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.

Teaching style: Detailed & Deconstructed, Teacher-Led, Highly Structured & Scaffolded, Direct Feedback

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.

Teaching style: Highly Structured & Scaffolded, Consultative, Direct Feedback, Participation Required

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.

Teaching style: Highly Structured & Scaffolded, Nurturing, Consultative, Highly Guided

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

A stalwart of the Singaporean education scene, Ms Emmanuel has an astounding three 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.

Teaching style: Kinaesthetic, Participation Required, Extroverted, Highly Guided

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.

Teaching style: Teacher-Led, Highly Guided, Extroverted, Detailed & Deconstructed

Azrael Tseng (AT) - Academic Head of O-Levels and International Baccalaureate

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 at azraeltseng.com.

Teaching style: Participation Required, Consultative, Extroverted, Student-centric

Sarah Lim (SLM) - Literature Specialist

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.

Teaching style: Introspective, Direct Feedback, Nurturing, Consultative

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. Having previously taught English at a bilingual international school in China, she takes a more big-picture view of education. With a degree in Childhood Studies, 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.

Teaching style: Nurturing, Student-centric, Consultative, Extroverted

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.

Teaching style: Teacher-led, Direct Feedback, Introspective, Highly Guided

Amanpreet Singh (ASH) - Curriculum Developer & Assistant Teacher

Dennis Ng (DNG) - Rhetorical Arts Specialist & Teaching Associate

An ACS alumni, Dennis chose education as his career path because he has been blessed with an affinity for children. having taught Primary 5 and 6 students as a lecturer and subject matter coordinator at an international school, as well as a stint as a public speaking trainer at a famous speech training academy. With experience writing curriculum and creating lesson plans, Dennis is also working hand in hand with Sherman to develop a Rhetorical Arts Programme to enable our students to become confident and captivating public speakers. Dennis hopes to bring love, hope and joy to children through education – he was raised by awesome teachers and wants to do the same for the next generation!

Teaching style: Extroverted, Detailed & Deconstructed, Participation Required, Student-centric

Jordan Winona Mutterties (JWM) - Foundational Teaching Associate

Jordan is a kind and positive young American woman who moved to Singapore after getting married to a Singaporean man. A woman of immense faith, she has both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Biblical Counselling from a US university in California. Jordan always sees the best in everyone and every situation, and her approach to children is to embody and model the qualities and values that she holds dear. Outside of her work at Academia, she provides free counselling to those who are in need of help and spiritual guidance. We believe in her essential kindness and goodness and know that, no matter what the case, and in the context of local diversity, she will always demonstrate love, care and concern to every single one of our students and clients.

Dhinesh Rajesh Mahbubani (DRM) - Senior Teacher & Curriculum Developer

Dhinesh is a truly dedicated and industrious teacher with a wide swathe of teaching experiences, having taught a range of Secondary students during his seven years with the MOE from the normal stream all the way to the high-ability students at schools ranging from O-level to IP schools. We are constantly impressed by his proactive and analytic nature, as he produced thematic information packs for his Secondary students on his own during his tenure as an MOE teacher and level coordinator for English and History, going above and beyond what was required of him for the sake of pushing his students forward. At Academia, Dhinesh continues to develop new curriculum for the O-levels and Integrated Programme and helps our team to cascade the thematic information packs from Level 5 General Paper down to Levels 3 and 4. As he continues to maintain his previous professional connections and relationships, we have asked him to conduct in-house training on school expectations and requirements, banding, rubrics and more for our own teachers – making him an important and invaluable member of our team.

Teaching style: Highly structured & scaffolded

Mumtazah Mustaffa (MMA) - Senior Teacher

A highly credentialed teacher and former lawyer, Mumtazah’s journey to becoming a star teacher is one that we deeply respect and admire. Mumtazah began her career as a lawyer, having been admitted to the bar after obtaining her law degree from NUS. A burgeoning and blossoming passion for teaching precipitated a decision to change careers and obtain her PGCE from NIE, after which she taught English at a variety of secondary schools and junior colleges with the MOE for several years. Her move to the private sector saw her becoming the lead teacher at another well-known English enrichment centre. This year, she joined Academia where she continues to pursue her personal growth and development alongside our L345 team. Mumtazah is one of the sharpest and most dedicated teachers and strives to do the best for every student under her care, going the extra mile to make their learning experience truly exceptional. She is a great credit to our centre and we know she will do the best for your child!

Teaching style: Student-centric, Highly Guided, Nurturing, Empowering