The Value of TABS International Fairs: A Conversation with Andrew Garlinski of Shattuck-St. Mary’s School

In a recent interview with Andrew Garlinski, Director of Admissions at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Minnesota, we delved into his experience attending The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) international fairs, the unique benefits of the event, and the power of collaboration within the boarding school community.

Finding a Perfect Fit

Garlinski shared a story about a family who attended a TABS international fair seeking the perfect fit for their child. “When that family came to the fair, they were not looking specifically for Shattuck-St. Mary’s; they were looking for a fit. And we were the fit,” he continued to explain that because TABS staff at the fair took the time to get to know this particular student and his family; they were able to guide this student to schools that would be a good fit. This particular student had language learning needs, and Shattuck-St. Mary’s program was tailored to meet those needs with language support and one-on-one advising. Being located in a small community, away from the coast but with a direct flight to Tokyo, further added to the appeal of their school. Garlinski shared his hope that Shattuck-St. Mary’s becomes the family school as this student is the second oldest of seven children.

For Garlinski, it’s not just about enrolling one student; it’s about building a diverse community of belonging. “I had three more kids that applied for the Fall of 2023 from that fair. That really was a beneficial event for me.” noted Garlinski. 

The Power of Collaboration

Garlinski praised TABS for creating boarding school only fairs that foster a perfect balance between schools and families. He emphasized, “There were the right number of schools at that Tokyo fair, around a dozen or fourteen of us. It wasn’t overwhelming for families, but it was packed with the right amount of families.” This ideal setting allowed for meaningful connections to form between schools and families, leading to successful enrollments and excited students like the one Garlinski highlighted.

Garlinski expressed his gratitude towards TABS and its dedication to supporting schools like his. He spoke highly of both TABS and their in-country partners as organizations that attract good people, schools, and families. In fact, his positive experience at the 2022 TABS fairs motivated him to participate again this year. He expressed his excitement about continuing to work with TABS and attending TABS events to connect, collaborate, and see old friends.

Building for the Future

In discussing the changing landscape of boarding schools in 2023, Garlinski highlighted the importance of showcasing families the unique options available. He praised TABS for its ability to navigate these changes, and connecting families with schools that best suit their needs.

As we continue to navigate the ever-changing educational landscape, it’s heartening to know that TABS supports and guides schools like ours. The power of collaboration, community, and the pursuit of excellence in education is what drives us forward. Garlinski’s enthusiasm for TABS fairs and his appreciation for the support and dedication of the TABS organization demonstrate the optimism and confidence we all share in building a brighter future for the boarding school community.

Garlinski said “We are excited to hear that TABS is expanding their fairs and creating more opportunities for schools and families to connect. The time before and after the fairs allows admissions people to come together, share experiences, and support one another.” It’s this sense of community, collaboration, and support that makes the TABS fair experience so special.

More information about TABS Fairs can be found on our website.

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