Head of School at African Village Project in Malawi
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Head of School
African Village Project (Malawi)

No longer accepting applications
Dec 8, 2023
Dec 22, 2023







Head of School

To begin in July 2024 or 2025 depending on the applicant’s availability



African Village Project

The African Village Project (AVP) Foundation is a U.S. non-profit whose mission is to identify and address the significant educational, agricultural, healthcare and economic challenges that many rural Africans face on a daily basis. The core goal of the AVP is to dramatically improve education in rural Africa at an unprecedented scale and in a sustainable way.

AVP Project Overview

Each AVP campus will include both a primary school and secondary school “School of Excellence,” a Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training Youth Academy (TEVET YA) for a total of approximately 750 students, a modern farm complex, a student health clinic, and an AVP Care Block. Both the primary and secondary schools will adhere to the academically rigorous IB curriculum and the secondary school and TEVET YA will have boarding facilities. The AVP has chosen to follow the IB curriculum because of its commitment to academic excellence, holistic development, and international-mindedness. Each school will operate as a private school but charge NO tuition and also support local public schools in multiple ways. Our first two project’s will be in Malawi, the 4th poorest country in the world.

The AVP’s fundraising goal is to raise $10 billion over the next 10 to 15 years to build 100 AVP campuses across Africa. We are absolutely convinced that the AVP has a unique opportunity to develop and offer a customized IB curriculum that has never been offered in a rural African setting which could improve and change the lives of millions. Importantly, approximately 50% of the funds raised for the AVP Foundation will be dedicated to establishing a number of for-profit businesses (in partnership with prominent families in the region) that will share 50% of their annual profits in perpetuity to support and provide long-term sustainability for AVP’s educational, agricultural, healthcare and community initiatives. The AVP has been given strong support from the Malawi Secretary to Treasury on the concept of making the proposed for-profit businesses tax free in exchange for the 50% support pledge.

The first African Village Project will be in Malawi in the township of Mangochi, which is approximately a three-hour drive from Lilongwe (in the future, the AVP expects there will be weekly flights) and is situated along the southern shore of Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa. The Mangochi campus’ 150-acre project site is also located approximately 30 miles from Liwonde National Park, Malawi’s most iconic park. The AVP plans to partner with African Parks (AP), https://www.africanparks.org which currently manages 22 national parks and protected areas in 12 countries. Conservation education will be a pillar for the AVP education curriculum and one the for-profit businesses will be a safari lodge in Liwonde. The Mangochi school campus will be directly across from the three generation, family owned Makokola Retreat, https://makokola.com. For the primary school, 100% of the students will come from the nearby Mangochi community. For the secondary “School of Excellence” the AVP will attract the best, brightest and most deserving Malawian students, targeting 80% from the local communities surrounding the Mangochi campus and Liwonde National Park and 20% from the Dzaleka Refugee Camp. As of November 2022, Dzaleka has registered 56,304 refugees and asylum-seekers. More than half of the refugee population at the camp fled from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with the remaining population originating from Burundi, Rwanda and others. On average, Dzaleka refugees spend more than 15 years in the camp and some families have spent more than 30 years there. The AVP will also build on campus housing for the teachers, staff and secondary school students. The AVP believes that providing boarding for secondary school students will dramatically improve school attendance and academic performance. Additionally, daycare services will be provided for teachers, staff and students with young children. Both the primary and secondary schools will also include a resource center for inclusive education as well as a music and arts center and an outdoor auditorium.

The AVP will also establish an innovative TEVET (Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training) Youth Academy (TEVET YA) on each AVP campus. The TEVET YA will offer 13 – 18-year-old students high quality, hands on, technical, entrepreneurial and vocational training. The TEVET YA will also provide a significant contribution to the construction of each African Village Project and the academy will also teach the following valuable trade skills: carpentry, masonry, electrical, plumbing, agricultural, forestry and culinary arts. The TEVET YA’s innovative three-year apprenticeship program will operate as a private school but again, charge NO tuition. The AVP will also have a 50+ acre school farm complex located adjacent to its Mangochi campus, which will feed students and staff and teach agricultural curriculum to the primary and secondary school students, TEVET YA apprentices and the surrounding community. Since October 2021, the AVP has retained Dr. Darwin Singa, who has been an incredibly valuable resource, leading the AVP’s agricultural planning and education for the project. Dr. Singa was the Former Dean of Agriculture at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUNAR) and has a Doctorate Degree in Agricultural Engineering.

