Getting to know Ms Stacey
Joined the school recently as the Head of Student Services at IGBIS. She is interested in seeing, with her skills, training and knowledge, where she will go next.
Hailing from Windsor, Ontario in Canada, Ms Stacey Short was born then shortly after moved to the West Island of Montreal, Quebec. There, she was raised and attended elementary school, all the way through to her tertiary education, where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Education, majoring in Physical Education, at McGill University. Ms Stacey pursued her Masters in Education, focusing on International Education from Framingham State College, Massachusetts, USA while she taught in Monterrey, Mexico. Later she completed her Masters of Arts Degree in Education Psychology and Leadership Studies at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Her thesis topic was entitled “The Effects of a Positive Psychology Intervention on Students,’ diagnosed with Learning Disabilities Self-Concept”. Additionally, Stacey completed PhD course work in School Psychology. She reports she speaks 3.5 languages – English, French, Spanish and conversational Thai. Two fun facts about Stacey – she completed Mahout (Elephant Trainer) course in Thailand and is a certified Lifeforce Yoga Practitioner – specializing in using Yoga to improve symptoms of Depression and Anxiety.
Ms Stacey’s experience in Educational Psychology is vast. With 22 years under her belt, you can be sure that she is highly qualified to be the Head of Student Services. To break down her 22+ year of experience, she has worked in Canadian public schools (Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia) for 8 years, Canadian private schools for 2 years, and another 8 years in international schools (Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia). Her teaching experience is grounded in Special Education/Learning Support and she previously taught ESOL, Physical Education, English and French. An interesting fact – she worked as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and Psychometrician with adults for 4 years.
As a person, Ms Stacey is a delight to get to know. She believes that her persistence, perseverance, personality and love for problem-solving enable her to do her job well. She is driven by her desire to help people. “I once worked with a principal who told me I was far too optimistic whenever faced with a difficult situation. This potential critique to me was a compliment!” she said.
Aside from work, Ms Stacey enjoys watching foreign films, travelling and eating good food. She feels that one can learn a lot about culture through film. She adds that with the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the world hard, watching foreign films is a way to escape and experience new cultures. Perhaps, this interest of hers explains why she enjoys travelling. Ms Stacey is a seasoned traveller who travels mainly to experience new cultures and relax on beaches. She loves taking photos of scenery. The one thing she must sample in every place she visits would be the local delicacies. That leads to her interest in eating and enjoying a good meal. She said that she particularly enjoys breakfast or brunch out. Her taste in food is rather eclectic and she believes that a meal is not complete until you have had dessert!
When asked about her goals and plans for the near future, she shares that she is drawn to person-focused positions. She is searching for the intersection of being able to work directly with and support students (from preschool through college) as well as leading and supporting the adults/teachers/staff that work with our students. Ms Stacey believes that building a community with students, teachers and parents is the key to a successful school. She is very happy to be in the position of Head of Student Services at IGBIS and think at this time of her life, this is where she is supposed to be. She is interested in seeing, with her skills, training and knowledge, where she will go next.
We had the pleasure of spending time to get to know a little more about such an interesting person who this year recently joined the IGBIS community. We hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as it was enjoyable to interview her.
- What inspired you to be an academician?
Several things inspired me to become an educator. One was a teacher – Mr. Ropeleski – he was my Physical Education teacher for 5 years while I was in Elementary School. He was a very encouraging and positive role model for me. Another inspiration was that I was always working with children – including babysitting as a teenager, coaching sports as well as organizing sports camps. My third inspiration was leadership. I was the president of my elementary student council, then president of my Secondary School student council. In University, I was the Head of the Graduation Committee and in Graduate School, I was the Director of Student Affairs. I have been drawn to and successful in leadership positions. All of these tied together lead me to where I am today. I am a lifelong learner!
- Having taught internationally around the world, has the quality of education and it’s institutions evolved with time and age to reflect real world demands?
The challenge of teaching is keeping up with real life and real world demands. In my time teaching, I was working in Mexico on 9/11, in Thailand during the Tsunami and now in Malaysia for Haze and COVID-19. We may think that we are prepared but can we really be prepared? I think the impact on our wellness and Mental Health is underestimated. I see an evolution and from my more recent time back in Canada (in between overseas postings) I see progression in awareness of Inclusive practices. I think this is beginning to happen in International Education. I think that being truly Inclusive to all people (students and staff) and addressing the importance of Mental Wellness are my current priorities.
- Having had an extensive career in education as a Teacher, Coach, HOD/Coordinator and Professional Development – How will you bring the collective experiences garnered to your new role as Head of Student Services & Learning Support at IGBIS?
I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to previously work as a Head of Student Services and as a District Coordinator for Student Services. As I have held similar positions before, there is a level of comfort but the context is different with each school/setting. I feel that my varied professional and educational experiences have led me to where I am. These experiences support my focus on building a quality program where the Student Services Department and our programs are strong and based in evidence/research. Through offering Professional Development to staff, teachers and parents we can remain current with best practice. With all of this in mind, our students, teachers and families benefit.
- What can students expect from your department moving forwards?
Support and reliability. I want students to know we are here not solely because we have said so, but due to the fact that they see us show up. In order to make a person feel supported – you show up! We will continue to evolve and learn from our students as they teach us and challenge us to expand our strategies and “tool kits”.
- Tell us a little more about your educational philosophy.
“No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.” – Dr. James Comer. Relationships are the foundation for all learning. There is so much research in education and business that proves this to be true. Relationships take time and this is time well spent. Students, staff and parents must feel supported and then as trust develops we can achieve great things! I believe in the importance of evaluating and thinking critically – always with data and a problem solving solution based lens. I think that it is my role and responsibility as the Head of Student Services to be an advocate for all students. If we keep our focus on the student and what is best for them to continue to grow and thrive – that is always the best place to start.
- What does the role in heading Student Services entail and how would you offer the synergy in terms of your educational philosophy to the department at IGBIS?
Our department includes Learning Support, Counselling, English as a Second or Other Language and Nursing. I see my role as a leadership position for the department. In a business sense, as the head of the marketing department, we need to sell our services and sell ourselves to our parents, teachers and students. I think an important part of this role includes sharing our department’s collective education and the skills that each of us brings to helping all students.
- Last but not least, what is the sense of accomplishment or satisfaction that motivates your work in school on a daily basis?
Problem-solving is motivating when you see that together, we can move forward even in challenging situations. I feel accomplishment when people respond and come back – meaning repeat customers – whether they are students, teachers, staff or parents. As relationships form, we can move on to fostering independence in both students and staff. This is when people grow and appreciate the support – when you teach them how to fish and not give them a fish!
I am so inspired by my students and cherish the moments when we smile and laugh together. I am inspired by teachers who continue to seek ways to grow and learn. Working with inspired people is motivating and our Student Services Department is inspiring!
Well, Ms Stacey, we are definitely glad to have you with us! It was truly a wonderful session getting to know Ms Stacey.