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Icenian Interview – Ken

KenKen Saunders taught at Langley between 2004 to 2007, in which time, as head of department, he revolutionised the Religious Education department and expanded it to include Philosophy and Ethics. He was also teacher of Geography and helped co-ordinate the Gifted and Talented programme. He was attached to Crome House.

“I have always affectionately looked back at Langley High School as not just my first teaching position, but as a family that welcomed me at the beginning of my career. From teaching in the classroom to cold afternoons on the hockey field, Langley struck a chord in my heart and I truly learned the value of ‘perseverando’ (I persevere) and balance in life. The need for adventure, curiosity and, most importantly, that all things are possible – from personal apostolic Papal blessings in Rome for staff and students, to building a strong and academically successful religious education department, and both so early in my career! The beautiful way the evening light fell across the grounds, the memorial to the fallen Langley boys in the chapel and the inspiration of adventure found in the hearts of all students and staff, has stayed with me through my career and life.

After leaving Langley, I continued a very rewarding teaching career at Ipswich High School for Girls (IHS) until I left for America in 2013 with Mrs Saunders, my dogs and two children, Noah and Amélie. During my time at IHS I found a real passion in designing and implementing amazing school trips and was blessed with meeting some highly inspirational people in fields across all career sectors. This essentially lit the fuse for my move to America and consequent change of career.

Initially I worked as Director of an international concert travel company, organising customised tours and concerts for American choirs, bands and orchestras in more than 100 countries. Still inspired to reach further, I headed up a team to design and implement several well-received international music festivals in Iceland and Italy, before being asked to head a smaller company as their CEO. This was an incredible experience and gave me the confidence, experience and partners necessary to step out into the unknown and develop my own company. Mrs Saunders and I went in separate directions, but still co-parent our children and live in the same geographic area of central Virginia.

I launched my first company four years ago, Charlottesville Music Institute (CMi), a non-profit organisation bringing the opportunity of classical music education to disadvantaged children and adults, giving people the opportunity to make positive changes in their lives and to be inspired to follow their dreams. We are 100% funded by donations and aspire to build an honour orchestra and eventually become a Steinway school. At CMi we have built links with professional orchestras across the globe, allowing for some incredible experiences.

Traveling to 49 states out of the 50, my business partner and I then launched our company MARQUIS Discoveries. We specialise in special interest and educational custom tours, working with schools, special interest groups, such as orchestras, alumni and individuals all across the globe, designing tours around their themes and destinations. As I still say, everything is possible! Extending our philanthropic arm, we also offer guidance and support to other smaller companies, inspiring and helping shape their growth too.

I often reflect back to my days at Langley and value the positivity, friendships and experiences that I had there, as they truly shaped me into who I am today. I would love to hear from my old students and co-workers and perhaps even plan a reunion Rome trip! Equally, I would love to assist any current Langley staff, students and indeed Icenians with their global travels (ken@charlottesvillemusic.org | tours@marquisdiscoveries.com)

Published On: November 3rd, 2021Categories: Icenians, News

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