Warm, welcoming and impressive. That’s how St Michael’s new Head for January 2021 describes the school.
“I’ve always liked St Michael’s and have been visiting it for several years as part of sports fixtures with my previous schools”, Nik Pears said.
“Something that has always impressed me about St Michael’s is the atmosphere and people that belong to it.
“The sense of community you feel when walking through the doors of the school is extraordinary”, he added.
An avid sportsman, experienced leader, and family man, Mr Pears brings with him a wealth of ideas for St Michael’s, including his core value of equipping pupils for life.
Nik explained: “I am very keen on developing a growth mindset in my pupils. In this ever-changing world, our children need to be prepared for life outside of the classroom.
“Pupils need to be adaptable, resilient and perseverant, and learn to accept their failure and mistakes as important parts of their personal development.
“By equipping children with the right interpersonal skills during their school years, we can set them up for a future in which they may have to fight for their place in the world.”
Nik’s concept of growth mindset can also be applied to his broader vision for the school.
Coming to St Michael’s from his headship at Kent College, Pembury, Nik believes the challenges posed by Covid-19 can teach schools a lot about the importance of flexibility and community.
Mr Pears said: “These unprecedented times have been a huge learning curve for schools.
“Navigating a school through a global crisis was never going to be easy, but it has shown just how necessary it is to put pupils at the heart of every decision.
“As someone who has experienced the period as both a teacher and parent, it is very clear that we are all battling the same storm in different boats.
“It is incredible how people have found new and creative ways to deal with the circumstances. From Zoom concerts, to helping food banks, to keeping each other’s spirits high with funny videos, this period has shown us a lot about community which we will learn from and remember.”
Having belonged to multiple Prep schools himself throughout his education and as a teacher, Nik is excited to be entering this new stage in his career at St Michael’s.
Reflecting on his own school years which saw him attend schools in London, Devon and Dublin, he said: “I always enjoyed school as a child and made the most of every opportunity I was given.
“I particularly enjoyed subjects like music, drama and history and was fascinated by the things that we learnt.
“I was also heavily involved in sports and belonged to the Kent U18 rugby group. Even now you’ll find me in a pair of wellies at the side of the pitch cheering on my pupils and own children.”
Nik added: “I was one of those children who wanted to get stuck into everything, even the things that I found difficult.
“As well as my sports clubs, I belonged to multiple choirs, as well as orchestras where I played the drums, trumpet, piano and guitar.”
Mr Pears also spoke about the impact his own teachers had on his time at school and the person that he is today.
He said: “I had some amazing teachers which taught me a lot of things about life and leadership.
“Sir Anthony Seldon, one of my history teachers, was particularly inspiring and sparked my passion for the subject.
“The Head of my Prep school in Dublin also gave her pupils a lot of time. She was a hero.”
And Nik’s teachers aren’t his only role models in life.
He said: “A man called Phil Wall is also a huge inspiration of mine. Phil is the founder of the charity We See Hope which works with orphans and vulnerable young people in sub Saharan Africa.
“Phil’s selflessness and passion for the cause inspired me to become an ambassador for the charity.
“His exceptional leadership, authenticity and integrity is just inspiring.”
Mr Pears also explained how his love of people has guided him to the many leadership roles he has held.
Nik said: “I very much enjoy being with people and having a good laugh. I’m very lucky to have such an amazing family including my wife, Emma and our two children, Jessica and Josiah. Our pet hamster Charlie is also a valued member of the family who kept us well entertained during the first lockdown.”
He added: “Being a leader brings so many opportunities to show warmth, empathy and understanding to others, and I can’t wait to become a member of the St Michael’s community.
“When pupils leave St Michael’s to pursue their senior education, I hope they remember me as someone who was kind, knew them well and valued their opinion.”
Nik will join St Michael’s as Head in January 2021.