James Le Warn Kennedy, thought to be the youngest head teacher in Europe. Picture by Peter Boam.
AT AN age when many people are just entering the teaching profession, James Le Warn Kennedy is a school principal.
James, whose mother and stepfather live in Sandown, was appointed at the age of 27 and is thought to be the youngest headteacher in Europe.
He is head of the private Novashool Sunland International, in Cartama Estacion, outside Malaga, in Spain, which has 270 students aged between two-and-a-half and 18.
It is one of eight schools within the group and James is responsible for 50 staff.
James, who is celebrating the first anniversary of his appointment, was the youngest member of the teaching staff, when it was confirmed he would be head.
He said: "It was a huge surprise to me and to everyone. I had only been a teacher for four years. I must say, I did not enjoy the early months of the appointment at all.
"I really don’t know how I was able to summon up the courage to go into school on my first day.
"I received great support from administrative staff but there were people who felt unhappy they had been passed over."
James, a member of the Church of the Latterday Saints, drew on his faith and the ethos he took into the classroom of rewarding the positive.
He says there is now a real sense of teamwork at the school.
Married to Spanish teacher, Irene, the couple are expecting their first child in June and enjoyed the Christmas holiday back at the home of James’s mother and stepfather, Wendy and Carl Smith.
Born in Godshill, he attended Godshill Primary School, Nodehill Middle School and Medina High.
He graduated from Exeter University with a first-class degree with honours in French and Spanish, in 2009, and gained his masters degree online while teaching in Spain.
Just five months after he became principal, his school underwent its Cambridge University examinations inspection and passed with flying colours.
Would he be tempted to return to the UK to teach?
"I would find it difficult. It would have to be a very tempting offer to take me away from a life of Spanish sun, running a great school, back to this country," said James.