There’s a New Superintendent in Town

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Sebastian Gil Mejia

New Columbus School Superintendent Ruth Allen in her office at the Administration building.

The Columbus School is welcoming our new Superintendent Ruth Allen, who assumed the position left vacant by retiring Superintendent Susan Jaramillo in August.

After the retirement of Ms. Jaramillo, TCS was in need of new superintendent. Following a a rigorous search lead by the school’s Board of Directors, the call was answered by Ms. Allen. Ms. Allen, who previously worked in SACS schools like Colegio Albania and Colegio Anglo Colombiano, has over two decades of experience in education.

“As a leader, Ms Allen has great communications skills, is humble and has a high emotional intelligence. She also leads thru example. Ms Allen is a very charming person with a great British sense of humor,” Christian Toro, President of the TCS Board of Directors, said.

Ms. Allen was born in Northern England, daughter of a Scottish mother and English father. She earned a masters degree in linguistics at Lancaster University and then began teaching in high schools. When offered an opportunity to work abroad in Colombia, she took it. Over the next decade she worked in a series private schools before landing here, as the new Superintendent at TCS.

“Definitely the size of the school, it is impressive, yet it presents quite a challenge. I have never worked in a school of this size before,” Ms. Allen said.

Colegio Albania, Ms. Allen’s previous school, was smaller than TCS with the average of only 28 students per grade level and a total of only 429 students. TCS has 110 to 140 students depending on the grade level, with a total of approximately 1,750 students.

Ms. Allen expressed that one of her first goals is to clarify and focus the mission and vision of TCS.

“Schools tend to have a vision and a mission, but the thing is it tends to be quite external to us. It’s not necessarily something that we have internalized to use every day and guide our decisions,” Allen said.

Another goal for Ms. Allen is to develop a plan that will allow students to follow and work on their passions, while at the same time fulfilling both the American and the Colombian graduation requirements. In some other countries, high school students are able to customize their classes to focus on subjects that interests of the individual and better prepare them for what they want to study in the university.

“One of the big challenges in education at the moment is balancing the desire of a true education, which exploits the potential of all students, with the requirement to pass a set of tests and particular standards,” Allen said.

So far, the response to Ms. Allen’s leadership and performance have been very positive.

“I think she’s an excellent fit for the school. I’ve been working with her for now a couple months and am very happy with how things are going,” Roger Arbabi, TCS High School Principal, said.