Richard Boerner, Superintendent -


At the start of every school year, our faculty and staff gather to grow professionally. On July 30, a week before classes began, all 301 Graded employees joined together to build culture, deepen understanding, and collectively embrace our shared purpose.

Utilizing the format of the famous TV show ”The Amazing Race,” we opened our first all-employee workday with a series of events focused on building community.  Adding to our theme of One School...One Community...One Graded, we focused on the power of the collective. We created teams which mixed employees from all areas of the school including maintenance, security, finance, local teachers, human resources, and foreign teachers. The teams competed in activities which mimicked the activities regularly conducted by our staff and faculty each day.  These playful activities had a much deeper meaning, of course, as they highlighted and demonstrated the importance of every member of the Graded staff. Even more central to our goal was to show that everyone shone at one time or another and displayed leadership skills, from school administrators and faculty to kitchen staff and maintenance personnel.

Building a meaningful school culture takes time - time to understand one another and time to know each other as people. Most importantly, building real and meaningful culture means contributing to and caring about the success of students, and this not only by educators but also by those who play a support role at the school.
Graded values all of its faculty and staff and, as such, unites each academic year to focus on a single purpose: the success of our students.

Staff members have reported that Graded's Amazing Race was the most positive and connected opening they have ever experienced. I believe the day set the tone for interaction between employees in a way that I have not seen in my time at Graded.  Below are some pictures to give a sense of the experience.

And so we are ready for a new academic year - aligned, connected, and supportive of our students and one another. We invite you, our parent community, to join us as partners as we start the new year. Todos Juntos!

Warmly,

Richard Boerner
Superintendent





Susan Clain, Chief Advancement Officer -

By Susan Clain, Chief Advancement Officer

 

Factory-style classroom - Credit


Then and Now

Gone are the days of being shushed in the school library. As a chatty child growing up in the 1980s, I’ll admit to having been silenced more than once. “Things,” as Bob Dylan crooned “have changed.”

Educators and architects are combining forces to effectuate this change. Together, they are challenging the relevancy of the “factory-model” school and designing innovative learning spaces, which encourage teamwork and improve student engagement, pedagogy, and achievement.

Libraries, for example, are becoming adaptable, collaborative centers – conduits of learning. While mine housed microfiche and card catalogs, the modern-day school library embraces iPads and Google Scholar. Today’s library disrupts our notion of knowledge acquisition. It questions the relationship between space and learning. The modern library acknowledges that the way in which students consume and synthesize information has and will continue to change.


The Evidence

You may remember the scene in the John Hughes American teenage comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s the one where high school students slouch in uncomfortable chair-desks, as their economics teacher drones.


Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986


Scientific evidence shows that physical environment can counter the kind of boredom that Ferris’s classmates endured. Flexible, open, bright design nurtures creativity and profoundly affects student learning and outcomes.1 “Friendly” settings, those placing students at the center, are more conducive to student-teacher interaction and increase motivation.2 Versatile seating arrangements have been shown to enhance both student and faculty performance. When teachers and learners believe that their roles are valued, ambition and achievement rise. Innovative spaces allow for thoughtful, differentiated instruction, varied groupings, movement, and curricular and technological integration, all of which have been linked to improved educational outcomes.3


Flexible learning space, 2017 - Credit

 

Cognitive research also suggests that classrooms must provide stimulation. Students focus better in dynamic, engaging spaces in which furniture and displays change frequently.  “Novelty in the environment,” writes Dr. Mariale Hardiman, vice dean of academic affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Education, “can foster attention, and certain environmental factors such as lighting, sound, scent, order, and opportunity for movement can enhance the learning experiences for all learners whether in early childhood centers or on college campuses.”4


Reinventing Spaces at Graded

Earlier this month, Graded Superintendent Richard Boerner introduced bold plans to transform existing facilities into an Upper School Innovation Center, two Lower School Innovation Hubs, and an Upper School Library – measures that will fundamentally change the way in which our teachers teach and our students learn.  

