Director at American International School of Freetown in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone < Back to Leadership Vacancies

American International School of Freetown (Sierra Leone)

Appointed - Position has now been filled
Oct 23, 2023
Nov 10, 2023















The American International School of Freetown (AISF), a Pre-K – 12 school, has been serving international and host country students, with only short interruptions, since 1986. The school is fully accredited from Pre-K to Grade 8 by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA).  High school is offered in a supported virtual learning environment offering accredited courses through Virtual High School (VHS) Learning and the University of Nebraska High School.


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AISF develops students’ love of learning in an internationally recognized, safe, student-centered and interactive learning environment. Students develop a global perspective that fosters empathy and prepares them for success in an ever-changing world.


We believe that:

  • Respect for everyone’s progress, and care for their safety and wellbeing, are essential for a successful and interactive learning environment.
  • The diversity of our community enriches our learning experience and develops global perspectives.
  • Each member of our community is both a teacher and a learner, participating in an ongoing process of self-realization.
  • Collaboration and teamwork are vital for progress in an ever-changing, interconnected world.


Sierra Leone is a country on the west coast of Africa and is currently one of the most peaceful and democratic nations in Africa. It’s known for the beautiful white-sand beaches lining the Freetown Peninsula. AISF has an elevated, airy, wooded school site overlooking the city and the Atlantic Ocean. It is located in Hill Station, close to the British High Commissioner’s and German Ambassador’s residences. Freetown is a very safe place to live and work. The school is fully airconditioned and the grounds contain a small playing field and playground equipment. On site security measures are in place, including a perimeter wall, a contracted 24-hour international guard service, and connection to the US Embassy radio network.



The Board of Directors governs the school. The Board Chair leadership has been effective and continuous since 2013, despite the Ebola crisis. Board members are highly committed and there is excellent communication and partnership between the Board and the Director. Although the Board is parent-elected, the Board has ability to invite members of the school and the outside community who bring special knowledge or expertise; in practice, the Board is a hybrid one composed of both elected and appointed members. The Director reports to the Board, which monitors school operations with no interference in actual management. A finance officer and two administrative staff support the Director.


Classes are taught in multi-age groups.  The composition of these groups is dependent on enrollment in any given year; presently AISF offers the following cohorts:  ECC-KG, Grades 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, and High School. The written curriculum is fully in place in grades Pre-kindergarten through grade 8 for all core academic areas as well as special subject areas in French, PE, Art, and Music. Curriculum is referenced with Common Core standards in English and Mathematics. From Early Childhood to Grade 4, we employ the International Early Years and International Primary Curriculum for the other subject areas such as Science and Social Studies. Technology is woven directly into curriculum in all grades, KG through 11, with a 1:1 iPad/Tablet program from KG to G4, and a BYOD laptop program in grades 5 to 11.

High School offers a teacher-supervised full-day program with specialist teacher support. Students pursue an American High School Diploma via VHS Learning and University of Nebraska High School courses to earn US high school credits. Students receive their diplomas from Massachusetts Mayflower Academy or the UNHS High School. In addition, the high school grades offer Art and Physical Education taught by AISF staff.


In the 2022-23 school year, 6 faculty members teach at AISF. All faculty are US, UK, or European qualified and almost all have advanced degrees. AISF has built an active professional learning community with weekly early release every Wednesday for collaboration, planning and professional development. All faculty have the opportunity for either online or outside school professional development, often attending workshops or conferences through the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA), the regional professional organization.


Prior to the Ebola outbreak in 2015, AISF had achieved a student enrollment of just over 100. The year after Ebola, the 2015/2016 year started with only 20 children, but the end of the year saw a successful renewal of a wonderful small school. Since that time enrollment has increased to just over 80 students. Throughout its history average enrollment has been 70 to 80 students. AISF is a highly diverse international school, with 85% of the students coming from overseas primarily from embassies, the UN, and NGO families who remain committed to the designation of Sierra Leone as a family posting.  Currently AISF students represent 26 different nationalities.


Tuition and other fees generate approximately 95% of the school's income. There is a one-time development fund fee of $4,000 for new students, and an annual capital fund fee of $1,500. The school has solid reserves and enjoys a stable and healthy financial position. Finances are actively managed by the Director and the finance officer, and are reported monthly to the Board.




