LAURA GARCIA APPOINTED ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL (ACADEMIC)
A NEW ROLE, A SHREWSBURY STALWART
In August 2022, Laura Garcia will step into a new role as Assistant Principal (Academic).
Having been with Shrewsbury International School for 7 years as Director of Science, alongside an accomplished teaching background in Chemistry, Laura’s appointment looks set to bring an analytical and disciplined perspective to the position - from someone who has grown with Shrewbury and is already a familiar face to many.
We caught up with Laura to find out a little more about the newest member of Shrewsbury’s Senior Management Team.
AN EARLY MOVE TO LEADERSHIP
At the start of her career, and with a degree in Chemistry, Laura initially spent 2 years working in pharmaceutical research for GlaxoSmithkline in the UK before changing careers. She trained to become a teacher; graduating with a PGCE in Chemistry from the renowned King’s College London in 2004.
It was within the busy and often demanding environment of inner London where Laura forged her path as a newly qualified teacher - and after only one year, was appointed Assistant Head of Science. This was quickly followed by an appointment to ‘Head of Science’ in only her third year of teaching.
Laura’s expertise and professional reputation soon saw her approached by one of the largest Local Education Authorities (LEA) in the UK, The London LEA, to work as an educational consultant. Here, she was able to support other local schools by designing and delivering CPD courses, which encouraged teachers like herself into leadership.
As part of this consultancy work, Laura worked in collaboration with the National STEM centre (University of York) and other private providers; a role which combined her success at an inner London school with guest-speaking positions at national educational events, such as the annual Association of Science Educators Conference at the University of Birmingham - always ensuring the platform was used to focus attention on academic excellence and student opportunities.
THE SHREWSBURY YEARS AND A COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE
It was in August 2015 that Laura, joined by her husband and daughter, moved to Bangkok to start her journey with Shrewsbury International School as Director of Science.
This was not the family’s first time in Thailand, and they are no strangers to a global lifestyle; between Laura, her husband and daughter, they hold four nationalities and speak four languages. Laura herself is not only fluent in English, but also Spanish and German. The family love traveling and learning about other cultures and used to spend a lot of time in Asia before moving to Thailand.
Laura’s position as ‘Director of Science’ was to provide an ideal opportunity to continue her focus on academic and professional excellence as she sought to maintain Shrewsbury’s well earned reputation; and an ideal fore-runner to her upcoming appointment.
In perhaps the most dramatic and visual sign of Shrewsbury’s commitment to excellence, in August 2021 a new ฿1.1 billion senior school, innovation centre and sports performance complex was opened, which incorporated brand new science accommodation.
Laura played a central role in the design of the new, university quality science laboratories. In her own words, she explains her involvement:
“Building our science accommodation from scratch presented both an opportunity and a challenge. Practical work in all three science subjects is an integral part of the curriculum and it was incredibly exciting to be able to create learning spaces that were inspiring, practical and built to last…
…My direct involvement designing Science learning spaces in the UK as part of the BSF project provided me with the experience to lead on the design of these labs. Over 2 years of collaboration with a well renowned manufacturer of lab furniture in the UK, the result is our second-to-none labs. Having visited many science departments both in the UK and internationally, I can honestly say that we have some of the best facilities to teach Science in the world”
This section is perhaps best articulated first-hand. Here, we hand over to Laura as she explains how Shrewsbury has changed, where she see’s Shrewsbury heading and what we can expect from Laura in her role as Assistant Principal (Academic).
[Laura Garcia writes] We continue to provide a learning environment in which students thrive and develop into citizens of the world. The huge investment in facilities has resulted in learning spaces which, in combination with our skilled team of teachers, deliver a learning experience second to none. Because of that, our students continue to secure places at top universities, but most importantly, they enjoy and look forward to coming into school every day.
I can see our community growing from strength to strength. We now have the best facilities in Bangkok, but it is important to remember that schools are not only about facilities. Schools are mainly about skilled staff, motivated and happy students and supporting parents.
We will continue to invest in our teachers, to make sure that they are at the forefront of any developments in education.
OF LAURA’S ROLE AS ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL (ACADEMIC)
[Laura Garcia writes] Our school is about opportunities for our students to develop their talent and potential, and to explore areas that they are interested in. We strive to expand our academic enrichment programme without losing sight of what we do really well: preparing our students for success at exams and for their university studies. In 5 years time, we will continue to be the leading provider of education in Thailand with an even broader curriculum and enrichment offer.