Supporting teachers and students on their paths toward excellence
Service-oriented and eager to help, our leadership, administration, and staff are champions of the school community. While their key focus is supporting the teachers in the classroom, they work hard to ensure every student and family has a positive experience. Whether they are the front-and-center, visible faces of our school or the unsung, behind-the-scenes heroes, leadership, administration, and staff are invaluable in upholding our culture and values.
Ms. Aguiniga Operations Coordinator
Ms. Aguiniga completed her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, with a double major in Operations & Supply Chain Management, and Information Systems, at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. Currently acting as the Operations Coordinator for BASIS Independent Bellevue, Ms. Aguiniga’s goal with this role is to help the students, and faculty and staff, feel prepared and supported in their learning and teaching, aiding an overall successful school experience. Ms. Aguiniga chose BASIS Independent because she felt very closely aligned with the school’s mission and philosophy. She wants to support students as she wishes she had been during her own K-Grade 12 experience. Outside of the school day, you can find Ms. Aguiniga attending various concerts and music festivals. She also enjoys spending time with her nephews and pet rabbit.
Ms. Albert Curriculum Coordinator
Ms. Huang Dean of Students
Ms. Huang earned a Bachelor of Art in English literature from Shanghai International Studies University, a Bachelor of Art in Social Studies from Washington State University, and a Master of Education from the University of Washington. As the Dean of Students at BASIS Independent Bellevue, Ms. Huang’s goal as a BASIS Independent educator is to form a deep bond with her students, create a safe learning environment, guide students through their journey at school, and help students reach their best potential. Prior to becoming the Dean, Ms. Huang was a founding faculty member as a LET for Grade 3. “Students learn best when they are interested in the topics and wanting to learn themselves,” says Ms. Huang. “We can help make this happen by providing different types of learning, creating various activities and providing intuitive practice opportunities.” Ms. Huang enjoys traveling with her family, eating mint chocolate chip ice-cream, and watching Korean dramas!
Ms. Mukuna Technology Coordinator
Ms. Mukuna is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in IT Networking and Cybersecurity at Greenriver College in Kent, Washington. She is a member of Women in Cybersecurity club (WiCys) and Phi Theta Kappa. As Technology Coordinator for BASIS Independent Bellevue, Ms. Mukuna’s goal is to ensure that all end users receive appropriate assistance for all technology and operational needs. She is responsible for maintaining the organizations technology systems, infrastructure and determining how software, hardware and network systems will be implemented. Ms. Mukuna is excited to be a part of the BASIS Independent Bellevue team because of school’s mission and focus on raising critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity skills to a global level. “I play a critical role in ensuring this mission objective is achieved by providing the technology coordination support,” Ms. Mukuna expressed, “The working environment is also ideal for anyone growing in their career and accommodates individuals from different cultures and backgrounds.” Outside of campus life, Ms. Mukuna enjoys spending time with her fiancé and daughter. Music is also something she enjoys, and she is part of a music band with her friends!
Ms. Murphy Summer Programs Coordinator
Ms. Murphy received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a minor in Philosophy from Hope College. As the Summer Programs Coordinator, Ms. Murphy’s goal is to provide high quality programs for students. By participating in extracurricular activities, she hopes that students are able to unabashedly be themselves and discover new passions. Ms. Murphy is excited to be part of the BASIS Independent Staff because of the emphasis on a well-rounded education. She is also eager to connect with the other BASIS Independent Schools to gain valuable resources and career insight. Outside of work she enjoys performing in local theatre productions and crocheting.
Ms. Rakotz Auxiliary Program Manager
Ms. Rakotz has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and childhood education from the State University of New York at New Paltz. As Auxiliary Program Manager, Ms. Rakotz will be working closely with students, staff, and families to expand our programs and bring in new and exciting options for our school. She believes all students deserve a safe, educational, and fun environment to explore, develop, and expand their interests. Her top priority is program quality. Ms. Rakotz is excited to be joining the collaborative team that is BASIS Independent Bellevue. While working alongside BASIS Independent Bellevue as Regional Director of Destination Science, she quickly came to love the inclusive and supportive environment. She was inspired by our school’s pursuit for constant development, and closely aligns herself with our mission of redefining education. As a recent East Coast transplant, Ms. Rakotz spends most of her free time exploring the mountains and forests of the Pacific Northwest with her husband, camera in hand. When at home, she can be found watching a thriller themed movie, trying out a new recipe, or journaling.
Ms. Shippey Rabena Health Coordinator
Ms. Shippey Rabena graduated Cum Laude from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Human Development. Ms. Shippey Rabena has a background in the fields of childcare and healthcare. She is looking forward to implementing her knowledge within these fields as the Health Coordinator at BASIS Independent Bellevue. Ms. Shippey Rabena aims to create a safe and healthy learning environment for the students by promoting healthy habits and practices. She was inspired by BASIS Independent Schools’ mission and widespread passion for learning. Ms. Shippey Rabena is eager to be surrounded by people who share her desire to continually expand their knowledge. Originally from the Bay Area, Ms. Shippey Rabena loves the outdoors and enjoys activities such as swimming and hiking. This being her first year in Seattle, she is looking forward to exploring what the PNW has to offer.
