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Appointed - Mark Dempsey
Apr 25, 2023
May 31, 2023
Dear Search Associates Colleagues,
On behalf of the Board of the American School of Douala (ASD), Cameroon, I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Mark Dempsey as Director of ASD, beginning in August 2024. The Interim Director, Sean Goudie, on behalf of the Board, shared the following with the ASD community recently.
Mark Dempsey is excitedly looking forward to joining the ASD school community of Griffins in August 2024 as the next school director. He brings the experience of successfully leading and managing the American International School of Conakry in Guinea for the past five years and the Nathaniel Woodhull Public School in New York for 13 years. He started his teaching career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin. Cameroon will be his 22nd Sub-Saharan country in which he has worked or visited.
Mark earned a Masters in Educational Administration from Baruch College (New York).
Joining him in Douala will be his wife Winnehl Tubman and their children Maxton (entering 5th Grade) and Grace (entering 1st Grade).
Search Associates would like to thank all of the candidates who applied for this position and to everyone who assisted and supported the successful search process for ASD.
THE AMERICAN SCHOOL
The American School of Douala
seeks a new
Effective August 2024
The American School of Douala was founded in 1978 by a small group of Anglophone Cameroonian and expatriate parents who were interested in an English-medium international educational experience for their children. The school moved into its first, purpose-built building in 2009, complete with spacious classrooms, a science lab, gymnasium, computer lab, library and soccer field. A new wing was added in 2015 that included six new classrooms, fully equipped swimming pool facility [i.e., dressing rooms, locker, showers, etc.], and a 320-seat auditorium. In 2017, a fully equipped, outdoor playground was added to the campus. Currently, student enrollment averages 175 students per academic year in Grades PreK2-12. Our community comprises close to 20 nationalities. The American School of Douala is accredited by the Middle States Association [2018-2025] and holds membership with the College Board and the Association of International Schools in Africa [AISA].
The American School of Douala is committed to the development of the whole child, intellectually, socially, physically and emotionally. It has, as its primary mission, the provision of a strong academic program that emphasizes mastery of academic skills in a systematic and sequential manner. The curriculum encourages the development of critical thinking skills as well as the development of oral and written communication skills.
Inspiring lifelong curiosity to solve the challenges of tomorrow.
We are an international community of learners who are acquiring the skills needed to positively impact a rapidly changing world. At ASD, our guiding values are:
Global Citizenship – I have a responsibility to my community and the world beyond. I actively seek to understand and respect the cultures and beliefs of others.
Critical Thinking – I analyze and evaluate claims in order to form reasonable judgments.
Curiosity – I always ask why and understand that there is always more to learn.
Confidence – I boldly face challenges and communicate my ideas.
Creativity - I use imagination to develop original ideas and express myself.
Resilience – I embrace failure as an opportunity to learn.
Risk Taking - I explore new ideas and innovative strategies.
Self-Awareness – I reflect on my beliefs, values, and actions to better understand how they affect me, those around me, and the wider world.
The academic programs and curriculum at the American School of Douala are designed to encourage an expressive, creative approach to learning. A culturally diverse faculty and student body promotes cross-cultural relations and exchanges, which enrich and expand global sensitivity and perspective; this global awareness among the campus population encourages the development of responsible, caring citizens. Art, drama, and music, are taught by specialist teachers and may also be incorporated into regular classroom instruction. A strong emphasis is placed on ICT and project-based learning including robotics. Students also participate in Physical Education in our spacious gymnasium and swimming in our 20-meter indoor pool. Students in Kindergarten-Grade 12 also take French for one period every day.
American School of Douala is organized on a seven-period schedule over four, 8-10-week quarters. Seven credits per quarter is the expected course load in our high school. The following AP courses are offered: Biology, Chemistry, Physics 1 & 2, Calculus AB & BC, English Literature and Composition, French, Economics.
The American School of Douala has an established learning support team which provides services to Pre-Kindergarten up to Grade 12 students. Services focus on English language learners plus emotional-social learning whereupon students are evaluated by team members and provided weekly, one-on-one support and instruction.
Extracurricular activities include [but not limited to]: drama club, book club, fashion design, cooking, Tae Kwon Do, computer programming, swimming, basketball, soccer, and volleyball which further enrich and extend students’ creative and athletic talents. The American School of Douala currently has organized swimming, soccer, volleyball and basketball teams which compete within the West African International Schools Athletic League (i.e., WAISAL) throughout the region. The students also compete in Model UN throughout west-central Africa.
Enrollment is currently 175 students in PreK2 to Grade 12, representing nearly 20 nationalities. Of these, 22 are in Preschool (PreK2-4), 74 are in Elementary (Kindergarten-Grade 5) and 79 are in Upper School (Grades 6-12). Enrollment numbers have remained steady over the past 5 years. The parents of students largely represent private business owners, as well as multinational corporations.
For the 2022-2023 school year, there are 24 full-time and 2 part-time teachers, including 6 U.S. citizens, 15 host-country nationals, and 5 third-country nationals including teachers from the UK, Portugal, Eritrea, Korea, and India. There are teaching assistants in all lower school classes, and we have a full-time counselor who is from the US who focuses on schoolwide social and emotional wellbeing as well as college and career counseling.
