Ms Okill brings over 20 years of experience to new role.
Following the ongoing growth at City Campus, the school is pleased to announce that Ms Catherine Okill has been appointed as Assistant Principal. In this role, Ms Okill will hold responsibility for Early Years and Key Stage 1, an age group in which she has over 20 years of academic experience. Ms Okill tells us more about her passions and expertise as an educator:
What is your nationality and background?
I am British, though I was raised in South Africa before returning to England to complete my studies in Early Years and Primary Teaching at University College London (UCL). My approach to education is heavily centred in the UK, however I have been privileged enough to hone my craft across the world including Sweden, India, Australia, the UK of course, and now Thailand where I have been at Shrewsbury for 8 years. My first 5 at Shrewsbury Riverside, before becoming part of the founding team at City Campus.
My love of Early Years education has never waned through my international experience, and though I have learnt so much about different cultures and approaches to education my fundamental beliefs remain the same; every child is unique and must be given a safe and secure environment in which to explore, develop, and flourish.
What inspired you to become a teacher? What do you love about teaching?
What I love about teaching is learning together, but truly an early experience at a Montessori Nursery certainly initiated my career in education. In this placement I supported a child with selective mutism, as this child's confidence and progress grew, so did my passion for Early Years education. My involvement in this young child’s development demonstrated the importance of this early phase of life for me, and cemented my career in which I hoped to positively impact the lives of children around the world.
The joyous, unrestrained enthusiasm that young children possess brings endless possibilities for them as learners and us as the educators that are nurturing them. Enthusiasm is the highest level of energy we can experience as human beings. Young children have it in abundance.
What I love about teaching is exactly that, the ability to make a difference to children in ways you never expected. I am a firm believer that achievements are accomplished through collaborative learning; learning is not passive but a two way exchange between student and teacher.
At City Campus, every decision comes from working together with our children, staff, and parents. Education is absolutely a team effort, and that team involves families, each other, and of course our students. Whether it be launching new initiatives, or rolling out new policies, I consider my role to be one where
work in conjunction with families to not only communicate what we’re doing but why we’re doing it, and how they have a place in any decision we make.
What do you consider to be your greatest success in your teaching career so far? What challenges do you face as an educator?
The individual relationships I have built with every single child, parent and colleague I have been fortunate enough to worked with is certainly my greatest success. I feel very proud of the community we have built at City Campus since we opened our gates in August 2018.
The greatest challenge I think all educators face, and is certainly central to my experience is how we can encourage our students to be risk takers, whilst ensuring their safety. This isn’t only something we consider in the physical aspect, it’s not only about inspiring children to scale the walls in our Gymnastics Centre of Excellence, it’s also about ensuring we have children that aren’t afraid to make mistakes.
From a fearless approach to failure comes true creativity and innovation, and we aim to inspire the next generation of leaders, innovators, and freethinkers. We aim not only to protect their skin and bones, but also their hearts. This is certainly the most difficult part of teaching, but when you get it right it is the most overwhelming achievement.
I want to give children a voice of their own, hone their beliefs, and question the world around them. Staying true to myself and my own values and beliefs is important to me, both professionally and personally, and I encourage our students to do the same.
What excites you most about your new role at City Campus? What are your plans for City Campus this year? I am thrilled to have the opportunity to not only help children but also help our teachers be the best that we can be. I hope to inspire my teaching staff to instill a lifelong love of learning in our children, that they can take wherever they go after City Campus and beyond. If we get this right for our primary school students, we can know that we have set a strong foundation for whatever is to come in our children’s lives.
I want to show our children that there is no ceiling to what they can achieve. Every day, I get to see our students taking responsibility for their learning, discovering new things and developing their strengths. This is actually no different to what our students are doing in Sixth Form. I count it to be a true privilege to play a part in shaping young lives, and I always look forward to seeing what our children will achieve as they progress through Shrewsbury.
This year, we are also launching an extended activities programme for children from birth to when they would join us in EY1 (3 years old) - a community hub that connects young families in our Sukhumvit area through a variety of activities accessible throughout the week.
With three sons of my own, I know that these formative years can be a whirlwind of emotions for families, especially those not living in their home country, so I hope City Campus can become a home away from home offering a range of support to the local community.
And finally, what do you like to do in Bangkok when you’re not working?
I am the kind of person that is always looking for new challenges and has an insatiable love for life. This is something I love to share with my wife and three sons on regular adventures. I am a keen diver and snorkeler, I love being surrounded by nature. I also enjoy meditation and finding quiet and calm spaces amidst a busy working life!
Shrewsbury City Campus is currently accepting applications for August 2021. To find out more, please contact our Admissions Team on 02-203-1222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.