Director at International School of Latvia in Latvia
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International School of Latvia (Latvia)

Appointed - Matthew Sipple appointed
May 1, 2015
Sep 30, 2015

Dear Colleagues,


On behalf of the Search Committee and the International School of Latvia, we thank you for your interest in the Director position. The Search Committee has announced the appointment of Matthew Sipple as the new Director, to commence August, 2016.

Matt brings many years of International School experience to Latvia, he is currently the Deputy Head of School at Oberoi International School, Mumbai, India. Prior to that he was the Director of Educational Advancement at the American International School – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He previously worked as a High School Academic Dean for Ruamrudee International School in Thailand. Matt also served as Assistant Headmaster at Leysin American School, Switzerland. In the USA, Matt has held positions at Buckley Country Day School, NY and Isidore Newman School in New Orleans.

Matt earned a Masters in Educational Leadership from Columbia Teachers College, NY. He has a Masters in African and European History from the University of Pennsylvania and a B. A. in History from the University of Pittsburgh, PA.

The Search Committee, Board of Directors and we here at Search Associates appreciate very much your interest in the International School of Latvia Director position. We were pleased that a large number of well qualified and experienced candidates applied for the position, and understand from the Search Committee that their decision was difficult to make.  We wish you the very best with your ongoing professional and personal pursuits.




Julie Ryan                                                                       John F. Magagna                                           

Senior Associates                                                          Founding Director

Search Associates                                                         Search Associates




The International School of Latvia

seeks a new Director beginning July 2016


The International School of Latvia (ISL) is an IB World School, offering instruction in English to 336 students from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 in Latvia, the current holder of the EU presidency. Established in 1995, ISL began with only 6 students in a small building located in the seaside resort town of Jurmala. In 2011, ISL moved to a purpose-built campus just outside Riga. In the last five years, the school has grown from 191 students to 336, with students representing 32 different countries.  

Left: A picture made by students in the Design Technology class to celebrate internationalism at ISL. In many ways we feel this picture is at the heart of who we are and what we do.

ISL is accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS), The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), and has been authorised to offer the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP) by the International Baccalaureate Organization for the last 10 years. The most recent joint re-accreditation took place in February 2013. ISL belongs to the Central & Eastern European Schools Association (CEESA), a network that encourages collaboration and cooperation amongst schools, sponsors a variety of athletic, academic and cultural events for students in the region and offers professional development opportunities for faculty and  staff of member schools. 

Right: Students in grade 11 work on their Personal Statements for college applications.

Located in Pinki, a small community just outside the capital, the new campus was built on a green field site and has plenty of outside space for children to play and learn. Pinki is equidistant to the seaside resort of Jurmala and downtown Riga. There is much to see and do in Riga, the culture capital of the European Union in 2014. Latvia is a very safe, healthy place to live and work.

Left: Elementary School students gather outside on the first day of school for their assembly.

We have recently acquired an adjacent property which includes an apple orchard to allow for continued growth. ISL’s four-year-old campus has a sports/performance “gymatorium”, multi-purpose Media Center, cafeteria and classrooms equipped with interactive whiteboards to support instruction. As the school has experienced such growth and has wait lists for several grades, temporary modular classrooms and a storage unit have been put into place. We plan to work with a firm to create a facility master plan that will provide us with facilities which will support our growing program.

Left: Students from grades 6-10  perform a popular theme song for the International Day concert.  

ISL’s Approach and Vision 

ISL is an IB World School serving the international community. Classes are taught in English and support is provided for non-native speakers.  ISL strives to help students achieve personal excellence, and provides a nurturing and balanced environment for the whole child. Following the IB philosophy, we prepare students for successful lifelong learning, and to view our ever-changing world critically and creatively. We strive to create students who act with responsibility, integrity and respect, and appreciate human diversity. Finally, we foster a strong sense of community, where parents, students and staff are partners in education.

Right: Students in Pre-School celebrate their mother tongue languages in front of the language tree wearing folk costumes from Latvia, Russia and China.

Led by ISL’s elected parent Council, we have developed a four-year plan for: curriculum review, Learning Support Services, Information Technology, Finance, Latvian language, Staffing, Buildings and Grounds, Performing Arts and increasing school outreach. 

Our four-year plan will build on our strong teaching partnerships, a friendly, "small school" feel, welcoming campus and a dynamic, innovative learning environment for our students. Through careful long-term planning, transparent decision making, and developing community networks, we have a plan for managed growth of the school’s physical and educational resources. 

Right: Parents of students from Elementary, Middle and High School meet with the Assistant Principals for monthly coffee mornings.

