General Director at Colegio Americano de Torreon, A. C. in Mexico
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General Director
Colegio Americano de Torreon, A. C. (Mexico)

Appointed - John Hickey
Dec 11, 2018
Feb 15, 2019


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Colegio Americano de Torreón (CAT) in Torreón, Mexico and the Director General Search Committee, we are pleased to announce that Mr. John Hickey has been appointed Director General of Colegio Americano de Torreón beginning in August 2020 for the 2020-21 academic year

Mr. Hickey is currently Assistant Superintendent for Innovation and Learning at the American School Foundation of Monterrey, in Monterrey, Mexico, a position he has held since 2016. Prior to his current position, he was Director of Colegio Panamericano in Bucaramanga, Colombia. He has also held administrative and teaching positions at Colegio Nueva Granada in Bogota, Colombia and at schools in Venezuela, Israel and in the USA.

Mr. Hickey earned his B.A. in Political Science and English Literature at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, USA and MA Degrees at the University of Alabama, and Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He also earned Certification in International School Leadership with the Principals Training Center.

The Board of Directors of Colegio Americano de Torreón, the Director General Search Committee, and Search Associates would like to thank all candidates who expressed interest in the Director General position, and to everyone who assisted and supported the search process.

Ralph Jahr and Brent Mutsch
Search Associates


Colegio Americano de Torreon

Torreon, Mexico

seeks a

General Director

-- effective July, 2020 --


The American School of Torreón (CAT) is an accredited, private, independent day school serving the educational needs of the community of the Laguna Region known as the Comarca Lagunera. The Comarca Lagunera is the region where the two states of Durango and Coahuila meet and it includes the three cities of Lerdo, Gomez Palacio and Torreón. The school is located in Torreón.

Established in 1954, CAT is governed by a thirteen-member Board of Directors. The educational program includes a college preparatory curriculum taught mainly in English (some classes are in Spanish) that extends from Kinder to 12th grade and that results in the acquisition of an American High School diploma and the Mexican Bachillerato diploma for its graduates.


CAT Mission Statement

 Colegio Americano de Torreón is a bilingual bicultural nursery to 12th grade institution based on the best teaching practices. Through a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, we are dedicated to preparing our students to be socially committed leaders and responsible citizens who are successful in a global environment. Core classes are taught in English. Graduates earn a U.S. high school diploma as well as a Mexican “Bachillerato” certificate.

CAT Vision Statement

The vision of Colegio Americano de Torreón can be summarized in three words:  Excellence for life.


Shared Beliefs

Every CAT Student will:

  •  Be prepared for university study anywhere in the world.
  • Be fully bilingual in English and Spanish with motivation to develop a third language.
  • Be highly qualified in the use of twenty-first century skills.
  • Be globally aware and respectful of diversity through a deep understanding of their own cultural identity.
  • Be socially proactive leaders and ecologically responsible global citizens.
  • Have the right to grow and learn in a safe and healthy environment.
  • Have parents who take an equal responsibility for being actively involved in their children’s education.
  • Have a staff who is highly qualified, compassionate and committed to their success.
  • Develop a love for learning
  • Have diverse opportunities to develop their athletic, artistic and intellectual talents.

Campus and Facilities

CAT is located on a beautiful 26-acre campus in a quiet residential part of Torreón. A new Early Childhood building is in the final stages of construction is will be ready for the beginning of the 2019-20 academic year in August 2019. There are multiple soccer fields, all of which have artificial turf. The school has a beautiful 8-lane swimming pool and several covered outdoor athletic courts.  

Other facilities at CAT include 7 science labs, 8 computer labs, a multimedia classroom, a multipurpose room and 2 libraries. Classrooms are equipped with LCD projectors, smart boards, wireless internet and Apple tvs.

Additional athletic facilities include 2 gymnasiums, 2 covered tennis courts, 4 soccer fields, a 6-lane 400m track, softball field, Taekwondo room, covered volleyball and basketball courts.

Most fine arts facilities are contained in the Art and Theater building. They include a multifunction auditorium with a capacity of 450 people, 4 music classrooms for band, choir and orchestra, art classrooms, a black box theater and a jazz and ballet room.

The CAT cafeteria has seating for 600 students where hot lunches are served daily.


Near the main campus, CAT owns a 4,000 square meter tract of land that was purchased for houses and/or apartments which might be built in the future for foreign hire teachers.


Student Body

The student body currently numbers 1,440. Approximately 97% of the student body are Mexican nationals.  The remaining 3% are composed of US and Canadian citizens, Korean, and several other nationalities. The opening of the new Early Childhood building next year will enable the elementary and MS/HS facilities to expand into the former Early Childhood classrooms. It is anticipated the student body will grow by another 100-200 students as the number of Early Childhood students increases with the new facilities and the addition of a new section for 2-year old students.

Faculty and Administration

The CAT Admin Team consists of 22 members. A new position of Deputy Director of Academics has been added to the Admin Team for 2019-20. The Middle and High School Principal and the Elementary School Principal are assisted by Vice Principals. There is also a Principal for the Early Childhood program.

The school has a teaching faculty of 132. 38 faculty members are expatriates hired abroad and 94 are locally hired. Both foreign hire and locally hired faculty members benefit from a well-developed Professional Development program that brings in Professional Development experts to work with faculty members on the CAT campus.

