We are in the midst of our recruitment phase at the moment and we have been interviewing numerous candidates for different positions, all of whom have vast experience, know their specialist area well and have the necessary skills and knowhow required to fit in and succeed at the French Section. Choosing between them is a difficult task; we draw up lists of crucial criteria, we attach more importance to one area of expertise over another depending on how essential they are to our particular context, we fill out tables, we provide feedback, we tick boxes…

We remember three years ago, almost to the day, when we announced the name of our first ever primary head to the French Section community. It is hard to imagine it now, but at the time the creation of the primary head position was considered revolutionary for us. We  put all of our energy into finding THE right person: the one who would represent the spirit of our school, the one we could have complete confidence in and the one who would bring additional experience and expertise to our beloved French Section.

Just like this year, we interviewed plenty of candidates, but I know that Franck, Andria and I will never forget the first time we met Carine. The expression that comes to mind is – a ray of sunshine.  We knew then that we had the ideal candidate – she ticked all of the boxes and inspired us to add a few more: a sense of humour, kind, easy to talk to etc,. Her visit to Taipei a few weeks later confirmed all the good we first thought of her during our initial Skype conversation.

Then came the anxiety: was she going to accept our proposal? Carine had several offers from other schools, obviously we were not the only ones to think she was fantastic. Had we made a good enough impression? (When you recruit high-quality personnel you can never lose sight of the fact that your school is a candidate too).

We all know the end of the story. Carine accepted the job and she took her responsibilities to heart from the very first second. After three years, the results speak for themselves: French-English teacher partnerships that work better than ever, complete and utter mutual confidence in the teaching team, new language pathways that reach every student, innovative classroom teaching spaces and a CM2-6eme transition that runs so smoothly it looks effortless (although believe me, a lot of work goes into it in the background). There are of course plenty more examples that I could fill this letter with, but the aim is not to compile an inventory of Carine’s successes, there are too many.

And then there are the things that don’t fit in any boxes and are so difficult to explain in just a few sentences: the immense pleasure that I (we all) have taken in working with Carine for the past three years: the laughter, the endless conversations, the castle-building in the sky, our shared passion for the French Section… in short it has been a beautiful adventure. Thank you Carine for everything you have given us.

Carine has decided to move closer to France, starting in September she will be the primary head of a school in Geneva. I will tell you all about her successor in a different letter, but today I simply wanted to talk to you about her.

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