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Director's Dispatch: Director Candidate Interviews

Over the next two weeks, ISD will have the opportunity to talk with four talented educators, the finalists for the Director position starting in August of 2022. Over a two-day period, the candidates will speak with a range of students, parents, teachers, support staff, administrators, and Board members. It will be a whirlwind of interviews and conversations. It will be a chance for the community to get to know the candidates and for the candidates to get to know our community. Unfortunately, we will not get to meet the candidates in person here in Dakar as the interviews will be done virtually. That said, there are benefits to this process being done virtually as many more members of our community will be able to participate.

I wanted to share my thoughts on what it is like to be a candidate for a director position and, in particular, going through the process virtually. As much as the community is interviewing the candidate to see if they are the best fit for the position, the candidate is interviewing the community to see if it is a good fit for the person professionally as well as the candidates’ family. When I was interviewing virtually for my new role in Germany, I found the large group sessions the most difficult because of how many people turned off the video. You know there are 20, 30, 40 people on the call, but you only see four or five faces. So much of interviewing is interactive, so losing that interactivity can be unnerving. Sometimes it felt like I was delivering a speech to myself!

There is a parent session for each candidate. Our communications office sent out an email on Thursday with the dates of the sessions and you will receive the link to the sessions 24 hours before the start of the candidates’ interviews.

Parents will play an important role in selecting the next Director, but you also have a role to play in helping these candidates feel welcome as part of our community. Here are the three things you can do:

  1. Make an effort to attend these sessions! Encourage your colleagues and friends to attend as many sessions as possible. If only a few parents show up to the interview, what message does that give to the candidate? The incoming Director wants to join a school with an involved parent community.

  2. Prepare and ask good questions. Through the questions the candidates will learn what is important to you and you will get to know them better.

  3. Give informed feedback to the Board about each of the candidates. The incoming Director will have a major impact on the school for, hopefully, the next five or more years. The ISD Board of Directors are eager to get the community’s feedback. The email that provides the Zoom link for each candidate will also have a link to the feedback form.

I wanted to come to ISD and I wanted to go to my new school for the same reasons. I fell in love with the community. I wanted to be a part of the community. ISD is so warm and welcoming. Let the candidates see that.

This is a serious process, but it should also be fun, a chance for you to get to know the candidate as a person. It is fine to ask them about what they like, don’t like, what they want to know about Senegal.

The Search Committee, composed of four Trustees, has worked hard to give the community a choice of four talented educators. Now it is your turn to learn more about the candidates and let the Board know what you think!

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