Leadership Spotlight: Eric Johnson
ISS Administrative Search was proud to lead the Upper Secondary Principal search for IPS Upper Secondary in Wrocław, Poland. Congratulations to Eric Johnson for accepting the position, beginning August 2022! He is currently the Head of Humanities and Secondary English and IB Teacher at The International School of Krakow.
Eric’s career in education has taken him to the US, Czech Republic, Spain, and Poland. He holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership – Transformational Leadership from The University of New England; a Masters in Education in Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision from The University of North Carolina at Wilmington; and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from The University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
In this feature below, learn about what drew Eric to pursue a career in education, his vision of transformational leadership, and the kind of community he looks forward to building with IPS.
What drew you to pursue the world of education? And what drew you into international education specifically?
Growing up, I always loved school and the process of learning new things. As I made my way through middle and high school, I was fortunate enough to have some amazing teachers. I began to realize how education was not only about academics, but also about relationships, compassion, and understanding. In hindsight, this helped shift my perspective of teachers and what effective learning environments look like. Later on, in university, I had a professor who made an indelible impression on my path toward education. His approach to education was fueled by passion and his commitment to his students was unrivaled. Those classes taught me a lot of things, but one of the most important things I learned was to do something you love. For me, that was, and still is, education.
The IPS campus
I suppose the draw to international education was instigated by a curiosity and motivation to explore the world while learning about other places and people. I have always been interested in expanding my perspective and understanding of those things of which I was unfamiliar. In my experiences, I have enjoyed not only the aspects of living in different countries, but also working in international schools with multiple nationalities and cultures where we are all constantly learning and challenged to see things through different perspectives. International education was a natural fit for me and I am still enamored by the different cultures and global perspectives in which I am privileged to be exposed to.
Congratulations on your new position at IPS! What excites you about being in this new role and school? What are your hopes?
As the new upper secondary principal at IPS, I am excited to begin the unique opportunity of building on to an established international school with an excellent reputation in Wroclaw. The philosophy of IPS, the value placed on multiculturalism and diversity and the core values that include respect, tolerance, reflection, and sensitivity, closely align with my own philosophy and approach to education, leadership, and collaboration. I strongly believe that for children to succeed within an international setting, there should be a diverse range of students and teachers from different backgrounds, encouraging international mindedness and promoting cultural acceptance. My hope is to establish a school community where everyone feels empowered and valued as we work together to develop the new upper secondary at IPS.
IPS teachers and students in a music class
Please tell us about your education philosophy and your leadership style. What can your new community expect?
I believe leadership is service, and my leadership style is built on a foundation of transformational leadership, where influence is exhibited through other people, rather than over other people. From this foundation, I approach leadership as a multidimensional concept and bring in various styles that accommodate each personality, situation, and culture. A key component of this is integrity and my capacity to serve others. I believe leading from this paradigm allows me to draw out the strengths of others, recognize those strengths, and encourage them while establishing relationships through empowerment, inspiration, and an understanding of interpersonal subtleties.
As a transformational leader, my goal is to establish a collaborative culture where teachers and students work to evolve with education and pedagogical practices and to develop a culture in which colleagues and students are not satisfied simply with meeting current standards, but rather push to exceed those standards.
And finally, what was your experience with ISS Administrative Search like?
My experience with ISS has been exceptional. The continuous personal attention, advice, and support from Pauline was incredibly helpful throughout this process. She is easy to talk to and is great at alleviating stress. The ISS team was readily available for my questions and willing to offer honest and open suggestions in an effort to find best fit for me and the schools represented.
Many thanks to Eric for sharing his journey and thoughtful reflections. We look forward to seeing him and the IPS school community thrive together in the new chapter ahead!