Leadership Team

Head of School

Figen Sonmez is the Head of School for MEF International School, Istanbul and Izmir campuses. Figen was born and raised in Australia with a Turkish heritage. She studied at the University of Western Sydney, Nepean in Primary Education. She is currently studying to complete her Masters degree in Learning Sciences at MEF University. Figen has worked in a variety of positions in educational fields including homeroom teaching and Technology Teacher training, and leadership posts including Department Head roles, Curriculum Coordinator, Principal and Head of School. She is passionate about internationalism, learning, and nurturing the whole child – focussing on a balanced approach through developing academic, social, emotional and social potentials. Figen has three children enrolled at MEF IS who absolutely love their school.

Primary School Principal

Linda Allen is the principal for MEF Primary School. Her previous experience was in Auckland, New Zealand where she has been in education for over 25 years. Her latest position was as Associate Principal of a Grade 1-8 primary school in Green Bay, West Auckland. Linda graduated from the University of Auckland with a BA in Mathematics and English Literature, went on and did her teaching diploma, and in later years earned a post graduate diploma in Second Language Teaching and her Masters of Educational Leadership and Management. She is a strong believer in the value of life-long learning. She has left three grown children behind in New Zealand, and she and her husband are enjoying life in Istanbul and at MEF IS. When she wants to relax Linda enjoys the beach, swimming, reading and hanging out with her friends and family. Linda has lived in Melbourne, Australia and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia attending the international school there as a teenager. Linda is looking forward to another positive year here at MEF IS where the school community work together to build a memorable schooling experience for all involved.

Primary School Deputy Principal

Christopher Jackson is the Deputy Principal for MEF IS Primary School. He arrived in Istanbul following 12 years of teaching at the International School of Lausanne in Switzerland. Raised in the United States, he earned a BA in Music Education from St Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and then taught in both Minnesota and Florida before beginning his career in international education. Christopher completed the Certificate of International School Leadership from The Principal’s Training Center and recently became a Certified Trainer and Presenter of Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction. He has led and served on visiting teams for the Council of International School (CIS) and New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) for accreditation of schools across Europe and the Middle East. He has had a life-long passion for all things Disney and embodies this by constantly encouraging students (and adults) to pursue their dreams and striving to reach beyond themselves to new frontiers. Christopher looks forward to another successful year of both personal growth and working with the students, parents and teachers of the school.

International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme Coordinator / Deputy Principal

Evelyn Hargett Galan is the Deputy Principal/PYP Coordinator for MEF IS Primary School. New to the staff in 2017, Evelyn is returning for a second year at MEF IS and looks forward to working closely with students, staff and parents throughout this school year. She arrived to Istanbul after 3 years of homeroom teaching at İhsan Doğramacı Bılkent Erbil College and eleven years of experience in teaching and leading at the International American School of Cancun. Evelyn has recently completed a Master of Arts in Education (International Education PK-6) from George Mason University with an additional certificate as an IB Educator. She has also earned a Master of Arts in Teaching (Curriculum and Instruction) from the University of St. Mary. She is a licensed Pre-kindergarten to grade 6 teacher with the Commonwealth of Virginia, USA and holds Qualified Teacher Status with the United Kingdom. In addition to these qualifications, Evelyn is a certified Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction Trainer and ESL in the Mainstream Tutor. She comes to MEF IS bringing solid experience in multilingual education and is passionate about building and crossing cultural bridges to improve communication and promote appreciation for diversity. As a lifelong learner, she is always looking for new ways to improve her understandings about learning and teaching through study and professional development. Evelyn has lived in the USA, Belgium, Mexico and Iraq. She has two grown adult children, a daughter in the USA and a son living in Mexico. Evelyn and her husband are enjoying all that Turkey has to offer while residing in Istanbul.

Secondary School Principal

Malcolm Ringo is now serving in his second year as the Secondary Principal.  Entering into his 14th year at MEF IS, he has taught History, Geography, and Theory of Knowledge as well as served as the IBDP Coordinator and Cambridge Coordinator.  Before arriving to MEF IS, he taught English and briefly worked as a journalist. He has completed two MA degrees, one of which is in History and the second of which is in Teaching English as a Second Language.  Malcolm has been living in Turkey for the past 17 years and feels a strong connection to Turkish society and culture. Malcolm seeks to make education accessible and challenging to all students. He believes that with positivity and belief that every child and member of the school community can reach their potential.  He has three children who enjoy studying at MEF IS. His hobbies include spending time with friends and family, swimming, running, watching sports, reading both fiction and non-fiction, and writing.

Secondary School Deputy Principal

Mrs. Nicole Incel has lived in Turkey for 8 years. She has a BA in History and Education and a MA in Teaching English as an Additional Language. Nicole has been working in education for 15 years, 7 of which have been at MEF IS. In past years, she has taught History, Humanities, Language Arts, and English Language Learners. She has also been the Student Support Team leader for the past 5 years at MEF IS. Nicole is a firm believer that all students are capable of learning anything with the right tools and strives to support teachers in providing these tools to their students. In her free time, she enjoys being with her husband and children and exploring different parts of Istanbul and the world.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Coordinator

Ms. Alina Zamfirescu joined MEF IS in August 2017. She holds a Master’s Degree in Mathematics for Teachers from Waterloo, Canada, and a BA in Mathematics from the University of Bucharest in Romania. Alina has been working in education for 24 years, 12 of which have been in international education. In recent times, she taught mathematics in Romania and Morocco, and she was the IB DP Coordinator of Casablanca American School for 4 years before coming at MEF IS. Alina has different roles in the IB network: examiner, workshop leader, moderator, consultant, and online facilitator. She enjoys teaching and deeply admires the IB philosophy, which encourages and challenges educators to be role models for our students. It encourages educators to help students become risk-takers that are principled, balanced, and open minded inquirers who are knowledgeable and reflective communicators that are caring. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the world, listening to music, and, when possible, dancing.

Secondary School Cambridge Curriculum Coordinator

Mrs. Lauren Fajobi has lived in Turkey for 4 years. She has a BS in Biological Science, a BA in Spanish Language & Culture and a MA in Curriculum & Instruction. This is Lauren’s third year at MEF IS, and she has experience in both American and international schools. In past years, she has been an instructional coach, and she has taught Biology, General Science, Chemistry, and Spanish. Lauren is passionate about helping students develop confidence, curiosity and love of learning that will stay with them through school, university and beyond. In her free time she enjoys being with her family, singing, and traveling throughout Turkey.