Elementary School Principal at International Community School of Abidjan in Cote d'Ivoire
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Elementary School Principal
International Community School of Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire)

Appointed - Heather Naro
Sep 14, 2020
Oct 7, 2020


The International Community School of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

seeks a new

Lower School (Elementary) Principal

Effective August 2021


Learning and Leading in a Collaborative Culture

VISON – What Does the Mission Look Like?

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.


Several diplomatic families associated with the US Embassy in Cote d’Ivoire founded the International Community School of Abidjan (ICSA) in 1972. Growing from humble beginnings, ICSA was located in villas for several years in residential communities in Abidjan. It was not until 1989, when ICSA moved to Riviera III, that it developed “purpose-built facilities”, which permitted a larger enrolment and the development of a comprehensive PreK-12 program. During the 2002 – 2003 school year, ICSA experienced the largest enrolment in its history, decreasing to less than 100 students by February of 2003, due to civil conflict in the country.



Between 2003 and 2007, ICSA’s enrolment declined to less than 20 students, which prompted the need to relocate its facility to a temporary location. The school faced some unexpected financial challenges associated with maintaining its 5.3 hectare campus. In 2005, in order to address rising operating costs, ICSA moved to a residential location in Riviera III, near the village of M’Pouto and rented its facility to the United Nations. Between 2007 and 2010, the school experienced increased enrolment due to the stable political conditions in the country. However, in November 2010, as a result of post-election violence, enrolment once again declined to less than 30 students by the end of the 2010-2011 school year. Since 2010, ICSA has experienced a steady increase in enrolment.

In 2013 ICSA returned to its 5.3 hectare purpose-built facility and began with an enrolment of over 180 students. The school has steadily grown ever since with the current enrolment of 480 students (and expected to increase during the year), 220 of them in the Lower School. 


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. They remain fully accredited until 2023. Next year the faculty will begin work on their self-study for renewing their accreditation.


ICSA 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.


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 Cote 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. The Lower School uses a balanced literacy approach in its instruction. This includes writers’ workshop, readers’ workshop and guided reading. ICSA offers the IB Diploma Program for students in their last two years of school.


Enrolment at the beginning of the academic year 2020-21 was 480 (Grades Pre-K to 12) representing over 70 nationalities. Of these, 220 are in Lower School (Grades Pre-K to 5) and 260 in the Upper School (Grades 6-12). The parents of students largely work for the African Development Bank, Diplomatic missions, NGOs and private business.




For the 2020-2021 school year, there are 59 full-time teachers and 20 learning assistants. The faculty represents a diverse group of qualified teachers including 22 U.S. citizens, 25 host-country nationals and 31 third-country nationals.  There are 14 administrative staff and 20 support personnel and two full-time nurses.



The campus is very open, purpose built on 6 hectares of land, in the Riviera 3 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 Lower School program at ICSA serves students in grades Pre-K to Grade 5.

One of ICSA’s intellectual objectives is to promote the desire to learn, the awareness that learning is a lifelong process, and the recognition that there are a wide variety of resources for learning. Therefore, the lower school focuses on the total development of each child and provides many opportunities for personal, social, emotional and academic growth in a nurturing, structured environment.

The philosophy of the Lower School program is to provide the best strategies to each individual student through programs that are flexible and challenging. The students have time each day for enrichment via classes in Music, PE, Art and IT. French is the language of the host country and all students in the Lower School receive French instruction during their week.




The program is experiential. Children learn new concepts and skills through their class work, through interactions with texts and materials and with classmates and the world around them. Projects, long-term assignments, and group work often require students to work together through a process that eventually results in a final product. A very important part of this experiential process is the time provided by teachers for students to edit and reflect upon their work. The goal is continual student learning, not simply a high grade or a product at the end of a unit.


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 (parents are elected to the Board to govern the school), 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. The school celebrates the UN, our diverse international community, women, Africa and its diaspora, the arts, Dr. Seuss and more!  


Identified as a family post by the UN, Abidjan is filled with 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 favourite foods and commodities. Groceries and other items are easy to buy.

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.


ICSA seeks a Lower School Principal who is an experienced leader of learning. The Principal should be innovative, flexible and excited to live in, and share school leadership in a close-knit community. The new Principal should be prepared to build on the good work that the school has done in the last few years.

The Lower School Principal is responsible for the running of the Lower School and works closely with the Upper School Principal and the School Director, who is his/her direct supervisor. Additional administrative staff include a K – 12 Curriculum Coordinator, a Human Resources Director, the Business Manager, the General Services Officer, and the Technology Manager. This group forms the leadership team at ICSA.

Areas that the school are wanting the new Principal to focus on are:

  • Continue and reinforce the good work that has been done and that is going on at the school now.
  • Provide leadership in the development of a Student Support Services program to make the school more inclusive.
  • Work with the teachers of the French Department to review and continue to develop the program to ensure the needs of all language learners are being met.
  • Develop a strong relationship with faculty, staff, students, parents and the whole community to ensure a strong sense of community and belonging for all.
  • Recruit and retain excellent Lower School teachers.
  • Provide leadership in the development of a new teaching and learning space for Early Childhood.


  • At least 5 years in a leadership role in an international school.
  • A Masters degree in Educational Leadership or similar.
  • Leadership experience with an inquiry-based curriculum.
  • Experience leading curriculum mapping
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and written communication skills.


  • Visionary leader keeping the school’s mission and vision front and center
  • A desire to work as part of a collaborative team.
  • Reflective
  • A sense of humor
  • The ability to develop positive relationships with all members of the community.
  • Visible and active in all aspects of school life.
  • Committed to continuous improvement.
  • Student-centered, and ensures an inspiring, innovative, and safe learning environment.
  • Leads by example; with integrity, honesty and transparency
  • A good listener
  • Emotionally intelligent with high degree of cultural literacy
  • Ability to manage budgets.


  •  Ability to speak French is a strong advantage, particularly in terms of being able to integrate into the wider community.


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 Lower School Principal search, with Caroline Jacoby as the Lead Consultant. The deadline for applications is October 7th, 2020.

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 Lower School Principal 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 cjacoby@searchassociates.com


Did You Know…?

Search Associates has over 15 Senior Associates with offices around the globe, each bringing a wealth of experience in international education.