We present to you our core team of teachers

José Azcue, PhD (CA/PT)

Lead Principal (Interim Head)

Experience in Teaching: 25 Years
Countries taught in: Brazil, Canada and Portugal
Diplomas: PhD Geochemistry, Masters in Environmental Chemistry, Diploma for International School Leadership, IB Diploma School Visit Team Leader

José has more than 25 years’ experience in international education and is widely engaged with the IB (International Baccalaureate Organization). He holds a Masters from University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and a PhD from Waterloo University in Canada. José has served as Headmaster of an international school and been actively involved in teaching, developing teaching material, running workshops and online teacher training. José considers himself fortunate living in Lisbon and enjoying his spare time with his family.

It is a unique opportunity to contribute to the development of a new international school that aims for innovation and excellence. The positive approach and welcoming attitude of the team are contagious.

Teresa Monteiro

Teresa Monteiro

General Manager

Diplomas: Management Degree from the International University of Lisbon, MBA with specialization in marketing from the Catolica Lisbon School of Business & Economics, Postgraduate Diploma in Hospitality Administration at the Glion Institute of Higher Education Switzerland

Teresa is the General Manager at the United Lisbon International School. Before joining ULIS, she served as School Manager and Business Developer for Knightsbridge Schools International, in Algarve. Prior to working in education, Teresa worked for 20 years in the Portuguese ceramics industry where Teresa ended up holding board positions in the largest ceramics producer in Portugal and in the technological centre as well as the central association.

Teresa Monteiro holds a Management Degree from the International University of Lisbon, an MBA with specialization in marketing from the Catolica Lisbon School of Business & Economics, and recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Hospitality Administration at the Glion Institute of Higher Education, in Switzerland.  

Megan Kuemmerlin (US)

Elementary School Principal

Experience in Teaching: 14 years
Countries taught in: USA, Brazil, China
Diplomas: Bachelor in Elementary Education, Masters in International Education Administration

As an experienced educational leader I believe in building a strong learning community.  I am a situational leader who highlights collaboration, empowerment, and ethics. At the heart of my philosophy is connecting and building relationships with students, families, teachers, and staff to improve student learning. I am innovative in approaching and solving problems to move the school forward toward its mission and vision. I’m passionate about education because of the daily opportunity we have to impact students’ lives. 

I am excited about United Lisbon’s strong vision and an innovative and connected approach to education. I love that the school highly regards the development of students’ core values & skills to help each child thrive in and contribute to tomorrow’s world. I’m excited to be a part of a strong team of educators to cultivate a culture that works to promote holistic student learning. I am also thrilled at the opportunity to be a part of the Education Hub to unite the community together.

Kyriakos Koursaris (CY)

Education Technology Specialist

Experience in Teaching: 12 Years
Countries taught in: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Portugal
Diplomas: Masters in Music Ed. and Didactics, Post-Graduate Course in Technologies and Robotics in Education; Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert & Fellow

After my Masters in Music Education & Didactics and a Master of Choir Conducting from Charles University in Prague, I discovered my real passion, which is educational technology. I worked as Technology Integration Specialist in various schools and institutions, administered and facilitated technology-rich teaching and learning, guided collaborative curricular innovation as well as faculty and staff training/support, and ensured system service, reliability and consistency.

The excitement of being part of a new school is extremely rewarding, as well as professionally challenging. This is a unique opportunity to be part of a new and passionate founding team whose objective is to put together one of the best international schools of the country and become a worldwide reference.

The Microsoft Education Transformation Framework, intended for Microsoft Flagship schools, is by far one of the most innovative and unique educational programs, which puts a strong emphasis to the wellbeing of the student and the teacher alike, while developing the necessary skills and competences to succeed in a future of constant change and technological advancement.

Shannon Wischusen (US)

Early Childhood Teacher

Experience in Teaching: 5 years
Countries taught in: USA
Diplomas: Masters in Early Childhood Special Education

I am a preschool teacher from New York City, and I am thrilled to be joining the team at United Lisbon. I value play-based pedagogy and integrate social-emotional learning into all elements of the preschool curriculum. In my classroom, you will see student-directed and inquiry-based instruction, and my goal is to act as the facilitator to the authentic learning that happens in the classroom. Outside of teaching, I am passionate about yoga and mindfulness and I love to bring these practices into the classroom to share with my students.
I am joining United Lisbon to be a part of a world-class international school in a beautiful and diverse city.

