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Former Staff: Then & Now
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Catching up with teachers and other staff that have retired or moved on from the International School of Geneva. Rattraper avec les enseignants et autres collaborateurs qui ont pris leur retraite ou quitté l'Ecole Internationale de Genève.

 

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Liz Whitehead (La Chât 1972-2010)

Posted By Alumni Office, mercredi, 8 avril 2015

 Liz Whitehead   Elizabeth Knight

1. When did you work at the International School of Geneva and what was/were your role(s)?
From 1972 to 2010 I was a teacher of Junior Science and Chemistry, Head of Chemistry, and then Head of Science, at different times.

2. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do.
I still live in the Nyon region. Initially on retirement I was able to maintain contact with students by tutoring IGCSE and IB chemistry, including students from LGB, ISL and CDL. In addition to enjoying the chance to travel outside school holidays I have been able to spend more time with family and friends as well as using my experimental skills in the kitchen and in the garden. (Some experiments have been more successful than others!)

3. What are your strongest memories of working at Ecolint?
The friendliness and strong sense of community amongst the students and staff. Also the opportunity to be with people from different countries and cultures.

4. To what extent do you like to keep in touch with former students and colleagues?
Many former La Chât colleagues keep in touch via the ‘La Chât Retirees Newsletter’ which is sent out monthly. In addition, those of us who live in the area try to meet up for lunch twice a year. For me the Kermesse and World Reunions are ideal and very enjoyable ways to meet up with past students. The alumni website is also a good forum.

 


 

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Arthur Robinson (LGB, La Chât 1972-1995)

Posted By Alumni Office, mercredi, 8 avril 2015

 Arthur Robinson   Arthur Robinson

1. When did you work at the International School of Geneva and what was/were your role(s)?
I worked for Ecolint from 1972 to 1995, both at LGB and La Chât. I was Head of Maths / Computing.

2. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do.
Retired and living in Sciez, France. Trying to keep up with the world!

3. What are your strongest memories of working at Ecolint?
Strongest memories? Teaching! And learning from that wonderful body of students.

4. To what extent do you like to keep in touch with former students and colleagues
One or two former colleagues, occasional "old codgers" dinners and the occasional Kermesse.

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Keith Rhodes (La Chât, Mies, Nations 1982-2009)

Posted By Alumni Office, jeudi, 2 avril 2015

 Keith Rhodes   Keith Rhodes

1. When did you work at the International School of Geneva and what was/were your role(s)?
I was a PE teacher at La Chât, Mies and Campus des Nations from 1982 to 2009.

2. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do.
I'm retired and living in Perpignan, France.

3. What are your strongest memories of working at Ecolint?
Developing the new campuses at Mies and Nations.

4. To what extent do you like to keep in touch with former students and colleagues?
Regularly.

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Don Jennings (LGB 1964-1995)

Posted By Alumni Office, mercredi, 1 avril 2015

 Don Jennings   Don Jennings

1. When did you work at the International School of Geneva and what was/were your role(s)?
I joined the staff at the International School of Geneva (La Grande Boissière) in September 1964 as a member of the Physical Education Department with a subsidiary role to assist in the Biology Department.

At the end of our first year, on the advice of the wife of the Headmaster George Flett, we took a large apartment in La Gradelle and the school gave us our first boarder. Over five years our quota rose to four. A friend rented a large villa to us and our quota rose as high as ten students. The Director General M. Lejeune accepted us as part of the school Internat: once the school's own boarding house was full students were passed to us, with parental consent. This situation remained until the fall of the Persian Dynasty, at which point there were no longer extra students.

In 1990 I had a physical breakdown and high blood pressure. After three months of paid sick leave and an operation on my knees, I could no longer work in the Sports department and I became responsible for absence and lateness, ELP and FLP. Additionally I became responsible for school discipline outside the classroom, and inside if teachers were missing. We went through a difficult period with outsiders coming on to campus to steal, particularly from the gymnasium changing rooms while classes were in progress. I had quite good liaison with the police who knew most of these young people. I continued with this work until I retired, in December 1995.

2. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do.
For our retirement, we had no wish to return to the UK: both our sons lived and worked in Geneva. Switzerland is a good place to live on a Swiss salary but on a retirement income, impossible! As we wished to remain near the boys we focused on France and found an derelict  farm dating from 1846, not lived in for four years and with no inheritors, being sold by a local farming association in Clermont-en-Genevois. It's a forty-minute drive from Geneva.  With the aid of the mayor and the local artisans he found, we renovated enough of the building to give us an apartment plus accommodation for the two boys and occasional visitors.

A hectare of land came with the building. At the time we were young enough to cultivate as we wished but as age has caught up with us it has become a bit of a jungle. We have rented out part of the building to two friends who have constructed workshops. That also means we have people calling in each day to keep an eye on us. Our son Martin (LGB '82) lives and works in Geneva and usually spends the weekends with us. Mark (LGB '80) and his wife Vienna are American diplomats and travel the world. At the moment they are in Montreal.

3. What are your strongest memories of working at Ecolint?
The strongest memories of  working at the school are naturally sporting, and fall into three main areas, Skiing, Basketball and other Sporting Activities long since gone. Ski Camps (until the school authorities decided to restart school earlier in January) and Ski Saturdays, with Jack Garstang and Arnold Jones also heavily involved, were hugely successful for many years. The trips to Lenk that I initiated were particularly popular! We had a period of great success with Basketball too, with the school becoming Swiss Junior Champions in our own gym before over six hundred spectators in 1978. Jack, Arnold and myself took the exams to become referees and, as we became more experienced, refereed matches all over Switzerland.

I also enjoyed the annual SGIS (Swiss Group of International Schools) Athletic Championship, which we held at Champel with the aid of the Geneva Athletic Club. Many teaching colleagues were wililng to give up a day to become judges for the Track & Field events. All these sporting events came to an abrupt end with the appointment of a Head of PE who belonged to the then modern trend from the UK whereby all competitive sport was wrong; there should be no winners or losers; PE classes should be mixed; and the students could choose what they did or didn't want to do. For me the message was that all I had been taught at college and what I had been teaching for thirty years was wrong. Although the day arrived when I had to give up PE and sports, which I had thought never would arrive, I was very pleased to escape the situation that had been created. To this day I do not know how, under the new regime, the requirements for the IB programme and the French Baccalaureate were met.

4. To what extent do you like to keep in touch with former students and colleagues?
I am fortunate that both our sons are former students who keep me well informed with messages from other former students. I am a member of two alumni groups with regular contacts. My computer address book is full of contacts, staff and students, with whom we exchange emails quite frequently. There is a further group of close friends with whom we have a telephone contact quite frequently.

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Sandra Oakley (Pregny 1976-2011)

Posted By Alumni Office, lundi, 23 mars 2015

 Sandra Oakley   Sandra Oakley

1. When did you work at the International School of Geneva and what was/were your role(s)?
I was a teacher at Pregny from 1976 until 2011, working with children from 6 to 8 years of age. When I first joined the school, the former United Nations School (Pregny and Rigot) had just merged with the Foundation to form a third campus, which had equal status with La Grande Boissière and La Châtaigneraie. In 2005 Pregny became the Early Childhood Centre for Campus des Nations. From 2004 until I retired I also held the post of Assistant Principal.

2. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do.
I still live in Versoix, even though as retirement approached I really thought I would go back to England. Since I retired, I have become a volunteer for esca, the English-Speaking Cancer Association, where I help to man the Drop-In Centre and work in the library.

I continue to sing in the Foundation Choir, having been a member from its very beginning in 1992, if my memory serves me correctly. Choral singing brings me enormous pleasure. I also love to travel, especially to London for theatre weekends, but also further afield, to Morocco, South Africa, Australia and Sri Lanka.

