• Red Dot Consulting

Meet Alan Erickson, Principal of Student Welfare and Safety, SAIS Hong Kong

Updated: Jul 1, 2021


Not many schools have an appointed Principal for the safety of their students but Stamford American School Hong Kong have done just that with Alan Erickson, whose priority is to help look after the Health and Safety of the Stamford School Community. We caught up with Alan to find out a little bit more about himself and his role as well which also includes organising the co-curricular activities and the outdoor education camps at the school.



How long have you lived in Hong Kong and where were you prior to SAIS HK?

I have been living in Hong Kong now since August of 2017 when my wife, son and I moved here from Singapore. I started working for Stamford American School Hong Kong in August of 2017 when the school first opened. The 3+ years in Hong Kong have flown by as it seems like only yesterday when we moved up here. We are really enjoying our time in Hong Kong! Although 2020 has been a challenging year, I couldn’t think of a place I would rather be then in Hong Kong.


Prior to moving to Hong Kong, we lived in Singapore for 5 ½ years where I worked at the Australian International School in Singapore as a Physical Education Teacher and Basketball Coach. Before Singapore, I spent 20 years living in Australia and I am originally from California in the USA.


Have you always wanted to work in education?

I grew up in a family of teachers so it was something that I always thought I would probably end up doing. My dad was a High School Counselor and a basketball coach for a long time, my mom worked as a Teaching Assistant in Elementary Schools for many years. My older brother and my younger sister are both High School teachers so it is something that our parents always encouraged us to do. We grew up around sports so being a coach and working with kids was always something we enjoyed doing, had a lot of fun with and got so much satisfaction from.


We also always loved our Summer vacations that we had as a family since my mom and dad worked at schools so I think that was something that also lead me to want to be a teacher so that I could enjoy those with my family.


I am very happy that I chose the path of education as it has given me and my family the opportunity to live and work in Singapore and Hong Kong and has also provided so many great memories.

Tell us more about your role within SAIS and how it was developed?

My role as Safety and Student Welfare Principal was developed the first year I was at Stamford American School. I came to Stamford originally as a PE Teacher/Athletic Director along with some additional roles. I have also been our Health & Safety Officer from the very start of school back in 2017. We have always prioritised the health and safety of our students, our staff and our School community so this is a role that plays a very important part here at Stamford American School.

The role has become an even more significant one from a Health & Safety point of view over the course of the past 1+ years with first the Political unrest in Hong Kong last year and then the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020.


What is your greatest achievement?

One of our biggest achievements to date here at Stamford American School I believe is the culture we have created in regards to our Health and Safety within the School Community. This was our very top priority when we first opened the school back in August, 2017 to ensure we provided a safe and healthy school for all of our students, staff and parent community. I believe this focus on the Health and Safety of our Community has served us well through these past few years, first with the political unrest that Hong Kong went through in 2019 and now the Covid-19 Pandemic that we are all living through currently. This focus on Health & Safety will continue to be our top priority as we move forward as a school.


My greatest personal achievement is my family. My wife and son are the most important part of my life and they bring me a lot of happiness. I am also very proud of my mom and dad and brothers and sisters as we are a very close family although they all live in the United States and I am overseas. On top of that, I would say my greatest achievement is having been able to live overseas these past thirty years, working in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. I have had the opportunity to travel to so many interesting places, make so many friends from all over the world and enjoy a great lifestyle and have had so many wonderful opportunities.


What is your favourite place to be in school?

I really enjoy being out front of school in the morning, greeting students, parents and staff on the way into school. This is a great way to start the day and it’s so nice to see the kids so full of energy and excited for the day ahead. I also enjoy the end of the day outside of school saying goodbye to the kids, greeting families and helping assist with the buses and transportation out front of school. There are quite a few other areas around school I enjoy being but this would definitely be my favourite.


What is the best advice you would give one of your new school joiners?

My advice to new joiners at Stamford is to jump right in here at school and try new things and always do your best in all of your subject areas.

We have a great team of teachers and teaching assistants here at school who are always willing to spend extra time with students to help them in their classes. We also offer a range of Co-Curricular Activities in the afternoons that kids can sign up for, these classes range from Arts, Music, Sports, Robotics and many more.



What makes the Hong Kong International School experience so special?

I think the experience of an International School here in Hong Kong is a very exciting one! Students get the opportunity to learn.


Do you have any plans that you can share with us which you hope to introduce as part of your role within the school?

A plan that I have had since early days with Stamford was to help develop a Sports program here at school for our students. We were seeing some progress with this last year with our students involved in swimming competitions, soccer games, basketball games. This came to a halt when we had the Political unrest in Hong Kong in October/November last year and then with Covid-19 starting from January. Once Covid-19 is behind us, we look forward to seeing our Sports programs develop for our students and try to provide opportunities of our students to compete against other kids here in Hong Kong and overseas.


I am also excited to start bringing our students on overseas Sports Trips, Language trips, Outdoor Education trips and other exciting opportunities for our families in the years to come. We had planned these trips for this past year and there was a lot of enthusiasm for it but we had to cancel them unfortunately. We have also planned them again this year but we are not sure whether they will be able to happen or not. Down the road past Covid-19, we are very excited to see these trips develop and give our student some great experiences and opportunities.


Student well-being is a major focus for all of the Cognita Schools. I believe the overseas Sports and Cultural trips will provide opportunities for our students to learn about other cultures, collaborate with other students and give the students meaningful experiences that will benefit them academically but more importantly will support and increase their overall well-being and development.


What is your all-time favourite book?

I don’t really have a favourite book, I enjoy reading books from Lee Child who writes political thrillers. I also enjoy reading books on current events, especially politics and I also enjoy autobiographies.


Top 3 apps on your phone?

ESPN Sports

Take Taxi

Starbucks

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Stamford American School Hong Kong offers an inspiring world of education for students aged 5 to 18 using an inquiry-based learning approach combined with rigorous American academic standards. Graduates receive an American Diploma and the option of the IB Diploma. To learn more about SAIS or to join a virtual school tour please click here.

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