Graded’s new STEM-inspired innovation spaces are being imagined, in collaboration with co-designer of the Stanford d.school (Design School) and co-author of Make Space: How to Set the Stage for Creative Collaboration Scott Witthoft, and in partnership with local architectural firm MAB3. These areas will house tools for ideation. Flexible layouts with movable equipment and furniture will enable students to customize their own learning experience.



Inspirational image for Upper School Graded Innovation Center, Credit


Inspirational image for Lower School Graded Innovation Hub, Credit

An Upper School Innovation Center will allow Graded to expand its course offerings to include engineering, computer science, and drone development.  Two Lower School Innovation Hubs will encourage tinkering and collective problem-solving. They will help guide students through their discovery of curricular areas such as light and sound, energy, and robotics and automation.

Graded’s new Upper School Library will expand Merriam-Webster’s limited definition of the library, “a place in which literary, musical, artistic, or reference materials...are kept for use but not for sale.” It will also serve as a destination for investigation, inspiration, and collaboration.


Inspirational image for Upper School Library, Credit


Witthoft, who also teaches at the Stanford d.school, calls space “the body language of an organization.” The areas that we design at Graded send clear messages to members of our community. What are our spaces saying? Are we placing students at the core, both physically and pedagogically? Do we encourage collaboration? Do we inspire?

Investing in the reinvention of Graded’s physical structures will help transform educational delivery. In accordance with Graded’s Strategic Plan, the new Innovation Center, Innovation Hubs, and Upper School Library will foster student-centered learning. They will promote discovery by trial-and-error. They will champion teamwork. Powered by faculty facilitators, these reimagined spaces will help cultivate critical thinking skills and grit.  They will prepare our students for the future, and they will empower them to discover solutions to real-life problems.

Graded needs your philanthropic support to help fund innovative learning spaces. To find out more about these transformative projects and how they will prepare Graded students for the future, please contact me at susan.clain@graded.br.  You can make a difference.


1 Sapna, Cheryan, Zigeler, Sianna A., Plaut, Victoria C., and Melzoff, Andrew N. Designing Classrooms to Maximize Student Achievement. SAGE Journals. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Sage Journals. October 1, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1177/237273221454.8677 

2 Lewinski, Peter. Effects of classrooms’ architecture on academic performance in view of telic versus paratelic motivation: a review. Frontiers in Psychology.  2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4453269/ 

3 Hattie, John. Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyzes Relating to Achievement. Routledge. 2008. 

4 Hardiman, Mariale. Brain-targeted Teaching. Accessed August 25, 2018. www.braintargetedteaching.org.

The Graded Gazette -

1. You have both a master’s degree and a PhD in Biological Anthropology from the University of Cambridge. What is Biological Anthropology and why did you choose to study it?
When I graduated from Queen’s University in Canada, I received a full scholarship for my master’s and PhD to study Mathematical Biology at Oxford University. Before I arrived at Oxford, however, my supervisor transferred to Princeton University. I decided to transfer my scholarship to the Department of Biological Anthropology at Cambridge University.

What is Biological Anthropology? It is a diverse discipline, which combines the biological and social sciences to answer questions in order to understand the biology of the human species, both past and present. When I read the master’s and PhD syllabus, which focused on genetics, evolution, human nutrition and health, epidemiology, and ecology, I immediately knew it was right discipline for me because it combined many scientific and global issues I am keenly inspired by. My research focused on the genetic factors that influence the health of families in Bangladesh.


2. How did you end up in Brazil and what did you do when you first got here?
I met my husband Mauricio at Cambridge, where he was also studying for his doctorate degree. We lived in the UK for several years, and I worked as a professor of biological anthropology and genetics at both Durham University and Cambridge. We then decided to come to Brazil because Mauricio had established a 20-year research project on the endangered woolly spider monkey. He is now a professor of Primatology at the Department of Environmental Sciences at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP).

When I first moved to Brazil, I worked for the Pan American Health Agency, which serves as the regional office for the World Health Organization (WHO). I helped establish their research database on avian influenza. Although I had exciting collaborative research opportunities at the WHO, I really missed teaching, so I decided to return to education.  