3. What are your strongest memories of working at Ecolint?
Working with young children has been my passion. Looking back on my many years at Pregny, I always appreciated how open and inquisitive they are and how much energy and enthusiasm they bring to discovering about their world. I loved to sing with them and to read them stories and at the end of each year I was proud to say that almost every child had developed a love of books! I feel extremely privileged to have spent most of my teaching life in such a wonderful school, where I made so many friends and encountered so many amazing young people.

4. To what extent do you like to keep in touch with former students and colleagues?
I must confess that keeping in touch is not one of my talents! There are a number of former colleagues who live in the Geneva area with whom I am in regular contact. Sometimes, children I have taught, now long grown-up, find me on Facebook.

Occasionally someone will come up to me in the street or at the supermarket and say, “Do you remember me? You were my Class 1 or 2 or 3 teacher.” It can be a challenge to put an adult face together with the distant recollection of a child I may have taught 20 years ago, but it surprises me how often I am able to piece the memories together. Maybe having this questionnaire posted on the Alumni website will put me in touch with even more of those many students, who so enriched my teaching journey.

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Frank Lunt (LGB 1968-2008)

Posted By Alumni Office, mercredi, 18 mars 2015

 Frank Lunt   Frank Lunt

1. When did you work at the International School of Geneva and what was/were your role(s)?
I was a physics lab technician at LGB from 1968 to 2008. I also organised the school transport system for six years under Nick Holmes (the former Bursar), ran canoe trips for both students and adults between 1971 and 2002 (until health and safety requirements made it too complicated) and organised Student Day Fair from 1986 until I retired in 2008.

2. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do.
I’ve remained in Geneva; and they’ve not quite got rid of my yet! I still supervise IB and SAT exams. We travel extensively, having a son in Italy and a daughter in Kenya, as well as friends around the world. Summer is spent enjoying our garden and entertaining friends who visit.

3. What are your strongest memories of working at Ecolint?
My ex-colleagues, the many students I had contact with, and the good old days when everybody knew each other and social events were organised for the whole school (BBQs, Escalades, etc…).

4. To what extent do you like to keep in touch with former students and colleagues?
For my sins I am on the Central Committee of the Alumni Association, which keeps me in touch. I also organise a “fish’n’chips” (filet de perches, frites, salade) meal for retired staff once a year, and still try to organise B.E.E.R.* once a year, but Mike Rowe and myself seem to be now the only members!

 

* Best Ever Ecolint Reunion - a casual gathering for former staff and students in a chosen Geneva hostelry. Usually held in December.

 

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Winifred Elderfield (LGB 1962-1982)

Posted By Alumni Office, jeudi, 12 mars 2015

 Winifred Elderfield   Winifred Elderfield

1. When did you work at the International School of Geneva and what was/were your role(s)?
I was a maths teacher in the Middle School from 1962 to 1982.  After retirement, I was a supply teacher at LGB for many years.

2. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do.
I live in the Domaine de la Gracieuse, near Morges. I love to read, go to the cinema, knitting and playing bridge.

3. What are your strongest memories of working at Ecolint?
Highlights were taking class trips to Egypt, Russia and England. I enjoyed every moment of my years in Ecolint.

4. To what extent do you like to keep in touch with former students and colleagues?
I am always delighted to see former colleagues and I still hear from several students at Christmas time.

  

> Winnie Elderfield died on 17 July 2016. She was 97 years old.


 

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Diana Smith (Rue Schaub, LGB, Mies, La Chât, Nations 1970-2010)

Posted By Alumni Office, jeudi, 12 mars 2015

 Diana Smith   Diana Smith

1. When did you work at the International School of Geneva and what was/were your role(s)?
I was a Class 1 and 2 teacher from 1970 to 1979 at the Lycée des Nations, (which became part of the Foundation in 1975); I then taught from 1979 to 1997 at LGB primary school. From 1997 to 1999 I took leave to be the Principal of the International School of Monaco.

On returning to Geneva, I became the Principal of the newly opened Mies Campus (an annexe of La Châtaigneraie) from 1999 to 2005. I then moved up to La Châtaigneraie, where I was Principal of the Primary School from 2005 to 2009. My last year at Ecolint was Principal of the Primary School at the Campus des Nations – 2009 to 2010.

2. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do.
I still live in Geneva – where I love to spend time with my grandchildren.

After leaving Ecolint, I went to India for nearly two years, where I helped to open a new Academy for the Aga Khan Network – I was also Principal of the Academy for a full school year after opening. I was so blessed to be able to have this fascinating experience. In Geneva, I am Vice-President of ‘Friends of India’, a small charity that does fantastic work especially for women and children in the state of Tamil Nadu. We opened a new school in Tirunelveli last summer. I was lucky to visit again in recent weeks to work with the teachers and children. (For more information, please visit friends-of-india.org.)

3. What are your strongest memories of working at Ecolint?
There are so many!! I was lucky to work in several campuses with terrific colleagues and wonderful students. I think the strongest memories come from the social occasions such as open days for parents; seasonal celebrations; Hallowe’en at the Mies campus; graduations; field trips; special assemblies; dramatic and musical presentations; sports days ... so many great times when we all got together!!

4. To what extent do you like to keep in touch with former students and colleagues?
I am lucky to see many of my former colleagues from all the different decades of my life in Ecolint. Reunion dinners, get-togethers or just Sunday teatime. I have been able to keep in touch with quite a few former students – mainly at Christmas – and now Facebook seems to be a great way to reconnect. I am so happy and proud to have been a part of the Ecolint team for forty years.

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Marie-Hélène Potter-Lesage (La Chât 1981-2011)

Posted By Alumni Office, lundi, 2 mars 2015

 Marie-Hélène Potter-Lesage   Marie-Hélène Potter-Lesage 

1. When did you work at the International School of Geneva and what was/were your role(s)?
1981 - 2011: English teacher, external examiner for the Swiss Maturité. Founder of the Escolinha School project (Brazil), responsible for Humanitarian Projects and the creation of Ecolinks.

2. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do.
Now living in Estavayer-le-Lac (Canton Fribourg) we have started a new life. Travelling, swimming, visiting our daughter at university in the UK, and reading extensively are even more enjoyable now we have the time. With Innovan, Peter’s new company, there are many exciting challenges and inspiring projects to share!

3. What are your strongest memories of working at Ecolint?
The fantastic rapport with students, adventurous fieldweeks, the cultural cross-roads, the invaluable learning experience, the friendship with so many colleagues. Fond memories of lost faces and the very moving memory of students’ support before leaving for Brazil in 1993.

4. To what extent do you like to keep in touch with former students and colleagues?
The bonds have remained strong over the years with students and parents. Many colleagues are now still very close friends and we meet as often as we can.

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Rachael Jefferson-Buchanan (La Chât 1990-2003)

Posted By Alumni Office, mardi, 24 février 2015

 Rachael Jefferson   Rachael Jefferson

1. When did you work at the International School of Geneva and what was/were your role(s)?
I was at La Châtaigneraie from September 1990 to December 2003, where I was Head of Secondary Physical Education as well as teaching GCSE Dance and Theory of Knowledge.

2. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do.
I lecture in Human Movement Studies (Health and Physical Education), and Creative Arts at Charles Sturt University in Albury, New South Wales, Australia. I am also currently completing my PhD there. I was the lead PE consultant for Cambridge International Examinations for several years, working on education projects in Kazakhstan, Egypt and Mongolia.

3. What are your strongest memories of working at Ecolint?
Fieldweeks to Berlin and ski days, as well as all the wonderful dance lessons that I enjoyed teaching with my GCSE Dance students. Working in an international environment and teaching in both French and English. Encouraging children to sledge down the vineyards on bin bags when it snowed, crash mat relays in the sports hall, sports days, staff socials, developing yoga, aerobic and hip hop dance in the PE programme. And last but not least, organising all those gym/dance shows for parents and students!

4. To what extent do you like to keep in touch with former students and colleagues?
I have several ex students and staff keep in touch with me via Facebook and e-mail.

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