Heads of the School
Alan Ball (Australian)
Head of Senior
Alan has had 32 years experience teaching in a variety of educational settings. He has a degree in English and History and a Diploma in Education from the University of New England. He has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Queensland.
He has taught in boys’ schools and co-educational schools in Australia, Japan and the UK. He started his career at St Joseph’s College in Brisbane, before moving to Japan with his wife, Louise, where they both taught English in Japanese high schools. From Japan, Alan and Louise moved to Strathallan School in Scotland, where they taught English, and Alan was a Housemaster.
They returned to Australia when Alan was appointed Director of Boarding at Brisbane Boys’ College. Alan went on to be Deputy Headmaster at Canberra Grammar School, before moving to his current role as Principal of Bishop Druitt College in Coffs Harbour.
The greater part of Alan’s career has been in boarding schools. He is passionate about the unique opportunities boarding gives pupils and teachers. His experience in boarding saw him travel widely in Asia to recruit pupils, and build community with school families.
Alan believes that ‘Rugby School Thailand will be an outstanding international boarding school in Asia. Its close links with the ethos of Rugby School UK, its extraordinary location and facilities, and the passion of its Thai owners, the Teepsuwan family, will ensure its success.’
Alan and Louise have two adult children. Alan and Louise will move to Thailand in September 2017, and will then spend some time at Rugby UK, where recruitment interviews for Rugby School Thailand will be held.
Nigel Westlake (British)
Founding Head and Head of Prep / Pre-Prep
Nigel has had 30 years experience in the UK private education sector, 15 years as a Head. He has a Law degree and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education from the University of Exeter. He qualified initially as a lawyer, before switching careers to become a schoolmaster at three private prep schools - Sunningdale, The Old Malthouse and Aldro. His roles have included Head of English and Drama, Director of Sport, Boarding Housemaster and Deputy Head. Whilst Headmaster at Packwood Haugh and Brambletye Prep Schools, he oversaw significant increases in pupil intake and record scholarships.
As both a schoolmaster and headmaster at well-known UK boarding schools, Nigel has had a great deal of experience in the education of children from countries across the world, including Thailand, Japan, South Korea, China, Russia, USA, South Africa, Nigeria, Germany, Spain and France.
By the time Rugby school Thailand opens, Nigel will have been involved in the development of the project for two years. He believes that “Rugby School Thailand offers a unique opportunity to bring the very best of the UK private sector to Thailand. The quality of the site, the quality of the appointed teachers, the commitment of the owners, and the support of Rugby School UK combine to offer something very distinct and very special.”
Nigel is married with two boys, aged 8 and 7, who will also be joining Rugby School Thailand in September 2017.
Prep School Senior Management
Sara Howell (British)
Deputy Head Academic
Sara is in her 12th Year of teaching and is currently Assistant Head Academic, Modern Languages Teacher and a member of the Senior Management Team at Northcote Lodge, a private Prep school in London, UK. Her roles include Curriculum review, Staff Development, diagnostic testing and coordination of internal and external exams. Previously she been Head of Modern Languages and Director of Studies.
Sara has a degree in French and German from the University of Liverpool, and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education and a Master’s in Learning and Teaching from the University of Nottingham. Sarah believes that “happiness and innovation lead to a vibrant and enjoyable teaching and learning atmosphere, which is vital for achievement amongst staff and pupils”.
Sara is keen and capable skier, and a PADI advanced diver. She is married and has two children, both of whom will be joining Rugby School Thailand in September 2017.
David Dawson (British)
Deputy Head Pastoral, Humanities Teacher
David’s current role is Director of Studies, Geography teacher and Boarding Housemaster at Fettes (‘Eton of the North’) Prep School in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has been Activities Coordinator and sits on the Fettes Joint Consultative Committee with Governors and Senior School Head. David’s early career took him to Tanzania and Malaysia and he remains a Trustee of two East African charities.
David has a degree in Agriculture, a Master’s in Rural Estate Management and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Edinburgh University. He coaches sport (rugby, cricket, basketball, badminton, and squash), and enjoys diving and water sports. David believes that Rugby School Thailand’s “holistic approach will inspire children to challenge themselves both inside and outside the classroom,”and that “children should be instilled with a love of life and a love of learning.” David is married with three older children.
