With more than 20 years of independent school experience, Head of School Mr. Ron Kim brings a wide breadth of experience to BASIS Independent McLean in its foundational years. Mr. Kim is energized to help grow the school and build community with students, teachers, and parents. In addition to running the school, you can find Mr. Kim with the students—opening doors at morning bus duty, reading to kindergarten, or hanging out at recess. Read his full bio here.
We sat down with Mr. Kim to get to know more about him, his belief in BASIS Independent McLean, and the future of our program.
What drew you to BASIS Independent McLean?
BASIS Independent McLean is such a compelling contrast to my previous experience. My previous school was founded in 1781, is mostly a boarding school, includes grades 9-12, has name recognition with an exclusive admissions process, and has only one campus. BASIS Independent McLean is new and not boarding, includes grades preschool-grade 12, and believes that the BASIS Curriculum is for anyone, though not everyone. BASIS Independent Schools want to offer more campuses to meet the demands of hard working students and supportive parents throughout the country and the world. I saw the opportunity to apply what I have learned over the years to a dramatically different setting where I could learn a lot every day.
Please tell us more about your independent school background.
At Phillips Exeter Academy, I taught history, served as a dorm head and basketball coach, and then moved into administration as the associate dean of faculty, dean of faculty, and then assistant principal. I am also the parent of two boarding students at Exeter, and prior to that they attended a new independent middle school called Heronfield Academy. As a parallel to the experience of families here, it was interesting for me as a parent to have my children at both a new private school and at a long-established school.
What makes BASIS Independent McLean different from other independent schools?
First, BASIS Independent McLean is part of a community of schools, which is unique. There are a few other small networks of independent schools, but they operate mostly internationally. The BASIS Curriculum Schools network gives BASIS Independent McLean tremendous knowledge sharing and economies of scale. Second, BASIS Curriculum Schools is transparent about its comparative educational goals and metrics. Third, BASIS Curriculum Schools sees its competitive set as the top schools in the world, and the curriculum has been researched and designed over time to provide results that are at the top of that peer group.
Other than a strong, world-class education, what does BASIS Independent McLean stand for?
Passionate Teachers. A world-class education can only happen if students are being taught by teachers who are highly skilled in their area of teaching, and who impart a joy of learning. BASIS Curriculum Schools also seeks to provide a well-rounded educational experience with academics firmly at the core.
Global Citizens. Our school motto is “Show, Take, Make,” which stands for show respect, take responsibility, and make improvements. Beyond academic subjects, the school teaches students to care about the people and world around them.
What is your vision for BASIS Independent McLean?
My vision for the school is for students to leave here not only with a world-class education, but the confidence in their ability and drive to accomplish anything. To ensure this, we will continue to build on the foundations that were established in our first year—foundations of academic excellence, supporting the whole student, and a caring community. This is all achievable with the hard work and partnership of students, teachers, and parents. BASIS Independent McLean will be world-class BASIS Curriculum school.
What is your favorite subject and why?
I always love my home discipline of history, but I’m always eager to know what they are doing in our Connections classes. They are fun, and they develop the habit of seeing how different disciplines come together.
You recently spoke at Tysons 2050, an event about how Tysons will develop into the next great American city by the year 2050. How do you see BASIS Independent McLean contributing to this goal?
Our goal is to educate students to compete at international standards. As Tysons continues to grow, so will we. We set educational benchmarks that will make our students and future alumni competitive in the region and the world in 2050.