Director at American International School of Lusaka in Zambia
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American International School of Lusaka (Zambia)

Appointed - Dr. Oli Tooher-Hancock
Jun 11, 2020
Jul 19, 2020


Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the American International School of Lusaka, Zambia we are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Oli Tooher-Hancock as the Director beginning in July 2021.  The appointment has now been shared with the AISL faculty, staff, and community.

Search Associates would like to thank all of the candidates who applied for this highly sought position and to everyone who assisted and supported the successful search process for the American International School Lusaka, Zambia.







The American International School of Lusaka (AISL)

Lusaka, Zambia

seeks a


To begin July 2021



AISL Vision:

 Every Student Thrives


AISL Mission:

AISL is a compassionate community of innovative and courageous learners preparing for the challenges of the future.

We value:

  • Compassion: Our actions show how we value others.
  • Courage: We meet challenges with confidence.
  • Community: Our entire community helps every student thrive.
  • Creativity: We innovate and create to solve problems and express ourselves.
  • Respect: We respect ourselves, each other, our school, and the environment.
  • Resilience: We view setbacks as catalysts for reflection and growth.
  • Excellence: We strive for our personal best in all that we do.
  • Inquiry: Our questions drive our learning.
  • Joy: A spirit of fun makes learning engaging.
  • Internationalism: We engage with and learn from our global community.


The American International School of Lusaka (AISL) is a diverse community that embraces Zambian and global perspectives to inspire students to achieve academic excellence and become successful, lifelong learners and leaders who are confident, compassionate, well-rounded, responsible world citizens.


School Profile

AISL is a co-educational independent day school founded in 1986. AISL is a US Embassy sponsored school that is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors representing parents, all of whom are members of the AISL Parent Association. The General Assembly of the Association meets a minimum of once per year.

Accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA), AISL serves children of Zambian, long term residents, and expatriate families. Students’ families are employed in the diplomatic, NGO, local business, farming, mining, and tourism industries.

As an IB World School, AISL is authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization to offer the IB Primary Years Program, the IB Middle Years Program, and the IB Diploma Program. Grade 11-12 students may select from a range of classes and may also earn a US accredited High School Diploma.


AISL is organized into a Primary School and a Secondary School each with assistant principals, and part-time IB coordinators serving as the instructional leadership team. AISL is an active member of the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA), the International Schools of Southern and Eastern Africa (ISSEA), and the Independent Schools Association of Zambia (ISAZ). 


The academic year includes 180 instructional days in two semesters. The first semester begins in early August and ends in mid-December. Semester 2 begins in mid-January and continues until early June, closely following a North American school calendar.



AISL is proud of its international student body, currently enrolling 469 students who are 3-18 years of age representing over 46 different nationalities.


Faculty, Administration, and Staff

Currently, 62 faculty members representing 16 different nationalities serve the AISL school community. AISL is fortunate to have a long-serving and deeply committed administrative staff, teacher assistants, and support staff.

The structure of leadership at the school consists of the educational leadership team (Director, the Primary and Secondary Principals, Activities Director, and three IB Coordinators) and the Operations Leadership Team (Director, the Primary and Secondary Principals, the Business Manager, the Admissions/Communications Manager, the Facilities Manager, Security Manager, Activities Manager, and the Information Technology Manager). A shared leadership model (Coordinators, Department Heads, Special Assignments, etc.) is employed throughout the school.




AISL has world-class facilities located on 25 acres of beautifully manicured gardens in the African countryside on the outskirts of Lusaka. The facility includes 48 classrooms, 3 swimming pools, a Performing Arts Center, 3 computer labs, an Early Learning Center, a full-size gymnasium, 6 outdoor courts, Secondary School Science Labs, and a 300 square meter multi-purpose space. The Primary School has been newly renovated and the new facilities will be ready for the 2020-21 school year.


Lusaka, Zambia

Lusaka is the capital and largest city of Zambia. One of the fastest developing cities in Southern Africa, Lusaka is located in the southern part of the central plateau at an elevation of about 1,300 meters (4,265 feet), which means the climate is very temperate. The city's population is estimated to 2.5 million. Lusaka is the center of both commerce and government in Zambia. Zambia has experienced political stability for the past two decades. English is the official language of the city, but Nyanja and Bemba are also commonly spoken.

Lusaka is a great place for families and for children to grow up. There are ample outdoor recreational activities, including mountain biking, horse riding, polo, and golf.


