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ISS Senior Staff

President: Liz Duffy
Vice President, Administrative Searches and Governance Services: Beth Pfannl
Vice President, Asia Pacific: Dale Cox
Vice President, School Start-Up and Management: Dick Moore
Chief Financial Officer: Kristin Evins
Chief Marketing Officer: Sharon Lawler-Sudell
General Manager, ISS-ULink: Lila Leung
Senior Leadership Executive, Governed Schools/Administrative Searches: David Randall
Chief Innovation Officer: John Burns
Director of Curriculum and Professional Development: Laura Benson
Director of Global Recruitment: Laura Light
Director of Finance & Foundations: Deirdre Simon
Director of Human Resources: Desiree Bryant
Director of Information Technology: Malcolm Stitt
Director of School Services/Senior Leadership Executive, Managed Schools: Keith Cincotta
Senior Leadership Executive: Kurt Nordness
Senior Leadership Executive: Paul Johnson
Senior Leadership Executive: Bruce McWilliams
Senior Leadership Executive: Robert Stearns
Senior Leadership Executive: Stephen Plisinski
Senior Leadership Executive: Lory Thiessen

Liz Duffy


Liz can think of few endeavors more significant than educating students to become thoughtful, global citizen in today’s interconnected world. Before joining ISS in July 2015 to help support this mission, she served for twelve years as Head Master of The Lawrenceville School (NJ), a boarding school founded in 1810 with students and faculty from more than 40 countries and 40 states. She also previously worked for three educational foundations and led a college-based community service program. Liz majored in molecular biology at Princeton University, and later pursued master’s degrees in both education and business at Stanford University. When not leading ISS, serving on a variety of nonprofit and education boards, or mentoring school leaders, Liz enjoys reading, writing, running, traveling, design thinking, and watching her two teen-aged children play sports.

Beth Pfannl

Vice President, Administrative Searches and Governance Services

Beth joins ISS with 30 years of experience in international education. She was most recently head of the American Overseas School of Rome for the past ten years, and has also been president of AAIE and the Rome International Schools Association (RISA). Beth currently serves as a trustee of The American University of Rome. She earned her doctorate from the Sorbonne in Paris, her BA from McGill University and holds a CAGS in School Administration from Rhode Island College. Fluent in Spanish, Italian and French, Beth brings a very strong international perspective to ISS. In addition to leading administrative searches, Beth runs the annual Mary Anne Haas Women’s Leadership Symposium. Based in Rome, Beth loves to travel and spend time with family.

Dale Cox

Vice President, Asia Pacific

Dale received his doctorate in educational leadership from Lehigh University, his M.Ed. in educational administration from Arizona State University, and his B.A. in history from Brigham Young University. He worked for 25 years in public education in the United States before becoming an international school administrator in Beijing in 2006. He has served as the Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Association of China and Mongolia International Schools and has presented and trained on teacher recruitment, school improvement, learning innovation, board governance, and school leadership. Having lived in Asia in his youth, he is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese. He and his wife Rhoda are the parents of six children and the grandparents of thirteen grandchildren.

Dick Moore

Vice President, School Start-Up and Management

Dick worked for seventeen years in overseas school administration before coming to ISS. His career took him to Singapore, Pakistan, South Africa, India, and most recently, Southern China as Director of Nansha College Preparatory Academy, a joint venture school of ISS and ULink College. Dick joined ISS in August 2016 and now builds sustainable schools from the ground up, working from conception to opening day. Dick received his Bachelors from Washington State University and his doctorate from Seattle Pacific University. Dick and his wife Janet have been married for 38 years and have two daughters, Sarah and Kate. They live in Princeton and enjoy exploring the many cultural opportunities to be found in Princeton, New York City and Philadelphia.

Kristin Evins

Chief Financial Officer

Kristin has over 25 years of experience in accounting, financial reporting and analysis. She joined ISS in July of 2012, and as an expert in budget and financial feasibility analysis, has been heavily involved with school start-up projects. Prior to working with ISS, Kristin served as the Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Outward Bound, Inc. and had worked over 12 years in for-profit corporations in various financial positions. Kristin received her Master of Public Administration degree from the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. Kristin has been a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uruguay, loves to bike and travel and is a huge Ohio State Buckeye fan. She currently lives in the Princeton area with her husband and two children.

Sharon Lawler-Sudell

Chief Marketing Officer

Sharon brings more than 25 years of experience in brand building and direct marketing leadership to her role as Chief Marketing Officer.  Prior to joining ISS,  Sharon held a senior leadership position at a home products company and led global multi-channel marketing and communication efforts in the higher education sector at Educational Testing Service, which supported the academic pursuits of 800,000 prospective graduate students around the world each year.  She has also held key marketing roles at premier marketing-driven organizations in publishing, consumer goods and  membership subscriptions.  She holds her M.B.A.  in Marketing from Fox School of Business, Temple University and a B.A. in Communication/Marketing from La Salle University.  Sharon enjoys spending time with her husband and two children and actively participates in volunteer work in hospitals and educational programs, with her certified therapy dog, Nilla.    

