Head of School advising elementary Stamford American School HK student

Student Council Interview with Ms. Dietz

Meet our Head of School

This school year has had its challenges; however, as a community, we worked to face and overcome those challenges under the leadership of Ms. Dietz. Ms. Dietz has been our Head of School since it opened in 2017. We are extremely glad to have her leadership here in Hong Kong, especially as we navigate the new challenges that this school year presented.

On April 28, Ms. Dietz was interviewed online by three of the Elementary Student Council members. She was asked about her teaching experience, her daily routines as Head of School, and more personal questions, such as her favorite book. Let’s read what she had to share.

Before becoming the Head of School at Stamford HK, Ms. Dietz was a principal at Stamford Singapore. However, her roles in education have varied over the years. So what has she done before in other schools? She taught middle school math and science as well as upper elementary students. She also worked outside of the classroom as an ICT Coordinator (just like Mr. Evans). She even had the position of Director of Teaching and Learning before becoming principal then Head of School. So why did she choose to get into education and all of these roles in the first place? Well, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do while she was at university. There were so many options! She remembered in high school she taught dance and swimming, and she loved it. She then combined that with her love for math, and which helped her decide to become a math teacher.

Being Head of School is a huge responsibility. There is a lot of work that goes into it. So what would a typical day look like for Ms. Dietz? Ms. Dietz typically spends her mornings at the school entrance greeting students, families, and even teachers as they walk into the building and start their days. In fact, that is one of her favorite parts of the day because she feels energized when she sees the students and teachers happy to be at Stamford. However, her day isn’t all about morning greetings (trust us, she has way more responsibility than Leo the Lion). So what else does she do? Each day looks different in her schedule; she often has meetings with different people to discuss decisions that need to be made at Stamford. In fact, this is one of the biggest challenges for her: making big decisions that could impact a lot of people. So how does she do it? When really big decisions come to her, she makes a pro and con list to look at all of her options. She works really hard to make decisions while thinking about what is best for the students and for people who have different opinions.

So even though there are challenges, there are also rewards. What does Ms. Dietz like the most about her role as Head of School? According to Ms. Dietz, she enjoys seeing people grow and succeed. Therefore, she especially loves to see kids grow with confidence. She also finds it very rewarding to see students take action to make the world a better place. However, she doesn’t just get joy out of seeing students. As a leader in the school, she is excited to see teachers finding new ways to teach students and the school community thrives off of good collaborations.

As we are all aware, online learning has really changed the way schools in Hong Kong run. How has this way of learning changed Ms. Dietz’s schedule and her way of working? Well, even though we students aren’t at school, Ms. Dietz still comes to school every day. However, she works differently than she normally would by practicing social distancing. This means she meets in smaller groups and stays at least a meter apart from others. Or, if there is a big group of people required for a meeting, they use video conference even if they are all in the same building.

So now that we know her roles and responsibilities, let’s get to the fun stuff! We asked Ms. Dietz what her favorite book was, and she told us it is called Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. We had never heard of that one! What is it about? Ms. Dietz explained it is a story about a lady named Miss Rumphius who has three dreams: she wants to travel the world, she wants to live by the sea, and she wants to make the world more beautiful. But you’ll have to read it yourself to see how she achieves those dreams! We also asked her about her favorite music, and she really likes to listen to the beats of ABBA while she runs. “Imagine” by John Lennon is a special song to her because it has such a nice message. We will have to give them a listen!

We asked Ms. Dietz about her personal hobbies as well. She likes to hike, run, and do water sports. During summertime, she goes on long-distance bicycle rides with her husband. In fact, they once went on a bike ride across the United States in 38 days. Why in the world did she do this? Well, it was a fundraiser for the American Lung Cancer Association. Exercising, having fun, and raising money for a good cause!

Does she have a personal hero? Yes! Her personal hero is Faraaz Hossain, a student she met while working in Bangladesh. Why was he her hero? Well, he was the president of his elementary and secondary student council, and he always acted with courage, was selfless, and had a lot of respect for his classmates. 

Lastly, we also asked Ms. Dietz what her personal motto would be. She says Mahatma Gandhi put it best when he said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” This is such a wonderful motto, and we would all be wise to follow it!

Those were the questions we discussed with Ms. Dietz. As you can see, we had a lot of fun in the interview, and Ms. Dietz’s answers were informative and created an exciting discussion. We appreciate Ms. Dietz taking the time out of her busy schedule to meet with us, and we thank her for her continued leadership here at Stamford!