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Director's Dispatch: Board Election Candidate Profiles

Nine parents are running for one of the five available seats on the ISD Board of Trustees. I'd like to take a few minutes to explain the role of the Board of Trustees, how they are elected, and why ISD parents should vote.

ISD is a non-profit organization that was founded by an agreement between the United States and Senegalese governments. The Board of Trustees are vested with the legal responsibility for overseeing the school. There are nine trustees who are elected by members of the Association for two-year terms. There are no limits on how many terms a trustee can serve. The Association is comprised of all parents or guardians of ISD students and the ISD teachers. The elections are run annually in April with the results being announced at the Annual General Meeting, which is scheduled for May 3rd this year. The Board also have five non-voting members, Director, Principals, teacher representative, and a representative of the U.S. Ambassador.

The Trustees are responsible for ensuring the well-being of the school today and in the future. The Board has five main responsibilities:

  1. Setting the future vision of the school.

  2. Hire, evaluate, support, and, if needed, dismiss, the Director of the school; the Director is the only employee of the Board.

  3. Approving the annual budget and tuition fees as well as having long-term plans to ensure the future financial viability of the school.

  4. Establish school policy and ensure the policy is followed by the school administration and employees.

  5. The Board is responsible for issues of great importance to the community, which can include a range of topics including annual school calendar, construction of facilities, major changes to the school programs and curriculum.

The Board formally meets once a month from September to May and holds a three-day planning meeting in August. The Board has four standing committees: Buildings and Grounds, Finance, Governance and Development, and Policy. These committees discuss their respective issues at length, meeting monthly and bringing topics for discussion and eventual vote at the full board meetings.

Why should ISD parents vote for the Board of Trustees? The Trustees make major decisions on behalf of all the parents that affect your children.

The voting for trustees is done electronically. On Monday, April 15, you received an email from the online voting platform ElectionBuddy. In the email is an individualized link that will take you to the website page where you can vote. Your vote is confidential. Through the voting website, we can see if you have voted, but not how you voted. The election closes at 4pm on Friday, May 3.

Click here to read the Board Election FAQs

Below is some more information about each of the candidates, listed in alphabetical order by first name.


Aylin Karahan

I would like to run another term to continue to be part of ISD`s dynamic board of trustees. I have two sons, Kaan (grade 11) and Keanu (grade 6).  Kaan first came to this school as a kindergartener. Together we are one of the few to have witnessed the evolution of our school.

I have previously been a trustee on ISD’s board from 2007 to 2010. In 2016, I joined the Buildings & Grounds Committee as an expert parent. The following year I took on the role of trustee again from 2017 to present time. Through all these years I have had the privilege to chair the B&G Committee.  I can honestly say, I have seen our school grow and expand brick by brick. Aside from my passion for constructing in concrete, what I love most about being part of the board is the fact that we play a role in building and shaping the future of the school.

I have an MBA in Marketing & Finance. I have been an expat since birth residing in countries such as U.S., Turkey, China, France, Russia, Cyprus, Lebanon, and Switzerland until deciding to settle down here in Senegal. I have had several careers in top managerial positions in various sectors including; private banking, marketing, cancer research, and not-for-profit. Today, I have my own company in property development here in Dakar together with my spouse and we recently completed our first residential building in 

Fenetre Mermoz.

I look forward to continue my role as a trustee.


John Torres

I am a native New Yorker, moved to Dakar about a year ago and will be here for the next 3 years. My family, wife Lena and son Tristan, is a new addition for the ISD host of families. We are grateful that our son was welcomed to the school at PK-3 level, now attending PK-4. As an international family we find education to be one of the most important components of our child’s upbringing. I firmly believe that the biggest responsibility we have to the generation that follows us is to give them the right foundation so that they meet the opportunities life affords them in the future. ISD plays a big role on our kids’ future as it provides them the best education possible with an American curriculum.

My wish is to serve on your board. I hope to be a value-add to your on-going efforts by providing my many years of experience in business, outside-the-box thinking, my relentless desire to innovate and improve products and services through technology as well as put forward my dad hat. As I have gotten to know more parents, teachers and students in the past year I have been reinforced of the role and purpose of the board to the school and how well it serves it. I have also learned and experienced how much more there is to do for the school community. Hearing from parents where the school can better serve or improve services and efforts.

It’d be an honor to be selected. You can expect my full cooperation and participation while my stay in Senegal. Whether accepted or not please count on me as a source and resource for any need the school may have going forward.


Manuel Wally

My daughter Alba has attended ISD for the past five-years, a period that has allowed me to grasp and embrace ISD’s Guiding Statements and inquiry-based approach. I have raised my older daughter Cora in New York City, and then watched her earn 36 points on her IB Diploma at the Bavarian International School in Munich which got her accepted to American University’s School of International Service, and which has familiarized me with the IB Diploma’s program’s intensity. At Cora’s NYC elementary school, I had served on the PTA as focal point for afterschool programs. In New York, I also engaged in advocacy and fund-raising with the NGO Class Size Matters.

