Compass Education is a nonprofit organization comprised of sustainability experts, teachers and administrators guided by the AtKisson group. The tools, methods and strategies used by Compass Education were developed by Alan AtKisson and first introduced to the education sector in 2009.
Compass Educator Team
Compass Education Coordinator
Robert is a teacher, trainer and group process facilitator who values collaboration, partnerships and working on a team-based strengths model. He enjoys working with inspiring and passionate people, especially educators and youth. Since 2004, Robert’s passion and focus have been systems thinking and helping people learn to use Systems Thinking tools and approaches in education (classrooms and school management) and in the corporate world. Robert is an “expert generalist” with deep knowledge in the fields of education, environmental management, energy efficiency, organisational change and leadership, CSR, sustainability and sustainable development, green economy, social enterprise development, indicator development and systems thinking. Drawing on his skill in systems thinking and bringing together many disciplines, he has developed a highly effective consulting and capacity building practice for those who seek successful change strategies with tangible results. Robert is the founder and director of Systainability Asia, a regional consulting and training firm working with UN agencies, national governments, NGOs, universities and schools, and private sector companies throughout the East Asia region. He is also a Senior Associate of AtKisson Group, Faculty of ISIS Academy, and team leader for Compass Education since its inception in 2009.
Lynda is from England but has lived in Thailand since 1998. She trained and worked for nine years as a primary teacher in London before moving to Chiang Mai to teach science in a bilingual school. Lynda spent many years working with the Barge Program, developing programs and facilitating environmental education experiences around Thailand. Currently, she is Head of Community at Traidhos Three-Generation Community for Learning Chiang Mai which includes the Prem Tinsulanonda International School, a visiting schools program, an environmental education program based in Bangkok and an educational farm.
Teresa Tung has facilitated learning across a wide range of age levels in primary and secondary education, and with adults. Currently, she is the Deputy Head of Secondary, Curriculum (MYP) for students in years 7-11 at NIST International School in Bangkok, Thailand and teaches middle school English. Previously at NIST, Teresa taught MYP English and Humanities and DP Psychology. Also at NIST, she coordinated the MYP Service & Action Programme and the Global Citizen Diploma. Prior, Teresa taught the elementary school at the International School of Tianjin, where she also served as the first coordinator of the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) program. With Compass Education since its inception, Teresa has been developing materials and facilitating workshops for educators since 2009. Passionate about education’s key role in developing flourishing futures, Teresa has been a developer on a variety of projects for the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) around interdisciplinary learning and creativity. She believes deeply in the power of collaborative networks and was part of the creation and organization of the Bangkok ServICE Network in 2011, and the Global Citizenship Summit in 2014. To maintain her personal well-being, Teresa travels, practices yoga, and looks after a feisty cat who uses human toilets.
Tom is from Scotland but has lived and worked internationally for the majority of his working life. Tom previously taught IB Geography and coordinated the whole school approach to sustainability at the International School Manila (ISM), Philippines. Tom’s role at ISM evolved from his work coaching students in the use of the System Thinking toolkit to facilitate the 2012 Global Issues Network (GIN) conference and has included guiding students through the process of facilitating a school-wide goal based on the sustainability pledge in the ISM mission statement. Tom regularly writes about sustainability education, his work often appeared in the East Asian Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS) triannual journal and he wrote a sustainability education position paper published by the International Baccalaureate (IB). Tom is currently leading the IB diploma accreditation process at ISG Jubail in Saudi Arabia. At this moment in time, Tom is particularly interested in the challenge of embedding a sustainability mindset in teaching and learning in the Middle East region. In furthering this aim, Tom is currently part of a team of educators working on a strategic plan for sustainability and service learning within the NESA region.
Kate O’Connell is a passionate educator and learner with 22 years of classroom experience, teaching a variety of age levels including 4-year-olds, 5-year-olds, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3 and 7th Grade Science. Kate is originally from the United States and has taught both at home and abroad in China, Tanzania, Thailand and now Cambodia. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University in Elementary Education in 1995 and her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction in 2001 also from Michigan State University. She currently teaching Grade 2 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where she is also the Nord Anglia Professional Development Lead and the Grade 2 Team Leader. Accompanying her abroad are her husband, who is also a teacher and Sustainability Coordinator, and her two young children. Kate is an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program Workshop Leader and also leads other workshops including Compass Education, First Steps Writing, and Developing Your Own PLN. Kate regularly leads workshops for teachers throughout the Asia-Pacific Region. Online she has coached courses through Harvard Graduate School of Education’s WIDE World.