Accreditation and Curriculum

CAT is currently accredited by the AdvancED, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and by the Secretary of Education of Mexico.

The CAT academic program includes a Creative Curriculum in early childhood and Balanced Literacy with Readers and Writers workshop in the elementary school. Advanced Placement courses are offered to junior and senior students in the high school. The programs comply with requirements for the Secretaria de Educacion Publica (SEP). Students who follow the Bachillerato SEP can gain entry into public and private Mexican universities. All CAT students attend colleges and universities after graduation. Approximately 90% continue in colleges and universities within Mexico, and approximately 10% continue their studies in the USA, Canada or other countries.


CAT is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors. Members are appointed for as long as they have children enrolled in CAT. Executive officers of the Board are elected by the Board for two-year terms. Beginning in the 2019-20 academic year, two additional members will be added to the Board, bringing the number of Board members to 15. All Board members must have children currently enrolled in CAT except for one member who is referred to as the external member.

The Community

Torreón is a relatively small city with a population of approximately 680,000 as of 2015. The Torreon metropolitan area is about 1.4 million. Torreon celebrated its 100-year anniversary as a chartered city in 2007. The area was originally a center for ranching and later became a farming and processing center for cotton. Early residents were immigrants from Spain, Germany, France, China and the US. It is a welcoming city and people are very friendly. The city is at an elevation of 3,670 ft and has a dry desert climate with warm daytime temperatures and cool nights. Nearly any point in the city can be reached by car in ~25-30 minutes.

The Position

The General Director reports to the CAT Board of Directors and is responsible for guiding the operation of the school. General duties and responsibilities of the General Director include the following:

  • Prepare the agenda for Board meetings in conjunction with the Board President
  • To achieve the annual goals developed by the Board and to implement Board Policies and directives.
  • To maintain a high standard of education and to oversee the supervision and evaluation of all curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.
  • To supervise and support the planning necessary to begin each academic school year.
  • To oversee the hiring, supervision and dismissal of all faculty and staff.
  • Develop, coordinate and implement the annual budget of the school.
  • To ensure the safety, welfare, and conduct of students while participating in school programs or while being transported to or from school programs.
  • To ensure the building and grounds of the school meet the safety and security needs of the student body and the needs of the instructional programs.
  • To maintain effective communication with the Board, administration, faculty, staff, students, parents and the greater school community.
  • Monitors the implementation and progress of the strategic plan
  • And all other obligations assigned by the Board

Position Qualifications

Required Qualifications of the new General Director include the following:

  • Graduate Degree
  • Demonstrated success in recruiting and retaining excellent teaching staff
  • Successful experience as a teacher and principal

Preferred Qualifications of the General Director include the following:

  • Experience as a successful Director in an international school
  • Certification as an administrator / head of school
  • Experience with the Advanced Placement program
  • Background in and a proponent of technology to support student learning
  • Open to considering commitment beyond the initial 3-year contract
  • Demonstrated success in finance and budget development / implementation;

Desired Personal Characteristics of the General Director include the following:

  • Approachability
  • Excellent communicator, both verbally and in writing
  • Conversational Spanish – at least
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills
  • Passionate about school leadership and learning
  • A transparent decision-maker who works with honesty, integrity, and compassion
  • A good listener who is responsive and builds trust through consensus with all constituents
  • Well organized and logical
  • Collaborative leadership style
  • Cultural sensitivity and the ability to celebrate the cultural heritage of Mexico
  • High energy level / high visibility on campus and at school events;
  • Equally focused and supportive of athletics, fine arts, AP and Mexican curriculums, commitment to service, and the needs of all levels of the school program and faculties;

Salary and Benefits

The salary and benefits are competitive and will be commensurate with the candidate's qualifications and experience.

For more information, please visit the CAT website at -

Procedure for Filing Application

The Board of Directors of Colegio Americano de Torreón (CAT) has appointed Search Associates to act as consultant in the search process for the new General Director.  The deadline for applications is February 15, 2019. Applications will be reviewed by Search Associates as they are received and dossiers of selected candidates will be forwarded to the CAT Search Committee on a rolling basis. It is anticipated that finalists will be identified and the candidate(s) together with his/her spouse if applicable will be invited to Torreon for final interviews in April 2019. Candidates should note, however, that in the event an outstanding applicant is identified early in the search process, CAT reserves the right to make an appointment early in the search process, even before the published deadline.  For this reason, it is important that interested candidates apply as soon as possible.

Applications will be accepted in digital form only, as a single pdf file. The pdf file should be 5 MB or less in size.  The following items are required:

  • Cover letter, two pages or less
  • Resume, generally not more than two pages
  • Names and positions of at least three current or recent supervisory referees, preferably current or former Board members, with accurate email addresses, Skype contact, and phone numbers.
  • Up to three (3) open letters of reference can also be submitted if available as part of the single, pdf.

Please email the requested materials as a single pdf attachment of 5 MB or less to:

Ralph Jahr                                                          Tel: 609-759-0431 USA – Pacific Time Zone

Skype – ralph.h.jahr                                           Email:


Brent Mutsch                                                     Tel: 970-368-6879 USA – Mountain Time Zone

Skype – brentmutsch                                         Email:


Did You Know…?

Senior associate Harry Deelman was a student under Alec Peterson ("father of the IB") in the 1960's, and was shown the DP hexagon very soon after its creation.