In 1972, John was offered a job as K-12 principal at The American School of Kinshasa (TASOK). Always the adventurer, he and Kay sold and gave away “all their worldly goods” and relocated their young family to what was then Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Recruiting friends throughout the United States to join them, TASOK served 700 students from 42 countries and 26 different languages. He collaborated with his staff to bring the first middle school model to the continent of Africa. With the support of Al White and Art Costa, he brought in educators throughout Africa for a seminar and teacher training program at the TASOK campus. Flexible classrooms, age groupings, and instruction, TASOK allowed students to be in the appropriate setting for their individual learning needs and strengths.
After several bouts of malaria, they learned that the chloroquine was no longer effective and, putting the safety of their young children first, decided that their three and a half years of memories would need to last them a lifetime. John and Kay headed home with their boys by way of a three-month excursion through Kenya, Egypt, Greece, South America, and Italy.