Mike Johnston is currently Head of School at Colegio Maya in Guatemala. He has lead workshops and keynoted for teachers and administrators around the world on sustainability, global curriculum K-12 and how service learning should not just be what you do, but who you are as a school. As a member of the Compass Education team, he is part of a growing community of passionate educators aiming to equip schools as learning communities to educate and act for a sustainable future. He has dedicated much of his time to not only ensuring students are properly prepared for the world’s most pressing issues but that they have the skills and desire to take action. With his Doctorate in Organizational Systems Mike helps to inspire and lead schools through times of change and educational transformation.
Rick Hannah has been facilitating student-led community and service learning projects for the past 10 years at international schools in Angola, China, Indonesia and Singapore.
At Sinarmas World Academy in Jakarta, Indonesia he served as the whole-school IB Community and Service/ CAS coordinator and Coordinator of the Innovative Schools Programme (ISP) for the local NGO Yayasan Emmanuel. Currently at United World College in Singapore, he serves as the High School Service Coordinator and teaches Theory of Knowledge, Global Perspectives, Integrated Humanities and Digital Perspectives.
Laurence Myers is originally from Athens, Greece and is proud of it! He is currently the Service Learning Coordinator at the American School of Dubai (ASD). Prior to his current position, he held the position of Sustainability & Service Learning Coordinator at the International School of Kuala Lumpur. He has taught economics, history, government, social studies, health and physical education at the middle and high school levels since 1997.
Laurence holds an M.Ed. degree in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska, an M.A. in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in International Relations from The College of Wooster. More recently he also holds a Sustainability Leadership certificate from Ithaca College.
His current work primarily emphasizes curriculum development and integration of ASD’s service learning framework across all learning environments but also includes heavy doses of collaboration and communication with administration, staff and external organizations. At ISKL he spearheaded ISKL’s accreditation process through the Eco-Schools program and guided ISKL’s efforts leading up to the receipt of Malaysia’s very first Green Flag award in 2013.
Laurence has facilitated sustainability and service learning workshops within ASD, ISKL, a number of international schools in Malaysia as well as EARCOS. He was a founding member of the National Working Group for ESD in Malaysia, focusing on curriculum development and professional learning structures related to ESD infusion for national schools. He is currently working within the NESA region to create a collaborative focusing on service learning, sustainability education and global citizenship education.
When not working with sustainability and service learning he is seen coaching student-athletes (in volleyball and basketball), supporting environmental initiatives, engaging in outdoor learning experiences or spending quality time with his wife and two beautiful daughters, ideally in natural settings.
Scott Edwards is a LEED Accredited Professional and director of GPDM for Sustainability, a regional consultancy that helps clients find environmentally, economically, and socially responsive solutions to their needs. Scott moved from Canada to Bangkok in 2001, and since then has lived in Phnom Penh Cambodia, Hanoi Vietnam, and Jakarta Indonesia. Arriving in South East Asia with a background in building design and sustainability, Scott’s involvement with international schools in the region has led to a growing interest in the relationships between sustainability, design and education. Scott has recently completed a Master of Science in Environmental Education & Interpretation from the University of Wisconsin, and has also completed a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Building Design & Construction from the Sustainable Design Institute at Boston Architectural College.
Drawing on his experience with educators, his architectural training, and an understanding of education for sustainable development and systems thinking, Scott assists Schools with their efforts to develop holistic, whole-school approaches to the topic of sustainability. Scott is excited to be joining Compass Education in their work of empowering students, educators and learning leaders and fostering the development of a more resilient and sustainable society.
