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We would like to thank

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said for graciously bestowing the generous gift of land for TAISM’s Ghala Campus upon the Embassy of the United States of America the sponsors of The American International School of Muscat.






Foreword – H.E. U.S. Ambassador Gary A. Grappo... 6 Introduction – Kevin Schafer, School Director.......7 Chapter 1 – Rise to the Challenge ..........................9 Chapter 2 – The Eagle Has Landed.......................25 Chapter 3 – A School for the New Millennium....39 Chapter 4 – Campus Expansion.............................59 Chapter 5 – Developing the Whole Child..............75 Chapter 6 – Visual and Performing Arts................93 Chapter 7 – Sports Program.................................115 Chapter 8 – Community Matters..........................125 Chapter 9 – The Sur Library...............................139 Chapter 10 – Within Our School..........................147 Chapter 11 – TAISM Alumni...............................155 Afterword – Michael Bos, Chairman TAISM Board of Directors..............166



The tireless efforts of dedicated Board members, school administrators and faculty, the generosity of so many, some inspired leadership, tough decision-making, unflinching faith in the value of American education, and simple good luck has yielded the magnificent institution of The American International School of Muscat we all admire and appreciate so much today. His Excellency U.S. Ambassador to Oman, Gary A. Grappo, assisted in the original development of The American International School of Muscat when he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Muscat from July 1998 to June 2001.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead U.S. anthropologist (1901-1978)


The school’s first years were difficult, probably more than we had all anticipated when laboring to set up the school. As a Board member, I worked with fellow Board members, parents and administrators to address the endless challenges the new school faced. And, they did often appear endless and insurmountable: an initial enrollment -some 120 students -- so meager we were unable to meet the school’s basic operating expenses, much less the capital required to build the permanent campus; myriad financial plans proposed and scrapped before presentation to the bank for loans necessary to move forward; competing plans for design and construction of the campus; agonizing management and hiring decisions; and hundreds of other daunting questions too many to list. Board meetings, both those regularly scheduled as well as frequent emergency sessions, went well into the night, sometimes lasting as long as five hours. In many businesses, such work would have been considered a full-time job. Yet, we were all willing and enthusiastic volunteers. One of the school’s most committed Board members and tireless supporters, Kathrine O’Shaughnessy, used to say, “TAISM was born under a lucky star.” Indeed, that often seemed to be the case as good fortune would sometimes miraculously appear at the most challenging times. But I also believe that the light of that lucky star drew much of its energy from the dedication, commitment and resolve of an intrepid group of volunteers determined to see American education flourish in Oman. His Excellency U.S. Ambassador to Oman, Gary A. Grappo September 2008






TAISM AT TEN (1998-2008), the realization of an ambitious idea to chronicle the development of The American International School of Muscat (TAISM), could not have been prepared and published without the help of numerous staff, students, alumni, and friends who offered their eloquent writing to tell the story of our school’s first ten years. We cannot thank these contributors enough for their generosity and encouragement in the development of this book, knowing that their influence is manifest on every page. Special thanks to Jane Jaffer, who graciously accepted the school’s invitation to research our institution’s past years, collect documents and letters, and add her own writing to this book. Her experience as a school parent and her skill as a writer have helped to document an exceptional history of TAISM. Also to be acknowledged are staff members Julie Al Alawi, Bretta Ballou Ringo and Stephen Ringo, for their expertise and assistance. This book is dedicated to the students, faculty and friends of TAISM who continue to ‘Rise to the Challenge’ of creating a center for learning where every student is recognized and celebrated. Kevin Schafer, School Director November 2008


Chapter 1

Rise to the Challenge

The Sultanate of Oman, with an area of 309,500 square km, encompasses a diverse landscape including mountain ranges, arid deserts and fertile plains. The country lies on the Tropic of Cancer, on the southeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, and it shares its borders with the Republic of Yemen to the southwest, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the west and the United Arab Emirates to the north.

The country’s breathtaking coastline stretches for over 1,700 km, from the Arabian Sea and the entrance to the Indian Ocean in the southwest, to the Gulf of Oman and Musandam in the north, where it overlooks the Straits of Hormuz and the entrance to the Arabian Gulf. It is this strategic location that has played a vital part in Oman’s development. Oman is a country of unparalleled beauty with a rich culture and an ancient history. The mythical home of Sindbad the Sailor, Oman is long famous for its intrepid and innovative seafarers. Its traditions of trade, commerce and boat building are legendary. Oman is generally regarded as the copper-rich civilization of ‘Magan’ mentioned in Mesopotamia texts more than 4,000 years ago. Oman was once the hub of the famed global trade of copper and frankincense. The cities of Muscat, Sohar, Sur and Salalah have exploited their natural harbors to become important trading capitals. The seas have shaped Oman’s history, as its ships carried copper to the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Dilman and Melukhkha 4,000 years ago and frankincense to China well over 1,300 years ago. By the 19th century, Oman had become a sovereign power in its own right, expanding its territory across the Arabian Gulf and into East Africa where it ruled the island of Zanzibar. At that time, Oman established links


TAISM students discover Oman

with other powerful empires such as the United States of America, Britain and the Netherlands. However, in the early part of the 20th century, Oman suffered a period of decline and isolation, and it was not until 1970 that a new and exciting chapter in Oman’s rich history began with the accession to power of a great leader. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said acceded the throne on July 23, 1970 and a new era began. His Majesty soon initiated Oman’s Renaissance, vowing to lift the country out of the clutches of disease, illiteracy and poverty and to transform Oman into a modern state. His Majesty’s government focused its energies on building the infrastructure and embarking on a major development program. The plan was to revitalize and develop the country’s commercial base, to improve its health-care system, and to upgrade its communications and transportation systems. Education immediately became a His Majesty Sultan top priority. In 1970, there were only three schools with a total of 909 pupils and approximately 30 teachers in the entire country. His Majesty


acceded the

recognized that education is the very foundation for a modern, forward-thinking country and that the strength of the country lies in its people. Under his wise leadership, the Omani government forged ahead, building new schools in every region and providing education to ensure that each and every Omani child had the opportunity to attend school and become educated. Now, in 2008, there are well over 1,000 state schools and 130 private schools in Oman providing education at primary, preparatory and secondary levels. The Ministry of Education is following a comprehensive plan to modernize the education system in order to meet the needs of the 21st century. His Majesty’s outstanding statesmanship and diplomatic efforts have brought Oman out of medieval isolation. Through his vision and foresight, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Qaboos bin Said bin Said has shaped a great nation. throne on

July 23, 1970 and a new era began. His Majesty soon initiated Oman’s Renaissance.

The Sultanate of Oman has a population of around two million. Approximately 24% of the population is from the international





community. Expatriates from around the globe have come to Oman to work in various industries to help transform the country into the modern state it is today. The expatriate families living in Oman are served by a number of international schools in the capital area of Muscat and in other big cities such as Sohar and Salalah. However, until 1998, the international community in Oman had a very limited choice of options for the education of their children. One of the main considerations for families living in global transition is the quality of their children’s education. Obtaining employment away from one’s home country can be exciting and challenging, but families are often concerned about their children’s ability to adapt to living in a new country with a different way of life. How will the children cope with a new school environment? Families need to know that their children can eventually return to their homeland without suffering from any educational disadvantage. Until 1998, Oman lacked a school which followed the American curriculum and methodology exclusively, and this was an important issue for the many families in Oman who were committed to the American educational system. Due to these circumstances, the Embassy of the United States of America, the Ministry of Education of the Sultanate of Oman, the Office of Overseas Schools of the United States Department of State, and a group of parents and business leaders in Oman came together with the idea of establishing an American international school in Muscat. It was felt there was a growing need for an international school which could offer children an opportunity to attend a private, nonprofit, college preparatory, co-educational day school based upon the American curriculum and methodologies. The United States Ambassador to Oman in 1997, Frances D. Cook, recognized the problems families were facing in Oman at that time. So it was under the wise leadership of Ambassador Frances D. Cook that an Organizing Committee was formed in September 1997 to work on turning the idea of an American international school into a reality. The creation of The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) rests to a large extent on the dedication and integrity of those individuals who had the enthusiasm and dedication to make TAISM a reality. The committee that initially took on this considerably

daunting task included several public-spirited citizens who undertook honorary services under the leadership of Ambassador Cook.

TAISM’s 1997 Organizing Committee: H.E. Frances D. Cook

United States Ambassador to Oman

Mr. Gary Mignano

United States Embassy

Mr. Gerald Feierstein

United States Embassy

Mr. Roger Shafer

Zawawi Trading

Mr. Anthony Holt

Occidental of Oman Inc.

Mr. Gerald Ellis

Occidental of Oman Inc.

Mr. Behram Divecha OHI Group of Companies Mr. Carlos Aviles

Dowell Schlumberger

Mrs. Kathrine O’Shaughnessy Committee for Public Relations & Community Affairs Ms. Donna Salisbury

Organizing Committee, Administrative Support

Jane Jaffer and Anis Ishteiwy also joined the committee in 1998 prior to the formation of the first Board of Directors. The Office of Overseas Schools of the U.S. Department of State assisted in guiding the Embassy and the Committee on the development of the school. These representatives included Dr. Keith Miller, Director, and Dr. Beatrice Cameron, Regional Education Officer. The Organizing Committee’s first step was to develop an overview of the project: “The American International School of Muscat is being established to fill a large void that has existed in the educational system of Muscat due to the absence of an


international school offering a curriculum of study based on the principles of an American education.”

List of Original Donors

The purpose of school, as defined by the School Charter, was as follows:

U.S. Embassy

“It shall be the purpose of the school to offer the best possible English medium, educational program to the international community in Oman within the context of an American based curriculum. The School shall strive to increase mutual understanding and cooperation among all nationalities of those attending the School and to serve as a demonstration center of the best international educational methods and practices.” The Committee continued to define its goals and aims: “TAISM will be designed to be an institution in which all concerned can take great pride. It is envisaged that it will provide a source of civic unity bringing all nationalities closer to each other. One of its main goals will be to teach students about the many diverse cultures present at the school and a respect and appreciation for those cultures. In addition to encouraging and empowering its students to achieve academic excellence, the school will help to develop American values among its students, which will guide them to become ethical and responsible citizens of the world.” Under the guidance of Ambassador Frances Cook, Anthony Holt and Gerald Ellis, Kathrine O’Shaughnessy and the other members of the Organizing Committee worked tirelessly on a path to realize a dream. Initially, there were many questions that needed to be answered. Would there be sufficient funds and support for such a large project? How many students would be needed to make the school viable? Where would the school operate from? How would the Committee find and recruit staff? Where would the furniture, supplies and equipment come from? How many staff would be needed and where would they be housed? Many long hours were spent discussing the way forward. At every step of the way, U.S. Ambassador Frances D. Cook was at hand for help and advice. Soon the Committee created a plan, and


Occidental of Oman ARCO Oman Airwork Vinnell American Women’s Group Triton Sante Fe International Mr. Alawi Zawawi National Drilling & Services Company

Kathrine O’Shaughnessy and the team began to work on ways to raise funds and gain the support of sponsors in order to undertake this daunting task. Rapid progress was made and soon an impressive list of companies had shown their support.

Formation of the School Board A decision was made that the School be governed by a School Board in consultation with the American Embassy in Muscat. The Chairman of the Board of Directors would be appointed by the U.S. Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman who would nominate three of the eight members of the Board, in addition to nominating an observer on its own behalf. Three other members of the Board would be elected by the parents of the children studying in the school, and one would be appointed by the school’s faculty. The School, which was granted permission by the Omani Ministry of Education to operate as an international community school, would perpetually remain a truly nonprofit organization solely concerned with the achievement of its aims in the field of education provided to children in the Sultanate of Oman.





Former U.S. Ambassador Frances D. Cook reflects on the school’s early days: “Some aspects of establishing TAISM are burned in my brain – many of the most pleasant, such as President George Herbert Walker Bush’s laying of the foundation stone, will remain in my heart forever. Former President Bush responded affirmatively to my request (to come to Oman) without a moment’s hesitation. I think as a former chief of diplomatic mission himself, for the United States, he understood how critical American overseas schools are to the welfare and happiness of the American family abroad. I remember that at the inaugural event, the grandsons of the Emir of Kuwait, then students at TAISM, gave the Islamic prayer at the start of the ceremony. We also had Omani support for our school – I recall the Bahwan family being present and the O’Shaughnessy business partner, Mohamed Rashid Al-Araimi, presenting a large check as part of the ceremonies. I still remember Kathrine O’Shaughnessy saying, with every new success, ‘The Eagle has landed!’ What a great leader she was – always optimistic, certain of our success and one of the hardest workers ever! Establishing the school was not only a morale boost for our families in Oman – both private and official – it also addressed what had become a major personal/moral issue both for me, as Ambassador, and for our hard-working oil company heads. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s positive response to my request for land for a school not only came quickly but, as I recall, we were offered three plots of land to choose from. A senior official, still in government, actually took our Administrative Officer, Gary Mignano, around to tour the sites, and it was Gary’s recommendation that led me to choose the site we now have. I have not seen His Majesty since then without mentioning TAISM and providing an update. His Majesty’s generosity has been constantly recognized by TAISM leadership and students, and that fills me with great pride – for he was the critical difference. Starting a new school anywhere is a costly

endeavor. In the early months, there were all sorts of expenses that had not been planned for. There is no doubt in my mind that Occidental Petroleum’s early and generous checks were the other critical difference in our efforts. Other American companies working in Oman might be larger than Oxy, but they didn’t give the leadership of Tony Holt, who also served on our school board. Tony Frances D. Cook was typical, in many ways, of those who spent countless hours in the weekends and evenings, dreaming, planning and bringing TAISM into being. He didn’t have any children in our school (nor did I or Roger Shafer, recently deceased), but he knew a successful and well-performing school was critical to his mission in the Sultanate. I will never forget his leadership. Gary Mignano was the Administrative Officer at that time who also contributed immeasurably to the success of the TAISM dream in those early critical years. The U.S. State Department was supportive from the beginning. But perhaps others don’t know, or recall, that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) was also generous in its assistance. At the time we were starting, in our temporary quarters, some DOD schools were closed in Germany. They shipped us a lot of classroom furniture to help us get started. Then the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain scheduled a ship into Oman’s harbor, and sailors volunteered to unpack and place those huge crates of furniture. I was told by the chaplain that so many sailors volunteered to help us out, that he had to cut off the sign-up list at 40 or 50. I know DOD has provided other assistance to TAISM, but I thought those early efforts, in the best American tradition of volunteerism, were emblematic of good wishes we had, right across our community in Oman, for the success of TAISM.”

Good luck to TAISM as it celebrates its Ten Year Anniversary! Frances D. Cook, March 2008


Frances D. Cook’s inspirational contribution to the creation of TAISM cannot be overstated. Tony Holt, the CEO of Occidental of Oman in 1998, elaborates: “I have read Ambassador Her determination, Frances Cook’s fascinating accompanied by the support recollections about the of His Majesty Sultan establishment of TAISM Qaboos bin Said, thanks to and noted her very the excellent relationship generous comments about she had established with Occidental of Oman, him and others, were me and others. It has all what made it happen. I do brought back memories hope that those who have of how inspirational, graduated from the School, determined and enthusiastic those who are currently Frances Cook was in seeing enrolled and those who Susanna Holt, Frances D. Cook, Tony Holt her vision of establishing come later, recognize a great American school the huge debt they owe in Muscat fulfilled. She is correct, of course, that many Ambassador Cook for her vision and perseverance. of us in the American community realized it would be a great asset, particularly for those with businesses trying to When I was involved with the School’s first Board, our attract Americans to Muscat. I remember being surprised challenge was to convert a relatively new, but long in the ’90s by how difficult it had become to get staff to vacant building from planned office space to functioning move overseas. Gone were the days when you accepted temporary quarters for TAISM. I was transferred before the assignment because to do otherwise could mean that task was completed and Kathrine O’Shaughnessy your career might suffer. and Roger Shafer, two Quality of life had become stalwarts of TAISM who very important. For those very regrettably are no with children, a move to an longer with us, along overseas location without with Gary Mignano and an American school was others, completed that task not appealing. So we knew and many more. What a that a first-class American contrast, therefore, when I school in Muscat would be returned to Muscat in 2006, a great recruiting asset, and only some 8 years later, to I was very happy to help view the permanent TAISM support it. campus for the first time and hear of the many expansions that had already taken place. But, getting back to the What a great success story main point of my comment, I have to admit that even I and Ambassador Frances wondered if it was really Cook was the one who possible to get an adequate made it happen!” enrollment to make it viable. That was never a problem Tony Holt for the Ambassador. April 2008

Information Night Open House

Saturday, March 14, 1998 6:30 PM

TAISM Office

House 9, Road 9

Medinat Al Sultan Qaboos Everyone Welcome

Local press announcement - March 1998


P.O. Box 202, Postal Code 115 Tel: 600374 Fax: 697916 Volume O. Issue 1

Muscat, Sultanate of Oman E-mail: taism@gto.net.om March 1998


Kathrine and Pat O’Shaughnessy were an integral part of the driving force behind TAISM’s creation. Pat has many fond memories about the formation of the school: “I was a Board member of another school in 1997 when, for various reasons, a decision was taken to establish a new school to provide an international American system of education to the expatriate community in Muscat. It was literally a breathtaking moment when we knew we had come to that point and time was not on our side. The decision was made in April and we needed to have a facility to move into the following September… less than six months. The decision to start our own school was both daunting and exhilarating. Daunting because everyone in the decision-making group had no illusions about the challenges that lay ahead. Exhilarating because these same people shared the vision and determination to make it happen. One thing that made it somewhat less daunting was, of course, that we were being supported, and literally driven, by an Ambassador of formidable intellect and energy, H.E. Frances D. Cook. She selected and prepared her organizing team with skill and determination, and infused everyone with her own dynamism. Her request to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said that led to his extraordinary offer in granting us the land in Ghala upon which to build TAISM was key to the school’s future, and her role in this can not be overstated. My wife, Kathrine, was as optimistic as the Ambassador in all of this and attacked her fundraising role relentlessly. Names of some of the early sponsors are now a matter of public record but others preferred to stay anonymous and I know she put them at ease by respecting this desire in her dealings with them. One thing I admired about her approach was how she always made a point of publicly recognizing her team players for their efforts at every opportunity. She seemed more interested in getting this dream to happen than receiving undue recognition, in her


Pat and Kathrine O’Shaughnessy

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s extraordinary offer, in granting us the land in Ghala upon which to build TAISM, was key to the school’s future.





words, for the role she was playing during TAISM’s inception. She also worked with the graphics people to design the school logo and the inspiring motto, ‘Rise to the Challenge.’ One of her unsung accomplices at the time was Tore Petre from Oman Textile Mills who donated the school banners that are still in use today. I remember two things in particular about the George H.W. Bush visit: A couple of days before he arrived, Kathrine came up with the idea of ‘selling’ a handshaking opportunity with him to increase her fundraising. So she waltzed into my office one day and announced that she had selected my NDSC chairman, Mohamed Rashid Al-Araimi, to be the recipient of her largesse. She went straight upstairs to his office and, needless to say, he didn’t refuse her request. Another fundraising check was secured in short order. Actually, it wasn’t his only contribution to the school because his software company had donated computers to the temporary campus in Madinat Sultan Qaboos. The other thing I remember was during Bush’s speech at the stone-laying ceremony, when he turned to the kids standing in the hot sun and addressed them thus, ‘Children, I would encourage you to always involve yourselves in your community and look for ways to do good deeds for others, particularly those in most need of your help.’ A stirring message indeed, and well received by our TAISM kids. I was talking to Kevin Schafer on campus a few years back and, while we were looking at the dirt playing field between the campus and the back fence, he said, ‘Pat, it would be great if we had a grass playing field for the kids but we just don’t have it in our budget.’ Well, it wasn’t exactly a direct request but it was obviously something he had his heart set on. Long story short, we had the money in a week and Fawzi Mushantaf built a grass soccer field in time for the first semester of the 2002/2003 school year. A stone plaque on campus commemorates the corporate and family contributors to this sports facility.

Another opportunity presented itself in 2004 when Charles Ooms, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Netherlands Embassy, told me he was transferring to the UAE and was willing to sell his baby concert grand piano. I had seen it a few times in his house and it was a beauty. When I mentioned it to Kevin, he was most enthusiastic that we find the money to acquire it. The usual suspects were contacted for the funds and Justin O’Shaughnessy, Class of 2004 shortly thereafter, the music room was enhanced by the addition of this fine musical instrument. The look of delight on Melanie Brink’s face when she saw it was priceless and it was remarkable to me how respectful her music students were in taking good care of it. But then, perhaps not so remarkable, respect has always been a hallmark of instruction at TAISM. Perhaps the most personally rewarding result from the establishment of TAISM was when my son, Justin, graduated as co-salutatorian in 2004. To see your own child addressing the guests and then instructing his classmates to switch over their tassels at a graduation ceremony is a remarkable occasion for a parent. And to see him presented with his graduation certificate by his own mother, then Board Chairman, was a once-in-a-lifetime event. But it didn’t end there. When he entered his first year of college in Toronto, he found the academic transition relatively seamless. My belief is that the superb guidance he experienced at TAISM High School, coupled with the excellent AP program he followed, prepared him well for what was to follow in college. For this and many more reasons, I can’t speak highly enough of the excellence and professionalism that I’ve seen amongst the teachers, principals, director and staff of TAISM. It is an outstanding school and I’m humbly proud to have been associated with it.” Pat O’Shaughnessy May 2008


Behram Divecha remembers the first meeting which led to the formation of the Organizing Committee:

The Divecha family at Adrian’s graduation

Behram Divecha and his wife, Cyndi, are parents of two TAISM alumni: Adrian (AJ), Class of 2003 and Shaun, Class of 2006. Behram was a member of the original Organizing Committee and involved in the formation and development of the school from its inception. Behram recalls the first meeting which led to the formation of the Organizing Committee: “Gary Caswell, the incumbent General Manager of Santa Fe Drilling Company as it was known then, who also had kids at the American British Academy in Muscat (known today as ABA, an IB World School in Oman), and I were having coffee and Gary was saying how there was a problem concerning the American kids missing out in certain aspects of academics when they transferred back to the States. The American families wanted an amendment made to the curriculum at ABA so that the American kids could be taught the American Advanced Placement program rather than starting in high school with the British IGCSE and then proceeding to the International Baccalaureate which wasn’t an American curriculum.


H.E. U.S. Ambassador Frances Cook was aware of my work in assisting with the initial development of ABA in 1985, so she asked me if I would be willing to work with her to set up a new American school. I tried to convince her that a new school was not necessary. Frances said, ‘Listen, Behram, I’m not asking for your advice. The decision has already been taken. I’m asking you if you would be willing to work with me to create a new school. I need an answer right now!’ So I said, ‘Okay!’

I knew Roger Shafer from Al Zawawi Trading had also been involved in the startup of ABA, so I gave his name to Frances. The next day he was called in. He was the most friendly, helpful guy and his wife, Suzie, was great – she was already working at the U.S. Embassy, helping students with their educational needs. So Roger and I were the first two people involved. We then suggested getting Occidental of Oman to join in the project. Frances said she had already contacted the GM, Tony Holt. Occidental was great. They not only helped by getting involved in the planning, but also supported the venture with a substantial amount of money. Occidental donated $100,000 for the initial expenses in setting up the campus. I remember the first meeting of the Organizing Committee. It was held in an empty U.S. Embassy staff villa in Medinat Sultan Qaboos. We were given the villa to use as an office for the founding committee meetings. I remember Donna Salisbury was appointed secretary to the committee in addition to the work she did at the Embassy and her efficient way of keeping all the committee members informed and involved.





The first Committee members were: Gerry Feierstein, myself, Tony Holt, Gary Mignano, Jerry Ellis, Roger Shafer and Kathrine O’Shaughnessy. In 1997 and 1998 things were so hectic as we worked to set up school. The pizza box story is true! It was at the first formal meeting in one of the Embassy villas. It was a Thursday afternoon and we had ordered pizza. We used the back of the box, for lack of a large paper, to draw and list the major requirements of the facilities for the new school. It was an initial discussion and at the time we were trying to get a plot of land on the beach front somewhere near the airport. H.E. Ambassador Frances Cook was meeting His Majesty Sultan Qaboos with the request, and as it happened, that request was granted but the area proposed was the current site in Ghala. I remember the Director General of the Ministry of Housing at that time, H.E. Sultan Al Harthy, walked with us around the plot of 60,000 square meters in Ghala that His Majesty had kindly granted us. Being an architect by training and very dedicated and involved in his work, he made the entire process of documentation so easy and quick that we had a plot to work on immediately. His Majesty had given clear instructions for the plot to be given to the U.S. Embassy for establishing an American school. So we had a clear mandate to move and move fast, and H.E. Sultan Al Harthy was a great help. We were able to start planning the new school facilities, but simultaneously we urgently needed to find an interim campus. We were so lucky; Karim Raha, GM of a construction company owned by Abdulluh Moosa, had recently made a purpose-built building for the Choueifat School. But there was apparently some delay in Choueifat School acquiring the premises. We offered them a twoyear lease on the building, and received a readymade school far beyond our expectations. It seemed at that time our efforts were being translated into action with a speed that no one had imagined was possible. The next issue we had to deal with was equipping and staffing the school. We contacted ISS, an educational consultant group in the U.S. Larry Crouch, the consultant provided from ISS, was a great help to us. What really helped us was that at that time, the Berlin Wall had come

Suzie and Roger Shafer

down and the U.S. had decided to close down some overseas schools in Germany. We were told we could have all the equipment from one of the schools, but would have to find our own way of transporting it all to Muscat. We approached George Carr from Al Mutahida Transport, the agents for Sea & Land Shipping, and he arranged for several containers to pack the equipment and transport everything over from Germany. It arrived at the last minute. The new teachers at the school, the Embassy staff and even some U.S. Marines on leave in Muscat worked solidly for two days before the school opened to unload the containers and set everything up. We had also been searching for a suitable candidate to become the School Director. We chose Ralph Hollis. He came to visit Muscat in April 1998 and then took up his post in August 1998. Prior to that date, the Organizing Committee had been meeting with increasing regularity, and every Thursday afternoon was a committee meeting day where pizza was the staple lunch for those who came directly from office and a snack for those who came from school. There was so much passion and professionalism right from the start. We were fired up! We were all designated various


roles. My main role on the Committee was to focus on fundraising. Initially, I had a concept of approaching many international foundations, but we found that they already had their own pet projects, and their replies indicated that they could not finance an overseas school where there were not that many American students. Kathrine O’Shaughnessy became passionately involved in fundraising and did the most stupendous job. She brought in many others to the effort, and at the same time was the only committee member to devote more than her whole day to the effort of getting the school started. I say more than her whole day because she would most probably dream about what to do the next day. It was not unusual to get a call from Kathrine in the middle of a meeting at the office with a request to get someone to do something quickly or later on. She kept the fundraising effort rolling and raised large amounts of money through donations received from local community leaders. The dedications on the various facilities and classrooms bear the names of the donors for naming opportunities. However, beneath those names is the unwritten name of Kathrine O’Shaughnessy, a woman who achieved what many thought was unachievable. OHI, as a company, also contributed a lot. I had offered the advertising services of OHI to the committee to develop all the stationery, materials and logos for the school. Kathrine worked with OHI Advertising’s General Manager, Radha Mukherjee, to develop the school’s image, logos, and other publicity materials and brochures. She worked tirelessly with Radha to develop the slogan ‘Rise to the Challenge’. The eagle at the top of the mountain was another instant hit with the committee and was immediately approved for use wherever applicable and necessary. Kathrine put in unbelievable effort. Pat O’Shaughnessy was always there, supporting and helping her. She was the real mover and shaker and the founding spirit of the school. And through this effort, she displayed a style that was typically hers: quiet and determined. She never said a harsh word, nor did she get angry or upset when some of her views were criticized or not accepted. She just moved on one step at a time and got the job done. We started contacting all the American companies to try and find our first students. We knew we would be very lucky if we could manage to get one hundred students in


the first year. We were all worried about getting enough students to start the school, but we were wrong, and the first day of school had Ralph Hollis welcoming a large number of eager students. There was so much to do in the early days. We had to organize a media campaign. Everybody put in so much effort. H.E. Frances Cook was always there to help and advise us. She was so supportive. I remember that Kathrine arranged for Bea Cameron from the Office of Overseas Schools, U.S. State Department to come and help train the members of the Board on how to function efficiently as a Board of Directors. We were highly motivated and aspired to be a completely professional Board of Directors. I remember we made a decision right from the start that we would not hire any staff who were not professionally qualified to teach a particular subject and that temporary teachers were not a way out of a problem. We have always stuck by that decision and the professional staff who work diligently with the students have produced the great results that TAISM has demonstrated year after year on graduation day. I proudly attended the graduation ceremony of my two sons, and feel great pride when I attend the graduation ceremonies whenever I can because they represent a feeling of fulfillment at the effort so many have put in to make TAISM the institution it is. I think the formation of TAISM represented the first time in my life when everything seemed to go according to plan. There was so much perfection and passion that nothing was impossible and nothing could go wrong, and in reality nothing did. TAISM is a testament to many people, and if I were to single out three, it would be Kathrine Shaughnessy for her tireless efforts until the very end, Fawzi Mushantaf, Board Vice Chairman and Head of the Campus Development Committee, who goes on even today after ten years, and the guts, determination and obstinacy of Ambassador Frances Cook whom I firmly believe never heard or understood words such as difficult, problematic or impossible.” Behram Divecha September 2008





Jerry Ellis was designated the first Chairman of TAISM’s Board of Directors. He gives us an insight into the early development of the school: “The 30th of August, 1998 was a day of excitement and anticipation as we first opened the doors of TAISM to 121 students. The spirit of that day defined TAISM as we became a community of families and staff that saw their common efforts bear fruit with the opening of a school in Muscat based on an American educational curriculum. Through that spirit of kinship of parents, staff, and community leaders of ten years ago and of every person who has since passed Jerry Ellis its doors, TAISM is now a reality that serves a vibrant and growing community in Muscat.

will never be able to fully appreciate for her years of hard work for TAISM and for being that beacon that kept our dream alive. And special thanks to that first group of parents who trusted us enough to let their children become part of the TAISM dream. Congratulations to the school’s staff, and every student who is celebrating this milestone anniversary.” Jerry Ellis President of TAISM’s Organizing Committee Chairman, TAISM Board of Directors, 1998-99, May 2008

While TAISM now celebrates its 10 year anniversary, the school took its roots several years before that as we began organizing the creation of the school, its staff and its facilities. It is impossible to describe what it is like to see the campus of TAISM today compared to the barren empty lot on which President George H.W. Bush laid the first cornerstone in 1999. It is equally impossible to describe what it is like to see buildings that ten years ago were nothing but paper drawings. It is equally impossible to put into words the feeling of hearing the many voices and footsteps of the TAISM community in the halls of a school that twelve years ago was simply the dream of a community of expatriates in Muscat. The dreams and desires of that group of people who called themselves the Organizing Committee of The American International School of Muscat were transformed into a reality. TAISM today is exactly what the Organizing Committee dreamt of achieving. But the ideas and desires of a small group of people and parents from twelve years ago could never have been fulfilled without the years of hard work and efforts of so many people that one could never give recognition to all of them. However, I would be amiss if I didn’t give special mention to Ambassador Cook for her special efforts on getting the school started. To Kathrine O’Shaughnessy, whom we


TAISM Reflections

By Kevin O’Malley Vice Chairman, TAISM Board of Directors (1998-2000) “In September of 2006, I returned to Oman after trying to retire unsuccessfully for 6 years. The first thing I wanted to do upon my return was drive to Ghala and see the finished TAISM school building. I left Muscat in June of 2000 after serving on the Board of Directors during the first two years of the school’s existence. We had conducted classes during 1998 and 1999 in the temporary three-story building in MQ with limited facilities and an enrollment of approximately 80 students. The future didn’t look good and many people were questioning whether our American community had done the right thing by trying to form a new school in Muscat. The TAISM construction site was a dusty, dirty, seemingly unorganized effort that gave no evidence of ever becoming a school building. Likewise, the efforts of concerned parents, community leaders and Board members to organize teachers, staff and the small student body seemed, at times, just as futile. I stopped my car outside the gated wall and found myself looking at the magnificent TAISM structure that now accommodated over 600 students. In awe, I gazed at the beautiful white walls accented by ‘Kathrine’s’ blue windows. (I call them Kathrine’s windows because during the tough budget battles in 1999, Kathrine O’Shaughnessy insisted that the blue windows were non-negotiable and could not be cut or changed.) There were playing fields, grass and even a pool!! How did this happen? How did a dream represented by cardboard cutouts and drawings become a reality in brick and mortar? The answer was the hard work and dedication of people on the Board of Directors, teachers and staff, concerned parents, U.S. Embassy personnel and community leaders. The Board met in hotel lobbies, people’s homes, office meeting rooms and in the temporary building’s library where hard decisions were made. To be honest, the Board was comprised of well-intended individuals who were lacking in experience of running a school. We relied on many people to advise us on how to set up and run an international school. We received some good advice and some bad. We made mistakes along


Kevin O’Malley

the way but managed to keep alive our ultimate goal of providing a quality American education to the expatriate community’s children. In the beginning, the student body was a small closeknit group. They attended class together and socialized on weekends. To this day, my son and daughter still communicate with classmates in different parts of the U.S. and the world. The group spent a lot of time at our house because of its central location and the pool table. I vividly remember passing by my son’s room and hearing a group of students discussing what they learned in History class that day!! Kids discussing school on the weekend? Who would have believed that could be happening? Somehow our new ‘educational experiment’ had involved our kids; they had ownership in their school and education. I knew that I had to do what I could to make TAISM happen. This type of dedication to learning and international educational experience had to continue and grow. Certain people must be singled out that made TAISM a reality. Their dedication to this effort cannot be overstated. Ambassador Frances Cook: Her vision to provide an American school in Muscat, Oman, was the spark that started the process. Her frustrations in dealing with the other educational facilities in the city led to the decision for the Americans to proceed with their own school. Kathrine O’Shaughnessy: The tenacity with which she approached the fundraising and financial dealing of the school was something to be admired. She was a force to be reckoned with. Her energy and dedication to the effort of TAISM was admired by all who knew her. Fawzi Mushantaf: I firmly believe that without the leadership Fawzi provided as Chairman of the Campus Development Committee, the site on which the school





now stands would be an empty field. Fawzi was able to use his talents in the building trades and his contacts with local contractors to adjust original plans and bring the first stages in on time and on budget. Kevin Schafer: We were extremely lucky to have Kevin join the TAISM family as Director in 2000. He came into a very tenuous situation and took a leadership role immediately. His contribution to the success of TAISM can be seen every day in the growth of the facility, the enrollment numbers, the spirit of staff and teachers, the continued ownership and pride of students and the support of the community. Oman was a different place in 1998 than it is in 2008. TAISM was created at exactly the right time to provide quality education for the American and international community in Muscat. I wish we, who were on the initial school board, had known this was going to happen in ten years and could now take the credit. We also would have slept easier on many nights. Alas, we took a chance and applaud the Director, the teachers, the staff, the students and the parents who have worked so hard over the last 10 years to keep the dream alive and the joy of learning growing.”