3. As a health teacher at Graded, what do you feel have been the biggest improvements to student health in the past few years?
I think it is quite exciting to see students so physically active in their Physical Health Education classes, athletics, and other after-school activities. I appreciate the diversity of nutritious meals the school serves and the fact that students have fruit available for snacks during breaks. I am extremely excited about the prospect of a new pool for the school. Swimming is one of the healthiest activities to improve fitness, for people of all ages. I think this will be one of the greatest improvements at the school in decades.

 

4. If you could establish one charitable organization, what would it be?
I worry about improving equal access to health care in the world. I also feel more global attention needs to be focused on diseases such as malaria, Ebola, dengue fever, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. If I started a charity, I would begin one that focuses on fundraising towards fundamental medical research and bringing greater awareness of the challenges we face in finding treatments, vaccinations, and potential cures for these conditions.

 

 

5. Which of the five senses do you treasure most? Why?
Sight. I am enthralled by the beauty of the natural world, whether it is seeing the colors of the leaves of trees, the highlights of light across mountain ranges, or the subtle changes of blues and greens in water. That is why I am an avid hiker. I spend much of my leisure time visiting and exploring national parks in different countries. The natural images around me inspire and keep me wondering about the complexity and evolution of our natural environment.

 

6. What kind of kids did you hang out with in high school?
I was the type of kid who hung out with everyone. I felt pretty comfortable to mix with all different groups. Sometimes I hung out with the art crowd, or the inquisitive kids, or the sports crowd. After school, I was always involved in extracurricular activities like drama club, student council, social action groups, and choirs. I had a wide variety of friends.

 

7. Are there any health suggestions you give to students that you don’t necessarily obey for yourself? What are they?
I really feel strongly that to be an effective and authentic teacher - especially as one who is teaching about concepts of health and well-being; I must reflect and embody that lifestyle. I fundamentally believe in the importance of social, emotional, and physical well-being in our lives, so I try to endeavor to “practice what I teach.’’ But I certainly understand how challenging it can be to lead a healthy lifestyle. Like many of my students, when I am working a lot or feel stressed, it can be hard to get enough sleep!

 

8. Are you more of a dog person or a cat person? Explain.
I love both cats and dogs, but if I had to choose, I would say that I am much more of a cat person. Cats are independent. They like solving puzzles and finding innovative ways to entertain themselves or wreak havoc. I love the fact that they are explorers and are overwhelming with their affection but selective when they share their feelings. I do highly relate with them! I have two cats at the moment: Fiji, whose name is based on my love of travel, and Thali. Thali is multicolored and she reminds me of a colorful, diverse plate of Indian food called a “Thali.” It is one of my favorite dishes to eat when I visit my family and friends in India.

 

10. What’s your favorite kind of candy?
I don’t eat candy at all, although I can’t resist some dark chocolate with mint or marzipan!

 

11. What is your favorite thing about Graded?
I love that there is always something going on at Graded, whether it is a sports, cultural, artistic, or community-wide event. I also love that students come from all over the world. I was born in Canada, but my mother is from Scotland and my father is from India. I have lived in the UK, Germany, and now Brazil, so I have always thrived in diverse linguistic, religious, and ethnic communities. The diversity of the Graded community makes me feel integrated into a multicultural family. It makes me feel at home.

The Graded Gazette -

1. What is your first memory of music or the moment you realized music would be something important in your life?
When I was in second grade, I bought a very cheap plastic harmonica at a toy store. I learned to play Happy Birthday by ear and I played it for my music teacher. I probably played very poorly - it was just the worst version ever - but she encouraged me to keep playing and learning. 

 

2. What class at the University of São Paulo (USP) gave you the best tools for your current position as music teacher?
During my cello classes, my professor forced us to go to all his concerts. It was hard to do every weekend, but it was an amazing experience. I probably learned 90 percent of what I know just by listening to him play. I learned with that the best way to learn music is to listen to a good player perform. It is much more important than listening to an explanation of the music. I try to do that with my students all the time. When I can, I prefer to play for them or along with them rather than explain things to them.