Michelena McPherson is a 5th-grade teacher at Dalian American International School where she is passionate about fostering her students’ love of learning through building community, exploring literature, world cultures, and undertaking student-centered projects with their local community in mind. Michelena believes in encouraging children to explore the outdoors as well as creating awareness about the issues that affect our world. Michelena has been working with her students on analyzing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, creating actions that students can carry out locally including teaching local children about systems thinking and sustainability. Michelena believes that systems thinking is instrumental to engage students to problem solve and take action on the global goals. Michelena has a BFA in Photography, a Master’s degree in Gifted and Special Education and a bilingual education endorsement from the University of New Mexico. In addition to teaching, she likes hiking, photography, travelling, and cooking.
David is from New Zealand but has lived internationally his whole life. Currently teaching at the International School of Manila, Philippines as a High School and Middle School IT Coordinator and Theory of Knowledge teacher, he has previously taught at the American School of Doha, Qatar and North Jakarta International School, Indonesia. David is involved in facilitating Understanding by Design curriculum planning courses and presents at EARCOS and regional conferences on a range of topics. Outside of the teaching space, David is the co-owner of Alam Sari, a boutique hotel in Bali, which caters to tourists and school groups who wish to experience the local culture of the island.
David is a co-founder of the online learning community www.innovativepd.com and recently completed his Ed.D with a concentration in Organizational Leadership and a focus on IT and Distance Education.
Senior Associate, the AtKisson Group
Lister Hannah has for over 35 years headed leading schools (both international and national) and educational institutions in North America, Europe, Africa, Australia, and more recently in South East Asia. He has a deep commitment to embedding in schools a mission to educate for a sustainable future. He established school environmental initiatives in the 1970s and 80s; in the 1990s was on the Board of Trustees of the Jane Goodall Institute (UK) and helped launch Roots and Shoots in Europe; and he also trialled implementing the Natural Step approach to sustainability in a major Australian school. In 2008, together with Alan AtKisson and Robert Steele, he led the start of Compass Schools, now Compass Education, and continues to work with this initiative and promote it particularly with international educational organizations (e.g. the International Baccalaureate – IB, and the East Asia Regional Council of Schools – EARCOS). He is a Senior Associate with the AtKisson Group.
Lara Siree Johnson
Lara Johnson has lived and worked in Asia for over two decades with a passion for empowerment and participatory development. Born in Thailand, she spent her childhood in the mountains of Colorado and earned a BA in Environmental Conservation. She then returned to Southeast Asia working with universities and communities in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam focusing on sustainable development before founding a fair trade business exporting natural products to global markets. Ten years later she worked for Johns Hopkins University where she earned a Master of Public Health. This led to a regional position with the Open Society Foundations coordinating the Southeast Asia Initiative and East East Beyond Borders Program supporting hundreds of programs throughout Southeast Asia and coordinating civil society exchanges with Northeast Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. She recently localized her love for learning and is spending a year with the Traidhos Three-Generation Community for Learning that led her to join the inspiring team at Compass Education.
Kath Lane is a Primary School teacher from Britain who has a passion for educating children about nature and sustainability. She worked at Green School in Bali, Indonesia and has completed a Masters of Education in Educating for Sustainability at Antioch University in the United States. She currently works as a Grade 5 teacher in United World College of South East Asia – East, in Singapore, where she is also Environmental Stewardship Coordinator and is actively involved in infusing sustainability education across the primary grades and beyond. She believes that through curriculum, outdoor education, service and personal/social education children can be given the passion, skills and qualities needed to make the right choices and find sustainable solutions for our world.
Michael has enjoyed an eclectic professional journey, including roles as a restaurateur, flight instructor, drama/science/math teacher, community service coordinator, guidance counsellor, school administrator and educational consultant. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in educational leadership with a focus on service learning cultures in international schools. Having been anesthetized by suburban Canada in his early life, Michael kept his sanity by living vicariously through National Geographic magazine articles, and television specials by Jacque Cousteau and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. His quest to explore this ‘pale blue dot’ has led him to meet some truly inspiring people from around the globe. The past two-plus decades in international school settings has provided the opportunity to participate in some exceptionally rewarding and transformative community service learning experiences for both him and his students.
Michael’s passion lies in bridging the islands of our individual efforts and building collaborative networks of people who seek to effect positive sustainable change in their communities and beyond. Michael is the founder of the Global Issues Service Summit in Africa and is excited to be heading to Cuba in 2016 to assume the helm as the new Director of the International School of Havana.
