An Interview with Bill Oldread: Three Nights in Bangkok

Oct 12, 2011 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico

1)      I understand that you are going to have a leadership conference in Bangkok in two weeks with over 1100 delegates. What is the name of your conference and how did this come about?

The Conference is the 43rd Earcos Leadership Conference. One of our main functions is to provide professional development to our member schools. Toward this end we organize two major conferences each year. This conference is targeted to school board members, school heads, principals, etc. The Teachers’ Conference is held in March and will also be in Bangkok. As I indicated we expect approximately 1500 teachers to attend. We also sponsor close to 50 2 or 3-day weekend workshops that are hosted at one of our member schools.

2)      Who is going to be the keynote speaker or speakers?

We have 3 keynote speakers; Hafsat Abiola-Costello is Human Rights, Democracy Activist from Nigeria. She comes from a family of Pan-Africanists. Her father, M.K.O. Abiola was elected President of Nigeria in 1993 but served his term in military confinement dying on the eve of his release. Martin Skelton from the UK. Martin has worked in Education for 40 years, is the founder of Fieldwork Education and is director of the parent organization, World Class Learning. Patrick Bassett is the President of NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) and adjunct professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. His keynote is entitle, Trends: Top 10 Trends for School Leaders to Ponder.

3)      Now, why Bangkok? I must admit I have never been there.

Bangkok is a great city with a world class airport. Our members love to go to Thailand on holidays and since the conference in March either precedes or follows their spring holiday, it a natural venue. There are very hotels/resorts in Easter Asia that are large enough and have enough break-out rooms to accommodate our large conferences. Cost is also an issue- Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo have become prohibitive in terms of cost of hotel rooms and services.

4)      Does this conference have a theme and what issues do you see as paramount?

The conference theme is “The Why of School in 2030.” Educators and schools everywhere are trying to keep pace, and try to look beyond the changes and demands currently facing schools. Issues such as the role of technology in both teaching and learning as well as the management of schools; what role does data play in delivery and assessment of learning, organizational management, teacher supervision, evaluation, and compensation.

5)      Exactly how long will the conference last? And does Bangkok have an airport? Or where is the nearest airport?

The conference is scheduled for 3 days but we also offer a pre-conference day which will attract over 400 people. As I said earlier, the airport is world class and is about a 45 minute drive from downtown BKK.

6)      Who should attend? And what kinds of skills will they learn about?

As I said above, our members schools (120 and growing) send their heads, principals, business managers, curriculum coordinators, and one or two board members.

7)      What have I neglected to ask?

East Asia is growing rapidly in economic and strategic power. In 2000 there were 20 int. schools in China and now an estimated 200. 25 or our members are in China. We have member schools from Mongolia and Japan in the North to Malaysia and Indonesia in the South.

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