Middle School Principal

Pip Curtis

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Philippa (Pip) Curtis has spent more than 16 years in international school education. She holds a Masters of Educational Administration and a post-graduate certification in International School Leadership. She is an instructor in the field of curriculum leadership at the Principal’s Training Center during the summer months. Pip was born in England, raised in New Zealand, and has worked in Indonesia, China and India. She has been a middle school principal since 2009 and has dedicated her career to understanding and supporting middle schoolers. Pip is joined in Tokyo by her husband Darrin and she enjoys running, eating out and relaxing with a good book.

We asked


a few questions...

As an educator, what drew you to working with middle-school age students?

I actually began my career as a high school English teacher and it wasn’t until I went to Indonesia to teach in an international school that I was placed with middle schoolers and I saw what I had been missing! I love the fact that students at this age grow and change so quickly—they are constantly learning about themselves—things they couldn’t do at the start of the school year, they can by the end.This journey of learning and discovery is very rewarding to be part of.

In the summer you’re an instructor of curriculum leadership at the Principal’s Training Center. What is the importance of curriculum leadership in your own role as principal?

I believe that as a school leader, if you are going to truly impact student learning, then you can’t be spending all your time on bus schedules or cafeteria menus. While these things are important, it is more important to insure that the learning experiences in the curriculum are robust, thoughtful and that they represent the right level of challenge for our learners. Analyzing and reforming the curriculum each year, and monitoring the quality of instruction in the classroom, is the only way to be sure we are impacting student learning positively as educational leaders.

Who is the teacher that had the most impact on your middle school experience?

I have been so fortunate to work with amazing educators over the course of my career and I have had many incredible mentors. Rather than one particular person, I think what keeps my energy up every year, is being inspired by the work of a team of teachers who ask great questions about the work we do, challenging me to think and to solve problems that will ultimately improve the learning experience for our kids. Particularly at ASIJ, we have teachers who are driven to do their best for each and every child. Working with teachers like this every day is energizing and inspirational.

We asked him more than a few Questions...