In Dakar, I had already volunteered on the ISD Board’s Governance Committee, also as an early and vocal supporter of introducing PYP and MYP at ISD—which continues to drive my interest in strategies to sustain ISD’s educational quality and development. My partner holds a UN post in Dakar since 2011, but we have only recently moved within walking distance of ISD, which would now allow me to consistently and punctually attend board meetings.

After careers in contemporary art, as well as in publishing and entertainment, I have been serving for more than ten years as international legal adviser in democratic governance for USAID’s CEPPS consortium, as well as for UNDP, UN Women and the EU—which has forged my ability to work as a team player in multi-cultural environments. I work in five languages and I am comfortable to simultaneously translate between English and French, which could be an asset for Board interactions with the membership. I hold an M.A. and a PhD in social sciences, as well as an LLB (hons) from the University of London. I am a US and Austrian citizen. In Dakar, I have also been coaching the Senegalese national beach volleyball team.


Martina Brecciaroli

I am delighted to apply for the Board of Trustees election. After more than ten years abroad and many years of involvement in civil society organisations, my main motivation is to make the International School of Dakar more green and environmental friendly.

My family and I arrived in Senegal in April 2017 after having spent two years in Myanmar. Living in emerging countries made me particularly sensitive to waste management issues.

In Dakar, I got involved in the Senegalese “Zéro déchet Sénégal” association ( who tries to find alternatives to plastic and behaviour change to reduce pollution. I also attended trainings on homemade cleaning detergents to explore the effectiveness of natural products.

I am both a committed and passionate person who has proven abilities to work in teams and independently. In Geneva, I founded an association against isolation and social exclusion for new and expecting mums called “Maman cherche Maman” ( and established partnerships with public and medical health institutions. In Myanmar, I advised and coached members of women’s associations on gender issues. I also worked two years for humanitarian and development organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and Genève Tiers Monde.

I have lived in different countries and have experienced various school systems (French, Swiss, Italian and now American). Therefore, I would like to share within the IDS Board of Trustee some reflexions and insights I have had the chance to get. So far, I am very glad that my son joined the ISD, a positive and energetic environment. Teachers are skilled and friendly with students. However, I noticed that more should be done on environmental issues that must be tackled at a very early age. The school has a fundamental role to play on that topic.

For all these reasons, I hope to become member of the Board of Trustees and hope you will welcome my application.


Molly Glenn

I am writing to express my interest in serving on the International School of Dakar (ISD) Board of Trustees. I would like to serve the students, administration and families of the ISD community. The ISD Trustee position is an exceptional opportunity and highly aligned with my personal and professional experiences. My children and I adore this country, living in Dakar, and being a part of the ISD community. I have a passion to work with the leadership team at ISD to maintain and improve the effectiveness of ISD for the sole purpose of making sure our children receive the best education and learning experience possible, inside and outside of the classroom, in the context of international living and in an environment that promotes the ‘Challenge, Create and Change’ values.

I believe that I can bring a fresh perspective to the Board with my extensive experience in overseas living and running large scale programs. As outlined in my resume, I have over 20 years of experience in international program management and economic development in both the private and public sector and have lived in Africa for the past 17 years in Burkina Faso, Senegal and Malawi. My professional successes, in leading teams, has required considerable proficiency across a full range of activities including: strategic planning, program implementation, budgeting and financial monitoring, team building, knowledge management, internal and external communications, public diplomacy, and stakeholder relationship management. These are skills I would bring to complement the ISD Board.

In addition to my professional experience, I am an engaged and enthusiastic mother of two bi-lingual, multi-cultural, third-culture children in middle and high school. I can bring a unique perspective to the Board as a single, working mother, who has navigated and worked with international school leadership teams in both the French and IB school systems and curriculums. Having lived in Senegal previously, I am familiar with ISD and the Jaguar family. Additionally, having recently moved from Malawi, I am very acquainted with PYP and MYP teaching methodologies that were well established at the school in Lilongwe, and currently in the process of fully implementing at ISD. I am also an advocate for more natural living, environmentally-conscious habits and an active lifestyle for all in the ISD community, which are all key aspects in the ISD learning environment that promote development of our children as model citizens.

Throughout my career and in my personal endeavors, I have been portrayed as a collaborative, culturally-aware and dynamic leader, who creates efficient and transparent operations with proven results. I am a valued member of the senior leadership team of the US Embassy Mission in Senegal. Throughout the past two decades, I have lived and worked in global and multi-cultural settings and am fluent in French. My experience and reputation is a testament to my passion for working in Africa and on leadership teams. I look forward to speaking with you and can be contacted via email or by telephone at referenced above.


