Times Higher Education (THE) has created an International Schools Advisory Board to help develop its proposition for the rapidly expanding international schools sector. The board will help develop world-class personal development sessions and ensure best practice and transparency across THE and BMI’s services for international schools.
David Turner, Dwight School Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Approaching his third decade in education, David is committed to communities and the culmination of voices, opinions, cooperative endeavours, and collective outcomes which he believes are essential in furthering international education.
David presently serves a school community at the Dwight School Dubai where he is a solo team serving as the university and career counsellor. His other educational and community tethers include membership in a regional counsellor group of a few hundred dedicated supportive colleagues; David also co-chairs a regional NAFSA Middle East Interest Group (MEIG) supporting more than 500 higher education members; he regularly engages with EdTech companies, higher education event and news agencies, universities and other international counsellors to promote/support college counsellors and their school communities.
Whether speaking in public, leading/participating in panel discussions or webinars, consulting or creating/recording content, David remains active and committed to celebrating and supporting colleagues in an ever-evolving critical dialogue for international counselling and education.
David holds an undergraduate degree in speech communication, a postgraduate teaching credential in education as well as a master's degree in the same.
Marsha Oshima, International School of Geneva, Switzerland
Marsha is currently a university guidance counsellor at the International School of Geneva, La Grande Boissière Campus in Switzerland. She is also the vice president for professional development for International ACAC, a membership organisation for international admissions and high school counselling professionals, where she leads a volunteer team to develop and deliver professional development activities.
Prior to her move to Switzerland, she worked for nearly 15 years at the Institute of International Education (IIE) managing US government and private scholarship and exchange programmes including the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Programmes, KAUST Scholarships, the International Visitor Leadership Program and the Boren Scholarships. Marsha has been a panel organiser and speaker at conferences for International ACAC and the Council of International Schools.
Buket Ayaz, Nord Anglia International School Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Buket is an experienced university guidance counsellor and higher education advocate with more than 10 years’ experience in the field.
She started her career after participating in the Independent Educational Consultant Association’s Summer Institute, which fuelled her passion for raising awareness about higher education abroad. While working as an IEC to support students’ university applications worldwide, she started developing college readiness programmes in international schools, including developing partnerships with international universities.
Buket has continued college counselling since moving to Dubai in 2016 and received her College Access Counselling Programme certificate from Rice University. She is particularly interested in careers counselling curriculum standardisation, including grade-specific college readiness programmes, which have seen her delivering college counsellor training workshops in the UAE. She was recently appointed as the only college counsellor from the Middle East to represent Unifrog on their advisory board.
A former Fulbright Scholar, Buket is the only AICEP “Certified Educational Planner” in Dubai. It is a mark of distinction demonstrating expanded knowledge and commitment to the college counselling profession, it assures families that they are working with a qualified professional who is committed to maintaining the highest quality of service to higher education advising.
Rebecca Evans, Cheltenham College, United Kingdom
Rebecca is passionate about the development of young people’s education and careers. In 2016 she joined Cheltenham College, a leading UK independent school, as head of higher education and careers where she oversees all UK and international university applications, while also delivering a comprehensive careers and employability programme.
A qualified careers professional, Rebecca is responsible for the strategic delivery of higher education and careers education, information, advice, and guidance to all stakeholders whilst adhering to internal and external development plans and frameworks.
Prior to joining the education sector, Rebecca worked in early careers executive search and recruitment in London.
Amanda Jewell, GEMS Wellington Academy, United Arab Emirates
With over 30 years of experience as a careers adviser and more recently head of careers and transition, Amanda has spent the last 16 years working in international schools in Dubai, establishing comprehensive careers programmes, supporting and advising students from over 65 nationalities in applying to universities in over 15 countries around the world.
Her expertise lies in supporting students applying to UK universities, including delivering in-depth programmes for students applying to medical schools and those applying to foundation and pathway programmes.
As a key member of the GEMS Schools Counsellor community, Amanda has supported many new counsellors with professional development, speaking at events run by BMI, Princeton Review, ADEK Rize University Preparation and Careers Guidance Programme and the Abu Dhabi Counsellors Forum and the IC3 Regional Forum.
Her passion is to ensure that each student is put at the heart of all guidance, enabling them to make the best decisions using student agency to navigate the rapidly changing world of work and education.
Christina McDade, Lincoln Community School, Ghana
Christina McDade has been an active member of the international counselling community for almost 11 years, mostly serving in the Middle East in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. She advocates for counsellor training, fellowship among counsellors, and understanding the intersection of social-emotional health in the university process.
Christina received her undergraduate degree from the University of Evansville and participated in their Harlaxton study abroad programme. Christina has worked in radio broadcasting, community organising, and foster care social work in the US, before finding her place in education; working for five years in her hometown of Gary, Indiana before going abroad.
