licences from the Teach-Now School of Education. He has taught internationally since 2013 first teaching in South Korea as an English teacher. He then moved to Myanmar where he taught as a grade 3 teacher and finally China as a grade 2 teacher before joining BIS in August 2020. He is a firm believer in the effectiveness of guiding pupils to develop the skills they need to not only understand but thrive in the world around them.

Primary 4J Co-Teacher


Erkinai Abdiakhat kyzy

 Ms Erkinai graduated as an English Teacher from Bishkek Humanities University, faculty of European civilization. She joined BIS in August 2019 as a Co-Teacher. Ms Erkinai enjoys working with children and seeing them grow and develop. In her free time she likes reading and listening to music.

Primary 4L Homeroom Teacher


Laura Kircough

 Ms Laura graduated from the Swansea Institute of Higher Education and has many years of experience teaching in different schools in the UK. In 2017 she moved to Sierra Leone where she volunteered as a Head Teacher at a local school for one year, before teaching– at the American International School of Freetown, Sierra Leone, for two years. In her spare time, Ms Laura enjoys singing, many types of exercise, and has just learnt to ride a motorbike. Ms Laura joined BIS in August 2020.

Primary 4L Co-Teacher


Aisedep Syrgakova

 Ms Aisedep graduated from Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University with a degree in International Relations with part of the course and internship completed in Turkey. She has worked as a tutor for both English and Turkish, as a language teacher for children in an education centre, and as English Teacher at a private preschool in Bishkek. Ms Aisedep joined BIS in August 2019.

Primary 3M Homeroom Teacher


Monica ‘Moni’ Gustafson

Ms Moni earned her state teaching qualification and a Master of Education specializing in the globalization of education before she graduated Loyola University New Orleans with a double major in Psychology and Modern Languages and Cultures. She has taught primarily elementary age children in international schools and language schools in the USA, Argentina, South Korea, Myanmar, and most recently in China. Ms Moni joined BIS in August 2020 and since then has been building on her educational focus of cultivating joyful inquiry and developing inclusive learning communities at BIS. 

Primary 3M Co-Teacher


Kamila Kakelova

Ms Kamila holds a Bachelor degree in International Relations from Lanzhou University and a Masters degree in International Law from Fuzhou University in China. She has experience teaching international relations to university students as well as co-teaching Russian language. Having lived in China for 7 years and learned Mandarin, Ms Kamila has developed a passion for international relations and languages that she wishes to communicate to her students. She speaks Kyrgyz, Russian, English and Mandarin. Ms Kamila joined BIS as a Primary Co-Teacher in March 2020.

Primary 3S Homeroom Teacher


Shannon Coppock

Ms Shannon graduated from McMaster University with a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and from Canadian Union College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Ms Shannon has taught Primary School in Yemen,  the UK and Canada. She is also a registered Occupational Therapist and has worked for several years in this role which has given her further experience in working with children and supporting their development. Ms Shannon joined the BIS staff team in February 2019.

Primary 3S Co-Teacher

Emima Amankulova

Emima Amankulova


Ms Emima has a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Linguistics from the International University of Central Asia. She has diverse experience working with children within the Kyrgyz Republic. She believes that early childhood development is important and has significant influence on children’s future lives. In her spare time she enjoys reading and hiking. Ms Emima joined BIS as a Primary Co-Teacher in 2019.

Primary 2 Homeroom Teacher

Shelby Pohndorff

Shelby Pohdorff

Ms Shelby is a qualified primary school teacher from the United States who also has a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism from the University of Illinois and a Masters in International Development from Concordia University in Portland. Ms Shelby has four years of teaching experience in Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, and Sudan.  She has taught a variety of curriculums, including the IB Primary Years Programme, for students from age 6 to 10. During her free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time in nature, and reading.  Ms. Shelby joined BIS as a Primary 2 Homeroom Teacher in August 2019.

Primary 2 Co-Teacher

Tina Oskombaeva

Tinatin Oskombaeva

Ms Tinatin has a degree in Linguistics from the Kyrgyz State University. Prior to joining BIS in 2015, she worked in Austria as an Au Pair participant and studied at the Handels Academy where she learned German. She holds a certificate in Child Psychology and currently getting certification in  TEFL. Ms Tinatin speaks Kyrgyz, Russian, German and English. She joined BIS in 2015 and has worked in all levels of preschool as a Co-Teacher. In August 2020, Ms Tinatin is moving to the position of Primary 2 Co-Teacher.

Primary 1 Homeroom Teacher

Kathleen Lewis-Workman

Kathleen Lewis-Workman

Ms Kathleen has a Master’s Degree from the American University in Washington D.C. and holds a teaching license for Pre-Kindergarten through 3rd grade.  She has worked with young children for over 12 years, including teaching Kindergarten for 6 years at the American School in Japan. Ms Kathleen loves teaching young children and is an experienced classroom and English Language Acquisition (ELA) teacher. She has served on many curriculum development committees and looks forward to the coming school year. Ms Kathleen joined BIS in January 2020.

Primary 1 Co-Teacher

Diana Kurbanova

Diana Kurbanova

Ms Diana has a Bachelor degree in Educational Psychology. She has been working with children exclusively for the last two years and prior to that she was a volunteer in a camp for children. She truly believes that a happy child is recipe for success. Ms Diana speaks four languages: Kyrgyz, Russian, English, and Turkish; and she is currently learning Spanish. In her free time, she loves to read books. Ms Diana joined BIS in September 2019. 


Primary 1, 2 and 3 Remote Lead Teacher

Alicia Grinsteinner

Alicia Grinsteiner

Ms Alicia is entering her eighth year of teaching with a range of experiences. She worked as both a preschool and ELA instructor in South Korea prior to coming to Bishkek. She holds an elementary teaching license from Washington D.C. as well as a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University. Ms Alicia joined BIS as a Primary Homeroom Teacher in August 2019.

Primary 4 & 5 Remote Lead Teacher


Faez Kanji

Mr Faez is the creator of Hockey Jam Sessions, an international ice hockey and floorball school promoting skills development and social emotional resilience in challenging circumstances. He has worked with children in North America, Europe and Central Asia through his Hockey Jam Sessions program. Mr Faez has a degree from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Mr Faez joined BIS in January 2020 to provide support to students in Primary 3. His role in 2020/21 has expanded to include leading teaching support for remote learners in Primary 4 & 5 to ensure that they do not fall behind the in-school learners in these classes.