Education is a child’s most vital resource because it not only helps a youngster develop into a scholar, but also enhances his or her knowledge of the always-changing competitive world.
The latest evolution and industrial shifts have led to the opening of numerous schools and educational institutions, but what makes Concordia International School stand apart in ‘the Pearl of Asia‘—Shanghai, is the combination of state-of-the-art facilities, top-notch faculty, and active community involvement that fosters a strong learning environment where students are able to thrive.
Concordia is a private international school, founded in 1998, by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). It’s a modern school, led by Head of School Steve Winkelman, wherein students are educated and empowered to enroll in prestigious institutions throughout the world. There are countless examples of alumni doing amazing things with the skills they learned at Concordia. Backed by a teaching team of incredibly dedicated and talented professionals, the school is truly transforming educational philosophies into day-to-day realities for the students. Together, they are creating a generation of leaders who are ethically and socially responsible, in addition to being academically bright. Their mission is to prepare students for a rapidly changing world by providing a comprehensive and rigorous education grounded in a solid moral foundation.
Providing an overview of the key driving forces behind their success, Steve Winkelman quips, “We support our students with a continuous focus on staying updated on the latest higher education trends, hiring quality university counselors, and providing robust college guidance. At Concordia, college counseling offers a specialized, student-centered program that educates and supports both students and parents. Counselors assist students in identifying the communities at colleges and universities that will best support their academic and personal development.”
A Dynamic Leader
The driving force behind this flourishing institution, Steve Winkelman, is a teacher, administrator, and new school developer with 27 years experience in both the United States and Vietnam. He is an alumnus of the Concordia University in Texas, where he earned his degree in secondary education, specializing in science and physical education. He further received a Master of Education in Educational Leadership. The aspiring educational leader kicked off his professional career by working in Lutheran schools in the U.S. as a middle school science and PE teacher.
From 2009 to 2021, Mr. Winkelman held the position of Concordia International School Hanoi’s first head of school.
As the founding head of Concordia Hanoi, he was intimately involved in all aspects of the school’s development, including the design and construction of a purpose-built campus, recruiting teachers and staff, developing curriculum and programs, and strengthening community and government relations.
Mr. Winkelman is actively involved in social welfare initiatives and has served on numerous boards for not-for-profit organizations, including the American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi.
Mr. Winkelman has consistently leveraged his educational background and leadership acumen throughout his distinguished career, notably serving as the Secondary Principal and CFO.
Now at the helm of Concordia International School Shanghai, Steven stands as one of the longest-tenured Heads of Schools in South East Asia.
A Prolific Bridge for Aspirers
Envisioned to become an exemplary international institution that shapes future leaders who are competent, compassionate, and committed, Concordia International School Shanghai came into existence 25 years ago with 22 students. Over the years, it grew well, and today more than 1,100 students are enrolled on campus. The affiliations and facilities have expanded to accommodate the vibrant and diversified community. Concordia Shanghai has always been a forerunner, whether it was joining regional or global organizations like ACAMIS and APAC or bringing National History Day to China.
With students continuously achieving exceptional results on both standardized tests and international assessments, Concordia has consistently upheld strong academic standards. Their commitment to holistic education is reflected in the comprehensive range of extracurricular activities, sports, arts, and service opportunities the platform offers. This ensures that the students develop into well-rounded individuals.
Nurturing a Diverse and Inclusive Work Culture
Concordia assures to maintain an inclusive culture through a diversity and inclusion program and hiring practices that unite professionals with various perspectives and backgrounds.
Dealing with the Unpredicted Pandemic: Concordia’s Key Step
The pandemic was an unforeseen challenge that called for the team to immediately adapt. They made a smooth transition to online learning and then to a hybrid approach, causing the least amount of disturbance to our academic pursuits. They also boosted their mental health services to help students, staff, and parents cope with the new normal.
Addressing the Pain Points
It is a difficult but essential challenge to maintain educational innovation while preserving human interaction. Through frequent communication and engagement opportunities, Concordia Shanghai extends this balanced approach to their parental community, ensuring that parents are actively involved in their children’s educational experiences.
The objective is to establish an educational ecosystem where state-of-the-art facilities and technology serve as instruments to complement, not replace, the fundamentally human components of education. This will better equip the students not only for the modern world but also for a fulfilling life.
From the Mr. Winkelman’s Desk
On being asked how he wishes to be remembered by his peers and the students, Mr. Winkelman asserted, “I would like to be remembered as someone who provided an environment where both teachers and students could reach their fullest potential, as well as a leader who steered Concordia through periods of change with integrity and vision.”
A Glimpse into the Future: To Excel in Futuristic Demand
The core values of Concordia Shanghai reflect the organization’s evolution over time, encompassing the values that have become integral to its culture. A steadfast emphasis on academic success, character development, and community involvement showcases that distinctive ‘X factor’. As the team continuously evolves to meet future demands, they envision Concordia as a pioneer in international education.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Winkelman states, “At Concordia, we believe that education is a transformative journey that shapes young minds and empowers them to become compassionate, critical thinkers ready to make a positive impact on the world.”