Congratulations to the Board, Kevin Schafer, faculty, students and their families on The American International School of Muscat’s (TAISM’s) 10th Anniversary. You have much to celebrate and to feel proud of in TAISM’s accomplishments. TAISM is truly a model for others to admire and from which to learn. I like to call TAISM the ‘little miracle’ school. At 10, it is no longer ‘little’ with an international student body of 620, completing Phase IV of its facility with a Performing Arts Center, offering a strong and coherent academic program, providing students opportunities in the arts and music, and serving its community and families. It has been my pleasure to watch and support TAISM’s birthdays from 1 to 10. Best wishes for many more anniversaries to come. Dr. Beatrice Cameron Regional Education Officer Office of Overseas Schools U.S. Department of State

Kevin O’Malley May 2008

A TAISM parent for the last 10 years writes: “When I first heard that a new American international school was to be built in Muscat, I was so excited! I devised a questionnaire and distributed it to everyone I knew who I thought, like me, might want their children to learn Arabic in an international school. I had lobbied for years at BSM, both as a teacher and parent, for Arabic to become part of the school syllabus. I believe when one teaches a language, one also imparts an empathy and understanding for the people and their culture, so I think it is vitally important for international students living in Oman to have the opportunity to learn Arabic. I collected the questionnaires and contacted Kathrine

O’Shaughnessy of TAISM’s Organizing Committee. Kathrine was such an amazing lady. She really knew how to get things done. The next thing I knew I was invited to join the Committee! I remember some of the lively meetings we had. Everyone was so fired up with the idea of creating a new school. Ambassador Frances Cook very kindly held a dinner at her residence for all those involved in the school at that time. The Ambassador had such energy and vitality. No wonder TAISM was a success, with two such formidable women involved. There was no stopping them!” Jane Jaffer April 2008


P.O. Box 202, Postal Code 115 Tel: 600374 Fax: 697916 Volume O. Issue 4


Muscat, Sultanate of Oman E-mail: taism@gto.net.om June 1998

Chapter 2

The Eagle Has Landed TAISM’s Organizing Committee worked tirelessly throughout the first half of 1998. The search was on for an interim campus for TAISM’s first year of operation. Fortunately, a new building was under construction near Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos. The Committee viewed the premises and it seemed perfect for the school’s initial needs. Once the campus had been agreed upon, there was the immediate problem of fitting out the classrooms and shipping all the furniture and supplies that would be needed.

The Committee’s main concern was to initiate a search for the right individuals who would ensure TAISM’s success. Staff recruitment became a top priority as the Faculty had to be in place for the start of the academic year. The Committee had to work extremely quickly. August 30, 1998 was the deadline! TAISM’s first Director, Ralph Hollis, was recruited and in early April 1998, he and his wife, Beth, visited Oman prior to moving to Muscat that summer. By May of that year, the construction of the Interim Campus was complete and TAISM office staff were able to move into the building. Administrative staff at that time included Hemant Dutia, Hattie Harris, Karen Berkheimer, Moza Al-Wardi, Charmaine Banerjee and Karen AlMageni. On May 28, 1998, TAISM hosted an Ice Cream Social to show prospective parents the new school building.

TAISM’s Interim Campus


This article appeared in the Rambler newsletter:

Ice Cream Social

On Thursday, May 28, 1998, an Open House was held at TAISM’s new school, the interim campus in Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos. Everyone enjoyed the delicious ice cream and frothy milkshakes accompanied by chocolate chip cookies and brownies baked by the chef of the Al Sawadi Forum Resort. This was an opportunity for parents to see the school facilities. The new building had 23 air-conditioned classrooms, science lab, kitchen and lunch room facilities. Ralph Hollis, the School’s new Director, made a speech in which he said: “On behalf of the entire staff of The American International School of Muscat, I welcome you to our

very first Open House.” He then talked about the school curriculum: “You will not find our school (curriculum) a lot different from other schools – national or international. Science is science, math is math, language is language, music is music. But, what makes us unique, successfully unique, is our approach to education. We concentrate on sustained, daily assessment of students.” He also went on to say, “that the most accurate predictor of student success is not the objective test (or school facilities) but rather, it is the teacher or teachers who have daily contact with the student.” Ralph Hollis Director May 28, 1998

Staff members at the Interim Campus

The following members of staff arrived in Muscat over the summer of 1998 to take up their teaching posts at TAISM: Mike Kent (Elementary School Principal), JeffVoracek (Secondary School Principal), Julie Griep, Debby Kuczynski, Rachel Ollagnon, Jennifer Carvalho, Paulo Carvalho, Rebecca Grappo, Dixie Herrington, Larry Herrington, Beth Hollis, Frances Kent, Harlan Jackson, Peggy Knudson, Jeff Lansing, John Leonard, Manon Crepeau, Susan Voracek, Andrew Westerman, Caroline Mouton, Maria Tavender and Maha Nazzal.






On Monday, June 1, 1998, the Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held. His Excellency Engineer Abdullah bin Abbas bin Ahmed, President, Muscat Municipality and Her Excellency Dr. Fawzia Al-Farsi, Under-Secretary for Public Education, TAISM’s patrons for the inauguration of the new campus in Qurum 16, presided over the Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. Her Excellency Frances D. Cook, the U.S. Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman; Abdullah Moosa, Chairman of Moosa Abdul Rahman Hassan & Company; honored guests; the Organizing Committee of TAISM; staff and parents of the

school attended the ceremony. The Royal Air Force of Oman Band performed as guests arrived. Mishal bin Abdullah Al Shualy, a student from Qurum Private School, honored us with a special reading of the Holy Quran. Ambassador Cook stated in her welcome speech, “The expatriate community in general, and we at the Embassy, in particular, are extremely proud of this new school, the first in Oman to be founded on the principles of an American-style education.” Frances D. Cook June 1998

The Inauguration of TAISM’s Interim Campus


The First Day At last the big day arrived; August 30, 1998, was an auspicious day in the life of The American International School of Muscat. On that day, TAISM opened the doors of its Interim Campus to students for the very first time. This temporary campus was a three storey building in Qurum 16, just opposite Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos. There were 117 students, representing 16 different nationalities, who arrived for the first day of classes. The news soon spread and, within a month, another 20 students had joined the school. The first newsletter, ‘The Rambler,’ was published on September 9, 1998. This later became the interesting and informative monthly newsletter sent out to all parents of TAISM students, ‘The Eagle’. The Interim Campus was a newly constructed, purpose-built school complex ideally suited to the needs of TAISM students for the first year of the school. The school had 23 air-conditioned and well-lit classrooms, a modern science laboratory, a dining hall, a beautiful library, an ample staff room and an office administration area. The wide hallways throughout the school were equipped with modern lockers for the students to store their belongings. The lockers were easily accessible to students during the passing time between classes. The Music Department was located in a large room that provided a panoramic view over Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos area and the sea. The school facility was also equipped with a swimming pool that would be used for recreational purposes. All of the teachers were assigned a permanent classroom so that parents and students would always have ready access to them for consultations and conferences.


The Rambler Published by The American International School of Muscat September 9, 1998 Volume 1, Issue 1

We are open–We are flying! On August 30, 1998, the new airship called The American International School of Muscat lifted its wheels and flew. Until that day the only thing missing was the passengers, sometimes referred to as Students. One hundred and seventeen boarded, and off we went. Another 20 will board midflight during the month of September. All of us at TAISM are very pleased to be airborne–it’s going to be a great journey!

Mike Kent, Elementary School Principal, wrote in the first newsletter: “The Excitement Has Begun!” “Like students and parents, the staff is excited about school actually starting. When the furniture supplies came in, the building started to look like a school; but we really knew we were a school when all those eager young faces arrived the first day. Surprisingly, there were few problems for a new school, and over the next few weeks we will settle into a comfortable routine.”





Mike Kent went on to write to the students to confirm the School’s dedication to their education. What you can expect from us Since all of you are new to the school, and are coming from various backgrounds and school systems, I want to take this opportunity to share with you our general curriculum standards here in the (elementary) school. We have developed an exciting and motivating curriculum that challenges and benefits students in the following ways: Students develop a strong foundation in the fundamentals of reading, writing and mathematics; and they acquire

basic knowledge and understanding in science, social studies, fine arts, health and physical education. Students become competent verbal and nonverbal communicators – learning to express themselves well in speaking, reading, and writing; to be attentive listeners; and to be at home with information technology. Students work in an environment of excellence marked by high expectations and persistent striving toward a mastery level of achievement.

TAISM Students at the Interim Campus


Rebecca Grappo, wife of Gary Grappo, the current U.S Ambassador to Oman, was the first teacher to be employed by TAISM back in August 1998. She remembers the incredibly hectic time prior to the first day of school: I was getting my classroom ready then, too, and had my own teenage daughter in my room helping me. Funny, I never had a shortage of Seabees or Marines willing to help me set up! I remember their good humor, can-do spirit, and willingness to help despite the heat and heavy lifting involved. In particular, I remember them installing the long, heavy, cumbersome blackboards into the walls – no easy feat, but they made it look effortless.

“Opening a brand new school on time was no easy task. In order to have everything ready to go on the first day of school, a lot of people put in ‘blood, sweat, and tears’ during that hot, hot summer of 1998. But perhaps some of the forgotten heroes of our story were the United States Marines and Navy Seabees who were on board the U.S.S. Essex that came to port the week before TAISM was scheduled to open. The Seabees and Marines were eager to make a port call and received liberty in Muscat. They had permission to go out and about, yet the majority of them chose to come to school to help us with the hard, dirty work needed to get the school ready. Several 40-foot containers had just arrived from Germany with school supplies, equipment, books, and furniture from recently closed American schools on military bases. We needed help unloading tons of goods, sorting and segregating, and then moving supplies into the new building. Included in the shipment were desks, chairs, blackboards, library books, shelves - and even trashcans complete with the original trash! People from the community came out to help with great enthusiasm, but there was no match for the muscle power of the young sailors.


Opening day we were ready to greet the excited students and parents streaming through our doors. Even today I think back on those first days – I sweat just thinking about them – and remember with fondness and gratitude the help we received from the young Marines and Seabees. Without them, we never would have been able to pull it off.” Mrs. Rebecca Grappo Former Teacher at TAISM August 2008

Rebecca, Kristina, Gary, Michelle and Alex Grappo





Julie Griep, Elementary School teacher at TAISM, who was a member of staff on that very first day back in August 1998, writes: “As all journeys begin with a single step, TAISM began in a humble manner. The school has grown in so many ways, but we never lost sight of the students. My first class (in 1998) was a second grade class of 12 children. I believe that was the largest class in the school that year. Because the classes were small, the whole Elementary School attended and performed at all concerts and events.

Hilda Ashkar, Arabic Language Teacher, joined the school in August 1998 and is still a faculty member at TAISM today. Hilda has fond memories of those early days in the interim campus in Qurum: “I joined the school in August. People were everywhere welcoming me, though they didn’t know who I was. I felt welcomed, at home, from day one. I had a feeling that I would enjoy teaching at TAISM. I was right. I went to the class they assigned for me. It was a huge room with only a board and unfixed desks. But it didn’t seem an issue. Many people were offering me their help and making sure that the classrooms would be ready on time. By the end of day one, I felt I had known my colleagues for a long time. Everyone was very friendly.

Our first Sports Day was at the InterContinental Hotel and to help even out the teams, some visiting U.S. Marines joined us! Each team had one or two Marines to help even out the sides and field a team! We didn’t have a cafeteria those first two years but a group of mothers organized pizza day every Sunday. They would personally bring boxes of pizza to school and serve it up. When we moved to the campus in Ghala, we still had to have pizza on Sunday; only the mothers didn’t have to bring it! Today we have a full service cafeteria and we still serve pizza on Sundays. Some things never change, the students always come first!” Julie Griep May 2008

Since that day until now, TAISM became and still is the place my three boys and I look forward to go to every day. I am very proud to see how TAISM has grown over the past 10 years. We started with a very small number of students. TAISM is now well known and very popular in Oman and the Gulf region. We are very lucky to be part of the TAISM family.”

Hilda Ashkar May 1998


1 2

Rafic Mushantaf (Class of 2009) joined TAISM on the first day of school back in August 1998.


(1) Karim Azhari (2) Aymen Jaffer (3) Rafic Mushantaf


Our first student to enroll, Karim, was born in Aachen, Germany and is seven years old. His father, Walid, is from Syria while his mother, Birgit, is from Germany. He has two younger brothers, Timo and Alexander. Karim speaks three languages and his hobbies are computers, tennis, swimming, basketball and traveling. He will be entering the second grade at TAISM this fall and tells us he is very excited about his new school! A warm TAISM welcome to Karim and his family.

“The American International School of Muscat has become a comfort zone to me, a niche which I have returned to year after year since I enrolled in 1998. It is almost unimaginable that I am departing this school in May of 2009, as I am in my last year after ten years at TAISM. I remember walking into our old school and having Mrs. Griep as my teacher, someone I still see in school today, reminding me of the past. Aymen Jaffer is one close friend I have had by my side through these many years. His is one of the friendships I still and always will cherish as I look back upon my educational career in the near future.

I have grown over these many years with the assistance of the faculty at TAISM. As I have grown, I have been privileged to observe my school triple in size, both from the facilities point of view in addition to the student community. I will hold and value the memories that TAISM has given me as it has become like a home, something that I shall never forget.” Rafic Mushantaf, Class of 2009 October 2008

- from first Rambler newsletter

Now eighteen years old and living in France, Karim writes:

“It’s not easy to summarize my experience at TAISM in a few lines; overall I would say that it was a significant part of my life in terms of the people I met and the quality of the education I received. Coming from another non-western school in Muscat, I was astonished by the difference in educational attitudes and the weight that was placed on humanistic development and personal growth. Before TAISM I would have never imagined a school where diverse cultures could coexist so harmoniously, while students are stimulated to pursue their own personal talents and maximize their strengths.” Karim Azhari May 2008


Aymen Jaffer (Class of 2009) remembers the school in 1998. “TAISM has been a great experience for me. I’ve been at the school since it first opened in 1998. I was in Grade 2 with Mrs. Griep. The education at TAISM is both classroom and experience-related, allowing for the students to become well-rounded individuals. Interacting with students from more than forty different countries teaches tolerance and respect for other cultures and religions. The quality of education at TAISM has always been very high with the teachers willing to help individual students, fostering a really caring atmosphere.” Aymen Jaffer, Class of 2009 May 2008





Once elected, TAISM’s first Board of Directors published a big “thank you” to the Organizing Committee in the Rambler: TAISM has come a long way since October 1997 when Ambassador Cook selected a team of dedicated individuals, committed to establishing the first American international school in the Sultanate of Oman. In just eight months, this talented team of expatriate community leaders paved the way for our children to be educated in a fine facility, well-equipped, and staffed by some of the best U.S. trained faculty and administrators. On August 30, 1998, as TAISM opens its doors to students for the first time, we would like to offer our sincere thanks and gratitude to this remarkable group who rose to the challenge and brought this dream to reality.

THE FIRST TAISM SCHOOL BOARD Congratulations were awarded to the new TAISM Board of Directors. At the first Annual General Meeting on June 6, 1998, Board elections were held and the following candidates were elected: Parent members: Matthew Hyde Neal Kawar Kevin O’Malley

Ambassador appointed members: Jerry Ellis Fawzi Mushantaf Kathrine O’Shaughnessy Roger Shafer

In the fall of 1998, the Rambler announced TAISM’s first Board of Directors


Marcia Dorr, author of many books about Oman, including The Craft Heritage of Oman, joined TAISM’s Board of Directors in 1999. She recalls the early days at the Interim Campus: “How far TAISM has come! I still remember my first year on the Board, nearly a decade ago, when the school was located in a large building on the edge of Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos. It was a temporary facility and not anything like what has been built since – but even then there was a special excitement that came from the students and the faculty that reinforced my belief that the success of the school is not only about bricks and mortar, but about attitude and spirit, and the pure joy of learning. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos recognized this in the early days of Oman’s renaissance, when the school network was first being established. He said, ‘The important thing is that there should be education – even under the shade of trees.’ Behind the school villa there was a broad, shallow wadi – an all-but-forgotten place dotted with thorny acacia trees and tattered tufts of grass. One day, a Bedouin family appeared – seemingly out of nowhere – and made their camp under the largest tree, right next to the school. They brought with them all the necessities of life – leather bags for water and buttermilk, an old copper coffee pot, more metal pots for cooking over an open fire, and a large household basket filled with dates, coffee beans, spices and dried fish. Very quickly they made themselves at home, spreading their possessions about them beneath the tree. And within a few hours, in typical Bedouin fashion, they had invited everyone in the school to join them. By midmorning TAISM students had helped to milk goats, sampled half-ripened dates and learned how to make ‘Bedouin sunblock’ from a paste of saffron and powdered sandalwood. Sitting on hand-woven rugs,


they listened to Bedouin tales and asked hundreds of questions about life in the deserts of Oman: What do camels eat in the middle of the desert?1; How do you make a rope?2; What do you do if you get bitten by a scorpion?3; Why does everyone wear black around their eyes, and what is it made from? 4. There were people who could help translate for those who didn’t speak Arabic, but what was most interesting was that there were so many other ways to learn from each other – by gesture and by example, and by drawing on the ground with a stick. It was a wonderful day, all too soon over, but the memory lives on today as TAISM’s very first ‘Discover Oman’ experience.” Marcia Dorr May 2008

Answers to questions:

1. A mixture of honey and butter, carried in the skin of a lizard. 2. Rub goat hair or date palm fiber between the palms of your hands until it forms long strands, and then twist the strands together. 3. Rub the bite quickly with the juice of a desert plant - but we can’t tell you which one because if anyone ever says the name of the plant aloud, then it won’t work. 4. The black is worn to protect the eyes, and to make them beautiful. It is made from the soot of burned shark’s liver.





Rachel Ollagnon, now teaching in Moscow, sent this message:

“When TAISM opened the first day in 1998, I had a son in Kindergarten, a daughter in 2nd grade and I was teaching Pre-K (up four flights of stairs!) and doing after-school theater activities. Muscat was still small and quaint. There were a handful of students, parents and teachers sharing the excitement, enthusiasm and expectation of something new. When we left Oman for France, we had a third child (born in Muscat), and had enjoyed two years on the beautiful new TAISM

campus. My daughter who started at TAISM in 2nd grade will soon graduate from High School. After all these years and countries, she still keeps in touch with her TAISM friends. Oman was a special place and TAISM is a fond memory.” Rachel Ollagnon September 2008

Julie Al-Alawi, Administrative Assistant to the Director, writes: “I joined TAISM in August 1999, in its second year of operation when the student population was 155 and staff numbered 30. When TAISM initially began operations in August 1998, student numbers were 129. In May 2008, as I write this note, TAISM has 602 students and 113 staff members. How our school has grown! In July 1999 TAISM was renting a school building and today it has its own beautiful campus. I have seen so many positive additions in that amount of time, from gaining accreditation in 2001 to building this wonderful campus which is continually evolving. I think our leadership

through the Board of Directors and the Administration, as well as the efforts of teachers, support staff, students and the generosity of parent volunteers and patrons have made TAISM the school it is today. For me, the best part of working at TAISM is the people, the overall TAISM community. In my job, I come in contact with the students, parents, staff, Board members and many other people in the Muscat community. I truly think the mix of nationalities and backgrounds make for a warm and caring TAISM community. I find myself trying to imagine what TAISM will be like in another ten years. If it’s anything like the first ten years, we have a lot to look forward to!” Julie Al-Alawi Administrative Assistant May 31, 2008


One of the longest standing members of TAISM’s staff writes: “My name is Sathish Babu and I have been working at TAISM since October of 1998, initially on a contractual basis through Kalhat Services and as a TAISM employee since May of 2006.

Hemant Dutia, TAISM’s Business Manager, remembers: “I have been a member of the TAISM Administration since the inception of the school in July 1998. The school had 60 students when I signed my contract. Today, after ten years, the school has more than 600 students. The school has gone through many changes in ten years. We have come a long way from our old campus in Madinat Qaboos, a single building, to where we are now. This campus is virtually unrecognizable from what it was eight years ago – we add new facilities almost every year, have seen a sizeable increase in staff, and most of all, gain new students constantly. Our academic and extracurricular programs have evolved greatly and we can offer our students a world-class education. Despite this plethora of change and growth that I see every day, the one thing that remains constant is the smiling faces of the children at the end of the day when they are eager to get home and relate their experiences with their family. I have truly enjoyed my time here thus far and wish the school the very best for the years to come.”

Hemant Dutia Business Manager


I hail from a little town called Irinjalakuda in the State of Kerala in South India. I am married to Radhika and have 3-year-old twin boys, Avinish & Ashwin. My family lives in Kerala with my mother. When I joined TAISM, we were located in a much smaller space in Madinat Qaboos. We moved to a huge campus in Ghala in 2000. The size of the new campus allowed for a lot more activities, especially sports. It has been a great opportunity for me to meet students, parents and colleagues of different cultures and communities and it has been interesting to experience the various traditions like Halloween, Thanksgiving, International Day, etc., and getting to know about other cultures and customs. These are traditions that we in India are not familiar with. I enjoy my work at the school and it reminds me of my school days and my friends back home. It has been wonderful to see the school grow so much since its inception in 1998. The faculty and staff at TAISM have always been very welcoming and supportive and have helped me in many ways. My life at TAISM has been very rewarding and my colleagues have helped me grow into a better person. I am an avid sports fan and never miss an opportunity to watch a game that takes place at school, be it volleyball, soccer, basketball, frisbee, etc. These games at TAISM are only possible due to the space available. I miss the faculty, staff and parents, who have left Oman to pursue their dreams. I also fondly remember the students who have graduated from TAISM and those who have withdrawn from TAISM due to relocation. I take this opportunity to thank the Board of Directors and all the members of TAISM’s staff for all the support and appreciation that I have received during my tenure here.” Sathish Babu May 2008





TAISM students at the Interim Campus

The Times of Oman reported on TAISM’s plans:


Ghala plot of land prior to construction

Initial plans for TAISM’s Ghala Campus


Chapter 3

A School for the New Millennium

New Beginnings The Ghala Campus

By December 1998, more than 130 students between four and sixteen years of age were now established in their new school at TAISM’s Interim Campus near Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos (known as Qurum 16). While enrollment was rapidly increasing, the members of TAISM’s Board of Directors were working diligently to develop the school. Ambassador Frances D. Cook formally approached His Majesty Sultan Qaboos regarding the TAISM project. Within weeks she received wonderful news: a plot of land had been graciously granted. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s very generous donation of land in Ghala now made it possible to make plans to give TAISM a permanent home. A new purpose-built school campus would soon be built in Ghala.


Royal Guard of Oman Band An invitation to the ground breaking ceremony

After many months of extensive planning, organizing and fund-raising, a date was finally fixed for a special ceremony: December 3, 1998. This would be the day of the ground breaking ceremony when the Foundation Stones for the new Ghala Campus would finally be cemented into place. Roger Shafer and Fawzi Mushantaf, members of TAISM’s Campus Development Committee, had been working hard to prepare for this important day. December 3, 1998, was an important day for everyone involved with TAISM. On this auspicious occasion, two very important guests were invited to witness this ground-breaking and stone-laying ceremony. H.H. Sayyid Mansour bin Majed Al Said, representative of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, agreed to attend the ceremony. Months before the event, Behram Divecha, a member of the Board of Directors and a parent of three TAISM students, had spoken to the office of former President George Bush, the 41st president of the United States, informing him of our plans to build the very first American international school in Muscat. Imagine everyone’s excitement when former President George H.W. Bush agreed to attend the ceremony! So it was that on December 3, 1998, our very special guests, H.H. Sayyid Mansour bin Majed Al Said, the personal representative of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, and former President George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, graciously attended this important ceremony in the history of TAISM.


U.S. Ambassador Frances D. Cook

The Royal Guard of Oman Band, and more than three hundred guests which included a large number of VIPs, Patrons and Sponsors of TAISM, American Embassy Officials, the Board of Directors, Faculty, Staff, Parents and TAISM students gathered under the shade on a 60,000 square meter plot of land in Ghala. Representatives of Bahwan Contracting Company, the contractors who were to build the Campus at Ghala, were also present. The ceremony began with a musical prelude by the Royal Guard Band as the honored guests arrived. This was followed by the national anthems of the Sultanate of Oman and the United States of America. Gary A. Grappo, then Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the United States, was the Master of Ceremonies. He introduced Gerald Ellis, Chairman of the Board of Directors, who gave the welcome speech and introduced Ambassador Frances D. Cook.





Ralph Hollis, TAISM’s first Director, made a speech in which he first addressed H.H. Sayyid Mansour bin Majed Al Said: “Your Highness, Oman is noted as one of the most progressive countries in the Gulf region, giving strong support to progressive education. Further, the generosity and hospitality shown by His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, is exemplary. Without his noble interest in our school, none of us would be here today looking Following former President George H.W. Bush’s short speech, he and H.H. Sayyid Mansour bin Majed Al Said laid the Foundation Stone for TAISM’s permanent campus.

forward to the new campus to be built on this site. As guests in your beautiful country, we are thankful…” Ralph Hollis December 3, 1998

Mr. Hollis then addressed the former President George H.W. Bush:

“Mr. President, you are such a fitting guest here today – for two reasons. First, you are a practicing supporter of educational excellence. Second, and more important, particularly for us educators, you are a great product of the American approach to education. Few are aware of the fact that George Bush was a top student in high school and at university level. As a student, you took advantage of almost every educational opportunity that presented itself. In fact, Mr. President, I believe that you are as good an example of a successful student as we could have found for this event…” At one point in the proceedings, TAISM Concert Band, conducted by Mr. John Leonard, played ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas.’ Apparently former President Bush turned to his host and said, “Hey, they’re playing my song!”

Ralph Hollis December 3, 1998


Fawzi Mushantaf, Ralph Hollis, Neal Kawar, Roger Shafer, Kevin O’Malley, Matt Hyde, Jerry Ellis, Kathrine O’Shaughnessy

Following the speeches, Peggy Hansel and Ralph Hollis presented the two distinguished guests with gifts of appreciation. TAISM students of the yearbook team later asked former President George Bush a question: “Who is the most interesting person you’ve ever met?” “I met so many amazing people during my presidency that I cannot single one out. Inasmuch as you are living in Oman, I can tell you that I have tremendous respect – indeed friendship - for His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. He has done so much for his country and he is a shining example to leaders around the world.” Former President George Bush December 3, 1998 TAISM Ceremony Site Ghala Church Al Maha Fuel Station Royal Hospital

Sultan Qaboos Mosque Dual Carriageway

Dual Carriageway

Former President George H.W. Bush, H.H. Sayyid Mansour bin Majed Al Said, Ralph Hollis







This event would not have been possible without the joint efforts of the following key individuals: U.S. Ambassador Frances D. Cook, Gerald Ellis, Kathrine O’Shaughnessy, Gary Mignano, Gary Grappo and other U.S. Embassy support staff and, of course, Roger Shafer, Fawzi Mushantaf, Bahwan Contracting Company, the sub-contractors and all those involved in the development of TAISM’s Ghala Campus.

TAISM sponsors of the Ground Breaking Ceremony included: Hyatt Regency Muscat, Al Ahlia Gulf Line Trading LLC, Al Sawadi Forum Resort, Oman National Dairy Products, Holiday Inn Muscat, Oman Textile Mills, American Embassy Muscat and American Airlines/Blue Falcon.

Behram Divecha, Board Member, added this recollection of the events that year: “Regarding former President George Bush (Senior), I remember he had visited Oman as Vice President and during that time we were invited to meet with him at the U.S. Ambassador’s house. During that meeting, he said he would be very happy to help any cause for the American residents of Oman. I remembered this discussion and when in Houston, Texas, for a meeting I called former President Bush. He personally came on the phone and we had a chat about the formation of the school. He said he would be happy to assist us in any way he could. He agreed to write a letter saying he supported the effort in setting up the school and requested the readers of the letter to do so also. I remember the letter created a lot of excitement when we received it. His approbation was a real endorsement. It seemed to give all those involved in the project a big motivational push forward and a feeling that we were being recognized for our efforts. So we were naturally thrilled that later, when the time came to lay the foundation stone at the site of the new campus in Ghala, George Bush agreed to come and attend the ceremony as the Chief Guest and lay the stone.

