Is there life after Rijnlands?
When I said goodbye to the Rijnlands at the end of January 2002, I had no intention of watering the geraniums. On the contrary, I wanted to do a number of other things. Besides, I don’t like geraniums in the house, I think they smell.
I wanted to do interim work as a self-employed person and also supervise projects in the field of international education. I therefore entered the wonderful world of the self-employed in good spirits. That means registering with the Chamber of Commerce, reporting to the tax authorities as a VAT payer, etc.
Looking back, I can only judge that it was a good decision. I have been able to do a large number of things in-house and have broadened my horizons considerably.
One of my best experiences was the interim rectorship of the Kennemer Lyceum in Overveen. It is one of the oldest lyceums in the Netherlands with a great tradition and in that sense also comparable to the Rijnlandse Lycea. Due to a number of circumstances, however, the school was on the verge of collapse in 2003 with only 450 pupils. My main task has been to bring peace to this school full of confusion and to bring the number of pupils up to standard. That was successful and the school has now been in calmer waters for a number of years. Incidentally, such an interim assignment generally does not last longer than a year.
But there were also nice assignments in the international circuit. For example, I was involved in the establishment and development of the Amsterdam International Community School. Here, by the way, I worked again with our former colleague Beth Young. This school has experienced tremendous growth since 2003. In addition, I advised in Breda on the establishment of the International School (part of the Mencia de Mendoza) and I prepared the establishment of the International School Utrecht. Incidentally, it was striking with all these assignments how risk-averse most school boards are when starting these kinds of new and unknown initiatives. One of my most important tasks was to convince the board of the feasibility of an international department. Through my position as chairman of the SIO (International Education Foundation) I also stay well informed about the developments of the Dutch International Schools.
Although I think back with great pleasure on my time at the Rijnlands (and I am pleased to note that the school under John Swieringa is experiencing an unprecedented flourishing, with which I warmly compliment John and the school) it is therefore clear that even after the Rijnlands is a beautiful life.
Ad Vaessen (April 2013)