Amanda Zanchetti-Mayo is our school director. She provides instructional and management leadership in the development and implementation of all educational programs for students, and the evaluation and professional development of staff. Prior to joining the VAIS, Ms. Zanchetti-Mayo taught social studies for seven years at Pecatonica Area Schools in Blanchardville, Wisconsin. She also earned her master's degree in education leadership and policy analysis from UW Madison, served as a district gifted and talented coordinator, and served as an assistant principal. Prior to entering the field of education, Ms. Zanchetti-Mayo worked in the private sector for several years and earned a B.S. from UW-Stevens Point in history and broad-field social science. She is a stellar school advocate, believer in kids, innovator, listener, and problem-solver.
Kay Lera is the English teacher for grades 1-3. She brings an impressive background in education and came to the VAIS very highly recommended. Ms. Lera holds a master's degree in education and has had varied teaching experiences. Most recently, she taught in a 1/2 classroom at Country View Elementary in Verona. Her previous experiences include serving as a classroom K-3 teacher, an instructional technology specialist for K-5 educators, a library media specialist, an adjunct professor at James Madison University in Virginia, and as an online teacher for PBS TeacherLine. Ms. Lera is full of energy, loves being a teacher, and knows how to balance all the things that make for a great classroom experience: She is creative yet structured, fun yet firm, thinks organically but teaches systematically, and is truly tuned into the uniqueness and needs of each of her students.
Leilei Song is one of two Mandarin-language classroom teachers for our students. She grew up in China and came to the United States 17 years ago. Ms. Song received her master's degree in mathematics from Eastern Michigan University in 1997 after graduating with honors from her undergraduate studies, also in math, at Shandong Normal University in China (a national university with an emphasis on teaching). She is currently pursuing her master's degree in teaching at Cardinal Stritch University. She is a lifelong learner and strives to blend the best of Eastern education with the best of Western education in her classroom.
Jiayi Chen is a Mandarin-language classroom teacher for our students. She hails from Zhuhai in southern China and came to the U.S. in 2010 after receiving her bachelor's degree in language and literature at Sun Yat-Sen University in China. She earned her master's degree in curriculum and teaching at Michigan State University while also earning her K-12 Chinese teaching certificate. Before joining VAIS, Ms. Chen taught at Post Oak Magnet Elementary, an IB World School in Michigan, first as a Chinese language and culture teacher and then as a 3rd-grade Chinese immersion teacher. She also taught online Chinese for high school students via the Michigan Virtual High School and the Confucius Institute at Michigan State University. "I am committed to Chinese immersion teaching," she says, "because I love to see the growth of each child in a challenging yet engaging Chinese-language environment!"
Sarah Shaw is our kindergarten teacher and global arts teacher. She has a real heart and mind for our littlest learners. As global arts teacher, she is a beloved part of the week for all VAIS kids, providing them with an array of art, music, and physical-education activities that draw upon cultures from around the world. Ms. Shaw received her BS in communication sciences and disorders from UW-Eau Claire in 2006 and earned her teaching license through Alverno College in Milwaukee in 2009. She taught 4th- and 5th-grade math for two years in the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District and was also a long-term sub in a 1st-grade class in West Allis. Ms. Shaw is a talented flautist and plays the flute in the Milwaukee American Legion band. She has been directing musicals with children in grades 2-8 for six years.