Growing up in a multi-cultural environment, Cindy thrives to cultivate a global approach in education flourishing young leaders of the world. Cindy’s involvement with Compass Education started as a passionate teacher who wished to expand her horizons and tools towards systems thinking in 2013. Ever since, sustainability has been her core value, practices, and now a trainer with Compass Education, a non-profit network equipping schools for a sustainable future.
Cindy is currently a learner and educator at NIST International School for MYP Sciences and DP Environmental Systems and Societies. She works with various young leaders of the generation exploring possibilities, passions, and taking action in their local community through classroom, experiential, and service learning.
Cindy is very blessed to be involved in a very supportive and collaborative network amongst international schools in Thailand. She is an active advisor for the Bangkok ServICE Network, which inspires, connects and empowers students and educators in the Bangkok-Pattaya-Phuket regions. She co-organized and hosted the 5th and 7th annual conferences.
Kate is an educator and a life-long inquirer. She is passionate about empowering students as legitimate change-makers in wider communities. Kate has been in international education for over 12 years. She planted a co-op preschool in Taiwan that empowers new parents to take leadership roles in their children’s education, and is currently a Middle School Science teacher at United Nations International School Hanoi. Kate believes that systems thinking is key to developing the problem-solving, critical thinking, and transfer skills necessary to make sustainable change; and is very excited to be a part of Compass Education.
Kate finds balance by chasing her two children around and working closely with her husband; who challenges her to keep thinking and question everything.
Gitanjali Paul is a High School Social Studies educator currently pursuing her M. ED in Global Youth Leadership and Development at the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT, USA. Gitanjali is a strong proponent of using education to promote positives and sustainable community change. Since joining the CE Team in 2014 as a teacher she has focused on developing Compass Ed’s Youth Empowerment Program and training youth to utilize Compass Tools and systems thinking for service and sustainability projects, global issues conferences and experiential learning.
A native New Yorker, Katina is the IB Psychology teacher and CAS/TOK Coordinator at Wells International School in Bangkok, Thailand. She is currently working towards a PsyD in Human & Organizational Psychology and at the same time, understanding her students better by being a student herself! Katina is passionate about empowering youth and helping them find their potential. She is a MUN advisor and has been involved in other student-centered initiatives, such as the school’s TED-Ed Club and ServICE network. It is through these channels that she supports students in finding their voices and discovering their passions.
Katina is a big believer in service learning, systems thinking, and sustainability. She is fascinated by mental models and enjoys using the Iceberg model or Ladder of Inference to delve deeper into understanding issues. She is a lifelong learner who is always trying to develop herself as a person and global citizen, hoping to inspire those around her to do the same. In her free time, Katina enjoys reading, photography, meditation, travelling, and eating delicious Thai food!
Kevin has been a carpenter, community organizer, educator, and environmental entrepreneur. Since 2008 he has been a founder and CEO of two sustainable design consulting firms in India and Singapore. He is currently the Director of the Singapore Office of IEN Consultants, one of the leading sustainable design and engineering firms in SE Asia.
An expert on green schools, Kevin has worked with top international schools across Asia to create innovative, “living” campuses and integrate sustainability principles into school curricula.
In 2006 Kevin served as a Fulbright Scholar at India’s premier environmental think tank, The Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi. Before moving to India, Kevin was a Policy Director for one of the largest US community-based housing NGOs, where he pioneered the first low-cost urban green homes. Kevin was also an Adjunct Professor in the Urban Environment at Queens College as the City University of New York, and a high school teacher at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C.
Kevin is trained as an architect and urban planner and writes and speaks widely on urban and environmental issues. He has an MCP in Urban Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MA in Urban History from Columbia University. He lives with his family in Singapore.
Administrations and Communications
Watkana Thongrueng (Nong)
Nong’s responsibility is to assist Compass Education with organization administration and support in material development, as well as general communication, and coordination within the team and with outside individuals and schools/organisations. Nong’s background is in Marine Science from Kasetsart University, Thailand. She used to work as a field research assistant at Ranong Coastal Resources Research Station after the Tsunami hit Andaman coast in 2004. After that she moved to work with Systainability Asia as program coordinator for environmental education related projects/program. She also enjoys practicing an environmental friendly and healthy lifestyle such as yoga, growing her own food, recycling her waste etc.