Ms. Stienessen Associate Head of Operations
Ms. Stienessen has a Bachelor of Science in Management and Design, as well as Early Childhood Education. Additionally, she holds a Masters of Education in Instructional Design. Ms. Stienessen is delighted to be joining Bellevue’s BASIS Independent School! She is eager to join the school administration team, assisting with both the social-emotional education or our students as well as supporting their academic success. Previously, Ms. Stienessen has taught as an elementary educator for over 16 years in Wisconsin and Washington. She has worked as a parent-school liaison, fostering collaborative and cohesive relationships between home and school. Ms. Stienessen has also developed school programs that build academic support, community, and engagement for all students and staff. Ms. Stienessen is thrilled to be at BASIS Independent School because of its inclusivity and warm environment created by experienced staff who implement a balance of academic focus & students’ individualization and interests. When Ms. Stienessen is not at school, she is often spending time with her family and friends, exploring all of the amazing things the Pacific Northwest has to offer its residents.
Ms. Temple Director of Academic Programs
Ms. Temple was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and has lived in various cities across the United States and around the world. She attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. She earned a Master of Arts in International Relations from Dublin City University in Dublin, Ireland. Joining BASIS Independent Bellevue as the Director of Academic Programs, Ms. Temple is thrilled to be a part of the foundational team at the Bellevue campus and is looking forward to welcoming students to the new school. Ms. Temple is an enthusiastic supporter of the BASIS Curriculum and is dedicated to helping every learner achieve at their highest level. Ms. Temple started her career in education teaching English overseas in Caracas, Venezuela and Seoul, South Korea. After completing a teacher certification program in Dallas, Texas, she taught high school Spanish for five years at public schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Most recently, Ms. Temple both taught Spanish and served as the Assistant Director of a small private school in the Seattle Metro Area. In her free time, Ms. Temple enjoys exploring the Northwest, traveling overseas, and cat memes.
Dr. Thies Head of School
Dr. Elizabeth Thies joins us from BASIS International School Bangkok, where she was the founding Head of School. While there, she worked closely with her teachers and administrative staff to support her second language learning community and enhance the co-teaching model in a way that best served the students in Thailand. Dr. Thies thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to open a new school and learn more about international education. She looks forward to returning to the United States and using these skills to create a robust and well-rounded learning environment for her future students. Prior to moving to Thailand, Dr. Thies was the Head of School of BASIS Oro Valley for two years, which is currently ranked as one of the top 25 Best Public High Schools in America, according to U.S. News & World Report (2021). While at BASIS Oro Valley, Dr. Thies created programs to support and empower teachers and build connections with students and families. As the Head of School, Dr. Thies was responsible for driving the academic vision that earned BASIS Oro Valley its national recognition as having ranked as the number three Best Public High School in America in 2018 according to U.S. News & World Report. Her focus combined the BASIS Curriculum with a strong academic community that was both supportive and conducive to student success. During this time, her students achieved an average AP score of 3.9, well above the national average. Additionally, her students outscored nations such as Shanghai-China, Singapore, and Hong Kong on the OECD/PISA test in all three categories (Math, Reading, and Science). Dr. Thies began her academic career in 2007 at BASIS Tucson, which is BASIS Curriculum Schools flagship campus. She served as Athletic Director and as a Physical Education teacher. She initiated and developed a highly successful athletics program for students in Grades 5 – 12. The program included soccer, flag football, basketball, cross country, and volleyball. She coached the high school soccer team to three consecutive championships. Dr. Thies received her Doctorate in Education at Arizona State University with a focus on literacy and teacher development. She received a Master’s in Educational Psychology and a Bachelor’s of Science in Liberal Studies from Northern Arizona University. Before joining the BASIS Curriculum Schools network, she was a patrol officer in the Tucson Police Department, and served as a non-commissioned officer in the United States Army.
Ms. Thomas Monitor
Mx. Trotman Monitor
Mx. Trotman received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Masters of Arts in Applied Sociology from the University of Maryland. They currently work as a Monitor, assisting with a variety of operational duties at school to maintain the safety and well-being of all Mountaineers, and continuity of the student experience. While in graduate school, Mx. Trotman found the teaching aspect of being a graduate teaching assistant to be the most rewarding part of their job. Working at BASIS Independent Bellevue provided an opportunity to work within an education system and a chance for a start in a new direction. In their free time, Mx. Trotman enjoys playing video games and roleplaying games such as Dungeons & Dragons. They will also knit in the winter when they have the free time.
Mr. Zefferys Vice President of Admissions
Mr. Zefferys has a Bachelors of Arts in Business from the University of Washington and a Master of Business Administration from ASU | Thunderbird School of Global Management. He was a founding admissions member in launching BASIS Independent Silicon Valley in 2013. He then resided on the East Coast for three years, assisting with the opening of BASIS Independent Brooklyn in its new campus, and launching BASIS Independent McLean (PreK-12) in Northern Virginia in 2015. He also assists with International Student recruitment for BASIS Independent Schools. Mr. Zefferys brings a tremendous amount of experience to his position as Director of Admissions at BASIS Independent Bellevue. His favorite part of working at BASIS Independent Schools is “seeing students light up when they talk about what they are learning in the classroom.”
Ms. Zhang Front Office Coordinator
Ms. Zhang, or Ms. Nala as she prefers, studied at Schiller International University in Tampa, Florida, where she received a Bachelor’s in International Business. Ms. Zhang has experience as a Montessori teacher as well as working on the administrative team at a Montessori School for three years. As the Front Office Coordinator, Ms. Nala is looking forward to connecting with each student and their family to give them the best support possible. Ms. Nala is looking forward to help BASIS Independent Bellevue become a leader in education in the Pacific Northwest region. After the school day, Ms. Nala enjoys travel, shopping, movies and delicious food. She also enjoys spending time with her dog Rocky and tortoise, Sulcata.