To be a great school, you need great teachers. Hiring talented teachers is the most important thing we do as administrators. Covid-19 has dramatically impacted the recruiting and hiring of teachers. How Senegal and ISD have managed Covid-19 positively impacts candidates’ interest in working at our school. The fact we have not been locked down and people are free to travel in and out of the country stands in contrast to Asia and other parts of the world. However, it still remains a competitive market as high-quality teachers can work anywhere in 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.
Overseas-hire teachers stay at ISD for an average of four years. 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. Administrators have already started interviewing and hiring teachers for the 2022-2023 school year. The incoming administrators, Sandy McKenzie, Director, and Estelle Hughes, Secondary Principal, will also be involved in the process.
Recruiting teachers for the next school starts earlier and earlier. When I first started hiring for ISD five years ago, we started interviewing in earnest in January. Now, the hiring season begins in October. To help us get started as soon as possible, we ask teachers to indicate whether they plan on returning to ISD or not by mid-October. Eight teachers have already notified us that this will be their last year at ISD.
The top three reasons teachers accept an employment offer at an international school are the compensation package, the school administration, and the school’s reputation.
The location of the international school is one of the least important factors. To determine the competitiveness of our compensation package, we benchmark our compensation with 15 of the top schools in Africa as well as leading schools in the Middle East. This data is shared with the Board of Trustees as they consider the next year’s annual budget, including any improvements to the educators’ compensation.
While we used to be able to interview candidates in person, all hiring is now done virtually. 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.
ISD’s preferred hiring criteria is a Masters’s Degree, eight years of teaching experience, experience working internationally, and knowledge of the International Baccalaureate programs. Before looking internationally, we will interview candidates who currently live in or will be moving to Dakar. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of applicants who live in Dakar and meet our criteria. Therefore, 80% of the teachers need to be overseas hires. In recent years, we have been successful in our recruiting. Eighty percent of the teachers have a Master’s degree or higher, 70% have ten years of teaching experience, and over 80% have experience in the International Baccalaureate program.
The Board and Administration continue to place an emphasis on hiring a diverse faculty. Our goal is to have a faculty that mirrors the diversity of the students. In the past two years, over 40% of newly hired teachers have been educators of color.
In order to accomplish this, we search for educators of color rather than simply interview the candidates who apply to ISD, utilize our networks to advertise for positions, and actively promote that educators of color are encouraged to apply to ISD.
Our school’s reputation has grown over the past years as former ISD families and teachers have shared their positive experiences at ISD and living in Dakar. The school’s move to the IB Primary Years Program (PYP) and Middle Years Program (MYP), combined with the students’ success in the IB Diploma Program has helped increase the number of applications we receive. We are looking for teachers and administrators who want to help create and develop programs. For the right candidate, ISD presents an exciting opportunity.
Below are our current vacancies for the 2022-2023 school year. If you know of a great teacher who would be a good fit for our community, I encourage you to invite them to apply to ISD by emailing me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) and including your name in the email.
Middle School Counselor
MYP Individuals and Societies