Prep School Teachers
Ellen Barnes (British)
Art, Design and Drama
Ellen is currently Arts Leader at a UK Primary School, where her multi-faceted role includes delivering lessons in both Art and Drama. She has overhauled the Arts curriculum achieving ‘Artsmark’ status for the school, and arranges Art exhibitions and open air Art galleries. She writes and direct school plays, choreographs ‘flash-mob’ dance events, and runs drama workshops for both pupils and staff.
Through Ellen’s efforts, her school is the only school in the UK to be part of the ‘Discovering Europe’ Erasmus project, which aims to develop children’s understanding of other nations. At her interview, she spoke of translating this project to Rugby School Thailand with a focus upon the SE Asian countries.
Ellen holds a BA degree (1st class) in English in Education from the University of the West of England, and has completed a Fine Art Foundation Course at the University of Derby. Ellen is married with three children, each of whom will be joining Rugby School Thailand.
Margarita Betanzos Alonso (Spanish)
Head of Modern Languages
Margarita has been teaching for 16 years, primarily in the UK, and for the past 6 years she has been a teacher of Spanish and French at Windlesham House, a well-known private prep school in the South of England. Described as ‘a true professional and an outstanding, reflective practitioner’, she teaches from Reception through to Year 8 and has particular responsibility for the Spanish curriculum. Previously she has set up her own business teaching Spanish to children of all ages and has also had experience teaching English as an Additional Language.
Margarita has a BA degree in Business Administration, a BA degree in Modern Languages Teaching from Cadiz University, and a Certificate in the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language. She is familiar with the most up to date teaching resources and technology, and says that she ‘enjoys working with children and helping them achieve their best in both knowledge of language and social skills’.
Margarita is married with two children aged 7 and 5 who will also be joining Rugby School Thailand in September 2017.
Helen Bowery (British)
Head of Girls’ Sport
Helen has coached sport both in the UK and overseas, and for the last eight has been at the British School Al Khubairat in Adu Dhabi where she is Head of Physical Education and Girls’ Games. She has experience from Nursery through to A level, and has introduced a Sports Scholarship programme. Recently her teams – Swimming, Athletics, Girls’ Touch Rugby, Football, Volleyball and Netball – have been championship winners in highly-competitive Dubai, BSME and COBIS events. Helen aims to ensure that “girls of all ages and skill level are given the opportunity to participate, learn, develop and compete at a competitive yet appropriate level.”
Helen has a BA in Sport in the Community with Qualified Teacher Status (graded ‘Outstanding’) from Durham University, and an MA in Education from the University of Liverpool Hope. She has herself played several sports to a high level, including women’s football, hockey and gymnastics. Helen has travelled extensively throughout Thailand, and is married with one young child, who will also be joining Rugby School Thailand in September 2017.
Corinna Dawson (British)
Head of Learning Support and EAL
Corinna currently provides learning support to children with a variety of needs, including dyspraxia and dyslexia, at Fettes Prep School in Scotland. She has a BSc degree from Edinburgh University and holds a Diploma in the Teaching of Children with Specific Learning Difficulties. Prior to Fettes, she worked with children with significant needs at a Scottish Primary School. She says that she “loves seeing the pupils’ confidence increase, particularly when those who struggle in the classroom excel in concerts, on stage or in extra-curricular activities.”
Corinna has a TEFL certificate and taught English as a Foreign Language in China, Malaysia and Tanzania. She now helps develop the English language skills of foreign pupils at Fettes. She also has a wealth of pastoral care experience as Girls’ Boarding Houseparent (SVQ in Health and Social Care), and she is member of the Fettes Senior Management Team. She enjoys surfing, climbing (she is a qualified climbing wall instructor), diving and supporting a range of charities.
Miki Tokumitsu (Japanese)
Year 1 teacher
Fluent in English, Miki was educated at a British curriculum international school in Singapore, and has been based in Australia since 2005. She has experience teaching from Years 1-3, and for the last 4 years has been a classroom teacher at a public school in Sydney.
Here she has been an active member of the Visual Arts Committee, the Concert Committee, the Mathematics Committee, the Technology Committee, and the Environmental Committee. She has mentored trainee teachers, run an Art Club, coached sport, assisted in overseas trips (including Thailand), conducted a recorder group, and has assisted in the running of a computer coding club. And, as a leading member of the School Representative Council, she has coordinated charitable fund-raising.
Miki obtained a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Sydney, and is CELTA qualified to teach English as a foreign language. She says that her priority as a class teacher is to ‘provide a safe and supportive learning environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging’, and ‘where learning is engaging and enjoyable’.