Voices (ISL Stories)

Meet Joey Kaufhold

Learn more about Joey Kaufhold, Assistant Principal of Early Years

Please introduce yourself briefly.
I am the father of a beautiful daughter and husband to an amazing woman, and fellow educator, Gabby. I am the youngest of 4 boys and get a little bit of my identity from each of my brothers. My mother was a teacher and, of course, that initially made me hesitant to become an educator. I am from the United States and very proud to be a Minnesotan.

Tell us about your role at ISL and how long you have been working at ISL.
My role is overseeing all things Early Years at ISL. This includes pastoral care of students and families, day to day operations and the learning and teaching side, as well. Additionally, alongside Jon Adams, we are implementing the Primary Years Programme (PYP) which is a framework for teaching and learning that is very much aligned with the philosophy of the ISL Lower School. 

What did you do prior to working at ISL?
Prior to working at ISL I have been working in schools in the US, Puerto Rico, Qatar, and Japan. As a teacher I primarily taught in Early Years teams that included Grade 1. Most recently, I was an Assistant Principal and PYP Coordinator across preschool to grade 5 in Tokyo, Japan.

What does your typical day look like?
My day starts by welcoming teachers, as well as students, and their families to school. Once everything is settled I try to make my rounds to the classrooms and engage with the students as they play. During the day I usually have meetings to attend, time to work on documentation, communicate with families, problem find and problem solve, and usually some more time for play.

What do you love most about your work?
I love playing with and alongside young children and getting to hear their stories and explanations of their world. I love developing and documenting units of learning that are engaging, relevant, significant and challenging.

What do you think is unique about ISL?
Something that is special about ISL is our student population. We have children from many different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences coming together to create a third culture.

On a daily basis, how do you contribute to making ISL the school of choice?
I contribute by helping the Early Years and Lower School teams create learning that is engaging, relevant, significant and challenging.

What do you think are the most important skills a student should acquire today?
One of the most important skills that I think students should acquire is the ability to take agency for their learning. To me, this means to act with ownership and intention towards goals of interest by utilizing one’s skills to learn and reflection on that learning. It is about doing what matters.

How do you define the success of a student?
To me, student success is having the skills, knowledge and dispositions to do what matters most to themselves. 

Describe ISL in 5 words.
Dynamic, well established, learning-focused, student centered, diverse

What do you love to learn about?
I love learning about history and how this affects how people live today and where we are headed in the future.








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