Recruit A School Leader

Successfully hire for the future now with ISS Leadership Search. Whether you are seeking to hire a Head of School, Principal or other administrative leadership roles, ISS can help you identify your next leader.

Hiring an international school leader is a critical decision that affects the entire school community and there simply is no one-size-fits all answer. It takes a deep understanding of what the school needs today—and in the future—to identify the right leader. ISS listens, collaborates, and combines its deep experience and personalized, detailed approach to make the process and the final decision seamless and successful.

A Tailored Experience to Meet Your School’s Needs

The first step in the process is to listen. We get to know you and your stakeholders so we can better understand what is important to your school community and what the new leader will need to do. Of course, the leader will need to perform the necessary job responsibilities, but that is not enough! We delve deeper, recognizing that a school leader must navigate a school’s unique and complex challenges.

Through school visits, both online and in-person, we perform a detailed Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis. This fieldwork allows us to articulate a shared understanding of the core features of your school, the major challenges, and opportunities that the incoming leader will face, and the key skills, attributes, and experience (characteristics) that the school community seeks in the next leader.

Our team will amplify your position announcement throughout our extensive global network. We leverage our expansive databases, seek out referrals for new contenders and follow up on all leads. Every potential candidate is interviewed to understand their experience, skills, competencies and outcomes of their leadership.

By the time your school receives our short list, you will have our team’s insight about a number of exceptional applicants, plus a comprehensive portfolio for each of these candidates. This will include letters of interest, CVs, confidential references, writing samples, and other documents you may wish to see.

As you narrow your candidate selection, we work closely with you to help craft a competitive compensation and benefits package. We celebrate when you select the next leader for your school community, and our support continues with consultations throughout the entire transition period. Through the first year of new leadership, we offer regular check-ins and assistance with entry plans to ensure that your school, students, and community continue to thrive.

A full search generally spans 70 to 90 days, but shorter time frames can be accommodated for more pressing needs. We will deliver on point, on budget, and on time, with an excellent candidate pool to give you strong choices. We carefully manage the full recruitment, rigorous screening, and interviewing process to maximize engagement at pivotal points; at the same time, we relax the intensity of the overall process so it feels turn-key to you. We proactively communicate and support you at every stage, so you feel informed and benefit from ISS’s hallmark commitment to personalized attention.

International School Experience in Today’s Schools Creates Depth to Your Search and Selection Process

Every day, ISS staff members work with international school leaders and educators around the world. We hear the challenges they face and help to solve them. We own, operate, or manage more than 20 schools ourselves. This helps to keep us abreast of what is happening in schools today and what it takes to operate an accredited, world-class school. We also lead professional development sessions for thousands of current and rising leaders, coaching on the critical competencies and skills needed to lead schools now and in the future.

We bring that robust, real-world insight to our work with hiring committees and candidates, creating depth in the leadership search and selection process and infusing pragmatic, contemporary considerations to inform, guide, and support decisions. When you work with ISS, you benefit from the learnings of hundreds of international schools and thousands of international educators.

You also immediately gain the expertise of a multidisciplinary team of international school and industry experts that allows us to effectively work with schools, parents, and school boards. Our team includes both former heads of international schools and recruitment professionals who have worked with Fortune 500 companies, making a powerful fusion of educational and business expertise, all with high intercultural competency.

In addition, the entire ISS senior leadership team is an integral part of our Leadership Search service. Our team supports schools in international independent, not-for-profit, proprietary and government schools contexts by sharing our insights and expertise in recruiting and hiring for the following senior roles:

  • Educational Leadership, HR & Recruitment
  • Training & Talent Management
  • Marketing & Admissions
  • Governance & Finance
  • Development & Advancement, Technology
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Well-being

Working with ISS for our HoS search was a true pleasure. ISS clearly stood out. From the search until the final hiring the recruiter was well connected with our search committee and various stakeholders. Guiding us fluently through the process. In the end we finalized an outstanding candidate within a timeframe of 11 weeks. Amazing job done! – Recruiter, The International School of Hyderabad

The care taken by the team at ISS goes far beyond being efficient and professional. The degree of personalization is phenomenal. Searching for a new leadership position during the pandemic had definite drawbacks and their understanding of the school’s needs and mine made a major difference in assuring a great match. The consultant’s knowledge of the school was more in-depth than I had ever experienced before, and this was key going into the online-only interviews. I highly recommend them for any candidate or school looking for the most positive experience possible. – L.L, Candidate

Thank you…to the ISS Team for a very successful, and satisfying, Administrative Search experience. We were impressed by the level of personalization and by the timely response rate. The ‘ideal candidate’ profile developed, through an inclusion community process, was a true reflection of our priorities. The quality of our finalists was outstanding. I strongly recommend the ISS team. – Recruiter, Perchersk School International

Excellent, Well-Prepared, Well-Vetted Candidates

ISS has one of the largest, most current networks of experienced and rising candidates. We meet, engage, and get to know prospective candidates personally, to gain a more holistic understanding of what they have to offer to the right school. We build our talent pool of multi-faceted candidates, based on competencies, not just credentials.

Through our activities in the international education industry as well as in the broader educational sector, we cultivate an active, ever-growing pipeline of prospective leaders from around the world. Our direct work with the Diversity Collaborative, ISS Mary Anne Haas Women’s Symposium and other mission-critical groups further supports ISS’s commitment to expand our relationships and networks to deliver a strong, diverse talent pool to the hiring committee.

As we pinpoint prospective candidates for a Head of School or other leadership search, we shift into a rigorous interviewing and vetting process to identify a short list of exceptional candidates. We embark on a multi-phased screening process which will continue all the way through to the final offer stage. We also listen for outcomes and readiness to handle the unique challenges of a school before moving any candidate forward in the process. Throughout these steps, we concurrently work with candidates to ensure their portfolio is in order and they are appropriately prepared for productive discussions with you and the full hiring committee. In addition, we understand that our process reflects both on ISS and your school, so we ensure a positive experience for all involved.

The ISS Leadership Search team works with many schools each year and has conducted more than 1,000 leadership searches across six continents. ISS provides a tailored experience with personal attention and leverages our active role in international education to deliver depth to your search and selection process, culminating in exceptional candidates and a seamless and successful hire.

Leadership Spotlights

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ISS Leadership Spotlight: Becky Galvan

Leadership Spotlight: Becky GalvanISS Leadership Search was honored to support the Elementary Principal search for American School Foundation of Guadalajara...

Leadership Spotlight: Steven Smith

Leadership Spotlight: Steven Smith

Leadership Spotlight: Steven SmithISS Leadership Search was proud to lead the Deputy Head of School for Operations and Finance ​search for Vientiane...

Leadership Spotlight: Jackline Otula

Leadership Spotlight: Jackline Otula

Leadership Spotlight: Jackline OtulaISS Leadership Search was proud to lead the Principal search for Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern...

In addition to our comprehensive Full Search services, ISS also offers schools an “advertise only” option. With this option, ISS can help you boost the visibility of your search by promoting your job post through targeted search announcements to thousands of administrative candidates across ISS platforms. Contact us to learn more.

Screening and Child Protection

Our thorough candidate screening process deters those who have a history of previous improper behavior with students and/or colleagues. It makes it significantly more difficult for them to work within the international education community. Our team provides written confidential references and hosts video interviews with all candidates who are shortlisted. We encourage all schools to talk directly with referees and to conduct criminal background checks before hiring any candidate.

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