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HIGH SCHOOL LEADERSHIPFarewell Dave, Hello Aimmie: Passing the Batonby Carrie Chen Director of MarketingDave is always willing to pose for marketing in whatever costume required! Here he is with leaders of service clubs for the cover of Southside Magazine. It’s hard to imagine a High School front gate without Dr. Lovelin commanding the space with handshakes, nods, and funny anecdotes. When you meet him, his larger-than-life presence in bright-colored shirts and matching socks is matched unexpectedly by his humility and ability to listen.
Dave Lovelin arrived as High School Principal in August 2017. It was the same time the Marketing Office was formed, which was providence as far as I was concerned, as I couldn’t think of anyone more marketable than Dave Lovelin. He was confident, likable, and meant what he said. And he had an interesting story, as a former captain of the football team and head of the dance team when he was in High School. What a profile!
An Oregon-native and public school administrator at heart, Dave first did a stint in South Korea before coming to Hong Kong. He had a single vision for the High School at HKIS: A Connected Community. He understood the typical Hong Kong family, with busy travel schedules and high academic pressures. “ And so week after week in his weekly newsletters, Dave encouraged parents and students to unplug and spend time together. One of Dave’s highly attended parent coffees, where he busted myths about academic pressures. He approached teenage topics head on with integrity, always focusing on decision-making skills and ways to keep lines of communication open between parents and teens.He dreamed of American-style sporting events where the whole school comes together to cheer on their sports teams. He nearly got there before the pandemic with the first set of Friday Night Lights events where several exhibition sports were played with cheering squads supported by the Booster Club. Ninth grade “clap-ins” and Senior “clap-outs” were new traditions celebrating special milestones together in community. Dave getting ready to address the student body at a High School Community Gathering.Likely the most significant mark Dave has made on this community is the change in the High School schedule. Only Dave Lovelin could accomplish a feat like this, and he talked about it from the first weeks after he arrived. He wanted to create a single lunch hour so that the whole school could be aligned and have a common time to be in community. After months of canvassing every interest group affected, he made the change and everyone adjusted. It’s leaders like Dave who can get things done because he listens, he solves problems, and people have fun working with him. Aimmie Kellar with parents during her visit to HKIS in March. Aimmie Kellar, the incoming principal for the 2023-24 school year, has some big shoes to fill, but Dave is confident and excited about Aimmie’s arrival. “We worked together in Korea and she believes in all the same things”, says Dave. Aimmie met the HKIS community in a live Zoom call during the February Annual General Meeting for the community. She then visited HKIS in March together with her family and impressed students, parents, and faculty alike with her composure, approachability, and ability to listen. It seems the passing of the baton will be a smooth one! We wish Dave, Theresa, and their daughters Luci and Ruby all the best for their move to Jakarta, where Dave will be Associate Head of School at another international school. You will be dearly missed.