An Interim Director, who is experienced leading schools in Africa has been appointed for the 2023-2024 school year. The Director works closely with the Deputy Director, as well as the Educational Leadership Team, which includes teacher leaders representing the full range of curriculum areas and grade levels. The Deputy Director is a part-time position, as the person in this position also teaches 2-3 period each day and fulfils the role of a principal during nonteaching hours. The Director also works closely with the Business Manager who oversees the school’s finances, facilities, and human resources.
ASD is a nonprofit organization that is governed by a ten-member School Board. Nine board members are elected parents and the remaining one is appointed by the US Ambassador.
The school’s current Strategic Plan focuses on the following strands:
- Quality, relevant education that prepares students for the future
- Effective stakeholder engagement
- Long-term financial sustainability
- Suitable facilities to support the curriculum and school programs
LIFE IN DOUALA, CAMEROON
Douala is the largest city in Cameroon and contains one of the largest ports in west-central Africa and also an international airport. Douala is also the commercial capital of the country handling major exports such as oil, cocoa, coffee, timber, metals, and fruit. Currently, the city and its surrounding area have an estimated population of more than 3,000,000 people. Cameroon experienced colonization from Germany, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and France. Cameroon became independent in 1960. The city of Douala is divided into seven districts whereupon the American School of Douala is located in the Bonapriso District. This district is recognized as the administrative district with a strong expat influence including extensive, external business investments. The adjacent district, Akwa, contains the city’s financial sector. Both districts are characterized by cultural diversity, economic stability, and modernization. Per this region of Cameroon, the student body is culturally diverse with a population representative of students from Cameroon, India, France, the Middle East, and various regions of Asia. French is the primary language spoken in Cameroon closely followed by English including multiple, indigenous languages.
The Director reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the overall operation of the school including general administration of all pedagogical, business, facility, security, personnel, finance, and other operations. Candidates must possess integrity as well as excellent leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills. The Director is responsible for advising, reporting, and making recommendations to the Board of Directors in regard to these activities, and shall perform all duties and accept all responsibility that comes with being the Director of the school. The Director shall pledge his/her commitment to provide leadership, organizational and management skill to successfully guide School programs that will ensure that each student achieves success, develops a lifelong love of learning and becomes a responsible citizen in a global community through an enriched American curriculum taught by a highly qualified faculty, and to work with parents and other stakeholders in the best interests of the students.
- Leading the development and implementation of the ASD Strategic Plan.
- Ensuring high international standards in all areas of the school including teaching, learning, operations and administration.
- Providing a safe, secure, and inclusive environment for all members of the school community including students, staff, teachers and parents.
- Promoting the school locally and internationally as a part of its marketing and communications strategy.
- Communicating effectively with students, faculty, parents, colleagues and in the community (i.e. verbal, nonverbal and written communication).
- Gathering validating information that helps determine whether curriculum and instructional goals and student performance outcomes are being met.
- Creating an efficient, collaborative, productive and caring campus atmosphere.
- Ensuring that all the School’s resources effectively serve students and faculty members alike and are aligned with the mission, vision and strategic objectives.
- Managing and monitoring the budget and ensuring sound fiscal practices and compliance with policy, legal and tax obligations.
- Successfully managing the parent and faculty dynamics that will come with the assignment, as well as those of the parent-elected Board of Directors.
- Demonstrating a personal commitment to seek constant professional learning and professional growth.
- Establishing annual work objectives that are consistent with the School’s Strategic Plan and accepted program direction.
AREAS OF FOCUS FOR ASD AND THE INCOMING DIRECTOR
- Build student enrollment
- Recruitment and retention of excellent teachers
- Developing additional revenue streams beyond school fees.
- Maintain and continue to develop and celebrate the strong multi-cultural community.
PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE
- Advanced degree in educational leadership, school administration or related field (Master’s or Doctorate)
- Previous experience as an international school Director, preferably in a small school
- Previous experience as a teacher
- Experience leading excellent teaching and learning
- A sound understanding of college counseling
- Experience leading a school in sub-Saharan Africa
- Strong financial acumen
- Strong organizational, human resource, marketing, and management skills
- Experience in effectively supervising, evaluating, recruiting and retaining professional staff
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Ability to listen to and communicate with all stakeholders
- Previous experience with school accreditation
- Experience representing the school to the wider community
- French speaker, or a willingness to learn French
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
ASD offers a competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with the size of the school.
ASD has selected Search Associates to assist them in the Director search, with Caroline Jacoby as the Lead Consultant.Candidates who have previously applied for this position for an August 2023 start or the Interim Director position do not need to send another application.
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 ASD 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. ASD plans to hold onsite visits for the finalists in September 2023.
Suitably qualified candidates should send the information listed below in a single PDF file attached to an email to Caroline Jacoby at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrive as soon as possible, and no later than May 31st, 2023 GMT. The application should include:
- A letter of application describing your interest in the Director position at ASD, 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 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 pages.