Academic journal article The International Schools Journal

Obituary: William Powell, 6.12.1948 - 11.7.2016

Academic journal article The International Schools Journal

Obituary: William Powell, 6.12.1948 - 11.7.2016

Article excerpt

With the recent passing of Bill Powell, education has lost one of its most active and inspirational figures.

As a youngster Bill moved from the UK to New York, where he completed his secondary and college education and eventually became a teacher. He taught students with learning and behavioural needs, and it was his affinity with students who do not thrive in the conventional classroom that drove much of his thinking, especially in the later years.

Leaving the US with his wife Ochan Kusuma-Powell, Bill taught for a while in Saudi Arabia before taking up an English teaching position at the International School of Tanganyika, Dar es Salaam. Bill thrived in the challenging but welcoming environment of 'Dar' and proved himself a natural leader, becoming Secondary Principal and later CEO. With just a short interlude in Jakarta, he and Ochan spent 16 years there raising their two sons and growing as educators. Bill was an idealist and and a problem-solver, two qualities that served him well as he built a leading, values-driven international school.

After 'Dar' Bill became Director of the International School of Kuala Lumpur. It was here that Bill and Ochan further refined their thinking on inclusive education and, more specifically, on ways of helping all educators - teachers and school leaders alike - adapt their practice so that every child in every classroom will learn and feel valued.

Bill once wrote, "No child should have to earn the right to belong". Some ten years ago Bill and Ochan left ISKL - although Kuala Lumpur remained their home - to set up their consultancy service Education Across Frontiers. Their aim has been to enhance the learning - and sense of belonging - of countless children around the world by coaching and training their teachers. Scholarly, yet with a lightness of touch, their workshops and publications have been in demand on every continent. The remarkable How to Teach Now (ASCD, publisher) and The OIQ Factor: Raising your school's organizational intelligence (John Catt, publisher) are examples of their recent publications and there are many others.

In 2010 they founded, together with Kevin Bartlett and Kristen Pelletier, The Next Frontier: Inclusion (NFI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping schools be more inclusive of children who learn differently. …

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