Director for the ASIJ Early Learning Center at The American School in Japan, Tokyo in Japan
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Director for the ASIJ Early Learning Center
The American School in Japan, Tokyo (Japan)

Appointed - Christy Carrillo
Mar 13, 2016
Sep 15, 2016


The American School in Japan


seeks a

Director for the ASIJ Early Learning Center, Tokyo

Beginning August 1, 2017

Search Associates appreciates the interest in the excellent leadership opportunity as ELC Director at ASIJ.  The search is now closed to further applications.

The American School in Japan seeks an exceptional leader to serve as Director of the Early Learning Center (ELC) in Tokyo. The ELC Director is a member of ASIJ’s senior leadership team and reports to the ASIJ Head of School. The Director works in collaboration with the Head of School to maintain the standard of excellence that is an ASIJ trademark.

ASIJ is Tokyo’s oldest (founded in 1902) and largest international school. Well-respected within the international school community, ASIJ provides a college-prep curriculum that is enriched by high-quality facilities, curricular innovation, talented faculty and staff, a broad range of activities and athletics, and an engaged parent community.

The Early Learning Center provides an exemplary program for 140+ young learners ages 3 to 6 and is housed in a custom-built facility in the upscale Roppongi Hills area of central Tokyo. The main ASIJ campus is located 15 miles away in the suburb of Chofu and serves 1,470 students from over 40 countries in kindergarten through 12th grade.

The ELC Director attends weekly meetings at the Chofu campus with the Head of School and the Leadership Team. The ELC Director’s responsibilities are aligned with those of a divisional principal on the Chofu campus; however, being on a separate campus requires the Director to be more independent in the management of 24 teachers and staff with a specific focus on the needs of younger learners.

The Early Learning Center

The ELC is a warm, welcoming environment for young learners, with both a strong curriculum and an array of activities for students and parents alike. From building their own museum of Japanese culture to singing with an ASIJ alumna who is professional singer/songwriter, the ELC students benefit from a program that facilitates strong social/emotional skills and community-building activities.

ASIJ’s preschool program was founded in 1953. The current ELC facility, built in 2003, was designed with the Reggio Emilia philosophy in mind. Natural light, indoor plants and displays of children’s work are combined with ample classroom materials that are essential for teaching and learning. Each of the eight spacious classrooms features separate areas for art and crafts, group activities and creative play, a reading loft, a kitchen, a bathroom and a dramatic play area that might be a vegetable shop one month or a Japanese house the next. The design of the classrooms is meant to facilitate the independence that the ELC encourages in children. Outdoor balconies are connected to each classroom and allow children to play with water or sand, as well provide opportunities for gardening.  

In addition to exceptional classrooms, the ELC benefits from a library, community room, a private outdoor playground and a music room. Various rooms at the ELC regularly host everything from PTA meetings, to after-school activities, to ASIJ Board of Directors meetings.

Talented and caring faculty and staff are at the core of the ELC. Teachers use an articulated, mapped curriculum to ensure that students have opportunities to reach benchmarks for each grade. They assess where students are with their learning and use those assessments to inform instruction. The majority of lead teachers have advanced degrees in education, and all take part in ongoing professional development throughout the year. They are supported in the classroom by highly-trained assistant teachers and a music education specialist, making for a very professional school.

The ELC is the only international preschool in Tokyo with a full-time, onsite certified speech and language specialist who works with students, parents and teachers. The ELC offers individual and small-group pull-out and in-class speech and language support for students. All four-year-olds and new kindergarteners are screened for speech, language and concept development to ensure that each student is at the appropriate level for their age.

The student body at the ELC consists of students from US expat families on several-year assignments, as well as long-term residents of Japan (both families with one Japanese parent and families with two Japanese parents), as well as students from other countries. Some children enter with limited English through the ELC’s pre-K immersion program, and at least one parent in these families speaks English and is able to maintain communication with the school about their child’s development and progress.

The ELC is a vibrant, happy community with many parents living nearby and able to drop in for special occasions and activities. Parents drop off their kids in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon, facilitating close relationships and communication between home and school.

In addition to the normal slate of duties for the Director related to instructional leadership and supervision, admissions recruitment is a significant part of the ELC Director’s responsibilities. The ELC Director works collaboratively with the Chofu Admissions Office with regard to families who have older children at the Chofu campus. The ELC Director also oversees the ELC Summer School program and works closely with the ELC PTA, which meets monthly and supports various special educational opportunities at the school.

The ELC Director is supported by a full-time receptionist and a part-time administrative assistant.

The American School in Japan

ASIJ is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and provides a rigorous curriculum with over 20 Advanced Placement offerings at the high-school level. Graduates attend top colleges and universities worldwide. The ASIJ student body as a whole consists of US citizens (41%), US/Japan dual citizens (25%), Japanese citizens/Japanese dual citizens (18%), and students from other nations (16%).


The ELC is ideally situated in the Roppongi Hills area, popular with many expat families. Everything from luxury retail shops to the quaint shopping and dining district of Azabu Juban are within a 5-minute walk of the ELC. The city of Tokyo is one of the world’s most fascinating capital cities, where centuries-old traditions live alongside the most modern of conveniences. Public transportation is reliable, service standards are very high, and international foods and products are widely available. Japanese people tend to be eager and willing to help bridge the language barrier for those who do not speak Japanese.

Tokyo has four seasons and rarely receives accumulations of snow. Spring and fall are very comfortable. July, August, and September tend to be hot and humid. Air quality is good and radiation levels in Tokyo are comparable to those of any major international city. The Early Learning Center is a modern facility built to Japan’s high standards of construction with earthquakes in mind.

Qualifications for the Early Learning Center Director

ASIJ seeks an experienced international educator who has a solid administrative track record that includes early-childhood/elementary education. The successful candidate will be someone who can wear many hats and be comfortable as the sole onsite administrator to deal with any emergencies or challenging situations that might arise at the ELC.

Required qualifications:

  • Five to eight years of leadership experience in an early-childhood/elementary setting
  • Experience in a culturally-diverse setting in the candidate’s home country and/or in an international school
  • A proven track record of working effectively with the various constituencies in an international school community
  • Understanding of best practices in early childhood education and specific practices at ASIJ
  • An understanding of the importance of play and making learning visible for young learners
  • A deep commitment to the ASIJ Mission, Vision, Strategic Plan, and Student Learning Outcomes
  • Demonstrated excellent leadership and organizational skills
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills

Preferred qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or above in education; administrative certification
  • Prior training and/or experience with Reggio Emilia philosophy and practices

Salary and Benefits

The salary for this position will be competitive for the region.  Additional benefits include a generous housing allowance, excellent international medical insurance, retirement allowance, use of car, annual home leave, professional development allowance, tuition for school-aged children, and shipping.

Application Process

ASIJ has chosen Julie Ryan and John Magagna of Search Associates to act as consultants for the search process. Interested candidates should send an application as soon as possible 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, ASIJ reserves the right to make an appointment before the deadline mentioned above. For this reason we urge candidates to apply soon.

Candidates should send the information requested below. It must be submitted exactly in the form and manner requested. Please do not send any additional information.

  • 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 three letters of reference which may already be in your possession 

Please note that all of the above materials must be scanned into a single pdf attachment (8mb limit) and sent to Search Associates at both of the e-mail addresses listed below.

Julie Ryan:

John Magagna:




Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Gez Hayden led the first international school authorized to offer all three IB programs in China.