Chapter Updates

Stephanie Walmsley

| MA in Education (Equality and Diversity), BA Hons, Dip SpLD | Board Director SENIA-Switzerland

Stephanie holds a master’s degree in equality and diversity alongside postgraduate research studies into ADHD in both children and adolescents and she is is currently studying for a MSc in education for sustainable development and she has a particular interest in competence-based education systems. Stephanie has almost 20 years’ experience in inclusive education and SEND, formally a children’s social worker in the UK, she has lived in Switzerland for over 16 years and has been responsible for the development of many of the regional international schools, public education and private systems special educational needs and inclusive practices. Stephanie is highly passionate about inclusion/SEND, health and wellbeing. 

Stephanie loves the outdoors and is often in the Swiss mountains hiking and camping in her campervan. She is married with two grown up children and recently became a grandma.

Kate Shepherd

BSc in Psychology

SENIA Switzerland- Local School and Parent Representative

Kate has over 10 years’ experience in teaching Psychology in international schools in Suisse Romande and has been a teacher of English as a Foreign Language for 18 years.

Kate has lived in Switzerland for over 18 years and is married with two sons. Her professional interest in Special Educational Needs became personal as a result of her younger son being diagnosed with ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyscalculia. Kate has learnt to navigate the local school and healthcare systems to ensure that her son is supported throughout his schooling. This has now led to personal experience of local occupational therapists and language therapists.

Kate is passionate about mental health and wellbeing and in her spare time, can be found walking her two very energetic dogs.


MA in Education 

Diploma of Advanced Studies: Teaching students with Special needs

 SENIA-Switzerland- Local School Teacher Representative

Ony is a teacher committed to collaborative learning that engages students, staff, families and the community.  As a special education teacher, she provides inclusive and small-group instruction to teenage students with special needs(15-20years). 

After a Master’s degree in education, Ony has worked in Madagascar, then in Switzerland, in both the public and private sectors. During this journey, she was able to develop an expertise in special education for children with DYS syndrome, and autistic spectrum. She is experienced in teaching mixed classes, in integration or inclusion. Today, the heart of her practice lies in teaching, supporting teenagers with learning difficulties, psychological or cognitive disorders to prepare for vocational training.

Her strengths lie in her knowledge and her skills of inclusion policy, her ability to build working positive relationships with students and adults in a caring and professional manner. She has a very strong belief that every student can reach their full potential and that they benefit from an education adapted to their difficulties. Ony firmly believes that success in education is about building relationships.


Masters of Special Education, C.U.N.Y (USA)

Learning Support Coordinator at International School of Geneva

SENIA Switzerland- International School Teacher Representative

Alexandra is a bi-national (France and the United States). While she spent her childhood in France, she spent latter years in the United States. She started her career in Special Education delivering early intervention to three-year-olds with delayed development in New York City, prompting her to enroll in a Master’s Programme in Special Education. After completing her Master’s degree in Special Education at the City University of New York,  Alexandra moved to London teaching students with learning difficulties at the American School of London.  During this time, Alexandra joined forces with two colleagues-turned-friends to support early education in Eastern Sri Lanka which had suffered the most following the 2004 Tsunami.  After two years in London, she permanently moved to France on the border of Switzerland where Alexandra has been teaching at the International School of Geneva since 2007. A lover of nature and open spaces, she enjoys her free time with her partner and son exploring the mountains or enjoying water activities.  Alexandra also loves traveling and is patiently waiting for the opportunity to return to Sri Lanka and experience new parts of the world again. 


Master Degree, Management and Leadership

BEd. (Hons.) Physical Education/Mathematics

Lead Educator – Access to Well-Being

 SENIA Switzerland- Research and Development Representative

Paul has worked in International Education for over 20 years, in Hong Kong, USA and now Switzerland. Paul currently runs a Well-Being programme in the Lausanne region that focuses on developing the environment within the child. He assesses learners, learning environments and  living environments and initiates action plans to enable learners to thrive. The ‘STEP’ method promotes self-awareness, self-moderation and self-esteem. It also develops the scaffolding around the learner. In the words of one student: “It is better at school, better at home, better everywhere!”. As a result of this work, Paul has been a guest presenter for Endicott University in their Child and Adolescent Development course and has also worked with learners in the UK and Australia. 

Paul, originally from the UK, is a current member of the IBO curriculum review panels for the DP Sports Exercise and Health Science, and the MYP Physical and Health Education courses. He spent seventeen years working in Hong Kong with the majority of this time there spent at the Chinese International School. Whilst at CIS Paul held posts on the Secondary Curriculum Steering Committee, as a Pastoral Head of Year and as the Director of Sports and Activities. More importantly, Paul met his future wife Elizabeth, a Learning Support teacher, whilst in Hong Kong. They now have two boys Jack and Charlie and enjoy spending time together skiing, biking and paddle boarding. 

Claire Dede OGDEN

MA International Development

Specialising in International Health and Economics

     SENIA Switzerland- International School Parent Representative

Mother of Special Needs Adult

Dede has lived in the Geneva area since 1997 where she raised three children.  She has been active in both the French and English-speaking communities and in the International School of Geneva (PTA President, La Châtaigneraie). She has served in various leadership, community outreach, mentoring and fundraising events and committees. She has a special interest in women and children’s education, health and the arts.

She and her husband helped pioneer the Extended Support Program at the International School of Geneva for students with learning differences and are big advocates for inclusion programs for people with different learning needs.

Dede loves tennis, university sports, mountain sports, reading and multi-cultural events.

Nicole Schmidt M.A. CCC-SLP

Speech and Language Therapist

SENIA Switzerland- Therapist Representative

Nicole has been working as a speech-language pathologist (SLP/SLT) for 17 years in both private practice and school environments. She also has experience working as a clinical fellow in both Children’s and Sharp Memorial Hospitals. 

Before moving to Geneva, Switzerland in 2009 she worked for several years in the second-largest school district in California, San Diego Unified School District. In that time, she obtained a lot of experience assessing and treating bilingual and multilingual children and working as the case manager of large caseloads. She also provided ongoing training to school staff and parents on language development, identification of red flags for a variety of disorders, differentiation in the classroom, as well as strategies to support language development at home and at school. Her experience in each of these areas continues to grow working in the international school system here in Switzerland over the last 10 years. 

Nicole is currently specialized in early intervention, receptive/expressive language disorders, social language disorders, phonological and articulation disorders and apraxia.  She is certified in Hanen, PROMPT, and Lindamood Bell programs LiPS and Visualizing and Verbalizing.

Marcia Norwell

Qualified Nutritional Therapist, specialised in family and children’s Health and Wellbeing. Certified with ASCA.

SENIA Switzerland- Therapist  Representative

After several years of experience in her professional activities with children and adolescents in different school contexts, she always believed that there must be a link between the behaviour of children and their diet, sleep habits, and wellbeing. This belief inspired her to undertake studies in nutrition and wellbeing, which in turn allowed her to develop opportunities for both children and adults. Marcia continues working in the schools supporting students with learning and emotional difficulties while seeing her clients in her private practice as a Nutritional Therapist.

Marcia, originally from Sweden has lived in Switzerland for 20 years. She is married and has two daughters. Marcia likes to spend her time outdoors, cross country skiing, hiking in the mountains, and running/walking by the lakeside. At home, she is passionate about yoga and loves to create and make new healthy recipes!