1997 to 1999 was a crucial time for TAISM. Our school was at last established and operational but we were still extremely focused on planning for the new school campus. We called in an architectural firm from the U.S., Ellerbe Beckett, to plan and design the new school building. The initial proposal was not implemented and new plans had to be developed locally. Fawzi Mushantaf, a TAISM parent, joined the Board and took on the enormous task of campus development. He has done so much for the school over these ten years! He has worked tirelessly to build up the entire infrastructure of the school and even today Fawzi does his bit without any reservation or reward. Fawzi supported by his wife, Christiane, have contributed many years of effort as individuals and committee members. Fawzi has been the cornerstone of the school’s construction efforts and the campus, as it stands today, is a testament to his tireless efforts and commitment which continue to this very day on the tenth anniversary of the school.” Behram Divecha September 2008


Phase I Following the Ground Breaking Ceremony, the contractor, Bahwan Contracting Company, started the construction of the campus building. Fawzi Mushantaf and the Board of Directors had planned the development of the campus in phases. Work on Phase I went to the following companies: The civil works contract for Phase I of the Ghala Campus Project went to Bahwan Contracting Company. There were also five sub-contractors: M/s Genetco M/s Technique LLC M/s Haifa Aluminium & Services LLC M/s Al Sadoon & Musaad Al Saleh & Sons Haifa Construction Company






Phase I was due to meet the educational needs of up to 350 students from Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 by including 20 modern classrooms, 2 science labs, an information technology lab, a well-equipped library-media center, an art room, a full-sized gymnasium and a customdesigned performance hall. The outside amenities were to

include an outdoor performance area, playgrounds, sports fields and a 25-meter/six lane competition swimming pool. Many months later the building began to take shape and the first classrooms could be seen. Parents were invited to the building site to see the work in progress.

Finally the new campus was ready, taking just twenty months to complete. Staff and students moved into the new campus building at Ghala in August 2000. Kevin Schafer, TAISM’s new Director, said:

“This school is a special place. The energy and purposefulness of academic study, the enjoyment of the activities and the interest of community members has driven the school towards its new beginnings at the Ghala Campus.”

Kevin Schafer, School Director


TAISM received a second letter from former President George Bush congratulating TAISM’s Board of Directors, faculty, staff, students and parents on the occasion of the Inauguration of TAISM’s New Ghala Campus.

The new millennium had brought with it a new beginning for TAISM. Not only did the students have a brand new campus, they also had several new Faculty Members:

New Staff who joined TAISM at the new Ghala Campus in August 2000: Kevin Schafer, Director Jo Ellen Anderson, Registrar Dominique Ashbee, Secondary Art Kathy Cubrilo, School Nurse Todd Church, Secondary English Sue Dockweiler, Music Matthew du Aime, Secondary Science Julia Fuge, Secondary Mathematics Grace Luna, Swimming Assistant Thomas Oden, Principal Rebecca Oden, ESL Juliette Pieuchot, ES Teacher Douglas Poole, Secondary Science Monika Schroder, ES Teacher Denise Ste. Marie, ES Teacher

Board of Directors in the school year 2000 - 2001


Kathrine O’Shaughnessy, Chairperson Peggy Hansel Marcia Dorr Lois Price Behram Divecha Fawzi Mushantaf Stanley Stearns Mahesh Verma Kevin Schafer, School Director





A TAISM parent remembers: “My first memories of TAISM were of rumors of the new real American school to be built on a big bare tract of land near the hospital generously gifted by His Majesty. The whole community was buzzing with stories of how huge the plot of land was and how wonderful the new building would be. Hopes were there as well that this new school would be the one to really fit the needs of many families who wanted the Arabic language for their bilingual children. A huge crowd of people were invited to a meeting hosted by the U.S. Ambassador at which the architects and the consultants made presentations and listened to the questions and concerns of all the parents eager for the chance to contribute whatever input they could toward the hope of a better education for their children. A topic of major concern was the Arabic language and TAISM offered hope of a viable solution. The plans of the future building that were presented that night were so far beyond anything we had ever hoped for in terms of safety, utility for the whole community as well as beauty. It seemed every need had been taken into account in designing the campus, from the safety of the students in the drop-off / parking / bussing areas to the pool, to the library, to the science labs, to the classrooms, to the performance hall/theatre to the sports fields. Although my children didn’t actually attend TAISM until the new campus opened in 2000, due to the location of the temporary campus, we were accepted as part of the community from the time of that first presentation. Newsletters were thoughtfully mailed to our family by Mrs. Kimberly Pierson, keeping us well informed of all upcoming events to which we were invited to attend. One such event was the International Day celebration which showcased performances from around the world starring students from many different schools in the capital area. In addition to international food stalls, another attraction

New Campus at Ghala

on that day was international displays in the classrooms of items brought in by the students from their home countries. I took my young children on a tour of the world through the classrooms. When we entered Mrs. Griep’s second grade classroom, my daughter was totally engulfed in Finland and the reindeer skin on display. My son was pretty amazed by the collection of antique Boy Scout badges and pins on show in the America classroom that night. That was the first day we really started to talk about going to the new school.


Our family, like others, was anxious for the new campus to be completed. On one of my visits to the temporary building, I was introduced to the newly-hired director, Kevin Schafer, who was visiting from India. The TAISM community was growing. Our family formed the habit of driving past the new building site, whenever we were in the area, to watch the dazzling white and blue building develop. On the first day of school in the new building in August 2000, the campus was much smaller than today, but the friendly TAISM atmosphere was there in full force! My fifth grade son who is now a senior and my little daughter, the second grader, who is now in high school, were a bit scared and shy but that didn’t last long because once in their classrooms, they were a part of TAISM. I’ll always remember the friendly way that Mr. Schafer personally greeted each and every student as they arrived that day. In hand was his digital camera and as he said hello to each excited student, he quickly took a snapshot and by the end of the school day, when the moms returned and

Dr. Mary Anne Lecos, a highly qualified consultant on school board operations, policy development and assessment, led a three-day workshop for board members and administrators in September 2000. This workshop, supported by the Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools, addressed the following issues: policy development, improvement of educational opportunities, improvement of teaching and learning, and ways to increase enrollment. “Since 2000, facilitation of planning for The American International School of Muscat has been a highlight of my professional life. Having a small role in the development of TAISM from its early stages to its current level of excellence has been exciting and gratifying.


the students were dismissed, they passed by an amazing bulletin board in the hallway displaying the names and faces of each and every TAISM student. Every day that first week of school when I returned at 3:30 to collect my children, I found them there with a group of other students looking at the board and unknowingly memorizing the faces and names of their new friends at TAISM.” April 2008

Congratulations to the TAISM team of past and present board members and administrators, faculty and staff, parents and students--who have established an extraordinary school community which truly reflects your aspirations and mission. In very few years, you have built strong instructional and co-curricular programs; a beautiful and functional campus; a supportive, student-centered environment; open communications among stakeholders; effective policies and administrative procedures; and a stable financial base for future development. TAISM’s emphases on the arts as universal means of expression, and appreciation of Oman and its culture are well springs of energy, creativity and wisdom.” Dr. Mary Ann Lecos May 2008





As the head of the Campus Development Committee at TAISM, Fawzi Mushantaf has played an intrinsic and invaluable part in TAISM’s campus development over the past ten years. Fawzi and Christiane are parents of three TAISM students: Rafic, Rami and Ralph. Fawzi looks back and reflects on the last ten years: “In 1998 our boys, Rafic and the buildings and facilities needed Rami, used to go to the French in order to cope with the growing School in Muscat. My wife, demand for an American-based Christiane, and I came to know education in Muscat. One of our about the establishment of most important achievements was to establish a Master Plan of the TAISM. We attended the school Campus which helps us to react to introductory session led by the any growing demand within a short Organizing Committee in Madinat period of time. Al Sultan Qaboos. Christiane and I were very excited about it and we Ralph, Christiane, Rami, Fawzi and Rafic Mushantaf In the year 2006, His Majesty Sultan decided to register the boys: Rafic Qaboos bin Said again graciously donated an additional (6 years old) and Rami (4 years old) at TAISM. In August 11,000 M2 of land so we are now in the process of revising 1998, the boys started attending The American International the school boundaries and looking at improvements to School of Muscat in the Interim Campus which was a parking and traffic circulation. three-story building in Madinat Qaboos Al Sultan. During the first week of school, I came to know about the Board of Directors election. I ran for the election but was not elected. Afterwards, I was contacted by H.E. Ambassador Frances D. Cook and she asked me to join the Board and, of course, I gladly accepted the offer and I was appointed to the Board of Directors by the Ambassador. The first Board had the task of building a permanent campus after Ambassador Cook managed to get a plot of land graciously donated by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for the purpose of building a school. The Board, which I used to serve on just as a member, decided to engage a consultant from the U.S.: M/s Ellerbe Becket, to design the TAISM campus and establish a model of the overall Campus Master Plan. Roger Shafer was the Chairman of the Campus Development Committee, and I volunteered to assist as this was my field of expertise. Later that year Mr. Shafer decided to leave due to family reasons and I was asked by the Chairman of the Board to help the Campus Development Committee. During that time we organized the ground breaking of the new campus while former President George H.W. Bush was visiting Oman and he laid the foundation stone. Since that day, the Campus Development Committee has always committed itself to ‘Rise to the Challenge’ to provide

Phase I of the campus included 9 family housing units and 2 bachelor units. We started construction in September 1999 and completed in July 2000. Phase II of the campus was constructed and completed in July 2002. Phase III, comprising different blocks, commenced construction in 2004 and was completed in April 2008. To date the facilities of TAISM comprise the following: • School Building • Outdoor Play Area • Outdoor Shaded Play Area • Housing Units The future plan of TAISM is to build Phase IV: Block R: approx 4000 M2 which will be mainly classrooms Block T: Theatre Block H: Sports Facilities Block L: Additional Classrooms Twelve more housing units will also be built. The projection is to complete the overall campus by the year 2014 provided that financial projections are met.” Fawzi Mushantaf Vice President, Board of Directors, May 2008


The Millennium Wall Unveiled

Meanwhile Kathrine O’Shaughnessy and Fiona Eddings, Public Relations and Fund Raising Assistant, were working hard to raise funds for the school’s continued expansion. As TAISM’s opening in Ghala coincided with the new millennium, Kathrine came up with the idea of creating a Millennium Wall, to be designed as a permanent mural. Patrons listed on the wall would represent those who had contributed to TAISM’s capital campaign to enable the construction of the campus. A letter was sent out to companies and parents inviting them to become benefactors of the school. Family Patrons could have their names inscribed in gold on the Millennium Wall in exchange for a contribution of RO 500/-. Corporate Patrons were invited to inscribe the name of their company on the Wall for a contribution of RO 1000/- and Building Patrons who had donated between RO 5000 – 100,000 would be listed on a special panel in recognition of their support. Names of new benefactors could be added throughout the years. On November 19, 2000, Ambassador John B. Craig and Mrs. Gerre Lee Craig unveiled the Millennium Wall in the presence of the Board of Directors, parents, students and friends.

Millennium Wall Patrons in 2000

“It is with great pleasure that I have the opportunity as Director of the School, to welcome you to the Unveiling of the Wall in this beautiful lobby of The American International School of Muscat. Three years ago the idea of gathering here for an occasion like this would have been only a dream. However, we are here tonight, in honor of the students of TAISM, to recognize the generosity of our patrons, and to celebrate one more new beginning for our school. The American Embassy has played an integral role as the sponsor of TAISM. I am particularly thankful to you, Ambassador Craig, for joining us tonight. It is a sign that you support and care for our students, their families, and the role of TAISM as the American School in Oman.” Kevin Schafer November 19, 2000

Installation of the Millennium Wall

David B. O'Malley, Oregon, USA Class of 2002 Rachel E. O'Malley, Oregon, USA Class of 2004 Justin O'Shaughnessy Class of 2004 Karim, Timo & Alex Azhari 1998 – Rebecca, Michelle, Alex & Kristina Grappo 1998 – 2001 Shaun Divecha, Adrian (AJ) Divecha, John Divecha Honoring the First Graduates May 2001, Kevin Del Schafer Polly, Maggie & Emma Hyde 1998 – 2001 Cynthia Divecha, Behram Divecha, Muscat, Oman 1982 Abdullah, Fahad, Sabah & Ali Al Sabah Jimmy G. Helou, Jezzine, Lebanon Class of 2001


Matt Hyde, Fawzi Mushantaf, Kathrine O’Shaughnessy, Kevin Schafer

Kathrine O’Shaughnessy, Kevin Schafer, Fiona Eddings





Former U.S. Ambassador John B. Craig writes: angel, rescuing us from disasters “There is no issue more important both of our own making as well to a community or to parents than as from unforeseen forces. You the education of their children. don’t see her name much around This is especially so in an overseas the campus, but in that first year, environment where the education of children is a significant element the school would not have survived in the overall well being and good without her. adjustment of the entire expatriate community. Concern about the quality I remember my very first visit to of education specifically for students the former temporary campus near from the American system became a Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos. The huge concern in Oman in the middle enthusiasm of the staff, the faculty to late nineties. This concern arose and the students still stands out because of the growth of the American in my mind. The involvement of community and because of the the parents is perhaps the other increasing number of non-American main impression; they were on Kevin Schafer, Kathrine O’Shaughnessy, U.S. Ambassador campus every day, helping to expatriate students who wanted an John B. Craig, Gerre Lee Craig make sure that every need was American-based elementary and met and every issue covered. Again I emphasize that this secondary education to allow them to compete for entry into was an international effort, not an American effort. Parents American colleges and universities. from many backgrounds recognized the opportunity and the In Oman, it was a given in the situation that the American challenge. Embassy would be heavily involved in the initiative by some very dedicated parents in the fall of 1997 to form a new school There was this highly successful principal of the American based on an American curriculum. The Government of Oman high school in New Delhi who was looking, not actively, but at the time looked to the Ambassador of the community owning certainly looking for a step up into an administrator’s job. or forming a school to provide the leadership and control of (Soon Kevin Schafer arrived to take up the Director’s position.) the endeavor. We can say from this vantage point ten years And then the progress really started happening; the contract for later that those parents who established the new school were the new school was tendered and the construction started. Then just about as gutsy a group as you can imagine. They were the construction was finished and the school moved into the not all Americans; they were all dedicated to securing the best Ghala compound. And the progress hasn’t stopped since that wild amazing first year. TAISM is truly a labor of love for all education possible for their children and future generations of those who have been involved. expatriates in Oman. I cannot imagine what the school year 1997/1998 must have been like as the organizing group sought to recruit teachers, staff, find a building and make sure that a proper environment existed for the first day of school in the fall of 1998. Having met with and worked with those unbelievably dedicated people, I can tell you that I am not surprised at all that they succeeded. They also had a very big push and a helping hand from the Office of Overseas Schools at the U.S. Department of State. The Middle East Director, Dr. Bea Cameron, proved time and again that she was our guardian

I would be remiss if I did not mention the role played by our dear friend, Kathrine O’Shaughnessy. Tireless in her pursuit of excellence in the school, she raised money, cajoled volunteers and kept me from despairing at the enormity of the task that first year. Kathrine, the other Board members and volunteer parents carried the burden magnificently. We should never forget the parents who did not, maybe could not, get so deeply involved. They played an equally important role, however. They too


believed in the school, they paid the tuition, they made sure their students succeeded and thereby made a great contribution to the school. Thereafter, these parents continued to support the school, brought other parents into the school and continued spreading the word about the school and its quality education. They are the reason the school has grown in attendance every year since its founding. Another extremely important role was played by the Government of Oman. Once the government and His Majesty Sultan Qaboos personally became aware of the intent to form a new school based on the American curriculum, the government supported it wholeheartedly, giving that crucial gift of land to make the building possible. His Majesty has remained involved in the growth process, stepping forward at each expansion to make sure the school succeeds. We worked very closely with the Ministry of Education that first year to make sure everything went smoothly. The government is fully

aware of the benefit of having a successful school based on the American curriculum in Muscat for all to see and learn from. The establishment of The American International School of Muscat is a very typical American success story. Concerned and dedicated parents can and will make a difference if they are motivated to do so. The school is also a tribute to the dynamism and hospitality of our Omani hosts, many of whom contributed unselfishly to the development of the school, in the form of cash contributions, because they too wanted to learn and benefit from the American educational system. People vote with their feet, and those people have been walking into TAISM ever since.� John B. Craig October 2008

Dedication of two Science Laboratories A few months later, another celebration took place: On January 17, 2001, Occidental of Oman Inc. Neste (E & P), B. V. Science Labs were dedicated in a ceremony attended by Ambassador John B. Craig and Matthew Hyde, President and GM of Occidental of Oman, who was accompanied by his wife, Bridget, and their two daughters, Polly and Maggie (Middle and High School students). Ambassador Craig commented on the support of the corporate community in Oman in helping make TAISM a reality. Occidental of Oman had contributed substantial funds in order to establish two science labs at the school. At this point, in 2001, the school already offered science courses for grades 6-12 including AP Chemistry, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. This expansion of facilities was much needed.


The Hyde family with U.S. Ambassador Craig and members of the Board of Directors

TAISM AT TEN 1998-2008

THE AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF MUSCAT PROGRAM The Inauguration of The American International School of Muscat Ghala Campus Dedicated by H.H. Sayyid Mansur bin Majid Al Sa’id and H.E. Dr. Omar bin Abdul Muniem Al-Zawawi January 24, 2001 Musical Prelude

Royal Guard Band TAISM Band

Arrival of Honored Guests

Audience, Please stand


Mr. Kevin Schafer

National Anthem of Oman

Royal Guard Band

School Director

National Anthem of America Royal Guard Band Reading from the Koran

Abdullah Al Sabah

Musical Interlude



Elementary School Students

Remarks and Introduction of Mrs. Kathrine O’Shaughnessy Ambassador John B. Craig Chairman, Board of Directors Address and Introduction of Honored Guests

Comments from Honored Guest

H.E. Dr. Omar bin Abdul Muniem Al-Zawawi

Special Advisor to His Majesty the Sultan for External Liaison

Unveiling of Plaque

H.E. John B. Craig

The Ambassador of the United States of America

H.H. Sayyid Mansur bin Majid Al Sa’id

Representing His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Advisor to the Minister of National Heritage and Culture


H.E. Dr. Omar bin Abdul Muniem Al-Zawawi


Mr. Kevin Schafer Reception and Open House follow


Inauguration of TAISM’s Ghala Campus

Finally, in early January 2001, the invitations went out to many VIPs, TAISM Patrons, parents and TAISM students for the Inauguration of the New Campus at Ghala. The ceremony took place at 7 pm on January 24, 2001, in the Open Air Theatre at TAISM’s beautiful new campus. The event was hosted by His

Excellency Ambassador John B. Craig and Mrs. Gerre Lee Craig with the Board of Directors. The Guest of Honor was H.H. Sayyid Mansur bin Majid Al Said and also in attendance was Dr. Omar bin Abdul Muniem Al - Zawawi, Special Advisor to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for External Liaison.

Kevin Schafer U.S. Ambassador John B. Craig H.H. Sayyid Mansur bin Majid Al Said






U.S. Ambassador John B. Craig and Kathrine O’Shaughnessy greet VIPs and dignitaries

Abdullah Al Sabah TAISM student

Fawzi Mushantaf, Dr. Omar Al Zawawi, U.S. Ambassador John B. Craig, H.H. Sayyid Qais Al Said

The Royal Guard of Oman Band

U.S. Ambassador John B. Craig greets a VIP guest


U.S. Ambassador John B. Craig greets Mohsin Haider Darwish

H.E. Kuwaiti Ambassador Salim Al Sabah and Mrs. Shaikha Al Sabah

Hani Zubair and U.S. Ambassador John B. Craig

Behram Divecha Gary Grappo Redha Jaffer Salem Al Zawawi Munir Macki Hani Zubair






The unveiling of the Inauguration Plaque

U.S. Ambassador John B. Craig greets VIPs

Plaque unveiled at the Ghala Campus Inauguration In the name of Allah, the merciful and most compassionate In Honor of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said The Ghala Campus of The American International School of Muscat under the sponsorship of The Embassy of The United States of America was graciously dedicated by His Highness Sayyid Mansur bin Majid Al Sa’id and H.E. Dr. Omar bin Abdul Muniem Al-Zawawi on January 24, 2001

Munir Macki, U.S. Ambassador John B. Craig


TAISM Students wrote to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said thanking him for the generous donation of land for the TAISM Campus


Chapter 4

Campus Expansion

In September 2002, just two short years after the opening of the Ghala Campus, TAISM’s enrollment had reached 275 students, representing many nationalities and a 20% increase in the school population since the previous school year. This number included 80 new students who had enrolled over the summer.

The largest gains had been in Middle and High School where enrollment had reached 140. As a result of this increase in numbers, more courses were added and staffing had been increased to meet the demand. The Campus needed to expand to give the students and staff additional required space. The Campus Development Committee, led by Fawzi Mushantaf, worked on the construction of the Phase II expansion for six months, completing it in record time. Hundreds of workers, representing Haifa Construction Company, worked diligently through the summer heat towards the completion date. A+D Company acted as consultants on the project. In August 2003 everything was ready.

Signing Contracts for Phase II Construction


Phase II under construction

Phase II contractors with TAISM’s Board of Directors






U.S. Ambassador Baltimore with TAISM’s Board of Directors, January 12, 2003

Phase II

Phase II consisted of new elementary classrooms, bringing the total capacity of the campus to 360 students. There were also new music rooms, science labs, art studios, an expanded library and the Early Childhood Development Center. That same year the grass Sports Field was also completed. So it was that on January 12, 2003, students, parents, and staff had the pleasure of welcoming U.S. Ambassador Richard L. Baltimore III to the school as Guest of Honor for the Inauguration of Phase II. Ambassador Baltimore, parent of two TAISM students, praised the work of the Board, administration, teachers, parents, and students for the achievement of significant growth in the school and for their efforts in moving forward to create a wonderful school facility that would serve the international community for many years to come. The Board of Directors, represented by Kathrine O’Shaughnessy, thanked His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for his original generous gift of land. Also

Mem Fox, author, in the Sur Library in 2004

recognized was the school’s sponsor, the Embassy of the United States of America, for its continued support of TAISM. Only with the dedication and hard work of Board members and school staff was the opening of Phase II possible. The Board of Directors thanked Fawzi Mushantaf, Chairman of the Campus Development


Melanie Brink, Choral Director, with the Youth Choir


Committee; Mahesh Verma, Board Treasurer and Hiten Toprani, Construction/Building Coordinator. Also present over the summer to oversee the work were the school’s Director, Kevin Schafer; the Principals, Tom Oden and Steve Plisinski; the Business Manager, Hemant Dutia; and the Accountant, Aju John.

Part of the inauguration was also the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new upper Elementary School play equipment. This outdoor play facility was made possible by the efforts of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of 2001-2002. The students gained six additional swings and climbing equipment.

The Phase II celebration was highlighted by the performance of the Concert Band, under the direction of Kentaro Udagawa, and the Youth Choir, directed by Melanie Brink.

This ceremony also highlighted the new Elementary School Computer Lab. The computers had been donated by the U.S. Embassy and would be used for the Elementary School classes in their integration of technology into the curriculum.





New Features of Phase II Five Elementary Classrooms Five additional Elementary classrooms are being added to accommodate the expanding student population.

Two Middle School Classrooms Two additional classrooms will enhance the Middle School academic program.

Sur Library Extension

Music Room

In addition to providing new resources and technology, the Sur Library Media Center will double in size.

A high level of student participation in the music program necessitates a larger and better-equipped instrumental and choral music room.

Elementary Art Room Creativity remains a cornerstone of the American education philosophy.

Biology Lab

Physics / Chemistry Lab

The High School life sciences will benefit from this new state-of-the-art laboratory.

Increased interest in advanced sciences will be met through this new laboratory.

Bait Al Zubair Art Room Extension & Kiln Students will have the opportunity to enroll in programs exploring areas of three dimensional art and design.


Tom Oden was Principal of TAISM’s Middle and High School during TAISM’s formative years from 2000-2003. you don’t, it is invariably empty, no matter how high the test scores or organized the curriculum. TAISM was a place where people were cared for. My last memory of TAISM was the going away party that my friend, David Redmond, arranged for Rebecca and me, one of the nicest things that anyone has ever done for us. He chartered a boat and we -- David and Martha, Kaste and Karim, the Lundholms, Candy Hillier, probably a few others - went to Bandar Karan. On the way out, we watched an incredible sunset and saw sea turtles and dolphins. Once there, we built a fire, went swimming and talked through the night. On the way back in, I remember standing behind Tom, Hana, Nathan and Rebecca Oden the captain on the back rail, letting the wind rush by and looking up into the night sky. The wake of the “I’ll never forget TAISM - the people, the place, the time in boat left a trail of phosphoresence that looked like a mirror my life. I remember arriving in August of 2002, and working of the Milky Way above. It was peaceful and centered and furiously with Kevin (Mr. Schafer) to get ready for the first deeply beautiful. We rounded the point and the battlements day of school in the new building. It felt like we did a week of the fort and the waterfront in Muttrah came suddenly and of work every day. At one point, I was on the phone talking to dramatically into view. It was like some other world bathed a prospective family and I looked out my window and a huge in spotlight, mysterious and old, yet somehow familiar. Even crane was lowering a massive date palm into the ground. That though we were not from there, it had somehow become was TAISM - one minute dirt and rubble, then next, landscaping indelibly part of us. and magic. I also remember all the teachers working through the night until 3 or 4 in the morning on the day school started The world has spun a few more times for us since we left Oman in June of 2003. Rebecca has finished the Master’s degree she to have the halls cleared and the classrooms ready. That sort of started there; Nathan is 13 and a soccer fanatic; Hana, who pride and commitment made TAISM a special place. arrived in Muscat when she was 6 weeks old, is now 7 and confident and full of life. We’ve lived in Park City, Beirut and The thing I learned at TAISM was the power of vision. It now Montevideo. Not sure what is next, but all stops that we started with Ms. O’Shaughnessy, went through the Board to make inevitably have to measure up to what we had at TAISM Kevin and me, on to the teachers and ultimately the students and Oman. It is not an easy test to pass. I hope that the Odens and families. We were going to believe in our school - not that were able to play a small part in the development of such a it would simply exist, but that it would continually improve great school. Congrats and all our love.” and become one of the great American international schools. If we did anything, I think we treated people well. What built the school up, in terms of its numbers, was the connection Thomas E. Oden that we made with each family. At its heart, schooling is Director ultimately a human enterprise and you have to take care of the Uruguayan American School people involved. If you do, incredible things can happen. If






Summer Facelift

During the summer of 2004, many teachers attended summer workshops in the U.S. in order to update their teaching methods with the latest techniques. The school was growing at a rapid rate. It seemed that as soon as the school campus expanded, the number of students increased! Over the summer of 2004 more than 100 new students enrolled! This brought the number of students at TAISM to 370, as the enrollment grew considerably in Early Childhood and Kindergarten, with some classes having waiting lists. The new English as a Second Language and Special Needs policies were utilized in the admissions screening process. Due to rising numbers, the faculty decided to create two sections for each class in grades 3-12 and the school recruited nine new teachers to join the faculty. Campus development continued; all areas of the school were upgraded to meet the teaching and learning goals of the school. By August 2004 the entrance to the campus was improved, and street lighting to the back entrance of the school was installed. New padded flooring was placed in the Early Childhood play area, and a new phone/public address/intercom system was

Phase III Under Construction By April 2005 school enrollment reached 378, representing 40 nations! The need for additional space became apparent once again. The Campus Development Committee, led by Fawzi Mushantaf, continued with the development of the campus. It was time to start Phase III of the plan. The Board approved the building of four new classrooms. On April 20, Michael Bos, Chairman of the Board of Directors, made an announcement: The school had received its first donation for Phase III. A check for RO 5,000 was

installed. The computer network was upgraded. Additional hardware and software was purchased for the support of instructional programs and new initiatives including the NESA Virtual School. Over the summer of 2004, the school received a special gift of a grand piano through the fund-raising efforts of Pat O’Shaughnessy. The grand piano was delivered to the music department and gratefully received by Kentaro Udagawa and Melanie Brink. The grand piano enhanced the students’ musical education and performance.

Avery Udagawa, TAISM Choir and the new grand piano

presented by Duncan Nightingale, General Manager of EnCana International. Thanks to the generosity of this donation and others which followed from its Patrons, TAISM would ‘Rise to the Challenge’ yet again! Work on Phase III started in earnest as there was a growing demand for enrollment at the school. By July the first four classrooms were ready, and a second section was added to the Early Childhood Center which accommodated three-year-old children. One additional section each for Kindergarten and grade 3 were also under construction. A covered sports court, much needed by the increased enrollment, was also installed.


Recognition of Kathrine O’Shaughnessy On May 28, 2005, a reception was held in the school foyer to recognize Kathrine O’Shaughnessy, former Chairperson of TAISM’s Board of Directors and one of the most instrumental members of the Organizing Committee. Many friends and business associates of Mrs. O’Shaughnessy; her husband, Patrick O’Shaughnessy; and her son, Justin O’Shaughnessy (Class of 2004), gathered with TAISM staff to dedicate a plaque and a picture in the foyer. The plaque and picture honor Kathrine O’Shaughnessy’s exceptional service to TAISM from 1998 through 2004.

The reception was concluded with a poem:

Realizing a Dream Resembling a mirage, shimmering in the desert heat A growing body of knowledge, an oasis of calm white light Rises miraculously from the dust. Tall shady palms rustle and sway in the early morning breeze As laughing children from around the globe Skip and run on their daily pilgrimage to this; Our School To laugh, sing, learn and grow happily together. Inhale the sweet fragrance of childish enthusiasm Listen to the concentrated silence of books speaking volumes Feel the crystal clear glowing flow of energy Motivating all who enter, to excel. Watch strong hands, wise minds and able bodies guide and convey Nurturing in others, a desire to learn, create, give and receive. Our family of TAISM has rapidly become a close knit community; A partnership of parents, teachers and students, rich in diversity And we celebrate our differences and explore each other’s worlds Rising to the challenge in this friendly learning environment.

Kathrine O’Shaughnessy

The reception featured a speech by former Ambassador Frances D. Cook who was the driving force behind the school’s inception in 1998. The High School Concert Choir performed the pieces ‘Like an Eagle’ and ‘Blessing’, and remarks were given by friends and colleagues of Mrs. O’Shaughnessy. William Stewart, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy, spoke on behalf of Richard L. Baltimore III, U.S. Ambassador. Michael Bos, Chairman, also spoke on behalf of the Board of Directors. Patrick O’Shaughnessy then spoke on Mrs. O’Shaughnessy’s behalf, expressing thanks to the TAISM Boards, past and present, TAISM staff, students, the U.S. Embassy and all who had supported the school over the years. At the reception, TAISM announced the establishment of the Kathrine O’Shaughnessy Fund.


TAISM was built on ambitious dreams, hard work and dedication. Ambassador Frances Cook, with a great vision for the future Ignited the spark and assigned Kathrine O’Shaughnessy; An exceptional woman of immense style and flair To work with burning passion to fan this leaping flame of excellence. Kathrine, a strong, talented woman with stunning Irish looks Became the driving force to turn a dream into a reality Leading the way with fun and laughter in her brilliant clear blue eyes Inspiring us all to dance and smile and work together To create an exceptional school to educate a new generation For our children to gain not only qualifications and a college education But the opportunity to become well rounded individuals With strength of character, compassion, integrity and wisdom So that they, in turn, may one day show the way, leading others To ‘Rise to the Challenge’ and transform this world of ours into a better place. Jane Jaffer May 28, 2005





On May 28, 2005, TAISM announced the establishment of the Kathrine O’Shaughnessy Fund. The Kathrine O’Shaughnessy Fund

at The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) Sultanate of Oman

The American International School of Muscat has announced the establishment of the Kathrine O’Shaughnessy Fund, in honor of Mrs. O’Shaughnessy’s exceptional dedication to the founding and development of TAISM. Kathrine served as a member of the TAISM Board of Directors from 1998-2004, four of those years as Board Chairman. The school has established this special fund whereby proceeds will be utilized for two purposes: • Recognition of exceptional students at TAISM – The Rise to the Challenge Award • Supporting further development of TAISM’s Campus Contributions to the Kathrine O’Shaughnessy Fund may be made by cash or check written in care of: The American International School of Muscat Foundation P.O. Box 584, Azaiba, PC 130, Sultanate of Oman

As the school opened its doors to the second semester of the school year on January 14, 2006, the TAISM community welcomed 30 new students from around the globe. As of January 21, the total enrollment was now 420 representing 48 nationalities.

once again embark on a month-long faculty recruiting process, visiting fairs in Iowa, Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. in order to recruit highly qualified instructors with experience in American and international education.

