I currently live in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I am a retired Catholic School administrator with 44 years of teaching and administration in public, private, and charter schools. I have taught from coast to coast in the US and am now leading accreditation teams for a major International Accreditation Organization. I try to reserve special family time in my schedule to enjoy our two little princesses, Abigail and Zoe.
How did you get started in the international teaching community?
Several years ago, I was invited to be on an accreditation team for a private school in the Dominican Republic. The school and the people there captured my heart and soul. I actually cried during my flight back to the states because I had been so touched by that visit. Although I had no idea how this would happen, I knew in my heart that I was going back. About six months later, I received a call from the owners asking me to serve as the Vice President of their Board of Directors. That experience has totally changed my life.
Which international schools have you worked at? Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.
I have been affiliated only with The Ashton School of Santo Domingo by serving on their Board and providing some professional development and parent activities. Ashton is privately owned and is transitioning into a Christian School. The factor that has impacted me the most is the remarkable difference it makes when owners can make critical decisions that add to the school’s success and outreach to students, family, and the greater community. There seem to be few limitations to creative endeavors. The spirit of the Latin people is evident in the manner in which they live and think. Naturally, it is a culturally-rich experience that provides international acceptance for all entities.
Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
I must share two such encounters. First is the fact that the school’s owner was able to get an extremely successful Soccer Camp instituted for the children of Santo Domingo with a contract with the Milan Junior Camp officials. Major corporate sponsors supported the camp and it will be continued. The long range plan is for the Ashton Foundation to open a sports facility to enhance the sporting options for the children in the area as well as those at the school.
The second big smile came in the opening of two classes called the H.O.P.E. classrooms in the city. These classes are filled with 44 needy four-year-old children who will be sponsored by other individual families for all fourteen years of their education. This sponsorship includes participation in the children’s school life, attending events, filling gaps in life. Families that can give the monetary support and not the human support are paired with families that want to give the human support but cannot afford the financial commitment. The owner sought the sponsorships and built the classrooms. (Check out a video about H.O.P.E. here)
These two smiles would still be in the dream stage in the US. We miss many opportunities to turn dreams and possibilities into realities.
What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
As I am asked to help other international schools, I look for the Vision of the owners and the leadership of the school. Those are key factors for me to be able to work effectively.
In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?
Transforming Exciting Challenging Embracing Engaging
Thanks Mary Anne!
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Want to work for an international school in the Dominican Republic like Mary Anne? Currently, we have 6 international schools listed in the Dominican Republic on International School Community:
• The Ashton School of Santo Domingo (12 Comments)
• Saint George School (Dom. Rep.) (4 Comments)
• American school of Santo Domingo
• Carol Morgan School Santo Domingo
• International School of Sosua
• Putacana International School