KIS International School in Bangkok is looking forward to welcoming their new Head of School, Paul Johnson, for the start of the 2019-2020 academic year.
Paul’s appointment results from a rigorous international search, headed by the Council of International Schools Leadership Searches, who carefully evaluated the qualities of the candidates against the needs of the school. School stakeholders, from board members to staff, parents and students, were also involved in his recruitment process.
Paul’s passion for nurturing a safe and vibrant learning environment, combined with his experience and his personality makes him well suited to the international culture at KIS, which combines a strong sense of community with high academic standards.
Paul will be coming in from the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India. He has also previously worked at international schools in Vietnam, China, Bangladesh, Morocco and the USA and has over 20 years of experience in education leadership.
Paul will be replacing Sally Holloway, KIS’s founding Head of School, who has served in her position for 21 years. Sally will be taking on a position as Deputy Director General of the International Baccalaureate.
KIS interviewed Paul during his recent visit to the school.
1. What were your first impressions of KIS?
Positive energy, friendliness, warmth – these are the immediate impressions I had of KIS. I spent time in all areas of the school and met a number of students, parents, and school staff. That first day sent me away with a good feeling about KIS in which I thought, “Oh wow! This school has really got their act together!”. I can’t say I was completely surprised after having had some sense of that already but it was comforting confirmation that the community was strong and that students and faculty were happy. When I met with the student council members, one elementary student exclaimed, “I love being here as much as my own home!” Parents I met with clearly loved the school. Teachers were engaging and students were learning. I felt like everyone is really working towards a common goal and that the school is student-centered. It is pretty easy to tell when schools are not focused on students and their experiences and, in my view, KIS delivered.
2. How do you feel the school matches your personality?
My sense is that my calm and reflective approach and style is a match for KIS. Additionally, my sense of humor and my ability to empathize should fit well in the close-knit, family-friendly community here. The personal traits I mention have worked well for me in various schools in Morocco, Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, and India. Working in all of these schools has emboldened me to keep a strong commitment to internationalism alongside strong respect for the host culture. Diversity brings out the best in everyone. Additionally, there is a part of my personality that drives me to achieve and this desire for continuous improvement is aligned with schools that have chosen a rigorous and holistic curriculum. This matches with what I see in KIS.
3. What do you look forward to about joining KIS?
Being the Head of School allows me to take KIS to a future where it is not only well respected within Thailand but also within the top international schools in the region. My experience in a variety of respected international schools and with the organizations that support schools like ours is extensive and wide-reaching and my commitment is to lead KIS in its journey of self-reflection and continuous improvement. I’m impressed with what KIS has to offer and all schools have the responsibility to continue their growth. This is an exciting process and I look forward to my leadership and partnership in it. It was evident to me that KIS is a school on the move and I am excited to be part of that and to lead efforts to make the experience for students, teachers, and families a great one. All of my previous schools have had a strong relationship with the IBO and so there is a comfort between the aims of KIS and the curriculum the school has chosen. I’m drawn to being part of a full IB continuum school.