With sincere appreciation…

To the Community of ASW:

As you are now aware, I originally arrived in Warsaw with the title of Interim Director. This was appropriate for a variety of reasons, as detailed by the Board Chair in July. I noted at the time that I was only willing to come in an interim role if I would be allowed to further apply for the long term position. After spending a few weeks getting to know you in more depth while leading this wonderful entourage of professionals, I can only reaffirm that intent given the warmth and welcome of the community demonstrated so wonderfully and completely in such a short time. Students, parents, administration, faculty, and staff have all shared open arms and hearts as we have become part of a robust and supportive “village” of teachers and learners.

It is therefore with pleasure and excitement that I accepted the board’s appointment as your Director, sans Interim. With this message, I affirm that I’m ready to let go of that Interim title and look forward to continuing the work I’ve started, knowing that I will usher our collaboration beyond the bounds of a single year. It means that we are embracing this community and, possibly more importantly, that my daughter will graduate as a Warsaw Warrior!!

I can only confirm the tremendous energy and enthusiasm that I’m ready to bring to this role, now and throughout my time here. I look forward to each and every opportunity for earnest conversation and collaboration toward crafting ASW, both for the moment and the future. Together, we will prepare our students and empower them for a life filled with hope and possibility. I look forward to your partnership and friendship in that journey.

Best Regards,

Jon P. Zurfluh
Director

P. S. – See you at the PTO BBQ later today and note that I’ll be perched atop the dunk tank sometime after 3p!!

Announcement from the Board of Trustees

Dear Fellow ASW Parents and Community Members,

The Board of Trustees of the American School of Warsaw is pleased to announce we have appointed Mr. Jon Zurfluh as Director of ASW.  Mr. Zurfluh was previously hired as Interim Director of ASW for the 2016-2017 school year.  In his new, long-term role, Mr. Zurfluh will continue to provide steady, community-focused leadership as we implement the IB Primary and Middle Years Programs (PYP/MYP), complete the NEASC/CIS re-accreditation process, and work to further strengthen ASW’s long-term success and competitive position. 

Mr. Zurfluh brings to ASW an impressive track record of educational leadership:  Prior to coming to Warsaw, he was Director of the Anglo-American School of Moscow and St. Petersburg for five years.  He previously served as Head of School at Shanghai Community International School, and as a Principal in the White River School District in Washington state, in addition to many earlier positions as both a teacher and an administrator. 

In deciding to appoint Mr. Zurfluh as ASW’s long-term Director, the Board of Trustees consulted with a variety of stakeholders.  We were struck by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from parents, faculty members and administrators, who noted Jon’s deep knowledge and experience as an educator and the positive effect his leadership style has already had at ASW.

The Board of Trustees is confident Jon Zurfluh is the right person to continue to lead our School at this critical juncture in its history.  He is one of the most sought-after international school directors in the world, and we are fortunate to have secured his long-term commitment to lead ASW.  We ask you to join us in congratulating him on his appointment as Director.

Sincerely,

The 2016-2017 ASW Board of Trustees

Rob Batchelder, Chair
Sonia Kandathil, Vice Chair
Simeon Netchev, Secretary
Chrissie Graeber, Treasurer
Artur Banaszak
Mariusz Banaszuk
Peter Chudy
John Gabrovic
Massimo Merighi
Gael Reilly
Raymond Yao

The First Day is Upon Us!!

This morning we opened our doors for the soft opening of New Family Orientation and packed the theater with more than 100 families and their kids. I enjoyed greeting everyone with a brief introduction from the Newbie to the Newbies. Over the last 28 days, I’ve learned much about the American School of Warsaw.

In particular, I looked up the instrumental founding influencer of the school, Colonel Frank Gilchrist (1938-1969). In 1953, while serving as the Assistant Military Attache at the American Embassy, Colonel Gilchrist was the driving force behind the opening of a school for 12 students from 5 nationalities: American, British, Swiss, Israeli, and Yugoslav.

Then, as is the case now, the reports were of a school with a special sense of community. A place where this mix of nationalities could connect and define themselves as a collaboration amongst diversity. Writers of that time and throughout the growth and development of the school noted the warmth and welcoming spirit of the school community.

That spirit was on display today as PTO and returning parents and students helped new families navigate their orientation day. Touring around the building, teachers and support staff welcomed their presence in classrooms throughout the building. Their first impression of their new “home” was a powerful one leaving all of us ready for the coming opening for all.

One of the key messages that I’ve woven through new staff orientation, full staff meetings, and the new parent orientation yesterday emphasizes what I consider to be a critical component of the program we offer. After the hard work of designing curriculum and architecting instruction is completed, I suggest that a critical test of a school is the understanding that “Small Things Matter.” Like a drop of water in a still pond, the ripple effects of empathy and service toward others cannot be underestimated.

I taught the new kids today another important phrase that I will test them on in the parking lot tomorrow. For those returning, you’ll have to share it with your children as the mantra of the year, the motto of the new director that I give you as a gift to inspire all your future accomplishments:

“If it is to be, It is up to me!!”

May the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year bring you special joy and a true sense of anticipation for all that is yet to come! Let the learning begin!

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