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Prof. Dr. George A. Hickman, PhD is a native of Newfoundland, Canada. His first appointment as a Principal, at age 17, was in a small two-room school. He has had a passion for teaching and learning since that time, and it was that passion and drive that stimulated his thirst for excellence and a commitment to life-long learning. He believes that schools must focus on the core values which inspire students to become inquirers, knowledgeable learners, good communicators, highly principled, and caring individuals who are open-minded, independent thinkers, risk takers, balanced and reflective.
Dr. Hickman holds undergraduate degrees and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Memorial University of Newfoundland, which is one of Canada’s top Universities. He also holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Toronto, where he completed his PhD in the shortest time in the history of that University.
His experience as a Head of School in Canada, Thailand and Nigeria spans almost 30 years. He is the immediate past Headmaster of British International School, Phuket, a position he held for seven years and was Director of Education at Greensprings School in Lagos, Nigeria for two years.
At British International School, Phuket, he is recognized for “turning BIS Phuket around” from being a then failing school to one of the top schools in South East Asia. While at BIS Phuket he got the School through accreditation by Council of International School (CIS) and N.E.A.S.C as well as a successful 5 Year IB Review. His intense passion for education, school improvement and academic excellence which was the integral feature in leading to students at the British International School, Phuket, (www.bisphuket.ac.th) receiving the highest IGCSE and IB grades in the 15 Year history of the school in 2010. As well, being awarded the “Prime Minister’s Award for Outstanding Performance as the Best Provider of International Education in Thailand in 2010”, and a second major award for “Outstanding Achievement for Facilities and Curriculum Development”, are indicators of progress towards “excellence in all that we do”, which is his mantra as a leader. BIS Phuket is now regarded as one of the leading international schools in Asia.
As Director of Education at Greensprings School, he was responsible for coordinating the Educational Programs for 350 academic staff and 2700 students in Pre-School, through IGCSE to the IBDP, he was in charge of the two campuses. The two Principals of Lekki School and Anthony School reported to him.
He has also been a University Professor, University Vice-President for Human Resources and Consultant to Presidents. When asked why he left his present position as a Consultant to the President at Naresuan University in Thailand, to join The Regent Family, his response was: “My focus has always been on the student as the centre of the educational process. Students are my raison d’etre, and School is what I do. My heart is in the day and boarding school system, and as a committed educational leader, I feel that I can help The Regent Secondary School progress further down the road of excellence. I am always cognizant that, whether directly or indirectly, decisions must always be taken based on what is perceived best for students. It is a great honour to join Regent Secondary School as its new Principal.”
More specifically, underpinning Dr. Hickman’s educational philosophy is a strong advocacy that excellence will never result from leadership that is unwilling to break new ground. He claims that excellence will never come from simply re-working the old to provide a perception of the new. However, excellence will come with a commitment to true quality, and with the insight bound up in the collective minds of all stakeholders. The continuous search for excellence requires the establishment of short, medium and long-term goals and objectives.
Dr. Hickman advocates a collegial style of leadership with participative decision-making as a fundamental principle. As a focused instructional leader, he takes pride in leading a well-administered school with a team of professionals dedicated to providing students with every opportunity to maximize their potential to learn and that of teachers to teach to the best of their ability. At the same time, he makes it clear that he expects nothing less than a top-notch performance from all academic and non-academic staff, and they have the right to expect the same from him. “Excellence in Everything we do” is his mantra.
As a matter of philosophy, Dr. Hickman believes that a critical role of the Head of School is to forge a relationship with all stakeholders that will ensure the improvement of teaching and learning. As “Principal Teacher”, the Head is responsible for motivating and inspiring all stakeholders to evolve and tailor an educational climate conducive to the development and delivery of curricula to meet the ever-changing needs of society. Often, this implies change resulting from continuous assessment of current curricula and overall administrative processes and procedures to ensure school-wide effectiveness and efficiency. The development of a school climate in which instructional leadership flourishes, and where excellence becomes a demonstrated fact of academic and non-academic staff pervades a good school. This is essential if a school is to meet and exceed world class standards. Being mindful of the need to capitalize on strengths and, at the same time, to improve weaknesses, the best schools are those in which an atmosphere of commitment, integrity, respect, collegiality and energy, lead to excellence. At the same time, Dr. Hickman is quick to also point out that sometimes “hard” decisions have to be taken, and he believes in accountability to all stakeholders.
Always focusing on student learning, three questions are always in mind: “Where are we now? Where do we want to go? And, how are we going to get there?”
In sum, Dr. Hickman describes his philosophy as one of “hard work, ethical behaviour, fairness and equity, transparency and approachability, where knowledge-based, experienced practice is indicative of strong, visionary and productive leadership leading to the achievement of a world class school.” Board of Directors