The Curriculum 

Ongoing commitment to the curriculum is seen in one of the guiding school goals, “what is written is taught, what is taught is assessed and what is assessed informs revision.” ISL also believes that supporting teachers is essential in providing the best education for our students. Significant meeting time is allocated to curriculum work, and our professional development program allows teachers opportunities to be inspirational, innovative and courageous educational leaders, another of our all-school goals.

Left: Students in Grade 5 take their learning abroad and visit Turkey for their Week Without Walls.

More information at 

The Role of the Director at ISL

The Director at ISL makes the operational, day-to-day, decisions for the school. Typically, many of these decisions are made in conjunction with the Leadership Team of the school. ISL’s elected Council [Board] provides support for the Director and the community by making the strategic decisions for the school. 

Left: The Director addresses the school community on the first day of school.

ISL has been an IB World School for 10 years. The Director is the leader of the school and, as such, must embody the ideals of the PYP, MYP and DP and espouse ISL’s school values and goals. We have instituted a curriculum review cycle and the Director plays an active role in this process. 

ISL has enjoyed strong, caring leadership and views these qualities as absolute necessities for the success of the  school.  The next Director of ISL must be able to inspire, motivate, and provide a clear vision as the school moves forward. S/he needs to be able to communicate with respect and sense of purpose  with  students, parents, staff  and the Council, as well with our local and international communities. 

ISL’s Director should have experience successfully working with human resources/recruiting, safety/security procedures, finance/budgets, buildings and grounds/supervision of building projects, technology integration/BYOL programs, and fully inclusive programs for students with special needs. Equally important is the understanding of how each of these areas are interconnected and are essential to support successful student learning.   The Director will work with the Leadership Team to establish All-School goals which guide decisions regarding professional development and allocation of resources. 

Desired Qualifications and Experience

ISL would like to find someone who has all of the following qualifications and skills. Having said that, if you have not had the opportunity to  gain experience with some of the items to follow, we still encourage you to contact Search Associates and talk this through with either John Magagna, Founding Director of Search Associates, or the Associate working with this search, Julie Ryan. 


  • An advanced degree in education or a related field.
  • 10+ years in the education field as a teacher, counselor, principal, senior administrator, or school director as well as a minimum of five years in an international education setting.
  • Experience working with a multinational staff and community.
  • Successful administrative experience.
  • Knowledge of best school governance practices and ability to work effectively with a governing  Council and our parent community.
  • Familiarity with the three IB programs.
  • Experience implementing Strategic Plans and leading Accreditation work.
  • Strong interpersonal skills.
  • Financial, accounting, and budget development experience.
  • Background in latest information technology used to support student learning.
  • Visible, approachable, committed to the success of the school, ability to take work seriously but not themselves.

Insight regarding what sort of a person ISL is looking for can be gained by looking at the All-School Goals:

1) Our curriculum cycle ensures: What is written is taught, what is taught is assessed and what is assessed informs revision.

2) To be educational leaders who are inspirational, innovative and courageous.

3) Develop the school community.

4) Revise the mission statement and core values.

5) Optimize facilities design to enhance learning.  

Compensation and Benefits

The initial term of the Director’s contract is three years with the option to extend. The remuneration package is commensurate with the responsibilities of the position and is competitive.

Benefits include housing, utilities, medical and evacuation insurance, retirement program, school tuition waiver for children attending ISL, annual home leave, professional development allowance, use of a school vehicle, transportation at the beginning and end of contract, and a shipping allowance. 

Application Procedure

The Board of Directors of The International School of Latvia has appointed Search Associates as its consultant, with John Magagna as the lead consultant joined by Julie Ryan. The deadline for applications is 30th September, 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. 

The review of files will begin as soon as applications are received. Finalists will be selected by the Search Committee as early in the process as possible. Finalist candidates together with their spouse (if applicable) will be invited to The International School of Latvia in September or early October to meet with the Search Committee and the Board for final interviews, as well as to visit the school campus and meet with faculty, parents, students, and non-teaching staff. The new Director will begin in July 2016. 

Candidates should send the information listed below as a single pdf file attached in one email:
  • A two-page letter of application, explaining your strengths as a candidate and your interest in this position.        
  • A statement describing your management and educational philosophy, maximum two pages .
  • A current resume of maximum two pages.
  • A one-page list of references with current addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.
  • A maximum of three letters of reference (scanned at low resolution) that may already be in your possession.
  • A recent photo or good snapshot (optional)

Total document size should be kept to less than six  MB if possible. Applications should be sent to:

with a cc to:

Additional information about the school  may be found at


Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Bill Turner’s international teaching career has taken him to Sudan, Italy, Qatar and the UAE as well as his home country of England. His very first teaching position was in rural Sudan.