Up Close with Rami Madani, Head of School, The International School of Kuala Lumpur

Rami brings 22 years of experience with international schools in Asia, Africa, and Europe. He has provided customized educational consulting to numerous schools across the region on governance, leadership, strategic planning, and improvements in student learning. Rami joined ISKL from Ecole Mondiale, Mumbai, India where he served as Head of Secondary School. He has been a teacher and a leader at ISKL since 2009.

1. How would you describe your management style?

My management style focuses on inspiring others and communicating our purpose. I believe the role of a leader is to build capacity in others and to nurture their growth. My leadership approach centers around creating shared values and vision, and empowering teams which in turn builds organizational trust, focus, agility, and growth.

2. What inspires you the most and why? How have you incorporated that into your daily life?

I deeply believe that education can transform the world and I am inspired by the passions, dreams, and achievements of the students under our care. Watching them grow, discover their skills, and shape their character to become healthy, and successful contributors to the world around them is one of the highest values of education. I incorporate this into my daily life by seeing potential in others and focusing on the possibilities they have to grow, learn, and serve. I believe the ultimate purpose of school is to guide students to live a life where they are doing something they are passionate about, which they are good at, that makes the world a better place, and where they can earn a living from doing it.

3. How do you see your organization changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating/being a part of that change?

Research studies about the future awaiting our students highlight an increasing importance on the development of social-emotional skills. self-knowledge, emotional regulation, and social awareness are key for developing other cognitive skills such as creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. ISKL is moving intentionally along the path of individualizing learning, developing these key skills, and prioritizing the value of having a positive impact on others and the environment. We live in a world where we have to be problem finders and solvers. Hence, learning at school needs to provide students with similar opportunities through the problem-based-learning framework. My role is to listen, understand the different perspectives of our community whilst remaining focused on our purpose, and creating the optimal environment to lead the change.

4. Tell me about an accomplishment or a memorable incident that shaped your career. What would we be surprised to learn about you? 

My career began as a music teacher in school. Many years ago, in a school in Zambia, I was given the opportunity to teach mathematics whilst I was still a student studying this subject. That opportunity has opened doors throughout my career. I became a passionate mathematics teacher, a math trainer and examiner for the International Baccalaureate program. From there I became an education, leadership, and governance consultant working with schools around the world. I am forever grateful to the mentor who trusted me and I have learned to do the same for others.

5. What book are you reading or podcast you most recommend?

I am currently reading Governance as Leadership which is a great book for leaders in non-profit organizations.

6. What do you do for fun?

I dance zumba (at least I try to!) and find great enjoyment in playing the piano.