Director at Awsaj Academy  in Qatar
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Awsaj Academy (Qatar)

Appointed - Position Filled
Sep 4, 2014
Oct 14, 2014

Awsaj Academy

Doha - Qatar

seeks a 


effective August 2015


The School

Awsaj, formerly The Learning Center School (TLCS) in Doha, Qatar is a school and more with three distinct units; 1) Awsaj Academy, which is a school designed to support students who struggle academically, 2) Awsaj Teaching and Learning Center, an outreach center that serves the educational needs at Awsaj, many Qatar Foundation schools, and the community, and 3) Awsaj Center for Research and Development, a research center charged with the mission to study educational practices and topics related to at-risk students in Qatar.  


Awsaj Academy is a private, non-profit international educational institution, founded in 1996 by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. The school is comprised of Elementary, Middle and High School programs, with a total enrollment of 365 students and with future expansion plans to serve over 500 students. The student body is composed of primarily host country nationals.  Class size is limited to 10 students. Students from Awsaj graduate and typically go on to colleges of their choice in Qatar, the United States and the United Kingdom. Instruction is predominantly in English, with a portion of each day also in Arabic. The school follows both international and local standards, including Common Core Standards for math and English.


It is the only school of its kind in Qatar and one of a few in the world devoted to studying, with university partners, the effective instruction of children with academic challenges and the implementation of inclusive practices. The instruction is highly specialized and unique in order to meet the needs of students who are typically 2-4 years behind their peers. This specialized way of instruction is called, ‘The Awsaj Way’ and includes direct explicit instruction, multi-tiered systems of support and positive behavioral interventions and supports. Awsaj is dual accredited by Middle States Association and Council of International Schools.  


The Awsaj staff and faculty is a multi-skilled group of teachers, educational specialists, therapists and support staff from around the world. Awsaj is staffed by 177 international faculty and staff members. Each staff member is selected on the basis of competence, compassion and dedication to serving students who struggle. 

Awsaj Teaching and Learning Center’s (ATLC) faculty provide services for the special education needs at Awsaj and other Qatar Foundation schools. They also serve the student needs of the community through assessments and specialized support. For example, last year the center served 100 students beyond Awsaj Academy.  The highly trained staff includes speech language therapists, occupational therapists, school psychologists and special education teachers.

Awsaj Research and Development’s mission is to improve achievement outcomes for at risk youth in Qatar through research and development. The research agenda includes topics such as contextualizing systems of support, student motivation, early childhood, Arabic literacy and predictors of post-secondary success. The six-member research team works within the schools and community studying these important topics. This skilled team, along with university partners, works closely with Awsaj Academy and other QF schools in evaluating and studying this important work within the context of Qatar.


More information about the school and the program is available at\ the following websites: and 


The Position

The Awsaj Director reports to the Executive Director of Schools (Superintendent) and receives guidance from an Awsaj Board of Governors. The Board is a self-perpetuating advisory Board of six (6) members assigned by Qatar Foundation. The Director supervises an administrative team which includes a principal of each school and the head of ATLC and the Research and Development office.  


It is the Director’s responsibility to: 

  • Provide quality leadership to each of the three units in Awsaj.
  • Develop, coordinate, and facilitate the implementation of strategic and action plans intended to accomplish Awsaj vision and mission, and specific goals and objectives. 
  • Work with Awsaj staff to improve efficiency and effectiveness of operations, programs, and services.
  • Coordinate Awsaj special education services with other similar institutions and QF schools.
  • Lead the outreach efforts in the community which includes direct support and training in inclusive practices to local schools.
  • Partner with local and international universities in the development of effective practices.
  • Assist and lead the transition of the Awsaj units to three separate and self-sustaining entities within Qatar Foundation.  
  • Recruit and hire faculty and staff for the three units.
  • Participate and support all school community activities.
  • Implement Awsaj policies as established by Qatar Foundation and Pre-University.
  • Develop and improve the school educational programs, especially in regard to curriculum and teaching quality of the school. 
  • Analyze and synthesize student and program assessment results and make recommendations for instructional improvements and adjustments.
  • Supervise, evaluate, and lead research, administrative, instructional, and non-instructional personnel in the business management and instructional activities of the institution.
  • Prepare and administer the budget as approved by Qatar Foundation.
  • Develop and maintain good public relations with parents, parent-teacher association(s) and with the community. 
  • Plan, monitor and coordinate with accreditation agencies to achieve and maintain Awsaj accreditation. 
  • Provide the QF Superintendent and Awsaj Board with periodic reports and information that will enable a critical review of the operations.
  • Plan and coordinate post-secondary program for students.   


