Stamford American International School Singapore just keeps going from strength to strength! We’ve been impressed by its innovative programs that help children learn in new ways; parents tell us how much they appreciate the diversity and welcoming nature of the school community; and we’re all excited about the launch of its amazing new Early Learning Village later this year. Who’s behind it all? Meet Andrew Hancock, Deputy Superintendent at Stamford American International School. We had a chat to find out what makes him tick and what makes his work meaningful as head of one of Singapore’s top international schools…
Andrew, please tell us a little about yourself – where is your hometown and what would your students be surprised to know?
Like many small town Canadian boys (Wheatley, Ontario), I used to daydream about two things: becoming the world’s best hockey player or becoming a ninja. Nowhere in my daydreams did I think about marrying a woman from Venezuela, whom I would meet in Luxembourg while teaching at an international school! I also never dreamed that my children would be born abroad (two in Tokyo and one in Singapore). In the end I did play some professional hockey in Europe and I did take some Kendo lessons in Japan.
What’s your philosophy towards education?
My moral purpose is to lead in a manner that supports each student and educator to achieve more than they thought possible. One of my highest priorities is to develop a shared understanding of what effective teaching and learning looks and sounds like. The most successful schools recognise, share and celebrate the expertise within their own community.
How is Stamford different from other international schools in Singapore?
We have over 65 nationalities (US being the largest), and this diversity enriches the experiences of each of our students through their access to multiple cultures and languages. Our World Language Program offers three of the most spoken languages – English, Mandarin or Spanish. Mandarin and Spanish are offered daily from as early as 18 months. That is why many of our students speak two or more languages fluently and most of our students are capable of navigating multiple cultures. This is one of our core strengths, which I think we are better at than most international schools.
Stamford is also the only school to offer the IB curriculum with AERO standards, with the option to graduate with the IB Diploma or High School Diploma with AP credits, or both.
What do parents tell you they value about the school?
Parents tell us that they feel their children’s education is relevant and engaging and that their children have opportunities to make positive contributions in their class and school. Parents really appreciate their rapport with our teachers and that Stamford provides a very safe and nurturing learning environment.
What do you think are the greatest challenges young people face today? And the greatest opportunities open to them?
As educators, we have to prepare students to successfully face a world of constant change, and detect opportunities in this process. As we all know, the proliferation of technology has changed and challenged all of us. New technology means new opportunities and I feel we are preparing our students well for this. Stamford offers design courses and we have an Innovation Center that is almost as busy as our library! Students are able to code and solve problems using technology, and these skills will be amplified and used in the future.
As a parent, I worry about the current political climate and I think some of the world’s leaders could learn from international schools that there is strength in diversity. I think that a challenge for our young people is for them to understand the difference between nationalism and patriotism, and that they, as citizens of the world, can help to make it a better place.
Can you share any lessons you’ve learned about communicating and connecting with kids throughout your years in education?
As the title of the well-known book says, learn how to talk so that kids will listen, and learn to listen so that kids will talk. Patience, kindness, high expectations, genuine interest and honesty are some of the characteristics of relationships that I develop with our students. All of these lead to trust, which always leads to clearer communication and real connection.
What do you love most about leading this school?
I love the people at Stamford – all of them. Students, teachers, non-academic staff and parents are all equally passionate about their educational beliefs and this always leads to important and interesting conversations. My passion is working with students and helping them achieve more than they thought possible: nothing is more precious than that spark a teacher sees in a student’s eyes once they’ve ‘got it’!
Keen to know more about Stamford? Get in touch on 6653 7907 to book your personal tour today.
This post is sponsored by Stamford American International School.