Panthers of ISKL #206: Alison Lewis – The HS Counselor

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“The people. The people of ISKL are and have been true gems, and I will carry them with me in my heart.”

Meet Alison Lewis, the HS Counselor who’s been with ISKL since 2014. Originally from Oakpark, Illinois, USA, after finishing her master’s, she lived and worked in Italy for thirteen years before moving to Malaysia.

After completing her service with ISKL in June, Alison will be moving back to her hometown.

Here is Alison’s story:


Do tell us more about yourself.

I was born in Chicago and lived in that area until I graduated from university. Then, I returned for my first master’s degree.

My mother was an educator, and my father a counselor, so I seem to have merged their careers to form mine, which I find interesting.

I also lived in Italy for thirteen years before moving to Malaysia. I have mostly worked in education, and most recently, before ISKL, I worked as the Director of College Counseling at St. Stephen’s School in Rome, Italy.

Studying abroad for a year at a university made a life-changing impact, so I have been out of my passport country for the past twenty-three years.

When and why did you join ISKL? What were your first days like?

I joined ISKL in 2014. I was ready for a move and a different experience, and I was thrilled to be lucky enough to get a job to join the High School counseling team.

My first few days were a bit of a whirlwind, but also very exciting as I discovered a totally different environment from Italy, experiencing intense heat and humidity, different smells, and tastes. I remember being blown away by ISKL’s welcome and feeling excited and proud to be here.

Describe your most memorable moment/s at ISKL.

ISKL has been such an important part of my life for so long that it is hard to capture one moment. There are so many amazing memories!

My first graduating class, the class of 2016, gave me many memorable moments, from our GAP group to our MyGroup (similar to what advisory is now) to graduation. Another fond memory is when my children started school at ISKL—it was a wonderful experience.

My counseling team has been my family for the past ten years and has given me amazing memories. This year’s musical was also incredible; I will remember it for years.

What will you miss most about ISKL?

The people. The people of ISKL are and have been true gems, and I will carry them with me in my heart.

Can you share a saying or idea you learned or experienced at ISKL that you will always carry?

Jumpa Lagi. Once a Panther, Always a Panther. Also, the Melawati Way, despite the fact that I work in High School!: Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Others, and Take Care of This Place.

Do you have any advice to offer for new faculty members who are joining the community?

I would say that wherever you are in your transition, recognize that there are ups and downs, and you will move through it. Get involved and connected, as that will help you feel like you are a part of things sooner. Ask for help, and know you are part of a caring community and a fabulous school in a fabulous country.

Who or what is your source of inspiration?

I am inspired by those I am surrounded by: my counseling colleagues, the faculty, our counseling staff, my students, and, of course, my children. I am amazed by the human spirit and love learning from others.

What are your plans once you leave ISKL?

I am repatriating to my hometown, Oak Park, Illinois, after 23 years. I hope to continue in my profession.

What does “Know yourself, care for all, and create a better world” mean to you?

This vision statement captures what we hope our students leave our school with: the values to take care of themselves, get to know themselves and all of their strengths and potential, be good to others, and help our world grow and thrive. It’s a powerful statement and I share the values it espouses.


Do you know of any student, teacher, parent, or staff who always have an anecdote to tell, love to share some insights into their passions and interest, or simply is a Panther through and through? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here.

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