Meet Simón, a passionate physical education professional who spent 27 years teaching at ASH. While he retired a few years ago, you can still find him on our courts coaching our tennis players in the fall and spring seasons. After all the years of dedication and knowledge he gave to our PE and athletics program, he is still contributing his expertise to our budding student-athletes.
“Over time I became a firm believer in experiential education and the school supported that philosophy.” - Simon, Staff Alum
What is the general framework of when you were at ASH?
I had the privilege to work at ASH for twenty-seven years starting in 1991. In my first eight years, I was an athletic director as well as a physical education teacher and coach. Afterwards, I taught full-time until retiring.
My first eight years as athletic director were eventful from the start. My most challenging experience during my first year was organizing a soccer/volleyball tournament around the same time that President W. H. Bush was to make an official visit to the school. Everything worked out smoothly in the end. Thereafter, I went on to have a successful and fulfilling experience leading a program that grew in scope and size.
I also tried to be as involved as possible in the life of the school and in administration because I wanted to make sure that sport and physical education received the respect and support that it deserves. I served on several board committees, was president of the Teachers’ Association, member of the Works Council and led the Committee of Physical Education of the International Schools Council for many years. I took every opportunity possible to exalt the profession and validate its importance for our students and everyone else.
How was your #ASHexperience? How did your experience shape your path?
During that time, as it has been throughout my career, I got a lot of satisfaction and inspiration from seeing the students develop skills and give their best in playing situations. Planning, organizing and overseeing events and classes where students challenged themselves and experienced success encouraged me to remain in the profession until retirement age. I really enjoyed teaching, mentoring student teachers, coaching and the personal interactions with many in the community.
There were many challenges but I welcomed that and was grateful for the opportunity and being part of a thriving school environment. It was also fun to visit many schools throughout Europe, visit cities while at conferences and see how my efforts made a difference.
What is a special memory you have of your time at ASH? Was there a person that had a large impact on you during your time at ASH?
My most endearing and satisfying role was as a physical education teacher in the elementary school for nineteen years. Working alongside Patrick, a fellow PE teacher, with whom I formed a very productive partnership. Teaching most of the age levels challenged me to be creative, patient and stay physically fit. I often hid my smile and joy seeing such young students overcome hesitation, frustration, fear, and doubt.
My goal was to make sure that every student experienced some success and made every attempt to succeed. The school supported our professional goals fully and provided us the spaces and many types of equipment to create lessons that the students longed to come to. Over time I became a firm believer in experiential education and the school supported that philosophy.
Where are you today and what are you pursuing?
I recently became a grandfather and cannot wait to chase and guide the little one to love to move just like my students. My other two children are also living in the country and so our home will be in the Netherlands. Staying fit and engaged is important as one gets older and I maintain many movement goals including short and long walks such as the Roman Limes Route, the Camino, doing yoga, running, biking as often as possible, and playing and competing in tennis events. I also have had more time to tackle the Dutch language via courses and lessons. Soon we can also return to more travel and other adventures.
I have been “retired” for three years, yet still have had several opportunities to remain connected to ASH and offer whatever service I can possibly make. I continue to enjoy coaching and assisting with and leading athletic events for the school. It has been a special honor to come back and see former students grow into fine athletes.
We have a diverse community of students, staff, and families from around the world. Each member of our community brings their own story that enriches the ASH experience.