Larry Bartel recently joined Knightsbridge School International in Porto Montenegro from the USA. We paid him a visit to see how he has settled in and to hear of his plans for the school’s future.
PJ: Larry you have an impressive CV with over 35 years in the education sector, can you give us a quick summary of your career so far?
LB: Absolutely, I spent 30 years working in Colorado in a large school district before moving on to a position in a private school and gaining some experience internationally in Ecuador. For much of my early career I was a physics teacher then graduated into administration before becoming a school director.
PJ: How did the KSI conversation initially come about?
LB: I was contacted by KSI just after my time in Ecuador. I knew very little about Montenegro when I first heard about this role if I’m honest, although in my home town in Colorado there were some Balkan families there so I knew a little of the region’s history. The school itself was he most important thing for me in making a decision on whether to come here or not, the location came second in that sense.
PJ: What appealed to you most about this position then?
LB: I simply connected with the school and its philosophy, that was fundamental; I genuinely liked the facility and the organization behind it. And of course, the Mediterranean weather is an advantage too!
PJ: What are your main goals now that you’re here?
LB: We have to make sure that our IB Diploma students are successful in their forthcoming exams, that’s my main focus. We also want to offer more choice for scientists - for example chemistry and physics. We are a little limited in our language offer still so we want to hire staff who can help us grow in that direction. More options means more student choice which is a good thing. That said, we really punch above our weight today, I’m amazed we offer as many programs as we do right now.
PJ: What does your current student mix look like?
LB: We have a total of 77 students, making us the largest private school in MNE. We have 17 different nationalities with about 40% Russians and 25% local, the rest is very international.
PJ: What are the main advantages of the International Baccalaureate program in your opinion?
LB: The IB is all about stimulating curiosity, it’s much less prescriptive than other approaches, there is also a clear path from our IB program right into the top universities, which is a huge advantage for students.
PJ: What activities do you offer outside of the classroom?
LB: When the weather cooperates we have a swimming class at the big PMYC pool and after-school activities five days per week throughout the year such as judo, language learning, technology, gardening and so on, so there are plenty of great options.
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