Lila Leung

General Manager, ISS-ULink

Lila manages the ISS-ULink Educational Services Ltd., ISS’s joint venture partnership in China. Lila founded lab schools with English immersion and dual language immersion programs for Chinese nationals. She is the creator of International Education Training Center (IETC), focused on the development of culturally inclusive professional learning programs for national and international teachers. Fluent in Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese, Lila is a language and cross-cultural expert on international curriculum design. Lila has served as classroom teacher, instructional trainer, university lecturer and director of school. She is a graduate from U.C. Berkeley and Stanford, and holds an International EMBA degree from Rutgers’ University. Lila’s passion is in design thinking.

David Randall

Senior Leadership Executive, Governed Schools/Administrative Searches

David has served in overseas schools as a teacher, principal, finance director and head of school. He has worked across 11 schools in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, South America, Africa, and the Middle East, serving the last three of these as interim head of school. David earned his B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an M. Ed. and M.P.A. from the University of North Carolina. He enjoys employing his experience throughout ISS because of the high quality of colleagues and their shared vision of excellent education for students around the world. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, walking in the mountains, good food, bicycling and time with his family.

John Burns

Chief Innovation Officer

John focuses on sparking creativity and innovation across ISS learning communities. From 2015-2017 in collaboration with ISS and Shekou International School, John worked to design and found Level 5: a space for students, educators, and the wider community to explore design thinking and innovation in education. Prior to working with ISS, John led Shekou International School’s shift to contemporary practice. He has developed apps featured in TV advertisements worldwide, and has also previously worked for Apple in assisting schools and jurisdictions with organizational change. John is a graduate of Griffith University in Australia and has taught in the UK, Australia, China and Taiwan. In his free time, he loves being with family and exploring Asia.

Laura Benson

Director of Curriculum and Professional Development

Laura helps ISS school educators develop and refine their curriculum and engage in deeper understandings of best-practice pedagogy. A well-cited scholar and researcher, Laura has published numerous articles in professional journals and is the co-author of Standards and Assessment: The Core of Quality Instruction and Bearing Witness. Laura earned degrees from Trinity University and University of Denver, and furthered her studies at Harvard University, Columbia University Teachers College, and Cambridge University. A third culture child herself, international schools fostered Laura’s passion for studying language-learning, honoring all cultures, and fighting for children’s educational opportunities around the world. In her free time, Laura enjoys spending time with family and friends, lingering in reading and writing, cooking, and expanding her love for architecture and design.

Laura Light

Director of Global Recruitment

Laura is a former educator who has spent much of her career overseas. After graduating from Clemson University in South Carolina, Laura took a position at the American School of Kuwait. Since then, most of her life has revolved around teaching at international schools, including the Carol Morgan School in the Dominican Republic, Escuela Americana in El Salvador, Singapore American School, Southbank International School in London, and the United Nations International School in New York City. Laura currently lives in Princeton with her partner, Tom. She loves to run, to be outdoors as much as she can, and to continue traveling the world. Now as Laura works at ISS to staff international schools with the very best teachers in today’s market, she feels she has found her dream job.

Deirdre Simon

Director of Finance & Foundations

Deirdre oversees the ISS Princeton Finance Team and the non-profit management group, which has served over 75 non-profit 501c3 organizations. After graduating from Rutgers University, Deirdre started working in the communications and accounting fields, which brought her to ISS 19 years ago. Here, Deirdre finds a great way to bring together her love of accounting with client engagement on a daily basis, as she helps support schools and foundations with their 501c3 non-profit missions.  Deirdre is a true Jersey girl who loves the beach and enjoys swimming, reading and attending her children’s field and ice hockey sporting events. She lives in New Jersey with her husband Mike and two children.

Desiree Bryant

Director of Human Resources

Desiree provides customer-oriented, business-focused human resource services to more than 200 ISS employees and clients in Princeton, NJ and internationally. Prior to joining ISS in 1998, Desiree had been a HR Generalist with Pharmacopeia, Inc. and a HR Assistant with Commodities Corporation, now Goldman Sachs. Desiree first fell in love with overseas travel when she enlisted in the US Air Force on a dare, and as an Aerospace Ground Equipment mechanic, traveled to Guam, Florida and Panama. She holds a BS Degree in Human Resources Management from Rider University. When not biking and hiking around exotic sites for their anniversary, Desiree and her husband Bryan reside in Hamilton Square with their dog Max and cat Chloe. In her free time, Desiree enjoys cooking, eating, and going to the gym.

Malcolm Stitt

Director of Information Technology

Malcolm has a rich career in technology management. Prior to joining ISS in 2010, his skills and expertise had taken him everywhere from designing wind tunnel instrumentation, airborne systems, and trading systems, to introducing database technology into the financial print industry. Today, Malcolm enjoys supporting the many ways technology applies to ISS’ diverse operations; in any one week, he can go from helping a small, remote school introduce technology, to hosting a large database-driven hiring event, then back to helping schools place orders for thousands of critical items. Malcolm attended Buffalo State SUNY Regents and is an avid cyclist, sailor, hiker, swimmer, and skier. Today, he and his family live in suburban Dutchess County, NY, a location close to nature and perfect for his love of all things outdoors.

