05

Fellows - The Brains

Johann Loh (JL) - Managing Director

Mr Johann Loh was a national top student, a Rafflesian who graduated magna cum laude (high honours) from Princeton University. Originally hailing from a neighbourhood primary school, he was selected to join the GEP at NYPS. An academic high-flyer who won multiple prizes in Literature at RI and RJC, he received a full scholarship from Princeton University and spent one year across the pond at Oxford. After completing some postgraduate work with renowned philosopher Peter Singer, he was about to begin his PhD at Cambridge when he had a change of heart and decided to pursue his love for language in the private educational sector. He has been a language consultant and writer for a portfolio of high-profile clients including Singapore Management University, Louis Vuitton, Citibank, and BNP Paribas, among others. He is also the co-founder of the independent publishing house Beard & Balloon. Learn more at johannloh.com.

Sherman Tseng (ST) - Director of Teaching & Curriculum

Mr Sherman Tseng is the former Vice-Principal at a well-regarded primary school with years of insider experience behind him. Also a former Department Head of English, he brings precision and clarity to teaching pedagogy and curriculum development. A previous recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award in 2007 from the MOE, his passion for teaching is evident from the legions of students whom he has taught. Bringing PSLE marking and exam-setting expertise is only part of the equation, as Mr Tseng also possesses a creative and innovative teaching methodology to help students gain a handle on the proliferating demands of the new English PSLE. His highly-acclaimed parents’ workshops have been in great demand every year as he knows how to triangulate between the needs of students, parents and the local syllabus. Mr Tseng also has a keen interest in developing a multimedia approach to language development, a trend which the educational landscape is likely to pursue even further in the years to come.

Dr Neil Laurence Coomber (NLC) - Director of Pre-University Studies & Business English

Highly respected by his former students, Dr Neil Laurence Coomber spent five years teaching General Paper at Raffles Institution, where he set examination papers ranging from Prelims and Promos to Common Tests. He possesses exam setting, marking and standardisation expertise, having developed school curriculum and infopacks for a variety of themes. His teaching skills are highly regarded by those who have had the good fortune to study under him and his legendary General Paper notes are highly sought after. Prior to teaching in Singapore, he taught English to MBA, graduate and business students internationally. His impeccable credentials include a PhD from Oxford University supervised by the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Oxford University, Professor Dame Jessica Rawson, as well as a Certificate in Teaching Gifted and Talented Students from Purdue. He has trained at the Raffles Teaching Academy and NIE and many will remember him as the Master of Ceremony during the quintessential school rugby finals for several seasons running. He knows how to guide students with their UCAS applications and testimonials to top universities, ranging from Oxbridge to the Ivy League.

Olivier Tan (OTN) - Academic Head of the Integrated Programme & Literature

Mr Olivier Tan firmly believes in the paramount importance of mastering the English language. A proud alumnus of his alma mater Hwa Chong Institution, he comprehends the significance of hard work in shaping one’s language foundation, driving him to excel in his English and develop a love for Literature. He followed his passion and graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in English Literature. Hardworking, dedicated and extraordinarily responsible, he is our youngest Head of a department for good reason, truly embodying the future-oriented direction of Academia and our belief in the unparalleled potential of millennials. Olivier is patient and affable, teaching his students to write in that quintessential English Lit style that is assured, elegant and elevated. His Literature curriculum provides our students with all the scaffolding they need to actually understand the subject in a systematic and logical manner. We know you will discover that his track record of supporting his students through all of their challenges make him extremely popular with students and parents.

Lena Emmanuel (LE) - Academic Head of the Foundation Programme

A stalwart of the Singaporean education scene, Ms Emmanuel has more than two decades of experience teaching English both in the MOE and the private enrichment sector. Her traditional Peranakan background is reflected in her classical approach to English and writing. The quintessential lifelong learner, Ms Emmanuel also has a diploma in Applied Linguistics from SEAMEO Regional Language Centre and a merit certificate in Speech and Drama from the London College of Music and Media. Having taught both primary and secondary students, her strength lies in being able to animate and energise the classroom while maintaining a rigorous and disciplined approach to classroom management. Her formidable technical expertise draws from her PGDE training at the NIE and her majors in Sociology and English Literature from NUS.

Natalie Ong (NOG) - Foundational Teaching Associate

Gentle and nurturing, Ms Natalie Ong is a wonderful teacher for the littlest ones. She has been personally groomed by our directors to take good care of our Foundation students. A trained counselor, she knows how to guide our Foundation students with care and concern, with a gift for identifying the problems these youngsters face and dealing with them sensitively.

Maximilian Low (MLW) - Senior Teacher

Mr Maximilian Low has accumulated almost a decade of experience teaching English to students, developing and delivering intellectual English enrichment programmes for Primary-level and IP students. Apart from coaching these gifted young minds, Mr Low also develops and conducts specialised training programmes for the corporate sector. He is also a public speaking coach, debate trainer and tutor with expertise teaching both students and professionals. He brings seven years of coaching experience to the table, having delivered specialised programmes in speaking and writing. Eloquent and intellectual, he has previously taken on the role of President of Toastmasters in Singapore. His globalised experience as a public speaking and debate trainer for some of the brightest minds across Asia have been condensed into programmes that prepare students for academic life at top institutions and the corporate world beyond.

