Keystone Magazine - Page 29

I mmanuel Kant said that one must “act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.” David Beare, Dean of Faculty, lives by this categorical imperative. The teachers of Keystone are not just teachers. They are not just a means to achieving Keystone’s objectives, but they are at its core. And David is their guardian. He will be their mentor and ensure their professional development. For shouldering such a huge responsibility, David is unassuming and a man with no ego, as his wife Rachael Beare (Dean of Admission) describes him. His best quality is that he is a respectful listener – an essential characteristic of any good teacher. Also, perhaps, one of the traits that makes him an avid cello player. So if you are searching for David on the Keystone campus, the state-of-the-art music room may be the best place to start. In this conversation, David tells us about the recruitment of teachers, what qualities the Keystone teachers will have and how they will develop because “Keystone is a place where people will want to come and stay because they are fulfilled professionally.” David Beare says this is one of the fundamentals of a world school, which means the ambition is “to learn from the world” and “to learn for the world”. Q: For most of your career you have worked for elite U.S. schools such as Philips Exeter, Lakeside and The Hotchkiss School. What made you decide to come to Beijing to join the Keystone team? A: Those schools are excellent schools. However, in many ways they are inward looking. There comes a point where you want to do something really extraordinary, and I think that what Keystone is up to is really extraordinary. I have not seen another school that is looking to make international education live in the way that Keystone is attempting; bringing together the Chinese, the American boarding school and international elements. It was also attractive to me to continue to work with Malcolm McKenzie, who I worked with at Hotchkiss. I also thought about what type of education Rachael and I could offer our own children – the idea of bringing them to China and having them understand something about a country that is a major force politically, economically, socially and culturally in the world in the 21st Century – was important. We thought about where the world is going, where education is going and saw an opportunity to do something unusual and extraordinary. I traveled to China with a Hotchkiss group three years ago and was very impressed with the dynamism and depth of Chinese society. I began to consider how to enter into something new and expand my own experience as a teacher and educator. For me, looking beyond the borders of the U.S. and boarding schools expanded my understanding of education in a truly radical way. So China, where there is such a long tradition of learning and active pedagogy, was a draw. I had been teaching about China in world history courses and studying about China - in particular religion - in graduate school. But actually coming here made me remember, in an immediate way, that there is a world beyond the United States that I need to understand and make myself a part of. I was also attracted by the challenge of working with high functioning, high power individuals to build this enterprise. Everyone we are working with here is so very skilled and successful in the traditions they are coming from. Not surprisingly, the conversations among all of us have been full with lots of creative tension, but we understand that disagreements can be profitable and help us move forward into something that is greater than the sum of its parts. So the opportunity to work in a creative, energetic place to move education forward drew me to Keystone, and away from the American boarding school world where ther B