GESS: All Change At The Top

GESS’ new principal, Christof Martin, talks to WhichSchoolAdvisor about his plans to increase the school’s focus on science and engineering to produce the ‘students of tomorrow’s world’.
GESS: All Change At The Top
By Carli Allan
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There’s a new principal at GESS, a multilingual, not-for-profit international school that offers a choice of the German curriculum or IB programme under one roof. Christof Martin has more than 18 years’ experience as a principal of various German schools, and he was formerly principal of the Friedrich-Schiller-Gymnasium in Marbach.

As Martin settles into his first term at GESS, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com learns more about his plans to build on the school’s European connections, develop the existing engineering programmes, and introduce a new mentoring scheme.

Read our review of GESS here.

GESS
GESS has a new purpose-built campus in Dairy Farm Lane

What do you plan to focus on during your first year as principal at GESS?

As an educator with over 20 years of experience, as a teacher, principal, and pedagogical concept developer, and with a background in running different public schools and private schools around the world, I bring with me many perspectives on school systems and leadership.

I wish to strengthen the school’s pedagogical aspect further and also build on the school’s unique European connection to further import science and engineering expertise from Europe to GESS so that we can produce more students who are ready for tomorrow’s world and have the knowledge that prepares them for the future of work. And in that sense, I am happy that I have experience introducing an entire engineering programme in my previous school and can do likewise at GESS.

Additionally, I also want to create a balance between providing adequate learning support for students with extra education needs and creating ample opportunities for gifted students with high potential so that we can nurture our students across a spectrum and really guide them towards attaining their best personal outcome. I look forward to introducing more initiatives such as mentoring programmes for such students.

Why have you decided to move from Germany to Singapore, and what attracted you to GESS?

GESS has established itself as the flagship school of the many other schools of German origins in the region. And it is also a big enough school where there are always new possibilities to cultivate for students and teachers, and that excites me.

What I also really like is that GESS always tries to innovate and advance with a focus on digitalisation. The dynamism of the school is great and at any given point in time, the school is advancing many different ideas, designing new programmes and thinking of ways to become even better for the students and the families. This sort of motivation is what has brought the school to where it is now and will continue to drive it forward.

And of course, I have to mention I really like the warm value-based European character of the school with its great traditions in philosophy, theology, science and other academic disciplines that are so important to the development of our society.

And what do you feel makes GESS stand out from other international schools in Singapore?

GESS has some very unique study offerings. For example, the world’s first ever Junior Engineer Academy programme outside of Europe, Dutch and Danish Mother Tongue Language programmes, and the ‘Deutsches Sprachdiplom’ (i.e. German Language Certificate that allows international students to study in German universities without having to go through any further language testing). As you can imagine, these open many doors for our students when it comes to further studies and their future.

On top of that, in line with our values of openness, inclusiveness and respect, and our mission and vision, we continue to maintain ourselves as a non-selective school and always aim to give as many students as possible a chance to have a good education and reach their personal best potential. It is not about competition but about really helping each individual see what they can achieve.

And also, we have a strong European character and origins and that really brings with it its perks and now we have a school of over 65 nationalities because more and more people from all cultures and countries are seeking out the value of our European connections and we are so happy to have such a diverse family.

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