Director at International Programs School in Saudi Arabia
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International Programs School (Saudi Arabia)

Appointed - Jim Leahy
Jun 18, 2015
Sep 30, 2015

International Programs School

Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia

seeks a


Beginning July 2016


The School

The International Programs School (IPS) in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia was established in September 2000.  It is a gender segregated day-school comprising elementary, middle and high school programs, with a total enrolment of 690 (projection for 2015-16) students and with future expansion plans to serve over 1200 students.  Following an American curriculum, the school fosters creative, independent and critical thinking to prepare our students to be leaders of tomorrow.  English is the primary language of instruction.  Arabic Language, Islamic studies, and Saudi History and Geography are taught according to the requirements of the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia. IPS is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA).


Mission, Beliefs, and Graduate Profile


In In partnership with the school community, the mission of the International Programs School is to:

  • Engage students from diverse cultural backgrounds in a comprehensive, American and international college preparatory program, that challenges, and encourages high expectations for success.
  • Empower students to become independent, critical thinkers with the skills to participate positively in a global society.
  • Promote understanding, tolerance, and compassion for others, and develop students of integrity and principle.


  • We believe that every child is a unique individual with potential for growth.
  • We believe that the best learning and teaching takes place in a safe and orderly environment that is free of prejudice, violence, and bullying.
  • We believe in students striving to achieve their full potential guided by caring, professional staff.
  • We believe that the skills to utilize technology are essential to prepare students for the future.
  • We believe that all students are responsible for active participation in their own learning.
  • We believe in developing responsibility and service to others by modeling and teaching ethical and moral issues.
  • We believe that high standards of excellence in teaching are necessary to challenge students.
  • We believe in respectful, honest, and constructive communication among all members of the school community.

IPS Graduate Profile

International Programs School graduates are academically, intellectually, and technologically competent. Through creativity and innovation, they are able to conceptualize, analyze, and solve problems. Expressing themselves intelligently and interestingly both orally and in writing, they possess the necessary 21st century skills to advance to a higher level of education and be successful in the school of their choice.


Furthermore, they have the ability to be productive members of society. Being adaptable to change they are capable of thinking independently as well as working and engaging in teams. Being able to take risks and explore new ideas they are able to accept, appreciate, and work in harmony with culturally diverse peoples and able to inspire and motivate others.


Our graduates are responsible for their actions. While reflecting on their own performance, they will be successful in their personal goals. They selflessly serve to make the world a better place and are instilled with the desire to use their education to serve society.

Staff and Students

The majority of the IPS teachers are from the United States and Canada, with others coming from Australia and the UK.  Teachers of Arabic Language and Islamic religion come from Arab and Muslim countries.


The IPS student body is remarkably diverse, with more than 30 nationalities represented among its 690 students.  Host country nationals make up approximately 30% of the student body.



IPS is a proprietary school owned and operated by Mrs. Haifa Al Suwaiket who meets regularly with the school Director in conversations focused on strategic planning and institutional improvement.  As needed, members of the Al Suwaiket family meet with Mrs. Al Suwaiket and the school Director to re-affirm the school’s Mission, Beliefs, and Graduate Profile as well as the strategic direction of the school.  Mrs. Al Suwaiket with the Director has attended ECIS Sustainable International School Governance workshops and continues to refine an already smooth working relationship allowing school management full control of day-to-day matters with a strategic focus.

IPS Community and Al Khobar

Al Khobar is located in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and a part of the greater Dammam/Dhahran municipality and is located across the causeway from Bahrain.  IPS serves the expat and Saudi community living in the area with most families involved in professions associated with oil, engineering, and health care industries.  Consumer goods of all kinds are readily available in modern malls and small shops; food from all over the world can be found in the major grocery store chains as well as local markets; and there are all kinds of different restaurants with cuisine for practically every region of the planet.


The Position

School is looking for a dynamic Director.  The Director will be the highest authority in the school and will report to the Board of Governors.  Experience with the International Baccalaureate (IB) programs is necessary, as is previous leadership experience and strong financial management skills.  He/she should have a proven track record in a multicultural setting, a deep understanding of, and passion for international education, together with high-level presentation, negotiation, communication, and intercultural skills.

It is the Director’s responsibility to:

  • Provide leadership to the whole school community.
  • Oversee the development and maintenance of the school’s facilities.
  • Participate in and support all school community activities.
  • Develop, coordinate, and facilitate the implementation of strategic and action plans intended to accomplish the IPS vision and mission, and specific IPS goals and objectives.
  • Implement IPS policies as established by the IPS Board of Governors and, when policies are lacking or are in need of revision, propose appropriate recommendations to the Board.
  • Work with the IPS staff to improve efficiency and effectiveness of IPS operations, programs, and services.
  • Develop and improve the school’s educational programs, especially with respect to curriculum and teaching quality of the school and recommend actions to the appropriate authority.
  • Develop program assessments and make recommendations for instructional improvements and adjustments.
  • Responsible for the selection, assignment, transfer and termination all school employees including all administrative, instructional and non-instructional personnel in a manner that, in the Director’s judgment, best serves IPS.
  • Supervise, evaluate, and direct administrative, instructional, and non-instructional personnel in the business management and in the instructional and non-instructional activities of the school.
  • Prepares and administers the budget of IPS as approved by the Board of Governors.
  • Develops and maintains good public relations with parents, parent-teacher association(s) and with the community.
  • Plans, monitors and coordinates with accreditation agencies to achieve and maintain the IPS accreditation.
  • Provide the Board with periodic reports and information that will enable an informed overview of the operations of IPS and allow effective planning.


Desired Characteristics

  • A dynamic Director with proven leadership, business and management skills gained in an international educational environment.
  • Previous experience as a senior level administrator with a strong financial orientation.
  • At least five years experience as a head of school or as an educational administrator.
  • A strong academic background, including a minimum of a Master’s Degree.
  • Experience with accreditation requirements and procedures.
  • Previous experience and ability to work in a non-western environment.
  • Awareness of and sensitivity to the Middle-Eastern culture.
  • Fluency in English is required and a working knowledge of Arabic would be an added advantage.
  • A proven ability to work harmoniously with a diverse group of constituents – including parents, teachers, students and board members.
  • 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 overseas hired faculty and staff members.
  • Ability to prepare and manage a multi-million dollar budget.
  • Strong organizational and planning skills.


Salary & Benefits

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


Procedures for Filing Application

IPS has appointed Search Associates as its consultant in its search for a Director, with Ralph Jahr as the lead consultant. The deadline for applications is September 30, 2015. Candidates 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 by Search Associates and their dossiers forwarded to the school for review. On-line interviews could occur at any time after candidate applications have been received. Finalists will be selected as soon as possible and site visits by finalist candidates will be scheduled by or before the end of October. The new Director will be selected on or before 15 November 2015. It is hoped that the new Director will assist with recruiting new faculty members for the 2016-17 academic year. The new Director will begin in August 2016.

Candidates should include the following materials in a single pdf file of less than 4MB in size.

  • A letter of application, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in the Director position at IPS.
  • 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 that may already be in your possession.


Applications should be sent as an email attachment to  Additional information about IPS can be found at the school’s website at < >.


Ralph Jahr, Ph.D.                                                                    Email:

Search Associates                                                                   Tel: 609-759-0431 (USA)

2008 Cove Lane                                                                      Skype: ralph.h.jahr

Roseville, CA 95747-8835                                                 Web:

Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Diana Kerry was an international educator and administrator for 25 years in various countries, including Iran, France, Thailand, and Indonesia.