Tyler Shepard (US)

Elementary School Teacher

Experience in Teaching: 5 years
Countries taught in: USA, Taiwan, Dominican Republic, Malta
Diplomas: Bachelor in Elementary Education

To me, energy, positivity and movement are essentials, both in and out of the classroom. I enjoy being active as well as keeping up with current events and new technologies. Learning is a passion of mine, and I believe I do it best when I make connections to those around me. I can’t wait to collaborate with you in person!

I am joining United Lisbon because of its vision to prepare young learners for tomorrow’s world. I want to contribute my knowledge and skills to grow a school, while also growing as an Educator.

Jeri Manning (US)

English Language Learners Specialist

Experience in Teaching: 20+ Years
Countries taught in: Japan, USA, Morocco, China
Diplomas: Bachelor in English, Masters in Teaching ESOL

I am a reader, an explorer, a risk-taker and an encourager. I have helped strengthen EAL programs overseas and in private boarding schools in the USA, coordinated an international student program, and worked closely with students, teachers and families to develop the social and academic English of students from all over the world in grades 2-10. I love to stay in local areas when I travel and am considering letting a cat or rabbit adopt me in Portugal.

I join United Lisbon because I simply couldn’t miss out on this opportunity to open a new school with such an exciting mission to honour empathy and inclusion. 

Chika Wakamori Burnham (JP)

Early Childhood Teacher

Experience in Teaching: 13 years
Countries taught in: Japan, CNMI, USA
Diplomas: Masters in Early Childhood Education

As a lifelong learner, teaching is my lifework and how I keep growing personally and professionally. I love self-teaching through discovery and experimenting in my own life, from cutting my hair to sewing a Halloween costume to moving to places that my intuition takes me to. My passion is also to write and illustrate children’s books, and my students are my inspiration. I find arts and crafts, especially with paper, such as origami and drawing, relaxing and meditative.

My motivation to join United Lisbon is to pursue my passion for quality teaching and learning as a starting member of the school. The school’s mission motivates me to utilize my teaching experience in diverse settings and multicultural life experiences. I feel supported to practice my love of whole-child development through inquiry-based learning and student agency.

Travis Burnham (US)

STEM Teacher

Experience in Teaching: 20 years
Countries taught in: USA, Japan, Colombia, CNMI
Diplomas: Bachelor in Biology, Bachelor in Botany, Masters in Creative Writing

I am passionate about learning and teaching science. I ensure that my enthusiasm for science is contagious by giving assignments that are interesting and meaningful. I’m a published writer of short stories and have a few novels looking for homes. I love live music and the ocean, and to travel, snowboard, write, read, and squeeze as much as possible out of life.

To teach and be on the ground floor of the exciting, new project that is United Lisbon International School! And to help young people become engaged and engaging world citizens!

Emily Christensen (US)

Elementary School Teacher

Experience in Teaching: 7 years
Countries taught in: USA, China
Diplomas: Bachelor in Liberal Studies

Growing up, I was surrounded by wonderful educators who to this day are family and friends. I have always had a love for education and teaching, from coaching basketball to being in the classroom. I am lucky enough to be able to mix my love of teaching and experiencing new cultures through living and traveling abroad. When I am not teaching, I absolutely love trail running, anything involving dogs, experiencing live music, and exploring new places and meeting people from all over the world through traveling.

The reason I joined United Lisbon is to be a part of a school who puts the future of education and children at the forefront of everything. It gives me the opportunity to continue to grow as a professional and collaborate with other educators to build a culture and community at United Lisbon. I am so excited to learn more about a new culture and live in such a vibrant city!

John Culliton (US)

English Language/Humanities Teacher

Experience in Teaching: 13 years
Countries taught in: USA, China
Diplomas: Bachelor in Secondary Education (History, English), Masters in Special Education

I love teaching and growing along side my students. I feel very lucky and honoured to help students grow as both students and people every year. I am also lucky that I have been able to combine my love of traveling and exploring our world, and combine it with my passion for teaching. When I’m not working, I love to travel, run, read, and do anything that involves music. 

I chose United Lisbon because of the mutually beneficial chance for me to help this school start and grow into something wonderful, while have this school help me to do the same through innovative and collaborative practices with professionals, educational companies, and the wonderful culture in Portugal. 

