Alan Colson: American English Academy Takes Pride in Its Rich Cultural Diversity
Cultural diversity is one of the distinguishing features of the American English Academy (AEA) in Sofia. This is what Alan Colson, the new principal of AEA, said in an interview with Novinite.
Mr. Alan Colson was born in Athens, Georgia in 1961, and has lived and worked in Georgia, New York, Michigan, and Colorado. He studied at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia and Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York.
He first came to Bulgaria in 1997 and subsequently made four other trips traveling throughout the country doing humanitarian work. He has been on the staff of ten schools in the United States as well as four schools in Sofia, Bulgaria. He worked as a teacher at the American English Academy from 2007 to 2010 and also taught Conversational English classes at Uwekind, Britanica, and at ESPA.
On October 28, 2015 he moved back to Sofia along with his wife Greta and their two children Aaron, and Sophia. On November 2 he began his new position as Principal of the American English Academy and Mrs. Greta Colson started her work as a teacher in the Kindergarten.
What challenges do you see lying ahead of you in your new job?
First of all, I want to say I am honored to be the Principal of AEA and look forward to having a positive effect on the school. Perhaps my greatest challenge will be to meet the needs of the students, parents, and staff of AEA while at the same time fulfilling my other obligations of my position. I am confident I will be able to do this and very much look forward to this challenge and opportunity.
What makes AEA a priority choice for expats who are looking for international education in Bulgaria?
The American English Academy was founded as an international school almost 25 years ago. Since then we have educated students from all over the world with the average of 30 nations represented in the school each year. This experience with different cultures gives us knowledge of the specific needs and requirements of the international community and thus helps us serve them better. Each nationality is welcome at AEA and the diversity of cultures that floods the hallways of the school is something we are very proud of and is enjoyed both by parents and students. And, of course, the most important thing of all is that the school offers international education based on American accreditation standards, and incorporates a variety of publishing companies that encompass its core curriculum – McGraw-Hill, Holt McDougal, Saxon Mathematics, Pearson. Our students graduate with an American diploma which is recognized internationally.
Where do you see the strongest competition to AEA coming from?
I do not consider any other schools in Sofia as competitors. I believe each of us have a role to play in order to offer the parents and students in Sofia the best educational experience as they study and prepare to continue their education at Universities throughout the world. I desire to network with the other English Schools in Sofia to learn from and share with to assist all our students to have the best possible educational experience.
What is your idea of successful performance as head of AEA?
I would consider my efforts to have been a success if the following points are met. First, if students feel comfortable around me and know I value them as a person as well as a student. Second, if their parents know I am concerned about and committed to offering their children the highest level of education during their time with us and that I desire to be available and transparent with them as to their concerns and ideas to improve AEA for everyone. Third, if the staff knows I value and appreciate both their efforts and talent as the key component to the success of AEA and want the school to be a welcoming environment for them to flourish and grow and be respected as they continue to hone their craft as Teachers.
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