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Director's Dispatch: Hiring Great Educators

Hiring great educators is the most important job of a school director and principals.  It has become an increasingly competitive market with the number of international schools doubling in ten years. Experienced International Baccalaureate teachers are in high demand and the most talented have opportunities to work at top schools around the world.  This year, we had 25 positions to fill. Twenty-one educators resigned, which is average for a faculty of our size, and we added four new positions for program and enrollment growth.

The hiring process took a significant investment of time this year.  We started interviewing on October 10 and finished in early February. By the winter break, we had hired the administrative positions and the more difficult-to-fill teaching positions. The principals and I attended four recruiting fairs in Bangkok, Dubai, London, and Boston. In the end, we interviewed over 200 educators by Skype and in-person for 25 positions.  About half of the new hires were interviewed on Skype only and the other half were hired through a combination of face-to-face and Skype interviews.

This year, a much higher percentage of the new hires met our preferred criteria. Our preferred criteria for new teachers is that they have a Masters’ Degree, at least five years experience, and have worked overseas. The table below shows the percentage of the new hires have all three of these criteria, two of the criteria, and only one for the past five recruiting seasons.

A key part of our transition to become a three program IB school is recruiting teachers with IB experience at all three levels. In the 2016-2017 school year, we started looking for Primary Years Program (PYP) and IB Diploma (DP) teachers.  For the 2017-2018 school year, only 21% of new elementary and high school teachers had IB experience.  For the 2018-2019 school year, we recruited for PYP, Middle Years Program (MYP) and DP teachers and 38% of the new teachers had prior IB experience. This year, the number jumped to 72%.

Below is a summary of our newly hired teachers who will start in August.

ISD New Administrators and Teachers for 2019-2020

Francesca Andreola – Elementary Classroom Teacher

Francesca has taught for nine years in both government funded and private international schools in Italy. Francesca is an experienced PYP teacher “who works very effectively at balancing support and challenge for all students,”according to her references. 

Ross Bair – HS and IB Biology

Ross has taught in the United States and Taipei over an 18 year career.  He is an experienced IB Diploma teacher. According to his reference, Mr. Bair’s students perform very well on both state examinations as well as the rigorous International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement exams.

Julia Bair – Elementary Classroom Teacher

Julia has 15 years experience teaching in Virginia, Maryland, and Taipei. A reference states, “She is a true professional who is admired by students and parents, and she works very well together with her colleagues.”

Sebastien Cappelier – Elementary French Teacher

Currently, Sebastien works at the Washington International School in a PYP classroom teaching in French and English.  With over ten years experience, he has taught in Mali, Washington, Georgia, and now in Washington DC. "Sebastien is much loved by his students and has an excellent rapport with them,” reports one reference.

Andrew Cartlidge – HS and IB Biology

Andrew is currently the Head of Senior School, IB Diploma Coordinator and IB Biology teacher for the Australian International School in Vietnam.  He has over 20 years experience in education, teaching in Malaysia, United Kingdom, and Vietnam. According to one of his supervisors, “Andy is an excellent classroom practitioner.  He will be an asset to any school.”

Caitlin Crumpton – Communications Coordinator

Caitlin has experience in marketing, communications, sales, and coordinating special events.  She is currently the Marketing and Communications Officer for the Cayman International School. At ISD, she will continue to improve our internal and external communications. In addition, she will assist our Admission Office in the marketing of our school. Her referees cite her strengths as highly organized, detail oriented, and innovative.

Colin Crumpton – Activities and Athletic Director

Colin has seven years experience in education first as a middle school social studies teacher and then as Activities Director. He started his career in the United States and he is currently the Activities Director for the Cayman International School. Under his leadership, the school has significantly expanded the activities and sports programs at the school. “Colin is an advocate for students both inside and outside the classroom,” states one of his references.

Elizabeth Denhartigh – Elementary Assistant Principal

Liz is currently the Head of Primary at the Utahloy International School Zengcheng in China.  She has over ten years experience leading and teaching at IB Primary Years Program schools. She was work in Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Sudan, and the United States. Liz has worked in early childhood, as well as, learning support and ELL students.  A supervisor reports that Liz is an outstanding educator who can reach a wide range of students.

Jon Denhartigh – HS and IB Art

Jon has over 15 years experience in education including ten years IB experience. He has worked all around the world including Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Sudan, and the United States. He is an experienced IB PYP, MYP, and Diploma teacher. His references all comment on how much the students love being in his art class.

Wendy Gifford – HS Social Studies, IB History, IB Theory of Knowledge

Wendy has over 20 years of experience as an IB teacher working schools in the Egypt, El Salvador, England, Germany, Philippines, and Tanzania.  She has held a variety of leadership positions throughout her career including IB Diploma Coordinator. Wendy has been an IB Examiner for both History and Theory of Knowledge.  A former supervisor notes how much the students enjoy being in her class as well as the how well the students do on their exams.

Jeff Klaasen – Elementary Classroom Teacher

During his career, Jeff has worked for over ten years, including the last five as a PYP classroom teacher, in both Italy and Taiwan. Early in his career he was an ELL teacher. "Jeff Klassen is among the finest young teachers I've worked with over the past decade as an administrator,” writes one referee.