 

3. What sound drives you crazy?
Silence. 

 

4. When and why did you decide to become a music teacher?
I started teaching guitar to my friends in middle school when I was 12 years old. My classes weren’t expensive - only R$10 per class - that by the time I was 14, my schedule was completely full. My passion for music and teaching started at this time and at the end of high school, I chose to follow my passion and become a music teacher. I see myself as a student of the art of music much more than as a teacher. My students and I are all learning, the only difference is that we are at different levels. 


5. What is your goal for those you teach at Graded?
My main goal is to make students feel the same passion for music that I feel. If that happens, I am happy. 


6. What is your favorite style of music and how often do you listen to it?
Music is my passion and I listen to it all day long - while I am working, at home, and in my dreams. I listen to all styles of music. Of course, what I listen to changes with my mood and what I am working on with my students. I have been listening to the Beatles a lot these days since we are going to have a special concert dedicated to them in October. I am working on an arrangement of Eleanor Rigby for this concert, so that is the song that is playing inside my mind now.

 


7. If you could go back in time and have dinner with one composer or musician, who would you choose and why?
Rossini for sure. Besides being a great composer, he was famous for his good cooking. 


8. Who was your favorite teacher growing up and what did you like about him or her?
I once had a guitar teacher who spent our entire first class playing every single song that I asked him to. This impressed and motivated me so much, that one class was probably the reason I became a musician.


9. What’s the secret to a long life?
Do what you like.


10. What is your favorite thing about Graded?
I love the close contact I have with students. I especially love the opportunity to work with the same students all the way from grade 6 to grade 12 and see them grow as musicians and human beings. 


The Graded Gazette -

Each year, the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, awards just 20 fully-funded fellowships for its Independent School Leadership’s 2019 Heads of Schools Program.  We are proud to announce that this year, Graded Superintendent Richard Boerner has received this distinguished honor.

As a 2019 Klingenstein Fellow, Superintendent Boerner will join a cohort of heads of school from across the United States and eight other nations.  Fellows will gather together in January on the Columbia University campus for intensive study. They will focus on topics including instructional leadership, collaboration, ethical decision making, reflective practice, and commitment to social justice and diversity.  

“I am looking forward to working with some of the best minds in education to address problems,” says Superintendent Boerner, who, along with his peers, will be examining real case studies to find new and creative solutions. Superintendent Boerner is also enthusiastic about the opportunity he and other fellows will have to present to and coach graduate students at Teachers College, Columbia University. “As an administrator, one of my personal passions is mentoring aspiring leaders.”

Drawing upon a record of success that spans 40 years and the full resources of Teachers College and Columbia University, the Klingenstein Center stands alone in its capacity to develop leaders for independent schools.  The Center attracts and selects educators who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishment or potential for excellence and equips them with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for informed and effective practice.

The Graded Gazette -

 

Patricia Figueiró - Lower School and High School Spanish as an Additional Language Teacher
Patricia is from São Paulo, and her family is from Paraguay. Her first teaching experience was at the age of sixteen as an ELL (English Language Learner) tutor. Patricia has taught both middle and high school students. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Portuguese language, a Bachelor of Education from Universidade de São Paulo (USP), and a Master of Arts in Spanish Education from São Paulo Catholic University. When she is not at school, Patricia enjoys traveling, attending music performances, spending time with her husband and son, and dancing. She is looking forward to joining the Graded community!

 

Stephen Cook - Lower School English Language Learner Teacher
Stephen is coming to Graded from London where he worked as a middle school humanities teacher.  Internationally, he has worked at the American Embassy School in New Delhi and the Walworth Barbour American International School in Israel. Stephen was a Fulbright scholar and spent a year teaching and learning in Vietnam. He began his teaching career as a public school educator in New York City. He has earned a  Bachelor of Arts in French and history from Seattle University, a Master of Arts in history from University of California, San Diego, a Master of Science in TESOL from The City College of New York, and is currently completing a postgraduate program in digital education from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Stephen will be teaching Lower School ELL this year at Graded and is excited to work the talented colleagues in his department. The opportunity to live and work in Brazil is a childhood dream for him. Outside of school, Stephen enjoys going to the theater, cooking, and writing.




