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