“I want to create a PennSchool that is rich in identity, with an advanced education system, and accompanied by love”
At every stage in life, everyone will encounter certain crossroads where it is sometimes impossible to know whether what lies ahead is an opportunity or a challenge. For Ms. Cao Thien Ai Nuong, the shift from university teaching to international high school is proof that success will come to those who are truly dedicated and passionate.
Let’s listen to Ms. Cao Thien Ai Nuong, as she shares her journey at PennSchool, one of IEDG’s latest, cutting-edge schools under the group.
It is known that you used to be a lecturer and a course developer at a University. What drew your attention to international curricula?
In my teaching career, I’ve always had the desire to help generations of students use English fluently and confidently in their studies and research, and bolster their opportunities for success as a result.
During a business trip to Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, I had the opportunity to interact with a number of international students, especially those from Asian countries, including Vietnam. Upon meeting them I realized that, in addition to mastering knowledge, a strong English language foundation is one of the most prominent factors in helping young people to showcase their strengths and really stand out on their journey of becoming global citizens.
After a period of researching and analyzing effective teaching methods for students, I came to the conclusion that students who are exposed to foreign languages at an early age often have the best chance of mastering that language. With the desire to help students confidently integrate and develop themselves, I have developed a huge passion for research on EMI (English as a Medium of Instruction) and international curricula, especially high school programs.
How did you feel when appointed to lead PennSchool as principal? Did the challenge of leading a new school in the field of general education in the direction of an international curriculum make you feel nervous? And what motivated you to firmly believe in your journey at school?
There will certainly be huge challenges for me and for anyone who takes on a leadership role in a place as important as a school. A new school, a new brand, comes with great responsibility. To ensure that the generations who will contribute to the development of the country in the future are prepared to do so successfully.
With a passion for education and the development of young citizens, my colleagues and I are confident and fully determined because future generations of learners need and deserve to have a meaningful, and prosperous journey.
Can you review the achievements that you and the PennSchool team have made from the beginning until now? In your opinion, what are the most significant achievements made by PennSchool in recent years?
The first achievement I’d like to mention is that together with WASS, all PennSchool students on the first class of the American Baccalaureate program, authorized by the Greenville Area District School Board (Pennsylvania, USA), graduated and won places in prestigious universities, both in Vietnam and abroad.
In addition, most students received a scholarship of 20 – 50% of their total tuition fee for each year of university. After just over a year since the establishment of the 3/2 campus (October 31, 2020), the PennSchool team is honored to receive the trust and patronage of more than 800 students and their families in their journey of mastering knowledge.
With a commitment to bringing the young generation a modern, dynamic and capable educational environment on par with international standards, along with the Board of Directors, the teachers & staff need to make every effort to create a cohesive, friendly, and developed community.
What makes you feel most loved at PennSchool and IEDG? And what makes you feel most proud to work here?
For me, PennSchool is a family. The cohesion between each member, and the dedication of the teachers and staff of the school have created a strong PennSchool.
I love and respect everyone I work with. Everyone is striving and making efforts every day to accomplish the common goals of the Group. I am proud to be a member of that family; especially when I see generations of students at the school who are creative and independent in thinking, and who love to explore and promote their strengths to contribute to the benefits of the community.
Can you share some future plans of PennSchool and of yourself as the chief navigator?
Given the ongoing developments in science and technology, as well as increases in knowledge, the PennSchool team, and particularly myself, will undoubtedly have to constantly develop and make efforts in the future to accomplish the educational goals according to the school’s purpose and vision.
The PennSchool team has been implementing plans and strategies towards the goal of training generations of students, with the courage to master the future, live their dreams, and face every challenge in the era of globalization
At the same time, we also want to direct students towards benevolent moral values and standards through practical activities throughout the school day. All for a PennSchool rich in identity, advanced in education, and always accompanied by love and responsibility.
Ms. Cao Thien Ai Nuong
Principal of The Pennsylvania American International School System (PennSchool)