 

Richard Boerner, Superintendent -

As we near the end of our academic year, Graded is abuzz with activity. Our seniors have begun their International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations and made their college decisions. Graded’s Arts Department has showcased its fine end-of-semester work with the IB Art Exhibition, K-12 Art Exhibition, Graded Voices II Concert, Orchestra Concert, and Into the Woods play. We look forward to the upcoming Graded Film Festival and Band Concert. Our high school athletes have competed in the Big 4 Tournament, and our middle schoolers are currently participating in Little 8 Tournament.

As our strategic plan ensures, students are at the center. It is through this lens during May and June, that we watch them shine. The ability to watch students grow, develop, learn, and change is what makes being part of a school so special. I hope you will join me in celebrating all of our students’ accomplishments and hard work.

This edition of the Graded Gazette features the impressions of incoming Graded High School Principal Stuart Kent after his recent visit to campus. We profile two of our outstanding Graded faculty members, High School Portuguese Department Head and College Counselor for Brazilian Universities Adriana Silveira and Lower School Grade 4 Teacher Andrew Hossack. A beautiful pictorial spread highlights our four Lower School Grandparents and Special Friends Days. Finally, you will note that we need your help in reaching our Graded Annual Fund goal. Our aim is to have 100% parent and alumni participation — no matter the size — in this yearly initiative. The Graded Annual Fund supports excellence and enrichment both in and outside the classroom.

As we approach the last twenty days of school, know that our faculty are committed to readying every student for the coming school year and instilling in them the confidence and knowledge they have gained throughout the school year. We are so very proud of our students’ work and I, too, of our faculty.

Best regards,

Richard Boerner
Superintendent

The Graded Gazette -

1. What drew you to teaching lower school children?
When I was a kid, my teachers were such an important part of my life.

In several ways, my home life lacked stability. My teachers, in direct contrast, were always in the same place at the same time, interacting with me in the same, consistent manner. You can’t imagine the power of this kind of consistency until you have lived without it.  

I will never forget, for example, my third grade teacher, Mrs. Deming. She met me at the door each morning and always greeting me with the same smile on her face. I knew in that moment that I was shifting environments in a way that gave me the mental and emotional space to learn and thrive.

I want to create this same experience for children. For this reason, for example, I meet my own students each morning and shake each child's hand, give some hugs, and say good morning to start the day.  


2. You worked for nearly a year teaching and developing curricula in Namibia. Tell us more about that experience.
I actually did not move to Namibia intending to work with kids. In fact, after teaching for five years, I was not sure if I wanted to continue in the career. With the help of a pen pal, I decided to travel a year in southern Africa, exploring other possible life opportunities.

After about two weeks in Namibia, I met a Namibian man named Ricky who had been helping to collect supplies to provide to local shelters, or “places of safety,” where women had opened their small homes to children who had lost their mothers to HIV/AIDS. He invited me to go along one day to help deliver these supplies. I soon found myself working with these kids, teaching basic literacy and math skills. I would walk through the community, from one house to another, meeting with groups of children who were eager to experience any form of schooling. When I was blocks away the kids would already spot me approaching, and I would hear them chanting, “Andrew! School time!” as they hurriedly collected the few supplies we had to work with and sat themselves down expectantly. During that year of working with those kids - the year that I had set aside to explore other options - one thing became crystal clear.  I was meant to be a teacher.


3. What contradiction in life have you had to learn to accept?
Things do not always happen for reason. They often just happen. But if we try, we can usually make sense of them in retrospect.


4. What is something about you that most people don’t know?
One life option that I seriously considered was going to seminary, which is a school that educates people to become priests or ministers. I applied and was accepted to a seminary in New York City in my mid-twenties. I think it appealed to many of the same parts of me that make me love teaching: educating people, being in front of groups, and counseling those in need or experiencing difficult moments.

