Our Staff

Amanda Riding

Head Teacher

Hello, my name is Amanda Riding and I am the current owner and director of Willow International Academy. I have over 20yrs experience in education and special educational needs. I also have 5 years experience in health care, working as a SEN nurse in paediatrics and ENT.

I am truly passionate about education and I believe that every single child has the potential to achieve their goals. With the right care, compassion and guidance we can achieve anything. We welcome all children, irrespective of their culture and ability.

Eva Ghost

Deputy Headteacher

Art and Drama

Hello, my name is Eva Ghost and It is a pleasure for me to have the opportunity of working alongside pupils, staff, parents and everyone involved with Willow International School, sharing success, achievement and welfare. Teaching has always been my true passion having previously worked at a variety of Schools here in Spain and the U.K. for over 24 years. Initially, I studied for 5 years in the UK in Drama and Musical Theatre and after achieving my qualifications it then led me to working in educational settings across both Primary and Secondary. I have gained much experience working specifically across S.L.T and I hope that my wealth of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for Education, will bring a great deal of success , alongside exciting opportunities to our learning environment, while supporting the needs of each and every student.

Steve Thackray

History Teacher

ICT Teacher

Hello, my name is Steve Thackray. I am very passionate about education. I have worked in both primary and secondary education in the UK before joining Willow, including teaching in Canada and China.

I have a strong passion for Geography and History, being a voracious reader around these subjects. It is my aim to help build pupil’s confidence and independence as I aim to foster intellectual growth and engage students to develop key transferable skills required to actively participate in the modern world.

I have also been a keen sportsman having played rugby and cricket throughout my life and now participate in tennis, cycling and keeping fit.

Mike Dixon

Exams Officer

Curriculum Co-ordinator

Hello, my name is Michael Dixon (Mike), I am the Deputy Headteacher at Willow International Academy and deliver KS3-5 Maths & ICT. I am a dual professional Engineer/Teacher having served 22yrs in the British Army with the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (R.E.M.E) as a Helicopter Technician and Vibration Analysis Specialist. I am a Master of Education (MEd) and Fellow of the Society for Education & Training (FSET).

I am experienced in T.E.S.O.L education and providing differentiated learning for Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia. I also mark GCSE Literacy & Maths exams for the three main qualification providers in the U.K. Edexcel, AQA, and City & Guilds. As an examiner, this
has given me relevant inside knowledge on the U.K. curriculum and international specifications with which your child will experience their tertiary education journey – from Primary, through Secondary and onto 6th form college. I am passionate about education and the continued practice of learning throughout life, where we not only improve our academic skills, but also our life skills and real-life experiences. All staff at Willow International Academy will complete Continuing Professional Development in current and future areas of education, to provide our cohort with up to date and relevant knowledge, methods and resources which will enable your child to reach their maximum learning potential. I look forward to welcoming you and your children into a modern, safe, caring and passionate
environment, where they will experience a fun and active way of learning, in our new state of the art school – Willow International Academy.

Lisa   Norris  

Pastoral Leader

English Teacher

My name is Lisa and I will be the teacher in Primary 1 and will also be the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Coordinator. I have been
teaching for the past 14 years at various levels. I had a full and active 24-year career in the Army achieving the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 within the Royal Logistic Corps and deployed on various overseas operations. As a Sergeant, I was selected to teach
in the ‘School of Excellence’ for the young soldiers, this was my first experience of teaching which I thoroughly enjoyed and found
extremely rewarding. As part of my transition back into civilian life and coupled with my leadership and management transferable qualifications, I went on to gain a distinction on the PGCE course at the University of South Wales. I have been teaching at Canolfan yr Avon Special Educational School in South Wales for the last twelve months, with pupils ranging from 4-18-years-old who have a variety of
Emotional, Sociable Behaviour Disorder (ESBD) needs and I can honestly say it’s the most rewarding job I have ever had, with no
two days being the same. This is where my passion, love and all-inclusive outlook on teaching grew, giving me a new vocational
purpose. I believe that every pupil, irrespective of what their level or special requirements may be, are entitled to receive the same
standard of education in a fun, safe and secure school environment.

Susan Gawler

Maths Teacher

My Name is Susan, and I am a teacher in the secondary department of Willow international School.

I have been teaching for 32 years in various roles in Secondary and Primary schools.  I have taught Science, Mathematics Physical Education and Art. For the most part of my career I have been Head of the Mathematics department. For the past five years I have been working with children with Special Educational Needs and Emotional Sociable Behaviour Disorders. have found this extremely rewarding and enlightening.

I am now delighted to be part of the team here at Willows. I hope to be able to enable children to develop a love for lifelong learning and achieve their true potential. I am sure being part of this dedicated, enthusiastic team will facilitate this.