TAISM’s Director, Kevin Schafer, wrote to parents via the Eagle Newsletter:

Mr. Schafer wrote, “TAISM’s Board of Directors sets ‘the attraction and retention of highly qualified staff’ as one of its top goals. The support received from the Board has been essential in the establishment of a caring and effective teaching staff who dedicate themselves to the best educational opportunities for our students. We are fortunate to have such fine teachers with us at TAISM, and the school will continue to pursue the hiring of high quality candidates from throughout the world in the coming months.”

“With this growth, the school again reaches maximum enrollment in some classes. We encourage companies, embassies, and the new families applying this spring to contact the school early, as waiting lists are being established for the upcoming year. Although TAISM seeks to assist all interested and qualified students, we also attempt to control the size of classes in order to facilitate high quality of instruction for each student.” Due to the increasing school roll, Mr. Schafer would

Kevin Schafer, Director of TAISM January 2006


On Monday February 6, 2006, the Oman Daily Observer published the following headline: TAISM holds Inauguration Ceremony “On January 29, 2006, dignitaries, patrons, parents, TAISM staff and students attended the open air ceremony to inaugurate part of the Phase III development.

Kevin Schafer, welcomed guests to the school, and voiced his gratitude to the individuals, corporations and others who have helped to assist TAISM in its growth over the past eight years.

U.S. Ambassador Richard L. Baltimore III was the Chief Guest of Honor. The prelude to the ceremony was a rousing performance of ‘Flight of the Thunderbird,’ by Richard L. Saucedo performed by the TAISM High School Concert Band, and conducted by band director Kentaro Udagawa. School Director,

Chairman of the TAISM Board of Directors, Michael Bos, described TAISM as ‘a spectacular educational environment’, and recognized six Building Patrons.”

His Excellency the U.S. Ambassador Richard L. Baltimore III inaugurated part of Phase III of TAISM’s Ghala Campus on January 29, 2006. “During the time I served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman from 2002-2006, I was very impressed with the steady growth in both size and quality of this premier educational institution. I had heard much about its history prior to departing Washington and was very much aware of how my predecessors’ strong support had been crucial to TAISM’s viability from its very inception. After I began working with the late Kathrine O’Shaughnessy, it became clear that her


Former U.S. Ambassador Richard L. Baltimore III





dedication to excellence, intelligence, unabashed enthusiasm, positiveness, vision and plain old spunk personified the essence of TAISM’s spirit; her passion was indeed infectious. Over the course of the coming years, I had the pleasure of working closely with Director Kevin Schafer and newly appointed Board Chairman Michael Bos to do what I could to protect and advance TAISM’s interests. My dealings with TAISM are far from academic, so to speak. At the opening of the 2008-2009 school year, Eszter and I will have a daughter in each of TAISM’s primary, middle and high schools. We are most pleased with the way in which TAISM continues to develop all of their innate talents. Krisztina, our oldest, has demonstrated a flare for the dramatic, literally. I have attended all of her TAISM stage performances and am terribly proud of how this usually reserved and quiet young lady comes alive when on stage, whether as a singing cheerleader in ‘Grease’ or delivering a monologue. She is also a strong swimmer and avid reader. Josephine, our second daughter, has responded superbly to Tommy Duncan and other devoted teachers’ encouragement and positive feedback. Books and reading are important to us and ‘Josie’ has shown strong indications of becoming an exceptional writer. She has also broken five swimming records this past school year, some of which had held for three years. Natalie, our youngest at the school, remains so enthusiastic about everything at TAISM that I have to doublecheck her lunch box on occasion for artificial mood enhancers. Another voracious reader, she does not hesitate to remind me when we need to sit down for her dedicated reading hour. Like her older sisters, she also loves swimming. TAISM has come a long and commendable way in only ten years. On the occasion of this anniversary, I salute all involved in making it the wonderful institution it is with its bright and promising future.” Richard L. Baltimore III August 2008 Former U.S. Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman

Sponsors from Phase III recognized As the TAISM community marks completion of several new classrooms and the new Outdoor Sports Court, we offer sincere thanks to the Building Patrons who sponsored the classrooms: • Anonymous Patron • Consolidated Contractors Company Oman LLC • EnCana International (Oman) Ltd • Halliburton Worldwide Ltd • Oman Oil Industry Supplies and Services Company (OOISS). • Simon Karam, Al Mashrikia Travo LLC We also thank the Outdoor Sports Court Patron: • Consolidated Contractors Company Oman LLC

TAISM Continues to Grow

By the following year, 2006, the school had been transformed yet again. Under the able leadership of Mr. Mushantaf, an additional nine classrooms were completed and a second entry foyer was created in just five months! Back in 2000, the school enrollment had been 165, representing 21 nationalities. By August 2006, the enrollment topped 520 with more than 54 nations represented! A celebration, with the naming of classrooms by donors, was held later in the school year. Four companies had donated to the school in this short term. Although the school continued to grow and develop, it still seemed to retain its friendly ‘family’ atmosphere. Everyone seemed to know everyone. No student ever felt like ‘just a number’ at TAISM. This time the increase in the student population had been extremely rapid. In one year it had gone from 387 students to 520 students! To cope with this new influx of students and to enhance the school’s professionalism and quality of education, 28 new members of staff had been recruited.


Cyclone Gonu

At the end of the academic year 2006-2007, on what should have been the last day of term, June 6, 2007 Cyclone Gonu hit Oman. TAISM’s campus was engulfed in a raging torrent of water from Wadi Azaiba which flooded the school area. At the height of the storm, the staff and families who lived in campus housing evacuated to the higher ground of the school to wait for the water to recede. They later

all in their stride and focused on providing a first-class education for the students.

The school continued to ‘Rise to the Challenge’, and amazingly managed to complete a new library, student center/cafeteria and gym in time for the start of the new year on August 27.

Maeve Redmond, TAISM student, wrote her account of the Gonu experience: “One day it was darker than usual. We thought it was going to rain so we went inside and turned on the radio. It said that…in Muscat there was going to be a big storm!!!! Right then, as if in answer, the lights went off. So we put up the carpets to get ready… then it started to pour!!! So we ran into the school where all the people from the compound were! …I was watching through the door. I wished that I could take a tube and go sliding around but mom said I could not! … there was a waterfall in the doorway of the blue gym. That is where I slipped and fell. The storm went on for so long that we had to sleep there; we all slept in different rooms. We slept in the EC room. When I woke up, I forgot where I was; then I remembered. I was in school. Then we went home to see what damage there was there. All over the bottom floor was covered in wet mud!!!! The bad thing was that we had no water. Finally the mud was cleaned. Then we went for a drive. We saw more than 100 cars that needed to be cleaned. It was June 2007 and they are still there. Now it is Wednesday, May 21, 2008.”

It was daunting for new members of staff to arrive in Muscat just two months after a cyclone. But TAISM staff took it

Maeve Redmond May 2008

returned to find their homes and the school grounds full of mud and debris. The neighboring areas had been hard hit, as the Ghala Church compound and the Bahwan car service center were completed inundated by the flood waters. By the time things began to clear, cleanup had already begun at the school with all staff pitching in to help. The U.S. Embassy provided a large generator to meet the electrical needs of the school, as all power and municipal services had been disconnected due to the storm damage. It would be one month before regular services of power, water, and communication were back to normal. Remarkably, TAISM’s campus stood strong and firm throughout the storm, with only minor damage in what was to be remembered as the most destructive cyclone to hit Oman in recent history.






The 2007 - 2008 school year brought more students and facilities TAISM students, parents, staff, Board members and school patrons came together on March 10, 2008, in the school’s Sports Hall to officially celebrate the inauguration of the facilities completed the previous summer. The facilities included the new Sur Library, the O’Shaughnessy Gallery, a new Sports Hall (commonly known as the Blue Gym), and the Student Center/Cafeteria. H.E. U.S. Ambassador Gary A. Grappo attended the ceremony along with Mrs. Rebecca Grappo. The Guest of Honor was Ms. Amal Suhail Bahwan, representing Sheikh Suhail Salim Bahwan, who was a TAISM Building Patron in 1998 when the school was first being established. TAISM’s High School Concert Band, led by Tim Willson (MS/HS Instrumental Music), performed ‘Symphonians’ as well as the national anthems of the Sultanate of Oman and United States of America. TAISM’s Director, Kevin Schafer, welcomed the 800 event attendees and thanked them for their continuing support for the school through its expansion.

Michael Bos, TAISM Board Chairman, recognized the Guest of Honor, Ms. Bahwan. The-state-of-the-art ‘Sur Library’, named in 1999 by Sheikh Suhail Salim Bahwan, a TAISM Patron, refers to Oman’s historical and contemporary maritime anchor, trading port and traditional shipbuilding city, Sur. The city is the home of the Bahwan family. TAISM’s new library, which replaced the original library built in 2000, has a permanent display of books and photographs relating to Sur and the Sharquiyah region, located in its spacious facility. Mr. Bos then honored Patrick O’Shaughnessy and the late Kathrine O’Shaughnessy by announcing the naming of the school’s new Gallery in honor of Mrs. O’Shaughnessy, former Chairperson of the school board and one of TAISM’s founders. The Gallery, located between the two sports halls, houses four permanent tile mosaics, each based on floral designs taken from Omani kumas (hats), which form one unifying work of art. High School Art Teacher, Ray Montoya, and students and adults of the TAISM community produced

Ms. Amal Bahwan receives flowers from a student

the artwork with materials contributed by the Mushantaf family of TAISM. The Gallery also showcases past and present student artwork. Ambassador Gary A. Grappo, who was a TAISM


Program for the Inauguration of TAISM’s New Facilities

founding Board member during his first tour of duty to the U.S. Embassy in Muscat in 1998, offered words of congratulation. In his comments, the Ambassador spoke of the relevance of teamwork and cooperation to successful human enterprise. He commended the school community of supporters on its laudable achievements to date. He also attributed TAISM’s developmental progress to the mutual support and help offered by people in the community, who are either directly or indirectly involved. He said, “Looking at this expansion, the message for us all is to take heart, as human beings have accomplished this for TAISM. This is what people do when they come together; people of common purpose, goodwill and firm determination come together to build an institution. What we have here today did not happen by accident. It happened because of all of you – students, parents, staff, and all the people in the community.” U.S. Ambassador Gary A. Grappo March 10, 2008






The ceremony concluded with a rousing performance by TAISM’s Elementary School Choir, directed by Gwen Willson, Elementary School Music Teacher, as well as the singing of the school song by all of the Elementary School students.


TAISM looks to the future with Phase IV expansion: 2008-2011 “On the first day of the 200809 school year, The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) reached an exciting benchmark: the beginning of its second decade. It was only ten years ago, in August 1998, that the school opened its doors for the first time and welcomed 110 students to its temporary campus in Medinat Qaboos. This August, we began our school year at the beautiful Ghala campus with 620 students and their families representing 52 nationalities. In addition to welcoming back our more than 100 staff members and returning families, 135 new students have joined the school this year. In order to accommodate this influx of students and the addition of programs, a new extension to the building was opened, adding ten classrooms and various offices. The large indoor spaces complement the expansive campus, including play areas for the students and parking for families.

TAISM Master Plan

Looking to the Future In response to the need to provide additional facilities and programs for expatriate students in Muscat, TAISM is launching a new phase of development (Phase IV) in November 2008. This will allow for increased numbers of sections in the elementary school in August 2009. With waitlists currently in place in early childhood and elementary school classes, TAISM is finalizing plans to add classrooms and common areas for both the elementary and middle schools. In addition, a new performing arts center, a large sports field and track, extra parking, and additional faculty housing will be completed over the next two years.�

Kevin Schafer Director September 21, 2008 Proposed Performing Arts Center


Chapter 5

Developing the Whole Child In its inception in 1998, the school clearly defined its values and beliefs in serving international students through an American educational program:

“We believe that the purpose of education is to challenge all students to develop to their fullest intellectual, social, emotional, and physical potential. A studentcentered, teacher-led program, in which individual needs are considered, can best develop the whole child. We recognize that as abilities and goals vary, so must the instructional program of the individual. We also acknowledge that education is a partnership of students, parents, and dedicated staff. We value a diverse school community and an international student body. All youth should have equal opportunity for education consistent with their personal, physical and social needs. We cherish the unique learning opportunities made possible by our location in the Sultanate of Oman.” The school values and beliefs have guided the school throughout its ten-year history. A focus on the development of each individual learner has remained constant in selection of curriculum, staff, programs and facility development. The Curriculum

TAISM’s curriculum reflects the school’s commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence for all of its students. This American-based education helps to develop ethical, responsible and globally conscious life-long learners.

But it is not only the content of the curriculum that makes such an impact on the students, it is also the approach, the methodology, which ensures the students’ interest and motivation to learn and excel.


Early Childhood Program Recognizing the importance of early childhood development, TAISM has made a strong commitment to students beginning in their earliest years. The Early Childhood Center commenced operations at TAISM in August 2002 and initially offered a class for three- and four-year-old children, providing the opportunity to learn and develop in a spacious, child-friendly environment. Previous to this time, a PreKindergarten class was offered for four-year-old children only. In 2005 the Early Childhood program was expanded and now offers separate sections for both age groups in a half-day program. Children in the Early Childhood program participate in a half-day, age-appropriate program which


explores language arts, math and science, and involves a variety of structured and play-based learning activities supporting the children’s growth and development. Library and gym time are weekly events. Music and art are integrated throughout daily classroom experiences. The shaded Early Childhood playground, with its special flooring, is adjacent to the classroom and equipped with climbing structures, swings, a sandbox and tricycles.





Elementary Grades K-5 The Elementary School has developed from a K-5 school of one section per grade level to its current schedule of two sections at each grade, with specialists provided in art, music, physical education, world languages, English language learning, library, technology, and special needs. Learning in the Elementary School is considered an interrelated process, addressing physical, emotional, social and cognitive dimensions. Key to this process is the development of literacy, which has been a major focus of the teaching and assistant staff. Kerry Harder, Literacy Coordinator, worked with enthusiastic staff and the school

leaders to promote best-practices of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. In addition, the Elementary English Language Learning (ELL) program, led by Kenneth Ingram, has been allowed for students of all language backgrounds to quickly assimilate into the mainstream of the school classroom. It is not surprising to see high quality of ELL student work displayed in the school hallways along with classroom projects, art displays, community development posters, and to see and hear all students regardless of their home language, participating in reading, musical, and theater opportunities on a regular basis. High levels of participation in the learning process promote success at TAISM.

Elementary School Principal, Dan Hovland, joined the school in 2005 and has already seen enormous changes in the Elementary School. School has grown from 60 students to 300. With over 50 nationalities served in a regularly changing student body due to external factors, it’s understandable that the conversation about what the essence of TAISM has been, is hard to define. When I think of TAISM, the overall experiences of students’ lives vividly comes to mind: children smiling and enjoying life, teachers reading with students and making a difference for each individual, parents beaming at the sight of their child on stage, and student displays of class and artwork. Even the good-byes we experience at the end of the year are part of the experience as students recall all that has been accomplished and those with whom they’ve shared the experience. Dan, Lauren, Kris and Cam Hovland

“It’s difficult, if not impossible, to encapsulate the essence of a school over time. Like so many things in life, a school has many components that remain the same from year to year, such as books, materials, and oftentimes facility structures. However, what is most crucial in defining the essence of a school is the people that inhabit the building and the learning that takes place.

If there is a consistent theme for TAISM, it is that we continue to evolve for the purpose of better serving our community. We grow as a school in structure, student population, staff, resources and opportunities. As a school, we have evolved to an established school that people love for its size, diversity and sense of community. It has been a privilege to be part of the growth of the school and part of the community over the past three years.”

For ten years TAISM has opened its doors to the expatriate community in Muscat, Oman. In that time, the Elementary

Dan Hovland, Elementary School Principal September 2008


Kerry Harder is the Elementary Literacy Coordinator and former teacher of Grade 3. She recalls a surprise from her students in 2003:

“My first year at TAISM I had quite an amazing class. Perhaps what made them such an unusual bunch was the sociability of the parents. Several times throughout the year we had parties – not just at school either! One Norwegian family, the Kriens, loved to host events at their house. So for our final end-of-the-year festivities, we organized a big potluck gathering at their house. We had a long table set up for adults and another for the kids – imagine a big, Italian family. After a fantastic meal, the kids all appeared amidst giggles and whispering holding a large package. I opened it to find an amazing quilt, which was handmade by each child and parent in the class. The students had each designed a square by drawing a scene or object related to Oman. The parents had then learned how to stitch the quilt square so they could help their child sew around the scene. Finally, two mothers sewed the entire quilt together with a backing and borders.


I was speechless! What a treasure to know how everyone had worked both individually and cooperatively to put together such a priceless piece of art and love. I have never received a more thoughtful and heartfelt gift. The memories that go with it are equally as priceless! Imagine all this in my very first year at TAISM. Now you can see why our family has chosen to stay here!” Kerry Harder June 2008





Kenneth Ingram, who joined the teaching staff in 2002, shares his experience as a teacher in the Elementary English Language Learning program: “I am privileged to work with a caring and dedicated staff that is knowledgeable in meeting the needs of second language learners. Teachers at TAISM are lifelong learners, collaborating in professional development in literacy to promote best practices in the classroom. Another benefit to working at our school has been the support of our families. All together, the qualified staff

and caring parents make a difference in our students’ achievement. All of these factors continue to enrich the learning environment at the school.”

The English Language Learning Program at TAISM

Our school and our teachers aspire to make English Language Learners feel at home. As international educators, it is our duty to create an environment in which students can take pride in their own cultural heritage while also developing an awareness and sensitivity for the cultures of others. We believe that supporting a multi-cultural, multi-lingual learning environment complements a student’s academic growth. Students whose primary language is not English are recommended for the ELL program for a period of time that is determined by the ELL teacher and classroom teacher.

The objective of the English Language Learning Program (ELL) at TAISM is to serve the needs of English Language Learners whose families, in addition to those who use English as a primary language, have chosen the school for an American and international school experience in Muscat. These families hold high educational expectations for their children and see the success in the development of language as a key to learning.

Kenneth Ingram October 2008


Our school is exemplary in the way it makes the curriculum accessible to the children who are learning English. In addition to our English programs, the students are supported in a variety of ways: • Our homeroom classes provide a nurturing atmosphere that challenges our English Language Learners while taking into account their academic needs and cultural backgrounds. • The literacy program, led by a highly dedicated staff of teachers and assistants, promotes literacy through an approach of ‘balanced literacy’. Students’ reading skills are developed through practices including reading aloud, shared reading, guided reading, and independent

Middle and High Schools The Middle School became a full ‘division’ of the school in the 2007-08 school year with a separate administration. Creating a distinct educational setting for the 160 students helped to further define the programs and style of teaching and learning which meets the needs of this group. It’s hard to label children between the ages of eleven and fourteen. They’ve been called everything from young adults to ‘tween-agers.’ They are hard to fit into an educational setting because they are not old elementary kids nor are they young high school students. Most children in grades six through eight change more physically and mentally than they ever will in their school lives. The black-and-white ideas of childhood are challenged by issues that have more shades of gray. Curiosity sparks intellectual exploration and the exceptional middle school teacher capitalizes on this. A young adolescent in the right educational setting hones their depth of thinking, critical reasoning, sense of humor, and creativity. The TAISM Middle School program was developed


reading. Writing is encouraged and developed through modeled writing, shared and interactive writing, guided writing, independent writing, and word study. • Art classes offer a form of expression and vocabulary development that is not dependent on the child’s oral ability. • Music classes encourage oral and kinesthetic participation in a risk-free setting where children sing chorally as they develop the syntax and vocabulary of the English language. • Physical education classes create an awareness of a healthy body, teamwork, and socialization, as well as develop a vocabulary through kinesthetic movement.

to meet the needs of these learners. It is transitional – the sixth grade looks more like an elementary program and the eighth grade looks more like high school. It is exploratory: students have opportunities in more courses, such as IT, drama, health, and media literacy. It is rigorous, because these students don’t need watered-down academics. And it is appropriate – students are involved in both independent and group projects. They are encouraged to make presentations, hypothesize for science fairs, and learn the life-long goal of remaining organized. The school’s teachers for grades 6-8 are proud to call themselves Middle School Teachers! They actively strive to meet the students at the academic and social development levels for the age group. The various programs which began with Sara Kaste as coordinator set traditions in place such as Unity Day, Wacky Wednesday and Spirit Week. The spirit of these programs continue today under the leadership of Keith Boniface, with the addition of Mini-courses, Maui Mondays and MS Parties. The TAISM Middle School remains a vibrant division of the school and eagerly awaits the building of the new middle school wing in 2009-10.





Mr. Nelson File, TAISM’s High School Principal since 2003, reflects on the school’s motto and its effect on the lives of the Secondary School students: “ ‘Rise to the Challenge’ has been a constant theme at TAISM. Unlike many other schools where their mottos are words, every-day people see these words printed on letterhead or on the school seal. ‘Rise to the Challenge’ are words that have come to life daily at the school over the past ten years. Kathrine O’Shaughnessy, who was intimately involved with the founding of TAISM and served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors, was part of the group that decided on this motto for the school. Kathrine lived by these words and demonstrated it by volunteering wholeheartedly for the school until she no longer was able. She possessed most of the characteristics that we try to instill into the students who attend TAISM: passion, persistence, seeing the future for what it should be and not dwelling on what the present does not yet possess. Kathrine also embodied the best of what America has to offer, although she was not American. TAISM’s ‘can do’ and pragmatic spirit, permeating the entire culture of the school, was influenced by Kathrine’s view on life. The Middle School and High School have benefited from the community’s response of rising to the challenges of building a school. As the population of enthusiastic and diverse students has grown, so have the athletic teams, Model United Nations delegations, International School Honor Band and Choir participants, a full-fledged drama program, and community service program continued to grow. The list of programs and accomplishments could

Lindsey, Lisa, Amy, Spencer and Nelson File

go on and on, but touting the school’s success is not what we are all about, nor is it what Kathrine’s original vision for TAISM was all about. TAISM is about determining how we can provide the best American-based educational system in Oman, and how it can improve on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month and on a year-to-year basis. It is clear that, as stated in the school’s mission statement, we must continue to strive to ‘pursue academic excellence for students in the international community through an American-based education that develops ethical, responsible and globally conscious life-long learners.’ ”

Nelson File Middle School and High School Principal 2003-2007 High School Principal 2007June 2008


Sara Kaste, TAISM’s Middle School Math Teacher and Student Affairs Coordinator from August 2001 to June 2007, shares her memories: “It didn’t take long for me to realize what a special place TAISM was. I had only been a part of the school family for one month on September 11, 2001 (9/11). And while one might assume that a community as diverse as ours would become divided during the days and months that followed, I saw how it brought people closer together. This school was not merely a collection of children and adults, but truly a family that supported each other at all times. As our school grew, the sense of belonging stayed strong and became the very core of whom we were. Rigorous academics, competitive sports teams and talented teachers were always important, but to me the essence of TAISM was always the knowledge that one was part of something bigger than the sum of its pieces. The fact that each individual child was valued for their unique talents and contributions created an environment perfect for growth and learning. My passion is working with Middle School students, and during my six wonderful years at TAISM, I felt the school go through a period similar to adolescence. When I arrived, we weren’t exactly sure of ourselves, wondering exactly what our strengths and identity in this world would be. But as each person came and added their vision and energy for all that we could accomplish, our true potential


became clear. Today TAISM is like a young adult, confident in its development, grateful to all those who have contributed to who it has become, and excitedly looking towards the future, knowing it is capable of anything it sets its mind to. To every student, parent, staff member and friend of TAISM, you have touched my life with an importance that cannot be described with mere words. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to all students, past and present, for giving of yourself to make TAISM the amazing place it is today. Sara Kaste Middle School Math Teacher and Student Affairs Coordinator 2001 – 2007 May 2008

Students receiving awards from Kevin Schafer and Tom Oden





Keith Boniface, Middle School Principal, arrived in August 2007. “My wife, Pat, and I arrived in July 2007 just as the dust from the destruction of cyclone Gonu was settling. We came to an attractive campus, sporting two gymnasiums, a swimming pool, a swank new library, shiny cafeteria, and a soccer field so green it hurt my eyes. Twin rotundas marked either end of the long hallway that is the backbone of TAISM and flank the long corridors to the classrooms. The entry, with its white and blue-tinged windows overlooking the desert browns of Azaiba, feels neat and ordered. The overwhelming feeling a newcomer gets, once they get past the sweltering July heat, is class, just plain and simple class. In July, the school halls echoed and seemed almost austere. Gonu-delayed construction work was busily being finished. The never-ending shuffle of rooms meant that furniture and boxes were being hauled from place to place. But then in late August, the first kids returned like migratory butterflies.

They rolled their daypacks in from the buses and disappeared with a buzz into the building. They brought life and warmth into the school. That spark is the one feature that probably hasn’t changed much in the ten years of this community’s continued growth. TAISM is still an inviting, cheerful, and gracious place. It is my perception that much has been done since day one, and yet it is still just the beginning. I sense that we’re only in the middle of the first act and that the second act will likely steal the show. There are plans for scenery changes that will undoubtedly astound you. You will all want to stick around for it.” Keith and Pat Boniface

Keith Boniface Middle School Principal May 2008

A Celebration of Poetry in the High School. Brady Riddle, English Teacher, explains the influence of poetry at TAISM:

Published poet, Priyanka Sacheti, reciting a poem at Enjambment

“Twelve years ago in the United States, an appreciation for literature and literacy was initiated with the designation of a month for poetry, and that appreciation has grown into an international passion. The U.S. National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities developed the concept of poetry month to ‘increase the attention paid by individuals and the media – to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our poetic heritage, and to poetry books and magazines.’ ”


In this spirit, TAISM embraces and celebrates poetry every April. Poems are read in each classroom and a special evening entitled ‘Enjambment’ highlights TAISM poets and poetry aficionados. Mr. Riddle adds:

This War

Maya Montoya

“This is a wonderful experience of sharing and expression, thus planting strong seeds that will develop into succulent poetic fruition.” What does the word ‘enjambment’ mean? It is the continuation of a syntactic unit from one line or couplet of a poem to the next with no pause. In April 2008 this wonderful wordfilled evening took place in the school’s Kathrine O’Shaughnessy Gallery. This was the fourth Enjambment and was a gathering of not only TAISM students and staff, but also literati from the Muscat community. Brady Riddle continues: “From life to death to bad, outdated haircuts, readers shared their insights, their souls, and their skewed humor to an open, receptive and very generous audience. As TAISM continues to grow, Enjambment is beginning to carve a niche for itself, not only into the time-honored string of school events the school proudly hosts annually, but into the cultural foundation of the ever-growing society of Muscat.” Brady Riddle High School English April 2008

This war that is raging And aging My heart, the wrinkles that Stretch under meters of skin, worn thin By these times that snap me in two These men with their guns and their tanks and their hate They storm through my castle and take me for bait

For they march to a tune that only I can hear Upways And leftways And sideways I fear, for the young left behind in my wake For the miles and miles of lives that they take For the children that cry out for love in the night For the hell that they see The sight of my body strung up on a pole The 12-gun salute going off in my soul For they march to a tune that only I can hear Upways And leftways And sideways A tear, that I cried once now wrapped up in gold For the tears that I cry now are always Sold out for a shot at a one-ticket show My noose waiting threadbare Six feet is too low For they march to a tune that only I can hear Upways And leftways And sideways But no ways For I laugh at these men who took me away I giggle And shriek And cackle Until They drop the guns that they carried so long And rightside the right And wrongside the wrong And slip and flop and roll on the ground and scream For the impossible joy that I found Maya Montoya 2007 Poem by Maya Montoya, Class of 2007






Greg Brink arrived at TAISM in 2002. He comments here on the Mathematics program offered to students: “I am in my 7th year of teaching High School Math at TAISM. The biggest change in the math classes, as with pretty much everything in the High School, has been the number of students who are now taking upper-level math classes. When I first arrived at the school in 2002, I taught an Algebra 2 class that had three students in the class! This year I am currently teaching two Algebra 2 classes that have a total of 37 students. Obviously a big increase, but it is still nice to be teaching classes of 15-20 students instead of the 30+ students I averaged in each class when I taught in a U.S. public school. We currently have multiple classes of PreCalculus, have added a personal finance class called Math Studies, and have many students currently taking Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus.

I would say one of the strengths of the math and science curriculums here at TAISM is how we incorporate the use of technology. Students are expected to know how to work with and manipulate data and, more importantly, be able to analyze the data and results numerically, graphically, and analytically. Our classes emphasize that there is much more to math and science than just memorizing data and plugging numbers into formulas.� Greg Brink, September 2008

Math students

Greg Brink, HS Math Teacher

In April 2006, HS Math Team competed in SAISA Math Competition held in Bombay


TAISM students launch a rocket with MS Science Teacher, Carey Johnson, for a science experiment.

The goal of this particular project was to explore variables that kept a rocket in flight longer.






