Director's Dispatch: A Note from Sandy Mackenzie


Twelve months ago, I had the chance to have multiple conversations with students, staff, parents, and members of the Board as part of the interview process that confirmed I would be given the privilege of succeeding Alan Knobloch as Director of this wonderful school. In another two months, I will be in Dakar, ready for the new school year to begin. Catarina, my wife, will be teaching in the Physical and Health Education department and Lucas will be entering PK4. We are all very much looking forward to being a part of the ISD community. When we visited ISD in February, the warmth of the community was immediately obvious as was the pride with which everyone talks about the school.

For both Catarina and me, this will be our first experience of living in Africa. We currently work at Copenhagen International School in Denmark, one of the founding schools of the International Baccalaureate, where I am the Director. ISD will be the third IB World school for me, having also been Head of Secondary School at Atlanta International School in the United States. Prior to that, I was Head of Senior School at Dulwich College Shanghai and also worked in the public and independent sectors in Scotland. I am excited to continue and strengthen the vision of challenge, create and change as we maintain the trajectory of growth in all that we do. I am particularly impressed by and committed to, the courageous path of addressing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice at ISD. Over the course of next year, we will develop a school strategic plan, through community engagement, that will guide our direction over the coming years.

The world, as we knew it at the start of 2020, has shifted significantly due to the pandemic of COVID-19 and the restrictions that we faced as a result. This had an impact on all communities, and I know the International School of Dakar was no exception. I am glad to see the recovery, assisted by the roll-out of vaccinations, and the ability to loosen restrictions and enjoy interactions and events again. When we return to campus in August, masks will be optional for students in all situations. For staff, masks will also be optional; when teachers are engaged in direct instruction, masks will not be worn but a visor may be worn if desired. We look forward to a return of community events, sporting fixtures, and artistic performances across the course of the coming school year. Of course, should the situation regarding COVID-19 in Senegal change, we may need to review arrangements again.

I am looking forward to learning more about the community of ISD, Dakar, and Senegal. I have been very fortunate to have benefited from Alan's generosity in spending time with me over many months to assist with the transition. It has allowed me to be involved in recruitment conversations, and I am delighted to say that there will be fantastic additions to our staff in the coming year. This includes our new Secondary School Principal, Estelle Hughes, whom I know had an excellent visit to the school recently. I look forward to working with all our wonderful people in providing the very best educational experiences to ISD students.

I look forward to meeting you in person in August; for now, I wish you a safe, restful, and enjoyable summer.