Leadership Spotlight: George Dolesch
ISS Administrative Search was proud to lead the Elementary Principal search for The American International School of Budapest (AISB) in Budapest, Hungary. Congratulations to George Dolesch for accepting the position, beginning August 2022! George currently works with Universal Education as a Consulting Associate Director, helping Stellar World School launch three PYP schools in Mumbai.
George holds a MEd in Educational Leadership from The College of New Jersey and a BEd in Elementary Education from Cleveland State University, USA. His previous experiences include serving as Junior School Principal at the International School of Basel, Switzerland; Elementary Principal at the Anglo American School of Moscow, Russia; Founding Head of Stamford American International School in Singapore; Elementary School Principal of Universal American School in Dubai, UAE; and Elementary Teacher at the American International School of Budapest, Hungary.
In this feature, learn about George’s start in education, his service leadership style, and why he’s excited to join the AISB as a leader and listener.
What inspired you to pursue the world of education? And what drew you to international education specifically?
Family members encouraged me to explore the field of education. They felt my gregarious nature and ability to connect with people would serve others and me well. That was over thirty years ago. I have been so fortunate throughout my career because I love what I do.
I did not know about international schools when I left the USA in 1992. I grew up within a Hungarian community in Cleveland, Ohio. After finishing my bachelor’s degree in education, I decided to head to Budapest, Hungary. When I arrived I taught English to adults, and was also an English tutor. A few months after I arrived, I accidentally stumbled upon the American International School of Budapest. In my first year at AISB, I was a bus monitor/cafeteria monitor and a substitute teacher. The following year, I was hired as a fifth grade teacher. AISB was my first international school and it was a wonderful experience.
George with his wife Mary Dolesch, son Zalan, and daughter Zsofi
Please tell us about your education philosophy and your leadership style. What can your new community expect?
My educational creed is to make sure students love learning and know how to learn. If these two pieces are in place, then students will be successful in whatever arena they are in. We are gifted with our early learners because they come to us with an innate curiosity that we need to nurture and grow. Unfortunately, sometimes schools thwart this curiosity by imposing what they believe is important for the child to know as opposed to honoring what the child knows and wishes to know. I am a firm believer in building student agency and self-efficacy.
My service leadership style has been described as distributive, situational, and one that is rooted in empathy. The AISB community can expect this type of leadership style to help the community spirit grow and become even more special.
Congratulations on your new position at AISB! What excites you about being in this new role and school? What are your hopes?
I was excited about joining AISB when I applied for the position. After two days of interviews with so many people, I became super excited about joining the Blazer community. I am joining a fabulous school that has a switched on, dynamic leadership team. I am eager to learn from them and contribute my perspectives. I very much look forward to working together with students, parents, faculty, staff, and leaders to make it an even more special place.
My hopes are to build strong, positive relationships with everyone in the community. By getting to know everyone in the school, listening to them, looking at ways to empower them and harnessing their ideas and skills, together we will help lift AISB to the next level. When this happens a sense of pride, accomplishment, and ownership of the school’s success is shared by all.
What is an interesting fact or story about you that you would like to share?
When I left to go to Hungary, it wasn’t to start a career in international education. I left to advance my fencing career. I had plans on trying to make the USA’s fencing team. Hungarian fencers, especially saber (my choice of weapon) fencers had achieved world renowned success. When I arrived in Budapest I joined the “Ujpest” fencing club where several world and olympic champions had and were trained. It was an honor and pleasure to be at the club. However, a few months into my training I came across AISB where I accepted a full time job. I couldn’t afford to put in the hours of training each day to be competitive at that level so I chose a career in international education which has served me extremely well. I definitely made the right choice. Touche!
The Dolesch family in St. Moritz, Switzerland
And finally, what was your experience with ISS Administrative Search like?
I really appreciated the time the ISS Administration team took to get to know me as a person and as a professional. They offered excellent guidance from resume design and content to what to write in a letter of interest to schools. I appreciated their knowledge and guidance throughout the process.