Hunting Season: A Field Guide to Finding the Right International School Leader

Guest post by Dana WattsCrossposted at www.teachwatts.com


As recruiting season is around the corner for international schools and job continue to be posted on TieOnline, I find myself wondering what higher education could be doing to better prepare our school leaders for the challenges they will face while working overseas.  All too often, we see school leaders come from the states and although they are terrific leaders, they may have some difficulty transitioning to the overseas environment.  Many of the challenges these leaders face are similar to those of our educational leaders back at home, but are there specific qualities are we looking for when we search for a leader? 

In 2011, Alec Couros shared a Google doc and inspired many of educators around the world to collaborate and create a wonderful document that many administrators use today for recruiting: Writing Prompts for Teachers & Teacher Candidates.  I think it is high time we create one for our school leaders and administrators. . .

Here are a few questions that I might like to ask in an interview:

General Leadership Questions:What are the specific challenges and potential benefits of working as an educational leader overseas?What advice do you have for school leaders who are potentially interested in leading an international school?

Leadership Preparation:What recommendation do you have for preservice preparation of principals when it comes to the international side of school leadership?What best prepared you to serve as a school leader?Is there a particular mindset or behavior that an international leader should have?

Leadership Challenges:What is the greatest challenge of being an leader at an international school?Do you feel your international leadership challenges are the same or different as other educational leaders?

Lifelong Learning:What do you do to improve your own skills as an international leader in education?What should effective professional development look like for international school leaders?How do you determine and share pedagogical models to meet the learning objectives of your school?How do you stay current with the emerging trends in education?How do you model balance to your faculty, students and staff?

Role of Educational Technology:How are you modeling digital technology to enhance learning within your current school?What is your comfort level and background in assessing educative aspects of technology?What are some examples of social media being used to enhance learning and student engagement?How will digital technology and global communication shape the way we think?What are the pros and cons of filtering content in schools?How can we help teachers learn to approach teaching and learning in new ways instead of simply teaching the way they were taught?

Thoughts on Recruiting:What characteristics do you look for when you are recruiting?Are there particular leadership mindsets or behaviors that would help outsiders identify a potential international teacher?

Future of Education:How is the role of school changing?What do you see as the future of education in a content where teaching and learning can happen anywhere, anytime, and with anyone?Where do you see international schooling heading over the next 3-5 years? What will it look like 10 years from now?How will classrooms look like in the future?

What would you most like to ask the future leader of your next school?

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