Director at American School of Warsaw in Poland
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American School of Warsaw (Poland)

Appointed - Mr. Theodore Coburn
Jul 29, 2014
Oct 17, 2014

Dear Colleagues and Friends,


On behalf of the Board of Trustees and Search Committee of the American School of Warsaw in Warsaw, Poland, we wish to announce that after a worldwide search which identified a large number of highly qualified candidates, Mr. Theodore J. (TJ) Coburn has been selected as the next ASW Director. Mr. Coburn will begin his term in July of 2015.


Mr. Coburn is currently Executive Vice President of the Dwight Schools – an International Baccalaureate (IB) Open World School based in New York City, with branches in London, Vancouver, Seoul, and Shanghai.


Mr. Coburn began his career in business earning a BS from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Colombia University. In 1996 he left a successful career on Wall Street to pursue his passion for education. He returned to university studies at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University where he earned advanced degrees in Counseling, Psychology and Cognitive Development. He has spent the past twenty years founding and working in not-for-profit organizations and companies that have managed educational institutions in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout the United States.


We congratulate Mr. Coburn and wish him well as he begins his position at the American School of Warsaw for the 2015-16 academic year.




Ralph H. Jahr and John Magagna

Search Associates








seeks a


Effective August 2015


The School

The American School of Warsaw (ASW), a private, non-profit, PK-12 sprofessiochool, was established in 1953 with the predominant aim of serving the American community in Warsaw, Poland.


While this remains a major focus of the school's mission, time and events have created the need for a more international view. The development of democracy in Poland has led to diverse international interests and new opportunities for the resident Polish population. While firmly based in an American educational system, the school has evolved, broadening its focus to meet the needs of the changing community. Complementary elements from other educational systems, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) program of studies, have been incorporated.


Academic excellence through the education of the whole child is reflected in our curriculum design and daily regimen. We help each student meet his/her highest potential through intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and artistic growth with the understanding that each child learns and develops in his or her own way.


The American School of Warsaw strives to provide a climate in which students, parents, teachers, and administrators model and instill the universal principles of integrity, responsibility, mutual respect, tolerance and concern for others. We believe that parents are partners in their children's education and welcome their involvement.


Our school values the great variety of national cultures represented by the students. It encourages an appreciation of various beliefs, practices, and customs, so that all can become constructive world citizens. We provide opportunities for our students to engage in service-learning. The school also provides students with opportunities to experience European culture and Polish society in particular.


We seek to deepen and broaden students' lives through academic, intellectual, aesthetic, social and emotional development and strive to enable students to function in an increasingly complex and technological world. We see our success reflected in students' humane values, academic achievements and desire for life-long learning.


ASW is recognized with full accreditation from the Council of International Schools (CIS) and The New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC). The school is authorized as an IB World School by The International Baccalaureate (IB). The student body of over 900 represents more than fifty nationalities and is taught by 117 highly qualified and dedicated faculty members.


ASW is governed by the twelve-member Board of Trustees: a Board Chair and one trustee at-large who is appointed by the US Ambassador. Six members are selected and appointed by the existing Board and four members are elected by the ASW parent community. Each elected and appointed member serves for a 2-year term. The Director is a non-voting (ex-officio) member of the Board. Parents who have the time and interest to serve on the Board of Trustees are encouraged to stand for election in the spring. Two of the elected members of the Board must be U.S. citizens. 

The Position

The Board of Trustees is seeking to appoint a Director who ideally has previous experience as a school director, preferably leading a similar international school, though all otherwise strong candidates will also be considered. The Director serves as the school’s Chief Executive Officer and is responsible for all management and educational operations of the school, and is assisted by the leadership team. The Director is expected to provide overall leadership on all aspects of the school, while focusing on specific areas as directed by the Board of Trustees.


The Director works collaboratively to model the core values of ASW to shape a 21st Century learning-focused school. The Director reports directly to and is evaluated annually by the Board of Trustees.


The Director takes primary responsibility for:

  • Ensuring high academic standards;
  • Overseeing the business operations of the school, including marketing, finance, human resources, and facilities issues;
  • Working in accordance with guiding principles and policies established by the Board of Trustees while maintaining the strong academic traditions and ethos of the school;
  • Providing academic leadership through staff recruitment, curriculum development, maintenance of international accreditation standards and focused, mission-driven professional development planning;
  • Overseeing financial integrity, ensuring compliance within budget parameters, audit requirements and principles of sound corporate governance at all times;
  • Ensuring that the Board of Trustees is appropriately briefed at all times on matters of policy, significant operational issues, legal exposure and other matters of concern to the school community;
  • Heading the leadership team to ensure the smooth day-to-day running of the school;
  • Working in conjunction with the Finance and Operations Director to successfully deliver projects within budget and timeline with minimum adverse organisational impacts;
  • Strengthening the ASW brand by actively engaging internal and external stakeholders.


