LYIS Visits Tenby School Penang


“Having evolved into a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) specialist school, Tenby offers students a choice between the British International or National Malaysian curricula, equipping them to grow at the pace of change”.

To understand the school and its strategic direction, Jeanne repeatedly reminds me of the ‘Penang 2030 Vision’ document and the direction the Malaysian Government is moving – towards a Digital and Green economy. “Penang is going to need 600 new engineers”, adds Jeanne.

Tenby’s huge investment programme in its world-class educational facilities are a commitment to the school’s context and how it is hoping to support that growing need.

I learned from Jeanne that “learning is all about connections” building upon prior knowledge and linking valuable concepts that can flow seamlessly between curriculum design and delivery. When it comes to leadership she tells me that moving up in leadership can often be a “lonely place” so it is important for international school heads to have a safe space in which they can open up, be themselves and share better ways of doing things.

Interestingly, she also tells me that successful leadership “is about learning and unlearning”. How many of us need support in mastering the latter?

With a vibrant parent community, the school’s “parents are our critical friends”, says Jeanne and the school works incredibly hard to celebrate and reflect every culture. Every religious and cultural festival is observed during the year. 

When I ask Jeanne to tell me how others would describe her she tells me: hardworking and fair. Like other heads we’ve met, including Barry Cooper, her default when people come to her with ideas is “Yes, how can make this work”?

We talk briefly on the subject of international teachers and Jeanne challenges me to think of ‘experts’ not ‘expats’ helping to reframe the narrative that great teaching comes from everyone in a school, regardless of where they are from.

The school invests considerable time, effort and energy into its onboarding and orientation practices, making sure there are as few hidden surprises as possible for staff who may be relocating across the world.

We end with a tour from Jeanne and the enthusiasm from her is infectious. She talks to students, students greet her and she has time for everyone – the epitome of a ‘visible’ leader.

It was an honour to spend the afternoon in the company of someone that so many of her international colleagues speak so highly. ISPs commitment to growing the world’s most curious, confident minds appears in great shape. 

Leading Your International School extends its warm appreciation to Jeanne Denyer Tenby Schools Penang and the students and staff for making us feel so welcome.

LYIS is proud to partner with WildChina Education

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