Director at Country Day School in Costa Rica
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Country Day School (Costa Rica)

Appointed - Scott Adams
Dec 16, 2015
Sep 15, 2016

On behalf of the Search Advisory Group and the President of Country Day School of Costa Rica ( CDS ), we are pleased to announce  that after a world-wide search which attracted a large number of highly qualified candidates, Dr. Scott Adams has been appointed as the new Director of Country Day School in Costa Rica, effective July 1, 2017.

Scott Adams holds the position of Middle School Principal at the American School of Japan since 2008, preceded by leadership positions in other outstanding international and US independent schools, spanning from England and Cyprus to  North Carolina, Hawaii, and California.  Scott earned a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Spanish and linguistics at San Diego State University, an M.A. in Teaching at UC Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Curriculum, and Instruction  from the University of North Carolina. His exceptional career has included serving on accreditation teams, strategic planning, technology applications in teaching and learning, marketing, and curriculum innovations. Scott is joined by his wife Vera as a grade level teacher, bringing with her extensive experience as a teacher leader.   

The Search Advisory Groups, the CDS President and community, and Search Associates would like to thank all candidates who expressed interest in the director position at Country Day School, and to everyone who assisted and supported the search process.

With sincere regards and appreciation,

John Magagna, Founding Director
Gunther Brandt, Senior Consultant







Country Day School
An American School Serving the International Community
San Jose, Costa Rica
Seeks a School Director

Effective in July of 2017

Extended Deadline September 15, 2016

Country Day School is a private, for-profit, American independent school serving Costa Rica’s international community since 1963.

The school has earned an excellent reputation in Costa Rica, the region, and among international schools for its rigorous academic program and its diverse and supportive community. The school is in the process of constructing a new, 19,000 square meter campus on 5 hectares of land about 12 kilometers west of its current location in the outskirts of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. CDS will move its entire operation to the new campus by August 2016. The new campus is the culmination of a four-year planning effort with the assistance of international educational design architects. The campus was designed to preserve CDS’s culture and sense of community while at the same time facilitating differentiated instruction, collaborative learning, as well as large and small group and individual learning. Based on current best practices, the campus will feature flexible learning spaces, science and art labs, music and theater facilities, video, robotics and computer spaces, modern athletic facilities, and LEED-certified classrooms.  The school enrolls approximately 800 students in grades Pre-school – 12 in an academic program structured primarily on United States curricula.  The new campus will have an initial capacity of 1,000 students, with the master plan allowing for growth to up to 1,250 students.

The school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the Costa Rican Ministry of Education and follows a U.S. standards-based curriculum with robust Advanced  

Placement and honors programs in high school.  It offers the U.S. High School Diploma and also prepares students for the Costa Rican Bachillerato Examinations. CDS graduates pursue further studies at selective universities in the U.S. and other countries.  The school operates under four academic divisions: Pre-School, Elementary, Middle School and High School, with each division headed by its own principal.  English is the language of instruction.

Classes are small, ranging in size from 12 to 20 students. An experienced faculty drawn from the United States, Costa Rica, and several other countries is guided by a teaching philosophy that challenges and supports students to be independent learners and thoughtful citizens; our “Profile of the Graduate” guides our approach to curriculum and program.

CDS offers a strong visual and music arts program, including a highly active school band with participation across elementary through high school. 

CDS offers a full sports program and many after school activities for all students of all ages. Basketball, soccer, and volleyball are the most popular competitive sports. The new school facilities will feature a competition-sized pool.. Student council, National Honor Society, environmental and service clubs, music and drama, newspaper and yearbook, and overnight class trips to Costa Rica's amazing national parks provide a well-rounded extracurricular program.

Our student and family demographics are diverse, with about 30% Costa Ricans, 20% North Americans, 10% Costa Rican with dual nationality, and the remaining 40% very broadly distributed among European and Asian Countries.
Country Day School, a U.S.- accredited college preparatory school serving an international community, inspires a passion for learning and provides children with the skills, values, and courage to become responsible leaders in their communities and the world. 

The Country: Costa Rica is widely considered the most stable and peaceful democracy in Latin America.  The army was abolished at mid-century and today the government assigns over 20% of the national budget to public education and culture. The natural beauty of national parks, beaches, volcanic mountain ranges coupled with an average temperature range in the Central Valley of 72ºF year round make Costa Rica an inviting place to live and work.  Life is slower paced; people take adversity in stride, and live one day at time. Added to this, Costa Ricans are friendly, helpful, and kind to newcomers and are people who value freedom, peace, and democracy.

Costa Rica does pose many of the same issues for arriving foreigners as do other Central American countries. Some of these can be true inconveniences when first arriving and before understanding the different rhythm and cycle of activities.  General infrastructure for communications, transportation, and other national systems are slower and not as efficient as those to which many foreigners are accustomed. Developing an understanding and patience for these differences is key to adjusting and living here. On the other hand, many every day situations are actually more efficient than in other countries. Doctor’s appointments at well-regarded private hospitals can be obtained with only a day or two’s request, or often even on the same day.

