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Faculty and Staff

Jodi Burnside-Director of Ashgabat International School


Jodi Burnside 

Director of Instruction 

I have been in education for 33 years and have enjoyed every minute of it. I have taught all ages preschool through college, and everything in between.  I have taught and coached in 4 (IL, CO, MN, VA) states, and in the country of Belize. I still enjoy being in the classroom, so I continue to teach Biology as well as being the Director of Instruction.  My husband Kent and I are completing our 3rd year at AIS and we love it here in Ashgabat. We do miss our 4 children and our 4 grandchildren but Zoom makes it easy for us to stay in touch with our family.  

Emily Barbuto-DI


Emily Barbuto




It is an honor to return to Ashgabat International School as the Director of Instruction.  This will be my twenty-second year in international education.  I was an elementary classroom teacher for twenty-one years, which included teaching the 5YOC at AIS both in person and online. Outside of school, I enjoy reading, learning, and exploring new places.  I'm looking forward to a wonderful 2021-2022 school year!  



Chris Fisher Counselor



Chris Fisher

This is my first year as a Guidance Counselor for QSI.  My main goal this year will be to find great success in supporting students, staff, and parents through their academic journey.  I consider Kansas as my American home after living there for over 30 years with my wife and daughter.  Earning my undergrad and graduate degrees from Wichita State University was an honor.  As the AIS Counselor, I want all students, parents, and staff to know I am here for you.



Teri Quesnell-6YOC



Terese Quesnell 


I am an expat from the USA.  I have a bachelor-of-science degree in elementary education and have taught 6-YOC with QSI for eight years

Cynthia M. Sicilia-7YOC



Cynthia M. Sicilia

Cynthia M. Sicilia has 35 years as an educator in the US serving as a teacher, Director of Instruction, Principal, University instructor and Executive Director for Teaching and Learning. She has taught grades 1-5, special education, gifted and talented students. Over the past 7 years, Ms. Cynthia has served as the Principal of Cebu International School in Cebu Philippines, Principal of Taunggyi International School in Taunggyi Myanmar and as a grade 4 teacher in Yangon Myanmar. While in the US she enjoys the company of her two grown sons and wondering the great outdoors of Northwest Washington state.

Jessica Callison-8YOC



Jessica Callison


Mrs. Callison is very excited to be teaching the 8 year old class this year.  She has a masters degree in science curriculum design from Tufts University.  She has been teaching for 26 years.  This is her first year at AIS and her second year working for QSI.  She enjoys using mastery learning in her classroom where students can find a positive and supportive place to learn.

Steven Mann- 9YOC



Steve Mann

9 year old teacher

I was born in Hawthorne, California—home to Mattel Toys and the Beach Boys. I lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota for years. In a former life, I played in loud, obnoxious rock bands, was a soda jerk, flipped burgers and flap jacks, among other things. I taught for years on an Indian reservation school in northern Minnesota. For five years, I have lived in Ashgabat, the City of Love, thusly, I met my wife here and now we have 2 young boys. In my next life I would like to be a writer.

Celeste Guerrero-10YOC


Celeste Guerrero


Hi my name is Celeste! I’m from Texas but I also attended and graduated high school at an international school in Saudi Arabia. I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies , with a concentration in Early childhood education - 6th Grade from the University of Texas at San Antonio. This is my first international teaching experience and I am so excited to be apart of the AIS team! I am looking forward to a wonderful and eventful school year!! 

Mark McDougall-11YOC



Mark McDougall

Before joining QSI, I split my time between teaching special education, for many years, in Canada and working as a counselor in day treatment, classroom, and residential settings. In 2003, I sailed to South America, where I began supply teaching in QSI's newly-acquired school in Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela. Since then, I have taught for QSI on four continents, covering a range of areas from 8 year old class through senior British Literature, AP Calculus, and Chemistry. Along the way phys ed, music, and guidance counselor have also been part of my responsibilities as needed. I have always considered myself a jack of all trades but a master of developing confident, goal oriented, independent learners. 

Stephen Hallstrom-13YOC



Stephen Hallstrom


Hello.  In my 11 years of teaching, I have taught in Oregon, Romania, Macedonia, and now at AIS.  I began my career as a middle school science teacher but have come to really enjoy teaching literacy and math classes, as well.  My Peace Corps experience in Romania introduced me to international travel and, subsequently, the rich cultural diversity of our species as well as the majestic natural beauty of our host planet, both of which are abundant at AIS and in Ashgabat.  Pre-COVID, I particularly enjoyed the sunrises when arriving to AIS each day and tracking the change of the seasons by the shifting colors on the slopes of the nearby mountains.

Stephanie Delzel-CS



Stephanie Dalziel

Hi my name is Stephanie Dalziel and I am from the great state of Iowa in the US. I just got married to my husband Mr. Gibson in the summer of 2020. I went to school at the University of Iowa and was a triple major in biology, Spanish, and ancient civilizations. I have been teaching for the past 4 years, 2 in west Africa in Cameroon, 1 year in Pakistan, and one year virtually for a school in Saudi Arabia. I really love American football, dance, reading, and anime. 



DiAnne Cooper -SEC1



DiAnne Cooper

My name is DiAnne Cooper, and I am from Texas, USA.

I am honored and excited for the opportunity to teach at AIS!

I have a Master’s Degree and am certified to teach English Language Arts and Social Studies.

I have over three decades of teaching experience. I am a dedicated and goal driven educator with a solid commitment to the academic and social growth and development of every student

Jamie Spagnolo-SEC2



Jamie Spagnolo



A rare creature known as a "Yooper," I hail from the Lake Superior port city of Marquette, located the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA. Upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, I served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Milwaukee's Westlawn Neighborhood. My first twelve years of teaching took me from Milwaukee to Baraboo and eventually to a tiny town in northern Wisconsin, where I taught English Language Arts and Photography while serving as the district's Director of Athletics and Webmaster. In my spare time, I enjoy wildlife and landscape photography, exploring small mountains, video chatting with my dog, watching quirky movies with flawed protagonists, and reading fiction.

Spencer Gibson-SEC3




Spencer Gibson 


Hello my name is Spencer Gibson.  

I was born in St. Petersburg, FL and graduated from Largo High School . Afterwards  I served in the U.S. Navy then decided to go to college and earned a Masters in Science Education. I've taught in several countries and I am happy to be here ! 



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