Director of Advancement at International School of Florence in Italy
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Director of Advancement
International School of Florence (Italy)

No longer accepting applications
Feb 5, 21
Mar 25, 21





Seeks a

Director of Advancement

Effective July 1,2021 (or earlier)



The International School of Florence is proud to be a research led organization that inspires young people around the world to become independent thinkers and compassionate members of society. Founded in 1952, ISF has a mature history of international education and plays a central part of the infrastructure of the city.  ISF currently serves the needs of 530 students from over 40 countries. A not for profit association governed by a largely parental Board, the school has been accredited for many years by both the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Middle States Association (MSA).  ISF is also authorized to offer the IB Primary Years and Diploma Programmes. The school currently occupies two beautiful, historic buildings in the centre and periphery of Florence. Oversubscribed and enjoying a strong reputation amongst the international and local communities, ISF’s Florentine location is central to its identity and Florence continues to be a city of global significance. As such, the school has unmatched opportunities for the city to act as both its campus and curriculum and students joining the school for any length of time have unique learning opportunities.

In response to continued demand and in order to modernize its learning environments, ISF has begun the search for a unified and expanded campus; growth, both literally and metaphorically, will shape its immediate future.

In 2018, The Board of Governors and the Head of School committed ISF to a comprehensive strategic planning process that reviewed the school’s Vision, Mission, and Guiding Statements. The outcomes of this process have allowed the school to enhance the provision of a student experience that is culturally rich, intellectually stimulating, inclusive and research-led.

The school has recently launched its own Research & Development Unit that will respond to emerging challenges and opportunities. It will have a horizon-scanning function with a participatory character drawing on school, Florentine and international expertise to ensure that ISF acts as a hub for contemporary thought. ISF has also recently launched its own funded Professional Research Programme to support reflection, creative thinking and innovation.  Such recent developments give a flavour of the character of the school’s ambitions.

In support of these significant developments, and to realize this vision, successful applicants for the position of Director of Advancement will be distinguished by core characteristics consistent with the school’s strategic obligations. As such, the school is keen to appoint professionals committed to working in a not for profit organization in a European setting. This comes with challenges as well as opportunities and collaboration will be required in order to secure progress. The school’s Senior Leadership Team needs to be conspicuous in its strategic focus, be collaborative in outlook, able to mentor and hold colleagues accountable, as well as demonstrate the beneficial impacts of its decision-making.

The school encourages applications from like-minded professionals able to work collegially, demonstrate educational imagination and innovation, and act with a significant amount of autonomy. Future colleagues are likely to be seasoned international practitioners who can speak with authority on the value(s) of international education, the programmes of the IB and are actively engaged with the global professional community. As you will be expected to represent the school
nationally and internationally, you either will have an established profile or will be keen to develop one. You will be able to demonstrate drive, ingenuity and be infectious in your commitment to student learning wherever that takes place. You will certainly wish learning to be fully immersed in Florentine culture and will naturally regard the fostering of student agency and leadership as one of your main priorities.

The immediate future of the school is extremely exciting and post-holders will bring a great deal to its success. This is a significant opportunity for professionals interested in crafting a future-orientated educational vision and positioning the school as a leader in its field.



Faced with a social and educational landscape that is shifting rapidly, even well-established institutions such as ISF need to ask afresh, “What now counts as a meaningful education?” This allows us to reflect on what should be our appropriate identity, purpose, and ambition in the face of emerging challenges and opportunities. Throughout the course of the 2018-2019 school year, we used a variety of community meetings as well as formal planning processes to address these questions. The outcomes of this engaging collective effort are reflected in our new Mission, Vision, and Strategic Plan. These will act as our roadmap for the future as well as representing a series of commitments for which we can all be proud, and to which we can all be accountable.

We are therefore delighted to envisage a future for ISF that will be distinguished by core characteristics that will allow the school to offer an educational experience that is internationally-minded, uniquely Florentine, outward looking and research-led in its commitment to educational innovation. The principal agents of change will be the young people in our community as they learn and work together to shape a shared future. The challenges that they will face are diverse and complex, and will require original, critical and creative response. To that end, we should be prepared to experiment, foster new forms of professional engagement for teachers and aim to be a hub for international best practice.

At the heart of any meaningful and rewarding experience is the wellbeing of the learner. At ISF, we will continue to educate the whole person, recognizing that the definition of success, as well as the path to achieve it, is as diverse as the community we serve. Indeed, our cultural and linguistic diversity are our greatest assets and these need to be reflected in the values that we uphold, and how these shape our daily interactions with each other and a wider world.

It is difficult to imagine a more interesting time to be involved in learning and teaching. The challenge of change is also the excitement of opportunity. It seems entirely appropriate that innovation, authenticity and experiment, all hallmarks of our city’s past, should also be the distinctive features of our school’s future.





A laboratory for learning where we collaborate to add meaning to a shared future.


We aspire to build communities of creative makers and doers.



MEANINGFUL LEARNING AND STUDENT AGENCY | Cultivate growth through a meaningful and inspiring learning experience.

  •  Provide relevant innovative methods of student and professional learning consistent with inquiry
  • Empower students to take ownership of their learning experiences
  • Ensure that student wellbeing is at the core of our practices
  • Promote and honor home language learning in recognition of our unique identities
  • Embrace, foster, and promote diversity within our community
  • Draw upon the unmatched learning opportunities of Florence
  • Recognize the impact of our actions on our interdependent world and promote a culture of solidarity

ENABLING CHANGE | Develop constituencies for change.

