Q&A with Mel Curtis, Head of School

Jennifer Wallace
Mel Curtis has been the Head of School at ISN Nice since October 2020. We organised a short Q&A to ask her more about her background in education and what makes ISN Nice so special.
 
How long have you worked in education, and what was your path to becoming Directrice of ISN Nice?
 
I was a Headteacher in the UK for 10 years across three schools, before moving to Dubai for six years as an Executive Principal, where I was proud to be at the helm of the first 'Outstanding' IB World school in the region for children ages 3-18. Next, I moved to Switzerland as Chief Academic Officer for Europe working in France, Croatia and Poland for three years, opening new day and boarding schools and supporting acquisitions.
 
Then, I crossed the Atlantic to the USA to lead the British International School of Chicago working alongside Julliard Performing Arts in New York and MIT in Boston. We became the first STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) school in the area and this led to me working alongside many International Schools supporting them in setting up Maker Spaces, Tinker Labs, Maker Fairs and a STEAM curriculum. I was also busy leading student entrepreneurship and startups as part of a business curriculum for Primary and Middle School students.
 
I came back to Europe working in Prague and Geneva. Finally, my end goal was realised when I was approached in regards to taking over as Directrice at ISN Nice. Having had a second home in the Var for over 12 years I was delighted to accept.
 
With all your wonderful experience in International Schools, what do you think is unique about ISN Nice?
 
The school is a diverse family of inspiring individuals and ambitious learners. It has values at the core of everything it does and we place the child first at all times. ISN Nice is a very special place where the voices of students and staff are valued, and there are many opportunities for leadership.
 
What benefits does being an IB (International Baccalaureate) World School bring to students?
 
The IB programme offers students a broad and balanced curriculum, from primary through pre-university, that champions both academic achievement and personal development, and it is well-respected by leading universities and colleges worldwide. The programme's philosophy highlights the importance of an holistic approach to learning where each student fully develops as a whole person and takes a proactive role as a responsible global citizen. 
 
Through learner-centred teaching, we empower students, as agents in their IB journey, to develop the self-knowledge and confidence that leads to success. In a setting that fosters cross-cultural competency, our students also develop the attributes of the IB learner profile, which equip them with the skills that are essential to make positive contributions to a diverse and connected world.
 
Tell us your favourite thing about coming to work every day?
Three students and a teacher sit and have a conversation at an outdoor table
 
My morning starts by greeting students and their families at the school gates. The young people are what make ISN Nice so special. They are confident, articulate and love being part of this community. The staff are experienced and come to school with a passion to make a difference every day - they are learner-centred and this is what gives a buzz to the school. We consistently aim very high to ensure that we give the very best to all our students. There is a feeling of professionalism here and a drive to excel in all ways. I love coming to ISN Nice and seeing even the small changes we make being noticed and having an impact not only on academics, but the social and emotional aspects of learning.
 
As you know the region well, can you share your favourite place in the area?
 
My favourite place is La Table in Tourtour in the Var - le village dans le ciel!
 
Thank you for your time! Finally, how can parents get in touch with you?
 
My door is always open to prospective families. I am happy to take a call, a zoom or you can email me - I always look forward to connecting with parents and sharing more about our wonderful school.
 
If you'd like to get in contact with Mel Curtis with questions about enrolling your child at ISN Nice, you can contact us here