Neil Richards – Interview with New AC Principal

INK: Neil Richards, welcome in Atlantic College and congratulations on your selection. You said, you just called your home in Japan. How did your family react?

Neil Richards (NR): My wife was very delighted and my daughter as well. She is 16 and will attend Atlantic College in the next year. Otherwise she would have had to go to a state school for the first time in her life. But this is really the best place to be.

INK: We know you resigned already from your old job as the headmaster of the International School of Yokohama. When will you be able to start working for Atlantic College?

NR: I will return to Britain in June and work for AC from August. But some work on the principal’s house will last until the 1st September. So in the first weeks I won’t live on campus.

INK: What are the things you have to do in your last weeks in Japan?

NR: There are lots of farewell things to do. I have to prepare things for the new head. Then we have to move our entire home and a lot of packing will go on. My son will hopefully study in Cardiff-University and he will have to make a lot of important decisions.

INK: What is your impression of the last days in Atlantic College?

NR: The students have been wonderful and overwhelming. Every time I sat down at a table in the Dining Hall they stopped talking and were interested in getting to know me.

INK: What was the most interesting question you were asked in the past days?

NR: There was not the one interesting question. But someone asked me about western and eastern viewpoints in many aspects and I have been a teacher in Europe, Africa, Asia and South-America. I have lots of bits of perspectives to draw on. This morning I had a very good discussion as well about the gap-year- programme of Atlantic College. That is something I would like to work on. But all these things need exploring.

INK: You have been to many interesting and exciting places in the past. Is there one most significant experience?

NR: I was headmaster in Lesotho in Africa. One morning I woke up and found myself in the middle of a conflict. I could hear shootings outside on the street. The phone rang and a teacher asked me, what is going on? And I had no idea. When I went out into the garden a bullet just passed me and flew into a tree. In that situation I had the responsibility to calm teachers and students down.

INK: Is there any message you want to send to the college-community before we leave for summer-holidays?

NR: I would like to write something and send it in as soon as possible. Unfortunately I am very busy at the moment.

INK: Thank you very much for your time. Have a safe journey.

– United World College Student Magazine –

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