 

5. You have taught children in orphanages, children with special needs, children in charter schools, and gifted children. What one factor from all of these experiences do you use every day at Graded?
Kids, like all of us, just want to be seen and heard. When interacting with any individual student, I try to make sure they have my undivided attention. I also try to interact with each of my students individually at least once in the day so they know someone is looking out for them.

 

6. What do you think needs to happen to make the world a better place?
All people need equitable access to education, regardless of any aspect of their identity or their access to wealth. Furthermore, this education needs to be a process that intentionally builds empathy for others and creates a drive in students to be central players in creating social, economic, and environmental change.


7. What is your idea of a good time?
Favorite Day: Wake up, drink coffee, read, walk my dog, go to the market with my husband, cook lunch, and watch movies.



8. What is your motto?
Leave people better than you found them.


9. What is your favorite thing about Graded?
I sometimes wish we could put a GoPro on the head of one of our students and see their perspective through a single day. I think you would see a kid who is involved in a wide variety of learning experiences, a kid who spends their time in beautiful spaces, and a kid who interacts with many adults who care deeply for them as individuals. That is my favorite thing about Graded: the loving and enriching experience we strive to create for our students.

The Graded Gazette -

 

1. You have a post-graduate specialization in neuroscience and education. How do you use this knowledge in your daily life at Graded?
Our brains are constantly growing and changing. All our experiences - either from our interaction with the environment or with other people - have a direct influence on the plasticity of our brains. We learn from many different sources, and all of them enrich us and turn information into knowledge. We then incorporate that into our long-term memory. Becoming more aware of this was important and has helped me to consciously try out different teaching strategies. My goal is to always focus on the students and create the best possible conditions for their learning.

 

2. In addition to extensive experience teaching Portuguese language and literature, you have also taught and written articles about literature and film. How did you become interested in film? 
I have loved movies since I was a teenager. As a result, I have been a member of several film clubs, and I have also had the opportunity to teach a course on cinema and literature. As a teacher, I know that movies can be a good resource for students, especially when the movies are connected to specific themes or texts that we discuss in class.  Through film analysis, students also understand better how style and language are used to produce a specific message.

 

3. What was your first job?
I started teaching when I was 13. My Portuguese teacher invited me to be part of a community service project, and my job was to develop music activities and tell stories to young children in a school with limited resources. This experience showed me that education is the best way to truly interact with people, and that this interaction is an opportunity for constant transformation, both for the teacher and the students. 

 

4. If you were not a teacher, what job would you have? 
When I was a child, I dreamed of being an astronomer. I would still love it, but I think I have an overly romantic and unrealistic notion of what astronomers do. I really just love the stars and always want to learn more about them.

 

5. What one word sums up your high school experience? Why? 
Friendship. High school was a period during which I strengthened some very special bonds. My friends and I used to spend a lot of time together, developing cultural and social projects involving music and poetry both in and out of school. We lived in Serra Negra, a small, quiet town with a great sense of community, so felt as if we were one big family. I sometimes miss it, but the teenager that I was still lives inside me, and she is a permanent source of courage, joy, and freedom.   

 

6. What is your greatest regret? 
I will always regret not having spent more time with the people I love who have already died. Relationships are my priority, and I usually feel terrible when I am not able to devote as much of myself as I would like to the ones I love.

 

7. Where is your favorite place to take out-of-town guests visiting São Paulo?
Downtown. Every time I visit a city for the first time, I try to take a walk through its downtown because I can clearly see a city’s history and culture through its architecture, art, music, markets, restaurants, and people in their daily routines. São Paulo is no different, so downtown is where I take visitors.

 

8. You are the college counselor for Brazilian universities. What is going on in that area?
The number of students interested in attending colleges in Brazil has grown significantly in the past few years. One of the reasons for this is that some universities accept the IB diploma as a form of entry without the need of "vestibular" or ENEM exams. This started in the middle of 2016. Currently, five universities accept the IB diploma: Fundação Instituto de Administração (FIA), Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (ESPM), Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (FAAP), the business and economy schools at Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), and Instituto Brasileiro de Mercado de Capitais (IBMEC).