  • Develop of culture of participation to define the direction of the change demanded by our Mission and Vision
  • Ensure regular and purposeful communication regarding changes and their benefits

CONNECTING WITH PURPOSE | Communicate and reflect our unique, shared identity and connect effectively with local and international partners.

  • Communicate our shared identity effectively
  • Develop a strategic marketing plan that addresses the aspirations of the school
  • Cultivate dynamic relationships with local, national, and global partners

LEADING BY EXAMPLE | Further a virtuous cultureof leadership and governance.

  • Ensure that whole-school structures and systems continue to reflect evolving international best practices
  • Ensure that roles and responsibilities continue to be clear
  • Harmonize internal strategies with external obligations
  • Implement frameworks of self and collaborative appraisal

FINANCE AND RISK MANAGEMENT | Build sustainable financial and risk frameworks to ensure achievement of strategic intents.

  •  Implement and monitor a long-range budgeting process
  • Ensure the cost efficient use of available resources
  • Support the development of a variety of income streams
  • Ensure that risk is effectively monitored and managed
  • Ensure that all financial and risk management strategies and actions remain consistent with the Mission and Vision


ISF seeks a dynamic and enterprising individual who will be inspired and guided by our ideals as 
they provide leadership for the school’s advancement initiatives. The ideal candidate will help 
present the strengths of our unique institution to the world and will continually seek meaningful 
ways for our external constituents to help the school fulfill its mission through  their expertise,  life experience, and philanthropy. The Office of Advancement plays a leading role in shaping, facilitating and communicating the development and implementation of our Strategic Plan.

The Director of Advancement will be a member of the school’s leadership team. They will hold 
primary responsibility for delivering on strategic fundraising goals for a variety of causes such 
as scholarships, curriculum development, campus renewal and sustainability.



  • Works with the Board of Directors and the Head of School to meet fundraising goals.
  • Develops fundraising training for leadership colleagues.
  • Assumes responsibility for all Advancement reporting to the Head of School, Board of Directors and other agencies.


  • Designs, implements and manages all fundraising activities including annual solicitations, reunion campaigns, endowment and capital campaigns, and other school-related solicitations
  • Manages all strategies and activities for donor cultivation, solicitation, and relationship building
  • Directly implements a comprehensive Major Gifts programme
  • Oversees the development of proposals for foundations and funding
  • Develops and implements Annual Giving campaigns to provide a broad base of regular donors


  • Oversees the organisation of alumni networks/hubs and supporting initiatives and events
  • Develops and implements strategies to promote giving of “Time, Talent & Treasure”
  • Identifies and trains core groups of volunteers to assist in Annual Giving, special events 
    and other constituent engagement programs as needed.


  • Works closely with the Communications Manager, and the School Leadership Team to further develop our organizational identity and unique educational value proposition
  • Oversees the design and production of all major publications, including newsletters, the 
    Annual Report, the website and “friendraising” communications
  • Creates and oversees implementation of promotional plans for all campaigns related to 
    fundraising, admissions and programmes
  • Plans and implements the school’s promotional outreach and media strategy, including press networking, media pitches, special events and crisis communications.
  • Develops a culture of positive global brand ambassadorship amongst our primary constituent groups (students, staff, parents, alumni)


  • Leads, mentors and inspires the Advancement Office Team
  • Undertakes supervisory responsibilities and creates management systems to support all 
    Advancement projects and operations
  • Works closely with other departments (Finance, Learning Environment, Admissions, Academics etc.) and participates as a member of the Leadership Team
  • Supervises and includes students in the activities conducted by Advancement Office
  • Wherever and whenever possible, participates in the intellectual and experiential life on 
    campus so as to better understand and integrate into the community.


  • Masters degree or equivalent in a relevant field
  • At least 5+ years in advancement,  fundraising, marketing, business development, public 
    relations or philanthropy, preferably in significant not for profit organisations
  • Proven track record of leading high performance teams
  • Understanding of international educational systems or readiness to engage with them
  • Excellent interpersonal and intercultural communication skills, with the ability to work 
    well in multicultural environments and with diverse constituencies
  • Excellent oral and public presentation skills. Strong written communication & research 
  • Strong aptitude for developing and managing budgets and preparing financial reports
  • Tech savviness and experience with advancement databases
  • Ability to be self-motivated, work well under pressure and be able to handle several 
    projects at one time
  • Ability to travel frequently and sometimes at short notice  

Application Procedures:

ISF has appointed Search Associates to facilitate the search with Dr. Gunther Brandt serving as the consultant.  The deadline for applications is March 25, 2021. However, candidates should note that the search committee will begin reviewing applications as soon as they are received from Search Associates. In the event an outstanding applicant is identified early in the search process, ISF reserves the right to make an appointment before the deadline. For this reason, it is essential that interested candidates apply as soon as possible. For further information about ISF, please visit the website at

Candidates who wish to apply should submit the information requested below in the form and manner requested.

  • A letter of application, no longer than two pages, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in the Director of Advancement at the International School of Florence.
  • A current resume not to exceed two pages.
  • A one-page list of at least four references who have directly supervised the performance of the candidate with the current phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
  • A maximum of four letters of recommendation which you may already have in your possession.

Candidates should send the requested information in a single PDF attachment.

Please send all materials to Dr. Gunther Brandt at:



Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Ray Sparks's over 30-year career as an educator has involved working in Canada, Europe, and Asia.