Kate Doyle Joins UWCM


by the Flying Dutchman,
December 14th, 2017


[aesop_content color=”#000000″ background=”#ffffff” component_width=”600px” columns=”1″ position=”none” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” disable_bgshading=”off” floaterposition=”left” floaterdirection=”up” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]Last year Tian Bersey left UWCM to go to the United Kingdom. She did a lot for students’ life on campus, and she is a difficult person to replace. Fortunately, Kate Doyle, a person of equal passion and spirit, has joined our community this year. She left Waterford Kamhlaba UWC in Swaziland where she was Deputy Principal to become Deputy Director of Secondary here at UWCM. To learn more about our new members to the community, we interviewed Kate last week.
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TFD: Could you talk about a bit about yourself and how you came to be here?
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Kate: Before Maastricht, I was at UWC Waterford at Swaziland. I was there for three years as the deputy principal. They also had a quite similar portfolio. However, it was a bit more towards the pastoral side of things. Well, and this position became available here in Maastricht. I’d heard good things about the school, and it was also really appealing to get my children into UWC, as they were in a local primary school in Swaziland, but to get then into UWC was special for us. Yeah, so I applied and got the post.
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Also, my husband and I had also lived in London and we’d also at a point planned to move back to Europe. I’m originally from South Africa. I’ve lived in London, also Australia for a while and then worked in South Africa in education and then to Swaziland at the UWC.
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TFD: Have you always wanted to be involved in the education sector?
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Kate: Yeah, it was what I studied after school, and I’m very lucky because I enjoy what I do and I am very passionate about education. I must say that I feel like I found my place at UWC because I like the UWC values.
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The school I worked at in South Africa was around square school also started by Kurt Hahn. It had very similar values of internationalism and the environment. I loved that side of it. When I was in the school in South Africa, I used to run an outdoor education program and used to take our students away into the bushes for 17 nights, and it was all kind of about adventure, leadership, service; there was a big service component to it as well. That was working very well. I ran the project, and eventually we ended up starting our outdoor facility for the school, my husband and I. Education can many different forms of experiences, and for me, that’s what makes it so exciting. Also, I think just in the UWC movement you can work with people and students from all around the world.
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TFD: From your perspective what do you find different here from Swaziland?
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Kate: I think the most obvious difference is that here it is a whole school model. In Swaziland, it was a 7-year model. So, we had 11-year-olds on campus up to 20-year-olds. That was one difference. The obvious one is I guess the weather. And I think space as well. In Swaziland, I think we were quite lucky that we had a lot of space.  We had green fields, and it was built on the side of a mountain, so you get this feeling of a lot of space around you. This is a great campus as well; it’s just interesting to see how different people use space differently and that people are much more conscious here of indoor space. It’s a bigger school population too. in Swaziland, it was 600 students, and here it is over 1000 students. So, you just get a different feel for these obvious kinds of things. Within the school itself, I think that them both being UWCs they share similar values.
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I’ve finally after three years in Swaziland understood the abbreviations like IB, TOK, EE, IAs, at least I’ve done that learning curve. When I first joined there I was like I have no idea what you guys are talking about, it’s like a whole new language. So at least the IB is the same. I have no experience however with the middle year program as Swaziland ran the IGCSE program with juniors. I think that people are similar in both schools. You know you treat people well, you’re smart, approachable, you listen to people, people are good. It’s nice for me to see. The people that choose to come to UWC are usually are already bought by the values already and believe and have mutual respect for each other and to celebrate differences.
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TFD: So what are your short term and long term goals?
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Kate: My short term goal at the moment is that I’m spending time chatting with people, which has been good. I’ve been learning, the basics, who is who and who does what. I’m gathering that I’ve got big shoes to fill in for Tian because she’s left quite a legacy behind and sounds like she did an amazing job. I was able to spend some time with her and have some handovers and that she’s left me a very platform to work with. I am certainly going to take what she had done and not change a lot because it seems like what she was doing was working.
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Long term I guess is where my passion lies which is helping and caring for the students with what they need. To really help students coming from MYP to adjust with DP and create a good experience through their secondary years. I hope to keep support systems in place so when the tough times comes, particularly in DP2, they have something to rely on.
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TFD: If you could have a superpower what would it be?
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Kate: Haha..um…what would my super power be? I’m laughing because asked my daughter a similar question. I asked her what person would she want to be in the world and she said she would love to be Donald Trump. Bear in mind that she’s 11. There are way too many to choose from… I think… I think it would like the classic kind who wants to help people and fight for fairness, all of those normal cliche things.

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TFD: If you were to learn a language in the world what would it be?
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Kate: I think my challenge to myself is to learn to Dutch. Before I lived here I would probably have said French because it’s such a universal language. I’m always embarrassed to be only speaking one language and It’s something I would definitely like to work on. We are looking at living in the Netherlands as quite a long-term thing. I believe learning the language makes such a big difference in how you interact with locals. Also, when I did school in South Africa, we had to do Afrikaans and apparently it has some similarities to Dutch, so that should be helpful.  
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TFD: What do you think is the biggest challenge?
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Kate:  I think that the biggest challenge is trying to find a work-home balance. Schools are busy environments, and you want to be involved in everything. Residential schools have their added layer of business to them. I hope to commit to projects and work hard, while also making sure that I have energy left for my family.
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TFD: I have seen your children around, they’re really cute. What are their names?
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Kate: I have four children. So, my girls are 11 and are in year 6. Their names are Georgia and Quinn, but they are very different. We have Jethro He’s 10 and our adopted son. And we’ve got Noah Who’s 8 and is in year 3. Yeah, they’re good and very well settled and love their classes. We’ve been made feel very, very welcome.

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