Nining Ikha Sumarni
Nining coordinates the internal and external communications aspects of Compass Education. This includes the organization, publication and development of the website, and networks through social media channels. She also assists with the logistics of the organization’s events. She has experiences in communications whilst coordinating the Prem Tinsulanonda International School (PTIS) Yearbook and also when working for the Mining and Energy sector for the Indonesian Government. She is Indonesian and currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand accompanying her husband who works as a Junior School teacher at PTIS. She loves sports, travelling and experiencing different cultures around Asia.
CEO and Founder of AtKisson Group
With over twenty years of international experience in sustainability leadership, strategic consulting, and professional development, Alan AtKisson is perhaps most well known for his inspiring keynote speeches, and as the author of the widely read books Believing Cassandra and The Sustainability Transformation. He has developed a number of sustainability tools and methodologies that have spread around the world, and has directly supported sustainability initiatives in over forty countries. Alan works on complex strategic and technical issues in sustainability, with global companies and institutions. But he also believes in using every skill one can bring to the table, and in his case, that includes music and songwriting. Whenever possible (and appropriate), he brings music and creativity into the heart of the work, “because music is a way of supporting both the intellectual and the emotional sides of our generation’s greatest challenge: tackling an array of complex global problems and creating a sustainable future.”
Associate Professor, Auburn University
Lisa A. W. Kensler is an associate professor in and senator for the Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology department of the College of Education. She joined the Auburn faculty in 2008, after completing her doctorate in educational leadership at Lehigh University. Lisa also has a M.S. in biology from Old Dominion University and taught high school biology for ten years. Lisa teaches graduate courses in educational leadership that address organizational theory, change, and learning. Her research interests focus on the leadership and learning necessary for transforming PK-12 schools into more sustainable and healthy, high performing systems.
Senior Associate, the AtKisson Group
Ben Roche is the Head of Sustainability, Partnerships and Community Engagement at Southern Cross University. In this position he has overarching responsibility for a suite of portfolios that focus on connecting the University’s research and teaching strengths with the sustainable development needs of its communities. He provides leadership and advice to drive engagement strategies and cultivate key relationships and networks to realise the University’s strategic priorities whilst optimising community benefit, impact and exchange. Ben is a change agent with a specific interest in participatory approaches to sustainable development. As an educator and facilitator, he is focused on the role for learning to create resilience, relationships, capacity for self organisation and wellbeing. He has taught, researched and practised in the areas of community-based learning, sustainability education, participatory planning, sustainable development and community engagement. His work draws heavily on systems design and thinking and how it is applied to a range of sustainability challenges from young innovators, to education and social change programs, to organisational change and governance. He provides advice to a range of organisations and governments on strategic approaches to education, engagement and development. Ben is a Senior Associate of the AtKisson Group.
Founder and CEO of Think Strategic for Schools
Maxine Driscoll is the Founder and CEO of Think Strategic for Schools, a global consultancy empowering 21st Century schools and school leaders to meet the needs of 21st Century learners. She is the former of Head of School at Prem Tinsulanonda International School, an International Baccalaureate (IB) K-12 Day and Boarding School in Thailand and the first Compass for Sustainability School in the world. Maxine was instrumental in embedding sustainability into Prem’s strategic planning. After 9 years of leadership service at Prem, she was invited to serve on the Board of Governors. Prior to her time at Prem, Maxine held the position as elementary principal at Kardinia International College, Australia.
Maxine is the recipient of a Leadership Fellowship from Columbia University, New York, USA, an AtKisson Sustainability ISIS Accelerator License and an Australian National Excellence in Teaching Award. She has served on the National Executive of the Australian Primary Principals Association. She holds a B.Ed. and a M.Ed. from Deakin University, Australia. As an IB Educator and IB Consultant she has lead workshops or evaluated schools in Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, East Timor, China and India. You can find her at www.thinkstrategicforschools.com.