This is an inaugural year for Welkin in many ways. Use what metaphor you like: rebirth, transplant, rebrand – Welkin is staking its claim on Vancouver Island as an international school, one of a growing number of select schools in Canada.
Small schools have definite advantages over large schools in the same way that small farms have advantages over large ones partly because as Wendell Berry says, small farms require the utmost of intelligence and care to manage well. I look forward to seeing what unique attributes our school will develop as we apply our intelligence and care to our school.
Foundational to our new direction is that we are an international school. The simple definition of an international school is a school that takes international students. However beyond that, the major defining feature of an international school is that it prepares its students for a life of global citizenship. As a further refinement of this basic orientation, the mission and vision for the school, and guiding values were drafted over the summer. I do hope that you find these aspirations resonate with you and fit well with your own ambitions.
I started my teaching career not 10 minutes drive from Welkin College School where I taught for seven years. From there I moved to North Carolina where I acquired my Master’s degree, then to Kuwait where I worked for nine years as head of the department, and then to Korea where I was principal of an offshore school.
There too I finally completed my doctoral degree granted by Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Lehigh is widely recognized as a preeminent institution in the international school circuit. My education and training is specifically oriented to international education with a hefty dose of BC experience – both locally and abroad. The chance to lead a school such as Welkin, a BC based international school is both an honour and a natural outflow of my entire career history.
Roberto Mangabeira Unger, one of Barack Obama’s professors, once said that in order to be visionaries we must first be realists. I think many of the mistakes we make in education as well as life occur when we take one side of this equation and turn it into an enemy of the other. I do not believe that art and science are opposing forces as much as they are balancing forces, much as lift and drag operate to fly a plane. It is my objective to find the balance, and it is my belief that the more we maintain the perfect tension between these forces the higher and more proficiently we will be able to fly as learners, educators and citizens of this world.
I hope you, like me, are excited as we once again move into the unknown of a new school year, armed with our experience, training and the knowledge that whether we like it or not, life will throw adventure our way.