We had the chance recently to find out more about our Principals by getting up-close-and-personal. Why are they passionate about teaching and leadership? What is an ideal school for them? What are their plans for CIS? We asked, they answered…
|Question 1:||Tell us a little bit about yourself.|
I didn’t grow up with great privilege, nor did I grow up wanting for anything. I grew up in a middle class home in New Zealand, in a family of six, with great love and laughter and a clear set of family values. I was fortunate to have parents from mixed cultural backgrounds, which provided an opportunity to travel, live with, and learn about different cultural perspectives for as long as I can recall.
I’m a curious person who values all ways of knowing and understanding the world. Education is therefore more than a career to me.
|Question 2:||Tell us about your career so far.|
I’ve appreciated the good fortune of being Head of School, Headmaster or Principal for the past 15 years, which has provided the opportunity to work with, or lead preeminent educational institutions. I’ve been privileged to work with exceptional students and colleagues in state, private and international school settings across Asia Pacific and Canada.
My career in education has been a rewarding one. I’ve had the opportunity to work in a variety of situations alongside the most extraordinary people. I’ve formally taught learners from 2 to 92 years of age ranging from very privileged backgrounds to the poorest of the poor.
During my career, I’ve been afforded opportunities to design workshops and educate students, train teachers and parents, influence trainers of teachers, partner with NGOs, train and work alongside Ministries and government officials globally. I’ve been involved in curriculum design, review and evaluation. I am an active IB workshop leader and site visitor who wholeheartedly believes in the strength of the IB programme.
In the last 12 years I’ve worked in New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Canada, Korea and am very happy to be in Singapore at CIS.
|Question 3:||What made you become an educator?|
Mark Twain tells us “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” I was 18 when I found out why, that teaching was to be my vocation. Hopefully, we are all fortunate enough to have at least one inspirational teacher in our educational journey, that one person who believes in you, motivates you and challenges you. In my schooling it was Mr. Halladay, a teacher who encouraged me to be the best I could be and to want to encourage others to do the same. It was his influence in my life that inspired me to teach and for that I am eternally thankful. To me there is no better vocation.
I was encouraged by two inspirational educators to consider education as a possible career path. I chose to become an educator because I believed – and still do – in the power of a well educated mind and heart. I stayed in education because I saw results. I saw evidence of schools improving, lives changing for the best and communities flourishing together.
|Question 4:||What do you think an educator needs to do to inspire students to excel?|
One of my favorite quotes from Aristotle is “education of the mind without education of the heart is no education at all”. I think it clearly points to aspects of what I believe educators need to inspire students. Educators need to demonstrate care, they need to teach values and be able to impart a love of learning.
This is one of the reasons I value the International Baccalaureate, it contains an excellent set of values in the ‘learner profile’. These values, if fostered, help us shape the sort of community members we should all aspire to be.
First and foremost an inspiring educator leads by example. I think this is followed closely by knowing and understanding the individual students in their care and being competent in their craft. Students excel when they are in a trusted relationship with their teachers and receive experiences tailored to their specific interests and needs. An inspiring, competent educator understands and fosters this – inspiring students to excel is one of the best parts of an educator’s job description.
|Question 5:||What makes a successful school? / What does a successful school look like?|
Many would tell you it is a clear mission, an inspirational leader, the fostering of excellence, the creation of a safe environment, the provision of opportunities, monitoring of progress….
While all of these aspects are valuable, I’d suggest the key is relationships. It takes students, teachers and parents working in partnership, with a shared focus on ensuring student success, to create a successful school.
A successful school doesn’t seek to copy but leads the way. School’s management team plays an important role in leading the way. The leaders in school should ensure that teaching staff is valued and provided with the resources and capacity to fulfil responsibilities to each student and member of its community. The school needs to be in sync with the latest research and developments in education.
Success depends on a school that is focussed on keeping the student at the center of all. There is always a proud community behind a successful school. Educators of competence and character work together with students and parents towards a common vision and mission. Students are equally enthusiastic, eager and hungry to be at school.
|Question 6:||What are your plans as principal at CIS?|
I possess an unwavering confidence that our students, parents and faculty, working together, will ensure an unparalleled educational experience. Our collective efforts will best prepare those that walk our hallways for exceptional lives both at and beyond CIS.
I am working together with the leadership team, teachers, students and parents in restructuring the school to encourage an environment that promotes full participation and inspires individuals to reach their full potential.
I plan to inspire our students to become the authors of new knowledge, the creators of new ways of thinking, the solvers of real life problems, who take their place in shaping the world.
|Question 7:||What do you love about your job?|
I’ve witnessed many students surpassing their own expectations and developing a genuine love of life and learning.
There are not many occupations where you can provide experiences that will make a difference to another for a lifetime. I have that opportunity each day.
I do love making things significant for our people. People particularly our students are the most valuable resource of our school.