ISS Appoints New Director of Global Recruitment

PRINCETON NJ, USA (September 1, 2021) — International Schools Services (ISS) is pleased to announce that Pauline O’Brien will become the Director of Global Recruitment at ISS. O’Brien will succeed Laura Light, who will assume the role of Executive Director of the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) on October 1, 2021.

Since May 2020, O’Brien has served as the Director of Administrative Search and Governance Services at ISS. Pauline has been an active member of the ISS team and instrumental in helping to drive significant growth in worldwide leadership searches. “The timing of this transition is propitious,” says Liz Duffy, ISS President. “Laura has done tremendous work leading up to the recent launch of the new ISS EDUrecruit global recruitment platform and Pauline is well poised to continue its momentum.”

ISS EDUrecruit, launched in July 2021, is a smart recruiting platform, using the latest technologies, that allows both international schools and job-seeking candidates to see and share what really matters. “Our goal was to make a system aligned with our mission that makes everyone’s efforts easier and more personalized,” says Duffy. The brand-new system features optimized searches for ease and results, one of the largest quality databases in international education, customizable reports and dashboards, and the personal service that has been a hallmark of ISS for decades.

O’Brien elaborates, “The new platform has many cutting-edge features requested by international school leaders and educators, such as skills-based references, extended school information, and video features. The system also allows us to integrate our leadership and teacher searches as well as ISS’s professional learning services, so schools can focus not only on the recruitment of international educators, but also on the retention and development of their staffs throughout their careers.”

O’Brien takes on this new role at ISS, building on an impressive 20+ year track record in professional recruitment, international client service, and school head and board relations. She brings passion to recruiting, having personally interviewed and placed thousands of leaders and educators over the course of her career. “Working in recruitment allows me to combine all the things that I love. I get to apply my skills in supporting others to identify and discover their talents and make matches that suit them to best achieve their excellence,” explained O’Brien.

Prior to joining ISS, O’Brien led the Career & Recruitment Services at the Council of International Schools (CIS), where she developed and implemented a wide range of initiatives, including candidate career development, advanced screening and selection processes, and inclusive and culturally competent, skills-based recruitment practices. In addition, she served 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.

Fluent in English and Dutch, O’Brien studied international business in The Netherlands, but says that her everyday life is the best study in international competency. Born in the UK to Irish parents, she and her husband (born in the Netherlands to Moluccan parents) have two Dutch daughters. “I’m fascinated by culture,” says O’Brien. “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.”

Beth Pfannl, ISS Vice President of Global Recruitment, is equally pleased about this new appointment. “Pauline brings extensive educational and business experience, a deep knowledge of recruitment best practices, boundless energy, a can-do approach, and an enthusiasm that is both infectious and inspiring to all with whom she interacts,” says Pfannl. “Pauline will ensure not only a seamless transition, but also the continued growth and development of ISS’ entire recruitment services.”

O’Brien is excited to collaborate with Laura Light in her new role at AAIE. “Laura has been an outstanding leader at ISS and she is an inspired choice for AAIE,” says O’Brien. “I’m delighted to continue to work with Laura in her new capacity. ISS has hosted its renowned job fair in conjunction with AAIE’s annual conference for many years, and for the past three years, the AAIE Office has operated out of ISS’s Princeton headquarters. I look forward to continuing ISS’s long partnership with AAIE with Laura at the helm.” 

About International Schools Services (ISS)

As a nonprofit organization, International Schools Services (ISS) works with more than 800 international schools and tens of 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 promoted innovative best practices for global education. Core services include starting and operating student-centered, future-oriented schools; recruiting world-class educators and leaders; providing cutting-edge professional learning opportunities; sourcing essential school supplies; administering school foundations; and encouraging more diverse leadership in international schools. With offices in Princeton, NJ USA and Shenzhen, China and staff located across the globe, ISS invites all to join in making a world of difference. For more information, see