Nicola Francesconi

Commitment to ISD and its Guiding Statements:

Me and my family lived in Dakar for seven years between 2007 and 2014. Both Elinor and Ellis were born here. In 2018, after four years abroad, we decided to come back. Me and my wife chose ISD on the basis of its guiding principles, because we believe that a healthy, fulfilled and responsible life requires a well- rounded education that allows kids to discover their passions and motivates them to take on leadership responsibilities.

Ability to work as a team player with a diverse, international group in a multi-cultural environment:

I have 15 years of work-experience, mostly based in Africa and with international organizations (CGIAR, EU, USAID, World Bank, etc.). Throughout my career I have learnt about the importance of respecting different cultures and opinions in order to gain trust and influence behavioral change.

An expertise that will benefit the work of the Board:

ISD is a parent owned and controlled school. As such it falls in the category of “membership organizations”, which have been the main focus of my work and represent my main professional interest. However, I have never dealt with parent-schools. My main expertise involves monitoring/evaluation (through data collection and analysis) and management-consulting (business plans, constitutions/by-laws, governance-structures, conflict-resolution, etc.) for cooperative organizations (mostly operating in the agricultural sector).

Experience on a school Board or similar non-profit body is helpful:

I have no experience with school boards, but I have consulted for multiple boards of NGOs and cooperative organizations.

Interest in strategic issues related to ISD’s present and future educational quality and development:

I am interested to see how ISD will manage pressure for growth (in the number of students) and decentralization (Diamniadio?) whilst ensuring educational quality and development.

Experience living or working in an international environment:

I have 15 years of work-experience, mostly based in Africa and with international organizations (CGIAR, EU, USAID, World Bank, etc.).


Sadia Asim

I am taking this opportunity to offer my services for another term of Trustee (position) at ISD Board. I have been serving as a trustee on the Board for the last two years and as Secretary from last one year. I have worked in Finance committee and Governance & Development committees.

My two children Hiba (Grade 2) and Rayyan (KG) are attending ISD from last three years. Hiba had started as a Kindergartner while Rayyan from Pre K-3.

I am Business Graduate (BBA, MBA) with specialization in Finance and Certified Human Resource Professional. Recently, I have started Masters in Organizational & Business Psychology from the University of Liverpool.

I have more than 12 years of working experience in Human Resources with different sectors mainly Energy, Telecom, Management and Consultancy. In Dakar, I have been working on projects with a few Business Schools and in the Banking Sector.

For me, it was a great experience to serve as a trustee on the ISD board, to represent the community, and to be a part of short as well as long term strategic decisions. My term of office as trustee will expire this April 2019. Therefore, I would like to ask you to vote for me. 


Thiaba Camara Sy

My name is Thiaba CAMARA SY and I have been ISD’s Treasurer since September 2010, when I joined the board.

My son Jamil who is now in 10th grade, has been a student at ISD since kindergarten and we are among the oldest families in the community.

My term of office as a trustee will expire at the end of the 2019 AGM and I ask for your vote to renew it.

It is a privilege to serve my community and thanks to my experience as a certified public accountant and financial expert, I have been able to participate in projects that have enabled our school to steam ahead and become a respected player in the world of International Schools.

For example, in recent years, the board has encouraged and accompanied an in-depth reform of our financial system, the implementation of a solid internal quality control, the construction of the secondary building, the implementation of IB, MYP and PYP.

As we move towards the realization of new exciting and important projects that will shape the future of ISD, such as the the construction of the Performance Arts Center, I would like to be able to benefit from your trust to continue to serve as a trustee.


William Warnock

It is a pleasure to send this letter of intent to express my interest in joining the ISD Board as a Trustee. Our family moved to Dakar from Nairobi, Kenya in August 2018, and we have three kids at ISD in 3rd, 9th and 10th grades. We expect to be in Dakar for at least the next 2- 3 years and I would be keen to be actively involved as a Trustee for the school. My hope is that being a Trustee will help me stay closer to what is going on in our children’s lives and for me to give back to the school that is helping to shape their future. I am particularly interested in supporting the board in areas such as strategic planning, facilities & construction and policy development. I would also like to contribute to the deliberations related to the UN’s move to Diamniadiou since my wife works for the UN.

I grew up in Africa and attended International schools in DRC and Kenya for elementary, Middle School and High School. I am a retired US Navy Captain with over 30 years of Leadership and Management experience. After I retired from the navy, I transitioned to the private sector and joined RA International where I serve as Director of US Business Development. My focus is on implementing large construction, logistics or support contracts for the US Government across Africa. These large and complex projects span the continent from Somalia to Central African Republic. As a Director, I spend a significant amount of time shaping the company’s Strategic Goals with the other directors and the board. I am also a Certified Building Contractor and have experience in the planning and construction of numerous large building and facilities. Lastly, I have previous experience with non-profit organizations and was the Junior Warden for a church where I led the Strategic Planning effort.

I am hopeful that my background in leadership, strategic planning and construction can help the ISD board as it looks to the future.

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