At the end of this school year (2022/2023), Peter Welch will end his time as director of The American International School of Bucharest. While his leadership will be missed, the school community is excited to welcome its new director for the 2023/2024 year and onwards, Rachel Caldwell.
Caldwell brings a wealth of experience and a passion for education developed during her years in a variety of roles at international schools. As a professional she has learned the importance of identifying the needs of a school and using a wide range of skills to meet those needs.
The Journalism 10 class (The Bite team) had the opportunity to chat with Caldwell in a class earlier this year and ask about her feelings about joining our community and who she is as a director and educator.
Caldwell shares that one of the reasons she chose AISB is because it has a similar outlook on learning and the room for growth and development as her previous school, Pechersk School International Kyiv. She also believes that AISB is a school that can benefit from the experience she gained in her time as director at PSI.
When asked about her vision for AISB and the Journalism program in particular, Caldwell stated that she is not coming with an agenda and believes in autonomy for the various programs at the school. She is especially supportive of the Journalism program and is eager to see it thrive.
Caldwell’s core values as a director include family, integrity, learning, empathy, compassion and a strong work ethic. She truly enjoys interacting with students and shares that it’s her favorite part of the job. When asked about her own high school experience, she discussed the importance of student-teacher relationships and the positive impact they can have on students and how she hopes to continue to foster these relationships at AISB.
Beliefs About Learning
When asked about the effects of online learning and how it affected students, Caldwell observed both positive and negative impacts.
She believes that some students are better suited for online learning and over the pandemic had adapted programming to allow students to work from home a few days a week to better match their learning needs. However, she also recognizes that online learning does not help engagement and is committed to finding ways to recover from pandemic learning loss such as maintaining what was beneficial about online learning, focusing on community spirit and allowing students to follow their passions.
Caldwell strongly believes that schools should empower students and the community by teaching real-world preparation, financial autonomy and pragmatic values. She values the arts and has implemented several arts initiatives in her previous school, such as community art exhibitions, working with local art centers, Shakespeare competitions, rock band competitions, student workshops with local artists and creating a song to raise awareness.
Changing School Start Time
When asked about the possibility of changing school start time, an intriguing concept for many secondary students, Caldwell was receptive to the discussion. She believes that the topic should be explored through an advisory group with direct communication and transparency.
Overall, she is very open, mentioning “it’s good to welcome new ideas, even with a big shift or change.”
With Rachel Caldwell at the helm, AISB is poised for a bright future and The Bite team is looking forward to seeing the positive impact she will have on the school and its students.
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