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Talking Heads: Stephen Dare

Hong Kong Academy

HOS_head_shot

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 Stephen Dare, the Head of Hong Kong Academy.

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    1.Do you have a nickname? I guess it depends who you ask!

    2.Where were you born and where did you grow up? That’s easy because they are the same. I was born in Watford, England and spent the first 19 years of my life in the same house. Watford was always known as a printing town for newspapers. Some people know Watford best because Elton John was the Chair of the local football team for many years when they first made their name. And if you’re at the service station, 70 miles north of Watford on the M1, you’ve reached Watford Gap.

    3.Where do you live in Hong Kong and why do you love it there? I live in Sai Kung, primarily because it’s close to the school. When we moved to Hong Kong, we knew that the school would be moving to the fishing village of Sai Kung, and we were looking forward to living in the New Territories from the beginning. I’ve never had a job that required more than a 15 minute commute to work. And due to the nature of my job, I like to live close to the school. I also just don’t like commuting! Sai Kung offers great access to the country park and proximity to the ocean. I’ve always wanted to live somewhere with a sea view and in Hong Kong, I’ve always had that.

    4.What’s in your lunch box? I don’t bring a lunch box, because our school provides a great food service. I enjoy the lunches we serve, and eating lunch in the cafeteria allows me a moment in my day when I can eat with faculty and staff and learn something new about my colleagues. Today I learned how to cook a shoulder of pork. I just might try that over the holidays!

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    1.What or who inspired you to become a Head of School? I love engaging with people. I love talking with people. Life is about relationships. It’s about building rapport with people around you. Education is a perfect environment for that. In my role as Head, I know that every day I’m involved in an endeavor that is important, and I know that what the school achieves makes a difference in the lives of everyone at HKA.

    2.Describe your school in five words or less: Inclusive, visionary, caring, transformational, dynamic

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    1.What’s your favorite thing on your desk and why? How about under my desk? That would be my bass amp. Being a Head of School can be demanding job, and it’s important to have a creative outlet. I invest my time and energy in my daily routine, and I am also careful to maintain a balance in my life. Playing bass guitar gives me hours of fun and helps clear my head. I’m nowhere near as talented as the students, but they still let me join in on occasion.

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    1.What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children’s education? Be great listeners. Empower children to make decisions and exercise their voice in a way that allows them to follow their passions and evolve into caring, engaged human beings.

    2.Any tips for parents when applying for schools? If at all possible, visit a school in person and get a feel for its culture. If you can envision your child thriving in that environment, being excited about that community, and seeing yourself as an active member of the community, then it’s the right school for you. Read the school’s Mission Statement carefully, decide if it resonates with you and check on whether it’s alive on campus.

    3.What's the best advice a teacher or headmistress ever gave you? Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, and do what makes you happy. When we’re thoughtful about our identities, we land in the right place. Fortunately I followed that advice, because I love my job!

  • Hong Kong Academy

    33 Wai Man Road, Sai Kung, New Territories, Hong Kong.

    +852 26551111

    www.hkacademy.edu.hk

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