Published by SchoolAdvisor on Dec 16, 2019, 08:11 AM
Head of Mont’Kiara International School (M’KIS) Mr Trevor Laboski has more than 20 years of experience in education, however, he is anything but your typical Head of School. Mr Laboski is knowledgeable, fun, and incredibly passionate about his work. After he gave us a tour of the school, we sat down for a chat and our conversation ranged from his opinion about the future of education to his favourite Malaysian dish.
SA: Can you briefly tell us about yourself?
Mr Laboski: I’m from the United States and have spent about two decades in the U.S. public education system before coming to M’KIS. I began as a high school science teacher and was a high school principal at two separate high schools (the first had 450 students and the second had 1100). Following that, I worked as an Executive Regional Director for a school district with 10,000 students, where my responsibilities included supervising principals, implementing programs and working with the community.
I took up the position of Head of School at M’KIS 4 years ago. After working in both small and large schools, I felt M’KIS had the right balance between size and opportunity for students. If a school is too big, students can feel lost; too small and a school cannot provide ample opportunities. In this regard, M’KIS is a perfect fit.
Ultimately, I made the decision to join the school based on both my professional experience and what I wanted for my son, who is currently in the 6th grade.
SA: Why did you choose Malaysia?
Mr Laboski: My decision to come to Malaysia was driven by my desire to be a part of M’KIS and the school community. When I visited for my interview, it became clear to me that there is a palpable sense of family and community at M’KIS. That was very appealing.
Malaysia also has a fantastic reputation around the world as a wonderful place to live. We love South East Asia, so it was a place that my family was interested in as well. All of these factors impacted my decision to move here and take up this position.
SA: Why did you choose to become an educator?
Mr Laboski: I would say largely because of my own experience in education, which was a positive one. One of my favourite phrases is - “Students may not always remember what you taught them, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel”- and I think that is what draws most educators to this field. Being in education is not a job, it is a calling. It is a human endeavour that requires a desire to help individuals learn and prepare them for the future. If we truly want a better future, I can think of no better avenue than education.
SA: What do you think the future of education needs to focus on?
Mr Laboski: At M’KIS, our mission is to improve our global community by enhancing the creative, emotional, social and academic talents of the individual child. This focus on whole child development is vital to ensure future success. Ultimately, students must be equipped with the ability to learn how to learn. Core academic knowledge and skills will always be foundational, but the application of skills and knowledge must be the focus.
Resilience and creativity are essential for future success as well. The world is changing at an unprecedented pace, and we know our children will face different and more complex challenges than ever before. One of the most important parts of the job is to equip students with the skills they need to solve problems and adapt.
SA: So, how do you prepare children for that?
Mr Laboski: Education must remain nimble. Context and relevance are key to helping students apply their knowledge. It is imperative that schools constantly challenge the status quo and work to improve the system.
At M’KIS, we focus on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Learner Profile. This framework helps define the attributes we work to instil in our students. Through well-planned, transdisciplinary units, we aim to break down the subject silos and help students discover the connections between them. We also make lessons as relevant and grounded in real life as possible, so students can engage more deeply in their learning. Throughout the entire process, students develop transferable skills that can be applied in any context.
SA: What would you say is your biggest achievement thus far, within these 4 years at M’KIS?
Mr Laboski: I am most proud of the academic programs we have implemented -- the IB Middle Years Programme, IB Primary Year Programme, robotics, engineering, coding, media arts, design technology and more.
Additionally, I believe we have successfully grown our school’s commitment to ensuring belonging and connection for all by expanding avenues for parents, students, and faculty to better connect and become a part of our wonderful community.
Rapid Fire with Mr Trevor Laboski!
For more information on Mont’Kiara International School, visit https://schooladvisor.my/schools/montkiara-international-school-mkis
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