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American International School of Nouakchott (Mauritania)
Appointed - Heidi Cavanagh
Jul 27, 20
Aug 20, 20
AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF NOUAKCHOTT
seeks a new
EFFECTIVE July 2021
AISN offers an accredited American international education committed to excellence, achieved through a partnership with the AISN community to prepare our students for admission to universities worldwide, transfer to other American/International Schools, and to public or private schools in the USA.
The AISN Board of Trustees consists of five voting members elected for two-year terms. The majority of the voting members must be American. The US Ambassador appoints a non-voting Ambassador's representative who also sits on the Board. The Director is also a non-voting ex officio member of the Board.
The American International School of Nouakchott (AISN) is a non-profit educational organization that was founded in 1978. The school faces an exciting time of campus expansion as the school will double its footprint during 2021 with land acquired from the US Embassy.
Students come from a variety of countries including the United States and many nations in Europe, Africa, and Asia. On average, the student body comes from approximately 20 different countries. Approximately 40%-50% of students are from the host country of Mauritania. Enrollment at the school has varied from 75 to 95 students in the past five years. Due to the COVID19 pandemic, enrollment was down in 2020-21 school year to 55 students, however that is anticipated to increase to 90+ in August 2021.
AISN graduated its first senior in June 2011 with graduating class sizes varying between 3 and 6 seniors. Graduates have attended universities worldwide including the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
The school is located on the grounds of the former United States Embassy, allowing it to benefit in terms of security and logistical support. The school shares the site with the US Ambassador’s residence.
Due to COVID-19, 2020-21 has a decreased enrolment and AISN has a smaller than normal staff. AISN has a director, 7 full-time teachers, 3 part-time teachers, a full-time permanent substitute teacher/librarian, 6 teaching assistants, an academic manager with teaching responsibilities, an accountant, a receptionist, a facilities manager and a 6-person facilities staff.
The school was built in 1978 and houses thirteen classrooms for grades Pre-K through 12 - including a science lab, an art room, a computer lab, a music room and a five-thousand volume library. There is no PreK offered for the 20-21 school year; however, the program will return in 2021-22.
AISN is a US State Department sponsored school and works closely with the Office of Overseas Schools. The school has received over $2,000,000 in US State Department grants over the past 20 years with an average of $75,000 per year over the past 5 years.
The school is fully accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) from Pre-K – grade 12 through 2021. MSA’s re-accreditation visit will be completed in October 2020 which will renew AISN’s accreditation through 2028.
The AISN curriculum is based on the American Education Reaches Out (AERO) Standards and US Common Core standards. AISN also offers AP classes for the high school students. For the 2020-21 school year, AISN is using online curriculum provided by Edmentum and accredited through Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC). AISN uses the Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP) online standardized assessments.
AISN is a member of the West African International School Athletics League (WAISAL) that provides students a chance to compete in a variety of sporting activities with member schools. AISN is also a member of the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) and teachers often attend their annual conference.
THE COUNTRY AND THE CITY
Mauritania is a West African country on the edge of the Sahara with a unique mix of Arab and African cultures. Nouakchott is the capital of Mauritania and is a small city of less than one million people.
Mauritania's climate is hot and arid, except in the far south, which has higher humidity. In the capital, Nouakchott, daytime temperatures reach 80°F in the winter, although at night sweaters and blankets are sometimes needed. Summer temperatures can reach over 100 °F during the day. It is usually a dry heat that most find more bearable than the same temperatures with high humidity. Air conditioning is used most of the year except during the winter months.
Crime in Mauritania is generally petty in nature. The US Embassy has many families and children in country and deem it safe for travel. Mauritanians speak French and a local dialect of Arabic. Knowledge of French is helpful to allow for fuller enjoyment of the local culture, however it is not necessary for daily interactions. Nouakchott is a small city, easy to navigate and nothing is more than fifteen minutes away. Dress is conservative with shorts not often seen in town. While the country is predominantly Muslim and the call to prayer is heard several times a day, there is a Catholic church in town that many expats attend. There are several beaches within twenty minutes of the school that expatriates regularly use. Nouakchott is on the edge of the desert and exploring the countryside can be arranged. There are no shopping malls, movie theaters, or fast food restaurants in Nouakchott. There are many excellent restaurants and socializing with friends at homes or meeting for coffee or dinner is common.
DIRECTOR POSITION PROFILE
AISN seeks a Director who is an experienced leader of learning with the capacity, drive, and resilience to lead a small community school. The Director should be innovative, flexible and excited to live in, and lead a school in a close community and build on the good work that the school has done in the last few years.
Areas that the school will be focusing on are:
- Continued work on curriculum development and quality teaching and learning.
- Doubling the footprint of the school campus – planning for this and overseeing the construction.
- Ability to work closely with the US embassy and the local government to solidify the school’s status in the country.
- Ability to lead the school through crisis situations.
REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERIENCE
- 3-5 years in a senior leadership role in an international school in the developing world.
- Leadership experience during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years with experience at leading a school through a crisis situation.
- Experience working in a small school - leading school finance, operations and academic programs.
- Proven record of effective Board - Director partnership, strategic planning, and strong stakeholder management.
- Proficiency in budgeting and financial management
- Experience in leading construction design and oversight of a building project.
- Proven record of successful recruiting and staff development/mentoring.
- Leadership experience with a US curriculum – in particular using AERO standards and AP.
- Postgraduate academic background with evidence of leadership learning.
- US citizenship preferred
- Ability to speak French is an advantage but not essential.
ESSENTIAL ATTRIBUTES AND SKILLS
- Visionary leader keeping the school’s mission and vision front and center
- Committed to continuous improvement
- Visible in all aspects of school life
- Student-centered, ensures an inspiring, innovative, and safe learning environment
- Leads by example; with integrity, honesty and transparency
- A good listener
- Emotionally intelligent with high degree of cultural literacy
- Ability and willingness to delegate and share leadership where appropriate.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
AISN offers a competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with position expectations and market benchmarks.
AISN has selected Search Associates to assist them in the Director search, with Caroline Jacoby as the Lead Consultant. The deadline for applications is August 20th, 2020.
Candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest and the required materials as early as possible as AISN 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. Candidates should send the information listed below in a single PDF file attached to an email:
- A letter of application describing your interest in the Director position at AISN, 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 pages.
- A statement describing your leadership and educational philosophy, not to exceed two pages.
- A one (1) page list of four (4) referees who have been your direct supervisors, with current email addresses.
- The total document size should be kept at (4) MB.
Applications should be sent to: Caroline Jacoby at firstname.lastname@example.org