Claudia Speight

Science Teacher

Louise Brassington

Spanish Teacher

Marios Sampanai

P.E Teacher

I’m Mr. Sampanai, your enthusiastic Physical Education teacher at Willow International School. With a degree in Education, specializing in Physical Education, my educational journey has prepared me to share my passion for sports and fitness with our students.

Beyond the classroom, I’m also deeply involved in sports. I serve as a football referee, ensuring fair play and sportsmanship. Additionally, I’ve achieved a gold medal in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, underscoring my commitment to personal growth and success in martial arts.

Outside of school, you’ll often find me at the gym, where I dedicate time to train in martial arts. I believe in leading by example, encouraging students to embrace an active and healthy lifestyle.

Olivia Phillips

Head of Primary

Primary Teacher

My name is Olivia, I began my teaching journey way back in college when I embarked on a Level 3 course for childcare. I knew from the start, that I wanted to work with children. However, this gave me a proper insight on what it was like to work in the field and secured in my head, that it was something that I really wanted to take further. I then began my Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Studies in Leeds which gave me the skills and confidence to lead and teach young children in a variety of settings. I did this while working full time in a nursery which helped me put my knowledge into practice. I love teaching because every day is different… the things children do and say always brings a smile to my face with their infectious positive outlook on the world! I love knowing that helping these young children find their feet in this world, is going to help them turn into happy, curious individuals with a love of life and learning. My aim in my teaching is to level the playing field for all children… no matter what their background or abilities, they should be given equal opportunities to flourish and grow.

Hannah Brown

Primary Teacher

Hello, my name is Hannah and I am the teacher of Primary 2, now known as Robins.

I completed my degree at Nottingham Trent University and my teaching journey began in Cambodia
where I decided to teach English to young children in a small village.

I have lived in Spain for the last 5 years teaching in private language schools before taking some time
off to have my children. I have now decided it is time to get myself back to doing something that I
am passionate about.

I am delighted to join the team here at Willow International School and I’m looking forward to the
year ahead and bringing out the best in each and every student.

Caitlin Williams

Primary Teacher

My name is Caitlin Williams and I am delighted to be working alongside the fabulous team at Willow. I am originally from Wales, but I studied my degree in Modern languages with Interpreting at the University of Sheffield. After graduating I decided to move to Spain and continued with my studies to become a teacher studying a PGCE.
 I can say that  the main reason I became a teacher was because of the teachers I had at school, who not only taught me the curriculum , but gave their time and love. Every child should love going to school and I aim to be remembered by my students for not only giving them knowledge, but most of all a lot of care, while making their days at school fun and memorable.
I have been teaching in International schools in Madrid and Alicante for the past thirteen years and have loved being a part of the children’s lives, seeing them grow and develop in many areas.
I look forward to the future at Willow and to work with the other staff to make your child’s school years a time to remember.

Roxy Osmundsen

Primary Support Worker

Hello my name is Roxy.

To the Children of Primary School I’m known as Mrs “O”.

I lived and worked in Singapore as an interpreter in a Private Hospital, during the same period I worked as a volunteer at a German International School, where my daughters attended.

A couple of years after, we all moved back to the UK and I qualified as a Teaching Assistant (TA) in Cardiff, Wales. I am experienced working with children of all ages and different nationalities. I speak five languages and I’m planning to learn more, and it’s a great opportunity to help children with a language barrier as well. I am now delighted to be part of the team at Willow International School.

On weekends I usually play golf.

Yvonne Wilson


My name is Yvonne and I work on reception as well as carrying out general administrative duties for Willow International School.

I carried out office-based administration and clerical duties for Eastern Electricity Contracting and British Telecom prior to moving to Spain around 18 years ago and have since continued working on the administration side of the service industry here in Spain.

My own children (now fully grown) attended both mainstream Spanish school and a private international school here in Spain so I have some experience of the education system here from a parents perspective.

As a reasonably new member of the team here, I am looking forward to assisting this professional and enthusiastic team of teachers and offering my support to students and parents alike.

Scarlett Train

Primary support worker

Hello, my name is Scarlett,

( Better known as Miss Sky to the children of primary )

I am very grateful to work alongside such a wonderful, hard-working team at Willow International School.

I am originally from England but I moved to Spain 2 years ago. I actually studied my GCSE’s at Willow and passed my exams, thanks to the great teachers, their support and encouragement. I am new to the staff team but the other teachers as well as the students have welcomed with open arms as if I’ve been there half of my life.

I have completed my level 1 teaching assistant certificate, and have completed my Child Protection, Health and Safety and Safeguarding certificates.

I am looking forward to growing and learning from the children and the dedicated staff at Willow.