Lloyd Baker has been teaching science at TAISM for the past five years: “When I arrived at TAISM five years ago, there were only three full-time science teachers and one part-time teacher for the Middle and High Schools. Those were the days when it was common to teach three or four different science courses plus a couple of math courses tossed in to keep you on your toes! Being a small ‘department’ contributed to the close comradeship between the science teachers. I fondly remember Matt du Aime’s (a former Biology teacher) annual ‘Science Bonanza,’ a contest held between all science students that involved the construction of a simple device, and competing against other groups to determine who could launch the projectile the greatest distance or construct the shape that could withstand the greatest mass. Fast forward to 2008! The school has now developed fully-equipped, top-of-the-line science laboratories. One laboratory

dedicated to each of the sciences has been built – Chemistry, Biology and Physics, respectively – and a multipurpose Middle School laboratory has been developed. In addition to our facilities, TAISM now has specialists in each of the disciplines, allowing for the full spectrum of Advanced Placement courses to be offered to students. While some schools only give lip service to the expression ‘hands-on science,’ TAISM, with its focus on the individual in small classes, continually upgrades its facilities/equipment and actively engages its students in the experience of science.” Lloyd Baker HS Science Teacher May 2008

Jenny Zhang, member of the class of 2007 who currently attends the University of British Columbia, Canada, writes about her years of study at TAISM: “My best high school years were spent at TAISM. My greatest regret was that at the time, I didn’t really know how lucky I was to be studying there! The best quality of TAISM is inarguably the teaching staff. A school can hardly be a school without teachers, and the ones at the school are some of the most caring, memorable characters I have ever had the fortune to know. During my senior year, I was blessed with two core-subject teachers who were not only maestros at teaching, but also had an avuncular interest in my personal well being. Now that I am in university where the professors know me by number only, I can truly appreciate what those teachers at TAISM did for me. They understood me the way that a parent understands a child – my weakness, my strengths,

when I was pushed too hard, when I wasn’t being challenged enough. And it was that depth of understanding, in addition to a good relationship, that made learning enjoyable. I pushed myself hard in the junior and senior years. In those two years, I took a total of eleven Advanced Placement (AP) exams, eight of which were prepared in courses at TAISM and three as self-studies. Without the help of two teachers in particular, I could not have made it to university: Robert Jackson, History Teacher, a person who sincerely touched my life beyond my immediate family, and Lloyd Baker, Science Teacher, a great teacher and wonderful person.” Jenny Zhang, April 2008


David Redmond, World Languages Coordinator and Teacher at TAISM since 2001, explains the development and ethos behind the language programs at the school: “ ‘Learning to speak another’s language means taking one’s place in the human community. It means reaching out to others across cultural and linguistic boundaries. Language is far more than a system to be explained. It is our most important link to the world around us. Language is culture in motion. It is people interacting with people.’ - Sandra Savignon World Languages at TAISM started out with a French program and a program for native speakers of Arabic. Today, the school offers Arabic Heritage Language (for native speakers), Spanish, and French from grade two upwards. We also offer Arabic as a foreign language in the High School. There are currently eight World Languages teachers at TAISM, including the Program Coordinator. The study of World Languages is compulsory throughout the Elementary School and Middle School. In High School, students must complete at least two years of study in the same language in order to graduate. The World Languages program is designed to introduce students to other cultures and to build their communicative competence to enable

them to interact with native speakers of Arabic, Spanish, or French. In the High School, students may go on to take the Advanced Placement exam in Spanish and French. World Languages classes at TAISM are filled with engaging activities, challenge, and a high degree of student participation in the language of study. Teachers also encourage students to use the language outside of the classroom in order to gain vital practice and experience. Experiences such as the French café, virtual Paris exhibit, debates, visits to local Arabic cultural centers, and the upcoming first annual World Languages Film Festival bring languages to life at TAISM. The annual High School French Camp is always a highlight of the year. Currently, more and more students are deciding to study two world languages in the High School. No doubt this trend will continue as our world becomes increasingly interdependent and interconnected.” Dave Redmond World Languages Coordinator September 2008

TAISM’s World Languages Teachers 2008






‫‪Rami Mushantaf,‬‬ ‫‪TAISM student,‬‬ ‫‪writes a special‬‬ ‫‪message to the school‬‬ ‫‪in Arabic:‬‬ ‫مدرستي الحبيبة في عيدها العاشر‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫إن للمدرسة األميركيّة ال ّدوليّة في مسقط ذكريات‬ ‫حميمة‪ .‬فأنا أعتبرها بيتي الثّاني حيث نشأت‬ ‫منذ الرّ ابعة من عمري‪ .‬وما زلت أمضي معظم‬ ‫وقتي بين أصحاب قدامى وآخرين جدد‪ّ .‬‬ ‫إن‬ ‫لمدير المدرسة مسؤوليّة كبيرة في لعب دور‬ ‫وأساسي من حيث حسن اإلدارة‪ .‬فهو‬ ‫توجيهي‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫ديناميكي وحكيم بقراراته ممّا ولّد انطباعاً‬ ‫رجل‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫جيّداً عن مدرستنا تعكسه أعداد المنتسبين الجدد‬ ‫إلى المدرسة ّ‬ ‫كل سنة‪ .‬أمّا المدرّ سون فقد لعبوا‬ ‫دوراً جوهريّاً في نشأتي الفكريّة والجسديّة‬ ‫في من خالل االشتراك‬ ‫وزرع الرّ وح الرّ ياضيّة ّ‬ ‫في مختلف األلعاب الرّ ياضيّة والموسيقيّة محليّاً‬ ‫الصعيد الفكريّ ‪ ،‬فقد ساهموا‬ ‫وإقليميّاً‪ .‬أمّا على ّ‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫الضروريّة‬ ‫بإعطائي اإلرشادات والمعلومات‬ ‫لدخول معترك الحياة بثقة وعزم في المستقبل‬ ‫القريب‪.‬‬

‫‪The above article appeared in the January 2006 Eagle‬‬

‫وفي اآلونة األخيرة‪ ،‬قامت اإلدارة بتعديالت‬ ‫رياضي وغرف تدريس‬ ‫ميدانيّة بإضافة ملعب‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫وتحديث الكافيتيريا والمكتبة‪ .‬باإلضافة إلى ّ‬ ‫كل‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫وممتن لتعب ومجهود والدي‬ ‫ذلك‪ ،‬فأنا فخور‬ ‫راسي األمثل لي وإلخوتي‬ ‫لتأمين المستوى ال ّد‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫لضمان مستقبل زاهر‪ ،‬عدا عن كونه عضواً فع ً‬ ‫ّاال‬ ‫في مجلس إدارة المدرسة‪ .‬أخيراً وليس آخراً‪ ،‬أريد‬ ‫أن أق ّدم الشكر الكبير للجنديّ المجهول «أمّي»‬ ‫العاطفي والتّوجيه‬ ‫لمواكبة المشاكل اليوميّة وال ّدعم‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫القويم لمساعدتنا على المثابرة في الوصول إلى‬ ‫واألخالقي‬ ‫العلمي‬ ‫هدفنا السّ امي أال وهو التّحصيل‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫الصعوبات المدرسيّة الّتي تواجه ّ‬ ‫كل‬ ‫بالرّ غم من ّ‬ ‫طالب‪ .‬أشكر الهيئة التّعليميّة في هذه المدرسة‬ ‫الهتمامها العميق وخلق روح العائلة بين أفرادها‬ ‫والتّالميذ عموماً ممّا يجعلنا متحمّسين ّ‬ ‫للذهاب‬ ‫وقضاء وقت ممتع في ّ‬ ‫دراسي‪.‬‬ ‫كل يوم‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫مدرستي الحبيبة‪ّ ،‬‬ ‫وأنت بخير‪.‬‬ ‫كل عشر سنوات‬ ‫ِ‬

‫ّ‬ ‫(الصف العاشر)‬ ‫رامي المشنتف‬ ‫‪TAISM students win poetry contest organized by the Centre Franco-Omanais in 2004‬‬


The Advanced Placement (AP) Program

The U.S. College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) program offers TAISM students the opportunity to take challenging college-level courses while still in High School and to receive college credit, advanced placement or both for successful performance for AP exams. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students’ performance in AP exams. Over 80% of students in grades 11 and 12 at TAISM are enrolled in at least one AP course. Avery Udagawa, was the editor of the Eagle newsletter from 2002 to 2006 and coordinator of alumni communications. In 2006 she surveyed alumni to determine the benefits of taking Advanced Placement courses when they were at TAISM: Rayyan Ghuma (Class of 2005) wrote: “College admissions officers want to see how well you can do in upper-level courses.” Da Hye Kim (Class of 2005) wrote: “At Boston College, there is a core program all undergraduates have to fulfill to graduate. I fulfilled the language requirement and the social sciences requirement. This gave me a lot more freedom than others who have not received credit… to take classes that are not designated solely for first year students.” Afua Kwarteng (Class of 2004) said: “Taking AP Art helped me gain advanced placement. Instead of having to take a

fundamental arts class, I was able to jump a semester ahead, into higher-level art classes like ceramics and sculpture.” Drew Soileau (Class of 2003) wrote: “I had 14 hours of credit before I even started college. This was roughly one semester’s worth of college courses. I received a head start.” Heidi Mekawi (Class of 2005) said: “AP English and Calculus… helped me immensely when it came to preparation for college.” John Wilson (Class of 2005) feels that: “Taking APs will really help you in college. You can rack up so much credit that… when it comes to time for registering for courses, you can register as a sophomore or even a junior (meaning you get to register for classes before other freshmen).” Daniel O’Dell (Class of 2001) said: “There is a lot to be learned in college socially, spiritually and personally. If you take the time to do AP classes in high school, you have more time to learn the outside-of-class topics, which I believe are essential to a successful and happy (student) life.” Mayank Lahiri (Class of 2001) emphasized: “I’d suggest that all AP students be required to take AP English, because the coursework (critical writing) is needed for all majors. Even in the sciences, I found that what I’d learned in AP English stuck with me the longest and helped me the most.”

TAISM Advanced Placement Scholars 2001 - 2008


AP Scholar

AP Scholar with Honor

AP Scholar with Distinction


Rega Jha

Benjamin Le Melvin Lim

Hiral Dutia Julia Milton


Emilia du Aime Yousef Hajjar Benjamin Le Melvin Lim Elise Withers

Hiral Dutia Maya Harder-Montoya Rachael Lane Shaw Julia Milton

Henry Engelland-Gay Kelly Shelden Chi Zhang


Henry Engelland-Gay Kelly Shelden Anna Von Essen

Hamza Adnan Chi Zhang


Vasudha (Rhea) Verma John Wilson

Rayyan Ghuma  


Ona Johnson Maryam Moharib

Javed Islam


Andrew Soileau


Daniel O’Dell





In 2007 the following article appeared in the Eagle:

Cathleen Neal was the Secondary School Counselor at TAISM from August 2003 until June 2008. Prior to her departure, she wrote: “Working and living at TAISM means a lot more to me than a job. It’s a family. It’s a place where people feel safe and supported by your colleagues in order to work with children to bring them to the best of their ability. TAISM is focused on doing what is best for kids.

parents who model respect, kindness, encouragement, and predictable, logical consequences for our children and young adults.

The students and families at TAISM make it The Awesome Incredible School of Muscat! I’ve never met such supportive parents and, as a result, I’ve never hesitated to ask for help from them. I’ve always felt that being a team with parents and teachers is the best approach to helping students – socially and academically. I’ve found that even with the many cultural differences at the school, parents want the same good things for their children.

TAISM is not only a magnificent institution, but it is hosted by one of the most impressive, hospitable countries in the world. I will always be grateful for the five years of living in Oman and being at the school. After working with students as a teacher, a social worker, and a guidance counselor for a total of thirty years, I feel I saved the best for last – TAISM!”

It’s been a common thought of mine: if the world could work together like we do at TAISM, wouldn’t our modern society be amazing? I know it is all a result of staff and

Cathleen Neal May 2008


Ryan Haynes is Cathleen Neal’s successor. He defines his role as TAISM’s Middle and High School Counselor: “First and foremost, a counselor is an advocate for students: A counselor works on the behalf of students. Only by establishing a rapport with a student, can a counselor make a student feel comfortable so that he/she is comfortable and willing to share what he/she is experiencing. Rapport = trust+comfort. A school counselor primarily supports students in three important areas of counseling:

personal, academic, and social emotional. These areas are where the majority of a school counselor’s time is focused, but it is not confined to those three areas. An additional characteristic of the role is being a liaison between home and school. The family, the school, and the student should all be in communication in order to assist in student achievement.”

Ryan reflects upon his arrival at TAISM: “My initial impression of TAISM and the type of school where we wanted occurred in December 2007 when my our own two children to attend. wife, Eleanor, and I came to the school to interview for our current positions. Since we joined the faculty, we have As Ms. Nimmi Jayaram, Admissions been impressed by the warm welcome Coordinator, was providing us with a we received from the administration tour of the school, we were immediately upon arriving in Muscat, the settling-in Eleanor, Evan, Miles and Ryan Haynes struck by the diversity of the students. process for the new faculty members, We were impressed to learn at the time and the welcoming and supportive that the school had a student body of 560 students with environment we find among our colleagues.” over 52 countries represented. This was the type of school in which Eleanor and I had envisioned working Ryan Haynes when we embarked on our international school careers September 2008

Senior Retreat 2008

The retreat that took place on Thursday, September 11, 2008, turned out to be very enlightening for the students. It was a very successful day to help the seniors plan for their future. Special thanks to Nelson File, Ryan Haynes, Brady Riddle and Nirmala Jayaram for guiding the students and for the various activities conducted during the course of the day. The feedback received from the students has been very positive and they expressed a desire to have more occasions like these where they can bond with their fellow classmates and enjoy a day together.


Chapter 6

Visual and Performing Arts Students who join TAISM soon discover that creative expression is encouraged and developed from the earliest years through the High School level.

With a large range of offerings in the visual, musical and dramatic arts, creative expression is demonstrated throughout the campus: in hallways and atrium galleries, music concerts and recitals, school musicals and plays, and in the everyday sights and sounds of students active in the processes of learning and practicing daily in the campus. Knowing that the arts would be a core area for the students, the school developed a performance space in the first phase of the Ghala campus to allow staff and students to share their learning and talents. With the patronage

Art from the Elementary School


of Sheikh Saud Bahwan, an Omani businessman, TAISM was able to support the arts with the addition of the new Performance Hall in 2000. The space doubled as a rehearsal hall and cafeteria during the school day, until classrooms and a student center were added to the facilities in Phases II and III of campus development. From the work of individuals to the performance of groups, visual and performing arts have become an integral part of student learning at TAISM. From the beginning of the school in 1998, a band was formed under the direction of John Leonard. Art classes were also a specialty of Mr. Leonard, but over time the growth of the school allowed for additional staff. The growth of the program and school led to the addition of a choral music program in 2002, started by Melanie Brink, and the addition of dramatic arts in the curriculum and in after school activities. Rebecca Oden directed the first school musical to be performed in the school’s Saud Bahwan Performance Hall. The Wizard of Oz drew sellout crowds of parents, students, and friends to the Ghala campus. The emphasis on all students participating in the arts continues in the curriculum today, as the school continues to add facilities to the campus. According to the school’s Campus Master Plan, a new Performing Arts Center and additional gallery space will be available in 2010 for staff and students to share their exceptional work.

Students in art class






Art Exhibition Each year TAISM holds an annual MS/HS Art Exhibition to display works of art created by TAISM students. On May 31, 2004, TAISM chose to exhibit TAISM art students’ work at the Omani Society for Fine Arts. The exhibition was opened by H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al Zubair.

MS/HS Art Exhibition 2004

This two-day exhibition displayed a wide range of different media, from painting to sculpture, created by TAISM students over the past year. A highlight of

the exhibition was a display of work by eight High School students who had attended a two-day art workshop at Sharjah University, U.A.E., with the Secondary School Art Teacher, Marjory Mulrooney.

In 2006 the Eagle reported:

MS student

Arya Sapito

In December 2007 students from the HS Ceramics class were busy working on another team effort – four large mosaics. (The tiles had been kindly donated by Fawzi Mushantaf.) Mr. Montoya wrote in the Eagle, “When complete, these mosaics will become a permanent installation on the east wall of the new Atrium, between the two Sports Halls.

form one unifying work of art. Once the mosaics are composed on paper, each piece will then be transferred and cemented into the wall in a method referred to as ‘direct application’. Thus far, many students, parents and teachers have helped place tiles into the mosaic, making this a genuine community project.”

Each of the four mosaics, measuring roughly 1.5 x 3 meters, will collectively

Ray Montoya MS/HS Art

Mosaics located in the O’Shaughnessy Gallery


High School Student Artwork 2007-2008


TAISM Tribute 1998-2008


Ray Montoya, High School Art Teacher, reminisces about his experiences at the school: “We arrived at TAISM from a small school in West Papua, Indonesia, in the summer of 2002 which was an interesting time to come to the Middle East, given the fears and misconceptions of post 9-11. TAISM was just around 200 students back then, but it felt huge to us. We felt an immediate connection with the vision for TAISM. My first two years at TAISM were very special. I was the MS Language Arts teacher, part of a small staff that included Sara Kaste, Scott Brink and Maya Ibrahim. There was a special chemistry in middle school, as well as a lot of humor. I required students to turn in polished essays once a week, which I have to say wasn’t very popular, but I can confidently say that every one of my students entered high school with the ability to compose a short essay. I still have graduating seniors who thank me for teaching them to write.

integral part of my life. The first thing I did was to offer semester courses of medium and theme-specific courses that any student could take regardless of grade level or ability. These courses were cycled over a three-year period so that they would not repeat, allowing students to take as many as they could fit into their schedules. The results were immediate. Classes are now completely full, and though we’re now working elbow to elbow, more students than ever are gaining exposure to visual arts. Today, the High School Art department offers five sections of art, not including AP Studio Art. We’ve added another talented and creative art teacher, Ms. Ringo, who teaches Middle School Art as well as High School Ceramics. We also hope to produce more permanent art installations like the four large mosaics that were integrated into the new atrium this year. The future of visual arts at TAISM looks very promising, and will continue to grow with the advent of new spaces on campus.” Ray Montoya May 2008

In 2004 I was given the opportunity to teach in the Middle and High School Art program which was a position I had long coveted, as art has always been an Solita Montoya and Ray Montoya

Busts created by Semester 1 HS Ceramics students Clockwise from top left: Chalie Bhasavanich (grade 10), Clarris Anak Jilan (grade 9), Solita Montoya (grade 10), Naomie Geneau (grade 9), Talal Said (grade 10), and Dorit Erichsen (grade 11)


In January 2008 TAISM student, Daniel Azmir, was featured in the January 2008 edition of Popular Photography, the world’s largest imaging magazine. Daniel submitted this image of crocodiles lazing in a mirror-like pool. In addition to being the unofficial school photographer, Daniel, a sophomore, is currently doing independent study towards an AP portfolio which will comprise a series of striking digital landscape photos taken around Oman.





TAISM Drama and Musical Productions: What are Umpa Lumpas? Who is Rosie? TAISM students found out in March 1999 when TAISM’s first theatrical productions were performed. Grades two through five put on the play, Really Rosie, and the Middle and High School students performed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Later, the plays’ director, Rachel Ollagnon, wrote in the Eagle, “The audience was well entertained by the TAISM talent and the kids really rose to the occasion.” Drama was first offered as an after school activity. However, with the addition of the talents of teachers such as Rebecca Oden who developed the theater program from 2001-2003, and those who followed: Tina Casey 2004-2007, and present teachers Kris Hovland, Melanie Brink (musicals), Gwen Willson (Elementary School musicals), as well as many teacher and parent volunteers, all students continue to learn and share through the dramatic arts some time in their life at TAISM. Tina Casey, an English and Drama Specialist, and her husband, Peter Casey, TAISM’s first Athletic Director, arrived in Muscat in 2004. Now living and teaching in Indonesia, Tina looks back at her experiences at TAISM: “I fondly remember my days of teaching drama classes for Middle and High School and running an advanced drama class focusing specifically on writing and performing challenging works of theater. While I was at TAISM, I had the pleasure of writing and directing full-scale drama productions involving both Middle and High School students.

These included: School Zone / Chasing Dreams /Romeo and Juliet /Grease. I also co-directed the first-ever Kindergarten to Grade 12 choir with Melanie Brink – the Sunset Choir! As a member of the school community, I was also able to contribute to other parts of the school program apart from my work in English and Drama. I was also involved with training the Elementary Track and Field teams which allowed for another positive means of interacting with students at TAISM.” Tina Casey May 2008



The following theatrical productions have been performed at TAISM over the past ten years: 2007 – 2008 High School Musical – Into the Woods, Jr.


Director: Kris Hovland Music Directors: Melanie Brink/Dolly Ellwein Middle School Play – School Daze and Aesop’s (Oh So Slightly) Updated Fables, One Act Plays Director: Kris Hovland Elementary Musical – The Emperor’s New Clothes Director: Gwen Willson High School Play – Horror High Director: Kris Hovland

2006 – 2007

High School/Middle School Musical – Grease Director: Tina Casey Music Director: Melanie Brink Elementary Musical - Rats Director: Gwen Willson High School Play – The Odd Couple: Female Version Director: Kris Hovland

2005 – 2006

High School/Middle School Play – Another Romeo and Juliet Director: Tina Casey Elementary Musical – Annie, Jr. Directors: Melanie Brink, Holly Albers, Mary Almquist High School Play – Our Town Director: Kris Hovland

2004 – 2005

High School/Middle School Musical – Chasing Dreams Director: Tina Casey Music Director: Melanie Brink Elementary Musical – Go Fish Director: Melanie Brink

2002 – 2003

High School Musical – The Fantasticks Director: Rebecca Oden Music Director: Melanie Brink Middle School Play – Summer, One Act Play Director: Rebecca Oden

2001 – 2002 Whole School – The Wizard of Oz Director: Rebecca Oden 2000 – 2001 Elementary School Musical – Tiki Tiki Tembo Directors: Julie Griep, John Leonard, Jennifer Carvalho 1999 – 2000 High School/Middle School Play – Everyman and Oedipus the King Elementary School Play – The Giant’s Garden 1998 – 1999 High School/Middle School Play – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Elementary School Play – Really Rosie Elementary School Musical – The Tears of the Dragon





In December 2005, the Eagle reported on TAISM MS/HS production ‘Another Romeo and Juliet’


Theatrical Productions at TAISM






Kristine Hovland, Drama Teacher, elaborates on the exceptional drama program at TAISM:

Into the Woods

“It says a lot about a school when programs are able to develop quickly in a short amount of time. It demonstrates a commitment to quality. The drama department at TAISM has been one of those programs. A look through the yearbooks of past years shows that there have always been teachers here who value the experience of performing. There are photos of plays being produced at all grade levels. In the early years of an ‘official’ drama department, we see that all grades were benefiting, and performance opportunities were always open to all students. A trip to our prop and costume room would find remnants of shows in the past: the cowardly lion’s mane used in the Wizard of Oz also served as the fierce lion’s mane in Aesop’s Fables this year!

The TAISM Tribune, a studentled publication, carried this article about being an actor… Backstage Pass by Aashti Bawa

Over the past three years, the drama department has gone from only one high school class to drama classes for all of 7th and 8th grade in addition to the high school classes. In the extracurricular program, we have gone from two shows a year to four. The school year 2007-08 saw the first ever high schoolonly musical, first middle school play along with the now well established elementary school musical and spring high school play. TAISM students are ready for the planned 550-seat theater that will one day soon be built! Just watch what TAISM students can do then.”

“Being an actor is not easy work. You have to be at practice every day and make sure that you have tons of energy even after you’ve had a hard day at school. And to top it off, you have to study your lines every night on top of all your homework. When opening night finally arrives, the green room is utter chaos. Everyone’s backstage trying to get into their costumes and put make-up on…. The adrenaline rush backstage is crazy. It doesn’t hit you that the play is on until an hour before the curtain opens. That’s when you start panicking and freaking out about your scene… but along with the nervousness, there’s also excitement…once it’s all over, you can relive the moments of action and drama.”

Kristine Hovland May 2008

Aashti Bawa TAISM Tribune


Aesop’s (Oh So Slightly) Updated Fables


MS drama rehearsals





A Musical Program Elementary School Music In 1998, John Leonard led the entire music program, including providing music classes for all Elementary School students. His enthusiasm for students learning and participating through music set the tone for what was to become a staple of the core Elementary School program to this day. A small music room (now the Green Room in the Performance Hall) accommodated the Elementary School classes in the first years on the Ghala campus. After a number of years of movement from larger to larger classrooms, the program in 2008 flourishes in a large, well-equipped music room on the school’s first floor. Elementary School music teachers over the ten-year period have included John Leonard, Melanie Brink, Kentaro Udagawa, Tina Casey, and the current teacher, Gwen Willson, who added her musical passion and skill to the school’s teaching staff in 2006. Performances by the Elementary School students are a highlight of the school year for the TAISM community, bringing large crowds of parents and friends to the Performance Hall and other concert venues on the campus. This includes the Elementary School musicals which have occurred from the very first year the school existed.

Kevin Schafer, School Director, John Leonard, Music Teacher in 2000

Gwen Willson, Teacher, with the Elementary School Choir

In the spring of 2007, Mrs. Willson composed, along with her students, the TAISM School Song. Since its debut at the naming ceremony for new facilities that spring, the School Song has become a hit with the Elementary School students who sing it proudly at school assemblies and events!

Instrumental Music at TAISM From TAISM’s very first year, there has always been a strong commitment to instrumental and choral music. In 1998, John Leonard, the first Musical Director of TAISM, purchased a full range of musical instruments so that the school could start an instrumental music program at TAISM. Many of the students who enrolled at TAISM had never

High School Concert Band 2003

played a musical instrument before. Mr. Leonard devised a course which would give TAISM students the opportunity to participate in an instrumental music program, teaching every student how to play a band instrument.


After the first three years of the program, the leadership of the band program was passed from John Leonard to Kentaro Udagawa, who took up the baton and continued working to ensure that every TAISM student was involved in a musical program. He and his wife, Avery, who often provided musical accompaniment for the choir, were both popular with TAISM students and staff. Mr. Udagawa initiated many exciting musical programs, taking students on a band tour to Qatar, and performing at local functions such as the Amouage Perfume Launch, at PDO Fair and at the Royal Hospital. The jazz band program was introduced during Kentaro Udagawa’s time at TAISM.

TAISM Music Program 2000-2006

TAISM’s Musical Program






On October 17, 2004, the Khaleej Times printed an article about TAISM’s music program. It read: “The American International School of Muscat hosted the American School of Doha (ASD) recently in a ‘Band Exchange Program’. The TAISM halls were literally bursting with music as 77 students participated in intensive rehearsals including sectional classes with local professionals, individual band rehearsals and combined rehearsals. Their work culminated with a combined Band Concert where the students were given a standing ovation by an enthusiastic audience.”

In March 2006 Mr. Kentaro Udagawa, TAISM Music Teacher, took three TAISM High School students to Belgium. Ji-Eun Lee, Ellen Lesh and Masashi Yamashita were selected to participate in the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) International Honor Band and Choir Festival, which was hosted at St John’s International School, Waterloo, Belgium. To be selected, these students went through a rigorous and very competitive audition process. They had to prepare and record challenging excerpts and exercises which were then sent to a central location and judged ‘blind’ against other recordings. Kentaro Udagawa, TAISM’s MS/HS Music Teacher from 2002 to 2006, sent this special message to TAISM from his new teaching post in Thailand. “As TAISM celebrates its tenth anniversary, we salute its musicians. Your efforts make a difference at TAISM, in Muscat, and beyond.” Sincerely, Kentaro and Avery Udagawa Bangkok, Thailand, September 2008

In 2006, Tim Willson assumed the role of teacher and conductor, and worked to improve the students’ skills, techniques, and group performance. His passion and expertise continue the legacy of leading students to become accomplished musicians at high levels of musical performances both in Muscat and internationally.

Mr. Willson wrote in the Eagle in June 2008: Every Middle School student at TAISM sings and every Middle School student plays an instrument. Sometimes it is hard to believe! But that was proven again on May 28, 2008, when over 150 students joined in a choir and played in one of the two Middle School bands that made music for a packed Blue Gym crowd. Titled the ‘It’s Almost Summer Concert,’ it included an eclectic program of classical to familiar rock pieces. The concert culminated a year of learning music at TAISM with the debut of another 6th Grade Beginning Band playing Espana, When the Koalas do the Conga with the Kangaroos, and Smoke on the Water. The Middle School Band (7th and 8th graders) played Rock Island Express, Ancient Voices, La Fiesta Brava, and the Beach Boys. The massive Middle School Choir, spread along the entire length of the gymnasium, sang Yo Le Canto Todo El Dia, Shoshone Love Song and ended the evening with The Beatles in Review that included solos from seven Middle School singers. The Middle School Concert traditionally marks the ‘beginning of the end’ of the school year and celebrates a great year for students in music at TAISM Middle School. Tim Willson MS/HS Instrumental Music


Tim Willson, Musical Director at TAISM, remembers the first time he visited TAISM prior to joining the staff in 2006: The Pull of TAISM

“2000 was a good year for TAISM. The school hired a director with the vision to see the school positively through the unforeseen growth that was coming down the road. We knew Kevin Schafer well at that time and knew that TAISM was getting one of the best administrators in international teaching. To us, TAISM has been about his care for the place ever since. My wife, Gwen, and I took our first look at TAISM a few months after Kevin arrived in Muscat. We remember the trip fondly as being the first overseas trip with our adopted daughter, Natasha. Landing in Oman is always a surprise to newcomers and washed some preconceptions about the Middle East from our eyes too. Oman was a stark contrast to the hordes of humanity who daily rubbed against the stone walls of the schools in the mega-cities where we had taught. It just seemed so sane in Oman. After turning off the unbelievably ‘flowered’ highway from the airport, we drove down an empty and pristine two-lane road to a brilliantly white school in the middle of nowhere. It looked so squeaky clean and brave there, and I wondered if TAISM would survive into another decade. If anyone could make that happen, we knew that Kevin would. During that visit, the first TAISM Band Director, John Leonard (another friend from India days), Kevin, and my family all played a family brass concert in the garden of what is now the Principal’s house on campus. At that time we had no idea that the visionaries who had created the small school nearby had created a master plan for a much larger facility which would continue to grow almost every year afterward. Two years later, we returned again to find a larger school and more good friends, Lisa and Nelson File. Abroad we were starting to hear ‘good gossip’ about TAISM from colleagues in other places who had no idea that we had friends teaching in Muscat. The following year Gwen came to TAISM to be the accompanist for the Choral Festival organized so well by Melanie Brink and to see a former student of ours from our days in New Delhi, Kentaro Udagawa. He had become the


Tim Willson, Musical Director with the Concert Band

second Band Director of TAISM. We felt an ever stronger pull toward the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. The school kept growing and the music department kept expanding until finally there were two music positions that fit Gwen and I. We came to Oman in 2006 to live. We were pleased to learn that music was a fundamental part of the students’ education at TAISM. Ensembles and individuals are more successful than in schools of a considerably larger size, and participation includes one hundred percent of students in the Elementary and Middle Schools who sing and play instruments and above fifty percent in the High School who choose to participate. TAISM has been a family school, and commitment rises in a school where the teachers enroll their own children. The decision of our Board to continue to hire teachers from overseas helps to create the stability that is important to growth in a school made up primarily of a transient community and expatriate residents. Students’ parents are very active at TAISM too. It is always good for a teacher to have a strong connection with students’ parents. TAISM has been built on the fundamental of service to its community. Its future is secure and bright with a community, director, faculty, parents and Board all committed to this guiding principle.” Tim Willson Instrumental Music Teacher May 2008





Honor Band participants perform in London in 2007 Four TAISM students traveled to London, England, to perform with the International Honor Band under the direction of Anthony Maiello. Mr. Maiello serves as the cover conductor for the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., the conductor for the American Festival Philharmonic Orchestra in Washington, Honorary Conductor of the United States Navy Band, and is a Professor of Music and Director of Instrumental Studies at George Mason University in Virginia. The ensemble rehearsed for three days and presented a Gala Concert at The American School in London on March 15. Ji Eun Lee, a senior at TAISM, was the principal clarinetist of the band and another senior clarinetist, Hyun Jun Lee, was 3rd chair in the 1st clarinet section. Kyle Enns, a senior oboist at TAISM, was 1st oboe and Hyeong Jun Kim, 9th grade, rounded out the contingent from TAISM in the second trombone section. The concert included the premier of a work based on British folk songs written for the band called Albion Heritage by Phillip Sharpe which included a solo cadenza well played by Ji-Eun Lee in her role as principal clarinet. Kyle Enns also played several important solos throughout the evening. The Band program included Morton Gould’s classic American Salute, His Honor March by Henry Fillmore and Shenandoah by Frank Techelli, Rise of the Firebird by Steven Reineke, and ended with a combined chorus and band finale of Better is Peace by Karl Jenkins. The concert was received by the audience with standing ovations and several recalls of the

TAISM’s Jazz Band

Honor Band participants perform in London in 2007

conductors. The TAISM students all felt it was the musical highlight of their year and felt honored to be a part of this fine ensemble. Tim Willson MS/HS Instrumental Music

TAISM’s Concert Band


Choral Music History of the Festival of Choirs

In March of 2004, TAISM hosted the first ever Festival of Choirs held in the Middle East. The event was a vision of TAISM’s choral music teacher Melanie Brink and TAISM’s Director Kevin Schafer. They met in October of 2002 to discuss ways to create collective opportunities in choral music in the region. In addition to bringing students together to sing, a goal was to promote professional development for music educators, including the chance to collaborate, observe rehearsal methods and participate in workshops. The festival carries with it an important message – that we are all lifelong learners! TAISM High School Choir

Melanie Brink, Choral Director, arrived in TAISM in 2002. It was not long before Melanie made her mark on TAISM and its community. In March 18-20, 2004, TAISM was proud to host its firstever Festival of Choirs. The highlight of the weekend was the Grand Finale Concert, under the direction of Guest Conductor, Dr. James R. Johnson, from Augusta College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Grand Finale Concert showcased the work of five international school choirs who united for two intensive days of choral music workshops, rehearsals and social mixers. One hundred and thirty-three high school students from TAISM, The American Community School in Abu Dhabi, the American International School of Dhaka, the American Embassy School of New Delhi and the American International School in Riyadh came together as five individual choirs and ended the weekend as one Festival Choir. February 25, 2005, was the date of TAISM’s second Festival of Choirs. Guest Conductor, Cathleen Britton from South Dakota, charmed and motivated the participating students, drawing out their personal best during rehearsals and at the final performance. Students listened attentively and improved steadily throughout the weekend. When asked how she brings out the best in students, Britton said, “I try to involve students in all aspects of their choral music experience. I’m constantly asking questions about the music and its interpretation. I want singers to be smart musicians.” Britton has fond memories of her visit to TAISM.


