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Director Search Update

posted Sep 6, 2013, 8:48 AM by Suzanne WARDINI   [ updated Sep 6, 2013, 10:24 AM ]

September 6, 2013 Update

As our students are closing the books on their third week in school, the New Director Search Committee is already gearing up for mid-term exam time.  Following a thorough review of applications and resumes, we started the next phase of the search process this week by conducting a round of Skype interviews with selected candidates.  This interviewing will be ongoing for the next week or two as we continue to receive a considerable amount of interest in our Director opening.  All totaled, we have received 38 applications for the job posting, including three in the last two days. 

In an effort to keep the entire ISD community informed about what’s going on in the search process, we will be posting updates every week until a new Director is in place.  We will also be using this page to answer the questions we are receiving from interested students, faculty, staff, and parents (see “Mailbag” section below).  As always, feel free to email us ( if you have any ideas, suggestions, or questions about the search process.   

Mailbag:  Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions

“Wait, don’t we have a new Director now?”

Yes, we have a new INTERIM Director.  When the Director position became open in June, the Board of Trustees quickly tasked the Search Committee with finding both an interim Director and more long-term Director.  Our first priority was to find someone who could ensure that ISD was fully operational when our students, families, faculty and staff showed up for the Opening Ceremony.  

Within days of starting our interim search, we were fortunate to find Paul Olson who has brought years of experience and expertise running international schools with him to Dakar.  Unfortunately, Mr. Olson was clear with us from the beginning that he was not looking for a permanent Director position and would be returning back to the U.S. at the end of this school year.  This is why we are now actively engaged in the search for long-term ISD Director.

“What are the criteria for selecting a new Director?”

Great question!   Based on “lessons learned” from past Directors, as well as the community feedback we have received, and the parent, student, and faculty surveys ISD conducted last year, the Search Committee developed a robust list of criteria that we are using in the search and evaluation of potential Directors.  Specifically, we are looking for candidates who have:

 §  Leadership experience in an international school setting at the Director or equivalent level position;

 §  Excellent interpersonal communications with key school stakeholders – students, staff, faculty, parents, Board of Trustees, and the larger community;

 §  Strategic thinker as it relates to marketing, accreditation, financials, budgeting and controls and strategic planning with the ability to set objectives and monitor progress;

 §  Highly effective management skills and experience, demonstrated team-building skills, and ability to inspire confidence and earn trust of faculty and staff;

 §  Extensive experience in financial planning and management, with the requisite skills to ensure, working collaboratively with the Board and staff, that the school’s assets are protected and adequately maintained;

 §  Proven educator with a steadfast commitment to ensuring the highest standards of educational excellence and with the expertise to guide the development and review of the education curriculum, as well as the growth and progress of the IB Program;

 §  Track record of recruiting a talented teaching staff, as well as overseeing high quality faculty professional development;

 §  Willingness to be an “Ambassador” of the school in the community at-large and a willingness to embrace not only the host culture, but also all cultures from a learning opportunity perspective; and, who have a

 §  Higher education degree, M.A./M.Ed./M.Sc. or equivalent advanced degree.

“Why the rush to hire a new Director so quickly?”

The short answer is because we have to.  In consulting with Search Associates (our recruitment advisors), Interim Director Paul Olson (who has been through his fair share of Director searches himself), and various others involved in the search process last time, we learned that most Director candidates have already settled on their new post by mid-November.  The Committee felt it was important to be proactive and aggressive in reaching out to the “top tier” Director candidates – and not waiting until other international schools have had their say first.  Yes, that means this process is progressing quickly.  It also means that we are interviewing the best candidates in the job market before other schools have a chance to hire them. 

(See “The Search Process Timeline” below for an overview of what happens when.) 

The Search Process Timeline

July – September 20th          Post job opening and receive applications

August                                      Finalize evaluation criteria and process for selecting new director

September                              Evaluate received applications and conduct interviews with selected candidates

Late September                      Select top tier candidates for campus visit to Dakar

Early October                          Conduct series of campus visits, give ISD community ample opportunities to interact with prospective candidates and offer feedback to the Search Committee

Late October                           Board of Trustees, in consultation with Search Committee, hires the new Director