Dr Deborah Priest

February 02, 2015


Dr Deborah Priest is a fan of child-led education and this is echoed in AISM’s motto of Explore, Extend, Excel. It is clear how passionate Dr Priest is when it comes to steering the first and only school to offer an Australian curriculum into providing an environment where students are happy, safe and engaged.

Hard worker


Parents have been very pleased with AISM’s current principal, Dr Deborah Priest for being very accessible. They are able to secure appointments within a day or so to discuss matters of school and studies. Dr Priest believes that it is strategically an important thing to do, not just for parents but also students and members of staff.

This means a lot of work time, sometimes spilling over to night time and weekends but Dr Priest laughingly added, “I’d rather do that and spend time at school with the people that ultimately make the school what it is.”

It has been a smooth transition so far, with Mr David Kilpatrick whom spent a quarter of the school’s fifteen years being the former Head of School providing much welcomed mentorship. “It has been very important to me to spend a long time with him, learning to help move the school into it’s next chapter of history,” said Dr Priest.

A “fun” approach

Dr Priest describes AISM as welcoming, vibrant, friendly, productive and inspiring. She believes that the Australian curriculum is popularly recognized as fun because the pedagogy used in classrooms demands active participation from the children. “The way that teachers are encouraged to teach in Australia is very much about engaging the students so they want to learn,” she said, “the curriculum itself is quite a rigorous curriculum.”

I think we have a beautiful little secret here that I would like to share,” confided Dr Priest. The Australian curriculum is becoming more broadly known for the way it prepares children across a range of areas and the way it prepares them in life skills.

Voracious reader

Having read 63 books since the start of the 2014 year, Dr Deborah Priest named Donna Leon as her favorite author. The writer has published of a series of crime novels set in Venice and featuring the fictional hero Commissario Guido Brunetti.

Dr Priest is also a fan of Leunig books which she believes are thought provoking and presented in little cartoon diagrams with six line poems. The Australian philosopher and cartoonist’s works have been known to appear during the speeches and presentations conducted by Dr Deborah Priest.


Dr Priest takes great care in accommodating students transitioning from different systems of education, any time of the year. Parents are also welcomed, particularly in the primary school to assist with a number of activities.

AISM always expects new people and it is considered normal practice to explain this to the students and parents from 38 countries.“Everybody comes with different backgrounds and different experiences. Difference is welcomed and difference is understood,” Dr Priest said with a warm smile.

For more information about the Australian International School Malaysia, go HERE.