Festival of Choirs

Since that date TAISM has been proud to host five Festival of Choirs events, bringing together students from all over the region and as far away as Lebanon and Tunisia. In the most recent Festival, March 26-28, 2008, one hundred and sixtythree choral students from TAISM, The Sultan’s School – Muscat, The British School – Muscat, Azzan Bin Qais Private School, American Cooperative School of Tunis, The American School of Kuwait, International School of Islamabad and International College – Beirut participated in the intensive weekend which concluded with the Grande Finale Concert. This time the students were directed by Dr. Christopher Aspaas, Assistant Professor of Choral/Vocal Music at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, U.S.A., who had returned as Guest Conductor for the second consecutive year. Dr. Salwa Al Kindi of Sultan Qaboos University and one of the guests in the audience said, “It was so different! So enjoyable! Each choral group presented something unique; yet in the end, it all worked so wonderfully well together.”





Beirut students, Samar Tarraf and Thuraya Zreik, found the entire Festival experience to be very illuminating and rewarding, in particular. Their belief is that “music is the perfect way to communicate and make connections with people from other cultures without the need for translation.” They also found working with Dr. Aspaas “very exciting because of his patience and expertise”. Finally, Ms. Tara Van Heel from the American School of Kuwait praised the organizers of the Festival. She said, “I am so impressed with this commitment to the arts. Thank you to the entire TAISM community who made this Festival possible.” Dr. Aspaas thanked the TAISM community of parents, teachers, students and friends, as well as the guest participants, for extending another wonderful welcome to him on his return visit as Guest Conductor. He expressed his joy and fulfillment at the opportunity of working in partnership with all the talented students and the choral teachers during the Festival. TAISM’s Director, Kevin Schafer, attributed the Festival’s continued success to the sponsorship and support of the local community including TUNES, the InterContinental Hotel in Muscat and the TAISM community that hosted visitors during the entire weekend. Festival Coordinator, Mrs. Brink, was ably assisted in organizing this venture by TAISM parent and Festival Associate Coordinator, Stephanie Leipzig.

TAISM’s Festival of Choirs has been a great success with the leadership by these special guest conductors: 2004 Dr. James R. Johnson – Professor of Choral Music at Augustana College, USA 2005 Mrs. Cathleen Britton – High School Choral Educator & President of SD-ACDA, USA 2006 Dr. Timothy Peter – Professor of Choral Music at Luther College, USA 2007 Dr. Christopher Aspaas – Professor of Choral Music at St. Olaf College, USA 2008 Dr. Christopher Aspaas – Professor of Choral Music at St. Olaf College, USA Festival of Choirs is an outstanding example of how schools can unite their ability to create a broader understanding of humanity through aesthetic learning with a standard of excellence in music education.

Dr. Christopher Aspaas with the Choir


“There is a power that comes from people joining their voices together that cannot be equaled. If there is one idea I want to share with the international students, it is that there are a lot more similarities between us all than differences.” Dr. Johnson March 2004

Stephanie Leipzig, TAISM parent, teacher and volunteer, writes: “It is a privilege to be a part of the TAISM community since 2003. The staff are of the highest caliber, finding ways to meet the needs of each student through academics, sports and the fine arts. I know this as the parent of a child with dyslexia, being a substitute teacher and serving as a volunteer. As a parent of a child with dyslexia who could not read in the 4th grade, I have watched her grow academically and relish successes brought about through the guidance of the TAISM teaching staff. As a substitute teacher, I have enjoyed watching students grow, mature and reach their greatest potential that is in each and every one of them. My husband and I truly take pleasure in supporting TAISM through various volunteer opportunities whether by lecturing, leading field trips, assisting with sports, the fine arts, or serving on various committees. Festival of Choirs is one TAISM function I have been


involved in since its inception. Due to the enthusiastic support of the TAISM administration, staff, participants and parents, it has evolved into what I believe is one of TAISM’s highlights. To watch multi-cultural students come together under the direction of a guest conductor for two days is a wonderful process in which to participate and behold. The sounds produced from this mass choir during the Grand Finale Concert are spectacular. What amazes me are the lasting friendships that are formed. Our eldest daughter is still in contact with choir members she met from Lebanon in 2004. In today’s society of misunderstandings of different cultures, TAISM has succeeded in ‘Rising to the Challenge’ by bringing unity and harmony to a varied and diverse community. For this we are grateful.” Steph, Marty, Tash ’11, Kris ’05





TAISM Choir sang at the NESA Leadership Conference held at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel Auditorium in the fall of 2006.

The sound of over ninety voices resonated throughout the Al Bustan Hotel’s Auditorium at the closing ceremony of the Near East South Asia Council of International Schools (NESA) Leadership Conference. The three songs, Come to the Music, Rain Come Down, and It Don’t Mean a Thing if it ain’t Got That Sing Sing Sing, although different in style, fit together nicely, and soloists, Ashley Rayes Velez ’07, Amanda Avery ’07 and Goo Hyun Kwon ’08, contributed their voices to the ensemble. In addition to the vocal talent that was seen on stage, the instrumental accompaniment that went with each song was wonderfully played. Yumi Nishiguchi, skilled pianist and a new addition to concert choir this year, accompanied all three songs, with help from Kyle Enns ’09 on oboe, Tim Willson on bass and tambour drum, and Gwen Willson on tambourine. There was a certain energy humming throughout the room, which contributed to the excitement and nervousnessof all. “I was so surprised at the boys’ voices. The balance between their voices and the girls’ voices was so beautiful. I was nervous beforehand, but the students gave me the energy I needed to play my part well,” exclaimed Mrs. Nishiguchi.

This performance was particularly important in TAISM’s history because it gave the school a chance to display the excellence of our music program in front of the region’s administrators. School Director, Kevin Schafer, said of the concert, “The level of musicianship was remarkable, and this was the top performance I’ve seen from the choir.” In addition to the rave reviews the performance received from the audience members (parents and NESA administrators alike), Choir Director, Melanie Brink, claimed that “the performance was outstanding, and to have mastered the music in only two short months is a great step forward for our choir program.” As the reprise from Come to the Music ended the performance, the last hallelujah ringing out, it seemed that both performers and audience members would leave from the concert with the sense that something great had been accomplished.

Maya Montoya Class of ’07 & Concert Choir Alto


TAISM students come together to sing

Melanie Brink, founder of TAISM’s choral music program, shares highlights from the past six years: 2002, sitting by a fireplace in snowy Waterloo, • “In Iowa, with my husband, his brother, and his wife,… making the big decision to move to Muscat, Oman together. “The Brink 4” And the adventure began!!!!

all 500 • Combining students in grades

K-12 for a huge chorus out on the soccer field bleachers with my colleague, Tina Casey. We called it Hand in Hand.

first printed class list (in 2002) had 4 students • My enrolled in High School Choir. Tom Oden, who was

Principal at the time, and I decided to give students a two-week ‘trial run’, in an effort to get the program started. By the end of that first year, we had 40 students enrolled.

a few years we created a community choir • For which met in the evenings called Ghala Voices. It

consisted of staff members, parents, and high school students. It was a very special group of people who really helped contribute to the expansion of the choral program here at TAISM.

an email from Kevin Schafer saying the • Getting school had been given a grand piano.

Directing the Elementary School musical, Go Fish in the spring of 2005. It involved all students in grades 3-5, and featured the grades 3-5 teachers Tom Corbett, Aron Campbell, and Tommy Duncan.

the Elementary School musical, Annie Jr. • Directing with Holly Albers and Mary Almquist in the spring of 2006.


Melanie Brink, Choral Director

In the fall of 2006 when the HS Concert Choir sang for the NESA Leadership Conference in the Al Bustan Palace Auditorium.

School Center of the Blender Shows, and • Middle High School Coffee Houses… of Choirs….now 5 years old!!! I think this • Festival has truly been one of my most special opportunities for my students and me at TAISM.

into the brand new choir room for the first • Walking time last August (2007). I was 7 months pregnant at the time, and I started jumping up and down…I was so excited.

our first child here, and how the TAISM • Having community has helped us celebrate the journey of parenthood.

Melanie Brink May 2008

Chapter 7

Sports Program

The sports program at TAISM is continually growing. It is the school’s goal to ensure that all students are able to reach their potential by providing a well-rounded program of co-curricular activities focusing on team building and directed toward the development of their talents, skills, and self-confidence.

Each season there are different sporting activities for boys and girls in the Middle and High Schools including volleyball, swimming, soccer, basketball, and track and field. The Middle School sports teams compete in intramural sports as well as locally in the Muscat Sports League. In addition, the school participates in international competition at the Middle School Sports Festival and the Screaming Eagles track and field meet in Cairo. TAISM’s High School sports program includes both varsity and junior varsity teams. Being a member of the International

Kevin Schafer, Paulo Carvalho and Sara Kaste with one of TAISM’s first track and field teams


Schools Activities Conference (ISAC), students have the opportunity to interact with students from fifteen international schools in the region. Paulo Carvalho was TAISM’s first Physical Education Teacher. He initiated many sporting activities and events.

When the students moved to the Ghala campus, they were delighted to have a new sports hall and competition swimming pool. Members of the community were thrilled when the grass Sports Field was inaugurated on November 12, 2001.

On November 12, 2001, TAISM Sports Field was inaugurated. Patrons who made this grass pitch possible: AlMansoori Specialized Engineering, Alawi Enterprises, Halliburton, Nimir Petroleum Oman BV, Oman Oil Industry Supplies & Services Co. LLC, Sante Fe International, Weatherford Oil Tools M.E. Ltd. Oman Branch, Al Omaniya Financial Services (SAOG), Behram & Cynthia Divecha, Khimji Ramdas, Oman Catering Co. LLC, O’Shaughnessy Family, United Engineering Services Smith Red Baron Group, QGM - Heavy Equipment Maintenance & Trading Co LLC.






In December 2002 TAISM student, Fredrik Bodin, reported in the Eagle newsletter about the school’s soccer (football) program: “The TAISM football season has started. The genuinely dedicated coach is a new arrival from USA: Scott Brink. Brink was quoted as saying, ‘I have played football throughout my entire life. My personal goal is to help the players become better soccer players and for the team to do well in the Dubai tournament.’” Fredrik went on to say, “Mr. Brink is the best coach the school has had the opportunity to engage. The fact that he plays with the team makes soccer more fun.” That year the teams played against BSM and ABA and played ‘really well.’ He went on to say, “The joint leadership of Mr. Carvalho with Mr. Brink has resulted in three victories for TAISM.” That same year Ellen Clark, TAISM student, wrote about the first girls’ soccer team: “TAISM has always had a boys’ soccer team. This year, with the help of coaches Tena and Michael Bos, that changed, and we have added a girls’ team.” Afua Kwarteng, (Class of 2004) said, “I’ve never played soccer before. I just decided to join the team and now I’m really glad I did.” Since those first years, soccer has remained as the most popular competitive sport at the Middle and High School levels. A

Tena Bos, Coach, with the Girls’ Soccer Team

Scott Brink, Coach, with Boys’ Soccer Team

day does not go by at TAISM without a boy or girl playing a pick-up game of soccer on one of the many green sports fields at the school. Peter Casey joined TAISM as Athletic Director in August 2004. On his arrival he wrote: “As TAISM’s first Athletic Director, I hope to create new and exciting opportunities for our students to participate in a variety of sports activities. This year we are planning three new initiatives in the athletic program: First, we are looking to join an international sports league. Second, we hope to travel to Budapest for swimming and Cairo for track and field competitions. Thirdly, we hope to host invitational sports tournaments for international schools in the region.” The first ever High School Basketball Tournament took place on March 2-3, 2005. Teams from Abu Dhabi, Bahrain Qatar, ABA and MIS attended.

Peter Casey, Athletic Director, with Boys’ Volleyball Team


In 2005, Peter wrote exciting news in the Eagle newsletter: “TAISM completed its application to the International Schools Activities Conference (ISAC) with a formal presentation on May 15 at the annual spring meeting in Bahrain. TAISM was unanimously voted in as a full member of ISAC.” Peter, now living in Indonesia, sends this message to TAISM: “I came to TAISM in the fall of 2004. At that time the school population was just over 300 students and in terms of sports and athletics, we were a fledgling program. However, within my first few months of my three-year tenure at TAISM, I realized that I had come across a very special place indeed. As the first official Athletic Director at TAISM (the principal was in charge of athletics and just about everything else prior to my arrival), I was given the opportunity to create a truly excellent program. I had beautiful facilities that only got better each year largely because of the board, led by the vision of Fawzi Mushantaf. I had excellent support from all of the administrative team led by Kevin Schafer. I had a great parent community and a Parent Volunteer program, led by Tena Bos, who supported every initiative with endless energy and enthusiasm. I had students who were eager to represent their school, who wanted to compete at the highest level, who wanted to travel, to host other students and to grow as people through sports and athletics. Finally, I had a beautiful and wonderful country to call home. It was with great pride that I invited teams and coaches to come and visit our host country of Oman. The natural beauty of this country and the warmth of the Omani people always ensured that our guests felt that they had visited a special place. During my time at TAISM, the


Girls’ Soccer Team

athletic program grew dramatically as our teams traveled, competed and demonstrated the pride and sportsmanship that TAISM values so dear. As far as a turning point for TAISM in sports, it may have been the hosting of our first basketball tournament in my first year. Both boys’ and girls’ teams won, beating ABA in the final. Today TAISM sports, under the leadership of Brian Foudy, continues to flourish, and TAISM is a respected member of the ISAC organization. TAISM is now a major player in interscholastic sports within the region and is known throughout the international schools as one of the finest schools in the world.”

Peter Casey September 2008





Brian Foudy, TAISM’s present Athletic Director, elaborates on TAISM’s Sports program: “TAISM moved into its present campus in 2000. Our athletic facilities consisted of our beautiful soccer pitch, swimming pool and what is presently known as the green gym. Athletic contests at that time consisted of the occasional friendly game set up by principal Tom Oden with local schools. The following year TAISM took to the international stage for the first time when it sent a soccer team to the Unity Cup in Dubai and attended an international swim meet held at the American Embassy School in New Delhi. When Mr. File arrived in 2003, he took on the responsibility of organizing competitions in addition to his duties as High School and Middle School Principal. In February of 2004 we sent a soccer team to an invitational tournament held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. As our school continued to grow at a steady pace, it became apparent that we needed someone to dedicate more time in their job to the sports program. In the fall of 2004, Mr. Peter Casey became the Athletic Director at TAISM and quickly organized an invitational basketball tournament to be held at TAISM. He succeeded in getting TAISM invited to an invitational soccer tournament in Qatar, a track and field meet in Cairo and managed an invitation to the International Schools Activities Conference volleyball tournament hosted by the American British Academy in Muscat. Near the end of the 2004-2005 school year, it was obvious that TAISM was ready for regular international competition. In May of 2005 Mr. Casey attended the Athletic Director’s meeting for the International Schools Activities Conference (ISAC). Mr. Casey, with the support of the school administration, created a presentation to be delivered to the Athletic Directors in the hopes that TAISM

could become a part of the organization. ISAC was founded in 1994 and consisted of 12 international schools in the region from Egypt, U.A.E., Qatar, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The presentation went over brilliantly and the members were thoroughly impressed with our facilities, professionalism and commitment to run a quality program. TAISM was officially accepted into ISAC in 2005. Since our acceptance into the league, we have improved our facilities with the Consolidated Contractors Company of Oman LLC outdoor court and a second indoor gym. The TAISM Eagles have quickly become known as competitive, and more importantly, students that

Brian Foudy

consistently display sportsmanship. TAISM has won Boys’ Basketball Team six sportsmanship trophies during our participation in several international athletic associations. During my years representing the school, I have heard only accolades for the model representation we have had by our sports teams. On a recent trip to Cairo, I was told by a tour guide, ‘The staff of our tour company now fights over who gets a chance to lead TAISM around the city, as the students are so well behaved and kind.’ In a relatively short period TAISM has established a reputation as a school with a top notch sports program with exemplary sportsmanship that will always rise to the challenge!” Brian Foudy April 2008


New Sport Facilities: TAISM’s second Sports Hall (commonly known as the Blue Gym) was inaugurated on March 10, 2008. The new gym provides enhanced physical education, sports and event opportunities for the school community. The facility includes retractable seating for 350 spectators, two side-by-side basketball courts (convertible to volleyball courts), a curtain to create two distinct gym spaces, Bose sound system, Schelde scoreboards and basketball and volleyball standards. The Blue Gym complements the Green Gym, CCC Outdoor Sports Court, competition swimming pool and natural grass playing fields throughout the campus. Co-curricular activities at TAISM include volleyball, soccer, basketball, swimming and track and field.






Ilse Veenbaas,

ES/MS/HS Physical Education, writes:

“In schools like ours, the pace can be so fast that the magic of the moment can fade so quickly as we prepare to move on to the next thing, event, or team. As a coach, I want to reflect on some of these moments; reflect on a season, on a tournament and on the girls that were a part of it. The season started with thirty players. Coach Karam and I were so excited to run a varsity and junior varsity girls’ volleyball program. However, as the season progressed and players had to make difficult decisions about staying with volleyball, we ended up with eleven players. I remember looking at those eleven players and thinking, ‘Wow, this is the most diverse group of girls with whom I have ever worked. Coaching them was a challenge, but a memorable one. My favorite moments were when a player found out the meaning of being committed, when the connection was made between my coaching tips and actually using those tips to play, or when players opened up and tried different ways to improve. My favorite memories were when the girls played up to their full potential, when they rallied together as a team, trusted each other on and off the court, attacked every ball at the net, dug every ball in the back row, served every ball to the correct spot and moved their feet as if connected with strings. I coach for those moments, and that is what I hope the players practice for and will remember. Ilse Veenbaas ES/MS/HS Physical Education

“We don’t remember days, we remember moments” - Pavese Cesare

Girls’ Basketball


In 2006 the Eagle reported: TAISM recently hosted the 2006 International Schools Activities Conference (ISAC) Soccer Tournament. TAISM’s Athletic Director Peter Casey organized the three-day sports event. Participating schools were The American International School Egypt (AIS), the Universal American School of Dubai (UAS), the British School of Muscat (BSM), the American British Academy (ABA), and host TAISM. The boys’ competition was held at the Bousher Club, while the girls’ tournament took place at TAISM’s Ghala campus. This was also the venue of the finals.

Tena Bos, Coach, with Girls’ Soccer Team

According to Peter Casey, the ISAC Soccer (football) event is primarily a “weekend of friendly competition while meeting people from other schools and countries.” It is also a great opportunity for host students to be hospitable and to make the visit a memorable one for their guest teams. TAISM students’ families provided accommodation and transportation for the visiting athletes. The Sultan Center, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Dairy Queen, and Aquafina provided support for this high-profile event. The ISAC tournament was a mix of hard-fought soccer competitions and social events. On day one, the guest athletes went sight seeing to Muttrah Souk, before competing in the afternoon. Later in the evening, athletes participated in a fun ‘skills’ competition to determine the best dribbler, penalty shooter and goalkeeper. Competition continued on day two, followed in the evening by dinner and dancing hosted by the Sheraton Beach Resort, Shatti al Qurum.


Scott Brink and Greg Bagnato, Coaches, with Boys’ Soccer Team

A resurgent AIS team emerged as the winner of the boys’ final after a fierce match with local team BSM. In a repeat of last year’s girls’ final, a determined ABA team prevailed over defending champion TAISM. The TAISM girls’ team and the UAS boys’ team won the Sportsmanship Awards.” Flora Minnee TAISM PR Representative





On May 10, 2007, the Eagle reported:

The TAISM Track and Field Season

Screaming Eagles compete in Cairo in 2007

“The TAISM track and field team has had an extremely successful season, competing in two meets this season. The first was held at the Al Wattaya stadium in Ruwi on March 27th. TAISM teams ran away with the trophies in both the Middle School and Junior Varsity (under 16) divisions, while the Varsity had a small but strong showing as well. There were twenty-six individual champions spanning the six divisions, including four champions in the high jump, and four in the long jump. After the first meet, Coach Brian Foudy commented, “We are looking forward to the elite competition in Cairo as it is the top meet in the region. After dominating at the local Al Wattaya meet, it will be great to see our athletes strive to improve. We will show the rest of the competition that it is not the size of

the student population that makes you competitive, but the size of our heart and commitment to improve.” The culmination of the track season was the 35th Annual Screaming Eagles Invitational Track and Field Meet hosted by the Cairo American College in Cairo, Egypt. Twenty-nine athletes competed in this meet. In order to compete in any given event, student athletes must meet a qualifying time or distance. This restriction makes the invitational the premier meet in the region, with tough competition from 14 teams representing schools from around the Middle East and the Mediterranean. As expected, the TAISM athletes were able to ‘Rise to the Challenge’ and excelled at the Cairo track meet.”


TAISM’s Swimming Program: “Swimming requires a great deal of determination and focus. Countless hours are spent in the pool as you test your physical endurance and mental toughness. At the time of competition, you are looking to be victorious over your rivals, score points for your team and improve on your personal best. The TAISM swim team has been successful in all categories, but the remarkable success has been in the accomplishments of ‘personal bests’.” Brian Foudy Athletic Director/PE/Health

Grace Luna, Swim Coach


Chapter 8

Community Matters

The American International School of Muscat is a school that recognizes the importance of a broad education. “No man is an island”, and no school would fulfill its aims and objectives of educating its students if it were to keep its students in isolation.

When we learn about the world, we learn about each other and ourselves in relation to others. Since its very inception, TAISM teachers have made a commitment to not only bringing the world into the classroom, but also taking students out of the classroom and into the world. The school’s Discover Oman program exemplifies this concept.

TAISM students on Discover Oman Trips


Greg Bagnato, Oman Experiential Education Coordinator who leads the Discover Oman program, writes: “The Discover O m a n program is an experientialbased week of outdoor discovery Greg Bagnato which has been a highlight for students since the school’s inception. The Discover Oman program was created to ensure that our students get up close and personal with the culture, geography, and people of this wonderful country we live in. Research shows, however, that experiential education programs such as Discover Oman are more than simply trips to interesting places. These endeavors can enhance our student’s civic responsibility and promote

personal growth by stimulating the development of interpersonal competencies, enhancing leadership skills, and have positive effects on adolescents’ senses of empowerment. Furthermore, the week-long program enhances the relationships within the school community as faculty and students share inspiring vistas, extensive road trips, and unique events that they remember for years to come. The Elementary School Discover Oman program has evolved over the years to include more and more physical, geographical, and cultural experiences. The program officially began in the 19981999 school year. At that time, Elementary School students went to the beaches in Muscat, held a traditional music show on campus,

TAISM Students visit Bait Al Zubair






Upper Elementary School students toured Nizwa. Currently, during the annual week-long event, all students (Early Childhood to Grade 5) participate in various day trips around Muscat that are organized by the grade level. These outings are planned to be developmentally appropriate for the students. Some highlights from 2007 include having local schools visit TAISM, hiking in the scenic jebels of Muttrah, visiting farms, exploring the local markets in Seeb, cleaning flotsam and jetsam from area beaches, and learning from visits about the capital’s myriad of museums and forts. In the Secondary School, the Discover Oman program also began during the first year of TAISM. Jeff Voracek, the Secondary School Principal at that time, and Teacher, Andy Westerman, organized a day trip for the Middle School students and a two-day trip for the High School students. Both trips traveled to the Wahiba Sands. The twoday trip spent the night at the Al-Areesh Camp. During the 2000-2001 school year, High School students were able to choose between trips appropriately titled the People, the Land, and the Sea. These trips enabled real adventure as the infrastructure of Oman was still being developed. In 2003, the Secondary School teachers, led by Nelson File, MS/HS Principal, approved a purpose statement

to help guide the development and implementation of Discover Oman trips. It read: The Discover Oman Program provides students with unique cultural, personal, interpersonal and environmental experiences not available on the TAISM campus. From these experiences, students will learn, reflect, and grow as individuals. The purpose of the Discover Oman program is to: a) Provide exposure to Oman with the hopes of nurturing a better understanding and appreciation of Omani culture, geography and people. b) Strengthen acquaintances within the TAISM middle school community among students and faculty, as well as the development of responsibilities commensurate with group living. c) Increase respect for the environment through exposure to unique habitats, unique topographical features and the impact of human populations on the land. d) Provide opportunities for personal reflection, selfawareness and self-reliance.�

Greg Bagnato May 2008

TAISM Students on Discover Oman excursions


In February 2003, TAISM student, Hamza Adnan, wrote in TAISM Talks: “When Discover Oman Week comes around, we are reminded once more of the beautiful country in which we live. The experiences we gain, we might never have had living at home. We began our week with a visit to the Grand Mosque. This exquisite building was built not only as a mosque, but also as a learning center for Islamic students. We visited Al Hazm Fort where we learned about the falaj and ventilation system. There we saw the grave site of the city’s former ruler and son as well as a secret escape from the fort. After the fort, we explored the hot springs from which medically healing mineral water is used by the public. Later, at Nakhal Fort we learned that many forts had wells inside and outside, where dates had been stored.”

TAISM students visit a fort

On November 3, 2004, Justin O’Shaughnessy, Class of 2004 and Editor-in-Chief of the TAISM Tribune, wrote: “One of the most exciting events that TAISM students look forward to every year is the Discover Oman week. Not only is it a unique opportunity for the students to learn about the distinctive Omani culture, but it’s also a precious ‘bonding’ time that leaves them with happy memories to carry with them for the rest of their lives.

doubt Oxy’s generous donation will surely help make this year’s Discover Oman the best TAISM’s ever seen.” Justin O’Shaughnessy November 2003

On October 6, Jim Eastlack, Manager of Occidental of Oman, presented the TAISM school board with a 50,000 dollar donation check to sponsor the Discover Oman Trips for 2004.” Justin went on to report, “Mr Eastlack gave an insight into why Occidental had donated such a lump sum. ‘I feel it’s very important for students to gain a better understanding of the culture in which they live in. The Discover Oman experience allows them to do this, and also makes them ambassadors of their own culture.’ No


Students make shadows in the sand. Photo by: Yasmine Younes





Later in 2005, Matt du Aime, then a science teacher at the school, initiated the Oman Experiential Education Program (OEEP) which not only included the programs during Discover Oman week, but also allowed for entire school activities and field trips that encouraged students to gain knowledge of their host country. This program, which exists to this day, allows for students and teachers to experience learning outside of the campus, thus reinforcing ideas they have been developing in the classroom setting. As the student population of the school increased and the accessibility to areas within Oman grew, so did the experiences for the students. During the 2008 Discover Oman week, which was organized by the current OEEP Coordinator Greg Bagnato, over 300 Middle and High School students participated in one of eleven trips. The offerings included hiking in the Hajar Mountains, kayaking in Bander Karyan, camel trekking across the Wahiba Sands, biking around Masirah Island, photographing the capital area, and camping in various climates and conditions. As TAISM continues to expand and develop, so will Discover Oman and the Experiential Education Program. As our seniors graduate and head off to new endeavors, the experiences they gained during their Discover Oman weeks will forever bring smiles and fond memories.” Greg Bagnato April 2008

Ozan Cagatay Ozdemir, a past pupil at TAISM, writes about his experience in the Discover Oman Week: “When I came to TAISM, I knew only a tiny bit of English, and I thought it would be impossible for me to make friends at school. Fortunately, the school was like a big family, and new people were welcomed by teachers and students. Discover Oman Week was my favorite time of the year. I went on the Ocean Trip in my first year. I recall the second night at the camp -- we had a big campfire, sat around the fire and had a great time even though the weather was not on our side that week. The best thing about TAISM was that everyone could interact perfectly, against all the cultural differences. After two years in the school, I had a better and wider view about other cultures and people. Getting to know people from other cultures wasn’t a problem for me at all.” Ozan Cagatay Ozdemir September 2008

In 2007, Sara Behairy and Dorit Erichsen wrote in the student newspaper TAISM Tribune about their Discover Oman experience: “Who would have thought that a winter outfit would be useful (in Oman)? We ended up on the Mountain Trip this year, and it was cold…it was freezing, sub-zero, breath-visible cold. A highlight on the trip, besides the Rim Walk, was the full day we spent in Bilad Seit. The girls learned how to make the traditional Arabic coffee, which is always offered when visiting an Omani home, and thin bread cooked on a hot plate. Despite a few protests, every girl milked a goat. …After getting drinking water from the falaj, the girls had henna made by the women in the family, whereas the guys spent time climbing palm trees and harvesting crops…..The Mountain Trip took us to some of the most beautiful places in Oman…. the view over Oman’s Grand Canyon on the last day’s Rim Walk will always be remembered.”

Students on the Mountain Adventure


Following the Discover Oman trips, students are requested to make a presentation of their experiences to share with other students and parents. Also, there is a Discover Oman Photography Competition. The best photographs are made into writing cards which TAISM community members are able to purchase. Proceeds from sales of the cards go to charity organizations.

Photo by: Brady Riddle


Students during Discover Oman


These Wahiba Sands are empty After trekking 6 kilometers We set up a lone village, temporary It will be gone tomorrow I look straight forward The sun is setting but on what? I look left Nothing but rolling dunes There might be a village, but not in my sight Behind me, the only noise for miles, us To the right the only village for miles It is not temporary, the house and prized possessions of a happy family Now I know what the sun sets on On a place where thinking can be achieved Where technology’s evils cannot distract you from what is real beauty They are fortunate to live this way No worries… Head and mind clear of all that technology brings They are Pure They are the Bedu I envy them… - Ryan Hood





My Name in the Sand As I write my name in the sand It is one of the places that I have left my trace The thousands of places and things I have marked My never ending name soon to be washed away

The desert sand is soft,

The wind melting it away like fire does to wax

Pulling you in,

My name,

Each step you take,

Something I respond to

Knees buckle on the dune’s crest,

Something I attach myself to

Waves of emotion ripple at your feet.

What is a name?

You stand alone, the breeze fading away,

My name in the sand is like my life

Like all the things you knew to be true,

I may leave a mark for awhile but after time I am erased

Before you entered this place.

I write my name in the sand

The sun rushed down, Waves of emotion hit your back, - Clara du Aime

Endless, without pause, It engulfs you, And all that is left is a whisper, Pulled into the sand.

- Anwar Najafali



Ray Montoya

Robert Jackson

Haley Enns

Roxanne Erni

Axel Bogle

Alex Grishina





Eric Elbieh

Discover Oman

Jordy Elbeih


Community Service One of the school aims is to help students develop a social conscience. While Discover Oman gives students an insight into how other people live, the Community Service program encourages students to help those in need. In December 2002 Candy Hillier, TAISM’s Counselor, wrote in the Times of Oman’s Thursday magazine, “Volunteerism, when taught early on, can help create better awareness of various humanitarian issues.” She went on to say, “Our students raise money for various charities and try to help out in the community….Recently, many of our students fasted and gave their lunch money to the Oman Association for the Disabled.

In an effort to raise awareness and funds for cancer research, TAISM held its first Terry Fox run on Wednesday, February 20, 2008. All students (K- 12) participated in the running and walking event as well as most staff members and many parents.

organization has built 319 wells in 14 countries providing safe water for 485,433 people around the world. TAISM students raised money by selling white ‘ONE’ bracelets. The students then asked family and friends to donate to the fund. In return for the donations, the students cleaned up the wadi near the school and beaches in Azaiba and Shatti. The students raised over 500 Omani rials for the project.