She holds master's degrees from Indiana University (social work) and Purdue University (education in school counselling). She is a volunteer and delegate on the executive board of the International Association of College Admissions Counselors and also serves on the task force for the International School Counselors Association and is a member of the Ghana International School Counselors Group. She has also served in an advising capacity for American University, Washington, DC, along with several other organisations. A frequent presenter at conferences in the field, she believes in advocacy and knowledge to be better-informed practitioners in the field to better serve students. Christina loves learning about fit and research in university planning.
Dexter Padayachee, African Leadership Academy, South Africa
Dexter Padayachee is the director of university guidance at African Leadership Academy, located in Johannesburg, South Africa. With a solid foundation built during his undergraduate studies at Amherst College, Dexter's expertise shines through his previous role as the international student coordinator there, where he excelled in providing invaluable support to students from diverse backgrounds.
In this role, Dexter was an active member of both the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee and the Internationalisation of the Liberal Arts committee. These experiences enhanced his understanding of fostering an inclusive environment and promoting global perspectives within the academic community.
On returning to South Africa, Dexter's passion for education led him to work as a tutor in English literature and art history at the University of Cape Town. In 2017, he transitioned to his current role as a university guidance counsellor, where he has made an impact in guiding students towards successful educational pathways.
Dexter's dedication to access, equity, and inclusion is the cornerstone of his counselling philosophy. Dexter's commitment to advancing educational opportunities is further demonstrated through his involvement in committees like Common App's Counsellor Advisory Committee. Previously, he also served on MaiaLearning's International Advisory Board, showcasing his engagement in the educational community.
Carmen Page, Raha International School, Abu Dhabi
Carmen is a licensed professional counsellor with experience in both clinical and educational settings. With over 15 years of experience, she currently works as Head of University Guidance Counselling in an international school in Abu Dhabi. Her passion lies in advocating for students and supporting student mental health and wellness on their university and career development journey. Carmen has developed guidance programmes within schools starting in middle school to help students prepare for higher education.
As a previous counsellor trainer for government organisations, Carmen is passionate about counsellor education and support. She facilitates counsellor groups for AP curriculum counsellors and local national counsellors in UAE. With an undergraduate degree in education and psychology and a master's degree in counselling and non-profit organisational leadership, Carmen has a holistic approach to education, understanding the need for career guidance and support for students and families.
Myriam Polo de Molina, Colegio Colombo Británico, Colombia
Myriam Polo de Molina is the college placement counsellor at Colegio Colombo Británico, in Cali, Colombia, an IB World School accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS). She is also an information science specialist with a graduate degree in information services. She is the Round Square representative, the head of the information centre, and the national honour society adviser.
In 1995, while serving as head librarian at Colegio Colombo Británico, Myriam moved into a role to help students research international university options. Myriam grew into the role of university counsellor and developed a comprehensive college counselling programme for secondary school students at her school. As part of that programme, she has organised internships for her students with companies and universities to help them further explore their career options.
Myriam has been active in promoting international opportunities for her students to help gain global and cultural understanding. She has worked with many boarding schools in the UK to establish standing agreements that allow students at her school to spend a period of time abroad. She also led the process for her school to join Round Square recently, allowing students at her school to have even more international experiences with exchange programmes.
Within her school, Myriam promoted the importance of seeking international accreditation by CIS and has also stepped up to serve as an accreditation evaluator for other CIS schools in Colombia and abroad. She is part of the IB Educators Network, where she has helped to further the professional development of colleagues in other parts of the world by serving as a workshop leader and online workshop facilitator, sharing her expertise in librarianship, IB DP Extended Essay and college counselling.
In 2019 Myriam received the 100 Leaders of Colombia Award and in 2021 she received the CIS Peggy Templeton Strong Award for her work as an advocate for international education at her school and within Colombia.
Jeff Neill, Director of College Counselling, Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Throughout Jeff’s 22 years of working in secondary education, he has been an advocate for students in the university admissions process. He is currently the director of college counselling at Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo in Brazil. In addition to his duties within the office of college counselling, Jeff is a member of the senior leadership team at Graded and is involved in the strategic planning process as well as the diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
Previously, he has worked at the International School of Dakar in Senegal, Taipei American School in Taiwan, Western Reserve Academy in Ohio, USA, Northfield Mount Hermon in Massachusetts, USA and the Salisbury School in Connecticut, USA.
Jeff presents regularly around the globe and volunteers his time broadly, serving on various faculties and boards for assorted groups, organisations, and companies. At present, he serves on the International ACAC Professional Development Committee as well as their pre-conference faculty. Additionally, he is serving on NACAC’s Ad Hoc Committee on mental health and equity in the transition to postsecondary Education. He is also a counsellor-in-residence for Cialfo, a college counselling software company, for which he also serves on their international advisory board.
Finally, for the past half decade, Jeff has been a resident faculty member for College Board’s Summer Institute for International Counsellors, and he has recently joined the College Board’s International Advisory Board. Jeff holds a BA in government and legal studies and German from Bowdoin College, an MA in English from Middlebury College, and an EdD from Northeastern University.