If you are hoping to experience the ‘real’ Africa, Zambia is that diamond in the rough. The country boasts some of the continent’s best safari parks, and shares (with Zimbabwe) some of the region’s major highlights: Victoria Falls in Southwestern Zambia, South Luangwa National Park, Lake Kariba as well as Lower Zambezi National Park in Southeastern Zambia. It is also an angler’s dream, as fishermen hail from all over the world to try their luck on the mighty Zambezi River with the hopes of landing a toothy tigerfish or the rare, giant vundu. Avid birders also flock to Zambia to glimpse its fabulous diversity of birds, most notably Chaplin’s barbets.



In all of its natural beauty, Zambia is still a part of the developing world and with that comes challenges. Lusaka is fast developing into a city with many modern amenities - shopping centers, supermarkets, department stores, movie theatres, etc. However, you will also need to be prepared for regular power cuts.


Adequate primary health care is readily accessible. AISL provides overseas-hired professional educators with an international healthcare policy (IMG) and medical evacuation insurance.


As a general guide, professional educators live in comfortable housing, own a vehicle, travel widely and stay for a quite a few years. Most teachers employ help around the home.



The Position: School Director

As Chief Executive Officer of the school, the Director is expected to provide leadership in all areas related to the management of the school. The authorities and duties of the Director are enumerated in Board policies. He/she is the educational leader and is responsible for managing the school in accordance with sound principles of curriculum and educational instruction, communications, business and financial management, and organizational development. He/she takes part in all Board meetings, except when specifically excluded, and has a voice but no vote. The Director is the chief advisor to the Board of Directors in all policy-level matters, not just in those related to academic questions.

The Director is empowered by the Board to administer the approved policies of the American International School of Lusaka (AISL). In the absence of policy, or in an emergency, the Director acts in accordance with sound educational or organizational principles, but must bring such actions to the attention of the Board at the earliest possible time. The Board understands the different roles of the Board and administration, and that it is the duty of the Director to manage the day-to-day operations of the school.


Job Goal:

It is the Director’s responsibility to provide visionary leadership and demonstrate exemplary strategic thinking and management skills in the recruitment and development of faculty and staff, the implementation of a high standard curriculum, the assurance of long-term school financial stability, and the provision of effective communication with all of the school’s constituents.


Performance Responsibilities:

The Director is responsible for all programs on campus, including development, review, oversight, and evaluation. S/he will strengthen and maintain the current school policies and procedures. S/he is responsible for ensuring the continued accreditation of the school, to ensure academic excellence and student achievement, will demonstrate a client focus, and will ensure the safety and security of the school community while on campus. Specifically, the Director is responsible for the following:



  • Set the academic vision and ensure alignment with overall school vision and strategy.
  • Establish and maintain academic and accreditation standards.
  • Provide for the review, development, monitoring, and evaluation of the school’s curriculum.
  • Employ academic indicators to evaluate the school’s performance against standards.
  • Develop and oversee the implementation of corrective action plans to address areas where performance does not meet standards.
  • Ensure that leading edge educational thought and best practices are sought out and implemented where applicable.

Human Resource Management

  • Recruit, appoint, assign, develop, manage, and terminate the employment of both instructional and non-instructional personnel.
  • Organize personnel in a manner that best serves the school.
  • Maintain positive school and staff relations by developing sound personnel practices, delegating work properly, and implementing procedures for staff evaluation.
  • Work with personnel to develop a corrective action plan when performance does not meet standards.
  • Pro-actively support professional growth and development for all staff.

Fiscal Management

  • Oversee the development of an annual budget for Board approval by following a collaborative fiscal planning process.
  • Monitor on-going income and expenditures against approved budget and communicate substantive deviations to the Board.
  • Ensure sound fiscal practices and efficient and effective allocation of resources to every aspect of the operation of the school.
  • Ensure compliance with reserves management target.
  • Ensure long-term financial planning (LTFP) including updating the LTFP.

Facilities Management

  • Develop and maintain an on-going facility usage/development plan that supports and enhances the academic program.
  • Ensure that the physical plant is properly maintained and appropriately developed.
  • Provide a safe and secure environment for all teachers, students, and staff.
  • Maintain an appropriate record/data base.
  • Ensure effective delivery of the newly developed master site plan.

Communication and Community Relations

  • Promote effective communication with faculty/staff, students, and parents to create a positive and inclusive school environment.
  • Promote the school locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • Foster a positive relationship with the host government and the national and international business, diplomatic, and educational communities.
  • Foster a positive working relationship with the Board Chair and the Board of Directors.

Governance- Strategy and Policy

  • Keep the Board of Directors informed of the condition of the school’s educational system; advise the Board on educational issues.
  • Develop the agenda for regular Board meetings in consultation with the Board Chair.
  • Attend all Board meetings, except meetings pertaining to the Director’s performance.
  • Regularly review and update the strategic plan.
  • Oversee the implementation of the strategic plan and work with the Board to regularly assess the plan to meet the school’s future needs.
  • Ensure that school policies are effectively implemented and monitored and identify policies in need of change or development.


