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Looking Back - Interview with Anne O'Hara, ISB Staff Member

Anne O'Hara has been working at ISB for nearly 20 years. As part of our 40th anniversary celebrations we asked her a few questions about her experiences.

What brought you to Basel and ISB?

My husband and I relocated to Basel in 1990 from the North of England as my husband accepted a role in Finance with the Bank for International Settlements. On moving to Basel, I worked in a small publishing firm, up until having our first child. When our son joined Preschool in 1990, I started my first role at ISB.

What roles have you held during your tenure at ISB?

I started life at ISB in the Extra Curricular Department. Although the school at that time was based at various different sites, the main administration was in the Burggarten Schulhaus in Bottmingen. I shared a very small office (it was actually a small storeroom in between reception and a classroom) with the Head of the ECP Programme, Nonnie Florack (see photo below). I was responsible for Administration and Finance. I did this for a year, before moving into Administration/Reception, where amongst our main tasks, my colleagues and I, also played the role of school nurse at break times. School had already begun to grow quite quickly at that time and the Chief Accountant asked me to join the small Finance Team. When ISB opened it’s doors in Reinach in 2002, I started working full time in Accounts Payable.

Have you been particularly inspired by any students or staff members at ISB?

There are many colleagues at ISB that have inspired me. As both my children; Liam & Shannon spent their whole education at ISB from PreSchool through to Grade 12, I have got to know many staff members both as colleagues and educators. There are many teachers who go above and beyond – Liam and Shannon were lucky to have some exceptional teachers; many staying after school, holding extra sessions or just being available for discussions, running sports trips and educational trips, a highlight for both Liam & Shannon was the trip to South Africa. I have been lucky enough to work alongside some incredible educators in my role in Business Support.

What is your favourite memory from your time at ISB?

The last 20 years at ISB have been special in many ways. I have got to work with and meet people from all over the world and have made some life-long friends. In my current immediate team of 6, we all come from different countries: England, Switzerland, Denmark, Kazakstan, Portugal and Spain – truly international.  Some of the things enjoyed outside the office have included birthday celebrations, nights out with colleagues and also various “Cooking Classes” held in the Food Tech Room and run by a colleague at the time, Zakia Curmally.

What is the biggest thing that has changed since joining ISB?

The school has grown and developed so much since I started. Apart from the purpose built facilities, the biggest change has to be in IT, both in and outside the classroom. In the early days when I worked in Reception, a weekly newsletter for families was printed out for students to take home. If the teachers did not have lessons scheduled at the main campus, my colleagues and I had to visit the different sites to deliver the Thursday “@notes”. These days new and prospective families can access everything online through the school website. It seems crazy thinking back to how things were when I first started.