Member Profile: Joshua Gibson, Auxiliary Programs Manager, Nishimachi International School
Monday, September 14, 2020
Posted by: Nat Saltonstall
Name: Joshua Gibson
Title: Auxiliary Programs Manager
School: Nishimachi International School (Tokyo, Japan)
Auxiliary program participants per year: 250 (Some a few times each week)
Full time staff in auxiliary department: It was a new position created here in Japan so I am still laying the foundation for expansion thanks to the support from an amazing team. Trying to find the correct name for this role in Japanese has been a real struggle.
Seasonal staff in auxiliary department: For camps so far we hire internally and it can range from 5 to 20 with a few programs running simultaneously. One of the many reasons I am here is to adjust these programs to provide a surplus to support the school’s goals and create enriching experiences for the families. This is the reason I was drawn to this field. We create memories!
Reports to: Director of Business Operations (Noel Bradshaw) - Just a tidbit, you can see Noel on last year’s SPARC video from the conference.
How long have you been in your current position and what were you doing prior to being in this job? I have been back in the school world for 5 months and loving it. Before going back to working in a school, I was an entrepreneur running my own outdoor adventure camps. I would take kids out of the concrete jungle that is Tokyo, into the beautiful nature that Japan has to offer. With a second child on the way (who arrived safely) my goals shifted to stability, over fluctuating personal profits.
What fits under the "auxiliary umbrella" at your school? Auxiliary covers facility rentals, After School Activities and camps (soon to be school shop and after school care). Of course each of these areas touch on other areas such as marketing, accounting, and teaching. I feel that most auxiliary program managers should have or acquire multiple skill sets to interact with each department. A strong team is imperative for this growth and that is what Nishimachi has provided.
What's the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career? Communication comes from the heart.
Is there any guidance you would give to someone just starting out leading auxiliary programs? What comes to mind is Bruce Lee’s “Be water my friend.” Learn when to confidently proceed, but be flexible and willing to take the shape of the current environment around you.
How has COVID-19 changed your job? I started my new position at the height of this pandemic, and really love a challenge. This is the only way I’ve known to run auxiliaries at Nishimachi, and look forward to less and less restriction and more growth when rules/regulations are lifted. Everyone is affected by COVID-19, so no matter what the challenge, we are going through it together. It is a great moment to bond over our struggles as a community.
Can you share a recent success? We officially rolled out our after school programs. The program started with volunteers–parents, teachers, and alumni– pulling together to help the school. All of the information is now focused with my department. The development is shared with many departments so that we can help and support the success of our programs. We created a beautiful brochure, and even through the pandemic’s safety precautions have pushed forward as a community. With all the improvements I look forward to the feedback, to create an even better and easily understandable process for all of our families.
Is there a podcast, book or article you would recommend... and why? Not one in particular, but I always recommend changing genres and opinions. I try to mix up my reading from psychology to science to fiction and same with my news. If you’re uncomfortable or out of your league, you’re doing it right. We grow through challenges and shouldn’t be married to any idea.
What do you most enjoy doing in your spare time? First and foremost would be spending time with my toddler, newborn and amazing wife. Second, would be biking down to the beach for a good surf, brew, and socially distanced company.
It's the annual staff Talent Show...what talent will you be sharing with everyone? I worked part-time singing for a Disney subsidiary here in Japan for over ten years, so singing or comedy as you realized I have worked as a part-time singer with this voice.