Keystone Magazine - Page 23

T he International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme is not just a career path for Gillian Ashworth; she believes in it passionately. She has a deep-rooted understanding of its core and strongly believes in its values and virtue as an academic program with the potential to train future world citizens. “IB looks at a student’s development holistically…” say Gillian. Her professional devotion and diverse expertise in implementing the IB programme in four continents makes her the ideal person to develop and implement it in the middle and diploma years at Keystone. “People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors,” said Edmund Burke about innovation. Gillian is this anchor; she roots the Keystone dream in standards, values and fundamentals ensuring both tradition and transformation. And her nose for details will ensure the successful fruition of the Keystone mission. As Head of High School, Gillian bears the responsibility of molding and nurturing future global citizens. Her down-to-earth and grounded nature and humble demeanor mask the importance of the responsibility she bears. In this interview, Gillian explains the history, merits and uniqueness of the IB programme. Q: Your prior experience as a Middle Years Programme (MYP) Coordinator and Head of Secondary in International Baccalaureate (IB) schools forms part of over 25 years of teaching and leadership experience in Africa, India, South America, Eastern Europe and your home country, the UK. What made you decide to come to Beijing to join the Keystone team? A: I think several things. I have been really lucky. It has been a fantastic voyage for me. I would not change any of it if I could go back and do my career again. One thing that I have really enjoyed throughout my career, in particular, is the opportunity to take on new challenges and do new things. I have never been part of setting up a new school. That in itself was a fabulous opportunity. I like immersing myself in different places in the world. I have loved every place that I have lived. I have never been to China before coming to Keystone. And of course it is a really dynamic, influential country and an exciting place to be at the moment. So the opportunity to come to China as well was a major factor. I am an IB person. I said that I would not consider a school that is not an IB school, so setting up the IB programme from scratch here is an interesting challenge. To make a difference in implementing those programmes, and doing it effectively in the specific context of China is exciting. These factors all came together and made this a really good move. I am very, very excited for myself and my career at this point. 21