Leadership Spotlight: Colette Andree Bounet
The ISS Administrative Search Team was proud to lead the Founding Head of School search for a new American school opening in Rabat, Morocco in August 2022. Congratulations to Colette Andree Bounet for accepting the position! Colette is currently Dean of Student Life and Student Services Coordinator at Graded – The American School of São Paulo in Brazil.
Colette was previously at Colegio Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the American School in Lima, Peru from 2000-2002. Between Peru and Brazil, she was working toward her administration degree and completing 6 years as a Principal and Assistant Principal in Virginia in the Arlington Public School system.
Colette earned a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education from George Washington University, and an M.Ed. in Education Leadership from George Mason University. She holds a teaching endorsement in K-12 English as a Second Language through the Virginia licensure system.
Colette grew up in Morocco and is excited to return to Rabat in her new leading role as a Founding Head of School. Enjoy her reflections about her journey in education, the drive behind her work, and her visions for this chapter in her life.
What drew you to pursue the world of education? And what drew you into international education specifically?
I began in education through my love of tutoring students in high school and college. In college, I spent 2 summers as a camp counselor for a small group organized by Harvard University students, serving two housing projects in inner-city Boston. After graduating, I needed to find a way to join together my love of students with my desire to live overseas again.
A unique part of my education background is also my specialty field: special education. This came about from an experience I had in Morocco, at a time when my mom worked at the Rabat American School (my alma mater). There was a student who had applied for admission, and she had cerebral palsy. She walked with two crutches. I remember seeing her struggle to get up the steps to the Administrative Offices and wondered to myself, “Shouldn’t she have the same access to education as all the rest of us?”. From then on, I wanted to be part of the solution to students with disabilities having equal access to education. My passion for special education has never dwindled, and I always keep in mind that education is for all learners, not just a select few.
Colette and her mother, Josette Renaut
What countries or regions have you worked in the past?
Since I studied Spanish for the first time in college, I wanted to perfect my use of it, so my initial overseas request was to be in South America. I knew immediately that I had found my niche. I finally had a chance to live and work in Spanish and I benefited so much from my experience in Peru. I also traveled to Ecuador and Chile during my two year contract.
Brazil was my second overseas post, and once again, it was due to a desire to learn another language and get immersed in the culture. I feel very comfortable in South America and look forward to coming back at some point in the future.
Other than Brazil and Peru, I have worked in the Washington, DC area of the United States; a very international and cosmopolitan city with so many international connections. I love it!
Please tell us about your education philosophy and your leadership style. What can your new community expect?
My educational philosophy centers around children having opportunities and finding their talents through exploration and innovation. I serve the students and my community best by leading a school in the use of pioneering strategies, strong, research-based practices and collaborative approaches to include family in the learning experience. Simply put, the community should know that I value our partnership as if it were my family.
Congratulations on your new position in Rabat! What excites you about being in this new role and school? What are your hopes?
I am eager to begin a new school with a new educational mindset and innovative approaches. Partnering with ISS and Lumo Education from Finland will give our school an edge that no else in the region has – that in itself is exciting! I am looking forward to creating a community feel that is warm, welcoming and embraces Moroccan culture. I look forward to meeting new students and families as well as welcoming new staff to our school.
This is such a unique opportunity for me because I grew up in Morocco. Moving to Rabat at the age of 8, I did all of my schooling through the age of 18 in Morocco. To return to my adopted home is an extraordinary occasion that I get to share with my new school community.
What have your experiences with ISS and ISS Administrative Search been like?
ISS is an organization that is professional and personal. They combine the best of the job world where you feel valued and you are treated with respect. That can often be hard to find, but they have perfected these skills. I would work with the ISS Administrative Search team again and again.
We are wishing Colette (and her cat, Bailey) a happy move to Morocco in 2021! We look forward to seeing her leadership shine in the school’s early days, and far beyond.