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Director's Dispatch: Recruiting Great Teachers

To be a great school, you need great teachers. Hiring talented teachers is the most important thing we do as administrators. The number of international schools has doubled in the past ten years and the total number of teacher positions in these schools has tripled. These increases have made the recruiting of new staff very competitive. Teachers and administrators can apply to international schools all around the world. In order to hire the best available faculty, we need to have a competitive compensation package, start the recruiting process as early as possible, devote a significant amount of time building relationships with prospective teachers, and have an educational program and vision that excites people.

Starting in October 2019, the Board of Trustees increased the priority of hiring a diverse faculty that is more reflective of the student body. Although it is changing, the traditional candidate pools have a limited number of Teachers of Color. We have relied on two main strategies to increase the number of diverse candidates. One, rather than just relying on teachers who apply to the school, ISD administrators go through the full databases actively looking for Teachers of Color. Two, we encourage our current teaching staff to reach out to through networks encouraging high-quality teachers to apply, especially Teachers of Color. Our efforts have yielded results and have increased a larger number of teachers of color both for this year and for next year.

In a given year, we will have anywhere from 12 to 20 teachers resign. In addition, due to enrollment growth and new educational programs, we have added two to five positions per year. This year, while we had a lower number of teachers resign, although we are filling a couple of positions that were left vacant this year, and the administration has requested a few additional positions to expand programs for students.

We are doing all interviews online due to Covid rather than being able to interview some candidates face to face at recruiting fairs. Applicants are interviewed at least three times by multiple administrators. Candidates are required to have confidential written references, which are verified with phone calls. This process can take a great deal of time, but it has proven to be successful in finding strong teachers who are a good fit for ISD.

Our school’s reputation has grown over the past years as former ISD families and teachers have shared their positives experiences at ISD and living in Dakar. The Board’s decision to move to the IB Primary Years Program and Middle Years Program, combined with the students’ success in the IB Diploma Program has helped increase the number of applications we receive. We average about 1,000 applicants per year. Our goal is to build a special school. We are looking for teachers and administrators who want to help create and develop programs. For the right candidate, ISD presents an exciting opportunity.

If you know a great teacher who would be a great fit for the ISD community, encourage them to look at our employment page. You can also invite them to email me directly ( with a resume. Make sure they include your name.

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