The Leading Expert In
Relationship-Based Learning and Wellbeing
for International Schools

Sea Change Mentoring offers our clients a suite of services designed to meet the needs of international schools and organizations who serve international and multicultural school-aged children, university students, and recent graduates. Whether our clients are running mentoring programs, improving advisory programs, or are just getting started in building relationship-based learning into their students’ capstone or IB CAS projects, this suite of services provides them with the opportunity to evaluate their practice and strengthen their work.

The key areas where mentoring and developmental
relationships are effective in schools are:

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Relationship skills and social awareness are core SEL competencies

Advisory Programs

Developmental relationships are at the heart of all successful advisory programs.


Support and supplemental programming designed to support the social-emotional health of students and faculty.

Transitions Support

Through peer and near-peer mentoring, support for newcomers, stayers and leavers in schools impacted by mobility.

Our Services


How are you really doing? As objective evaluators, we usetried-and-tested tools to evaluate schools’ existing relationship-based learning programs by conducting document reviews, classroom observation, focus groups, and individual interviews. After a thorough analysis, we offer practical solutions for improvement.

Professional Learning

Toss those out-of-the-box products in the garbage. Weoffer tailor-made professional development by providing collection and analysis of pre/post-survey data, flexible programming, individual consultation, and follow-up staff counseling. Our professional development focuses on supporting the well-being of highly mobile students and nurturing relationships that support social-emotional skills.


Clients can choose from a range of services. Here is the typical process of working with Sea Change Mentoring but we tailor the process and options according to each client’s needs.

“We believe in the power of networking and, along with the critical friendship that Ellen brings in both her own experience growing up international and her connection to this work, we also see Sea Change Mentoring as a way of engaging us with the contemporary work being done in schools around the world. Ellen has provided thought leadership for us in areas we were struggling with and in areas we didn’t even know we needed to pay attention to, which has been valued. I would probably sum up working with Sea Change Mentoring in three words – coaching, provoking and validating. “

-– Paul O’Neill
Director of Learning Innovation, American School in Japan

Our Mission

SCM designs and manages mentoring programs for young people growing up in international communities who are impacted by mobility. Using the powerful combination of one to one mentoring and our web based curriculum, we remove our protégés road blocks and tap into their full potential as global citizens.

What We Believe


Teaching young people how to have healthy and successful relationships with adults and peers, and giving them the opportunity to do so in a safe and supportive environment, not only improves their immediate learning and well-being, but also helps them lead a life of satisfaction.

Empathy in the Modern World

As the world is increasingly interconnected, as technology continues to grow at such a rapid pace and as we enter the era of artificial intelligence, a person’s ability to empathize and connect with others and to create value for others is more important than ever.

A Culture of Mentoring

In order to achieve this, schools must adopt a culture of mentoring. To do this, administrators need to focus on effective developmental relationships between not only staff and students, but also between students and their peers, in all aspects of the school experience, including: hiring practices, staff and student training, budgeting and scheduling.

Student-Centered Learning

We believe in the value of student-centered learning in schools. We believe that, as information becomes more readily available, the role of teachers must shift away from subject matter experts. We believe that the role of teachers in the 21st century is that of facilitation and modeling, with an emphasis on getting to know students and scaffolding their learning experience.

Compassionate, Ethical Global Community

When young people have meaningful connections with adults who model compassionate and ethical global citizenship, they are more likely to become compassionate and ethical global citizens themselves.

The Impact of Mobility

We believe that special attention must be made for young people impacted by mobility and/or adverse experiences, as so many of their relationships are disrupted throughout their development.

Cultural Understanding and Respect

We believe that special attention must be made to cultural differences and for those students who must navigate more than one culture on a daily basis and throughout their youth.

“I know firsthand that you need people who can mentor you, who can see things in you that you don’t often see yourself.”

-– Sir Ken Robinson

Meaningful Impact

of our clients would recommend our professional development on mentoring in schools
International School alumni that did not have mentors reported having DIFFICULTY RELATING TO PEERS after graduating from high school, according to an SCM survey in 2012
Sea Change Mentoring Protégés would recommend the program to others

“Sea Change Mentoring offers a unique approach to helping third culture kids (TCKs) thrive as they grow up among many different cultural worlds…Sea Change Mentoring is helping globally mobile youth learn good strategies for living with strength and success despite the many changes whirling about in our ever-changing world. It is truly a ground-breaking concept and one whose time has come.”

-– Ruth E. Van Reken, co-author of Third Culture Kids: Growing up Among Worlds

The IMF’s Family Association, in collaboration with World Bank hired Sea Change Mentoring to conduct a series of educational seminars designed to teach the teenage children of employees the importance of mentors in one’s life, how to find mentors and why this is important for internationally mobile people like themselves.

