We continue the Little Steps Talking Heads series, where parents can meet, greet, and get tips from Hong Kong’s Heads Of Schools. Get personal with these fabulous personalities and find out what makes them tick, their advice for parents navigating the schooling scene, and their favorite things about life in the city. In this edition, we say hello to Kevin Dunning, Head of School at the venerable Hong Kong International School.
1. Do you have a nickname? When I was a teacher my students often referred to me as Mr. D., at least that's the one they used when I was within earshot.
2. Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born in Chicago and grew up about 90 miles away in Rockford, Illinois.
3. Where do you live in the city and why do you love it there? I live in Repulse Bay. I like the ocean view and the green hills; my short drive to work; and the easy ways to get to Stanley or Central.
4. What's in your lunchbox? A lot of the time it's a Nutri-Grain bar.
1. What or who inspired you to become a headmaster? I have worked under and with some remarkable leaders. They helped me realize that school administration provides the opportunity to make the most impact, as you create the learning environment for teachers and students.
2. Describe your school in 5 words or less! Collaborative, resilient, creative, caring, and community.
1. What's your favorite thing on your desk and why? A plaque with a quote attributed to Ronald Reagan: "There's no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
2. What are your 3 favorite children's books? Where the Wild Things Are; The Little Engine That Could; Curious George books.
1. What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children’s education? Be present: go to parent-teacher conferences; parent organization meetings; volunteer at school; show up at games and concerts. Daily ask engaging questions about your child's experience each day at school. Model lifetime learning.
2. Any tips for parents when applying for schools? Do not assume a school is full based on rumors. Do your research about what is the best fit for you child and have a few back-up schools you would be happy with. I have heard HKIS is a really good school.
3. What's the best advice a teacher or headmistress ever gave you? No one has ever learned anything of value when it comes from a loud and angry voice.