Keith Cincotta

Director of School Services/Senior Leadership Executive, Managed Schools

Keith serves the purchasing, consolidation and shipping needs of over 100 international schools. Keith is the Senior Leadership Executive for an ISS-managed school in Africa, serves as an ISS student services and school counseling consultant and has also authored feasibility studies for school start-up projects in Cape Verde and Ghana. Before working with ISS, Keith was a High School Principal and Secondary School Counselor/College Advisor for 15 years in Pennsylvania, Pakistan and Dubai. Keith graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and has advanced degrees in Counseling and Educational Leadership from Lehigh University. He resides in beautiful Hopewell, New Jersey with his wife and three children. As a family of global nomads, they take any chance they can to travel and experience new places.

Kurt Nordness

Senior Leadership Executive

Kurt received his doctorate in educational policy and administration from the University of Minnesota, his M.Ed. in educational psychology from the University of Oklahoma, and his B.S. in teaching from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He has worked at both U.S. and international schools and most recently has served as the head of school at two international schools in China and Bahrain. He has taught graduate courses in teaching and learning. As the co-director of a U.S. Department of Education research study, he examined inclusive educational practices in schools. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the Association of China and Mongolia International Schools. Kurt currently lives in Minnesota and enjoys time with family including travel with his wife Ann.

Paul Johnson

Senior Leadership Executive

Paul Johnson has served as Senior Leadership Executive overseeing ISS school start-up or re-opening in four different countries. His extensive experience includes 42 years in education – 37 of those working internationally. Paul has taught in three countries, and served in school leadership/administrative positions in eight countries. He has his Doctorate in Educational Administration and a Head of School Certification, his Masters in International Human Services Administration and Principal Certification, and a Bachelors in Education and Teaching Certification. Paul also brings significant accreditation experience to ISS, having conducted accreditation visits for MSA and CIS at seven schools, and accreditation self-study for WASC and MSA for four schools. He has also conducted board training for ISS in several countries, helping boards and their school administrators improve their relationship and overall effectiveness.

Bruce McWilliams

Senior Leadership Executive

Bruce recently retired as Executive Vice President at ISS and has a proven track record developing and opening new schools. He has been an overseas teacher, principal and school head for more than 30 years. He has over 20 years of experience in the Middle East, having founded Riffa Views International School in Bahrain, overseen the development The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, and the Vision International School in Qatar. He is the co-author of the ISS Handbook for Establishing New Overseas Schools and recipient of the European Council of International Schools’ Promotion of International Education award. Bruce has a master’s degree from The College of New Jersey.

Robert Stearns

Senior Leadership Executive

Graduating with an Honours B.Sc. in Biology, Robert began his career as an agricultural researcher studying animal diseases. His drive to share his passion for science and discovery ultimately led him from the laboratory to the classroom. After earning his B.Ed. at Queen’s University in Ontario, he taught high school biology and chemistry in that province for 25 years. Moving to international schools in 2000, Robert became involved with school administration, major school renovation, and construction projects. Now, with over 40 years teaching, leading and building schools in Ontario, Europe and Asia, Robert is thrilled to be able to offer his assistance as a Senior Leadership Executive with ISS schools in China. Robert shares his life with Yvonne, an impassioned, dedicated early childhood educator in Canada, Germany and Hong Kong. Both enjoy working on the eco-sustainable home they built for themselves in a small Ontario town and spending their free time biking and canoeing in the Canadian countryside.

Stephen Plisinski

Senior Leadership Executive

Stephen Plisinski is a seasoned international professional with over 40 years of experience as a teacher, principal and head of school in nine countries on four continents. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education, a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Business Administration Degree. Steve was recognized as Coach of the Year by the Grand Bahama Amateur Basketball Association, received Recognition for Service to the Community by the Addis Ababa City Administration, and was cited by the Bahamian Ministry of Education for Outstanding Teaching.  Steve’s wife, Susan, also an international educator, taught at every grade level from PK through 12th.

Lory Thiessen

Senior Leadership Executive

Lory became Senior Leadership Executive, ISS Southeast Asia, in August 2017. Lory received her Master's degree in Education Administration from the University of Hawaii, and her B.Ed. and B.A. from the University of Saskatchewan. Lory taught in Canada for 10 years, with five of those years in administration. She has been an administrator for all of her 26 years in International Schools in seven different countries. Most recently, Lory served as Director of Schools in Sumatra, Indonesia and Atyrau, Kazakhstan. Lory and her husband Norm Flach are excited about Lory's new position supervising ISS schools in Southeast Asia. They will be living in their home in Thailand.

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Check out all of our events and conferences | 2018/19 conference dates: Atlanta, GA, USA (December 9-11, 2018)  •   Bangkok, Thailand (January 4-7, 2019)  •   San Francisco, CA, USA (February 7-10, 2019) |