Who we are

The SCM team not only brings expertise and passion to our work, but we also bring sincere empathy for students and teachers. Each of us comes to this work as international school alumni and experienced educators first and foremost.

Ellen Mahoney

CEO & Founder

Ellen Mahoney, M.Ed., is an alumna of international schools and has worked in education and youth development as a teacher, counselor, and director since 1997. Her primary expertise is in youth mentoring and third culture kid development. She works through a transitions-informed lens and is an active advocate for comprehensive child-safeguarding. In 2018, she was selected to be a ​Council of International Schools (CIS) Affiliated Consultant.

Ellen was awarded a New York City Council Citation for her work during her time as the Director of Program Quality at iMentor where she​ Increased the quality and quantity of support provided to 4800 participants and 16 school administrations by building and administering assessments, developing evidence-based strategies and creating internal efficiencies.​ She is certified in mentoring program supervision by Fordham University’s School of Social Work and Big Brothers Big Sisters and has been repeatedly invited to the Summer Institute of Youth Mentoring at Portland State University, a highly selective program that unites the world’s best youth mentoring researchers with practitioners. She is a David Pollock Scholar and an Echoing Green Semifinalist.

She has served on the board of Families in Global Transitions (FIGT) and was a co-founding board member of Safe Passage Across Networks (SPAN), which facilitates the establishment of programs that address the challenges of mobility across networks of schools. She currently serves on the board of I Am A Triangle. Ellen’s work has been featured in publications like The Chronicle for Evidence-Based Mentoring; ECIS’s Global Insights, Ruth Van Reken and David Pollock’s ​Third Culture Kids, Growing up Among Worlds, 3rd Edition​; and Jo Parfitt and Terry Anne Wilson’s ​Monday Morning Emails.

Ellen resides in San Francisco, California.

Josh Stager

Senior Program Advisor

“Thank you so very much for the Sea Change Mentoring training. We have returned full of inspiration. Thank you for your extra support in helping us create a Theory of Change – a strategy we are enjoying implementing – as well as guiding us towards specific texts to read regarding transitions and third culture kids. The content of this training was highly valuable.”

-– Green School of Bali Staff

Speaking & Events

Beyond our individual work with schools, we conduct engaging, interactive keynotes, trainings, and workshops at education conferences and other professional events.

  • Relationship-based learning:
    International Schools’ use of mentoring to deepen student learning
  • Designing advisory programs to be the heart of Social Emotional Learning at your international school
  • Supporting students, teachers, and parents through transitions
  • On the Go:
    How students learn to adapt, thrive and be well in an age of global hyper-mobility
  • Managing group dynamics in advisory and mentoring programs
  • It Starts With Us:
    Developing Social-Emotional competencies in faculty and leadership
  • Healthy student-teacher relationships
  • Choosing the Path Forward:
    Adapting your school to meet the social emotional learning needs of your students
  • Surveying the Landscape:
    Common Practices, Challenges, and Opportunities in International School Transition Support

We have been invited to speak at: Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (NESA), East Asia Regional Council of International Schools (EARCOS), Council of International Schools (CIS), International Association for College Admission Counseling (International ACAC), Lewis and Clark College, Clark University, UC Berkeley, Families in Global Transition (FIGT), Southeast Asia School Counselor’s Network (SEASCN), International School Counseling Association (ISCA), Educational Collaborative for International Schools (ECIS), Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE), Future of Education Now (FOEN), The World Bank, Shell’s Global Outpost

The Expat LifeLine’s Moving With Kids Summit

A lecture for the World Bank Family Network in 2015

“TCKs Who Tweet: How Third Culture Kids around the world built a more diverse and inclusive TCK community online” Lecture for 2016 Families in Global Transition Conference.”


Our Clients

Sea Change Mentoring is honored to have built relationships with
highly-respected schools and organizations around the world.

  • Alliant International University
  • American International School of Bucharest
  • American Community School in Hillingdon
  • American Community School in Cobham
  • American School of Bombay
  • American School Milan
  • American School of Hague
  • American School in Japan
  • Beijing City International School
  • EF Academy – New York
  • Global Online Academy
  • International School of Beijing
  • International Diagnostics Solutions
  • The International Monetary Fund Family Association
  • International School of Amsterdam
  • International School Nido de Aguilas
  • International School of Curitiba
  • United World College, Changshu
  • Pearson
  • Read Alliance
  • Shell Global Outpost
  • Singapore American School
  • The World Bank Family Network
  • The Carnegie Foundation
  • Western Academy of Beijing

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Sign up with your email address to receive a monthly newsletter with interviews, research, and updates.