The International Educator
STEPHEN DEXTER, a native of New England, has been a teacher and administrator since 1994. He finally discovered that the Swiss stay thin on a diet of chocolate, cheese and wine by walking a lot and not eating or drinking to excess. He is currently taking a gap year in the Swiss Alps to rediscover his passion for education and to understand what chief innovation officers really do.
KRISTEN MACCONNELL has a diverse educational background that includes teaching children with learning difficulties, school counseling, school psychology, university teaching, and school leadership. Kristen spent 8 years as an educator in the US before moving overseas to Chile in 2010. She worked at Nido de Aguilas in Santiago, Chile as a School Counselor, a Literacy Specialist, Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning in the Early Years School and finally as the PK-12 Director of Curriculum and Professional Development. Currently, Kristen serves as the Director of the Teacher Training center Programs at the PTC.
DANIEL KERR is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby.
KASSI COWLES is an IB English and TOK teacher currently based in Shanghai. She has worked in international education for the last 8 years in Canada, Togo and China. Her writing explores issues of educational reform and how to create authentic and creative learning communities.
MATTHEW GOOD & NIAMH CONWAY are international school teachers who met while working at the British School of Lome, in Togo, West Africa. They later moved to Uzbekistan, where they spent four years at Tashkent International School, each summer exploring another slice of the world by bike. Their Pedalgogy website allows users to follow the touring teachers on their two-year bike trip around the world.
BARRY DEQUANNE is currently working as the Director at the International School of Zug and Luzern (ISZL). His blog explores topics in K-12 education and school leadership within the framework of five focus areas: Academics, Activities, Arts, Leadership, and Service. The blog also explores professional articles and highlights recently read books.
EMILY MEADOWS is an alumni of international schools and has worked as a professional educator and counselor across the world, serving children and families in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. She holds master’s degrees in the fields of Counseling and Sexual Health, and is a PhD candidate researching inclusive policy and practice for LGBTQ+ students. Emily is a consultant on gender and sexual diversity and inclusion in international schools: www.emilymeadows.org
SHWETANGNA CHAKRABARTY is the IBDP Coordinator and University Counsellor at Guangzhou Nanfang International School, China. She has 15 years of experience in teaching three different curricula in four countries. She has taught mathematics and business management to the International GCSE and International Baccalaureate (IB) students. She has had multiple responsibility positions including pedagogical leader, DP, Extended Essay, MYP Personal Project, CIS/NEASC accreditation coordinator and IB Examiner. She has a degree in education and an MBA, she is also a college counsellor certified by TripleA learning, U.K.
DAVID PENBERG is an urban and international educational leader/consultant with a deep commitment to progressive education, understanding global mindedness, and new school creation. He abides by the dictum of E.E. Cummings who said: “ I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing, than teach ten thousand stars not to dance.” He is presently the Head of School of Innovate Manhattan Charter School in New York City.
PROSERPINA DHLAMINI-FISHER is the Founding CEO of Educational Aspirations Ltd, a Global Educational Consultancy. She has studied and worked in international schools and organisations (IBO and UWCI) in Eswatini, USA, France, South Africa, Switzerland, Germany, Dubai and the UK in diverse roles. She is passionate about cultural diversity, teaching and learning, inclusion as well as leadership in international education. She is an advocate for student and teacher agency and shares her thoughts and her experiences as an African female school leader and educator in the international and global educational space. She is interested in the historical development of international education and the place people of colour hold in these institutions in the 21st century.
SHANNON FEHSE Shannon Fehse has spent her entire teaching career overseas, having lived and worked in China, Mexico, Colombia, Taiwan, and presently, the UAE. As a textbook definition extrovert, she talks to anyone, and enjoys listening to stories and different perspectives on life. Shannon has a somewhat faulty filter and often says what other people are thinking, but this typically works out favorably. She offers opinions and insight into the benefits and challenges of job hunting, dating overseas, and general issues that affect international educators.
MIKE SIMPSON is the Director of Curriculum and Learning at The International School Yangon. Originally a lawyer from New Zealand, Mike has also worked in schools in Qatar, Venezuela, and Lesotho. Mike has a particular interest in the development of collaborative and innovative learning communities. He hopes that his blog might be of interest to other teachers and school leaders as they nurture these communities in their own schools.