This year we are also raising money for the breast cancer drive that was organized by the women who biked from Salalah to Muscat. Last year, one of our causes was a contribution to a memorial at the American school in Cameroon for students and staff who were killed in a bus accident.” On November 10, 2005, the ensemble Encore represented TAISM at a fundraising event for the Ecumenical Council for Charity (ECC). Jazz for a Cause raised over RO 15,000 to help people in need.

‘Encore’ Choir perform at ECC Concert

November 2007 and March 2008 – TAISM HS students gave up part of their weekend to help at Dar Al Atta’a Let’s Read! events. The students helped young children with literacy games and activities. They also read stories and performed puppet shows. Their efforts helped to raise 300 Omani rials for the charity, with the goal of creating a mobile library. Jan 2008 – Global Issues Network is an after school activity in the Middle School led by Scott Brink, Social Studies Teacher. During their study of water and sanitation, the students decided to raise money for the Ryan’s Well Foundation (www.ryanswell.org). This


Clean Up This Mess!

April 2008 – TAISM Elementary School students took part in a Readathon to raise money for charity. They raised RO 750/-! This money was used to buy Arabic books for the Dar Al Atta’a Let’s Read! project working to provide books for children in hospitals. Over the years, students at TAISM have also served their fellow students through the STAR tutor program, which was developed by Cathleen Neal, HS Counselor. The popular program enabled students who needed assistance to work with another student who excelled in an area of study. Additionally, Secondary School students have volunteered to serve as tutors and assistance in the Elementary School programs. Currently, Martha Langille, Librarian, is the coordinator for Community Service at the school.





Model United Nations Program One of the most exciting programs that TAISM is able to offer its students in the High School is the Model United Nations (MUN) program. MUN began in 1969 at the American School in the Hague. Since then, thousands of high schools and universities around the world have established local MUN clubs. The primary goals of MUN are to promote an understanding of current international issues and politics and to develop students’ skills in public speaking, diplomacy and conflict resolution. Robert Jackson, who teaches history and government at TAISM, began the MUN program at the school in August 2003. Since then, TAISM students have participated in thirteen regional and international conferences in various cities including Cairo, Doha, St. Petersburg, Dublin and Beijing. Led by their advisor, Robert Jackson, eleven high school students attended the MUN conference held in St. Petersburg, Russia in March 2004. This was their third MUN meet within a year, as students had previously participated in conferences held in Muscat and Cairo. Students who participated were: Fiona Cook, Rayyan Ghuma, Sara Hinojosa, Da Hye Kim, Ellen Lesh, Heidi Mekawi, Yara Mekawi, Kelsey Nightingale, Pedro Perera, Carl Self, and Rhea Verma. Ten High School students attended the MUN conference in Cairo in October 2004. They joined 160 students from eleven international schools in the Middle East in what was the 26th annual MUN conference. TAISM students were hosted by families from the Cairo American College. The November 8, 2004 Eagle reported: “Our students learned a great deal from this experience,” said Robert Jackson, MUN Advisor. “In August, they were each assigned the particular country they would represent at the conference. From that point onward, they studied everything they could about their country’s recent history and its current political, social, and economic situation.

TAISM MUN students in Beijing

Since each student was also assigned to participate in either the General Assembly, Security Council or Economic and Social Council, they had to conduct extensive research on the issues that each of these organizations would debate in the conference.” In December 2005 twelve high school students joined 145 students from nine regional schools in a three-day event sponsored by The American Community School of Abu Dhabi. They were: Kaushal Shah, Eilia Habib, Yousef Hajjar, Mariam Habib, Rachael Lane Shaw, Hiral Dutia, Anna von Essen, In Hye Kim, Ellen Lesh, Maria Armacanqui, Kelly Shelden and Maya Montoya. Robert Jackson explained that a great deal of preliminary work is required to prepare students to draft and defend resolutions according to the policies of the students’ four assigned countries. (On this occasion: Algeria, China, Indonesia and Syria). Mr. Jackson said, “I was greatly impressed by how well the TAISM students articulated questions for the other delegates, and by how well they responded to questions asked of them.” Two TAISM students, Maya Montoya and Mariam Habib, were singled out by the chairs of their respective committees to receive “distinguished delegate” awards. Alumnus Ellen Lesh (Class of 2005) recalls her experience: “From day one in TAISM, I remember how easy it was to enroll into any club you wanted. The school had such


a wide variety of after school activities that no matter how big or how small the club was, everyone was able to join. I specifically remember the Model United Nations (MUN) Club with Mr. Jackson. No matter how many students joined the club, we were able to travel to conferences around the world and participate as MUN delegates and represent different countries and our school. TAISM impacted my life greatly in realizing my potential. In bigger schools with a larger student-to-teacher

ratio and competitive/exclusive clubs, it is much more difficult to become involved. However, TAISM gave me the chance to try new things, allowing me to see what I really wanted to do in life and get more involved in when I went to college.” Ellen Lesh, Class of 2005 September 2008

TAISM MUN students in Dublin in 2006

In the academic year of 2005/2006, TAISM High School students attended a conference held at the Sultan’s School in Muscat. Then in April of that year, they were given a treat: at the MUN conference held in Doha, Qatar, the students were accommodated in the Ritz Carlton! Also, in 2006, students traveled to St. Andrew’s School in Dublin, Ireland, to attend another MUN conference. The TAISM MUN In-Flight magazine later reported: “While the rest of Ireland enjoyed their spring sunshine, our students suited up…for their first day of the St. Andrews International Model United Nations Conference (SAIMUN). Representing the Czech Republic and Syria, the TAISM group dived in … along with 600 other teenagers from Europe and the Middle East. The first day of lobbying passed, and on the second day opening speeches


commenced….As the conference progressed, TAISM students fought to get their voices heard. Following two days of further committee meetings and an intimidating, but magnificent, General Assembly, the conference closed. Taking ten students to Europe may seem to be a teacher’s nightmare, but not to Robert Jackson, MUN Advisor, and Cathy Neal, the assisting chaperone for the trip! Mrs. Neal said, ‘I was proud of how all our students represented their countries so knowledgably. The trip was fantastic and they were a delight to travel with.’ TAISM’s MUN club agreed that this was the best trip of the year.” In Hye Kim (Grade 10)





MUN Abu Dhabi Nov. ’06 Eleven TAISM high school students were in Abu Dhabi in November to attend a Model United Nations (MUN) conference. Over 160 students from regional schools participated in the three-day conference hosted by The American Community School of Abu Dhabi. The Model United Nations (MUN) program, a simulation of the real United Nations (UN) organization, is found at schools and universities worldwide. The ultimate goal of MUN is to promote the understanding of current international affairs and global issues. It further aims to promote co-operation between students and to teach them skills of conflict resolution and conciliation through diplomacy, and public speaking. The program also aims to inspire the students to become active world citizens. Like in the UN, participants (‘MUNers’) attempt to resolve real world issues. Individual students are each assigned to specific countries whose issues they champion as delegates at the various UN multilateral bodies. Delegates draft resolutions that they strive to get passed by means of negotiation. TAISM MUNers worked long and hard to be fully prepared for the conference. TAISM students have participated in regional and international conferences since August 2003, when High School Social Studies teacher, Mr. Robert Jackson, began the school’s MUN program. His goal was to provide “MUN as an educational tool, a forum for students to study the issues that define the world and will define their futures.” He explained, “MUN allows students to engage themselves in complex global problems through the process of negotiation rather than the process of confrontation.” This, he continued, was reflective of “the guiding principle of the UN.” Student representatives share characteristics such as a genuine interest in international affairs, good academic standing, ability to conduct independent research and strong communication skills. The following grades 10 to 12 students represented TAISM in Abu Dhabi. The countries they represented as well as their respective UN committees are shown in-between brackets. Grade 12 students were Rachael Lane Shaw (China, Human Rights), Yousef Hajjar (Tanzania, Security Council), Jenny Zhang (China, Human Rights) and Kelly Shelden who got the prestigious conference honor of being

ECOSOC ‘Chair’ – a TAISM MUN first. Kelly co-chaired with the Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi MUN conference. As Kelly explains, “being the chair of ECOSOC was an interesting experience, it allowed me to watch committee dynamics and develop my leadership skills. Chairing a committee allowed me to play an influential role in the Abu Dhabi MUN conference. I mediated debate on resolutions and had a say in the proceedings of the conference.” From grade 11 were Kaushal Shah (China, Political) and Shaon Lahiri (Germany, ECOSOC). Finally, from grade 10 were Ryan Hood (China, ECOSOC), Rafic Mushantaf (China, Disarmament), Kristen Hill (Iraq, Political), Saffana Al-Rahma (Iraq, Human Rights) and Daniel Sanders (Germany, Disarmament). Rachael Lane Shaw’s Human Rights resolution on efforts to combat declining male versus female ratios, particularly in South Asia, was passed. As Rachael states, “I was really pleased to get my resolution passed. It gave such a feeling of achievement although that was not the only benefit I received from the conference. My favorite thing about MUN is not the debating, but the fact that one is forced to become aware of real situations in the world that one would not normally know about.” Chi Zhang’s Security Council initiative on conflict prevention in the Korean peninsula was also passed. According to Jenny, “Abu Dhabi MUN was a wonderful conference. The debate was extremely intense, and the food was delicious! Lobbying was particularly a challenge for me, but in the end I convinced enough people to pass my resolution.” Furthermore, TAISM MUNers lobbied hard and got over fourteen amendments successfully passed. Flora Minnee TAISM PR Representative Jenny Zhang, Rachael Lane Shaw, (both grade 12), Kristen Hill (Grade 10), Rafic Mushantaf (grade 10), Shaon Lahiri (Grade 11), Daniel Sanders (grade 10) and Kelly Shelden (grade 12). Holding the UN flag: Ryan Hood (grade 10), Kaushal Shah (grade 11) and Saffana Al-Rahma (grade 10)


TAISM’s Model United Nations team travels to China In March 2008, nine high school students from TAISM participated in the annual Beijing International Model United Nations (MUN) conference. They joined over nine hundred international students in what is regarded as one of the premier MUN conferences for secondary school students in the world. The International School of Beijing sponsored the event. “This was our second trip to Beijing, and the students found the conference as challenging and rewarding as last year’s event. The level of debate was high in every committee. The chairs were knowledgeable of parliamentary procedures and delegates were motivated and well informed about the issues. I am proud of the professional way our students participated in their committees,” said Mr. Jackson. The TAISM students included Hiral Dutia and Shaon Lahiri (grade 12); Kristen Hill, Ian Cook and Rega Jha (grade 11); and Michelle Cramer, Amy Shelden, Hasan Friggle and Jordan Obey (grade 10). Although the three-day conference kept students busy from morning to night, they still made time to enjoy the marvelous diversity of Chinese cuisine, and participated in numerous cultural events and sightseeing excursions before returning to Muscat. These events included acrobatic and martial arts performances, and visits to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall. MUN Students in China in 2008


Chapter 9

The Sur Library

“A Library To Be Proud Of!” read the headline of the Rambler, TAISM’s first newsletter, back in the fall of 1998. From its very inception, TAISM staff recognized the importance of providing TAISM students with excellent educational resources, materials and facilities.

TAISM’s first library, in the interim campus, was an integral part of TAISM’s commitment to educational excellence. The Sur Library had well over 300 square meters of space, stocked with more than 5000 new books. Even in 1998, the range and variety of reading material available to students for study, research and pure enjoyment was impressive. Initially, the books shared space with six computers and a collection of CDs for student research. In 2000, when TAISM moved into its wonderful new, purpose-built campus in Ghala, Becky Murray, the

Sur Library


librarian, computerized the library. A special section is now devoted to books about the Sultanate of Oman. The Sur Library was originally named by Sheikh Suhail Salim Bahwan, Building Patron (donation to TAISM in 1999), in recognition of the city of his family heritage, located in the Sharqiyah region along the Omani coast. In 2001, Martha Langille joined the staff as Librarian and she is now joined by a second librarian, Paige Spilles. Other members of the library staff include Pat Stimpson

and Sabrina Al-Maskary. Students at TAISM today enjoy fantastic library facilities. On March 10, 2008, the Inauguration of TAISM’s new Sur Library facilities took place. The original library, built in 2000 as part of TAISM’s Phase I Master Plan, has now been converted to classroom use and replaced by a new spacious facility located in TAISM’s Phase III development. The Sur Library provides expanded opportunities for the entire school community in meeting its information and reading needs. With over 13,000 items in its database, TAISM’s library has an ever-growing collection of books, audiovisual materials, reference works, periodicals and online resources. The new library provides ample room for comfortable personal reading, independent study and class usage. The elementary section includes an Omani fort-style meeting area. There are twenty networked computers on the library floor as well as a mobile laptop lab in an adjacent conference room. The library recently upgraded to Follett’s Destiny automated system and is linked to the school’s information technology network, providing data and subscription services. The library also hosts special events during the school year including author visits, reading incentive programs, Children’s Book Week celebrations, Teen Read Week, Book Clubs and Fairs.


Author Visits:

From 1999 to date, authors and writers have been sharing ideas with students in the Sur Library. TAISM has invited many authors, poets and other interesting people to give talks and presentations at school over the ten years of its existence. These talks help give students an insight into the lives and work of writers and individuals, giving students the inspiration to write and the opportunity to find out how to improve their own written work.

Dr. Don Bosch, who has lived in Oman since the 1950s, has presented at least twice at TAISM in the Sur Library. In March 1999, he spoke about ‘Old Oman’, sharing his experiences of living and working in Oman as a doctor in the 1950s and 1960s.

On April 28, 2001, Kathryn P. Hire, a U.S. astronaut, came to visit the school. The children were fascinated by her accounts of travel into space.





On April 28, 2002, TAISM faculty member, Robert Jackson, received the first copies of his book from the publishers and was invited by Sur Library staff to speak about the book to students and families. The book, entitled At Empire’s Edge – Exploring Rome’s Egyptian Frontier, was published by the influential Yale University Press and describes the ancient fortresses, temples, settlements, quarries, roads and aqueducts scattered throughout the region. Jackson’s book conveys a sense of what life was like for the inhabitants of the region after the death of Anthony and Cleopatra.

On February 14, 2004, Mem Fox, award-winning author of numerous children’s books, visited the school. She had recently been chosen as ‘Australian of the Year.’ Her first book, Possum Magic, published in 1983, had sold over a million copies.

Sarah and Robert Jackson

Jane Kurtz, author, also visited TAISM in 2004. Her book entitled, River Friendly River Wild, won the Golden Kite Award. She emailed us this message: “I carry such warm and vivid memories of TAISM and Oman: a glistening white city set against dark mountains, the beach, floating aimlessly for a few minutes while the boat operator attended to his prayers. When I show students in the U.S. how surprising the Persian Gulf was for me, I show pictures of two little girls (Martha’s daughters) walking with me along the water, picking up shells. I talk about how surprising and pleasant it was to leave our sandals and shoes on the sand and be assured they would still be there when we got back. And the magnificence of the nearby mosque once I finally got covered up enough to get inside. At school, I remember the students who asked, ‘Are you going to write about us?’ and the girl who shyly said, ‘I think being an author must be the best thing to be.’ I treasure my TAISM tee shirt. (My husband, Leonard, was asked what kind of ‘ism’ Ta-ism is, anyway, when he wore the shirt to a

Jane Kurtz

philosophy meeting.) I treasure my photo of students with their pigeon projects and ‘Welcome Mem Fox and Jane Kurtz’ in the background. I tell people often that Oman was the most beautiful country of all the Persian Gulf places I visited.” Jane Kurtz May 2008

Jane Kurtz is the award-winning author of 25 books, a national and international speaker, and is currently writing a three-book series of novels with her brother, Chris. She spends a great deal of volunteer time on Ethiopia Reads, a nonprofit organization that is planting the first children’s libraries and publishing the first children’s books in Ethiopia, where Ms. Kurtz spent most of her childhood. Ethiopia Reads was recently featured in Good Housekeeping magazine and as part of the CNN Heroes program.


In the fall of 2004, Marcia Dorr, author of many books related to Oman and a member of TAISM’s Board of Directors, visited the Sur Library and spoke about her latest two-volume book entitled: The Craft Heritage of Oman. Students were interested to hear about Marcia’s travels across the length and breadth of Oman in search of artisans and handicrafts. The book, cowritten with Neil Richardson, is the result of the Omani Craft Heritage Documentation Project initiated in 1996 by His Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq Al Said. Marcia and Neil researched and catalogued Oman’s rich and diverse craft industries as a tribute to Oman’s artisans and the rich traditions they embody.

Helene Tremblay

In October 2005 Canadian author, Helene Tremblay, gave a slide presentation to TAISM students, staff and parents on the topic of ‘With Whom We Share the Planet,’ enchanting everyone with stories she has gathered while traveling the world. Ms. Tremblay has lived with families that represent the majority in 116 countries, and has documented their lives through photography and writing. Ms. Tremblay created the Families of the World series, stressing peace and global awareness. Helene sends a special message to TAISM faculty and students from her home in Canada: “As others who have come to Oman might agree, it seems a little of our heart wants to take refuge in this country like no other. My first encounter was with TAISM library personnel who were in charge of preparing my


Marcia Dorr with Martha Langille

conference and receiving me. (Everyone made me so welcome.) As I was bringing the world to the students, the teachers (at TAISM) were sharing their knowledge of Oman (with me). I did not meet one who did not feel (it was a) privilege to be there. A country that seems to want only one dress code, the one of tolerance and respect. There is a unique beauty to the country that penetrates your soul and when you are with those who have come to work and stay there, you feel they are inhabited by it. Traveling is like making the earth a teacher. I came (to Oman) once and I will come again to get to know the country better and because I have a family waiting for me…” Helene Tremblay May 2008

TAISM student Rayyan Ghuma later interviewed Helene Tremblay for the student newsletter: “After nearly half an hour with this deeply moving woman, Helene presented a message to students of TAISM, to the students of the world. She said, If you have utopist ideas, don’t be discouraged because this is the only way change can happen.”





Some TAISM students show real interest in becoming writers themselves, as John Coy, an American author of several children’s books, found out when he visited the school in March 2006. While at TAISM, he gave readings from his many books and held creative writing workshops for students. John enjoyed working with TAISM students. “My time at TAISM was a joy from beginning to end. My first morning I was welcomed by an assembly where three grades created presentations based on Vroomaloom Zoom, Two Old Potatoes and Me, and Crackback. Martha Langille did an exemplary job in setting up my visit, and each day I remember her saying, ‘How are things going. What do you need?’ ‘Great. Nothing.’ I would smile.

The students were well prepared, attentive to my presentations, and their questions were perceptive and precise. The school, the staff, and the students were all so impressive and TAISM stands out as one of my favorite school visits ever. On my final day at the school, I received wonderful letters from students. One wrote, I want to be an author when I grow up. I like reading books so I want to share my ideas, but I’m only eight years old. My head is like a balloon full of ideas waiting to burst. What more could we hope for? That sense of excitement and engagement is what I remember about TAISM. Congratulations on your anniversary and keep up your wonderful work.” John Coy May 24, 2008

(John Coy is the author of the picture books Night Driving, Strong to the Hoop, Vroomaloom Zoom, Two Old Potatoes and Me, and Around the World. Strong to the Hoop is also available in Spanish as Directo Al Aro and Two Old Potatoes and Me is available in Chinese. John’s first young adult novel, Crackback, was selected for the Young Adults’ Choices List of the International Reading Association. His second, Box Out, is about high school basketball. He is currently at work on a series of four middle-grade novels. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and loves coming to Oman, especially in winter.)

In the fall of 2006, the Eagle newsletter reported the following news:

“TAISM’s World Cup of Reading: Congratulations to the 52 students who read a whopping 1282 books over the summer holiday!! This year’s two top readers were 5th grade student Spencer File and 4th grade student Lauren Hovland. A celebratory pizza and prize lunch for all participants was held in the library on September 13th. Well done, readers!” It also mentioned the upcoming events: Children’s Book Week, Scholastic/Turtles Book Fair, Friends of the Library Pancake Breakfast. Martha Langille Librarian


In December 2007, the Eagle had more good news from the Library: “TAISM’s elementary students rose up again and again on November 10 - 14 to celebrate Children’s Book Week with the theme, ‘Rise Up Reading.’ While the hallways were lined with kite tails celebrating students’ favorite books, the sound of reading aloud and the silence of quiet reading could be noted throughout the week. Children’s Book Week is an annual, library-sponsored event designed to promote reading among children. TAISM puts its own stamp on the celebration every year. The week-long event kicked off with a special assembly where the whole elementary school sang the week’s theme song, ‘Gonna Rise Up Reading’ (music and lyrics by TAISM teachers Gwen Willson and Maura Phelan), and Mr. Hovland read aloud from the children’s book, What Do Teachers Do After You Leave School, by Anne Bowen. Teachers and students dressed thematically every day by wearing hats and t-shirts promoting books, authors and/ or reading, costumes of their favorite book character and finally, pajamas to Read-the-Day-Away to finish off the special week. Prizes were awarded for originality and ingenuity of student designs. Local authors, Jane Jaffer, Sean and Shannon Butler, and Denell Hilgendorf, celebrated Children’s Book Week at TAISM by reading

aloud their own books, and discussing the writing, illustrating and publishing process with the students. The cafeteria served meals each day modeled from stories, such as vegetable soup, from Lois Ehlert’s Making Vegetable Soup. Staff members and high school students read the books aloud to the elementary students as they dined. Muscat bookstore, Turtles, also hosted a Scholastic Book Fair in the library conference room, selling popular titles to students, parents and teachers. Parents also read aloud to individual classrooms every day. A special thank you is extended to all the teachers who worked hard to make Children’s Book Week meaningful, to all the students who participated, and to all the parents who make reading a priority in the home each and every day. Paige Spilles Librarian

In January 2008, TAISM was thrilled to welcome a very special visitor. Naomi Shihab Nye, Palestinian American writer, visited TAISM’s Sur Library and held poetry reading and writing sessions. Naomi wrote: “Children have high hopes, children think the best of the world. They are leaders in spirit. I believe in the power of language, the need to speak up and get people thinking. When you read, you feel that each writer is welcoming you into their world and experiences sharing things with you. You are brought closer to one another’s experiences and hopefully connect as human beings as you find meaning in one another. Poetry’s brevity makes it the perfect vessel. Writing and reading poetry makes you pause and reflect and hopefully empathize through imagining somebody else’s story. When people empathize, it leads to greater tolerance and understanding of our connectedness as human beings.”


Student participants shared their impressions of their time with Ms. Nye. Sara Behairy, Grade 10, said, “I liked her poems, for example, Valentine for Earnest Mann. It showed that there are always two sides to every story.” Grade 12 student Akshay Mallya added, “She uses language that can be understood by everyone to ask the very important questions that make a big difference in our lives.” Ms. Nye encouraged TAISM students to write poetry and persevere with it. She also said, “I have been very touched by the generous and welcoming spirit in this country and the friendliness and warmth I have felt from people during my visit to Oman.”





On the occasion of TAISM’s 10th Anniversary, Naomi Shihab Nye sends a message to us from America: “Being a visiting author at TAISM was one of the luckiest things that has ever happened to me in my (gulp!) more than three decades of being a wandering writer. In beautiful Muscat, a city I had dreamed of since I was a child, was a school so full of love and variety, so brimming with positivism -- the students’ own creative works, the teachers’, administrators’ and librarians’ support and care for them and their work, the emphasis on the fascinating Omani environment, the support of cultural mixtures as one of our finest precious bounties on earth, the best hopes of children and adults encouraged and nourished -- would I be stretching it to say I felt I had found an educational paradise on earth, and I didn’t want to leave there? I would not. It was the first time I have ever spoken from a handmade tent (thank you – Alia Jarrar!) and seen a plate of succulent dates passed around before our sessions. In fact, when my lack of an Indian visa (veteran traveler losing grip on details) caused the next leg of my journey, to Mumbai, to be cancelled, was I terribly sad to move onto the TAISM campus itself, to live for a few extra days with Martha Langille and David Redmond and their great girls, to feel like an ongoing witness to the pleasures of an educational haven that supports, sustains, and enlightens so many minds? I was not sad. I was happy. I wandered the halls for extra days, pleased to respond to “you’re still here?” with “Yes!” Sometimes I think I’m still there, even now. Each time I hope for the best for humankind, in what some call grim times, my mind returns to TAISM -- that such a wonderful school exists on this earth is profoundly encouraging.” Naomi Shihab Nye, San Antonio July 2008

Poet Naomi Shihab Nye addresses the students

Another author visited the school on April 29, 2008. ‘Talk & Tea,’ organized by Martha Langille, Librarian, was a great success. It featured a dentist working in Oman, Dr. Khalid, who is an enthusiastic adventurer, photographer and writer. He conducted a slide presentation of his travels in Oman. His book, entitled In Search of the Sublime: a Journey Through Oman, is printed in both English and French. As an Arabic speaker, Dr. Khalid was able to offer language students the opportunity to hear his presentation in three different languages! He spoke in French to French classes, Arabic to Arabic classes and English to everyone else!

“He who has a library and a garden wants for nothing.” Cicero


On Friday September 17, 2004, the Friends of the Library held their third Pancake Breakfast. Friends of the Library are volunteers from the TAISM community whose efforts have supported ‘Books for Birthdays’ (a book donation program) and purchases of furniture and equipment for the Sur Library. The Pancake Breakfast and Family Quiz Night (held in April each year) are two annual events the group sponsors for TAISM families. Books for Birthdays is a Friends of the Library sponsored program which celebrates birthdays in a meaningful and lasting way. The purpose of Books for Birthdays is to leave a contribution to TAISM, to encourage a love of reading, and to enrich the school library with new books.

Books for Birthdays

Grade 6 students – Gina and Kareem Abou Al Fotouh, Daniel Jackson, Martin Vela and Mathias Cramer with Ms. Langille

Friends of the Library prepare the Pancake Breakfast


Nancy Matheny, parent volunteer, promoting ‘Books for Birthdays’

Chapter 10

Within Our School

In addition to the full range of subjects offered at TAISM in a given week, students are encouraged to participate in an ever growing number of co-curricular activities.

The school believes that these activities are integral, and provide all students with opportunities to enhance character, promote personal growth and augment classroom learning. Also, the co-curricular program makes an essential contribution to the positive and active climate of the school. Teachers and members of the community offer programs after the school day for students in Grades 1 through 12. These activities are usually offered once a week in the Elementary School, and are eight weeks in duration. In the Middle and High Schools, there are four sessions per year. Activities offered in either Elementary or Secondary Schools over the years have included basketball, volleyball, soccer, swimming, track and field, martial arts, chess, environmental club, yoga, dance, individual music lessons, Model United Nations, drama, musical theater, Student Council, glass painting, computer club, language club, writers’ workshop, readers’ theater, Destination Imagination, and board games.


Some activities are hosted on an annual basis, designed to bring the TAISM community of staff, students and parents together with the wider Muscat community. Each spring the school hosts an International Day. This is a fun day for TAISM students and also for children from both Omani and international schools in the area. TAISM’s International Day is a celebration of diversity as the school invites children to come to its extensive grounds and display their talents at the campus’s NDSC Open Air Theater. Many students wear their national costumes, sing, dance, and play traditional music.

International Day

TAISM’s very first International Day was coordinated by Mike Kent, ES Principal, on March 17, 1999. The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) organized international food booths from six world regions. They invited a dozen artisans from Oman, Canada, Britain, India andAustralia to participate. John Leonard, Musical Director, was in charge of the musical program that featured students from TAISM, The Sultan’s School, Muscat Private School, ABA, Indian School and PDO School. Jeff Voracek, Secondary School Principal, and Mike Kent asked teachers to prepare their classrooms as Theme Rooms of Information. As the school developed and grew, and as the population constantly changed, TAISM decided to employ a Parent Volunteer Coordinator to spearhead its community building and volunteer activities. In 2002 Shelisa Baskerville joined the school as the first Parent Volunteer Coordinator.

Photo by Kevin Schafer






When Shelisa left, Tena Bos became the new Parent Teacher Coordinator: “In 2002 the School Principal, Tom Oden, called to ask me if I would be willing to start a girls’ soccer team at the school. I had no coaching experience and had absolutely no idea what I was doing but decided to go ahead and try. I’m happy to say that 5 years later, our HS girls’ teams have earned two championship trophies, two runner-up trophies, and a sportsmanship award. Definitely, this has been a personal highlight for me as I was given the opportunity to work with TAISM students. I think it’s been amazing to watch our students grow as young adults. I’ve traveled with many of our students for sports and MUN and have been constantly amazed by their behavior, citizenship, and maturity. I think the fact

Tena continues to organize a wide range of activities for students, staff and parents. These include the Fall Festival, the TAISM Ball, International Day,

Tena, Alicia, Austin and Michael Bos

that our sports teams have won so many sportsmanship awards speaks volumes.” Tena Bos Parent Volunteer Coordinator May 2008

Teacher Appreciation Dinners, Volunteer Appreciation Brunch, and High School Prom Night. She also supports teachers in their ongoing and annual activities.

Tickets from TAISM Gala Balls


Parents of past-pupils wrote to the school in recognition of the 10th Anniversary, and offered some special messages regarding their families: “I remember when Kevin came to the school in 2000, and his insistence on focusing on the benefits of TAISM. The staff, faculty, and parents all rallied to provide a wonderful learning environment under his able leadership. Our two sons graduated from TAISM. Daniel (Class of 2001) graduated from the University of Texas with a BS in Geology in December 2005. He is currently working for an oil company in Houston, Texas. He’s using his well-earned money to buy sound equipment to pursue his musical interests. He performs around the city, has sung at two weddings, and sings and plays guitar regularly at church. He also enjoys traveling. David (Class of 2004) attended college, and has been working. In August 2008, he joined the U.S. Army with the intent of getting into the Armed Forces language school.”

Bette O’Dell former TAISM Library Assistant September 2008

Chandra and Keya Lahiri, parents of Mayank (class of 2001) and Shaon (class of 2008) The incessant rain of a warm Bombay monsoon night provided a familiar background as four anxious faces peered into the computer. We had taken the momentous decision to move to Muscat, had investigated all the schools in that strange city via the Internet, and were now reading through their responses to our nervous queries. None of us, except my wife, had ever lived outside India, and nerves tended to be a bit fraught. Then a friendly e-mail from the Director of TAISM arrived. I was due to visit Muscat in a couple of days. Turning up at what was the old school building, I was not overly impressed – until I met Kevin Schafer, who welcomed me with a warm smile, a hearty handshake and the unforced friendliness that, since, we have come to associate uniquely with TAISM staff! He spoke of the school with feeling, showed me a picture of the new campus and encouraged me to take it home to show the children. The image of a happy, nurturing, friendly school that also looks


good was so sharp and clear that our decision was made! It has been more than eight amazing years since that day. The school has grown from just over 100 students to over 600. From the two students in our older son’s Physics class to the nearly twenty in most classes today. From the days when the entire school could fit into the Performance Hall, and when parents frequently brought in cookies and cakes for parent nights, the School has grown and prospered – but never lost its emotional bond for us. Both our sons have now graduated from the School, but the empty nest is less painful because of their very happy, unforgettable years at TAISM. For us, their smiles and delighted laughter, their enthusiastic participation in school activities, are a continuing presence in the hallways. TAISM is, quite simply, unique and unforgettable. Chandra Lahiri Parent





“Wow, 10 years! I can still remember when the trees were just being planted outside the school and the first grass was planted. Here are some fond memories from my son, Adam, from our days at TAISM: Quiz nights with whole families in the cafeteria, passionately vying for City Plaza prizes, Tiki parties with Mr. Oden, Discover Oman, art with Mr. Montoya and Mrs. Marjory

(Mulrooney), history and Jeopardy! with Mr. Brink, Ms. Kaste inviting the sixthgraders to her house to make brownies, Mr. File renaming the ‘Battle of the Bands’ to a more politically correct ‘Meeting of the Bands’ or something like that!”