Zack Berg (US)

Physical Education Teacher

Experience in Teaching: 3 years
Countries taught in: USA, Dominican Republic, and Morocco
Diplomas: BSc in Physical Education and Adapted Physical Education

I am an energetic and optimistic person who spends too much time being physically active. You can find me running, playing sports, or hiking most of the time. Otherwise I enjoy reading and spending time with friends, making connections and relationships almost anywhere I go. I look forward to meeting you and getting to know you as well

I am excited to join United Lisbon to develop a physical education program I can be proud of. I firmly believe in the vision that United Lisbon has set in motion, and am ready to contribute to the team. I am thrilled to be part of an inspiring and motivated growing community that will allow me to grow as an educator and a person, in a part of the world I always dreamed of living.  

Joni Hermanson

Joni Hermanson

Art Teacher

Experience in Teaching: 20 Plus years
Countries taught in: Previously taught in Portugal

I am passionate in building relationships and finding ways to help spark creativity in each student. Being a part of the mission of United Lisbon and working with a team of motivated, attentive, and focused educators, in a culturally rich and historic country, is a dream role. I have had the privilege of living and teaching in Portugal and am so excited to be a part of developing creative, caring and sustainable friendships. Taking walks, listening to music, travelling to new places, and spending great moments with family and friends makes me happy!


Maria João Paiva

Physical Education Teacher

Experience in Teaching: 15 years
Countries taught in: Portugal
Diplomas: Degree in Physical Education and Sports with specialization in Dance

I am a hands-on person who always tries to find the best way to connect to others. In the past I was a competitive volleyball player and professional swimmer. Nowadays I love being active and spend most of my free time swimming or inventing new dance routines. I’m known to encourage students to discover their true self through sports and love to spend time after class helping them grow.

I am excited to join the United Lisbon founding team and be able to put my mark in a program as challenging and rewarding as ours. I was born and raised in Lisbon so this is a proud moment for me, to have an education hub in my city that will allow students to find themselves and to thrive as individuals looking brightly towards the future.

conceicao nunes

Conceição (Sam) Nunes

Portuguese Language Teacher

Experience in Teaching: 6 years
Countries taught in: Portugal and East Timor
Diplomas: Bachelor degree in Classical Languages; Bachelor Degree in Nursing Sciences; Grad Certificate in Emergency Nursing

After 3 years as a High School Teacher in Portugal, my dream of working in developing countries and travel with my job took me to East Timor for about 3 years, where I taught Portuguese as a second Language to Primary School Teachers.

After this, life led me to Australia, where I studied to become an Emergency Registered Nurse (RN). Besides languages and literature, I’ve always been fascinated with how the human body works. With my RN qualification I worked in several areas of Australia, from big cities (including the busiest ED in the country) to probably the smallest and most remote of Indigenous communities.

My love for teaching never faded though, so now, newly arrived back in Portugal, I’m very inspired to help foreign students to learn our beautiful Portuguese Language and support every single student of mine to become the best that they want to be.

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Andreia Azevedo

Music Teacher

Experience in Teaching: 20 years
Countries taught in: Portugal
Diplomas: Degree in Music with specialization in Education

I am a very optimistic, cheerful, organized and committed person.
I chose this profession because I love learning with children and hearing their voices gives me a lot of peace of mind.
I like to listen to music, sing and play. I like to travel and to be with my family.
Besides being a teacher, I’m an orchestra musician.
I am very happy to be part of this team in this promising project.


Alessandra Barreto

Elementary School Teacher

Experience in Teaching: 14 years
Countries taught in: Brazil, USA
Diplomas: Bachelor in Civil Engineer, Bachelor in Elementary Education and School Administration

Teaching has always been my passion! I started my career as a Civil Engineer but my passion for education made me change paths. My classroom is never quiet because I believe it is important to let students know their ideas are valued and will be heard and shared. Besides teaching, I love reading, traveling, and dancing ballet.

I’m excited to join United Lisbon because it’s a school that is shaping the future of education, engaging with new technology, and partnering with culturally rich corporations to prepare students for their future in a dynamic world. Can’t wait to meet you all and start this journey together!


Mónica Bastos

School Counselor & SEN

Experience in Teaching: 22 years
Countries taught in: Portugal
Diplomas: Degree in Psychology

Throughout my career I had the opportunity to work in clinical psychology (private practice and neuropsychology in hospitals) and educational psychology. This is undoubtedly what I love to do the most. I have several years of experience working in schools with students (some with learning disabilities and special needs), parents/families, teachers and the school community. 

As a counselor in United Lisbon, I hope to contribute to create a safe, stimulating and supportive learning environment to all the students, so that they may accomplish full development in academic areas, personal, emotional and social growth and career development, according to their age, skills and personal interests. It is with great enthusiasm that I embrace this new educational challenge at United Lisbon. It is extraordinary being part of such a professional and motivated founding team.