Professional Qualifications and Qualities Sought

To successfully perform assigned tasks, preferred qualities and qualifications of the ideal candidate for the position of Director should have:

  • A thorough understanding of the American educational model, as well as the International and Baccalaureate (IB) and with a broad exposure to working in a multi-cultural setting;
  • Prior experience leading a similar type educational institution as a senior executive, with preference for international institutions outside of the United States;
  • Prior senior management experience in a corporation or other for-profit entity, where he/she gained exposure to financial reporting, budgeting, strategic planning, resource allocation, cost control, marketing, human resource management and conflict resolution;
  • A demonstrated track record as a change agent, while at the same time maintaining consensus building;
  • The ability to lead, guide and develop people, as well as provide strategic vision and manage its implementation;
  • Outstanding leadership and team-building skills, be flexible enough to adopt to the ASW unique culture, draw from the strength of ASW faculty and work well in Poland;
  • Excellent communication and diplomatic skills to establish an effective dialogue with all of ASW’s constituencies (BoT, faculty, parents, students, business and diplomatic communities at-large, etc.);
  • Professional and personal maturity, enabling him/her to build relationships at the most senior levels of chambers of commerce, embassies, companies, as well as government, when necessary;
  •  A relevant university degree, preferably at a Master’s or PhD level

Critical competencies for the position of Director of the American School of Warsaw include

  • Leadership skills: the Director will be the key executive of ASW. He/She will therefore need to have excellent team-building and interpersonal skills to enable the successful continuous development of the institution. He/she will have the qualities of a natural leader, be able to motivate people by his/her enthusiasm and professionalism. He/She will have good understanding of the world of education combined with solid experience in business and finance 
  • Communication skills: the Director will have excellent networking skills enabling him/her easy access to the expatriate business and diplomatic community in Poland. He/She will be a good diplomat able to communicate with people of all levels and represent various interest groups at ASW. Most importantly, the candidate will find it effortless to openly and regularly communicate with the Board of Trustees. 
  • Entrepreneurship: the Director will play a vital role as a change agent in redefining the posture of the school in the increasingly challenging and competitive educational marketplace. He/She will therefore need to combine good marketing and promotional skills with initiative, creativity, strong drive and result-orientation. 
  • Technical skills: the Director will bring his/her experience gained in managing an educational institution with all of its complexities, combined with experience in managing positive change, aimed at best serving its natural constituencies while maintaining operational excellence. He/She will also have the sensitivity of working with a multicultural faculty, student body, and parent community.


Terms and Conditions of Appointment

The initial contract will be for a period of three years, with an option to extend upon mutual agreement.  The contract is renewable at the discretion of the Board of Trustees.  Salary and benefits are competitive, commensurate with the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate and the responsibilities of the position. The salary and benefit package will be designed to motivate the most qualified candidates.


Particulars of the Search

The Board of Trustees at the American School of Warsaw (ASW) has appointed Search Associates, represented by Ralph Jahr and John Magagna and The Council of International Schools (CIS), represented by Joe Cornacchio as partner consultants in the search for a Director.  Candidates need only apply for the position through either Search Associates or CIS. Specific directions for filing application through Search Associates follow below. Specific directions for candidates who wish to apply through CIS can be found at the CIS website.


The deadline for applications is 17 October 2014. Candidates who apply through Search Associates are asked to submit a letter of interest and the requested materials listed below as early as possible as the Search Committee reserves the right to close the selection process at any time if the right candidate is found. Semifinalist candidates will be identified jointly by CIS and Search Associates and their dossiers forwarded to the Search Committee for review.


The review of files will begin as soon as applications are received.  Finalists will be selected by the Search Committee as early in the process as possible and will be invited to Warsaw with their spouse (if applicable) to meet with the Search Committee, Board and constituent groups of the school community.  The new Director will be selected shortly after the conclusion of the site visit and final interviews.  The new Director will begin in August 2015.

Candidates who apply through Search Associates should send the information listed below as a single pdf file attached to an email:

  • A letter of application, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in the ASW Director position.
  • A statement describing your management and educational philosophy, not to exceed two pages.
  • A current résumé not to exceed two pages.
  • A one-page list of references with current addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.
  • A maximum of three letters of reference (scanned at low resolution) that may already be in your possession.

Total document size should be kept to less than three (4) MB if possible. Applications should be sent to and

Ralph Jahr                                                           Tel: 609-759-0431 USA – Pacific Time Zone
Skype – ralph.h.jahr                                           Email:

John Magagna                                                    Tel: 570-696-4600 – USA - Eastern Time Zone

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