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Appointed - Michael Breece
Jul 14, 2022
Sep 4, 2022
Dear Search Associates Colleagues,
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the International Community School of Abidjan (ICSA), I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Michael Breece as the school's new Director to commence in August 2023. Michael's appointment followed a competitive worldwide search.
Michael is currently the Director of the American School in Douala, Cameroon. Originally from New Jersey, United States, Michael has been working in the education field for 20 years, having worked 17 years overseas. He is married and has two daughters, ages 6 and 9.
Michael holds a MA in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Science/Psychology, both from The College of New Jersey. Michael has taught in, and led schools in The Gambia, the US, Eritrea the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Cameroon. Michael is a member of the Board of the Assocation of International Schools in Africa.
The Board and Search Associates would like to thank all applicants who showed interest in this position.
The International Community School of Abidjan,
seeks a new
Effective July 2023
The International Community School of Abidjan (ICSA) is widely regarded as one of the leading international schools in West Africa. Founded in 1972, ICSA is a well-established, non-profit school. The school is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA). ICSA serves students from Pre-Kindergarten in lower school up through grade 12 in upper school. ICSA offers the American High School Diploma and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.
Its teaching and learning are guided by the Learning Ecosystem of the Common Ground Collaborative (CGC). ICSA is a founding member of the CGC which defines, designs, delivers, and demonstrates learning in ways that have an optimal learning impact. We believe that the foundation of a healthy community of learners is based on relationships, a child-centered, inquiry-based curriculum, along with social-emotional learning and a strong focus on service. By providing opportunities to lead in various situations, our goal is to raise international-minded members of society, who have a sense of responsibility towards others and the environment.
The academic, social and physical development of all students is supported by world class facilities from large and enduring classrooms to very modern swimming and sporting areas on a large and open campus. With 520 students representing close to 74 nationalities, our diverse community shares a common vision found in our Mission and Vision.
“Learning and Leading in a Collaborative Culture”
We Learn, so we develop confident, inquiring learners, who are experts in working with important concepts and critical competencies and equipped with a personal moral compass.
We Lead, so we teach our students to lead and manage their own learning and we build the leadership capacity of our learning stakeholders and of our school.
We Collaborate, so we share information, co-create innovative ideas, and build relationships by reaching across traditional boundaries to involve people in all parts of our school community.
We Share a Culture within which we are appreciative of the benefits we enjoy, openly welcoming a range of perspectives, embracing our differences, and building a community that is diverse in essence, united in direction.
The International Community School of Abidjan (ICSA) was founded in 1972 by members of the US Embassy community in Cote d’Ivoire. The school has grown from humble beginnings starting with students attending lessons in residential villas, to acquiring 6 hectares in Riviera III in 1989, building the school campus and developing the comprehensive PreK- Grade 12 education program that we have today. Over the years the school has demonstrated remarkable resilience, bouncing back from difficult periods during the periods of civil conflict and political crisis, which saw enrollment levels drop to less than 20-30 students. Having enjoyed just under a decade of peace and stability, the school has steadily expanded reaching a current enrolment of 520 students. With its growth the school has continued to strengthen its standard based curriculum, expand its educational program, invest in technology and develop a robust service-learning program and extracurricular activities. The school is currently implementing a master plan to improve its facilities and recently expanded its sporting facilities with a 25m swimming pool and two covered basketball courts.
ICSA is a not-for-profit organization that is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors and recognizes the US Embassy in Abidjan as its “Founding Sponsor”. Seven Board members are elected by the ICSA Association and the remaining two are appointed by the US Ambassador.
The school’s current strategic plan focuses on the following strands:
- Quality Staff
- Quality Facilities
- Quality Academics
- Quality Communication
- Secure Financial Position
As part of continuous school improvement, ICSA follows an accreditation process with the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA), based in the United States. ICSA remains fully accredited until 2023. This year the faculty are working on self-study for renewing their accreditation.
ICSA is an official American Overseas School (A/OS) and thereby receives grants and similar benefits from the US Department of State in Washington D.C.
ICSA follows an international curriculum that is based on academic standards developed by Project AERO (American Education Reaches Out). The curriculum has been modified to meet local needs and opportunities. French, the official language of the Côte d'Ivoire, is offered throughout the school. English Language support is offered in Grades 1-10. The Common Ground Collaborative, a guided inquiry-based framework, guides ICSA curriculum development up to Grade 10. ICSA offers the IB Diploma Program for students in their last two years of school. If students choose not to take the full Diploma, they take IB courses. In addition, the school has a well-established service learning program, which is integrated into the curriculum.
Enrollment is currently 520 students (Grades Pre-K to 12) representing 74 nationalities. Of these, 270 are in Upper School (Grades 6 - 12) and 250 in the Lower School (Grades K- 5). Enrollment has been increasing over the last few years and this trend is expected to continue. The parents of students largely work for the African Development Bank, Diplomatic missions, UN Agencies, NGOs, and private businesses.
ICSA hires faculty and staff to reflect the diversity of the student body. The administration’s
commitment to hiring a diverse group of teachers is widely appreciated by the community. There are 84 full-time faculty members. The faculty represents a diverse group of qualified teachers including 19 U.S. citizens, 25 host-country nationals and 40 third- country nationals. There are 15 administrative staff and 20 support personnel and two full- time nurses. The ICSA values a professional learning community and supports the development of its faculty and staff.
The campus is open plan and is built on 6 hectares of land, in the Riviera III area of Abidjan. It includes the following facilities: 3 fully equipped science labs, a large library, IT, music and art rooms and ample classrooms. There are two covered basketball courts, a large soccer field and an 8 lane, 25-meter swimming pool. The school is about to embark on a major building project including an auditorium, a new Early Childhood Center, an additional Science Laboratory, and new administrative offices. Work on the auditorium is scheduled to begin this school year.
Warm and welcoming, the school is more than just a set of buildings; it is a place that is bustling with activity, after-school and at weekends, as well as during the regular school day. At ICSA, parents play an integral role in the school and their participation is greatly encouraged. Parents are members of the ICSA Association (the organization that oversees the management of the school), the Board of Directors, various committees of the Board, and the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO). Parents volunteer in various capacities at the school. Social events are held throughout the year.
Cote d’Ivoire and ICSA have been relatively fortunate in terms of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. School is open face-to-face and was only online for a relatively short period. Currently travel in and out of the country is easy. Travelers do not have to go into quarantine when they enter the country. About 70% of faculty are fully vaccinated and vaccinations are available for free from the government. Across the country, vaccination rates are still relatively low.
COTE D'IVOIRE - ABIDJAN
Identified as a family post by the UN, Abidjan has museums, cultural centers and a multitude of cultural events that take place throughout the year. Abidjan has a vibrant and internationally known music scene along with an important fashion industry. Numerous shopping complexes and amazing restaurants throughout the city ensure you won’t go without your favorite foods and commodities. Candidates can compare the cost of living in Abidjan to where they currently live using this tool.
And there is so much more to Cote d’Ivoire outside of Abidjan. Beautiful beaches, golf courses and wildlife and national parks, local traditions, and celebrations. To view a video about ICSA, click here.
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 works closely with the Senior Leadership Team including the Lower School and Upper School Principals, the Head of Operations, the Human Resources Director, the Business Manager, the General Services Officer, Director of Technology and the Communication & Event Officer.
- Leading the development and execution of a strategic plan in alignment with the overall mission, vision and strategic goals of ICSA, working in collaboration with the Senior Leadership Team
- Ensuring high international academic standards at ICSA and promoting excellence and improvement in all matters of teaching, learning, research and administration
- Promoting the school locally, regionally and internationally as part of its marketing and communications strategy
- Providing a safe, secure and inclusive environment for all staff, students and teachers
- Fostering collaborative working relationships and open channels of communication within the school community and wider stakeholder groups to create a positive working environment
- Ensuring allocation of resources to meet the needs of the mission, vision and strategic plan
- Accountable for recruiting, hiring and retaining a highly qualified administration, faculty and staff and ensuring a robust program is in place for staff development, performance and evaluation
- Ensuring the appropriate use and maintenance of the school's physical facilities and equipment and overseeing the construction of new facilities.
- Managing and monitoring the budget and ensuring sound fiscal practices and compliance with policy, legal, and tax obligations
- Facilitating the effective and timely resolution of conflicts
- Be a committed leader and mentor, in an exercise of excellent human relations
As ICSA strives to be a leader nationally, regionally and internationally the Board has defined the following priorities:
- Review and adapt the Lower School learning environment to better meet individual student needs and the development of 21st century learning skills
- Continue the improvement of the teaching of French
- Continue expanding the Upper School learning options
- Develop a school-wide system for monitoring and acting upon external assessment scores
- Review and revise existing policies and procedures to develop a comprehensive, consistent and coherent personnel program
- Develop a recruitment strategy and a strategy for creating an environment conducive to the retention of quality staff
- Continue investing in multi-faceted professional development, including the development of interpersonal skills
- Reorganize, realign and build competences of the operational staff
- Implement the campus renovation plan (3,000m2), which will commence this school year and the construction of new buildings (3,000m2)
- Define and execute a new and modern communication strategy.
- Improve collaborative working relationships and open channels of communication within the school community and wider stakeholder groups
Secure Financial Position:
- Ensure ICSA achieves financial goals annually through long-term financial planning
- Monitor and assess the school’s standing through financial benchmarking to increase reserves (construction project)
All the above priorities must result in a new strategic plan for ICSA and will lead to the achievement of the ambitious growth objectives of ICSA, both in quality and enrolment.
Required Qualifications and Experience
- Advanced degree in educational leadership, school administration or related field (Master’s or Doctorate Degree) preferred
- Ten or more years’ experience as a classroom teacher, curriculum specialist or similar experience
- Six or more years’ leadership experience and proven success as Head of School/Director or deputy Director/Head of School
- Experience working in a developing country, preferably in (sub-Saharan) Africa, quickly assimilating into new multi-cultural environments, identifying areas for improvement and affecting change, while cultivating positive relationships
- Previous experience with school accreditation
- Previous experience with construction and expanding school facilities.
- Experience in technology based educational solutions
- Deep understanding of best practices, innovative pedagogy, and challenging academic programs
- Exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively with prospective families, current families, teachers/staff, students, and community members
- Strong financial, organizational, human resource, marketing and management skills
- Ability and willingness to learn to speak French at a conversational level is highly recommended
- Ability and willingness to take ICSA into its next phase of growth, both in quality and size.
Compensation and benefits
ICSA offers a competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with position expectations and market benchmarks
ICSA has selected Search Associates to assist them in the Director search, with Caroline Jacoby as the Lead Consultant.
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.
Interested candidates should apply as soon as possible but no later than September 4th, 2022 GMT.
Candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest and the required materials as early as possible as ICSA 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.
Candidates should send the information listed below in a single PDF file attached to an email:
- A letter of application describing your interest in the Director position at ICSA, 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.
The total document size should be kept at (4) MB. Applications should be sent to: Caroline Jacoby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is currently easy to travel in and out of Abidjan. Depending on the location and any travel restrictions in place in finalist candidates’ country of residence, ICSA hopes to hold onsite visits for the finalists at the end of October. If this is not possible, finalist interviews will be conducted virtually.