At least half of the 35+ employees of the International School of Tucson (IST) are from countries other than the U.S. and many more are well traveled. For example, IST Business Manager Kellie Zwickl and her family enjoyed living in Germany and traveling extensively across Europe. She and her husband wanted their children to continue their German studies when he retired from the Air Force, so she was pleased to discover IST a few years ago.
Head of School William Arthur, B.Sc Hons, PGCE, was born in Ghana, grew up in Great Britain, and boasts passport stamps from visiting 54 different countries. He is an experienced teacher and school leader with a resume that includes work in multicultural schools in the United Kingdom, Middle East and West Africa.
William is heading into his fourth year of leading the school, which he and his team have transformed. Not only is the financial stability of the school much improved, they’ve added a 6th grade class, three toddler classrooms and an infant room. The team also was delighted with recent recognition as the Confucius Classroom of the Year, which makes it one of the best Chinese immersion schools in the United States, and IST now boasts international accreditation.
Children who attend the school are immersed in five languages—English, Chinese, German, French and Spanish—but it’s not just language immersion that makes a school an international school. “The school has to have international accreditation,” according to William, who shepherded IST through the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) accreditation.
CIE is a provider of international education programs and qualifications for five-19 year olds, and part of the University of Cambridge. CIE accreditation gives this Tucson school access to CIE syllabuses and assessments, training and resources to administer CIE exams, regular support from Cambridge, and opportunities to exchange best practices and experiences with 10,000 schools in 160 countries.
The recently graduated 5th grade students took CIE examinations for the first time this year and did “remarkably well, especially in science,” according to William, who is understandably proud of their accomplishments. With undergraduate and graduate degrees are in the biological sciences, William will be teaching the new 6th grade science class in addition to his continuing leadership responsibilities.