Sea Change

My apologies for the extended absence. Things have been a little different here as of late. Quite different, actually. Different probably isn't really even the appropriate word to describe the level of change that’s happened, but, nevertheless, things are definitely very different.

Shortly after returning from our spring holiday, we underwent a fairly extensive accreditation process at school. To make a very long, tedious, and incredibly surprising ,story short we managed to achieve accreditation with relatively flying colours, only to find that the process is largely based on monetary assets and certain individuals’ ability to schmooze. Most of the administration was quite excited about managing to pull this off, and the rest of the school staff were left with relatively dumbfounded. It just goes to show how incredibly shameful for-profit education really can be sometimes.

The plus side to all of this happened to be the accreditors’ recommendation that our Dear Leader be scrapped as a principal based purely on his incompetence. The report they issued was quite strongly worded and included phrases such as ‘guaranteed failure’ and ‘dismal performance’ in describing the very limited interaction they had with him. Subsequently, he was forced to resign a few weeks later, and after a long conversation with the Vice President, he decided he would carry out the rest of his duties through the end of the school year. Much to the Brit and my dismay, he was allowed to announce to staff that ‘extreme personal issues’ meant he had to step down ‘to be with his family’ in an attempt to hide what had transpired. Luckily, it was easily seen through. Ultimately, it achieved the result everyone had been so patiently waiting for. There was quite the celebration the evening he sent out his lengthy 4 page email to staff describing what he wanted everyone to believe had transpired.

Over the last few months there was considerable jockeying by several members of our staff to replace our Dear leader, but ultimately the Brit convinced the VP that the simplest course of action was to hire an outside entity to thoroughly overhaul the entire school organization. I helped the Brit write several lengthy reports outlining exactly what should be done and who the best candidates were, but it largely fell on deaf ears. A week or so later, in less than twenty minutes one evening as the Brit and I were relaxing in his garden, he answered a call from the VP and had no other choice than to accept being named Principal for the coming school year. There wasn’t much in the way of negotiating, but at the end of the call the Brit walked away with a new title (of which he has no experience and little actual desire to have) and he summarily required that I be named his Assistant Principal. I had little choice but to accept, and in the long run it could be quite the opportunity for my future administrative career.

For now, the Brit and I have been drastically overhauling just about every procedure, policy, and routine for the Boys School in hopes that we bring success next year. I have a fairly strong foundation in what our school needs in terms of academics, planning, and execution, and, thankfully, what I lack in experience and personnel management the Brit is quite adept. It also doesn’t really hurt that we happen to be best mates and we’re both stuck in a relatively shaky boat together. For now, things have been looking up, but as always, they aren’t likely to pan out anywhere near what a normal person would expect. At least life is interesting.

Such is life in Saudi.