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Central Team

Mary DoodyMary Doody

"I started in my role as Director of Kings Young Learners in 2014, and I co-chair Young Learners English UK.

Before becoming Director, I worked many, many summers as an Activity Leader, Teacher, Centre Manager, Programme and Operations Manager.

I continue to have great delight in seeing the wonderful mix of students having a truly international experience and learning not just from our wonderful teaching and activity teams but from each other.

I love how our staff too have memorable summers at Kings and gain great experience making lifelong friendships."

Elaine GormleyElaine Gormley
Head of Sales Operations & Admissions

"My role includes supporting all of our clients and I also oversee all aspects of Admissions for Kings Young Learners working alongside the Admissions Coordinator.

Originally from Northern Ireland, I moved to England in 2004 and started working within the language school sector. I have been working with Kings since 2009, initially working within our Bournemouth school before moving to our central office in Brighton in 2014.

I enjoy meeting international clients from all over the world and learning more about different cultures. Outside of work time, I enjoy getting outdoors as much as possible and love cooking & baking.

I am happy to help you with any information and support you require throughout your stay with Kings Young Learners"

Hermes SipsasHermes Sipsas
Head of Programmes

"I look after the overall programme management and co-ordination for our centres in the UK.

I have been with Kings since 2016 and started as an Activity Leader and Activities Manager in most of our UK centres. Shortly after graduating from the University of Bari in Italy, I started with Kings as a Programme Manager in 2018 and moved on to Head of Programmes in 2022.
Beyond operations, I also make sure our website and publicity materials are kept up to date.

I love meeting people from all over the world, learning about different cultures and languages, and enjoy good food, especially in the midst of a busy summer!"

Jer DoodyJer Doody
Recruitment Manager

"This will be my 6th year as recruitment manager with Kings. I started life as an activity leader some 20 years ago and progressed from that to work as a centre manager for 6 summers. I then moved into staff recruitment.

I come from Ireland but live in the Scottish Highlands with my partner, baby son and crazy dog. I love working for our small but experienced and hands on team and enjoy my interaction with staff at centre level each season"

Lavinia SciacquaLavinia Sciacqua
Admissions Manager

"I am based in Italy and I take care of all aspects of Admissions for Kings Young Learners.

I graduated from the University of Bari in Italy and I moved to England in 2018; I started working in Hospitality and Optics before moving on to my experience with Kings.

I started my adventure with Kings on short programmes in Christmas 2020 and some half-term courses in 2021 and finally moved on to my current Admissions role in April 2022.

I enjoy taking care of each student’s journey and exploring different cultures!"

Sandra ToroSandra Lahoz Toro
Transfers Manager

"In my role as Transfers Manager I take care of all the transfers for the students who come to study in UK during the summer, and I coordinate the team in the different airports.

I started my journey with Kings in 2022. Difficulties with flight delays and cancellations, airlines and train strikes didn’t stop us to be there, meeting and greeting the students.

I come from Spain but I currently live in Brighton, where our central office is based. As a foreigner, I understand how the students feel and how difficult can be for the family to let them go and explore. My job is making this process easier. I love being the first point of contact for the students. I am lucky that being in charge of the emergency phone I can help and support them to arrive and come back safe."

Meet more of the Kings team

Hermes SipsasAleksandra
Bath (Downside) Head House Parent

"My first summer with Kings was also my first formal job ever! Luckily, thanks to support and guidance from my brilliant manager, María, among others, it has been such a great experience that I decided to do it again. This summer was my third time working for Kings as a House Parent in Downside School, and each year I come back even more excited.

The best thing about being a House Parent at the camp is a chance to create your own community within the house. You’re able to create very special bonds with the students you take care of and be a part of their memories which they cherish for years. It’s always very touching to hear my “Isabella” girls (that’s the name of the house) singing our evening house song during various activities. As we're given quite a lot of freedom to make our Houses personalised, each house ends up having their own spirit, which is awesome.

Being responsible for so many students isn't without its challenges. But with support from the head office, managers, and coworkers, it’s a job that pushes you to be better and grow on both professional and personal level.

What I love about summer with Kings is that I am able to make friends with people from all over the world. The beautiful thing is that some of those friendships continue after the camp, and I hope they will stay with me for years to come."

