My wife and I first had the pleasure of meeting Richard Jones-Nerzic at a parent-teacher conference at IST in 2001. We were both highly impressed by Richard’s dedication, enthusiasm and capability in assessing the potential of a thirteen-year-old student. This first impression was reinforced over the five years he taught our son. He made history fun to study, and he was always ready to help his students, including during the holidays. His skill in the use of information technology as an aid to teaching has been recognised and praised by educators throughout Europe, if not worldwide. His personal skills and reputation have helped enhance the reputation of the International School of Toulouse as an advanced place of learning. The continued success of his pupils at IGCSE and in the IB attests to his skills as a teacher. The fact that our son (see his post) is now studying History and Politics at Sheffield University is, I’m sure, mainly due to the influence of Richard Jones-Nerzic .
For most of the past thirty years, we have been expatriates. We have had the opportunity to meet and work with a significant number of teachers during this time, both during the time my wife taught in an international school in the Netherlands and through the education of our two sons at various schools in the UK, the USA and France. We can state with all sincerity that in our opinion Richard Jones-Nerzic is one of the best teachers we have ever met, not only in the International School of Toulouse but in all the countries where we have lived and worked.
We therefore find it incredulous that the management of IST should want to lose such an asset to the school and to its students. One would have thought, on the contrary, that the management would have done everything within its power to retain such a person. To dismiss someone of Richard Jones-Nerzic’s calibre, to deprive his students of his skills and encouragement as they enter the final run-up in preparation for their IGCSE and IB seems to us to be extremely hard to justify.
Although we no longer have children studying at the school, we would still like to do all we can to help Richard Jones-Nerzic and his colleague Tanya Carlile regain their positions at IST. We have written letters to each of the school board members expressing our concerns, and would strongly encourage the parents of all past and present students to do the same; if you feel that your career may be put in jeopardy or that your child will be victimised at school as a result of writing these letters, then do so anonymously. I also hope and pray that Richard and Tanya’s colleagues will find the strength to unite and support them in their quest for justice. The important thing is that the members of the board should get the message that the school community as a whole are upset by what happened to Richard and Tanya, and that it is not just the view of a small minority.
Above all, I would ask the parents of all current students to support their parent delegates in all that they do. Remember that they are not professional negotiators, they are dedicated volunteers who are currently working under extremely stressful and often frustrating conditions for the sake of the school community as a whole. Please help them, please support them, please show them that you appreciate the fact that they have had the courage to step forward and to act on your behalf.