David Kirkham

David Kirkham_ Global Education Leaders of 2021

David Kirkham

An Adept Leader Empowering Young Minds through a Breakthrough and Comprehensive Platform

Education embarks on a journey of holistic development for each child. It shapes students’ dreams into realities and serves them with a solid foundation to walk on lifelong. Today’s kids are tomorrow’s adults, hence it is of utmost importance to nurture, assist, and guide them for the long run.

Understanding the need of the hour, a diligent personality, David Kirkham, Principal of Nord Anglia International School Manila is guiding learners, thinkers, and performers in an ever-changing global society. Enlightening young minds and illuminating the lamp of education throughout, this leader envisions making an impact on education by giving every child a platform to showcase their talents and excel to their maximum potential. David sets emphasis on changing the school atmosphere and adapting to a new concept of learning compassionately.

The Man of the Hour

A maestro with a rich experience of profound years, David has led the leadership position with sheer determination and zeal. As a Principal, he has held many leadership positions internationally in Egypt, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, and the Philippines. Sailing through rough tides, he has accomplished his dreams at every step of his journey. With his distinctive approach, he has guided thousands of students and faculty members to deliver their best performance and achieve excellence at everything.

He believes that every child deserves a chance no matter what their respective background is or abilities. With an open mindset and diverse skill-set, David aims at building the classrooms with walls of shared warmth, benevolence, and chatter of chirping and learning. “Do not link your school email account to your phone – you will never put it down, it is important to get your work-life balance right”– key advice from David for maintaining personal and professional life efficiently.

An Overview of the School

Nord Anglia Education is currently a family of 73 premium international schools in 30 countries across the globe. It offers personalized and inspired learning to 69,000 students from 2 to 18 years old. The curriculum is enhanced by unique and exclusive collaborations with global-leading organizations, MIT, Juilliard, and UNICEF.

The school believes there is no limit to what the students can achieve. Hence, it encourages them to be ambitious and accomplish their dreams by stepping outside their comfort zones and try something new. Nord Anglia International School Manila is the epitome of ambition; it knows that ambition is the key driver for success. It is transformational and that is what makes the extraordinary possible. It is the only spark. It takes passion, determination, and commitment to make it a reality. That is why outstanding teachers nurture these essential skills through personalized learning for each child.

Creativity and Innovation are the elements of climbing the ladder of triumph. Once resilience and courage are blended with confidence, students develop as compassionate and responsible citizens of the world. “We ignite their curiosity. Being ambitious inspires our students. It urges them to stretch themselves that little bit further, to be relentlessly optimistic, to be the best that they can be. And beyond that to make a difference, to make things better, throughout our world”, David comprehends.

It builds on each student’s strengths and passions. The school creates a challenge in every lesson and every activity so that students can continuously grow and learn. It offers unique experiences to open new doors of opportunities. The Nord Anglia Approach empowers students to achieve beyond what they may have thought possible- academically, socially, and personally with their family of schools.

Celebrating an Excellent Learning Environment

As a small school in Manila, Nord Anglia challenges parents’ perspectives of what sort of education it can offer. Initially, some parents doubted the school’s abilities and performance as it was not the biggest of schools. However, this opinion soon changed when parents visited the school with their children and noticed a caring and safe environment celebrating dynamic learning and teaching space. Looking at the teacher and pupil relationships, the active teaching and learning surroundings, the progress in student’s grades, and the overall development of every student, David describes this as the best experience for him as a leader.

School life should be cherished and enjoyed to the fullest; the most memorable days are the ones at school where a lot of friends are made. The world needs good, confident citizens who can make an impact on their world when they eventually leave the school on a local, regional, or international stage.

Aced the Appraisals

Over the years, Nord Anglia has bagged many titles under its name and continues to date. This year, the school was one of the Top 3 schools awarded by the International Schools Awards for Inclusion. In 2019, it has also won the “Best International School in the Philippines” title for its exceptional performance. “We took as much satisfaction of having our curriculum recognized as being one of the best internationally as a major success.”

Overcoming Challenges Efficiently

Initially, the school wanted to establish a name for itself in the educational space and become a viable option to the two major established international schools in Manila. To become a brand entity and become an ideal choice for students and parents, the school had ensured that all the aspects of the school were best-in-class. Be it the Administration, Admissions, Quality of Education in the Classroom, Employing and Retaining top-notch teaching staff.

With Nord Anglia, we were also able to enhance our curriculum through our collaborations with Julliard, MIT, and UNICEF, something the other schools could not offer. This made them stand tall amongst the competitors as the school has put in a lot of hard work to mark its presence in the market. “Without the help of the entire department mentioned above, what we have achieved to date would not have been possible”, addresses David.

Inculcating a Value-Based Faculty System

Teachers play an important role in building student’s careers. Hence, every school must ensure that its teaching staff and other faculty members are committed to delivering significant offerings. David hires teachers who teach the whole child, not just the curriculum. Practical, Spiritual, and Emotional teaching is all a part of the Educational Process, it’s not just about results and academics, but about the overall outcome. Therefore, David involves and lets all teachers contribute to making wise decisions for students in all aspects of their development; he never forces any decisions upon them.

He further states that one needs to be able to trust their Senior Leadership Team to do the jobs they are employed to do and act as a mentor for them to guide and lead them when they need it. “Trust people to do the job you have employed them to do, this will stop you micromanaging. If there is a mistake you are there to support in fixing it.”

As the teachers have been part of the process to develop something they take greater pride in while ensuring that it has an impact on the children’s learning. Building trustworthy relationships with everyone makes the school premises an ideal place to learn and grow.

Words of Wisdom for the Teaching Staff

School days teach the most valuable lessons. Students should enjoy being in the classroom and always ask for advice from peers. Teachers love to talk about what they do well so this is a confidence booster for them too. “Keep up to date with trends in education and always look to see how you can make a difference in your teaching and the child’s learning. It is an amazing job that you do not always get the credit for. But students always remember great teachers”, concludes David.