The AVP intends to set a new standard and create a service learning program that is unlike and unmatched by any private school in the world. We believe that this will create a transformative movement within our campuses, surrounding communities and across Africa and beyond which will foster a new generation of socially responsible, community-oriented and globally aware students. The focus of the AVP’s service learning program will be: 1) Awareness: educating students on local and global issues through direct engagement, 2) Support: providing resources and guidance to enhance service learning in various contexts and 3) Engagement: active participation in service projects within rural Africa and refugee communities. Potential areas of focus will include: athletics, arts and music, food security, literacy, model united nations, debate, mentorship and leadership. The AVP will require its secondary school students to participate in a minimum of 5 hours per week service learning program and primary students will also have service learning embedded in their curriculum and extra-curricular activities. The AVP also intends to establish a service program where one Saturday per month (during the school year) our students and staff will partner with local Malawi public schools to serve the local community. The AVP’s service learning program will not just be on our campus, we will establish service learning programs at other international schools - it shouldn’t just be more affluent schools and students that get the benefit of service learning. We intend to also include the communities we serve (rural Africa and refugees) and could have much greater and broader inclusion and impact. 

The AVP also plans to design and build an AVP Care Block on each of its campuses and select communities that we serve as part of its innovative community outreach program. The AVP Care Block is inspired by one of the 2021-2022 winners of Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Mayors Challenge: the Bogota, Columbia Care Blocks. Like the Bogota, Columbia Care Blocks the AVP Care Block will focus on a group of people which have historically been undervalued and under resourced: community caregivers (i.e. mothers and women of all ages). The three pillars of the AVP Care Block will be health, wellbeing and female empowerment. Education and counseling will focus on the following topics: gender-based violence, child marriage, HIV, mental health and trauma informed programming, health and nutrition and adult literacy. The AVP will invest capital to create a community meeting place on its campuses and select communities which will be used by the AVP Care Block and each school. The AVP will research and identify local and global partners already doing good work in Malawi and other countries that we serve. The AVP will provide funding, staffing, venue and other support services to effective partners who are often under-funded and under staffed.   

Malawi Overview

Malawi is the 4th poorest country in the world and has a population of 18.6 million. Malawi is often referred to as the “Warm Heart of Africa” because of how kind its people are, its grand landscape and its beautiful wildlife.

70% of all Malawians live below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day and 50% of people live on less than $1.25 per day. 84% of Malawi’s population lives in rural villages and rely on subsistence farming and food supply is extremely inconsistent. 37% of children in Malawi suffer from stunted growth due to malnutrition. Additionally, 89% of Malawians live without electricity.

Malawi has one of the youngest populations in the world; the median age is 16 years, 46% of people are under the age of 15 and the population is expected to double by 2038. 11% (or over 1 million) children, under the age of 18, are orphaned (lost one or both biological parents).

Although marriage before the age of 18 is technically illegal in Malawi, 42% of girls are married by 18 and 9% are married by 15. This contributes to the country’s high adolescent (aged 15 - 19) birth rate, ranking Malawi number 7 in the world for this marker. Both early marriage and pregnancy are two of the primary reasons for school dropout for girls. Malawi ranks 9th in the world for HIV prevalence with 8.8% of adults (aged 15 - 49) living with HIV.

Malawi Education Overview

The first eight years of primary school (the equivalent of elementary and middle school) are free and compulsory in Malawi. However, 24% of children 6 – 13 years old do not attend primary school. Also, one of the biggest challenges students face is the limited number of secondary schools and often the closest secondary school is a prohibitive distance for most students. 82% of children aged 14 – 17 do not attend secondary school.

