Interview with Dr Geoffrey Fisher | Aga Khan Academies

Interview with Dr Geoffrey Fisher

Dr Geoffrey Fisher, the newly appointed Head of the Aga Khan Academy (AKA) Hyderabad, is an experienced International Baccalaureate, educator and school leader with over 30 years’ experience in diverse settings in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and South America.

His 19 years of headship have been built on 12 previous years’ experience at traditional UK boarding schools along with positions as principal of Kodaikanal International School (Tamil Nadu), founding head for UWC Maastricht and head of Antwerp International School. Our writer, Alia Dharssi, interviewed Dr Fisher to discuss his background in education, his new role in Hyderabad, and his aspirations for the future of the Academy.

AD: What led you to pursue a career in education? 

GF: I ‘fell’ into education through a combination of family tradition and accident. For many generations my family has been involved in education. I am one of six heads of school within the last three generations. So when I was looking for a job during a year abroad, I was lucky to get a job teaching at the Edinburgh Academy. I loved it and decided instantly to stop being a research scientist and start teaching – a decision I never regretted.

AD: Why did you decide to become the Head of Academy in Hyderabad? 

GF: I was approached by the Academies Unit to see if I would be interested in taking on the role of Head of Academy in Hyderabad. I was captivated by His Highness’s vision and felt complimented to be asked to join his service.

AD: What do you look forward to most about your role? 

GF: So many things: getting to know the school, helping the school develop and grow, returning to India, playing a role in the development of the new Academies being planned, getting to know the students as individuals, having a chance to assist those who have limited educational opportunities…The list goes on…

AD: What are you first impressions of the Academy? Of India? 

GF: The Academy in Hyderabad is still in its startup phase. We are growing each year, establishing our ethos and aiming to provide a stable challenging environment for our students. The fact that we are doing this within such beautiful campus and facilities allows us to focus on providing a 'student centred' set of educational opportunities. Such situations are always exciting. I am delighted to have walked into a situation where the students are curious, staff are professionals, the vision is exciting and the opportunities endless. 

India is country of extremes and endlessly fascinating. At any point you can see the most beautiful and the most ugly, the most poor and the very rich, the most courteous and the extremely rude, the most difficult and the extraordinarily kind. I have loved India since I first set foot here in 1981 and feel privileged to be able to play a small role in helping this extraordinary country build a solid foundation for its future.

AD: What makes the Academy different from other schools? 

GF: The Academies have been charged by His Highness to not only set high academic standards but also to provide an outstanding education to unusual students. To develop ethical leaders for the India of tomorrow and to ensure that all our students graduate with a sense of affection for school and purpose for their own and others’ lives. Such a vision makes the Academy different because all the students we admit, staff we recruit and decisions we make are built to fulfil this purpose. 

AD: What improvements do you hope to make? 

GF: I hope to play a role in bringing a sense of stability and focus to the school such that we can establish ourselves as being the very best school in India for students of high capacity, ambition and a desire to serve others. 

AD: What is your vision for the Academy under your leadership?

GF: My greatest desire is that the AKA Hyderabad will make such a difference in the lives of our students and that they will be empowered to make a difference in the lives of others. 


Newsletter readers please click here to return to the newsletter (browser version)