When Dr. Robert Brindley came to AISB four years ago, he said he would change everything. And by the end of his tenure next school year, he will make good on his promise.

From a new early childhood building to a massive secondary school expansion, Brindley has spearheaded projects that have restructured the campus and the Board’s master plan.

“There’s a life cycle of schools,” says Brindley. “I’ve restructured it, and now we need a new person to come in and build the culture.”

That person is Peter Welch, who comes to us from the International School of Helsinki in Finland (ISH). According to Brindley, he’s the perfect person to “bring the school from growth into stasis.”

We reached out to Welch to learn more about him and what he’ll be like as a director. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: Why were you interested in this position?

A: I think AISB is a really interesting, dynamic school with fantastic future potential. I believe in the IB way of learning and have certainly really appreciated being part of the CEESA family of schools. This will be my third headship within the CEESA region.

Q: Had you been to Romania before your interview at AISB?  What are you looking forward to about living in this country?

A: My family and I had not spent any time in Romania prior to the interview process last December. We are excited to learn about the culture and language of Romania. From the outside looking in, it seems like a country that is changing in many ways and has a culture with great contrasts. Having spoken with international families who have lived in Romania, they have had really warm things to say about the people and possibilities to travel around the country.

Q: What are your main goals for when you begin working at the school?

A: My main goals are to build on the current strengths and ambitions of the school. First, it will be important to get to know the community well and to build relationships of trust characterized by positive, supportive communication. Working with students, teachers, parents and the Board, I would like to develop a shared vision for the future of AISB and tell a story about this future that engages the entire community in the process of making this happen.

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you’re like as a director?

A: With a priest and a counselor as parents, the conversation around the family dinner table was often about what makes people tick, and this upbringing gave me the instinct to ask deeper questions about what things mean. I think I have always been exploring these themes as a student, as a teacher, and as a traveler.

Welch with his family.

This curiosity and searching is which has taken my family and me around the world. We love to keep learning and trying to renew ourselves. I enjoy great food and movies and books. Stevie Wonder makes me want to get up dance. Chelsea Football Club can affect my mood way too much on the weekends. Some of my happiest times are walking our dog in the Finnish forests, watching the seasons change.

As a director, it is important for me to understand the ‘why’ questions first of all. Why are we doing this, this way? This is a kind of default strategic mindset in which I constantly explore the purpose of what we do and the wider implications.

With this priority, I invest time in working out our collective purpose in conversation with the communities I seek to lead. I would always like this conversation to be brave, open and based on trust. I am comfortable in challenging basic assumptions of how schools work, but understand that creating a consensus for change can take time. The success of any conversation is really impacted by the culture and context of my work. I believe more and more that leadership is an adaptive skill. What works in one place, in one school, often does not work another. So becoming director of AISB will challenge me to really tune into what will work in my new community.

The Bite would like to thank Mr. Welch for his time, and to let him know that AISB is looking forward to welcoming him into the community.

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