Kelli Karg – HS and IB English

Kelli is a veteran international teacher with over 15 years experience. She has taught MYP and IB DP English.  Starting her career in the United States, she has worked in Myanmar, Singapore, and the Ukraine. According to one reference, “she is innovative and energetic. She sets high standards for student behavior and academics but does so in a warm and supportive way.”

Katelyn Kearney – High School Counselor

Katelyn has worked as a middle and high school counselor in three different international schools in China, Qatar, and Philippines. She is currently the High School Counselor at the Brent School in Manila. According to one of her referees, “Katelyn Regan has experience in personal, social, and college counseling. She is passionate about students and fills every moment of her day with activities to support them.” 

Alana Keith – Middle School Math

“Alana's care and concern for the needs of her students is commendable. She possibilities in all her students and is willing to walk the extra mile for them”, according to a former supervisor. Alana has over 15 years of teaching experience working in China, Egypt, South Korea, and the Virgin Islands. 

Bryan Keith – Secondary School Dean of Student, Physical Education

Bryan will be joining ISD in a combined administrative and teaching role.  He is currently the Middle School Associate Principal at the Korean International School in Jeju.  “It is testament to his organizational talents, people skills and conflict resolution abilities that few, if any, problems ever arise that can't be dealt with quickly and effectively. He is also a great classroom teacher and an inspiring coach.” Reports one of his referees. Bryan has over 15 years of teaching experience working in China, Egypt, South Korea, and the Virgin Islands. 

Sandra Lee – Elementary Music

With over 25 years of experience in United States public schools, Sandra has worked with elementary, middle and high school students. This will be her first time working overseas.  In addition to teaching elementary general music, Sandra will also start choirs in elementary and secondary. A former supervisor notes that the students love going to her classes and the student performances are amazing.

Lindsey Long – High School Learning Support

Lindsey is currently a Learning Specialist at the International School of Amsterdam.  She has over ten years experience and worked in the United States before moving to the Netherlands. A former supervisor describes Lindsey as a passionate advocate for her students who will do anything to help them succeed.

Ann Neill – Elementary Counselor

Ann has a Masters Degree in Social Work.  She has held a number of positions in school and worked as a mental health professional. Currently, she is an elementary counselor at the Taipei American School.  “Annie has a wonderful rapport with students. They are excited when they see her on the playground or in our classroom and they seek her out when they need comfort or help solving a problem,”reports one of her referees.

Jeff Neill – College Admission Counselor, High School English Teacher

Jeff is currently the College Admission Counselor at the Taipei American School, one of the top schools in Asia.  He has over ten years of teaching English and almost 15 years of experience as a college counselor in top private school in the states and overseas.  The praise from his referees is to the point, “He is a rock star. I wish we could keep him here forever.”

Dan Nellor – Elementary Classroom Teacher

“Dan is a stellar teacher, capable of taking on the tough challenges and working toward the goal of serving a wide range of diversity”, writes a former supervisor.  He is an experienced PYP teacher, with over 15 years experience, with most of the time overseas, working in Azerbaijan, Morocco, and Russia in addition to the United States.

Lori Nellor – Elementary Classroom Teacher

Lori, a veteran PYP teacher, has taught a wide range of elementary grades from K to grade five. Over her 15 plus year career she has taught in Azerbaijan, Morocco, and Russia, and the United States. One of her referees reports, “Lori is a highly effective classroom teacher. Her teaching and lessons are engaging, differentiated and ensure all students make very good progress.”

Gwyn Ochs – MYP Design Technology

Gwyn has over 5 years experience teaching Design Technology. She earned the IB Diploma as a student. She has worked in Hungary, South Korea, and the United States.  According to a former supervisor, “For someone relatively new to teaching, she has the attitude of a lifelong learner, and shares that joy readily with her students. Gwyn has been a fantastic and inspiring role model for our girls.”

Paul Press – HS and IB Physics

A veteran IB Diploma teacher, Paul was first an electrical engineer.  He has over 15 years experience working in Malawi, Mozambique, Thailand, and United Kingdom.  He is currently the IB Diploma Coordinator in Maputo and has been an MYP science teacher and an IB DP math teacher.  A former supervisor describes his teaching style as innovative and he has a deep knowledge of the IB Diploma Program.

Brian Thornburn – MYP Design Technology

Brian is currently an MYP Design Teacher at the International School of Dusseldorf in Germany. He has over 15 years experience and has worked all over the work including Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Vietnam, and Scotland.  Brian started his working career as a carpenter and moved into teaching later in life. His references state he is incredibly well organized and goes above and beyond to help struggling kids.”

Michele Yancey – Elementary Art

After many years as a teaching assistant supporting students with in special education programs, Michele became a teacher in 2015. This will be Michele’s first time working overseas. A former supervisor notes, “Michele is an essential part of our building’s culture.  Students love attending her class and the community appreciates what she teaches as well as the environment she sets for our school.”

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