ISKL Through The Decades

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Robert Fendley: 1965-1968
Albert Chudler: 1968-1970

ISKL began with a modest start in 1965 in Istana Tetamu on Jalan Maxwell, following several months of planning by the first head of school, Robert Fendley, Dr. Luebke of the Office of Overseas Schools, and school board members. There were nine teachers and 48 students in Grade 6 to 9, and the academic courses were based on an American curriculum.

When Al Chudler arrived in 1968, he inherited a school where enrollment was rapidly increasing due to the influx of oil companies investing in Malaysia. The fine arts and athletics programs were thriving and the first inter-school debates and sports activities were organized with Singapore American School. This marked the beginning of a friendly rivalry that continues to this day. By the end of this decade there were nearly 400 students from 24 countries enrolled at ISKL.



Robert B. Gaw: 1970-1978
Gail Schoppert: 1978-1983

Five years after ISKL was established the school continued to grow and thrive. The 1970s demonstrated a commitment to development in all areas; academics, athletics and student organizations. During this decade there were many milestones, beginning with the establishment of ISKL’s chapter of the National Honor Society on November 2, 1970 at a formal banquet in the Merlin Hotel. Accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) was granted and the Student-Parent-Teacher Association (SPTA) was formed. 

Enrollment continued to increase and by 1979 it topped 600 students. Perhaps the most significant milestone came in 1973 when, after several years of searching, the land in Ampang Jaya was acquired. The Malaysian Government agreed to lease to the Society the 5.6 acres for a period of 99 years. In January 1976 the Ampang Campus opened.



Gail Schoppert: 1978-1983
Joseph Kennedy: 1983-1986
Ronald J Dowty: 1986-1987
Dexter Lewis: 1987-1989
Dr. Richard Krajczar: 1989-1996

Throughout the 1980s enrollment fluctuated, somewhat aligned with the ups and downs of the Malaysian economy. The school was changing, as Head of School, Joseph S. Kennedy, noted in the 1986 yearbook:

“The student enrollment of less than a hundred has grown to its present level of almost nine hundred. What was originally a school for the Americans, now has students from almost fifty different countries enrolled.”

Over time, this led to changes including authorization in 1989 to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, formation of a separate Middle School, the extension of the day for the youngest students, and the appointment of principals for each division.

Many of these changes arose out of the self-studies conducted for WASC, an accreditation process that, along with CIS, continues to serve the school well in validating and encouraging positive development.

Technology was developing fast in the world and ISKL recognized the importance of this and started to develop its IT program by ensuring students had access to the latest resources.

This decade also saw the formation of the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia Schools (IASAS) and its growth towards the vibrant association it is today. Although initially formed for sporting competition, it soon encompassed the various areas of Arts and the Model United Nations (MUN). In 1982, the PAC (Panther Athletic Club) was formed by students to earn money to pay for IASAS trips. This was the beginning of the PAC Shack which is still going strong.



Dr. Richard Krajczar: 1989-1996
Barry Farnham: 1996-1999

Much of the 1990s was characterised by growth in student numbers and building projects, including a Middle School extension, more classrooms, a dance studio, senior lounge and the largest project of all, a new campus at Melawati. Land had finally been purchased and work started in May 1991, with Melawati campus opening in August 1992.

Meanwhile, implementation of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme began, foreign language was added for the older students, band became an option in Grade 5, and technology continued to grow. It was time for a strategic plan. During the 1994-1995 school year, the Board and representative members of the community developed a Mission Statement and a set of Core Values to be used in guiding future planning at ISKL. Based on this, the board authorized the development of the strategic plan.

At the end of this decade, Malaysia encountered financial difficulties due to the economic downturn, exacerbated by a prolonged haze. The fortunes of the school mirrored the location, meaning the school was not in a good place by the end of 1999. One good thing to come out of the haze was the successful implementation of the online/on campus program for students who either stayed at home or left the country.



William Powell: 2000-2006
Paul Chmelik: 2006-2013

The start of the new millennium saw a reestablishment of the expectations for the community to resolve issues of the previous few years, moving the school forward. Decisions and actions were consistently focused on school improvement and realizing our school’s mission statement.

An array of highly qualified consultants were invited to ISKL who influenced school board governance, educational programs, teaching, assessment, and personal relationships. Professional development blossomed. Once again the school was moving forward and a great place to be for students, faculty and staff. Recognizing the growth pattern that was happening with enrollment, discussions of long-term plans for future locations for ISKL began, including relocating to a new campus that could accommodate all three divisions.

In 2004-2005, ISKL celebrated its 40th Anniversary. Campus improvements continued, including an artificial field, a new PAC Shack area, the swimming pool was re-tiled, the Melawati Library was expanded, a new High School science laboratory was built, and the Melawati Studio was enhanced with better sound, lighting, and screen equipment.



Paul Chmelik: 2006-2013
Dr. Norma Hudson: 2013-2019

The new decade of ISKL has seen significant changes in the administration as the school continues its growth and development as a world class school, while maintaining its unique culture.

In 2012, almost ten years into the search for a new campus site, an inquiry regarding a 26-acre site on Jalan Ampang Hilir was acknowledged and given support by the Malaysian Government. In April 2013, ISKL’s Board of Directors announced that they were negotiating with various government agencies about the site. The Ampang Hilir site was the perfect location to reunite the elementary, middle and high school campuses – bring our ISKL family together again in one place. Construction was completed in time for the commencement of the 2018-2019 academic year and the state-of-the-art campus was officially opened in February 2019, ensuring ISKL’s readiness for the next decade in its learning journey.

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