Meet our staff
Vicki Briody - Executive Headteacher
Vicki was born in the Welsh borders but moved to this side of the country to attend university. She joined the Abacus team in June 2013 to prepare for opening in September 2013.
Vicki was previously a Deputy Head of a large primary school in Islington and brings senior leadership experience from an Ofsted-rated outstanding school along with specialist expertise in teaching Early Years children. She even taught in mainland China for a year and continues to brush up on her Mandarin along with the children! She achieved her Bachelor of Education with Mathematics from the University of Hertfordshire in 2004 and has taught in London ever since.
Vicki is the Associate Director of Education across six Anthem schools and is working closely with the team in finding Abacus a permanent home.
Melissa Chandler - Head of School, Designated Safeguarding Lead
Melissa was born in Adelaide, Australia and graduated with a BA in Education in 2004 with a language specialism. She then lived and worked in Japan for two years, teaching English to children and adults. Melissa moved to London in 2007 and has taught across all ages of primary but mostly in EYFS and KS1.
Melissa joined Abacus in its second year and has quickly become a crucial part of the team. She has conducted research in to children's reading and has been exploring strategies that support children in developing their reading skills as well as their fluency in understanding a range of question types- developing our reading curriculum that challenges, opens new worlds for children and supports their Geography and History learning on Fridays.
Melissa is excited and proud to take on the role of Head of School, working with the team to provide a fun, safe and exciting place for the children to learn and THRIVE!
Melissa has too many favourite books to mention, but she especially loves 'The Boy at the Back of the Classroom' which year 4 read and 'The Girl of Ink and Stars' in 5/6! A fun fact about herself is that she climbed to the top of a volcano and saw the sunrise from the very top!
Melissa is the English and MFL lead at Abacus.
Miriyan Sikkens- Deputy Head Teacher
After finishing a Masters in theatre studies, Miriyan started her teaching career almost by accident by tutoring in the outback of the Northern Territory, Australia. She ended up loving it so much that she returned to London to complete her postgraduate so that she could get in front of the class. She's been doing that (mostly in Tower Hamlets) ever since. With a particular interest in literacy and engaging in collaborative learning, Miriyan was seconded to Ghana for 3 months in 2012 with VSO to advise the director of education in implementing active learning opportunities in early reading and primary English.
After a few years away from teaching to raise her own children, Miriyan returned to the classroom and spent 5 years co-leading a team to implement and research effective oracy strategies. Since achieving a 'Centre of Excellence' status from Voice21, she has hosted headteachers and school leaders both nationally and internationally in helping them to kick-start curriculum development in Oracy.
Miriyan first came to see Abacus in May 2023 and knew instantly that this was the next family that she wanted to be a part of. She thinks Abacus is bursting with talent in both the children and its incredibly dedicated staff. Her favourite children's book is Skellig by David Almond and a fun fact about her is that she was born in Amsterdam.
Miriyan leadson Geography and History and is excited to be supporting school on their Oracy journey!
Tom Owens - SEND Co-ordinator
Tom was born in Banbury, near Oxford. He achieved a BSC in Sociology at the University of Bath and after graduating, Tom worked as a care worker looking after and supporting elderly patients. He then supported adults with special needs, offering them support in their homes.
Tom moved to London in 2012 and worked at Paddock Secondary School where he supported children with special educational needs. He then embarked on his PGCE at St Mary's University where he graduated as an outstanding teacher. Tom has been teaching for 9 years in EYFS. He loves to promote a multisensory approach to teaching and learning through real life experiences- something that fits perfectly with the reception curriculum where children learn through play!
Tom loves working at Abacus for many reasons, but mainly for the complete warmth you feel from both the staff and children. The welcoming atmosphere and caring environment ensure that everyone succeeds together. Making mistakes are welcomed at Abacus, and children have the confidence to try again if at first they don't succeed.
Tom's favourite children's book has got to be The Hobbit- there wasn't much more he wanted to do as a child than go on an adventure, fight the forces of evil and look for treasure! He enjoys keeping fit and regularly cycles. Tom was awarded the Teacher of the Year 2019 at the London Awards. We are very proud of him!
Tom is the SEND coordinator at Abacus and continues to support learning in Reception.
Madison Tangyuk- EYFS/ KS1 Lead, Reception Teacher
Madison has been teaching now for 8 years. She trained to be a teacher in Camden and spent three years teaching Year 1 and 2. She then decided she wanted to teach abroad and therefore spent a year in Rome teaching at an international school and eating lots of pasta (yum)! Upon her return, she worked at a school in Hackney as both an EYFS and KS1 teacher. She is delighted to be returning to EYFS at Abacus and leading Recpetion, Year 1 and Year 2.
