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Getting to Know Bob Carignan, Our New Head of School

We are thrilled to have Bob Carignan join the ISDenver community as our new Head of School, effective July 1. Bob joins us after most recently serving as Head of School at Riverstone International School in Boise, Idaho. We caught up with Bob to learn more about his background, family, what drew him to ISDenver, and what he looks forward to in Colorado!

First, two truths and a lie! Tell us two true facts about you, and one lie. 

  1. I was the captain of a National Championship high school hockey team.
  2. I love traveling in a 20-year old RV.
  3. I am a rabid Chicago White Sox Fan.

See the answer at the end!

Tell us a bit more about your background and your history in education.

I attended Brown University, where I received a BA in English and Economics, and met my wife Laurel. After college, I spent almost 15 years as a pit trader in Chicago, trading index options. We then moved to Boise to raise our kids in the west, and so that I could go back to school to become a teacher. I received a Master of Education from Boise State and afterwards, began a 16-year teaching career at Riverstone International School. I taught English, History, Economics, and anything else that needed to get done at a small growing school, before becoming Head of School six years ago. I have loved my students!

What do you love most about working in education? What has been the most challenging? Where do you turn for inspiration on long days?

It’s always about what is best for kids – period! The most challenging thing is always remembering that they are just kids, you can’t take their actions or words personally when they are upset; they are just trying to figure out how their brains and body work; they all want to feel successful. After long days I exercise, listen to music, watch sports, and read. 

Why International schools? Please share your philosophy on why International education is particularly important to you.

I can give every positive cliché possible, they are true – this world is changing so fast, and no one knows where they will need to apply their talents. At the heart of an international education lies empathy and understanding; those are truly the great gifts we are giving our students.

Tell us about your visit to campus. What struck you the most about ISDenver and what are you most looking forward to? 

Laurel and I were both struck by just how welcoming everyone was at ISDenver. I could immediately tell how dedicated, interesting, interested, and engaged the faculty and staff are – I mean amazingly interesting! It also was apparent that the school valued its mission and the mission is what drives how ISDenver educates its students. 

I had a great meeting with reps from the Student Council last fall – they grilled me on my IB Learner Profile strengths and weaknesses! I had a nice meeting with the 7th Grade students as well when I was on campus last month, to talk about how we will work together as co-leaders of the school next year. I also enjoyed the student presentation at the Faculty Breakfast presented by MYP students and their families. I can’t wait to be a part of a place where four unique educational cultures are thriving together, day in and day out!

Tell us a bit more about your family, and what you like to do for fun!

I have a 24-year old son, Jackson, who graduated from Wesleyan, speaks Spanish, and is living in Brooklyn. He is in the music management business – in fact, he told us this was what he wanted to do since third grade! My 20-year-old daughter, Cat, is at Brown on an ROTC Scholarship and speaks French. Currently, she is in Nepal, and just did some cross-training at the Nepal Army Parachute training center before heading out to work with an NGO. She was kind of a hippy, guitar playing, athlete in school - and she’s still our super goofy and loud kid, so we aren’t sure where the Army part came from!

My number one gal for 31 years, Laurel, has her own Financial Services Company, Carico Financial Services, and will be commuting back to Boise quarterly. She is looking forward to engaging in both the school and Denver communities.

Whether in the mountains or in cities, we all love getting out and about. Our favorite family activities are hiking and skiing. Laurel, Cat, and Jack are wonderful musicians and play together whenever they can – I have nothing to offer in this area, but I like listening!

And, a few short fill in the blanks:

  • My next career will be: A tiny house builder.
  • Most exciting part of moving to Colorado: This wonderful opportunity at ISDenver, and pro sports!
  • My favorite Friday night is: Dinner with my wife.
  • One book you cannot live without: The Great Gatsby – I love teaching it!
  • Dream band / musician you hope will tour at Red Rocks is:  The Boss – I’ve been hooked since my first show in 1976!
  • How many dogs? 2, Milo and Elvis. Unfortunately, we had to put down the best dog ever, “Mr. Cubby,” Ernie Banks, last year.

(Psst...this one gives away that in Bob’s “two truths and a lie,” the third statement re: the White Sox was clearly the fib - Bob and his family are rabid Cubs fans!)

2016-2019 Strategic Plan

ISDenver recently completed a strategic planning process with the overarching goal of transforming into a top-tier international school over the next five years. This included updating the mission, vision, values & beliefs and learning principles of the school. This included input throughout the process from parents, students, faculty, staff and the Board of Directors of ISDenver, through surveys and focus groups conducted by Deb Welch.

Our Strategic Plan