Ms. Maggie Yip

Ms. Maggie Yip has a vivid memory of being a young teacher at St. Nicholas’ and a colleague asking her where she saw herself in five years. At the time, she really struggled to answer, because she was just so happy teaching. Over the years, having great mentors helped her shift her focus and realize the limitless opportunities for growth available to anyone at St. Nicholas’. In August 2013, 21 years after joining St. Nicholas’, Ms. Yip began her term as Head Teacher of the kindergarten.

Ms. Yip long realized she wanted to work in education being born into a large family with many younger siblings. She started playing with and caring for her juniors from an early age, and gradually developed a strong affection towards young children. It was thus natural for her to study early childhood education. Growing up around a close-knit family, she was drawn to the strong sense of community at St. Nicholas’. She also loved the school’s philanthropic foundation and holistic, all-in-one student experience.

After eight years as a teacher, Ms. Yip became the N1 Team Leader and then rotated to leading the L2 and U3 teams over the years. In the roles, she researched, developed and implemented the curriculum for each level. A five-year stint as Director of Admissions came next, where Ms. Yip gained in-depth knowledge of the business side of St. Nicholas’ and travelled internationally to meet prospective families.

In both her professional and personal life, Ms. Yip says she’s always believed in modelling a commitment to ongoing growth. She strongly believes in encouraging both students and educators to put themselves in situations that challenge their thinking and develop their skills. Even after all these years, she embraces the feeling of still being a learner.

Ms. Charlene Choi

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree at University of California, Berkeley, Ms. Charlene Choi started her career in the technology sector in Silicon Valley. She moved back to her hometown in Hong Kong following a steep three-year learning curve. With strong influence from her parents who are long-time educators, it has always been at the back of her mind to enter the education field.

Ms. Choi then pursued further studies in early childhood education, particularly focusing on the Montessori pedagogy. Upon returning to Hong Kong, she acquired credentials from the American Montessori Society as a Montessori Early Childhood Teacher. With a rare background combining sciences and education, Ms. Choi brings a unique perspective to St. Nicholas’. She was hired as the Director of Curriculum in 2011 to help revamp the school’s program of study. Given her training in Montessori, she incorporated many elements of the Montessori program into St. Nicholas’ curriculum, including introducing the whole range of standard Montessori teaching aids into every classroom. Aside from training the faculty at St. Nicholas’, she also held a number of parent workshops to bring them on board with the Montessori teaching philosophy.

Following years of reflection and fine tuning, the Montessori-inspired curriculum has proven to nurture independent, confident and compassionate children at St. Nicholas’. As such implementation was one of the first among kindergartens in Hong Kong, parents had their doubts initially, but now witnessing the fruitful results in their children has erased all their previous concerns. Ms. Choi is very proud of all the achievements her team has made throughout these years.

Her goal for St. Nicholas’ is to develop the curriculum into a model for other preschools around the world, thereby contributing to the field of early childhood education. Marching towards the 50th anniversary, she believes it will definitely be a milestone in the school’s history.

Ms. Connie Chiu

Ms. Connie Chiu’s life began in a quiet community in Hong Kong. She quickly discovered that a career in education was a way to fling the doors open and explore the beautiful vastness of the world. Over the course of 40 years, Ms. Chiu has held leadership positions at various schools in Hong Kong and mainland China. In July of 2011, she became Vice Principal of Operations at St. Nicholas’. Her unique background gives her a keen commitment to perfection and excellence.

In her role at St. Nicholas’, Ms. Chiu strives to ensure smooth operations and address particular challenges that occur day-to-day. Her goal is for every child at St. Nicholas’ to feel “included, challenged, and successful.” She sees the environment as the nucleus of social and emotional development of her students – a place where each child is nurtured and encouraged to be the person he or she is slowly becoming, or wants to become. By prioritizing and revitalizing this space, she feels the campus environment will instill in the children the kind of confidence that spills out into the other realms of life at St. Nicholas’, such as academics, co-curricular activities, and relationships with fellow students and teachers.

Decades after leadership positions at several schools, Ms. Chiu finds herself just as delighted by the boisterous energy of her students at St. Nicholas’. She enjoys spending time in their classes and observing their enthusiasm for learning, their quirky senses of humour, and the bonds they create with each other.

Ms. Chiu still finds time to keep travelling, and she spends much of her summers reconnecting with friends around Asia. She’s an avid reader, loves film and theatre, and admits that one of the perks of returning to life in Hong Kong is finally being able to fully understand the dialogue in plays and movies again.

Ms. Joyce Fung

With a Diploma in Education, Ms. Joyce Fung entered the teaching profession in 1983. Ms. Fung always aspired to be a teacher and is especially passionate about early childhood education. She started out as a kindergarten teacher at a private kindergarten in Hong Kong. In 1989, Ms. Fung was hired by St. Nicholas’ as Vice Principal, Student Affairs.

Ms. Fung brings a wealth of parent relationship building experience, as well as knowledge about home-school collaboration and communication. She believes parent communication is at the heart of good pedagogy, that high-quality cooperation between parents and the school is key for children’s growth, and that continual relationship development with parents ensures a scholarly excellence for all. In addition, she brings a deep commitment to the student experience and to early childhood education, and a warm sense of humour.

Speaking with Ms. Fung for even a few moments, you will capture her immense pride and commitment to the school and the curriculum that is offered here. Constantly inspired by the children’s curiosity and their genuine interest in learning, as well as the amazing faculty and their drive and dedication, working at St. Nicholas’ is a dream comes true for her.

Her advice for her students: Be comfortable that your journey moving forward is going to look different from your peers. Look at your own journey and less at your peers, you are unique!

Mrs. Betty Choi

As a seasoned education professional, Mrs. Betty Choi has over 40 years of experience in the education sector. She has been leading St. Nicholas’ English Kindergarten since 1988, shaping it into one of the finest early childhood institutions in Hong Kong. Her goals for the children of St. Nicholas’ reach beyond academic success. She places priority on cultivating compassionate, ethical citizens who exhibit kindness and generosity and value differences in religion, race, opinions, and ideas. She strives to engage students with the outside world, and feels strongly that topical issues in the news have a very important place in the classrooms of St. Nicholas’.

Betty was born and raised in Hong Kong. She spent her early years teaching at both a kindergarten and primary school. When she and her husband, also an academic, had the chance to relocate to mainland China, Betty found herself with a very satisfying job as the head principal of a through-train private school — her first foray into the world of independent schools — which later led her to her current role at St. Nicholas’. She was inspired by the idea of “private schools with public purpose,” and her mission became clear: to use the resources available in an independent school setting to lead the way in forward-thinking education for children that teachers around the world can observe and learn from.

Most of Betty’s free time is devoted to exploring education from different angles. She serves on a committee of the Hong Kong Girl Guides Association that ensures vast learning opportunities for girls in Hong Kong. She is also a voracious reader of magazines and books, particularly ones that tie in to her work as an educator. For Betty, education isn’t just a job she leaves behind when the bell rings. It’s a mindset, a passion and a way of life.