Governance: The school is a proprietorship governed by its owners who make up the Board of Trustees.  In broad terms the Board:  sets general school policy; approves the budget and operating expenditures; oversees the Business Office; chooses the Director to carry out the school’s goals and mission; and assumes responsibility for the school’s continued viability.  In sum, the Board of Trustees holds the school’s mission and future in trust. Because of the Board’s unique position of being the proprietor and primary trustee, the Board is not involved in day-to-day educational and academic matters.

The Position: The Director will lead the school in realizing its vision for the new campus, will support the school’s mission and values, be responsible for all aspects of the school’s academic and educational programs, and provide leadership and direction to other administrators, faculty and parents, while continuing the school’s tradition of academic excellence.  Compensation and benefits shall be competitive based on the credentials and experience of the successful candidate

Responsibilities: The successful candidate shall

  • Update and implement the strategic plan to advance the school mission and to fulfill the vision of the new campus
  • Support and communicate the school’s mission and values as well as the vision for the new campus
  • Be responsible for faculty recruitment, selection and contracts; orientation and evaluation of staff and all other matters related to teaching personnel
  • Continue purposeful investment in faculty professional growth in alignment with strategic plan and vision
  • Recognize, understand, and support the proprietary and for profit nature of the school and be able to explain the benefits and advantages to all constituents
  • Ensure curriculum and programming alignment to school mission and values
  • Maintain the school’s accreditation with MSA and the Costa Rican Ministry of Education
  • Ensure the school follows all local legal requirements and procedures
  • Set a positive tone and spirit for the school
  • Adhere to the operational budget, hiring policies, and other policies defined by the Board
  • Maintain a positive presence in the local and international expatriate community to promote and grow the school
  • Recognize Costa Rica as the School’s host and become proficient in its language and familiar with its culture and values

Personal Attributes: The individual we are seeking

  • Is an energetic, dynamic, and committed team leader that has a genuine love for children and learning
  • Values and celebrates American traditions, values and culture
  • Is adaptive, with a positive disposition and a sense of humor
  • Is able to handle adversity in a calm and thoughtful manner
  • Has excellent public speaking and written communication skills
  • Is honest and reliable, and has high emotional intelligence when dealing with people
  • Is an innovative and flexible thinker with excellent problem solving skills
  • Is highly visible within the community through involvement in events at all levels of school, and is approachable to all stakeholders

Professional Attributes: The individual we are seeking

  • Models the highest educational and professional standards
  • Advances the school mission through strategic planning
  • Has a proven track record of attracting, hiring, and retaining quality faculty
  • Has a student-centered philosophy with knowledge of current best practices across early childhood through grade twelve
  • Has a growth mindset and is able to build leadership and professional growth in administration and faculty
  • Utilizes collaborative data-driven decision-making processes that are transparent to all stakeholders
  • Is knowledgeable in, has experience with, and fully supports the College Board AP program
  • Collaborates and fosters relational trust among all community stakeholders
  • Is proficient using multiple current forms of technology to lead and communicate with the community

Qualifications & Experience

  • Prior experience as teacher
  • Advanced degree in education or educational administration or the equivalent
  • Highly successful previous senior leadership experience at a top US curriculum K-12 school with proven ability to execute, manage, organize and delegate
  • Willingness to make a three to five-year commitment
  • Experience working in all levels of K-12 education
  • International school experience in leading a multicultural community
  • Experience in school-wide curriculum development, planning and assessment
  • Experience in the accreditation process
  • U.S. Citizenship

Application Process

CDS has chosen John Magagna of Search Associates to act as consultant for the search process.

Interested candidates EXCLUDING THOSE WHO HAVE PREVIOUSLY APPLIED should send an application AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE TIME but no later than September 15, 2016. (The review of files will begin as soon as applications are received.)

Candidates should note, however, that in the event an outstanding applicant is identified early in the search process, CDS reserves the right to make an appointment before the deadline mentioned above. For this reason it is VERY IMPORTANT that interested candidates apply as soon as possible.

Candidates should send the information requested below. It must be submitted EXACTLY in the form and manner requested. Please DO NOT send any information other than that which is specifically requested:

A letter of application, no longer than two pages, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in this particular position

  • A current resume not to exceed two pages
  • A one-page statement outlining educational beliefs and leadership style
  • A one-page list of references with phone numbers and email addresses
  • A maximum of four letters of reference which may already be in your possession

Please note that ALL the above materials must be scanned into a SINGLE PDF ATTACHMENT (low resolution preferred) and sent to Search Associates at both of the e-mail addresses listed below, IN THE SAME TRANSMISSION. Also, please note that it is important to limit the size of your SINGLE PDF to 5MB. (No photographs, color, etc):
AND a cc to



Did You Know…?

Many international schools start recruiting in September for the following school year.