Principal’s Desk

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“Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” —William Butler Yeats

Dear KPIS Community,

My name is Matthew Merritt, and I am honored to be the new high school principal at KPIS this year. The above Yeats quotation holds a special place in my heart, because it reminds me that our understanding of learning has changed drastically in 30 years. As is true with many of you when I attended high school, back in the 1980’s, children were considered vessels that the teachers filled with knowledge. We now recognize that this is not how the human brain works, develops, and grows. The Web has provided access to the body of human knowledge and the amount of available knowledge now to too much to impart upon young learners and expect it all to be retained. Leaning is no longer about how much you know, it is more about the ability to access what you need to know, see beyond what you don’t, and create what is needed. I love working with young learners today, as much as I love continuing to learn myself. Your children come to us overflowing with wonder and ambition. Our time with them, as their guides in this journey of learning, is invaluable and should be treated with the utmost respect and importance. Can there be a more important role in our community than parent and teacher?

I am excited about my opportunity to add to the story of KPIS. The history of the school and the growth of the community around it is compelling. I believe in the mission and vision of our school. It stands on a strong foundation of educational philosophy, civil responsibility, integrity and hard work. These match my educational foundations, as well. As much as I enjoy the history of our school, it is the future that excites me the most. High school students are at one of the most defining times in their lives. Our students have reached a milestone when excitement and opportunity meet responsibility and duty. Their identity, their contributions to society, their self-understanding and approach to the world is wide open to them. I am dedicated to working in partnership with KPIS parents to ensure each of our students has all available doors open to them, by them, and for them. Thank you for entrusting KPIS with your precious of cargo. I can assure you we will treat the invaluable time we have with our students as a cherished gift.

I get to light the fire of my own teenage daughters at home, as well. My eldest daughter, Emily, is entering tenth grade and our little one, Hannah, will be a ninth grader this year. Trust me when I tell you that I am living the emotional roller coaster that comes with raising high school students. My wife, Elizabeth, is an accomplished educator in her own right. We appreciate living an international life, as Elizabeth grew up in England and myself in America, we have tried to raise our children to be empathetic and engaged citizens of the world. We believe in life-long learning, as evident of my PhD studies now and two previous Masters degrees in education. I have had to promise Elizabeth that I will stop spending our hard-earned salaries on university fees upon completion of this latest effort. We also embrace and appreciate Thai culture. The beauty, the serenity, and the optimism of the people in our host country is not lost on us. We let Thailand enter our home every day and we are all better for it.

Sincerely yours,
Matthew R. Merritt

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