Most Malawi primary schools are significantly underfunded, severely overcrowded, poorly designed and lack a water source, electricity and many basic school supplies. Typically, the total budget for primary schools in Malawi is less than $100 per student/per year and most teachers are only paid $125 - $150 per month. On average, in primary school, there are 121 students per class and the student to teacher ratio is 77:1.

Over 80% of Malawians rely on subsistence farming and food supply is extremely inconsistent. Therefore, most primary schools do not provide students with any meals. Neither the villages nor the schools can afford to feed its students.

Children with disabilities in Malawi experience a wide range of challenges in accessing social services. For example, only 2% of the children who require assistive devices (e.g., eyeglasses or hearing aids) have them. Also, the shortage of specialized education teachers, the lack of customized learning materials and assistive devices, handicap inaccessible school design and overcrowded classrooms make it difficult for students with disabilities to access education.

Almost 40% of the population over age 15 is illiterate in the most common language, Chichewa. Although English is the commercial language of Malawi, only 26% of the population over 14 can speak it. In Malawi, a person is considered literate if he or she is able to read and write a simple sentence in any language. If the U.S. Department of Education definition for literacy was used, Malawi’s literacy rates would be substantially lower.


AVP Head of School


The AVP is looking for a visionary and passionate educator who is committed to the unique AVP mission and is responsible for researching, developing and executing the AVP’s customized IB curriculum, teacher recruitment and training, student and staff leadership training, campus design and community education outreach programs. The ideal candidate has the potential not only to be Head of our first AVP school but also, in the future, to oversee multiple AVP schools and potentially the full AVP education program. The Head of School will also play an important role in global fundraising for the AVP Foundation.

The full-time position will be start in July 2024 or July 2025, depending on candidate availability. The AVP would hope that the ideal candidate would be available to work with us on a part-time (paid) basis starting as soon as possible.

Education & Experience

  • An advanced degree (MA or higher) in Educational Leadership of similar.
  • A minimum of 15 - 20 years of education experience and 10+ years of IB experience as both an educator and in multiple leadership roles, with significant experience in Africa.
  • African candidates and/or those with significant on-the-ground experience in multiple regions of Africa are strongly encouraged to apply.

Salary and Benefits

The salary and benefits package include:

  • Base salary will be USD $200,000 (gross) per annum plus significant annual bonus opportunity.
  • Modern on campus housing for the Head of School and his/her family (3 or 4 bedroom house with staff) and meals for all family members. If possible, we will also provide a job opportunity for the Head of School’s spouse or significant other.
  • Comprehensive health insurance, retirement benefits, travel including 2 trips a year to his/her home country (includes all family members), education benefits for children 5 – 18 (primary and secondary school), a car and driver will also be provided for the Head of School (personal and professional usage) and other related expenses.    

Application Procedure

AVP has selected Search Associates to assist them in the Head of School search, with Caroline Jacoby as the Lead Consultant.

Please note that we will not forward-on candidates for further consideration by AVP if a candidate is under contract or otherwise encumbered in such a way that would preclude them from freely entering a new employment contract, if offered, and being available for the start date stipulated by the hiring organization. Search Associates will contact the current employer/supervisor to request completion of a Search Associates Confidential Leadership Reference Form for all applicants who emerge in the search as a semi-finalist.

Candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest and the required materials as early as possible as AVP 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.

Suitably qualified candidates should send the information listed below in a single PDF file attached to an email to Caroline Jacoby at cjacoby@searchassociates.com to arrive as soon as possible, and no later than December 22nd, 2023 GMT. The application should include:

  • A letter of application describing your interest in the Head of School position at AVP, listing your strengths as a candidate and how your qualifications and experience align with the position profile and the AVP’s areas of focus.
  • A current resume not to exceed two (2) 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 (2) pages.

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.