KIS International School: Meet The New Head

Paul Johnson is taking up the mantle as head of school at KIS International School in Bangkok, replacing the long-serving Sally Holloway. He comes with vast experience of running schools in Asia and the US.
KIS International School: Meet The New Head
By Carli Allan
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KIS International School in Bangkok will start the 2019-2020 academic year with a new head of school. Paul Johnson will be replacing Sally Holloway, KIS’s founding head of school, who has been at the helm for the past 21 years. 

Founded in 1998, KIS is an IB World School offering the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (IBDP). It's a city central, mid-sized school with less than 700 students, and plenty of community spirit.

Read our review of KIS International School here.

Johnson moves to KIS from the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India. He has also previously worked at international schools in Vietnam, China, Bangladesh, Morocco and the US, and has more than 20 years' experience in education leadership.

The KIS campus in Bangkok

Here's what Johnson has to say about joining KIS...

With just 680 students representing more than 50 countries, KIS is one Thailand’s smaller international schools. What were your first impressions of KIS?

Positive energy, friendliness, warmth – these are the immediate impressions I had of KIS. I spent time in all areas of the school and met a number of students, parents, and school staff. That first day sent me away with a good feeling about KIS in which I thought, “Oh wow! This school has really got their act together!”.

When I met with the student council members, one elementary student exclaimed, “I love being here as much as my own home!” Parents I met with clearly loved the school. Teachers were engaging and students were learning. I felt like everyone is really working towards a common goal and that the school is student-centered. It is pretty easy to tell when schools are not focused on students and their experiences and, in my view, KIS delivered.

Located in the heart of Bangkok, KIS has a neighbourhood feel that lacks in many city centre schools. How do you feel the school matches your personality?

My calm and reflective approach and style is a match for KIS. Additionally, my sense of humour and my ability to empathise should fit well in the close-knit, family-friendly community here. The personal traits I mention have worked well for me in various schools in Morocco, Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, and India. Working in all of these schools has emboldened me to keep a strong commitment to internationalism alongside strong respect for the host culture.

Diversity brings out the best in everyone. Additionally, there is a part of my personality that drives me to achieve and this desire for continuous improvement is aligned with schools that have chosen a rigorous and holistic curriculum. This matches with what I see in KIS.

KIS is one of only a few schools in Thailand to offer the complete IB programme. What do you look forward to about joining KIS?

Being the head of school allows me to take KIS to a future where it is not only well respected within Thailand but also within the top international schools in the region. My experience in a variety of respected international schools and with the organisations that support schools like ours is extensive and wide-reaching, and my commitment is to lead KIS in its journey of self-reflection and continuous improvement.

It was evident to me that KIS is a school on the move and I am excited to be part of that and to lead efforts to make the experience for students, teachers, and families a great one. All of my previous schools have had a strong relationship with the IBO and so there is a comfort between the aims of KIS and the curriculum the school has chosen. I’m drawn to being part of a full IB continuum school.

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