We received our license just over three weeks ago and are now feverishly trying to tie up loose ends with registering with the tax department. Though we will have no income we must file our expenses each and every month, file quarterly with the department of interior and so on. While these operational processes are being tidied up we are anxiously preparing to host our first university students to take part in co-teaching and demonstrating anchor experiences, leading to the exploration of personal writing.

On June 30th, 15 students and two professors will be arriving from The Education University of Hong Kong. This has been months in planning and all is about to come to fruition. In preparation, we have held two Anchor Experience and Writing Workshops for all the teachers from Prek Toal and 12 teachers and two directors from Wat Chak school here in Siem Reap. In addition, we have hosted a video conference with the student from Hong Kong to introduce the Angkor Experience and to assign pre-work prior to arrival. This is a tremendous undertaking and could not have been done without these three individuals:

Dr. Jennifer McMahon: Dr. McMahon is the Director of Professional Teacher Training and Workshops for the Butterfly Pea Foundation. Dr. Jennifer McMahon is a school district administrator from the USA. She is an education consultant working with major publishing and media companies around the world. She earned National Board Certification and has presented internationally on the topics of play by design, deepening literacy through anchor experiences, and social-emotional learning.

Dr. McMahon has a Bachelors in History from the University of Rochester, Masters in Elementary Education and Reading from Alfred University, CAS (second Masters) in School Leadership from SUNY Brockport, Doctorate in K-12 School Leadership from University of Rochester. Also: Paralegal Certification from Denver Paralegal Institute.

NYS Certifications: School District Leader, School Building Leader, Reading, Elementary Education, 7-12 Social Studies. National Board Certified in Literacy.


  • In These Shoes Toxic Stress Simulation
  • Educator guides for picture books and middle-grade novels (Hachette)
  • Educator guides for picture books and middle-grade novels (Abrams)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! as Anchor Experience (Konami Entertainment)

Dr. Maria Manzon is Assistant Professor of the Department of International Education at The Education University of Hong Kong. She specializes in comparative education. She also teaches values education, philosophy of education, development in international contexts, and ethical issues in international development. Previously, she worked at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore as a research scientist focusing on parental involvement in education. She also taught common core courses on poverty, development and the next generation at The University of Hong Kong. She engages her students in meaningful volunteering activities in Hong Kong and overseas.

Emily Mang is Project Officer at the Department of International Education at The Education University of Hong Kong. She holds a Master of Education in Comparative Education from the University of Hong Kong. Previously, she was Secretary of the Comparative Education Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong. She has served as assistant project team leader in EdUHK’s study tours to South Africa, Nepal, among others.

We can not thank these three individuals enough for their dedication and willingness to assist us as we look to further the professional development of teachers.

The visiting students have created anchor experiences that they will share with students in Prek Toal and at the Wat Chak school, the Khmer teacher will then introduce a writing lesson based on the anchor experience introduced. The students will also be conducting some observational research which will assist us in developing further workshops and professional training. We are excited about this opportunity and are looking forward to sharing our findings over the next couple of weeks. Later this summer we will be conducting a train the trainer workshop as well as conducting our second writing workshop, scheduled for late September.

Shortly, we will have more information regarding the costs of renovating the unfinished primary school. We are currently receiving costs for replacing the roof and floor of the current structure. Part of the project will also focus on the installation of bathrooms for the primary schools and we are exploring sustainable options, preferring to install bathrooms where the waste could be converted to electricity for the school. There will be much more to come as we gather more information.

We have submitted our first grant application to assist with the capital expenditures of the renovation of the school and currently waiting for a response.

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These are all very exciting times for the foundation and we thank you for reading and being part of our mission here in Cambodia.