Ms. Ellen - Kindergarten Teacher

We are grateful to have a diverse community of students, staff and families from around the world. Each member of our community brings their own background and story that enrich the ASH experience. Our ASH Voices series zooms in on our community as we learn more about who we are in our roles at ASH and life outside of school.

Meet Ms. Ellen, one of our kindergarten teachers at the ECC campus. Originally from Tacoma, Washington, USA, she spent the first 23 years of her life living in Tacoma and the Pacific Northwest. At college, Ms. Ellen majored in Foreign Languages and International Affairs with an emphasis in Japanese. At the age of 21, she spent two months on a homestay and language study program in rural Japan. It was her first experience outside of the US and it opened her eyes to the world beyond her hometown. Following this experience, she obtained a teaching licence from her state and received a Fulbright Scholarship to study education in Japan. Ms. Ellen studied and worked in Japan for 12 years focusing on early childhood education. Most of this work experience was in local Japanese preschool settings, giving her a unique perspective on childhood and education. She returned to the US for two years and studied for her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education in Portland, Oregon. Shortly after, Ms. Ellen came to ASH and has been here ever since.

We asked Ms. Ellen questions about her life at ASH and how she has been adapting throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

How long have you been at ASH?
I came to ASH in 2010 so this is my 11th year. I have worked as a transition kindergarten and kindergarten teacher.

What do you enjoy most about being part of this community and the #ASHexperience?
I enjoy the opportunity to learn and work together with people from so many different parts of the world. Our community is full of people with so much international experience, I love to hear their stories and their views about the world. I feel this is a school community that strives to learn, grow and make positive contributions to the world. It has given me a lot of opportunities to develop myself both professionally and personally. 

Can you share with us an experience you have had at ASH that makes you proud and something you will remember for years to come?
I began working at ASH when there was only the main campus. The building and move to the ECC was a huge undertaking and it required time to adjust. People were very supportive and I have continually appreciated the efforts of everyone at the ECC to connect, collaborate and make it a special place for our youngest learners. The ECC is an inspiring and passionate community with so much to offer!

What will you remember about this school year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic?
I will always be grateful for the support of my team, we spent a lot of time talking and checking up on one another. We put a lot of focus on both the wellbeing of each other as well as our students and families. If anything, I hope that this year demonstrates the importance of slowing down, connecting, communicating, practicing gratitude and elevating the importance of social and emotional wellbeing. 

What motivates you?
Talking and collaborating with people who have a passion and curiosity about life.

What are your passions? 
I love being in nature, especially in the mountains. Although the Netherlands lacks mountains, the ability to bike anywhere with ease is a huge perk of living here. I try to spend as much time as possible outside in nature walking, biking or hiking. 

What do wellbeing and happiness look like to you?
Being active in nature. Take time to explore every path, stop and observe closely, search for beauty, enjoy the views. Nature provides so many opportunities to refresh and get positive energy.

If you could give our students at ASH one piece of advice what would it be?
To stay curious and keep your eyes, heart and mind open for new opportunities. 

If you weren't working at ASH, what would you be doing?
I think it would be fun to be in Japan promoting rural tourism. 



We build a better world as we become better human beings, hear and value every voice, keep every promise, and celebrate every achievement. 


We are determined to create a school where everyone is confident and able to take control of their own learning, and the world is our classroom.