Abacus is a truly special place to work-you can feel the excitement and happiness throughout the school and the small community makes sure everyone (staff and students) feels valued and listened to! A fun fact- Madi visited Abacus when she first became a teacher when it only had 3 classes! It’s amazing to see how much it has grown since then.
Her favourite children’s book was Mary Hoffman’s Amazing Grace. She loved it so much she named her childhood cat after the main character ‘Gracie’- her sister named the other cat Mr Blobby!
Madison is leading on Science and Music at Abacus.
Julia Hagen - Year 1 Teacher
Julia loves working with children and always knew she wanted to become a teacher. She completed her training in New Zealand where she was raised, then worked as an early years teacher for several years. Before moving to London, she travelled to Papua New Guinea and Cambodia where she taught in English language schools. It was in London that she decided to return to university and study for a Masters degree in Inclusion and SEND after which she moved into primary school teaching.
Outside of the classroom, Julia enjoys sports, the outdoors and reading – her favourite children’s book is The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett. Julia has discovered a family in the Abacus community. The children are excited to come to school and the staff are all passionate about what they do.
Claire Taylor - Year 2 Teacher
Claire joined Abacus in 2022 as a trainee teacher and we are so pleased that she has joined the team permanently. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she moved to London in 2016 and worked as a nursery practitioner for several years. It was during this time that she developed a passion for education, finding happiness in helping children achieve those 'light bulb moments' and important milestones. In addition to her nursery work, Miss Taylor also dedicated herself to helping children with SEN achieve their targets during her undergraduate years. A keen reader, she pursued a degree in Comparative Literature at Queen Mary's before starting her teacher training. Following her training, she stayed on to teach in Year 2. Her favourite children's book is The Hobbit.
Outside of school, she enjoys kickboxing and drawing.
Tom Elgar - Year 3 Teacher
Tom found hisway to teaching in 2019, following a colourful career in the film industry. He feels he was blessed to find Abacus and a team that invested in him and guided him through his early teaching career. After a year teaching in the desert in Dubai, he returned home to Abacus in 2022 and is very happy to be back, settled in and serving the community that he loves.
Tom's favourite thing about Abacus is our school community. London can be a transient place, but at Abacus, we care and he feels that care himself everyday. From the leadership, to the staff team to the children and parents. We are all invested in doing the best for our children and developing resilient, well-rounded young people who feel proud to be a part of our community.
Tom's favourite children's book is Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris. He describes himself as a film-obsessed, music-obsessed, climbing-obsessed, Watford fan.
Tom leads on Computing at Abacus.
Becky Sheppard - Year 4 Teacher
Becky was born in Hertfordshire and lived there until she was 19 years old. She then moved to Twickenham where she gained a BA Honours degree in Education with Social Sciences and English at St Mary's University. She previously worked in a school for autistic children for two years before joining the Abacus team in 2016, which she has loved ever since!
Becky is the art and DT lead and PPG champion at Abacus.
Holly Lovell - Assistant Head Teacher, KS2 Lead, Year 5/6 Teacher
Holly has been teaching for 10 years and joined us in 2021 as an experienced Maths Lead and Key Stage Two Lead. She has taught in various boroughs across London, including Hackney and Greenwich. She says that Abacus is her "forever school" is now our Assistant Headteacher.
She loves the opportunity to coach and develop our other amazing teachers, after successfully completing an NPQ qualification in Leading Teacher Development last year.
Her favourite children's book is Wind in the Willows and her hobbies include reading, cooking, attending live music and DJ-ing.
Holly leads on maths, PE and RE.
Jackie Bright - Attendance Officer & First Aid Lead
Jackie has lived in London all her life. She has been working in education for over 23 years, and has gained high-quality experiences. She has an NVQ Level 3 in child care and Education and a HLTA Level 4. She enjoys working with children and seeing them blossom through their journey of learning. She says she loves working at Abacus with the outstanding team!
Toni Gill - Reception Teaching AssistantToni
Toni joined the school in 2018 and is a highly qualified support teacher. She runs our morning breakfast club as well as after school provision.
Alaya Begum - Year 1 Teaching Assistant
Alaya joined Abacus in 2019 and is local to Camden where she went to school and shows her creative side during her art after school sessions. Alaya says her favourite thing about Abacus is the children and being part of the school community.
Nasima Ali - 1:1 Teaching Assistant
Michelle Kiratzi - Office Manager
Michelle feels that Abacus is very much a “family” which she is proud to be a part of. She has worked in school admin for nearly 20 years, with most of that time being in primary education. She feels strongly that the work of the admin team in any school is to support the whole school community and that is very much the aim of our small team here at Abacus.
Michelle's favourite children’s book is Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and a fun fact about her is this summer she climbed Ingleborough, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks and the second highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales!
Nadine Kanda - School Cleaner
Nadine is a much valued member of staff who keeps the school clean and safe!