A FORMER Wath man who runs a school in Nepal is preparing for a fresh challenge — in a new country.
Steve Priest, who lives with his wife and young son in Kathmandu, has been vice principal of The British School there for more than a decade.
But he is set for a big move next month as he takes over as principal at a new school in the former Soviet state of Georgia.
Mr Priest, who was at the forefront of rebuilding schools in the Dhading region of Nepal which were damaged in the huge earthquakes of 2015, said he is looking forward to the new opportunities ahead.
He said: “I have been made principal of the British International School of Tbilisi in Georgia.
“It’s a new challenge that I am looking forward to in a beautiful city and country.”
Mr Priest and the British School’s rebuilding project after the quakes were supported by generous donations and fundraising in the Rotherham area.
The funds helped rebuild three schools — Gayetri Devi Primary School, Shree Rudrakanya Primary School and Shree Khanigau Primary School — and a fourth is being constructed.
The British School has also started a new project focussed on skills such as teacher training and health programmes in a different district of Nepal, as well as working with four different schools.
Partly for its work rebuilding the schools, The British School has received four big honours — Times Educational Supplement Community Initiative of the Year 2016, British International Schools Awards Community Initiative of the Year 2017, British International Schools Awards Leadership Team of the Year 2017, and British International Schools Awards British International School of the Year 2017.
Mr Priest — who has a wife, Tumika, and son, Tristan (5) — said: “After 13 years in Nepal, I feel it is time for a new challenge and after winning all the awards we have done this year, when better to do so — leave when we are on top.
“Obviously leaving Kathmandu and The British School and our community partners will be emotionally tough.
“There have been many great achievements during my time at The British School, and it’s difficult to say what the greatest is, but I do feel that the development of our community programmes from being just charity fundraising links to genuine student and teacher interactions between organisations is something I’m proud of.”
Mr Priest said he was looking forward to starting work at his new school.
He said: “The British International School of Tbilisi (BIST) is a relatively young school. It is only ten years old. It developed as the international wing of a Georgian school that followed a UK-style curriculum, but although the two schools share a site and some facilities, BIST is now an independent organisation.
“As the school is so young it has its first cohort starting Year 10 in September and we hope to have our first students complete their A Levels and leave for university by 2021.
“Tbilisi is a rapidly developing city that has kept its historical features and is surrounded by beautiful countryside.”