Learning 18 Aug 2021

Introducing our new Lakeside primary school vice principals

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

Join us in extending a very warm welcome to Dr Xiomara Cruz and Mr Joel Bevans, our new Lakeside primary vice principals. Xiomara originally hails from Puerto Rico via the US; and Joel is from the UK via schools in Panama and Luxembourg.

We chatted with Xiomara and Joel about their transition to CIS and their goals for the new school year.

Welcome to CIS! How do you both feel about starting a new school year?

Xiomara: I am incredibly excited to welcome students on campus. Through the pandemic our students have demonstrated resilience and high capacity to adapt to difficult situations; however it's been a lot for them. So, having them back in school, playing with their friends and learning in an interactive manner is certainly something I am looking forward to.

Joel: The new school year always brings lots of emotions. It is a time that is full of excitement, anticipation, hope and a little bit of worry. However, the one word that I return to time and again is "opportunity'". Every single member of our community has an opportunity to be their best self, to try something new, to learn something exciting and to meet and learn from and with others. Being new to CIS and Singapore this is only amplified more. There are new systems and structures to learn, new colleagues to meet and work alongside, and, most importantly, a whole school of children to get to know.


Joel, your summer must have looked very different to usual as you were moving your family from Panama to Singapore, via a trip home to see family in the UK — all against the backdrop of a global pandemic. How was it?

My summer was full of transitions and living out of a suitcase. Since I left Panama in June — with my wife and three daughters — we have been on the road. We quarantined for 10 days in London at a hotel and for 14 more in Singapore. In between our quarantine stints we got to catch up with family and friends in the UK. It was a memorable trip home; my first time in three years. So that being said, as a family we have learnt that we can live in a small space without going outside without too much drama. Although we do not want to repeat it in a hurry!


Xiomara, you were most recently the Elementary Deputy Principal at Stamford American International School in Singapore, so what did you do over the summer?

Yes, while I am new to CIS I have been living in Singapore for eight years. Singapore has become a home away from home and my husband and I hope to stay for many more years. My summer was unusually quiet and very restful. I indulged in reading by the pool, watching lots of Netflix, and going on countless bike rides. I also visited St. John's island several times which made me feel like I was away on a mini-holiday.

Do you have any tips for parents to help their children settle into the new school year?

Joel: Sitting down and talking with your child ahead of the school year is a great way to get to know how they are feeling ahead of the new school year. Here are some open-ended questions to get your children thinking about what an opportunity they have at the beginning of a school year: What are they looking forward to? What are they worried about? What do you want to find about? How do you want to grow as a learner?


What are your personal or professional goals for the year ahead?

Joel: Personally I am working on being present, slowing life down and enjoying my family. Life goes by too quickly not to enjoy it. Here's to making more memories in Singapore.

Xiomara: Being new to CIS this year, my biggest goal is to get to know the community and build relationships. So far, everyone has been very welcoming and I am really looking forward to meeting the students.

Lastly, Joel, we'd love you to leave us with a quote that guides your life.

“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” — advertising executive, Leo Burnett.

Thank you for your time Xiomara and Joel. We are delighted to welcome you are to the CIS family.