Ask any BASIS Independent student what they love about our program and “the teachers” is the first thing they mention.  It is the passion, dedication, and expertise of our teachers that encourage students to question, make connections, experiment, and take on and apply deep content knowledge.

Ms. Elizabeth Thies, Head of School of BASIS Independent Bellevue, who has been and continues to be a stand out figure in the development of BASIS Curriculum Schools Subject Expert Teachers.  Her vision for our school is, “To create a leading and robust learning community that empowers both students and teachers and allows us to work together to best serve the needs of the BASIS Independent Bellevue community.”

“I am passionate about training teachers,” Ms. Thies expressed, “and I look forward to having the opportunity to learn more about our students and working with our faculty to create a school learning environment that is engaging and compels our students to be excited about the learning process.”
Head of School Liz ThiesFrom Arizona to Thailand and now, to the Great Pacific Northwest
Ms. Elizabeth Thies joins us from BASIS International School Bangkok, where she was the Head of School since the school's founding in 2019. While there, she worked closely with her teachers and administrative staff to support her second language learning community and enhance the co-teaching model in a way that best served the students in Thailand.  Prior to moving to Thailand, Ms. Thies was the Head of School of BASIS Oro Valley for two years. While at BASIS Oro Valley, Ms. Thies created programs to support and empower teachers and build connections with students and families. As the Head of School, Ms. Thies was responsible for driving the academic vision that earned BASIS Oro Valley its national recognition as having ranked as the number three Best Public High School in America in 2018, according to U.S. News & World Report.  Her focus combined the BASIS Curriculum with a strong academic community that was both supportive and conducive to student success.  Additionally, her students outscored nations such as Shanghai, China, Singapore, and Hong Kong on the OECD/PISA test in all three categories (Math, Reading, and Science).

Ms. Thies began her academic career in 2007 at BASIS Tucson, which is BASIS Curriculum Schools flagship campus.  She served as Athletic Director and as a Physical Education teacher.  She initiated and developed a highly successful athletics program for students in Grades 5 – 12.  Ms. Thies was also the Director of Student Affairs for two years. 

She is currently working on her Doctorate in Education at Arizona State University with a focus on literacy and teacher development.  She received a Master’s in Educational Psychology and a Bachelor’s of Science in Liberal Studies from Northern Arizona University.

Head of School, Ms. Thies, shares with us more about the student experience, her experience abroad, teachers, and building a new school community. 

Q: What excites you most about the BASIS Independent Program?
​Ms. Thies: I appreciate how much autonomy we give to teachers.  It makes the hiring process exciting for me because knowing this allows me to find exceptionally talented and creative teachers that will bring learning to life in meaningful ways.  I look for teachers that get me excited about learning as we talk about lesson plans and student support.  On top of this, I am passionate about continuing to train teachers once they arrive so that I can be an instrumental part of giving them more tools and resources in a way that always allows them to improve.  I have always found that excellent teachers make learning enjoyable, and in our program we provide teachers a lot of flexibility in how they teach.

Q: What is important to you as you hire teachers for BASIS Independent Bellevue?
I will, of course, ensure that they are experts in their respective fields and have a strong understanding of the content that they are hired to teach.  Additionally, I  make sure that our teachers are willing to work as a part of a team.  The reason that this is so important to me is because I like to create a school environment where our teachers work together and learn from one another.  This allows them to create more robust lesson plans.  Additionally, when our teachers work together, they model important skills like cooperation and communication for our students.  It also reinforces the importance of teachers understanding that they should always be the experts in the learning process.  When they work together and learn from one another, they tend to be more empathetic about the learning process as a whole.

Q: What did you learn from opening BASIS International School Bangkok that you will apply to opening BASIS Independent Bellevue?​
 I learned the importance of building a strong team, identifying individual strengths and empowering every member of our community as we build the school together.  I take great pride in what I do. But I also realize that I cannot do it alone and the school will not be successful without the support of students and parents.  Therefore, I always make time to build relationships.  This also lets the people around me know that I am willing to both listen and learn.  Those are important traits in a school leader opening a new school. My global experience taught me that I won't always have all of the answers but when you make a point of building a strong team and operating within a relationship of trust, you create an environment where everyone happily works together to make sure that the school is something special and unique.

Thies, Liz

Q: What type of students excel in our program?
Students that are willing to come in with an open mind and a willingness to learn, excel at our school.  We work hard to give students life skills that will benefit them in the classroom and beyond.  We don't expect perfection here.  Instead, we value mistakes and understand that they are a valuable part of the learning process.  Our teachers partner with our students to make sure that they build strong foundational skills and are not afraid to ask questions when they don't fully understand.  It is this relationship of trust between student and teacher that helps them overcome any obstacles that they may face.  As long as our students are willing to actively engage in that process, they will do well.

Q: What will be your approach to developing a well-rounded student at BASIS Independent Bellevue?
Well, before I was ever a school leader, I was a soccer coach and my favorite part of that job was not winning championships (which we did), but developing young men and women as well-rounded people on the soccer pitch.  Students need outlets and additional resources and activities to help them learn, grow, and discover new things about themselves that they may not have the opportunity to explore in the classroom.  This begins with an extracurricular program that the students get excited about and want to participate in.  This also means providing a host of activities from sports to fine arts, and more.  This is such a key part of childhood development and I am excited to get it started.  I also appreciate that the BASIS curriculum allows students to explore a lot of different classes and be a part of learning in a variety of ways within the classroom.  Within the BASIS Curriculum, our students take a wide variety of classes with different teachers and unique teaching styles.  It is through these experiences as well that students will have the opportunity to gain confidence and build skills in a variety of ways.


Q: How will you apply your classroom experience and Head of School experience at an international school to BASIS Independent Bellevue?
Thailand not only made me a better school leader, but it also made me a better teacher.  What I mean by this is that I really made a point of getting into classrooms and listening and learning from our incredible teachers at BASIS International School Bangkok.  They made me better and I am really grateful for that.  Working in Thailand also allowed me to focus on the foundational skills that needed to be built in the primary years in order to help our students succeed in our middle and high school years.  This was particularly important as our students were second language learners.  I also now feel that I have a holistic and well-rounded understanding to BASIS Independent learning that I did not have before, and this will be beneficial as I move back into focusing on the curriculum that we implement in Grade 3 and above.  I learned about the importance of building foundational skills by working with our Early Years teachers.  Education has to be purposeful, and skills have to be connected in order to reinforce meaning.  After working in a PreK - Grade 6 school for the last few years, I  have a better understanding of this.

We invite families to meet our Head of School at an informational event. To review or register for an upcoming event, please click here

BASIS Independent Bellevue is a private school opening fall 2022. We will open with Grades 2 - 7 to start and add a grade level each school year as we expand to a full middle and high school. Please join our interest list for updates, event information, and more. Click here to join our interest list!