A culture rooted in the values of East and West

Heads of Department

Clarissa Lim

Clarissa enjoyed a colourful and successfully career in the fast-paced business world. During her heightened career, she produced many mega marketing and branding projects for corporate companies for MNCs, SMEs and Statutory boards, both locally and APAC. She made a daring exit during the pinnacle of her career and embark into the ever demanding sector, Education. Right after completing her last and largest project for National Day Parade as the Executive Producer.

Education industry gives her the real experience of “a concern parent's perspective” that soon emerges as her core strength in counselling and workshops for parents. Clarissa, as a parent, too endures on the patient-testing but a sure rewarding outcome of grooming her only son, who recently graduated as one of the top award winning student, academically and holistically, with scholarship offered and awaiting to further his study in an ivy league university.

She commits whole-heartedly to the development and growth of children she works with, from Early Childhood to Tertiary education, passionately investing in countless professional courses in her continuing educational journey so as to keep pace with the dynamic industrial shift and demand.

Indeed, learning never ends, she further ventures into developing curriculum and explore integrating learning methodologies, by collaborating with overseas universities, that develop best possible education pathways to guide students she works with.

“All young learners are allowed choices, just guide them well in their early years and make sure the parents are on board”. As an educator, Clarissa believes every child's development can be well achieved when carefully crafted. Children are special gift from God, they are talented in their own ways. Parents and educators alike, as to what Clarissa will say, “We are just facilitators, do our parts and nurture the kids to be his own master, let them have the abilities to change and shake the world”.



Sun Wei
Director of Administration
Executive Assistant to the Principal's Office

I started my teaching career with Beijing Huijia Private (IB) School since 1994 as a Manager, a homeroom teacher and a Chinese Teacher. After working there for 13 years I bring along my vast experiences and knowledge to HWA in 2006 where I joined the school as a Chinese Coordinator and Homeroom Teacher, ensuring a holistic and high standard quality of Chinese teaching and curriculum as well as a well-rounded Chinese cultural education.

As a pioneer staff of Hillside World Academy, I have seen HWA’s establishment from an infant foreign system school, grown to be an inspiring boutique international school with students coming from more than thirty nationalities, and fully qualified, experienced and dedicated teaching staff from all over the world. HWA is indeed a truly bi-cultural and bi-lingual school fully immersed with students, parents and teachers from diverse cultures. Being a small school has its unique strength where the community is closely knitted and strong support for each other is evident. As we continue to pursue HWA’s vision and mission, we proudly boast our strong school culture within the Eastern and Western values of Hillside World Academy.

Mr. Poh Leong Joo
Vice Principal, Academic
Head of Senior School and IB MYP Coordinator

Leong Joo was a Singapore Government Teaching Scholar. He graduated with Honours from the University of Leeds (United Kingdom) in Mathematics and Music. He is an educator with more than 15 years of teaching and leadership experience. He has taken on leadership roles as Head of Department and Assistant Director in Singapore schools, the Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE), the Singapore Sports School and Republic Polytechnic (Singapore).

At the MOE, Leong Joo was the staff officer in charge of the establishment of Republic Polytechnic and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at the National University of Singapore. He also worked on policy matters relating to the tertiary arts sector. As Assistant Director (Academics) at the Singapore Sports School, Leong Joo provided pedagogical leadership where he worked with and through the Heads of Departments and teachers on teaching and learning matters. He also contributed to the school’s professional development, strategic planning and quality assurance matters. As the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) Coordinator, he played an instrumental role in the school’s authorization as an IB World School. The school’s first IBDP cohort of students took their examinations in November 2015 and achieved excellent results, averaging a score of 40 out of 45.

Prior to joining HWA in July 2016, Leong Joo was the Senior Lecturer at the Centre of Educational Development at Republic Polytechnic where he developed and provided training for the lecturers’ academic professional development.

Leong Joo believes that building well-integrated and high-performing teams here at HWA is important as we continue to ride on the uniqueness of HWA as a bicultural and bilingual IB international school, to enrich the learning experiences and strengthen academic rigour for all our students. 


Ms. Katty Zhao
Vice Principal, Admissions, Marketing and Communication

I have a few unforgettable memory on the stage of CNIS , and that is my pride to be one of the HWA family again.I never neglect an opportunity for my improvement in career.To reach the sales & marketing target would also become an exciting challenge for me in the future. 

I love kids! In my past career, I have been driven by my strong belief that every child should have access to a high quality education. It should be fun and challenging. We all believe that Education changes lives. Our “product” is only ‘completed’ at graduation and this makes education a very intangible product.Inspire and motivate our school team to contribute more and make our students’ learning experience in HWA rewarding and fun. 

Let’s works together to deliver our promise to provide excellent bilingual education for all lovely kids.That’s alI I want to achieve in HWA World Academy .


Ms. Gail Gerner-Mahoney
Head of Junior School

Ms Gail Gerner-Mahoney has joined the HWA family as the Head of the Junior School in April of 2017. She has worked in 7 other International Schools, many of them being IB and her former International Schools were Dual Immersion language programmes teaching Bilingualism and Biliteracy. Her over twenty-five years of educational experience has brought her to countries such as Italy, Kenya, Indonesia, Qatar, Timor-Leste, Turkey, India and now Singapore.

Ms Gail has a Master's Degree in Education and International Leadership from Seton Hall University in New Jersey USA. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and German from Providence College in Rhode Island USA. Ms Gail has been the Head of several International Junior Schools. Before becoming the Head of many Junior Schools, Ms Gail had been a Primary School classroom teacher, Physical Education Teacher, Aquatics Director/ Instructor and an (EAL) English as an Additional Language Teacher in her previous International Schools.

Ms Gail believes in the importance of educating the whole child and puts great emphasis on nurturing relationships and community building. Her philosophy is that" learning not only happens behind the four walls of the classroom or within a school campus." She is passionate about teaching students to learn through authentic community connected experiences. Ms Gail aims to create an environment where students place knowledge in context, develop communication skills, reflect on goals, and apply learning to moral actions that occur inside and outside of the school walls.

Besides being extremely passionate about her career and her students, Ms Gail is a mother of 3 children who are multi-lingual, and all 3 of her kids were educated in several International Schools. Her son Liam is 22 and is currently attending a University in San Diego, California USA. Her daughter Fionna is 18 and attends the University of Florida, her youngest daughter Amelika is 16, and she is studying in Grade 11 in Florida USA. Ms Gail is accompanied here in Singapore by her husband, Tony who is originally from Australia. She and her husband are very proud and excited to be part of such a wonderful school community at HWA.