Departing words from Head of School 3 July 2023

Dr. Ken Sell who has served as the head of school since 2014, retired at the end of this school year. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to him for his many years of service at Aoba-Japan International School. As he parts ways with the Aoba community he has shared with us these departing words.

Dear All School Community Members,

As I prepare to retire from my role as the Group Head of School and return to my home in Australia, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to each and every member of our school community who has been a part of Aoba in some way.

Since August 2014, you have all played a crucial role in making a positive difference in the lives of our students. Our achievements have surpassed my initial expectations, and they are a testament to the collective and collaborative efforts of parents, school staff, and board members.

Together, we have accomplished remarkable feats. We have implemented innovative practices to enhance teaching and learning experiences from Kindergarten to Grade 12. We have taken risks to develop flexible and responsive curricula for our senior students. We have been leaders in educational reforms in Japan and have become the largest international school system in the country with numerous campuses, and expanding our student body from 230 to over 1540.

I want to highlight a few achievements that deserve special recognition. Our approach to teaching and learning, focusing on empowering students to learn how to learn, has been a significant shift from traditional models. This has built students’ confidence and efficacy, preparing them to navigate a rapidly changing world. Additionally, the transformation of our school culture, where trust, collaboration, collegiality, and respect are valued, has contributed to the overall well-being of our school community.

We can all celebrate the culture we have collectively built and our team-based problem-solving approach to teaching and learning. However, of greater importance to me is the fact that , as a school community, we have created an environment that can continue to thrive and lead in the future. We have nurtured a school that prepares students for the challenges of today while keeping an eye on the opportunities of tomorrow.

I sincerely thank you all for giving me the opportunity to retire, knowing that the schools are in capable hands. I have complete confidence in our leaders and teachers, who are dedicated and committed professionals. I am grateful for the support and active participation of parents in making our school a positive and vibrant place. And I am confident the school board will continue to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit, foster innovation, and provide effective governance to ensure continued investment in enriching the school life of all students.

I want to express my deep appreciation for the rewarding time I have had at Aoba. It is an experience I will cherish forever.

Sincerely yours, and I wish you all the best.

Ken Sell











ケン セル


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