ISS Expands Administrative Search Team to Support Growing Client Base

PRINCETON NJ, USA (May 27, 2020) – International Schools Services (ISS) is pleased to announce that Pauline O’Brien will join the ISS Administrative Search Team in the newly created role of Director of Administrative Searches and Governance Services, effective June 1, 2020.

Pauline brings an impressive 20+ year track record in professional recruitment, international client service, and school board relations, having personally interviewed hundreds of leaders over the course of her career. She is enthusiastic about the days ahead. “I have been admiring ISS for some time,” says Pauline. “There is a freshness about the organization; and the ISS leaders display such a mindful, and innovative approach to everything they do.”

Over the last few years, ISS has seen a considerable growth in leadership searches, covering almost all continents. Dr. Beth Pfannl, ISS Vice President, Administrative Searches and Governance Services, cites “the growing reputation of ISS for understanding what’s happening in today’s schools; by knowing both the experienced leaders and the rising stars; and by always focusing on fit, not formula.” Beth explains, “It couldn’t be a better time for Pauline to join us. We’ve been expanding and her deep experience will further support that momentum.”

Prior to joining ISS, Pauline worked for the Council of International Schools (CIS) which recently made the decision to discontinue its Career & Recruitment Services. “I feel really good about the transition from CIS to ISS,” says Pauline. “Both organizations have strong values and ethics and believe in human capital.  It feels like a natural transition especially since I will continue to support many of the international schools I’ve worked with previously, now in my ISS capacity. ISS has a strong reputation and I’m really enthusiastic about joining the organization.”

While at CIS, Pauline developed and implemented a wide range of career and recruitment-related initiatives. These include candidate career development, advanced screening and selection practices, and methods that assist candidates in building skills-based professional portfolios. She explains, “Schools deserve excellent service, expertise, knowledge, care, and guidance. They should always go away feeling they have been fully supported and that the service given has gone beyond their expectations. It will be great to work alongside Beth and the rest of the team to deliver this premium service.”

Pauline’s career has also included serving on the International Task Force for Child Protection (ITFCP), which resulted in the creation and delivery of educational sessions on effective international recruitment practices worldwide. She has presented at international education conferences around the world and delivered career workshops and programs to support building and leading international diverse teams and supporting women in leadership. In addition, she has extensive experience in board governance, having worked with countless school boards and communities to advise on effective practices for selecting school leaders.

Fluent in English and Dutch, Pauline studied international business in The Netherlands, but says that her everyday life is actually the best study in international competency. Born in the UK to Irish parents, she and her husband (born in the Netherlands to Indonesian parents) have two Dutch daughters. “I’m fascinated by culture,” says Pauline. “I think it’s so important that we recognize we all go about things differently, think about things differently and that there is no one way to achieve a desired outcome. Recognizing and respecting similarities and differences can help us achieve richer and more robust relationships and result in meaningful collaborative work while learning from each other.”

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About International Schools Services (ISS)

As a nonprofit organization, International Schools Services (ISS) works with more than 500 international schools and thousands of educators each year across its suite of services, creating the largest global footprint in international education support. Since its inception in 1955, ISS has launched and managed more than 100 international schools; placed approximately 50,000 educators; developed ground-breaking learning programs, such as the World Language Initiative and Level 5 Creativity & Innovation Hubs; processed about 15,000 school supply orders annually; and stewarded over 75 school foundations each year. With its headquarters in Princeton, NJ, USA and locations in China and the Middle East, ISS currently directly owns, operates, or manages nearly 20 international schools around the world and promotes innovation and best practices for global education through its core services that include founding and managing student-centered, future-oriented schools; recruiting world-class educators; providing cutting-edge professional learning opportunities; sourcing essential school supplies; and stewarding school foundations. ISS staff has extensive experience in all aspects of international education, with most senior leaders having served as Heads of Schools across a variety of continents. To learn more, please visit: