What is your nationality and background?
I was born and raised in Perth, Scotland, but spent the last 26 years living
and working in Hong Kong, where I was the Head of School at the American International School (AIS).
What is your current role?
My role is the Founding Head of School at VERSO International School.
What are the key skills and responsibilities of this role?
I am the institutional and educational leader of the school. Guided by the
school’s founding beliefs I oversee the school’s programs and assume
responsibility for the quality of life in the school community. I am responsible for attracting, retaining and developing a highly talented pool of international and local educators who understand and believe in the school’s unique mission, vision, and purpose.
How did you get involved in your profession?
After university, I trained to be a teacher. I got my first teaching position in Hong Kong more than 25 years ago. I became a school administrator quite early in my career and before coming to Thailand, I served as Head of School at the American International School in Hong Kong for more than 15 years.
How does your role enhance the wellbeing or experience for children?
One of the most important aspects of any Head of School’s role is the wellbeing of the school community. This extends beyond just students to include faculty, staff and in some cases parents, too. It’s my responsibility to ensure we create a positive, human-centered school culture where we look after each other and always do our best to make those around us feel valued and supported. At VERSO we are bringing a holistic approach to health and wellness across our community. On a daily basis, we will empower everyone to build positive habits and behaviors around fitness, nutrition, and mental wellbeing. School is much more than just a place where a curriculum is taught. Schools serve a variety of functions that support society and shape the future. Take for example the current COVID-19 crisis which has dramatically disrupted our global education system. The forced shift to online learning is making students, teachers, and parents really appreciate the critical roles that schools play in our daily lives. At VERSO we believe in developing healthy, happy and capable students who have the confidence to lead their own journeys. So, my role as Head means I’m entrusted to do that. Every day we look for ways to nurture, shape and inspire people of all ages to become their best selves.
What challenges do you face in this role?
As a new school, we are truly excited by the unique opportunity we have to
design and build a ‘school of the future’ here in Thailand. It’s a huge and
complex project to manage, but realizing our vision is a powerful motivator. Personally I find it thrilling to be part of such a huge team of committed people who believe in VERSO’s potential to redefine and reimagine both the school experience and its outcomes. It’s a wonderful challenge.
What do you hope to achieve within your industry?
VERSO has a unique DNA. Drawing from the world of design, VERSO’s vision for the future of school puts us at the leading edge of educational innovation. We want to give students a school experience that will empower them to explore their interests, discover their talents and develop the confidence to lead their own journey. By personalizing the school experience, we are providing a compelling alternative to the constraints of traditional curriculum-driven learning. Inspired by the world of design, we will equip each student with a powerful toolkit of skills and mindsets they can use to navigate a future that is rapidly changing and highly unpredictable.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m really inspired by people and organizations who look at the world with
optimism and hope. I admire people who have an unshakeable belief in the
collective power of humanity to come together and do good things.
VERSO INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL is opening in August 2020 and aims to move beyond the ‘one size fits all’ model of traditional education to offer students a dynamic and deeply personal school experience. VERSO will ignite their passions, inspire their creativity and develop the skills and mindsets needed for the future. They will lead their own journey, develop a strong sense of personal and cultural identity, and have the knowledge to leverage their passions and make a positive impact on the world.
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