We continue the Little Steps Talking Heads series, where parents can meet, greet, and get tips from Singapore and 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 Julia Alden, Elementary School Principal at ISS International School.
1. Do you have a nickname? Actually I don’t! I still believe it’s a sign of respect, and am called Ms. Alden by the kids!
2. Where were you born and where did you grow up? Illinois in the U.S. Midwest. Cornfileds everywhere…
3. Where do you live in the city and why do you love it there? Off River Valley, close to the Singapore River and I love it because it’s close to school and a great place to live.
4. What's in your lunchbox? Everyday it’s different – but I always choose healthy food! Today it is leftover risotto.
1. What or who inspired you to become a headmaster? A college professor at Wheelock College in the U.S. He said that educators can make a difference at all levels – he was an extremely inspirational man and taught school leadership.
2. Describe your school in 5 words or less! Nurturing, engaging, diverse, dynamic and empowering.
1. What's your favorite thing on your desk and why? I have a semi precious purple agate mineral stone given to me by a student for good luck, and it also stands for inner composure! I also have some stuffed animals that stay here, and students sometimes need those too. Actually, I do too at times. My office also has a special board with lovely notes from students pinned on it.
2. What are your favorite children's books? I love the Dr. Seuss books and still choose those to read to children.
1. What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children’s education? Form a close relationship with your child’s teacher and talk to your children and give them your time.
2. What's the best advice a teacher or headmistress ever gave you? Try your best, be yourself. If you follow your dreams, some will come true….
3. Any personal experience you would like to share with us? I have sponsored Surya, who is now a senior at ISS for 13 years. Surya is from Nepal and it has been wonderful to see him grow and learn. He has flourished here at ISS and that is what makes this school special – children can flourish here and tap into their true potential.