Read about Dominique’s passion for bilingual education and her outlook on the new school year, in the Q&A below:
Q: Where did you begin your journey in bilingual education?
A: I began my journey in bilingual education unexpectedly, as a mother, raising bilingual children. I was amazed at the development of their language learning process, which was different for each one of them. I was intrigued and mesmerized as they developed their understanding of the world, using the vocabulary from their two languages with ease, always knowing which one to use, and with whom. At the same time, I socialized with international women new to the US, and together, we reflected and developed a cultural understanding of our bilingual or trilingual children. This is what brought me to bilingual education: a burgeoning vision of a world without cultural prejudice and territorial bigotry. This is why I decided to make bilingual education another option in my community.
Q: Why do you feel bilingual education helps students?
A: Children who grew up bilingual know that there are multiple ways to say the same thing. They understand the cultural subtlety inherent to a language, how different cultures interpret the same concept distinctively. They are more flexible, more adaptable, and therefore more resilient. They have superior communication skills, finding easily a different way to express the same thoughts. Attending an international school, or growing up in an international community exposes children to different people and cultures at an early age, allowing them to feel at ease with, and respect and value other ways of life and other beliefs. For multicultural children being different is an exciting everyday reality. They literally walk the talk with grace and authenticity.
Q: How do you foster a tight-knit school community?
A: I I would like to foster a community where everyone feels welcome, respected, listened to, cared for and, yes, loved. I believe a tight-knit community is where “il fait bon vivre”, where it feels good to live. Schools are places for children and people where feelings and emotions are high. We cannot dismiss the power of love and empathy in such a community. Children want to feel loved, supported, encouraged. Teachers work very hard to create the best possible environment for their students, we witnessed this during the Covid crisis; it hurts them very much when they do not receive the appreciation they deserve. Parents face many challenges and deal with worrisome uncertainties. They have chosen a learning community for their children among many others. They want to feel recognized, included and welcome. At FASP, we aim to create working complicity generating friendship and long-lasting ties.
Q: Who inspires you to continue working as a Head of School and what are you looking forward to most during the 2021-22 school year at FASP?
A: I love change, challenges and people, and enjoy feeling that I am of service and can make a difference in the lives of others. There are many such opportunities when you are a HOS. Sometimes people have suggested I do consulting work, but “Head of School” remains on top of the list. I am lucky to have found my path in life, one making me happy to get up and go to work every morning. I started as a teacher in France, then founded and directed a school like FASP in Rhode Island and led other international schools in New York, NY, Berkeley, CA, Bulgaria and Saudi Arabia.
It feels nice to go back to my beginnings with the FASP community. The school is great, well organized, with a strong and well-established vision. The gorgeous campus is a constant source of inspiration, the staff is caring, dedicated and skilled, the board is supportive and welcoming. There are many projects to attend and keep us busy and excited. I can tell I will be happy here and cannot wait to continue meeting the students.
Q: Tell us more about you.
A: I am deep down a quiet, simple, sociable woman who believes in life’s magic and connections. I love working with children and people and have learned that I lead with an artistic perspective, working endlessly at improving and embellishing the surrounding world. I am a family person. The loves of my life are my three international daughters living in three different countries with men of three different nationalities. Two of my daughters are international teachers, one in France, one in Quebec, and the youngest one is a free-lance artist and a pastry cook in Rhode Island. I love water and nature. I enjoy kayaking and hiking, reading, watching movies, drawing, and spending convivial time with good friends.
To read Interim HOS Dominique Velociter’s welcome to the community, please click here.