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PTC Celebrates Thirty Years of Learning and Leading

By Bambi Betts

Chances are, if you are in an international school just about anywhere in the world, the principal down the corridor or maybe even your head of school will have a story or two to tell about the good old days of the Principals’ Training Center (PTC).
Since 1989, when the PTC held its very first summer institute at Marymount International School in Rome, hundreds of international educators have come together every summer to become better leaders. That very first year, three decades ago, 35 “pioneer” principals spent the first-ever, seven-day institute in the capable hands of trainers Bill Gerritz (most recently Head of IS Bangkok) and Pat Wolfe (well-known author on the brain and learning). And there was no turning back.
The brainchild of Forrest Broman (with a little help from his friends, particularly colleague Fran Ran), the non-profit PTC got its start with a small two-year grant from the U.S. Office of Overseas Schools. The vision was simple and compelling: create practical training opportunities for practicing and aspiring principals in international schools. The PTC has stayed true to that vision until today.
I have been involved in the PTC since its inception and have served as its director since 1996. I believe the PTC is truly a remarkable example of how a clear, simple, timely idea—with grassroots support and dogged determination to fulfill a mission—can dramatically impact an industry. I am humbled every day by the genuine determination of those we serve to improve their skills on behalf of their students. They have made the PTC.
Another crucial factor in our success is the quality of our trainers, or course facilitators. The PTC’s earliest trainers came to us via a professional training organization in California, and were paired with practicing international educators, including Kevin Bartlett, Niall Nelson, Robert Landau, Cindy Gause-Vega, Julie Ryan, and John Sperandio.
These days, the PTC enjoys the excellent training expertise of over 40 trainers, all of them experienced international school heads or principals. Now, 30 years after its inception, the PTC is returning to Rome and offering international school leaders and aspiring leaders eight different seven-day professional development institutes at a brand new site. Eight additional courses will be held in the much-loved Turnberry Hotel in Miami. The two locations will bring together more than 900 participants taking about 1,000 courses.
Alongside this longstanding program, the PTC has also developed the Teacher Training Center (TTC)—offering professional development courses for teachers—as well as the Counselor Training Center (CTC), the Business Training Center (BTC) for school business leaders, and the Teacher Leader Institute (TLI), offering both summer institutes and short workshops each spring and fall in regional locations for teacher leaders.
PTC also offers membership benefits and consulting opportunities to international schools and provides online professional networks and communication opportunities for international educators.
As PTCers gather once again this summer in Rome and Miami, they will do so on the shoulders of thousands of predecessors having pursued, over the decades, the same critical goal: exemplary leadership for international schools.
PTC continues to offer a unique blend of powerful training and effective networking. In the words of one satisfied participant, PTC is “making a meaningful, lasting contribution to both learning and leading.”

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