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The most important job of a school administrator

What is the most important part of a school administrator’s job? Hire great teachers.

While a good curriculum, programs, and administrators are important, high quality teachers are essential to an outstanding school.

This year, we had 10 educators (12% of our total faculty) resign. I was very happy to see that so many of our teachers wanted to extend their stay at ISD. Over the past four years, we have averaged a resignation rate of over 21%.

The teachers who will be departing after this school year are listed below:

John Andrews – Operations Manager

Stephen Egge – HS Math

Audrey Forgeron – HS Film

Barbara Fultz – Curriculum Coordinator

Kerry Hurst – HS Chemistry

Carol Krapfl – HS Math

Sam Pennypacker – HS Social Studies

Els Seuters – ES English Learning Support

Teresa Wolf – MS/HS Art

John Wishart – Technology Director

We have been recruiting to fill these positions for some weeks. Due to the rapid expansion of international schools world wide, recruiting teachers has become very become very competitive. The number of international schools has doubled in ten years. Teachers looking for an international position do not look for positions in only one region. They may consider positions in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. When selecting a school they consider the school’s reputation, the quality of life outside of school, the compensation package, and whether or not they connect with the school administrator. Our current and former teachers and parents have been instrumental in sharing our story, which has led to greater interest in ISD. In the five years I have been recruiting teachers for ISD, I have seen an increase in the number of applications.

I have been asked by a number of parents if being an IB school makes it harder or easier to find teachers. The IB Diploma program for students in grades 11 and 12 has experienced even faster growth than international schools in general, so the demand for experienced IB teachers is high, particularly in math and sciences. Ideally, you want to hire a great teacher who has IB experience. This is not always possible. In these cases, our belief it is better to hire a great teacher, who can be trained to teach IB, than to hire a mediocre teacher who has the IB experience. We have found that becoming a PYP and MYP school has increased interest in our school. As a result, we have been able to hire experienced Primary Years Program and Middle Years Program teachers who will be instrumental in helping us implement the programs.

To address the increased competition for the top teachers, we have started to recruit earlier. Ten years ago, the hiring season for international teachers lasted six weeks from the beginning of January to mid-February. We now start interviewing teachers in October. By winter break this year, we had filled 7 of our vacancies. I am very excited with the teachers we have been able to hire to date. They are a strong group of teachers with many years of experience and excellent references. I will share their biographies in an upcoming issue of the JAG Journal.

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