GREGORY HEDGER Dr. Gregory Hedger has recently been appointed to be the head of the International School Yangon, in Myanmar, beginning in fall 2016. A native of Minnesota, Greg has served in education for over 25 years, including 13 years in the role of School Director at Cayman International School, Qatar Academy, and most recently as Superintendent at Escuela Campo Alegre in Venezuela. Greg promotes international education through his service on the boards of AAIE, AASSA, and his work with the International Task Force for Child Protection, his contributions to various periodicals, and his work to promote the next generation of leaders through workshops and teaching.
LINDSAY LYON is a seasoned English and Theory of Knowledge teacher currently working at JIS. She and her husband have taught abroad as a teaching team for fifteen years in Venezuela, Thailand, China, Saudi Arabia, and now Indonesia. They write about expat life with a focus on money and savings in their blog The Haggard Lyon. Here you will find some of the same, and other musings from Lindsay on life overseas with kids, teaching, technology, and staying balanced in a busy world.
NICHOLAS ALCHIN is High School Principal at the United World College of SE Asia, East Campus. A sino-celtic Brit who has lived and taught in the UK, Switzerland, Kenya, and Singapore, he has also held a number of roles with the IB and writes and speaks widely on educational matters. He enjoys traveling with wife Ellie, and kids Tom (10), Millie (13) and Ruth (16).
TONY DEPRATO Tony DePrato has a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University and has been working as a Director of Educational Technology since 2009. He has worked in the United Arab Emirates and China where he has consulted with schools in both regions on various technology topics. In 2013, Tony DePrato released The BYOD Playbook a free guide for schools looking to discuss or plan a Bring Your Own Device program. Tony is originally from the US, and worked in multimedia, website development, and freelance video production. Tony is married to Kendra Perkins, who is a librarian.
ETTIE ZILBER is a consultant to International School Communities and Families in Transition and a veteran international school educator and school leader. She has served in independent international schools in Israel, Singapore, Spain, Guatemala, China, and most recently in the USA. Her expertise extends to such topics as international school models, second/foreign language acquisition, communicating between diverse groups, the impact of international mobility and relocation on children, parents and staff, the special family experience of the educators’ children, the orientation of newcomers, multi-cultural communities, catalysts for teaching internationally, and marketing of international schools. She is the author of Third Culture Kids: The Children of International School Educators. She can be contacted at email@example.com
HELEN KELLY has taught in and led schools in Africa, Europe and Asia over the last twenty years. She has led educational technology teams in three schools. Helen is currently the Lower School Principal at Canadian International School of Hong Kong, where she leads Project Innovate, a Pre-K-12 initiative to bring future-ready learning to the school. Helen completed her Ed.D in 2017 on the emotional challenges that school leaders face in the course of their role. She leads workshops on improving the wellbeing of leaders and educators in international schools.
TRAE HOLLAND is the Director of Academia Cotopaxi’s The ONE Institute, has been a leader in both the non-profit and business sectors, and has 19 years experience teaching both in the US and in international schools, with a specialization in learning differentiation. You can reach his website at www.traeholland.com.
JOHN MIKTON currently is the Head of Education and Media Technology / Deputy Principal at the International School of Luxembourg . Previously he was the Director of eLearning at the Inter Community School Zurich, Switzerland and the Director of Information Technology at the International School of Prague, Czech Republic. John is an Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Trainer, Principal Training Center facilitator, Appsevents summit speaker and Learning 2.0 Community Coach. John blogs @ https://beyonddigital.org
FREDERIC BORDAGUIBEL-LABAYLE is the High School Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador. Fred was born and raised in the southwest of France; he finished his studies and started teaching in the UK, then went on to Istanbul and he is currently in Quito. Fred likes to pause, reflect, and share his experience as an international educator and administrator.
SUE EASTON is the Director of the Teacher Training Center. She has worked with international schools for the past eleven years, on four continents, in roles focused on enhancing teaching and learning practices. This experience has made her passionate about the topic of change and how to best make change to support students and student learning. Her blog will explore this topic through the lens of PTC, TTC and CTC trainers’ words of wisdom.
ALLISON POIROT is currently teaching IB History, Modern World History, and Psychology at Asociación Escuelas Lincoln in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She taught previously at King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan, and at public and charter schools in and around Boston, Massachusetts. She has a deep interest in progressive pedagogy and believes in fostering student autonomy and empowerment.