 AISF will be hosting the visit of an international school architect to begin the development of a facilities master plan to guide the future development of our campus, including looking at options to “green” our operations.  At the same time, we have been working with Demco to provide modern, flexible furnishings for our classrooms with three classrooms to be re-furnished prior to the start of the 2023-24 for academic year.

AISF’s current accreditation runs through to May 2025.  In 2023-24, the school will largely complete its self-study and set new goals for the coming years.


The Board approved a Strategic Roadmap in early 2021.  This sets the path for the school’s future development in terms of curriculum, facilities, finance, etc. but is not a rigid lock-step document—rather, we have set the direction, but timing is dependent on enrollment, finance, and opportunity at any particular time.  AISF has also developed four-year financial projections to help guide future budget planning.    


Freetown is a vibrant, tropical, West African city.  Supermarkets are generally well stocked with a wide array of products from the US, the UK, and the Middle East.  Restaurants tend to offer a diverse selection of international and Lebanese favorites and the seafood is excellent.  There are also some good options for Chinese and Indian food. 

There are lovely white and brown sand beaches just a short drive south of Freetown which are easy to visit for the day or for the entire weekend.  Within the AISF community, there are opportunities for local hikes and day trips. 

Candidates may like to refer to a cost of living tool like this, to compare the cost of living in Freetown to the city they are currently living in.


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  • An Advanced Degree (MA or higher) in Educational Leadership or Administration
  • Prior administrative and teaching experience
  • Proven experience attracting, recruiting and retaining quality international teachers and local staff
  • Proven experience in a small school context – the ability to “wear many hats”
  • Proven financial acumen – the Director needs to build and manage budgets
  • Experience with renovating and maintaining facilities
  • Experience in developing specialist subject areas and an after-school program.


  • Previous experience living and working in Africa, or in fragile/post conflict environments
  • Experience as a Head of School/Director
  • Accreditation experience, particularly with Middle States Association (MSA)
  • Leadership in schools with a high percentage of transient families and enrollment fluctuations
  • Demonstrates familiarity and competency in technology


  • Demonstrated strong leadership skills and an ability to engage with and inspire trust in faculty members, students, and members of the AISF community.
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and in writing, and the ability to communicate well with a culturally diverse community. Open-minded and approachable.
  •  Empathetic and compassionate, yet able to make difficult decisions.
  • Committed to student-centered, inquiry-based learning with a passion for student learning and current with research in international education
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills in decision making, negotiation, conflict resolution, organization, time management, networking and emotional intelligence.
  • Creative in finding solutions with limited means
  • A team builder, consensus builder, fair, just and honest
  • Maintains a high ethical standard and ensures appropriate levels of confidentiality
  • Ability to work effectively with the Board


The salary and benefits package for the new Director will be commensurate with the size of the school and will be competitive with other international schools in West Africa. The salary and benefits package include:

  • Salary paid in USD
  • Annual round-trip airfare for Director to home of record
  • Comprehensive major medical insurance (including medical evacuation) and membership in a private clinic in Freetown
  • Contribution to retirement plan
  • Moving in allowance
  • Housing
  • Use of school vehicle
  • Free tuition for up to two dependent children


AISF has selected Search Associates to assist them in the Director search, with Caroline Jacoby as the Lead Consultant.

Please note that we will not forward-on candidates for further consideration by the school if a candidate is under contract or otherwise encumbered in such a way that would preclude them from freely entering a new employment contract, if offered, and being available for the start date stipulated by the hiring organization. Search Associates will contact the current employer/supervisor to request completion of a Search Associates Confidential Leadership Reference Form for all applicants who emerge in the search as a semi-finalist.

Candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest and the required materials as early as possible as AISF reserves the right to close the selection process AT ANY TIME if the right candidate is found. The review of applications begins as applications are received. AISF plans to hold onsite visits for the finalists in November 2023.

Suitably qualified candidates should send the information listed below in a single PDF file attached to an email to Caroline Jacoby at to arrive as soon as possible, and no later than November 10th, 2023 GMT. The application should include:

  • A letter of application describing your interest in the Director position at AISF, listing your strengths as a candidate and how your qualifications and experience align with the position profile and the school’s areas of focus.
  • A current resume not to exceed two (2) pages.
  • A one (1) page list of four (4) referees who have been your direct supervisors, with current email addresses.
  • A statement describing your leadership and educational philosophy, not to exceed two (2) pages.

Additional information about the American International School of Freetown can be found on the school's web site at

Did You Know…?

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