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Alumni Spotlight: Bailey Thomson (’06)

June 13, 2017 / Catherine Nicholas / Blog

Bailey Thomson (Class of 2006) moved to Johannesburg, South Africa in August 2012, after graduating from William & Mary, where she double majored in Government and Middle Eastern Studies. In Johannesburg, she joined the founding team of SPARK Schools, a network of blended learning primary schools providing accessible, high-quality education to South African children.

During her first four years with SPARK, she led the design and implementation of their blended learning models for grades K-3 and 4-7, including curriculum, assessment, and professional and leadership development.  She is now their Director of School Operations, overseeing all non-instructional functions in the schools to ensure that SPARK scholars and staff can focus on learning and teaching without worrying about facilities or administrative functions.

Asked her favorite thing about her new home, Bailey praised the southern hemisphere summers.  The blazing hot Decembers put the famously dramatic lightning storms of per province on full display.  She’s cultivated her love of languages by learning Afrikaans, one of South Africa’s 11 official languages, and she plans to learn isiZulu next.

Bailey recently received the “letter to myself” she wrote at the end of her senior year. In the letter, she made repeated reference to moving abroad, working in service to others, and exploring the world. “These desires were nurtured at MLWGS,” Bailey says, “And my vision for my life was affirmed by the remarkable teachers I had at Governor’s.  I was always so grateful as a Governor’s student that my dreams were never belittled and that no student or staff member ever made me feel as though a high schooler’s vision was immature or unrealistic.”

Bailey’s advice to current students is to pursue the best life they can imagine, to work relentlessly toward that vision, and to acknowledge those who support you along the way by serving others in their honor.

This profile originally ran in our 2015-16 Annual Report.

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