Augusto Neto, University and Careers Guidance Counsellor, St. Paul's School - The British School of Sao Paulo
With a little over 20 years of experience in education, Augusto is a seasoned holistic educator whose expertise in the field ranges from teaching English as a foreign or additional language to university and careers guidance. Since 2020, he has been a university and careers guidance counsellor at St. Paul’s School, the British School of São Paulo Brazil.
Passionate about building bridges, facilitating connections, and using his cross-cultural communication skills to help colleagues, students, and educators work towards achieving a common goal, Augusto enjoys going to work every day to help students to further education and beyond as they mature and develop as individuals who will become agents of positive change wherever life takes them.
Augusto’s community engagement and memberships include The Caribbean and Latin America Network of College Counsellors, NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counsellor), IACAC (International Association for College Admission Counselling), and the CDI (Career Development Institute).
Apart from his dedication and commitment to college counselling, Augusto loves teaching and has a passion for linguistics. He holds a teaching degree in English and Portuguese language and literature, and a postgraduate certificate in international education. His main interests as an and EFL/EAL teacher are the teaching of pronunciation and its spillover effects, research into second language speech perception and production, and developing ELT practices that stem from research.
Augusto also holds a College Counselling Certificate from UCLA and, above all, is proud to be among the first ever cohort to complete the Times Higher Education Counsellor Accreditation Programme (THE CAP).
Jenny Tassell, International School of Panama, Panama
Jenny Tassell is the head of the counselling department at the International School of Panama, where she has worked for the last four years. With a total of 15 years of experience in the field, Jenny's journey in education began at another prominent school in Panama, where she was a college counsellor for 11 years.
As a native to Panama, Jenny has a passion for creating opportunities for access to higher education within Panama and Latin America. Her commitment to this cause led her to pursue an undergraduate degree from Flagler College and a master's in school guidance and counselling from Nova Southeastern University.
Furthermore, Jenny has enhanced her professional qualifications by obtaining counsellor certifications from UCLA Extension, IE University, and Times Higher Education.
Beyond her individual work, Jenny has established the Panama School Counsellor Association and collaborated with counsellors in the area to establish the largest annual university fair in Panama. By creating the Panama Counsellor website, Jenny has successfully facilitated an environment that makes it easier for universities to engage with the region.
Jenny has been awarded counsellor of the year for Latin America from the IC3 organisation and Rising Star Award from International ACAC.
She has volunteered in various committees within the International Association for College Admission Counselling (IACAC) such as advocacy and outreach, and communications committee, and played an integral role in organising the first regional conference in Latin America.
Her commitment to professional growth and knowledge-sharing is evident through her regular invitations to present at professional conferences and she currently serves on the counsellor advisory board for IE University and is on the counsellor activation team for Concourse Global.
Jenny prioritizes networking and establishing connections with professionals in the region and globally, advocating for the well-being and educational opportunities of students.
Joe Tavares, Jakarta Intercultural School, Indonesia
Joe is the head of high school counselling at Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) in Jakarta, Indonesia. In his current role, Joe leads a team of counsellors who support the academic, university advising, and social/emotional needs of approximately 850 students from 50 countries who attend JIS’s high school.
Prior to joining JIS in 2016, Joe was a high school counsellor at international schools in Brazil and Egypt. Before working at international schools, Joe worked in the U.S., where he developed resources and support systems for students who would be first in their family to attend university.
Throughout his career, Joe has served as a board member, volunteer and in an advisory capacity for organisations such as the Common Application, IC3, International Association for College Admissions Counselling, and Peer Forward. In 2022, Joe earned a doctorate in education from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, where his research interests focused on the needs and experiences of college counsellors working at independent schools and the impact of curriculum rigor on university admission outcomes.
Phillip Wenturine, Brewster Academy Madrid, Spain
Phillip is currently Dean of University Guidance at Brewster Academy Madrid in Spain and has been working in the industry for over 10 years. Prior to Spain, Phillip has worked in the UAE (Dubai), Vietnam, Portugal, and the USA, where he has helped over a thousand students from over 100 nationalities gain quality guidance on higher education globally and apply to their best-fit universities.
A former Fulbright Scholar, Phillip continues to engage in his community by volunteering on the communications committee for International ACAC and is a member of the Counselor Activation Team for Concourse Global. He is an application reader for UCLA and is now a certified counsellor through Times Higher Education. Phillip is a strong advocate for connection and collaboration with a mission to promote sharing and networking across all sides of the desk so everyone can rally around the students we collectively serve.
Native to Florida, Phillip studied English, writing, and education for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees before venturing internationally and earning a postgraduate certificate in college counselling. He began his career in education in Florida, but he knew the world of international education was his true calling. He has helped head various offices and has held other leadership roles as an assistance academic dean for Johns Hopkins CTY Programme and as an AP Coordinator and Reader for College Board.