The Ideal Candidate

  • Successful experience as a special education director or similar position.
  • S/he will have a proven track record in a multi-cultural setting, a deep understanding of, and passion for special education, together with high-level presentation, negotiation, speaking and inter-cultural skills.
  • Knowledge of evidence-based practices, specifically direct, explicit instruction, multi-tiered systems of support and positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS).
  • A passion for continuous quality improvement and growth is a must, and the successful candidate will be required to lead and inspire a team to meet the strategic objectives of the school and the Qatar Foundation. 
  • An ability to communicate effectively and collaborate with all stakeholders – students, faculty, parents, the community and the Board.
  • A dynamic and personable director with proven leadership, business and management skills. 
  • A strong knowledge and practical experience in curriculum and instruction related to the needs of struggling learners, second language learners and those students served in special education, inclusive settings.


Desired Qualities and Experience

Qualities and experience sought for this position include: 

  • At least 5 years of experience as head of school or special education Director, working in a special education environment.
  • A strong academic background, including a minimum Master’s degree in the field of special education, preferably a doctorate in a related field.
  • Experience with CIS/NEASC/MSA or similar accreditation requirements and procedures.
  • Skill and understanding in serving second language learners.
  • Awareness and sensitivity to the Middle-Eastern culture.
  • A proven ability to work harmoniously with a diverse group of constituents – including parents, teachers, students, board members, university partners, etc.
  • An understanding of cultural differences and experience in leading a multi-cultural institution.
  • A proven record of the ability to recruit, guide and motivate competent national and international hired teachers and staff members.
  • Ability to prepare and manage a multi-million dollar budget.
  • Strong organizational and planning skills.


Salary and Benefits

The salary and benefits package will be competitive and will depend on the qualifications and experience of the successful candidate.


Application Procedure

Qatar Foundation has retained Search Associates to facilitate the search for a new Director with Dr. Ralph Jahr to act as the primary consultant. The deadline for application is October 14, 2014. The review of files will begin as soon as applications are received. Candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest and the requested materials as early as possible as the Search Committee/Board of Directors reserves the right to close the selection process at any time if the right candidate is found. Selected candidate(s) will be interviewed first either by phone, Skype or personal interview and Finalist(s) will be flown to Doha and will have the opportunity to meet with members of the Search Committee, parents, students, and non-teaching staff. The new Director will be appointed shortly after interviews of finalist candidate(s) have been completed.


Candidates who wish to apply should submit the following materials as a single pdf file.


  • A letter of application, no longer than two pages, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in the Awsaj Academy Director position
  • A current résumé not to exceed two pages
  • A one or two-page statement outlining your philosophy of education
  • A one-page list of at least three references with current phone numbers and email addresses
  • A maximum of four letters of reference (scanned at low resolution) which may already be in your possession 


Please note that all materials must be scanned into a single pdf attachment of 4MB or less and sent to Search Associates at the email address listed below. Please send the application to:

< >  For additional information about Awsaj Academy, please see the school's website: 


Ralph Jahr, Ph.D.                                                                       Tel: 609-759-0431

Search Associates                                                                      Email:

2008 Cove Ln                                                                              Skype – ralph.h.jahr

Roseville, CA 95747-8835 (USA)                                           Web: 

Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Ray Sparks's over 30-year career as an educator has involved working in Canada, Europe, and Asia.