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World Mag > WM Summer 2020 Resilient > One's Family Journey - Through AISB History, Leadership & Success

One's Family Journey - Through AISB History, Leadership & Success

There are few families that I remember in my twenty years at AISB that have left a stronger mark on our community than the Stewarts.
The Stewarts
The Stewarts

There are few families that I  remember in my  twenty years at AISB that have left a stronger mark  on our community than the Stewarts.

CAITLIN [Class of 2002]

JAMES [Class of 2005]

IAN [Class of 2008]

All of them have attended and graduated from AISB. I still remember Caitlin’s love for small children, her teaching them Irish dances when we had just moved into the current AISB campus. Before she graduated, I was convinced that she would make a wonderful early learning teacher. Mother of nine, she has combined her passion for teaching with the immense love and strength it takes to care and raise such an amazing family.

If one goes down to the Secondary Gym today, the names of Ian Stewart and James Stewart prominently stand out as Most Valuable Players, as the sports stars that they were in school - AISB owes them many trophies from the case that their father has helped build.

Eileen Stewart was one of  the very first people who helped me understand the concept of a Parent and Teacher Organization and the importance that parent support has for our school programs. It was hard for a while to realize that Eileen was not school staff as she was on the campus helping so often.

Last but definitely not least, Jim Stewart contributed countless hours as a volunteer member of our Board of Trustees for over two decades, guarding over the school finances and bringing all of his expertise into making sure we are sustainable, that we grow into the very best international educational institution of Romania.

Working with over five Directors and two Business Managers, seeing the school go from a couple of hundred students to over one thousand, Jim’s job was not easy and it was incredibly meaningful.

We have reached out to the Stewarts to see where they are in the world and what they are doing these days. As you will see in their responses, the Stewarts truly embody our motto - once a vampire, always a vampire. Their many and fond memories of the years at AISB, their continuing to be part of our community after graduation is a testament to that.

We asked the family a few questions about their time at AISB:

WM: Stewart Family, when you think of AISB, what comes up in your mind?

Ian: When I think of AISB the things there are a lot of good memories however the things that come to mind first are the good relationships that were created and still maintained today (both friends and teachers), the athletics and tournaments, and specific classes and lessons. I still speak to many of my good friends from the years and have gone to weddings, visited them, etc.

Some specific examples - I recall my economics classes and biology with Mr. Popovich (11th grade) and Mr. Frampton (11th & 12th) as well as History with Dr. Chapman (9th and 10th). They were all great teachers. When it comes to sports I recall the 10th and 11th grade basketball seasons (Elliott and Popovich coaching), volleyball with Mr. Newell. Again, the common denominator was that they were all great coaches and taught us lessons that transcended sports (especially the case with Mr. Elliott).

Caitlin: When I think of AISB I think about all of the wonderful friendships I made and how much fun it was to attend school there. The experiences I had, friends I made and especially the wonderful teachers I had, definitely have played an important role in who I am today. (I even had one of them in my wedding party)

James: It would be impossible to narrow the what down to just one thing. I wouldn't have traded the CEESA tournaments for anything and I was lucky enough to play on the same teams with my freshman brother, Ian, in my senior year. It was also on the 2004 Varsity Volleyball trip where I met my future wife, Nadia, who was attending that other AISB to the northwest. We've since put any rivalries aside, I think.

Eileen: When I think of AISB what comes to mind are all the wonderful people I have met and friends I have made. Also how the Moms (mostly Moms) had our "PTO" meetings and any kind of organizational meetings in our own houses. It was a busy and very warm feeling of getting to know the AISB community. I also remember the Booster Club, the Sports & Arts tournaments, hosting of kids for the tournaments and the behind the scenes work for the success of these tournaments.

Jim: What comes to my mind is the tremendous evolution of the School over the last 20 years since I first arrived in the summer of 2000. The School operated out of three rented locations around the city making it challenging dropping the children off to school each day. At that time I think the School had around 300 students. Fast forward to today. We have a modern campus that is one of the best in CEESA with over 1,000 students. This, of course, would not have been possible without the support of an involved parent community, dedicated teachers and support staff, great Headmasters and a Board of Trustees that had a long term vision for our School. The best part was that many of the people from the categories just mentioned turned into long time friends.

WM: asked the “kids”, “Where are you now and what are you doing? Is this what you thought you would be doing when you attended AISB?”

Ian: I am currently living in Hoboken, NJ (outside NYC). For the last 9 years or so since graduating from college I have spent my time working in financial services and real estate. Currently I am trading for myself and attempting to make a career of it. Looking at markets, companies, economies etc. has always been an interest of mine (maybe stemming from those early economics classes with Popovich). I am not too surprised that I ended up in Financial Services right out of college as I majored in Finance and had a passion for economics but the path can never be predicted! On a personal note, I got engaged this past summer to Jenna (2019) and will be getting married April 2021.

Caitlin: I have been married to my husband Josh for almost 16 years. We live in the Philadelphia suburbs but are about to make a move to Charleston, SC. I am currently a stay at home/homeschooling mom for our nine children, five girls and four boys, learning how to praise God through all seasons! My main desire in life was always to be a stay at home mom so yes, I do believe that this is what I thought I would be doing back when I was at AISB!

James: After graduating from AISB in 2005 I completed my first year of university in Madrid, Spain and then transferred to and graduated from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia with a Marketing degree. I reconnected with Nadia in 2007 when she started at Fordham University in New York and we were married in 2014. We're currently settled (for now!) in New Jersey, just outside New York City, which makes it convenient for both of our jobs. I started off in IT Recruiting but quickly realized that wasn't going to be a long- term move for me and after a few years decided to make a change. Since 2015 I've been working in IT Management for WeWork where I'm focused on managing technology support teams, strategy, and operations for the United States & Canada.

When I'm not working, I still like to stay active and I really enjoy biking. I certainly couldn't have predicted this path just like how my father probably never expected to spend half of his career in Eastern Europe and have his children graduate from anything other than a high school in the United States! But there we were! Life is unpredictable! I think high school students today are so lucky to have instant access to a wealth of information and resources to help guide them in narrowing down their interests.

My AISB years were the quickest and slowest years of my life. When I was there it seemed like it would last forever and then after it was over I was asking myself how it went by so quickly.

WM: You have been involved in the AISB community for a long time. What made you remain so committed?

Jim: It was back in the summer of 2000 right after we had arrived in Bucharest that I met the DCM (Deputy Head of Mission) of the US Embassy, Susan Johnson. She asked me to be on the Board of AISB due to the experience that I had being on several non-profit boards in the US. Little did I know that I would be on the Board 20 years later. I always believed in being on a Board, if I can contribute to the development of that organization. I also believe in giving back to the community in which I or my family have been part of.

AISB has been instrumental in the success my children have become today and for that I am ever grateful. I wanted to see the School develop to be the best education facility in Romania so that other families and their children can have the same experience my family did. We will miss AISB and its community when we eventually leave.

Eileen - I am proud to have supported Jim in his many years on the Finance Committee. He always had the benefit and future of the school and its students as his driving force.

Introduction and interview questions:
by Catalina Gardescu,
AISB Manager of Admissions
& External Relations




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