Director of Studies in Central London

"After working as a teacher at London - Farringtons and in Italy, where I had the opportunity to develop professionally in an international context and meeting amazing people from many different countries and cultural backgrounds, I was offered the position of DOS at the Southbank University Centre. This role has enabled me to learn new skills, develop some areas of my expertise and work with some extraordinary people right in the heart of London.

I have found in Kings a home where I can grow professionally and personally with the help of an excellent senior management team who is always present at every stage of our development and gives us all the support and encouragement we need at every step.

The opportunity to be a part of an international community of students and co-workers has been an exhilarating experience. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this community.

An international summer school experience is a means of promoting international understanding and tolerance in a world which needs these values more and more. Our community ensures that this mission is carried out and our students and teachers alike make long lasting friendships all over the world."

Activity Leader at Central London

"The best job I have ever had! When I first started working for Kings in 2019, I didn’t expect to have such a fun summer; let alone to go back again for summer 2022. The team are incredibly supportive and were very quick to make the experience feel as if I was at summer camp rather than work.

Working as an activity leader gave me the incredible opportunity to explore landmarks around London, whilst making new friends from all over the world. I really enjoyed working with the students, they have taught me so much about their countries and have even fostered a yen for travel in me.

I have so many wonderful memories from working at Kings that I will always treasure and each summer I find that I growth in terms of personal confidence and resilience.

Centre Manager in Malibu & Ascot

"I started working within the world of international education at 17 years of age when I spent some of the summer holidays volunteering at an international summer school. From that first summer I was hooked.

In 2015 I became a CELTA qualified teacher after studying at International House London. Since then I have taught EFL to both children and adults from around the globe at various UK based schools. I seem to have worked in every role available in regards to preparing and managing short-courses for international students - from running activities, managing bookings and accommodation, preparing welcome packs to making up beds on arrivals day; I’ve done it all! I love the variety on offer whilst working in this unique environment.

Alongside my various summer roles I worked as a houseparent at an independent boarding school for 5 years. During this time I saw the enviable benefits children and young people gained by residing in a boarding environment. I love the sense of community that can be built within this kind of education. By offering children and young people the opportunity to take part in a residential summer course we are providing them with a chance to be independent often for the first time. This form of structured yet nurturing independence assists the building of resilience and self-assurance. By providing safe and caring boarding environments for the students who enrol in our courses we in turn provide them with space to thrive."

Teacher in Bath (Downside) and Italy

"I will never forget the first summer I worked for Kings Young Learners.
I'd been teaching English in the Middle East and was looking for a change when I was offered a teaching position in Bath Downside Centre in the summer of 2019.

I was thrilled to have got the job. But the best part was yet to come.
I enjoyed every aspect of that job, especially the long-lasting friendships with staff members meticulously selected and the brilliance of the multi-national children with talents that would make you want to cry.

When you watch the children cry hard when their friends leave, you know that you've done a good job, helping these kids broaden their worlds.
After that summer, I came back again and again, and "I'll be back".

Teacher in Cheltenham and Activities Manager in Central London

"I was working as an English teacher in Barcelona in 2019 and needed an income over the summer holidays. Luckily Kings popped up as an option and I was lucky enough to be offered a teaching position in Cheltenham and South Bank. I had such an incredible experience that I decided to come back in 2022. This time I was coming all the way from South Africa, but I knew it would be well worth the travel! I worked as an Activities Manager in South Bank and as expected, I had a great time!

Working with students from all over the world is such an amazing way to learn about and interact with new cultures. The kids are always very engaging with staff. When you're on a camp with them you become the person that they confide in and come to. It’s an amazing experience to be that person for them. We got to plan so many fun excursions and activities for them, which they loved. Going with them and seeing them enjoy every minute of it is such a heartwarming experience and something I cherish.

Working with Kings has always been a pleasure! After doing another summer camp previously, I couldn’t believe how well Kings was run. So much support is given by the Kings team and your concerns and questions are always answered almost immediately. Kings has become like family to me."

Office Administrator in Bath (Downside)

"I first worked for Kings as an Activity Leader in 2017. It was a last-minute decision, as I get a long summer holiday with my normal job. As always, that first week was an endurance test - everyone is thrown into the deep end! But that's what creates strong teams and co-operative working relationships.

Since then I've done three more summers as a centre admin, and it's that sense of togetherness that I appreciate the most. It seems a little cheesy to say this again, but with Kings, the team is everything. And however long the day, when you walk around the school and see the smiling, excited faces - that's what makes it worth the effort, and that's what keeps me coming back. "

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The Kings Admissions Team