At ISS we value our relationship with you and want to convey our commitment to your privacy. We have updated our Data Privacy and Protection Policies.

Building a leadership team is an art and a science

For decades, the ISS Administrative Search Team has been conducting global searches, connecting international schools with outstanding administrative candidates. The ISS Senior Search Consultants leverage their vast experience as school leaders in the international community to help your school find the right fit for your team. ISS is committed to excellence, offering custom approaches to fit the unique needs of each individual school.

Our Mission

From its inception in 1955, ISS has operated as a full service non-profit organization dedicated to supporting schools in all aspects of their operation. We understand that a leadership team is the foundation upon which a school is built. To this end, we are committed to identifying excellent leaders who are actively engaged in and passionate about creating a better world through education.

Our Promise

ISS is much more than a recruiting agency. The Administrative Search Team draws on their knowledge gained through decades of service in the international community to find the best leader for each school. Our connections are vast, forged over the last 60 years in school start-up, management, recruitment and operations. When you work with ISS, you gain the support of a multi-faceted team, capable of meeting any of your school’s needs.

Our Services

Today more than ever, international schools are competing for leaders with passionate educational visions, the ability to manage stakeholders’ needs, and the flexibility to navigate diverse cultures. Since 1981, ISS has helped schools in their search for excellent leadership, recruiting more than 750 administrators for institutions around the world.

See how ISS can help your school »

Put Us to Work

Competition for school leadership talent can be intense, so put the ISS Administrative Search Team to work as early as possible. A search generally runs 70 to 90 days, but shorter timeframes can be accommodated based on more pressing needs.

  1. 1 Contact us and let us know about your search needs. Once we agree on terms and conditions, we will get started.
  2. 2 Your search is launched. Advertisements, canvassing, announcements and candidate outreach begins immediately, leveraging our global connections and reach.
  3. 3 We conduct screening and initial interviews. Deliberations and selection of semi-finalists are done on a rolling basis as applications are received.
  4. 4 During the selection of finalists, campus visits and the contract negotiation process, we help you identify the right fit and announce the new hire.
  5. 5 ISS can also bridge the gap and provide transition assistance as entry activities commence.

Our Ongoing Support

You’re now a part of the ISS Global Community. Our Warranty ensure your satisfaction with the process and result of your leadership search. We also offer ISS additional services including:

  • Transition management such as development of a mentoring program for the new leader
  • Setting the criteria for performance evaluation
  • Ongoing leadership coaching and consulting, other critical “bridge” activities
  • Development, advancement, endowment and fundraising

ISS is committed to the success of every search we support and will go the extra mile to ensure our clients are satisfied.

Getting Started

We look forward to assisting in finding your next great educators, helping with their transition and positioning for success, or any other adjustment periods, or any other aspect of education recruitment.



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Recently we worked with ISS for the recruitment of our new Director.  ISS were extremely professional, friendly, courteous and proficient, while at the same time being very flexible.  ISS provided an excellent service to us through the good understanding of our school's needs and provided us with exceptional candidates that were the right fit.  They were always approachable, helpful and understanding, and provided a prompt follow up to all of our requests.  I cannot praise ISS enough for the support and help they've given us, and I would recommend them to any school without hesitation.

- Nathalie Azzopardi , Search Committee Chair, Western Academy of Beijing Board of Trustees

"...ISS took great effort to guide us through a time that not only ended in a very successful recruitment but also in a reunited board. ISS is a welcome addition to any team."

- Matthew Sheehan , Board HOS Election Committee, International School of Helsinki, Finland


Yes! We will speak with key constituents to better understand the ethos and priorities of the school. The ISS consultant conducts school-community facilitations, engaging in a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. Written results are then presented to the Board for action. This forms the basis of the Leadership Profile against which candidates are assessed.

Discussion points with the Board/Search Committee will include:

  • Desired profile of candidates suitable for the post, including but not limited to qualifications, qualities sought and experiences desired
  • Competitive remuneration package and key benefits for candidates
  • Agreement on the best advertising options and strategies: ISS website, emails sent to all ISS member schools and ISS administrators’ database, postings in national and international periodicals, journals or websites
  • Key elements to be included in the vacancy notice Issues facing the school short-term and long-term, including strategic priorities and challenges
  • Time schedule, confidentiality and stakeholder outreach

Whenever possible and at the client's discretion, ISS Administrative Search Team Leader is available to meet with the client's Search Committee and/or Board via Skype or conference call.

ISS makes initial contact with applicants and screens to a long-list of candidates or semi-finalists, based on the Leadership Profile. The pace of the process is rapid. Qualified, screened candidates are forwarded to the Search Committee as they are vetted.

When the right candidates are identified, the process will move to on-site visits with stakeholder review and feedback.

  • Applications – Application materials are determined in consultation with the Board.
  • Consistently formatted dossiers are presented to help our clients in their selection process.
  • Initial Screening – Vetted candidates with completed applications are interviewed via Skype or conference call by the ISS search consultant. Each interview is approximately 45-60 minutes and the School will receive notes of each candidate interviewed.
  • Semi-Finalist Candidates - ISS narrows the candidate pool to a list of six to eight highly qualified candidates. ISS then conducts reference and validation checks of semi-finalist candidates, matching their stated achievements with their application information.
  • Finalist Candidates - Finalist candidates are invited for a site-visit to the school. ISS recommends that candidates go through a comprehensive schedule of meetings so that all stakeholder voices are heard in the process. Feedback forms are developed based upon the Leadership Profile. This approach results in candidates assessed against criteria rather than one another – thus avoiding a win-lose perception among stakeholders.


ISS is committed to the success of the search, and will take extraordinary measures to ensure the client is satisfied. In the unlikely event that a search does not result in a successful conclusion, ISS will assist with another search at no further costs other than expenses. If it is too late to consider another new search for the coming academic year, ISS will assist with the search and selection of an interim Head or Principal and then will begin a new search, once again at no further cost other than expenses.

Warranty: We guarantee our clients’ satisfaction with both the process and the result. Should the successful candidate not complete the first 2 years of the initial contract, ISS will conduct another search at no further cost other than expenses.

In addition to comprehensive search services, the Administrative Search department offers schools wishing to handle their own search the opportunity to enlist ISS connections in the posting and distribution of their announcement. Your position announcement will be posted on our Administrative Search webpage and distributed via email to thousands of administrators worldwide. Please contact us for details, or visit our other departments to see how we can further serve you.

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