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The Long Talk With Mr. Justin Alexander

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As we all know, Mr. Alexander will be joining us next year as our new High school principal! As sad as we are to see Mr. Bradley go, we look forward to welcoming him in August. PantherNation had a chance to sit down and talk with him. 

Firstly a big thank you to Matthew and the student news page ‘Panther Nation’ for reaching out to me for a ‘getting to know you interview’ before I join ISB in August. The Alexander family is very excited about the move to Bangkok and I am looking forward to working alongside a great teaching faculty, with great students and a interacting with a supportive parent community. I have had the pleasure to make a couple of short visits to ISB (in November and March) and have already experienced the very positive ‘vibe’ at school and observe a visible commitment to a shared school spirit that I am looking forward to supporting and being part of.

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I grew up in a small country town in Victoria, Australia with lots of brothers playing a lot of sport, but made sure that I took time to study in between sports games and training sessions.  After High School I moved to Melbourne to study Science at Monash University where I completed a Bachelors degree and earned a Diploma of Education before starting my teacher career at the age of 21 teaching Mathematics and Computer Science in an independent boys school in Melbourne. I enjoyed teaching all levels of Math and coaching sporting teams during my time there but after a few years in Melbourne, Mrs. Alexander and I decided to look overseas and we moved to Shanghai American School where I taught Math and Mrs. A taught Music and then PE/Health.

I completed my Masters in Education (Curriculum and Administration) and moved into the High School Vice Principal role at SAS, which grew from 300 students to 630 students in just three years. Despite enjoying SAS a great deal, an opportunity arose for the Alexander family (now expanding) to move to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to take up the Secondary School Principal at IST (600 students, 60 teachers) for four years, which was a wonderful experience for us all. Asia then called us back and we moved to Hong Kong, where I joined Chinese International school as the Head of Secondary (730 students, 80 teachers) for the past eight years.

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I would characterize my Principal ‘style’ as being student centred, an ‘opportunity’ provider and committed.

I choose education as my career and profession as I believe that the field of education is a noble and important one. The positive impact that teachers and schools can and should have on young men and women, the leaders of tomorrow is critically important and I am proud to be part of that process. Therefore keeping students at the centre of the work that we do as educators is really important.

Providing opportunities to students, whether that is by providing the best teachers, classroom resources, real life learning experiences, access to community service, sports, activities, the arts, performance and leadership opportunities all contribute to the rich tapestry of life at school and I know that ISB already has this in spades and I hope to continue to support this in the years ahead.

Being committed is another attribute or quality that I value in education. Teaching in schools is not a 9-5 job and being involved in field trips, sporting competitions, music and arts performances takes time, belief and commitment. If you are to have a positive impact in a school, then being committed is important.

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The Alexander family has spent 8 wonderful years at CIS and in Hong Kong and we would not have left if it were not for the HS Principal position at ISB becoming available just a few months ago. We know of ISB through our involvement in sporting competitions that ISB hosts and though a number of colleagues that we have worked in other international schools and have worked at ISB (it is a small world of International school teachers and we all know each other!).

ISB’s reputation as a world class education institution, with a strong and proud history and a great sense of school pride and spirit are all key qualities that we are very much interested in. The balance and variety of educational offerings for High school students in academics, sports and the arts also drew us to ISB. Our two daughters (Imogen – going into Grade 11 and Darcy (Year 8)) are also very excited about the move to Bangkok where they can follow their interests – swimming, gymnastics, running and performing (drama etc) and still study Chinese along with their other subjects.

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I enjoy spending time with my family, which usually revolves around attending sporting events, competitions and training sessions that Mrs. A and my two girls are involved in. This includes triathlons, swimming events, running races and gymnastics events. I also play cricket (which may be a bit foreign or strange to many of the ISB students) in Hong Kong and hope to play the odd game or two in Bangkok if time permits. As a family we like to travel together and we are looking to explore Thailand in the years ahead (so please send us any suggestions you have).

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It would probably be meeting Sir Donald Bradman when he was playing cricket for Australia.

Matthew Poulin

2 Comments

2 Responses to “The Long Talk With Mr. Justin Alexander”

  1. MaryPat Weber on May 8th, 2017 6:03 am

    Cool to read about our new principal. I enjoyed reading about what he says about his leadership style and the sorts of interests he has outside of school. Nice work.

  2. Cecile Weber on May 8th, 2017 4:56 pm

    Well done Matt. Your new principal sounds like a good guy. Your questions were excellent as they allowed him to really tell you about him and his family. I think you will have a good relationship with him as he seems, like you, to be interested in sports. I’m proud that you are continuing to write for the newspaper. Grandma

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