Edward, Angelina and Adam

Ambassador Baltimore, Elise Withers and her parents

“About TAISM ........... I have so many good things to say! We felt such a sense of ‘family’ at TAISM and genuine caring from Kevin all the way through

Debby Telatovich Parent Volunteer September 2008

the faculty and staff. Both of our girls were lucky to have such a rich educational experience, not to mention a safe and nurturing environment. Also, I can tell you Elise was well-prepared for university. We feel proud to have a TAISM alumni member. I only wish it could be both of our girls (because we had to move back to the States). I feel you can’t underestimate the importance of a multi-national school environment for our children.” Carol Withers Former TAISM Parent September 2008

Student Council TAISM has a High School and also a Middle School Student Council. Both are elected groups of students who wish to represent their peers and take on a more active role in the organization of student activities and fund raising events. In the High School, Ms. Maria Elisa Olleros is the Council Advisor. She works with students to promote the general welfare of the students, increase the school spirit through activities like ‘Spirit Week’ and ‘House Competitions,’ act as an intermediate representative between the student body and the administration, provide leadership opportunities, be self-supporting, and to raise funds for charities. Money has been raised for organizations and events including:

• Gift drive for the support personnel • Breast Cancer Awareness • Chimpembele Trust (sponsoring girls in Zambia) • Terry Fox Foundation The Council also organizes and participates in social events such as: Lock-in JamFest HS Prom Fall Festival and International Day

• • • •


TAISM Staff 1998 - 2008 Nadia Abougoush Emily Ackermann Poonam Ahuja Moza Al Kharusi Hadeel Al Saleh Julie Al-Alawi Mohammed Al-Balushi Nassar Al-Balushi Holly Albers James Albers Mohammed Al-Foori Nasser Al-Ghabshi Habiba Al-Harthy Khazina Al-Harthy Nasser Al-Harthy Nema Al-Harthy Sabra Al-Harthy Saeed Al-Hejry Eman Al-Hinai Ahmed Al-Hooti Hamoud Al-Jahdhami Yousuf Al-Mashrefi Sabrina Al-Maskary Mary Almquist Saud Al-Musalami Hamida Al-Noumani Mazen Al-Sheikh Moza Al-Wardi Basim Al-Yahyaei Fatma Al-Zadjali Najeeb Al-Zadjali Qaisar Al-Zadjali Sameer Al-Zadjali Yousuf Al-Zadjali Jo Ellen Anderson Lauren Arndt Louane Arsenault Dominique Ashbee Hilda Ashkar


Randa Awwad Michelle Ayoub Sathish Babu Ellen Bagnato Greg Bagnato Lloyd Baker Valerie Balboa Tina Barrett Shelisa Baskerville Marnie Bates Loveleena Bawa Janice Berg Nancy Bierhaus Martijn Boersma Wendy Boisvenue Keith Boniface Leona Boos Michael Bos Tena Bos Petra Briheim DeLana Brink Greg Brink Melanie Brink Scott Brink Jeanne Buckley Joe Buckley Aron Campbell Jeffrey Campbell Sandra Carden Jennifer Carvalho Paulo Carvalho Peter Casey Tina Casey Francisco Catena-Salmeron Todd Church Breege Conneely Thomas Corbett Kyena Cornelius Kerry Craig

Lucas Craig Manon Crepeau Kathy Cubrilo Melinda Curtino Abhipsha Das Katja Davidoff Robert Davies Matthew du Aime Tommy Duncan Hemant Dutia Preeti Dutia James Ebert Fiona Eddings Sara Edquist Lydia Elmore Elisabeth Erni Lisa File Nelson File Brian Foudy Diane Foudy Julia Fuge Thomas George Anupama Gokul Michelle Grappo Rebecca Grappo Julie Griep Lillian Hadaya Anne Hallock Shawna Hampton-Riddle Kerry Harder Tilly Harding Isabelle Harouni Eleanor Haynes Ryan Haynes Tracie Henriksen Miguel Herrera Sarah Herrera Denell Hilgendorf Candy Hillier Darcy Hindash Carrie Horton





Daniel Hovland Kristine Hovland Maya Ibrahim Kenneth Ingram Douglas Irish Theresa Irish Debbie Iseri Doug Iseri Robert Jackson Nirmala Jayaram Courtney Jensen Ying Jiang Aju John Carey Johnson Chad Johnson Marianne Karam Mette Karlsen Sara Kaste Nerine Kerfers Ghada Khalifa Carla Khalil Mayur Kini Jenelle Krech Gokul Krishnan Joe Krupp Debby Kuczynski Gita Kumar Dora Kwarteng Mireia Lacort Keya Lahiri Martha Langille Cori Lee Peter Lee John Leonard Arina Lewis Marianne Likmuan Elayne Looker Aloysious Lopez Grace Luna Madelene Lundholm Andrews David Machilath

Jacquiline Mamaclay Zach Manker Sylvie Martel Karyn McCormack Ali McNulty Kishor Mistry Tatiana Modrisan Raymond Montoya Robin Mowrey Larry Mullin Marjory Mulrooney Becky Murray Terence Murray Rajan Nair Lillie Najafali Maha Nazzal Cathleen Neal Tom Neal Reneé Nehrich Joel Nelson Bette O’Dell Rebecca Oden Thomas Oden Rachel Ollagnon Maria Elisa Olleros Diana Palmer Linda Pan Sangeetha Parambath Nancy Patalinghug Lorie Peiniger Maura Phelan Kelly Pierson Kimberly Pierson Juliette Pieuchot Stephen Plisinski Susan Plisinski Amy Poall Corbett Douglas Poole Babu Poulose Sarita Purao David Redmond

Marianne Reeves Jill Rheingans Brady Riddle Bretta Ringo Stephen Ringo Sheila Rizcallah Taline Sabbagh Anjum Sadiq Jacqueline Saint Zarita Saldanha Kevin Schafer Monika Schröder Urmila Seymour Sheryl Shuster Kiran Singh Johnnie Spicer Carl Spilles Paige Spilles Jennifer Starace Denise Ste. Marie Jennifer Steere Pat Stimpson Maria Tavender Lisa Tenuta Hiten Toprani Tennielle Tripp Brian Turner Hayley Twist Trisha Tynan Avery Udagawa Kentaro Udagawa Ilse Veenbaas Namrata Verma Vandana Verma Kristy Wade Rachel Wahlquist Megan Walsh Emilia Weiss-Belinfante Natalie Wilie Gwen Willson Tim Willson


TAISM Board of Directors 1998 - 2008


Fathi Alaaiddin

Chandra Lahiri

James Albers

Darren Mallick

Bud Bierhaus

Gary Mignano

Ruth Biles

Col. Thomas Milton

Michael Bos

Rebecca Murray

Greg Brink

Fawzi Mushantaf

Aron Campbell

Duncan Nightingale

Peter Casey

Kevin O’Malley

Juan Delgado

Kathrine O’Shaughnessy

Behram Divecha

Col. James Piner

Marcia Dorr

Douglas Poole

Jerry Ellis

Lois Price

Gary Grappo

Kris Raghavan

Julie Griep

Theresa Renner Smith

Anwar Hamdani

Mohammed Salem

Peggy Hansel

Kevin Schafer

Ralph Hollis

Barry Shelden

Matthew Hyde

Stanley Stearns

Robert Jackson

Mahesh Verma

Neal Kawar

Andrew Westerman

Chapter 11

TAISM Alumni

On June 4, the Class of 2008 celebrated its Graduation from TAISM with a roaring cheer, a toss into the air of caps and tassels, and a fanfare by the Concert Band. This occasion, marked by the awarding of diplomas to 33 students representing 14 nationalities, was the seventh such celebration since the school’s first graduating class in 2001. At the ceremony in June, Hiral Dutia, Valedictorian, reminded the graduates of the unique opportunity they had been given: “Class of 2008: We are privileged. We are blessed to receive an education, when we have done nothing to deserve it.

We travel to Beijing for Model United Nations, to London for Honor Band, and to Cairo for track meets. We have a beautiful campus with excellent facilities, and we add new facilities every year. We have exceptional teachers and supportive parents Hiral Dutia, Valedictorian who have always encouraged us Class of 2008 in our pursuits. Most people in the world can only dream of the type of education we have received at TAISM!” Ms. Dutia’s words echo the thoughts and feelings of many students who have attended the school and those guests who have honored us with their presence at graduation ceremonies since the first Graduation in 2001.

“This school is nurturing, extremely nurturing. It taught me music, developed my writing and thought, and exposed me to a variety of intriguing personalities. And I’m sure it’s done the same for many of you here tonight. But now it has given all it can give, and as the weeping mother must let go of her child, so too must we now leave the nurturing embrace of the school to find out who we really are.” Shaon Lahiri, Salutatorian, Class of 2008 June 2008


Treasure your years at TAISM and in Muscat. The world is not always a pleasant or forgiving place. It has never had enough tolerance, understanding, or kindness. You are emerging from a unique setting that has enabled you to work and grow with friends and teachers from all over the world – one with numerous languages, cultures, and ideals. Life is a great classroom where every day you are challenged to know more than you did the day before. Keep your wits about you and remember that the goal is not to become the smartest person you know, but the best person you can be. H.E. U.S. Ambassador Richard L. Baltimore III Guest of Honor, May 2003

I do not want to embody mainstream’s shallow view of perfection. I want to be strong enough to resist the pressures of conformity -- I can only be myself. Who am I? Rayyan Ghuma, a Libyan, an Arab-American, a woman, imperfect by society’s standards, but nevertheless, a unique individual expressing herself through her own words while contributing positively towards change. The time is always right to look inside ourselves and imagine a world where peace prevails, where we celebrate individuality, and where we enjoy the “imperfections” which make us unique --- a world filled with respect. So many worthwhile causes are begging for our attention. We are young, energetic, and waiting to make a difference. If each of us leaves this school and dedicates herself or himself to a cause, the world will be a more beautiful place. Rayyan Ghuma, Class of 2005 Valedictory Speech, May 2005

Parents: always the hardest ones to thank without feeling uncomfortable. But tonight we feel different. We owe everything to you. You gave us life, you gave us a chance to go to a good school, and you’re giving us the chance to further enrich our education by sending us to college, even at the expense of your pocketbooks. If that’s not love, nothing is! Drew Soileau, Class of 2003 Salutatory Address, May 2003 I am very pleased to learn about the strong emphasis that this school places on cultural, music, and art programs. But one of this school’s many successes is the “Discover Oman Program”, for which I congratulate you, and one that I feel envy for your graduates and students, for getting such an opportunity to know my country, to learn about Omani culture and cultural values, and to understand a nation growing with ambition and aspiration to fulfill its role towards building a “world community.” H.H. Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq Al Said Guest of Honor, May 2004


Enjoy your family, friends, and colleagues before they are gone. This is the most important lesson of all. Nothing – not money, power, or fame – can replace your family and friends or bring them back once they are gone. You have all worked hard for the last few years, very hard for the last few months, and have been through a lot of stress and anxiety. It’s all over now. So go out and enjoy the Party. Have a great time and unwind yourself only for a few days. You have a great challenge ahead, be excited to meet it, prepare your mind, and believe in yourself for taking it in your stride. Remember “the unexamined life may not be worth living,” but the unlived life is not worth examining. Make sure your life is one worth examining. Ms. Hind Bahwan Guest of Honor, May 2008





From the first graduating Class of 2001 to the Class of 2008, a lot has transpired in the world of the young adults who attended the school. Looking back to those years, TAISM’s Alumni have been eager to let us know how much they now value and appreciate their years at the school. Mayank Lahiri, Valedictorian for the Class of 2001, is now completing his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He returned to Oman recently for his brother Shaon’s graduation in 2008 and wrote: The courses offered at TAISM today, as well as the facilities and activities, are vastly different from what they were in 2000. The options available to my brother almost make me want to go back to high school, and yet I felt that I was more than adequately prepared for college in the United States by TAISM. I attribute this to two things: The first was the nature of TAISM -- small and international. The cultural sensitivity and understanding that I acquired at TAISM was the best possible college preparation I could imagine, and one that meant more to me than all the AP courses I took. It’s not that the high school was always the perfect melting pot of cultures -- there were cliques like in any school -- but the small size meant that you just HAD to interact with everyone else, which at least built up familiarity and tolerance. The second reason I felt well prepared for college was some truly exceptional teachers, with a particularly outstanding example being the A.P. Literature teacher at the time, Mr. Todd Church. To this day, I have encountered perhaps one or two other professors in seven years of college and graduate college who could inspire and educate students as well as Mr. Church did - with true empathy and an ability to instill, even in hyperactive 17 year olds, the sense that yes, this is truly a wise person who should be listened to. Mayank Lahiri, Class of 2001 June 2008

I have a lot of memories from TAISM as I spent the last six years of my pre-university education there. Out of all the schools I attended in Oman, TAISM was the first to get me into the academic mindset to become successful in my undergraduate studies. TAISM taught me how to write scholarly research papers, which has been very useful in my four years at university, and also gave me the right foundations in sciences and math. Also, the emphasis TAISM had with athletics gave the student body a sense of school pride, and allowed for a healthy environment. Now as I am finishing my undergraduate degree in biochemistry in June and getting ready to attend dental school at NYU in fall 2008, I feel TAISM gave me an edge to be more competitive in the academic world, and was my first step to getting in the mindset of pursuing life-long learning.” Amjad Nazzal, Class of 2004, May 2008

When I think back to my time at TAISM, I have feelings of fun and fond memories. TAISM offered me the opportunity to experience, study and socialize with people from all over the world! My fondest memory is my very first Discover Oman trip. I was new to Oman and did not know much about the country. The Discover Oman Oasis Trip was brilliant. I had fun learning about the Omani culture, the ghost town in Nizwa, the enormous Nizwa Fort, the water stream that ran deep into the mountains, and the indigo farmer. TAISM planned that trip so that the students could have a great time and still learn about Oman. Nicole Whyman, Class of 2006 September 2008


My fondest memory of TAISM is the Discover Oman programs and the trips that I took. I went on the Desert Trip and the Mountain Trip my Junior and Senior years. I enjoyed immersing myself in the local culture and learning about the country that I lived in. At so many international schools a child can live in the country and never fully appreciate its beauty or culture. Through the Discover Oman program, TAISM allows its students to do both. I will always remember the learning that went on in these trips as well as the experiences and bonds that I formed with other students. Being a part of the Model United Nations club and learning about politics from Mr. Jackson is something that I will always look back upon as something that has shaped the way that I look at the world. Through this extracurricular program as well as the classes that I took at TAISM, I broadened my global perspective and also became a more developed thinker. Kelly Shelden, Class of 2007, Salutatorian September 2008

I feel an obligation to tell you that in my time spent so far in university, I have concluded that TAISM is doing a fantastic job preparing its students. And it’s not merely a result of my hard work in high school, but it’s actually the details we learned that are really paying off, details that students from other schools, coming from all over (including other American schools), have no clue about. Most important is that as a student from TAISM, I feel as if I have an advantage over others because in every class I have been in so far (even if it’s new), I always seem to have a general and wider, if not detailed, perspective of the topic. Yousef Hajjar, Class of 2007 February 2008

One of the most impressive qualities about TAISM is the friendliness of the staff members. I could talk about any problem to anyone there, and especially to Mrs. Neal, High School Counselor, who always was there to listen to all our problems. The little things about TAISM have left memories in my mind forever. I wish this school all the best in the future; it really did get me ready for the life to come. Mrs. Neal’s words remain with me and whenever I apply them to my life, I have faced only success.

TAISM was an experience of a lifetime. It allowed me to view the world from a different “dimension.” I became more open minded and internationally accepting. The diverse community of TAISM helped me understand what diversity really is. This helped influence my future career. I have continued my studies at New Mexico State University (NMSU) pursing a bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. Due to my positive experience at TAISM, I plan to work overseas.

Sheerin Ahmad, Class of 2006 September 2008

Erika Castro, Class of 2006 June 2008

Shaun Divecha studying in Switzerland: TAISM, being largely an international school, taught me a most important lesson in life: That no matter where you come from and whatever are your religious beliefs, we can all form bonds and friendships with people from any


Yousef Hajjar is currently completing his studies in American University of Beirut:

part of the globe. TAISM taught me not to let my beliefs judge another person, and not to judge any person until you know them. The school gave me the advantage of learning about cultures and people from all over the world, giving me knowledge that I will be able to use for the rest of my life. Shaun Divecha, Class of 2006 May 2008





Elise Withers, studying in Florida, sends this message via Facebook: Oftentimes students look back on their high school experience and cringe, remembering obnoxious jocks or extreme cliques that exclude half the student body. However, when I look back on high school, a flood of memories come pouring back into my mind – memories of red, white and blue polo shirts and stressful days trying to get the TAISM Tribune ready to be published and distributed. There are snapshots of exciting basketball games, soccer tournaments and the constant flood of digital pictures

I remember the people, mostly. I mean, there were classes and quizzes, papers and exams, homework and hundreds of pages of reading -- but above all that, there were truly incredible people. The administration, the community of parents and supporters and, most memorably, my classmates and the teaching staff remain crystallized in my memory bank, forever remembered as people who changed my life for the better. I am eternally grateful to each and every one of them. I recall a significant moment in my senior year when our basketball team played an under-19 division Omani club team. It was a close game, very rough-and-tumble under the basket where I spent most of my time, and a sizable crowd of TAISM fans had amassed to witness our struggle. The clock ran down, and with under ten seconds left, we found ourselves down by one point with possession of the ball. We called timeout and laid out our strategy. It relied on the speed of Aaron Avery, our top-scorer and starting shooting guard, the careful pick-setting and timeliness of the rest of our team, and on me to actually make the basket. We ran, tired and sweaty, but feeling nothing but exhilaration, into our spots. The whistle blew. I was under our basket, watching the elegance of a perfectly-timed, perfectly-executed play unfold on the other end of the court. Out of the artwork came Aaron with the ball and two defenders behind him. He slowed just before reaching the free-throw line, eyes on the basket, every part of his body in motion to shoot the ball. My defender stepped out to block his shot...boom, the ball came to me on a sharp bounce-pass. One dribble, and three years of

coming in from parents, friends and students, capturing every moment of band concerts, plays and sporting events taking place in far-off cities. I look back on high school and an instant smile finds its way onto my face. Going to TAISM helped me more than I had realized when I was there. The education alone was incomparable to anything I could have had if I had gone to a school in the U.S., with the small class sizes, involved faculty and sheer charisma of my teachers and coaches. Elise Withers, Class of 2007 September 2008

practice materialized into one lay-up. As the ball fell through the net, the gym exploded into sound – screams of applause, riotous claps and the thundering of feet along the bleachers. I looked up and saw my teammates pumping their fists into the air, my coach screaming relief with both arms reaching toward the ceiling, and my teachers, calm and collected when in class, jumping up and down, yelling pure heady excitement, lost in the explosive ripple unique to crowds as their team just scored the winning basket with two seconds left on the clock. Okay, so it wasn’t actually the winning basket-the other team managed to score in a desperate attempt, but that doesn’t tar the memory for me. That moment of validation of countless hours of training, of playing a role in a successful team effort, of being on the floor while “the crowd goes wild”, will stay with me for the rest of my life. TAISM taught me confidence. Surrounded by so many cultures, so many vastly different ways of life, so many hobbies and goals and dreams and accomplishments, I learned how to be myself. I have always tolerated differences in others, but I learned how to accept the differences in myself, and to embrace the person I was becoming regardless of societal norms. TAISM also taught me academic discipline. I was afforded a great deal of freedom and independence in my work, which has turned out to be invaluable for university, and I think back often to the lessons of my High School History or Math or Physics teachers, lessons that impact me still today (both for their subject content and for the way they opened my mind toward new ways of thinking). Henry Engelland-Gay, Valedictorian Class of 2007 October 2008


TAISM Graduates

Class of 2001 Alaa Al Muallem Abdullah Al Sabah Omar Farouk Jimmy Helou Diala Itani Mayank Lahiri Siddharth Munsif Daniel O’Dell Chris Soileau Mehak Sujan Dina Valiyakath Ajith Varghese

Class of 2002 Fahad Al Sabah Ronisha Carter Sarah Gorzynski Haitham Habib Hamid Hussain Divya Kapadia Adrien Kingsley Namratha Machado Pranam Mehra






Class of 2003 Muzna Al Said Ellen Clark Adrian Divecha Samuel Kuruvilla Gavin Mracek Kelly Rayes Velez Andrew Soileau Rosette Sultan Namrata Verma Sajjad Zaidi

Class of 2004 Adnan Ahmed Nicholas Albano Maria Bhatti Mohammed Bundrage Zahra Bundrage Aaisha Farouk Patrick Fischer Jeannette Friggle Carl Viktor Gezelius Javed Islam Ona Johnson Mihir Khimji

Imran Kureshi Afua Kwarteng Saba Malik Maryan Moharib Karan Narayan Amjad Nazzal David O’Dell Justin O’Shaughnessy Jessica Oppenhuizen Aditya Pullapantula Taran Sodhi Adithya Swami


Class of 2005 Saleem Ahmed Safiya Al Bahlani Hyun-Ho Choi Fiona Cook Rayyan Ghuma Da Hye Kim Leah Kinsella Heidi Mekawi Kelsey Nightingale

Arjun Padmanabhan Pedro Perera Joshua Plisinski Teneth Sriisraporn Vasudha Verma Ashutosh Wig Himanshu Wig John Rohit Wilson Fadi Yared

Class of 2006 Layal Afeiche Hamza Adnan Taiba-Shireen Ahmad Ali Al Radhi Gabriel Bellavance Maria Armacanqui Andrew Campbell Erika Castro Shaun Divecha Amit Dharamsey Eilia Habib Mariam Habib Kristen Leipzig


Priya Koppikar Ellen Lesh Gloria Machado Ozan Cagatay Ozdemir Peter Matheny Annapurna Ravula Krithika Seshadri Masashi Yamashita Qais Al-Khabouri Azzan Al-Zawawi Osamah Bhatti Hamza Imtiaz Umar Mohammed Shah





Class of 2007 Jessadel Alandy-Dy Amanda Avery Aaron Avery Alicia Bos Meredith Curtino Emilia du Aime Henry Engelland-Gay Sara Gezelius Yousef Hajjar Karam Hammond Nicholas Ivers Rachael Lane Shaw

Maya Montoya Ashlee Nam Ashley Rayes Velez Isara Sapito Kelly Shelden Sawrabh Taori Charles Walker IV Elise Withers Sawako Yamashita Dory Younes Jenny Zhang Amrit Sunder

Class of 2008 Karl Andersson Mathieu Archer Aashna Bawa Bethanie Brooks Elizabeth Campbell Allesandro Cavagliotti Ankar Singh Cheema Kyung Won Cho Hiral Dutia Akram Al Khoury Kyle Enns Naim Jada Srijan Konwar Goo-Hyun Kwon Shaon Lahiri Benjamin Le Ji-Eun Lee

Hyun Jun Lee Melvin Lim Maynell Maan Akshay Mallya Nitya Margsahayam Nur Farhana Hanim Mohd. Zamri Anwar Najafali Tony Randrianavony Cali Reeves Therese Reksnes Zaid Salem Channa Samarasinghe Arya Sapito Kaushal Shah Rohitashwa Singh Nicole Whyman


TAISM Graduates have been accepted to the following institutions: Adams State University American University American University of Beirut, Lebanon American University of Dubai, UAE American University of Paris American University of Sharjah American Unversity of Technology, Lebanon Arizona State University Austin College Aveda Institute, Denver Bard College Berkeley College Boston College Boston University Brock University California College of the Arts, San Francisco California State University - Chico Carleton University Central Michigan University Clark University Clemson University College of William and Mary College of Wooster Colorado School of Mines Colorado State University Concordia University, Canada Cornell College Elizabethtown College, PA Embry Riddle Aeronautical Emerson College Emmanuel College Emory University Endicott University Evergreen State College Florida Institute of Technology Florida International University Florida Southern College Fordham University Franklin College, Switzerland George Mason University


George Washington University Georgetown University - Qatar Glion Institute of Higher Education, Switzerland Grand Valley State University Guelph University Hampshire College Harturick College Huron University, London Indiana University, Bloomington Iowa State University Ithaca College John Moores University of Liverpool Juniata College Kansas State University King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Thailand Kings College, UK La Salle College of Arts, Singapore Lamar University Lebanese American University Louisiana Tech. University Lynn University McGill University McMaster University McNeese State University Memorial University of Newfoundland Merrimack College Miami University, Ohio Michigan State University Mills College Monash University, Medical Program Mount Holyoke College Mt. Allison College, Canada New York Institute of Technology Northeastern University Northwestern University Ohio State University Old Dominion Oregon State University Parsons The New School for Design Pennsylvania State University





Pizer College Portland State Purdue University Queen Mary University of London Queens University Regents College, London Regis College Rochester Institute of Technology Roosevelt University Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Ryerson University, Canada Saginaw Valley State University Sarah Lawrence College Savannah College of the Arts and Design Scripps College Simmons College Southern Arkansas University Southern Illinois University Southern Methodist University St. Louis University Stanford University Stonehill College Suffolk University SUNY Binghamton Swinburn University, Australia Temple University Texas A & M University Texas Christian University Texas State University, San Marcos Texas Tech University The University of Arizona (Tucson) The University of Tampa The University of Texas at Austin Trent University University of Alabama University of Alberta University of Arizona University of British Columbia University of Calgary University of Central Florida

University of Colorado, Boulder University of Dayton University of Denver University of Greenwich, UK University of Hawaii University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign University of Indiana, Bloomington University of Iowa University of Kent, UK University of Louisiana - Lafayette University of Maryland, College Park University of Massachusetts, Amherst University of Michigan - Flint University of Michigan, Ann Arbor University of Minnesota University of Missouri, Columbia University of Nevada University of New Hapmshire University of New Mexico University of North Dakota University of North Texas University of North Texas - Denton University of Pittsburgh University of Surrey, UK University of Texas, Austin University of Texas, San Antonio University of Toronto University of Trent, UK University of Virginia University of Washington University of Wisconsin, Madison Villanova University Virginia Commonwealth University Virginia Tech Washington University in St. Louis Wells College Wentworth Institute of Technology Wheelock College Worcester Polytechnic Institute York University



amicable, and during my tenure, I cannot recall a vote that was not by consensus.

The potpourri of anecdotes from the past ten years tells a remarkable story of a school that went from nothing to an institution of international distinction. However, there is one noticeable absence in these reflections. There is no sentimentality for what used to be. There are only dreams of what could be. This fact alone explains why TAISM flourished despite what seemed insurmountable challenges. There was never doubt or uncertainty about what TAISM could be… what it needed to be. From the day that the idea of TAISM was first conceived, there has been complete unanimity that something of utmost value was at stake—our children. There are few things that will affect the future of our children more than the educational opportunities they are provided. In my six years on the Board, it has been a privilege to work with a group of leaders who are inspired by this. As the Board and Administration have addressed the opportunities and obstacles before us, egos and politics are strangely absent, meetings are always


I still recall the day that I was appointed Chairman of the Board. Kathrine O’Shaughnessy, the former Chairperson, was a highly capable leader who had used every ounce of energy and avenue available to her to make the dream of TAISM a reality. Her example inspired me, yet I wondered what the future held when so much had already been achieved. Now four years later, the school has nearly doubled its enrollment and facilities, and additional land has been acquired to accommodate growth for the high demand for TAISM. In the next two years, we will add a 550-seat performing arts center, more classrooms, a regulation size sports field, a 400-meter running track, and additional staff housing. Once these developments are complete, I have no doubt we will launch new initiatives. When it comes to our children, the status quo will never do. Every phase of development represents opportunities for our children to develop their intellectual, emotional, social, and physical potential to the fullest. This is why our family, like many I have encountered, has found a way to stay in Oman so that our children are able to graduate from TAISM. We believe their time with our exceptional faculty and staff will benefit them the rest of their lives. The first ten years at TAISM have been nothing short of miraculous. But as hard as it may be to believe, the next ten years will be even greater! Michael S. Bos Chairman TAISM Board of Directors 2004 - present





The American International School of Muscat

PATRONS Building Patrons Saud Salim Bahwan Performance Hall Suhail Salim Bahwan Library National Drilling & Services Company LLC Open Air Theatre Occidental of Oman, Inc., Neste (E&P) B.V. Science Labs Mohsin Haider Darwish Administration Suite Ajit Khimji Group of Companies LLC I.T. Lab Bait Al Zubair Art Room Ali & Abdul Karim Group Prayer Room Halliburton Foundation Inc. Science Classroom Santa Fe International Corp. Classroom Khimji Ramdas Classroom Alawi Enterprises LLC Classroom Halliburton Worldwide Ltd. Classroom EnCana International (Oman) Ltd. Classroom Anonymous Donor Classroom OOISS Oman Oil Industry Supplies & Services Co. Classroom Consolidated Contractors Company Oman LLC Classrooms Simon Karam Al Mashrikia Travo 2005 Oman-Lebanon Classroom Port of Salalah Classroom Al Turki Enterprises LLC Classroom Oman Refinery Company LLC



Corporate Sponsors Mustafa Sultan Enterprises Sharikat Hani LLC Halliburton Worldwide Ltd. Arthur Andersen & Co. Santa Fe International Corporation National Steel Fab. LLC Gulf Agency Co. Amouage Worldwide United States Department of State Ajit Khimji Group of Companies LLC Occidental of Oman, Inc. MB Petroleum Services LLC ReedHycalog Rasa Trading Co. Ltd. EnCana International (Oman) Ltd. Deloitte & Touche (M.E.)

Sports Field Patrons AlMansoori Specialized Engineering Al Omaniya Financial Services (SAOG) Alawi Enterprises Behram & Cynthia Divecha Halliburton Khimji Ramdas Nimir Petroleum Oman B.V. Oman Catering Co. LLC Oman Oil Industry Supplies & Services Co. LLC O’Shaughnessy Family Santa Fe International United Engineering Services, Smith Red Baron Group Weatherford Oil Tool Middle East Ltd., Oman Branch QGM – Heavy Eqpt. Maint. & Tdng. Co. LLC Schafer Family United States Department of State






Millennium Wall Patrons David B. O’Malley, Oregon, USA Class of 2002 Rachel E. O’Malley, Oregon, USA Class of 2004 Justin O’Shaughnessy Class of 2004 Karim, Timo & Alex Azhari 1998 - 2002 Rebecca, Michelle, Alex & Kristina Grappo 1998 – 2001 Shaun Divecha, Adrian (AJ) Divecha, John Divecha Honoring the First Graduates May 2001, Kevin Del Schafer Polly, Maggie & Emma Hyde 1998 – 2001 Cynthia Divecha, Behram Divecha, Muscat, Oman 1982 Abdullah, Fahad, Sabah & Ali Al Sabah Jimmy G. Helou, Jezzine, Lebanon Class of 2001 Ellen, Robert Alicia, Julia Dry Fawzi Christiane Rafic Rami Ralph Mushantaf Layal A. Afeiche, Ashrafieh, Lebanon Class of 2006 Hon. Frances D. Cook, U.S. Ambassador Muscat 1995-1999 Mrs. Vivian Cook – Friend of Oman – By her Daughter M Victoria Guzman – M Emilia Guzman – Sathya I Raghavan Kris & Amparo Raghavan 1998-2004 Nash Cook 1906-85 – US Educator – 41 years – Father of Amb. Cook Harley, Reza, Elias & Ashar Hamdani Lisa and Anwar Hamdani Michael, Tena, Alicia & Austin Bos Class of 2007 & 2010 Sara Kaste – MS Coordinator 2001-2007 Peter ’06 Mark ’09 C. Paul & Nancy Matheny Darren and Dee Dee, Hayley, Jacob and Connor Mallick Aymen Jaffer Class of 2009 Marty, Stephanie, Kris, Tash Leipzig Class of ’06 & ’11

Received as of June 2008









Profile for TAISMOman

TAISM at Ten: The First Decade 1998-2008  

TAISM at Ten: The First Decade 1998-2008 chronicles the development of The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) in Oman.

TAISM at Ten: The First Decade 1998-2008  

TAISM at Ten: The First Decade 1998-2008 chronicles the development of The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) in Oman.

Profile for taismoman