Tell us about your background. Where are you from?
I am an Australian who calls Brisbane her hometown but I currently resides in Quito, Ecuador where I am the Director of The British School Quito.
I am an educational leader, motivational speaker, international educator and businesswoman who has nearly twenty-five years experience in education in the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, Asia and South America. In 2006 I founded my own business, Teepee Consulting, through which I have had the opportunity to facilitate positive and effective change within learning communities around the world, through the delivery or leadership and professional development and coaching programs.
I obtained my undergraduate degree in education from the University of South Australia and I hold a graduate Diploma in Management. I have been an invited speaker at a range of international and national conferences speaking on such topics as, positive, effective and ethical leadership; positive staff development, appraisal and retention programs; higher order thinking skills; creating cultures of excellence; curriculum development for 21st century learners; and capability building in education teams.
How did you get started in the international teaching community?
I got started in international education in 2001 shortly after the birth of our third daughter. The then European Council of International Schools had a position advertised for ‘model teachers’ in an international school in Romania. Having had some experience in consulting at that point, and having a partner who was also an educator and consultant, I decided to take the leap and move our family overseas.
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.
Before moving to Ecuador I have lived in Peru, Russia, Romania, Australia and the UK but I have worked with many other schools in Asia, South America and Europe as a consultant. In Russia I was the Deputy Head of the British International School Moscow where we loved the culture, history and art of the city and the country. If you love architecture and history this is a great country to visit and live in.
In Peru I was the Director of Primary and Early Years at 1200+ student school called San Silvestre. This is an amazing all girls’ school in Miraflores, a lovely superb close to the Pacific coastline. If you are looking for a professional and personally nurturing school in which to work, then look no further than San Silvestre. My time there was some of my happiest both personally and professionally. The school has an inquiry based approach to teaching and learning and offers the IB Diploma. The staff are a wonderful team and the school ethos and ‘feel’ is more like a smaller, community school.
Whilst in Peru I led the “Re-Building Childrens’ Lives” concert project designed to contribute to aiding communities, in the south of Peru, after the devastating earthquake that occurred in 2007. I helped to organise, and participated in, a range of concerts and musical events to raise funds for this, and other, important community service projects.
Now I am here in Quito, Ecuador enjoying all that Ecuador and Quito have to offer. The British School Quito is a small but growing school with an excellent reputation and a high standard of academic excellence. We offer the British National Curriculum and the IB Diploma and we are proud to be accredited by both the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. We are currently the only school in Ecuador that offers all three sciences in English at Higher Level in the IB Diploma. The school has a truly warm and collegial atmosphere with very supportive parents and an engaged learning community. I am truly enjoying my experience at BSQ.
Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
Whilst South America has its challenges it also have wonderful rewards including its wonderful array of food, superb climate, majestic landscapes and scenery, and bounteous travel and sporting opportunities. However, when we live and work outside of our own countries and cultures there are always things that make us think, huh? or put a smile on our faces. Just recently here in Quito we had to close the school for three days so that the government could move the airport from its old location to its new location! Well that put a smile on a few people’s faces….it certainly wouldn’t happen at home!
What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
When I am looking for a new school I look at the culture (the feel of a school). How long do staff stay? What do staff say about the school? What retention programs are in place? What do the children say? Are the learners happy, engaged, active learners? If I think the culture is right for me then I ask myself…Why am I right for this community of learners? What can I contribute? If I have an answer that delivers positive outcomes for the learning community then I go for it!
In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?
The international school teaching experience is – truly rewarding challenging and capability enhancing
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Want to work for an international school in Ecuador like Kerry? Currently, we have 8 international schools listed in the Ecuador on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:
• InterAmerican Academy Guayaquil (13 Comments)
• Academia Cotopaxi (American International School) (6 Comments)
• Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito (21 Comments)
• The British School Quito (24 Comments)