Exciting appointments for our new Elementary School Principal, Morio Kajiwara & Assistant Principal Paul Bertolotto
With more than two decades’ experience in the education sector, Morio Kajiwara will take up his new position as Principal for Preschool to Grade 5 this week.
Commenting on this new appointment Morio says:
“I am delighted to have been appointed as Principal for the Elementary School and I am excited by the amazing opportunities ahead. I am thrilled to be able to continue my career in international education in a unique and progressive school such as ISA, which uses best practices in education from around the world.”
Born and raised in Berkeley, California, Morio has spent the last 13 years at ISA working as a 5th Grade teacher, specialising in computing, while also fulfilling the role of Curriculum Coordinator. As a long-standing staff member at ISA, Morio took up his first role at the school in 1998 as a classroom assistant and EAL (English as an Additional Language) tutor.
A history graduate from Brown University, a teaching career had not been in the plans at first for Morio following graduation, until a trip overseas took him to Switzerland to work as a coach at a sports and language camp.
“I was working with a fantastic, diverse group of young people from many different cultures from all over the world and I realised I was making a difference in these children’s lives. When you work with young people, you see first-hand the impact teachers can have and I knew then that teaching was my passion and that I wanted to pursue a career in education.”
After returning to the US, Morio landed various roles teaching EAL in the San Francisco Bay area while studying at the University of California (UC) Berkeley for his teaching qualification, alongside a Masters in Education (with an emphasis in developmental psychology).
It was the summer of 1998 that first brought Morio to ISA, Scotland’s first and only international school at that time.
“Having worked in a wide range of communities in my teaching placements with students from various different backgrounds, an international school environment held huge appeal for me,” explains Morio.
For the next year, he was a key member of the ISA Elementary School team before landing a role as a Middle School mathematics and science teacher at the American International School in Kuwait. However, Aberdeen was never far from his mind and in July 2001, he and his wife (Susan) and their young family returned to the Granite City for a further six years, where Morio taught 5th Grade and also coached the ISA High School basketball team.
In 2007, the intrepid, globe-trotting teacher landed another international role in Bangkok, Thailand, at Ruamrudee International School, where Morio was the Head of Mathematics (Middle School).
By 2009, ISA was again looking for a talented and experienced elementary school teacher with an international outlook, and Morio, who speaks English, Spanish and French, as well as a little Italian and Japanese, was the obvious choice.
“I was delighted to return to ISA. In fact, each time I was approached and asked to come back to join the team, I jumped at the chance. Aberdeen is a unique city, and a very special place; we have always thought what a fantastic place this is to raise a family – the natural beauty, the clean air, the friendly people and the wide variety of activities available on our doorstep – we are delighted to call ourselves ‘Aberdonians’.
At ISA, we are immensely proud of our vibrant international identity of expats and locals. It is a privilege to work here with the most amazing staff and parent community, but most of all our amazing students. Aside from achieving some of the world’s top exam results, ISA has fantastic pastoral care and a true passion to develop our wonderful young people.”
Morio takes up his position as our Elementary School Principal upon the retirement of current post holder Don Newbury, who will be retiring after a teaching career spanning more than 30 years at ISA.
“Don has seen the school grow over the years, and through all the changes the last three decades have brought, he has maintained a clear philosophy that the child should remain at the centre of teaching and learning. Don is well-respected and an integral part of our school community, and I am honoured to follow in his footsteps to continue supporting every child to find their place in the world.”
Our Head of School, Nick Little, said.
“Morio was the consistently outstanding candidate in an impressive field and we are delighted he has accepted the role as our new Elementary School Principal.
We were looking for someone whose values aligned with ISA, who would make every decision with the child in mind, and who understands that policies and processes are important, but that it is the quality of our relationships that determine the strength of leadership.
Morio is a truly outstanding teacher with an enthusiasm and passion for teaching that is second to none. He is a supportive and inspiring role model for our students and I am confident that he will continue Don’s legacy of care for each and every child.
On behalf of the entire ISA school community, I would like to wish Morio the very best in his new role and to wish Don a very happy and well-deserved retirement.”
Stepping into the role of Assistant Elementary School Principal will be Paul Bertolotto, who has worked as a Grade 4 teacher with ISA for the last five years.
“I am delighted to be taking on the role of Elementary School Assistant Principal and look forward to continuing to work alongside Morio as a truly inspirational teacher and leader in the field of child-centred teaching and learning,” said Paul.
This new role will allow me to fulfil a passion for teaching and my commitment to making a positive impact on our students’ lives while enhancing my management skills to benefit the wider school community.”