About Catarina

Catarina Song Chen is an international educator with more than 15 years of experience leading an international IB school in Brazil, an author, and a member of various global educational institutions and organizations.

She was directly responsible for implementing a long-term strategic development for the school that involved the physical expansion of the school, planning for authorization from the College Board and the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), as well as obtaining accreditation standards and protocols with US-based Cognia/AdvancED and the Brazilian National Ministry of Education. Catarina designed, implemented, and oversaw the annual International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS) grant process from the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools and worked closely with the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia regarding the use and oversight of the US State Department Security Grant.

For her role in elevating EABH to a globally recognizable IB school, she was awarded the NAESP’s National Distinguished Principal Award and obtained a Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. State Department in 2015.

Catarina has served and continues to be involved in various education-focused organizations, being the Founding Committee member of AMISA Women in Leadership, a Member of the Education Executive Committee of United World College, and a Member of the Board of Trustees of organizations such as the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE), Academy for International School Heads (AISH), School Rubric, American International Schools in the Americas (AMISA), formerly AASSA, as well as the former president of the Association of American Schools in Brazil (AASB). Catarina is a member of the Accreditation Quality Review Team for Cognia (AdvancED), a member of the Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), a member of the Principal Training Center (PTC), and a guest of the ISS Women’s Symposium. Aside for her National Distinguished Principal Award in 2015, Catarina was awarded the AMISA Award for Significant Contribution to AASSA and International Education in 2019.

In 2022, Catarina co-authored the book International Education Leadership: Stories from Across the Globe: Leadership Lessons from 13 International School Leaders– from School Rubric and contributed to the book “Meaningful Engagement of Families and Community,” from Principal’s Desk Reference, Routledge.

Catarina has a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from Pepperdine University, a Fellowship from The Klingenstein Center, Teacher’s College at Columbia University in New York, and is enrolled in the Advanced Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School in Philadelphia.

Catarina Chen is a true TCK (Third Culture Kid) as she was born in South Korea, grew up in Asunción, Paraguay, and is a citizen of the United States. Her South American journey started in 2005 when her husband, also a TCK from Taiwan, Brazil, and the US, relocated to Brazil. She is fluent in English, Portuguese, Korean, and Spanish, and currently lives in the beautiful mountains of Belo Horizonte, Brazil with her husband and two children.