Helen Kelly was an educator and school leader in international schools across the world from 1999 to 2020 when she retired from her role in schools. From 2006, she led the elementary sections of international schools in Bangkok, Berlin and Hong Kong. Prior to this Helen was member of the legal profession, working as a solicitor in the UK in the field of industrial accidents and disease.
As both a lawyer, teacher and school principal, Helen has seen the need for an increased focus on wellbeing in the workplace. She has tried hard to attend to her own wellbeing but in 2019 was diagnosed with a stress-related health condition and occupational burnout which prompted her decision to retire.
While working as a Primary Principal in Berlin in 2012, Helen began to take an interest in the emotional challenges that school leaders face in the course of their role. This became a focus for her doctoral studies which began around the same time. In February 2017, Helen was awarded her Ed.D from the University of Birmingham, UK with a thesis entitled “International Schools as Emotional Arenas: Facing the Leadership Challenges in a German Context”.
In recent years, Helen has consulted with schools and developed and delivered presentations and workshops on school leader and educator wellbeing around the Asia region, as well as writing for a number of well-known educational publications and her own blog. Although retired from her role in schools, Helen is keen to continue to champion the work of school leaders and advocate for improved focus on their wellbeing.
In her personal life, Helen is a keen yoga practitioner and yoga teacher. She has recently taught the Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics modules of a 200 hour yoga teaching training course, looking at how we might draw upon the principles of yoga philosophy to enhance our wellbeing and happiness in modern day life. In the early days of her retirement, Helen is enjoying a back to basics lifestyle, focused upon a simple and healthy life among friends and family, with plenty of time spent in nature. She enjoys the peace of mind that focusing on the little things brings and has no plans to return to school life.
In addition to an Ed.D focused upon school leader wellbeing, Helen holds a Masters in Educational Leadership and a Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology from the University of East London.