Azrael Tseng (AT) - O-Level and IB Specialist Teacher

With 17 years of local and global teaching experience under his belt, Mr Azrael Tseng is a dynamic and motivational English and Literature teacher who brings an extraordinary amount of energy into his classroom. An RI Old Boy, his passion for the English language was honed with his BA in English Language and Literature at NUS. Having taught Secondary English and Literature with the MOE for 7 years upon receiving his PGDE from the NIE, he subsequently became a lecturer and examination board member at the Academy for English Language Teachers training professional educators around the world. He had a stint in Japan where he taught the International Baccalaureate (IB) at a prestigious IB-aligned international school in Okinawa, helping students to achieve numerous 45-pointers for the IB examination. In his free time, Mr Azrael is also an avid writer and poet. You can read his literary works here.

Louis Krisman (LKN) - Senior Teacher & Curriculum Developer

Louis Krisman is animated by youthful and dynamic energy that he brings to the classroom, a quality which belies his 6 years of teaching experience spent teaching secondary school and General Paper students in the private sector. One should also not underestimate his extensive subject-matter expertise. He has coached students at the NTU Language and Communication Centre, mentoring undergraduate and postgraduate students on various aspects of writing well. With a degree in Political Science and Psychology from SMU, a year abroad at the London School of Economics (LSE) and a Masters in Strategic Studies from NTU, Louis is more than well-qualified to deliver the learning experience that our all-important clients have come to expect from Academia. Most importantly, his meticulous approach to teaching, curriculum development and marking are qualities that enable us to say: we have faith in the knowledge that he will take good care of your child.

Sarah Lim (SLM) - Teaching Associate & Curriculum Developer

Sarah Lim is a quietly thoughtful and soft-spoken type, one who has constructed a vibrant and beautiful inner world of literature and books. She welcomes children into this poetic world of books and reading, for she believes that even the youngest child can and should learn to appreciate literature. This passion is something that aligns perfectly with Academia’s vision for our students. With a B.A. in English (Honours) from NTU and 5 years of teaching experience, the SCGS alumna’s journey to continue her higher education in English was sidetracked when she discovered her love for teaching the youngest children at a Montessori preschool early in her career, as well as a stint teaching English and Literature in Canada. We honour her journey so far and see in her a path for gently coaching quiet, introspective types. The teacher-student relationship can take on a subtle and pervasive dimension, like water, which is soft and yet incredibly resilient. In a world of diverse student types and needs, teacher Sarah brings with her patience, understanding and friendship.

Bryan Cheang (BC) - Curriculum Developer & Economist

Bryan Cheang is the intellectual and academic type, with a degree in Political Science from NUS and a Masters in Political Economy from King’s College London. He is the founder of the Adam Smith Center, a non-profit organisation dedicated to inspiring and building a new generation of free market humanitarians. He envisions a future where pressing global problems can be solved through bottom-up solutions and is a believer in the power of capitalism and the free market. He works hand-in-hand with the directors at Academia to develop rigorous and logical arguments in our General Paper curriculum, especially in topics relating to the humanities and social sciences. While completing his PhD in Political Economy, he brings precision and academic rigour to the work we do here.

Alicia Cheng (ACG) - Teaching Associate & Curriculum Developer

Ms Alicia Cheng is a bubbly and caring teacher who adores teaching our Primary-level students. She enjoys teaching their inquisitive little minds and finds it especially rewarding to motivate those who lack inspiration. Watching them grow in maturity and wisdom is something that pushes her to go the distance for our students. We have seen how children take to her almost instantaneously because of her naturally sunny disposition, and we know she truly cares for each and every student under her care. Having previously also taught English at an international school during a teaching stint in China, she takes a more big-picture view of education globally. She believes in positive reinforcement and working through any issues that may hold a child back – or make them feel unmotivated. As part of her teaching philosophy, she is great at establishing an organic rapport with students, pushing them without making them feel that they are being pushed. We believe she will also inspire your child to go the distance!

Peggy Siao (PSO) - Senior Teacher

Ms Peggy Siao taught at a wide range of well-regarded primary schools with the MOE for 16 years before retiring from public service. We are thrilled to have her teaching our young minds at Academia! Ms Peggy is kind and nurturing, always treating her students with the utmost care and concern. Her approach to teaching her students involves gentle guiding them to the right technique or answer, through encouragement and reinforcement. We believe that her approach works very well for students who respond to positive reinforcement and have seen how she is able to inspire even the timidest or quietest student. With a gradual and careful approach, she helps her students to open up and develop a positive attitude towards English and learning in general. In her free time, Ms Peggy can be found volunteering at the MacPherson Wellness Centre or teaching Sunday School.