Leadership Spotlight: Michelle deKam Palmieri

ISS Administrative Search was proud to lead the Elementary Principal search for The American School of The Hague (ASH) in Wassenaar, The Netherlands. Congratulations to Michelle deKam Palmieri for accepting the position, beginning August, 2022! Michelle is currently the Elementary School Principal of Greenleaf Elementary School, Minnesota, USA.

Michelle holds an EdD in Educational Leadership from Minnesota State University; MA in Instructional Technology from the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota; and a BS in Elementary Education and a BA in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Her career experience includes serving as a District Magnet School Coordinator, as well as experience with the Office of Educational Equity, Middle-level leadership, and Elementary school teaching.

Read about the passion behind Michelle’s work, what brings her joy in her profession, and how this new chapter ahead at ASH will continue to expand her small and large world connections.

What drew you to pursue the world of education? And what drew you into international education specifically?

One of my own teachers from childhood inspired me to enter this amazing profession! From teaching to serving as an administrator, my passion for working with elementary children spans my entire professional career. The daily joy that manifests from our young learners’ curiosity and sense of wonder is what centers me in the continual rewards of this work. My role in education is to increase opportunities and possibilities in creating independent thinkers and global citizens of the world, and there is no better way to do that than through international education. I believe students need vast opportunities to experience complex thinking, nurture curiosities, and develop their own expressions as they ponder their learning. As educators of the world, we need to model for our students how to productively work with others with unwavering acceptance and empathy.

Please tell us about your education philosophy and your leadership style. What can your new community expect?

My greatest professional joy is to bring out the best in people. As a principal, I deeply love supporting staff and students, encouraging them, drawing out their talents, and supporting them with tools to do their best work. Collaboration with stakeholders is something I value as I form strong partnerships with the entire school community. My goal is to collectively work with staff to provide learning that empowers students to be active participants in their journeys, providing pathways for students to unleash their curiosities, dreams, skills, and passions so that we can surround the whole child as a learner. My mission in education is to support students’ wonder, expression, and deep meaning-making for real-life application.

Michelle reading to kindergarten students

  The American School of The Hague

Congratulations on your new position at ASH! What excites you about being in this new role and school? What are your hopes?

The American School of The Hague offers students possibilities that align with my own professional mission of empowering learners to be their best and my own professional vision of creating an environment where students and staff are valued and supported to experience success. I am thrilled for this upcoming opportunity to be a part of the ASH mission of community and the ASH vision of empowerment to positively affect students’ success and impact in a global society. My hope in joining this dynamic learning community is that I can positively impact the strong foundation of success and offer positive contributions to a school that already shines in so many ways!

What is an interesting fact or story about you that you would like to share?

From growing up in a small midwestern town to studying in Mexico to marrying an Italian, my small and large world connections have expanded throughout my life. My current school has offered me the gift of supporting students who come from all over the world. My husband and three children have offered me the gift of learning the Italian language and culture while broadening my cross-cultural lens. Both my maternal and paternal great-grandparents were Dutch and it has been my life-long dream to live in the Netherlands!

Michelle and husband Lucio, daughters Antonia and Elsa, and son Marco


And finally, what was your experience with ISS Administrative Search like?

The process was clearly communicated and thoughtfully done. I felt supported as a candidate every step of the way!


Many thanks to Michelle for her reflections! We’re thrilled for her to fulfill a life-long dream in the Netherlands, and look forward to seeing her and the ASH community thrive together. You can follow her on Instagram.

 If you’re interested in pursuing a school leadership position, please check out our current leadership searches or get in touch with the ISS Administrative Search Team.

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