MEADOW DIBBLE is editor of The International Educator newspaper. Originally from Cape Cod, she lived for six years on Senegal’s Cape Verde Peninsula, where she published a cultural magazine from 1996–2000. Specializing in the literary expression of 20th-century liberation movements, she received her PhD from Brown University’s Department of French Studies and taught at Colby College from 2005–08. In 2018, Meadow launched Atlantic Black Box, a public history initiative devoted to researching and reckoning with New England’s role in the slave trade.
MATT BRADY has been creating digital ecosystems that organize, inform and inspire for two decades. He writes as a curatorial journalist- connecting related stories across disciplines often beyond “Education”- to examine and understand educational leadership in a more adaptive and predictive way. Currently, he leads and supports schools through techno-social transformations and is constructing an autodidactic launchpad for his four year old daughter.
Several years ago, PAUL MAGNUSON founded a research center at the high school level in collaboration with colleagues at Leysin American School. The center supports professional learning through a variety of programs, including year-long action research projects by faculty who receive competitive resident scholarships. In addition, the center works with schools and universities around the world, hosting 10 to 15 visiting scholars annually, and consulting and presenting at schools and other organizations.
The International Educator (TIE) is a non-profit organization committed to matching the best educators with the best international schools around the world.
Money Money Money…
So this past summer I was having dinner with some educator friends of mine, when at one point one of them said that he wished he could find a way to generate more money for his school, because in his mind that was all he needed to turn his school into one of the best educational institutions on the planet…more money, more money, more money. What ensued was a very spirited discussion about how much the role of money actually plays in turning a good school into a great one, and to tell you the truth, it was probably one of the most interesting conversations that I’ve had in a long time. We talked at length about what actually goes into creating a great school…we discussed the characteristics that separate great schools from good ones and good ones from bad…and we wondered about whether or not money was actually a driving factor behind school and student success.
I have to admit that my friend’s argument was a good one, although the rest of us weren’t completely sold. He went on about the importance of having lots and lots of money to hire and retain the best educators on the planet, he talked about needing lots of money to add the kinds of programs that will cater to the passions of ALL his students, he discussed the importance of having up to date/current and proper facilities and resources to engage and inspire teachers and students in the changing world of 21st century education, and he was adamant that in order to hire instructional coaches, and student support specialists, and enough school counselors, and all the rest he was going to need more money…and he simply didn’t have it. He wanted more money for bandwidth and technology, he wanted more money for new maker spaces, he wanted more money for better and updated facilities, he wanted more money to increase teacher salaries, he wanted more money for professional development and his list went on and on and on. We all just sat there dreaming about what it would be like if we actually had all this money to bring this perfect school to life and it was a beautiful dream…however…the real questions that remained were, is it possible to create a great school WITHOUT all those things, and does being well resourced and rich actually guarantee that you’ll be come a great school?
The conversation went deep into the night and we went back and forth for hours. We gave examples of schools out there that we know of with all the bells and whistles that were not particularly inspiring places to be, and we gave examples of schools that we know of that have very little in the way of resources that are truly amazing places for teachers and students. We talked about the intangibles of great schools that need no money at all…things like great parent -teacher- community partnerships, schools that generate a strong and influential student voice, schools that set high expectations for kids, schools that teach thought instead of content, schools with strong character education programs and strong mentoring programs, and schools who are truly living their mission by inspiring their kids to want to come to school because it’s a safe and fun and rigorous place to learn…a place that they feel loved and supported and challenged and successful…none of that needs a lot of money.
Anyway, we finally put the conversation to bed as the sun was coming up with no real resolution other than the realization that it would always be nice to have more money…but great schools don’t have to be defined by how much money they have. It’s all about having just enough money to bring your mission and vision to life, and enough to inspire your students and teachers with meaning and purpose. How much is enough? I guess that depends on you as a school and how smart and efficient you are with the money that you have as an organization. It’s a fun conversation for sure and a great debate…we could always use more money I know, and if all of a sudden I had a windfall of cash the first thing I’d do would be give it all to the educators, because they are the ones who truly turn good schools into great ones. Have a fantastic week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.
Quote of the Week…
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great – Mark Twain
Articles about the characteristics of a great school –
What Great Schools Do – John Hattie
Interesting Ted Talk – Barry Schwartz