We are adapting the Brazilian counseling program to this new reality. Our university visits are an important part of the process. Besides the visits, students participate in different workshops and study groups held at these universities. This year, several juniors and seniors took part in projects and classes at IBMEC, ESPM, and FGV, and Insper.

 

9. What book in Portuguese do you feel all high school students should read, not for academic reasons but simply because it is fun or interesting?
I think that high school students should read more Brazilian poetry. There are a lot of great poets that I could mention, but reading Paulo Leminski’s poems is a great idea. Mostly of Leminski's texts are short and deep. They are easy to understand, but they have a profound meaning. Leminski's collection, Toda poesia, is a fantastic starting point.

 

10. What is your favorite thing about Graded?
What I like the most at Graded is my interaction with students, both as a teacher and as a Brazilian college counselor. There is a great sense of community here at Graded and, at the same time, it is much easier to work with students individually than at most schools in Brazil. This high-quality interaction is a true privilege.


Stuart Kent, Graded’s incoming High School principal -

At my first international job fair, Graded School interviewed me for an economics teaching position. I remember sharing the news after my interview with fellow international educators. Their responses were generally along the lines of “What an amazing school!” or “Graded is one of the best schools in South America.” I would not join the Graded community for another 20 years, but the reputation of Graded as an institution that pursues excellence, inclusivity, and a mission-driven approach was firmly solidified in my mind.

While a lot has occurred in my life since that interview - and I know a lot has changed at Graded in that time - there is one thing that has not: Graded’s excellent reputation within the international school community.

I was thrilled when Graded advertised the position of High School principal. After searching for leadership opportunities all over the world, I was excited to see how Graded met many of my family’s general requirements, along with some of our specific criteria. We were searching for a school with rich tradition, longevity, and a stellar reputation. I knew that if Graded offered me the position, I would be joining one of the best, most prestigious, and well-established, international schools in South America, and indeed the world. I wrote this in my application letter:

Graded is a school in which I want to lead. I would relish the opportunity to lead in a school that is distinguished by the hallmarks of a rich tradition, embraces cultural differences, and exhibits a deep commitment to producing effective, productive citizens who give back to the world. Leading and learning in a school dedicated to these ideals aligns with both my experience working at the Seoul Foreign School and my values as an educator.

I am excited and humbled to join a school that exhibits and values these characteristics. I am leaving a school that celebrated its 100th year in 2012, and I am looking forward to celebrating Graded’s centennial in 2020.

To be a leading school for almost a century speaks of a commitment to excellence, of being mission-driven, of staying relevant, and of flexibility during times of change. Graded is clearly an institution that performs on many levels. It delivers a rigorous academic curriculum, provides an array of opportunities in the fine arts and sports, gives back to its local community, and continues to develop a world-class facility.

My two visits to Graded this year have left me convinced that a further strength of Graded lies in one more important area: its people. During my visits, I was privileged to meet many Graded students, and I was impressed! Graded students have smiles on their faces, a sense of purpose, and an observable friendliness and warmth. They express themselves clearly, confidently, and passionately. The staff at Graded also inspired me. Their sense of purpose was clearly infused with a joie de vivre, creating a work environment that seemed to find that balance for which we all search for in our work environments. And, during both my visits, I enjoyed a friendly welcome from supportive parents. I look forward to getting to know them better and partnering with them in the near future. I am humbled and honored to be joining this community as a leader, an educator, and a dad.

I am excited about moving to São Paulo to join the Graded team. My wife Sheree and my children Grace, Sophie, and Jack are also eager. On the Sunday before my family departed from São Paulo, Grace wanted to visit the Graded campus one last time. She asked Sheree to take this photo and has since shared it with her friends, giving it the caption, “My New School.” This picture captures so many of the emotions everyone in our family feels: excitement, joy, and anticipation of a new adventure combined with a leap into the unknown. The Kent family is keen to arrive, to join the Graded community, and to start this new chapter of our lives!


 My New School

Av. José Galante, 425
São Paulo, SP - Brazil - 05642-000
T: 55-11-3747-4800
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