Leadership Feature: Bobbi McDaniel
This 2019-20 recruitment season, the ISS Administrative Search Team has already led and supported 40 school leadership searches spanning 23 countries, with more searches continuing to be added. Among these searches, we are proud to have led the selection process for the American International School of Monrovia (Liberia) Director. Congratulations to Dr. Bobbi McDaniel for accepting the position, beginning July 2020!
Bobbi is currently the Girls Principal at Vision International School in Qatar, with prior experiences as a Vice Principal, Curriculum Coordinator, and Teacher. Prior to becoming an international educator, Bobbi worked as a teacher, coordinator, and Director of Federal Programs in US public schools in New York, California and Nevada.
Bobbi holds a BA from the University of Nevada Reno, a Speech Communications MA from Fordham University, and Education Ed.D Pepperdine Univ. CA in Organizational Leadership. Learn more about her path in education and her hopes for this next step in her career!
Why are you excited about this new role? What are your hopes?
I’m excited to be in Africa! Specifically, Liberia has a special place in my heart. One of my dearest friends is from Liberia and she often spoke of the beauty of growing up in Liberia. Moreover, the former president Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, the first woman president on the continent of Africa, has long been an inspiration based on her non-violence approach to leadership and championing the rights of women, while leading Liberia out of two horrific civil wars.
There is an untapped economic and educational potential that is Africa. All one need do is look at current reports by the World Bank, the Economic Forum and the Brookings Institute to understand the economic potential of Africa. The potential growth of Africa’s economies depends on education in Africa.
Tell us about your education philosophy and your leadership style. What can the community expect?
As the world changes daily, educators must stay relevant in order to prepare students for the rapidly expanding world and the skills needed to be successful. Educators were once able to predict the jobs and career paths for students; technology has changed that predictability, a growth mindset is required in our schools and with our students. No longer are we just distributors of information we are interpreters, de-coders, and analyzers of information and these are the critical thinking skills needed in the 21st century classroom and beyond.
The community of AISM can expect from me a strong work ethic and an educational leader dedicated to best practices and building community. My leadership style relies heavily on collaboration and professional development, educators need to consistently renew, revitalize and reflect on the practice of teaching.
What is an interesting fact or story about you that you would like to share?
An interesting story or fact about me is that I was born in Las Vegas, NV. I grew up in the backdrop of the LV strip, though neither parent worked in the gaming industry. We were involved in community activities and Girl Scouts, and always had a garden in the backyard. Although, a glitzy city, my community was like being raised in a small town, where everyone knew you and your family. We often joke that the family’s business is education. Most of my family works in schools in Las Vegas and I was no different except I worked in schools in New York after graduate school at Fordham University and later working in Los Angeles schools while I finished my Doctorate at Pepperdine University.
What drew you to pursue the world of education, and to international education specifically?
Reading books always transported me on adventures out of Las Vegas as a kid. I remember reading books an imagining myself in all the places that I read about. Fast forward to working in International Education; it has always been a dream that I held close to my heart. My wonderful daughter Taylor encouraged and inspired me to go after my dream. I was fortunate enough to meet Judith Drotar (currently the Head of School at the American International School of Algiers) at my 1st International fair and she took a chance on an international newbie.
Bobbi and her daughter Taylor
How was your overall experience with the ISS Administrative Search Team?
Dr. Beth Pfannl is a force in the development and recruitment of women leaders and as a woman of color her support has been invaluable. She has made a huge difference in my experience with ISS as she provided a safe space to listen to what my professional goals were and then coached and mentored me through the process of my 1st Directorship. I can only hope to pay it forward to some of the amazing women leaders I have met internationally.
Our thanks to Bobbi for sharing her journey; we cannot wait to see her passion and leadership in action at AISM. Wishing her a happy transition from Qatar to Liberia next school year!