What attributes do effective principals have?
A good principal’s leadership is even more crucial for student success when many schools are facing difficulties in attracting and retaining teachers. Schools that serve students from low-income families and minority students, in particular, need strong principals because these schools stand to benefit the most from those who are able to hire and retain excellent teachers.
The role of the principal has grown even more crucial in addressing students’ needs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disclosure of glaring gaps in educational opportunities. The availability of excellent educational opportunities for children can be guaranteed by effective school administrators, through encouraging a culture of constant improvement, giving employees the freedom to take charge, and making data-driven decisions, they may build robust and inclusive learning environments.
Additionally, they arrange schools to assist the students holistically, recruit and retain highly competent teachers, and promote deeper learning methods. Due to the significance of principals on schools and students, and initiatives to support them enhance their leadership skills. This concern has been taken on by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), which is urging districts to take steps to support the crucial job done by principals.
Similar to this, Ms Varduhi Grigoryan, the Principal of the IB continuum school Genesis Global School in Noida, has achieved significant improvements in the field of education, and as a result, the students at the school receive several opportunities.
To learn more information about the school, scroll down.
A Blooming Bud
Ms Varduhi began her career as a teacher very young when she was still in school and a student of herself. Being a third culture kid (TCK) needed her to go through a variety of learning experiences that were radically different from one another: from the very strict and traditional, teacher-centered schooling that was the only form acceptable in those days in Armenia (the country she was from) to a very student-centered and child need focused education that was already the main teaching approach in England, where she spent part of her school years. It was a logical decision to pursue a career in teaching because she had to negotiate such stark disparities and deal with their full effects on her academic and personal development.
She began a new journey for the educational system in the country when she moved to Armenia in the middle of the 2000s. While working with the Ministry of Education and Science and serving as the deputy at the best private school in the area, ‘Quantum College’, she introduced the International Baccalaureate (IB) as the future of education. It was started to introduce the experience, standards, and practises of the IB curriculum as an approach to educating the growing generation, as a way to change the future of the world, and to ensure that students receive an internationally recognized diploma that opens many doors abroad that were previously closed.
She has had the fortune of witnessing the true transformation in the educational landscape for more than 17 years, as well as how the schooling system affects children’s development and the changes it is actually bringing about to the world.
As an IB teacher, coordinator, and eventually head of the continuum programmes at various schools, she was exposed to a variety of experiences, including those as an IB examiner, counsellor, consultant, workshop leader, and evaluator, among others. With the variety of perspectives that these chances have provided her, she can safely say that she will continue to learn new things every day of her life. Ms Varduhi will continue to learn as long as she is alive since the educational system is one that is constantly evolving and surprising everyone, and people have to work extremely hard to keep the pace.
When we ask Ms Varduhi about her special and crucial moments in her journey she mentions, “When in grade 8, I joined an NGO in Armenia, which was working with unprivileged families, orphans, disabled children, trying to provide them with at least some education. Having English as my second native language, I started teaching the same to these children aiming to prepare them for the exams required for admissions to any university in Armenia.”
Lifelong Learning Opportunities
While stating the opportunities Ms Varduhi states, “Even after so many years, when looking back, I feel this was the crucial moment in my career, this was the experience that put me on the road I could never change later. It was then that I realised that NO change I wish to see is possible to happen unless I get very actively involved with the educational system and have it as the tool to bring the desired changes to the world.”
Continuing her statement, she says, “After school graduation there was no need of a career choice, it was already with me – becoming an educator, nowhere else could I see myself, thus all my higher education was just for the same. As a lifelong learner though I never stopped searching for opportunities to grow professionally and to become a better educator. The search for the same put me into the exploration of a variety of national/international curricula, study of all possible teaching and learning approaches, implementing those, continuously practicing new things, challenging myself to come up with better solutions etc.”
“As a result, I ended up being very strongly inspired by the IB curricula, which was an overall summary of all the good things found in different programmes and courses.”
Genesis and Beliefs of the School
After stating about her lifelong learning opportunities, Ms Varduhi also highlight the genesis and belief of the schools, and notes, “Until, now I have been working with and for schools in over 18 countries in different roles. Today, I am the principal of IB continuum school Genesis Global School in Noida, India. The approximately four years’ of being associated with the school has proven that my choice of the offer to join it was a very correct one. The school mission, vision and all core values do represent my own educational perspectives and beliefs, and therefore the drive and enthusiasm to work for the better future of our children has just been the most pleasant experience I have had until now.”
She states further, “Even though I must confess that the mind-set of what international/IB education is and how it is to be implemented, the perspectives on the same, the approaches taken by different schools in India while implementing IB are so varied, I would still consider our school journey to be a successful one in the sense of bringing it as close to the vision standards of IB.”
“I can state with confidence that over the last few years, the changes we have introduced as a school community already had a great and positive impact on our children. It is undeniable they are a lot more skilful, ready for the future world, a lot better people who are more tolerant, more open-minded and so-called global citizens who care not just about their own selves but of others as well,” she asserted.
Overcoming the Challenges
The world is changing every second, absurd circumstances are becoming real, and everyone needs to be adaptable to survive. The most recent experience that individuals have had was with COVID-19 which became the new reality. Dr Varduhi cannot even imagine that what would occur if the educational system is not adaptable and if teachers are not fast to adapt to new situations.
The way humans managed to make online teaching and learning a widespread method of education is an illustration of how something that was never really considered before may become the reality in a matter of days or weeks. Since people can never be sure what to expect, one must always be prepared for everything, and it is imperative that people raise learners who are able to function in a variety of contexts, both known and unknown, and that the children learn to be flexible problem solvers.
While stating further Ms Varduhi says, “Strong skill set, social, emotional, and physical preparation, development of human values and personal and individual features making children better humans must be the key objectives of the educational systems nowadays.”
A Pearl of Wisdom
While providing advice to the young generation Ms Varduhi says, “GGS sees the future in our young minds that are amazingly creative and unique. Thus, they need creative and unique approach when being treated!”
Envisaging the Future
When we ask Ms Varduhi about her future vision, she asserts, “Having this belief and vision we see GGS becoming a real hub for human development rather than being a school for academic success only. We believe academics is a key to many doors, but the hole to this key is still to be found through the overall development of the children as holistic learners, as good individuals, who believe in human values more than just laws and rules, who consider people to be the best treasure and who wish to see humanity and our world benefit from the life they personally live.”