Meet the Leadership Team

The school employs close to 90 staff with a variety of national backgrounds, most of whom are full-time and have previous experience in national and/or international schools. ISHR has a Director and a Managing Director in charge of business operations, who are appointed by the GmbH. The administration includes a Head of Section each for the Early Years, Primary, and Secondary levels, a Site Manager and administrative staff. In the belief that the quality of the school is directly related to the quality of the faculty, ISHR strives to engage and nurture energetic and professional growth orientated teachers who are caring and compassionate.

john barker leadership

John Barker



Masters of Science in Educational Leadership, University of Leicester, UK; Postgraduate Certificate in Education, Durham University, UK; Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in English and History, University of Northumbria, UK.


John has had the privilege of teaching and leading in international education for over 20 years. In that time, he has worked in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Denmark, Germany and China. John joined ISHR from Harrow International School Beijing where he was Deputy Head of a 1600 strong two campus 3-18 school. He also brings valuable and pertinent experience from his previous position as Secondary Principal and Deputy Director of Bavarian International School in Munich. John is proud and privileged to be the Director of ISHR.

John and his wife, Carole, have two daughters (born in Hong Kong and Taiwan) and thus can attest to the joys and benefits of international education – both as a School Director and as a parent.

John is a keen musician and enjoys playing a variety of instruments (with varying degrees of proficiency) including guitar, drums, piano, banjo and ukulele. Although his marathon running days may be behind him, John still enjoys running and he is also a keen cyclist. He also tries to practice what he preaches by maintaining a healthy and varied reading habit.

Sandra Patricia Santelmann 2

Patrícia Cruz de Almeida

Business Director


Master of Business Administration (MBA), EADA, Barcelona, Spain

Post-graduation Course on European Studies, University of Law, Lisbon, Portugal

Bachelor Degree in International Relations for the Diplomatic Career, Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, Lisbon, Portugal


Patrícia was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal, and has lived in Portugal, Spain, and Germany. She has always had a special interest in learning foreign languages. Patrícia is fluent in Portuguese, English, German, and Spanish and has some knowledge of French and Italian. Having started her journey at ISHR in February 2010, Patrícia has taken over various professional roles within the school, from finance to admissions, and currently as Business Director. Mother of two daughters, both of whom have had the opportunity to attend ISHR, Patrícia has a good insight of the school both as a parent and a staff member. 

Patrícia enjoys music, is a passionate singer and a proud member of the ISHR staff band. In her spare time, she very much enjoys pursuing sports, yoga, dance and traveling.

Carole Nickle Head of Middle School

Carole Nickle

Deputy Director


Doctor of Education, University of Bath – UK (ongoing); Master of Education, Endicott College Leysin – Switzerland; Bachelor of Education, Acadia University, Nova Scotia – Canada; Bachelor of Arts, Huntington University, Huntington – USA


Carole was born in Toronto, Canada, but has had the privilege of living all around the world through her career in international education. Fresh out of university, Carole began as a primary English teacher in Taiwan, before having the opportunity to teach at each of the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. In Turkey, she moved into curriculum leadership and gained exposure to the International Baccalaureate. Carole then spent over ten years in secondary school leadership in the UAE and Japan before joining the ISHR community in 2020, as Head of Middle School. For the 22-23 school year, Carole steps into the Deputy Director role at ISHR.

A passionate life-long learner, Carole holds a BA in English Literature and Sociology, a BEd in Secondary Education, an MA in International Educational Leadership and is currently pursuing her doctorate. When not reading educational research, Carole’s primary love is traveling, while finding ways to combine her other interests of fine dining, photography and theater.

Alexandra Oldenburg

Head of Early Years


State-recognised Early Years Teacher, Technical College for Social Pedagogy

Specialist educator, Kolping Academy


Alexandra was born and raised in a town near Cologne, Germany. 

Personal relationships have always been important to her. That’s why it was clear to her early on that she definitely wanted to work in the social sector. She was particularly interested in early childhood education, as the foundations for life are laid at a young age! Besides her work in the kindergarten, she worked as a tour guide for youth trips during the school holidays. After a total of 16 years of professional experience in the German educational system, Alexandra took a career break.

During this time she had two children with her husband Jan and started a new adventure with her family.  As a family, the four of them spent an exciting time in Belgium and Bahrain. During her time abroad, Alexandra gained many impressions of different schools with different curricula. In Bahrain, she led language courses (DAF) for young people on behalf of the German Embassy. In Belgium, she worked as a Substitute Teacher at the Antwerp International School. In May 2022 she started working at ISHR.

In her free time, she likes to meet friends… for a coffee, a walk, dinner… and then they talk and laugh a lot. From time to time she enjoys spending time alone, listening to music, reading a book, watching a movie or doing her workout.  That’s how she keeps her balance.


Tonia Whyte Potter-Mäl

Head of Primary School


Master’s of Arts in Educational Leadership, Columbia University, USA; Bachelor of Education, McGill University, Canada; Liberal Arts Honours Diploma, Dawson College, Canada


Born and raised in Montréal, Canada, Tonia has engaged actively in teaching, learning and leadership on three continents. Tonia’s entire career has been in international education through unique opportunities in Canada, Italy, Germany and Singapore. Her keen interest in bilingual and multilingual learners propelled Tonia to immerse herself in teaching experiences at the early years, primary and secondary levels, across a range of subject areas. In addition to teaching, Tonia has 12 years of experience in different pedagogical leadership roles. Tonia joined the ISHR community as Head of Primary School in August 2022.

Tonia is a strong advocate for thought leadership, educational research and professional growth. From a young age, her passion for storytelling, travel, performing arts, fine arts and athletics has fulfilled a significant role in her life. Beyond her career, Tonia regards her family time as inspiring ‘food for the soul’. Tonia believes that advocacy for well-being and a strong sense of purpose are vital anchors for staff and students as they cultivate relationships.

Paul Becker Hounslow

Paul Becker-Hounslow

Head of Secondary School


PGCE, University of Leeds, UK; National Professional Qualification for Headship, National College of School Leadership, UK; BA Hons., Sheffield Metropolitan University, UK


Paul joined ISHR in 2009 from Beacon Community College (Science and Sport Specialist College) in the UK where he worked as Deputy Principal with direct responsibility for Science and the 6th Form Centre. There, he established the Sixth Form Centre for up to 500 students on a separate school site. Prior to working at Beacon Community College, Paul was Deputy Head of Costessey High School, Norwich, UK.

In his years of being a teacher and school leader Paul has acquired a wide range of school management experience at senior level. He has also been involved in setting up an Independent Kindergarten and School in Norfolk, UK. Throughout his career Paul has been known for his holistic approach to teaching, his focus is always on student welfare and achievement.

Away from school Paul’s interests range from running, hiking, travelling with his vintage VW camper van, growing his own organic vegetables, and collecting fossils on England’s beaches.

Jacob Lowe

Jacob Lowe

Deputy Head of Secondary School


Masters of English Literature, Open University, UK; Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of Birmingham, UK; Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English Language and Literature, University of Lancaster, UK.


Jake is originally from Birmingham and joined ISHR in 2006, after having taught for four years in the West Midlands (UK). Jake initially worked as co-Head of English A, and then took up the post of Deputy Head of Secondary in 2012. He previously taught English A1 and A2 and currently teaches Diploma English Literature and supports self-taught Literature students. Jake has been a Diploma Tutor since 2007 and is one of the coaches for the Varsity Boys football team.

Jake and his wife have two little girls who keep him extremely busy outside of school. When he is not so busy (so very rarely), Jake loves to watch and play football (now for the Alte Alte Herren!) and enjoys films, music and reading.

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