  •  Perform other duties and responsibilities consistent with those normally associated with the position of School Director.

Performance Evaluation

The AISL Board of Directors will evaluate the job performance of the Director annually in accordance with procedures outlined in contract and AISL Board Policy.

Compensation and Benefits
AISL offers an initial contract term of three years (renewable). The remuneration package is commensurate with the responsibilities of the position and is competitive within Africa. Benefits include housing, utilities, use of a school vehicle, comprehensive health insurance, retirement contribution, professional development allowance, annual home leave, transportation at the beginning and end of contract, a shipping allowance, and tuition benefits at AISL for school age dependents.

Qualifications / Experience:

Required Qualifications:

  • Graduate Degree – minimum of Masters Degree in Education, Education Leadership, or an education-related field
  • Proven record of visionary school leadership in senior positions: successful experience as a school director, principal, and/or instructional leader
  • International experience

Essential Characteristics:

1. Excellent Communication Skills - writing/speaking/listening

  • Ability to empower and inspire, lead by example, and work collaboratively with all stakeholder groups
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills
  • Ability to build community
  • Demonstrate integrity

2. Business Acumen

  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Proven expertise in budgeting and finance

3. Marketing

  • Proven experience and success in Marketing and growing enrollment
  • Ability to market the school to Zambian families, long term residents and expatriates.

4. Demonstrated focus on student learning outcomes

  • IB experience
  • Experience in providing students with an innovative education for a rapidly changing world.

Preferred Qualifications / Characteristics:

  • Experience working in the developing world
  • Strategic planning - committed to comprehensive strategic planning
  • Experience in leading the implementation multi-year strategic roadmap
  • Client focused
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Collaborative leadership style

Application Procedure

The Board of Directors has appointed Search Associates as its partner in its search for a Director, with Caroline Jacoby serving as the lead consultant. The deadline for applications for the position is July 19th, 2020. Candidates should submit the requested materials listed below as early as possible as the Board of Directors reserves the right to close the selection process at any time if the right candidate is identified.

The review of files will begin as soon as applications are received. Zoom video interviews of selected candidates will take place on a rolling basis. Finalists will be selected by the Search Committee and subsequently be invited to AISL (with their spouse, if applicable) to visit the school and meet with the search committee, Board of Directors, faculty/staff, administration, students and parents. If this is not possible due to Covid-19 restrictions, the visit will be conducted virtually. The Board of Directors will select the successful candidate at the conclusion of the finalist visits, final interviews, and reference checks. The Board is planning to make an appointment by September 2020.

The new Director will assume his/her professional responsibilities July 15, 2021. 

Additional information about AISL can be found on the school’s website at

Applicants should send the following in single pdf file. Total document size should not exceed 4MB.

1. A letter of application;

a. explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in the position of School Director at the American International School of Lusaka.

b. the expertise you bring to the position, particularly in terms of the key criteria listed.

c. should not to exceed two pages.

2. A statement describing your leadership style, not to exceed one page.

3. A current résumé - not to exceed two pages.

4. A one-page list of 3-5 references with current addresses, phone numbers and email addresses, including the Board Chair and Treasurer at your current school.

Applications should be emailed to:

Candidates should note that, in the event an outstanding applicant is identified early in the search process, AISL reserves the right to make an appointment at any time, even before the deadline mentioned above. For this reason, interested candidates are encouraged to apply at the earliest possible time.

Consultant’s Comments

It is my pleasure to conduct the search for AISL’s next Director. I was the Elementary Principal/PYP Coordinator at AISL from 2003-2007. I have been fortunate to visit the school over the last couple of years while chaperoning sports trips and have stayed in touch with the school through ISSEA and AISA events and collaborations.

I have very fond memories of the AISL and life in Zambia. It is one of the best climates I have ever lived in and Zambians some of the friendliest people I have ever met. The opportunities to go on safari and make the most of all the Victoria Falls offers are endless and memorable even after all these years.

The campus is set on a spacious and beautiful campus and the school has a long history as an IB World School. The school community are making good progress on their self-study for a combined three program evaluation and CIS/MSA visit scheduled for March 2022.

In recent years, the school has undertaken extensive facilities work as part of their long-term facilities plan that has included a major upgrade of their gym, the Primary School classrooms, and a new multi-purpose area.

AISL is involved with many sports, competing in leagues both locally and internationally. The Arts are also well catered for and students very much appreciate the extensive After School Activities Program.

Caroline Jacoby


Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Gary MacPhie is based in Toronto, Canada where he started his teaching career, and then spent 26 years overseas as a teacher, principal and recruiter in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.