Keystone Magazine - Page 6

Editor’s Note TRANSFORMING EDUCATION Living and Leading a Dream “It is people, not programs, that determine the quality of a school.” - Todd Whitaker F amed British novelist, Charles Dickens, opened his legendary novel – A Tale of Two Cities – with these words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…” While this was written over a century ago, his words capture today’s essence of unprecedented social, economic and environmental changes across the world, especially in China – an ancient civilization and a rising world power. Though China’s meteoric rise has dazzled the world, the nation is still confronted with its most significant challenges. And education is one of them. For decades, China has been seeking innovative responses to transform its educational landscape in the face of the ever-increasing pressure of preparing the next Chinese generation for global challenges. Keystone fills this lacuna at precisely the right time. It is an extraordinary school like no other, with a deep-rooted philosophy of maintaining Chinese cultural pride and identity, and a unique vision of combining three of the best educational traditions – Chinese, American and International – into one truly powerful education model. It’s a dream of educational visionaries regarding how we redefine schooling in a time of transformation, change and a new consciousness. It’s also a dream that, when manifest, is destined to have a significant impact on China and the world. It’s a lofty aspiration indeed, but what seems even more overwhelmingly important is how to bring together the best possible people to make this dream a reality. And Keystone is especially blessed in this area. Inspired by the Head of School Mr. Malcolm McKenzie, who has been the visionary head of three major schools on three continents, a team of outstanding educators from around the world gathered in Beijing last July and has dedicated themselves since then to the vision of building Keystone Academy into a world school. Founding a school is one of the most fulfilling, demanding, exhausting, exciting and scary endeavors for an educator to embark on. It is also one of 4 The Keystone Magazine