Head of School at Alto International School in USA
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Head of School
Alto International School (USA)

Appointed - Drew Alexander
Feb 14, 2019
Mar 30, 2019


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Alto International School in Menlo Park, Bay Area, and the Head of the School Search Committee we are pleased to announce that DREW ALEXANDER has been appointed Head of School of ALTO INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, effective July 1,  2019.

Drew Alexander has a distinguished career as an international educator, serving as Head of School across continents at Leman Manhattan Preparatory School in New York City,  the Anglo-American School of Moscow, and as Superintendent of Cairo American College in Egypt where he also served as High School Principal. Drew also held the position of College Counselor at Singapore American School. His academic career was launched at Henderson State University in Arkansas where he earned a B.A. of Science in Education in English and an M.A. of Science in Education with a specialty in counseling. The University of Alaska, where Drew earned  his educational administration credentials, launched him officially into his world-wide leadership career. In the course of his recent return to the United States Drew also served a term as Commissioner at the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in Philadelphia.

In their internal announcement Board Chair John Furlan expresses the delight of the entire ALTO community on the selection of Drew as he brings a wealth of experience  to their growing IB World School. Drew Alexander, in turn, conveyed his appreciation to the ALTO community, noting that both he and his wife Twylla “are thrilled by this opportunity to join the Alto community”

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Alto International School, the Head of the School Search Committee, and of Search Associates we would like to thank all candidates who expressed interest in the Head of School position, and to everyone who supported and assisted the search process.

Gunther Brandt
Senior Consultant
Search Associates



Alto International School , Bay Area Menlo Park

Seeks  a

Head of School

 Effective, July 1, 2019


School Profile

Founded in 1988 as the first German immersion school on the U.S. West Coast, Alto International School (Alto) was formerly known as the German-American International School. The campus is located in Menlo Park, California, just 25 miles south of San Francisco and neighboring Palo Alto, home of Stanford University.

Alto’s mission is to provide an outstanding international, multilingual education focused on inquiry-based learning to foster confident, creative, and responsible learners and global thinkers.

Alto is an accredited International Baccalaureate (IB) World School from preschool through high school. Alto has offered the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) since 2007 and the Middle Years Programme (MYP) since 2013. In January 2018, Alto received its IB Diploma accreditation.

The launch of the high school in 2016 coincided with the rebranding of the school to be called Alto International School (Alto). This was in response to the changing clientele within the area that not only includes German families but now boasts a more international audience. While the German program remains an essential part of our school, the vision has been extended to include other target groups. The school campus was relocated to the current site in August 2015 following the termination of the previous lease. The current site, which is located in the same neighborhood, is approved for a school population of 400 students.

Alto is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, one of the most vibrant and innovative regions in the world, where a school based on the IB philosophy seems particularly appropriate. Alto is the only school in the Bay Area offering the International Baccalaureate from preschool through high school.

Alto’s new Head of School will play an important role in promoting Alto to international as well as local families. While the school is planning to grow from 250 to 400 students in the coming years, the close-knit sense of community is a highly valued characteristic which is important to maintain. The newly implemented IB Diploma Programme and the graduation of the first high school class in 2020 will provide a unique opportunity for the new Head of School to work with the board, staff, and families to write the next chapter of Alto.  

Alto International School - Overview:

  •  Small, independent school in the heart of Silicon Valley
  • 260 students, 60 staff members representing 15 different nationalities
  • Founded in 1988 as the German-American International School
  • IB World School since 2007
  • German-immersion preschool and elementary school
  • Multi-lingual middle and high school
  • High school launched in 2016, school received IB Diploma accreditation in Jan 2018
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

German immersion preschool & elementary school focusing on the whole child

The Primary Years Programme at Alto is offered from Preschool (3 years) to Grade 5. Alto’s German immersion preschool provides an engaging daily curriculum, organized around units of inquiry, that promotes integrated and holistic learning and development through hands-on activities. Children from all language backgrounds are welcomed.

German is also the main language of instruction in our elementary school program. Over 30% of our students begin in preschool or Kindergarten with no German language experience. By the end of first grade, all students are reading and writing in both German and English. Alto’s small class sizes ensure that the teachers and staff can focus on students’ social and emotional development alongside their cognitive development.

A globally minded, progressive middle and high school preparing students for university and beyond

From grade 6 to grade 10 the Middle Years Programme (MYP) provides a holistic learning environment where the main language of instruction is English, but Alto offers several classes taught in German for students who are fluent or native speakers. In addition, language acquisition classes in French, Spanish, and German are offered. Consideration continues to be given to the needs of students beyond the academic, with their social and emotional development receiving equal attention.

Alto enrolled its first grade 9 high school cohort in 2016. This grade of many firsts will graduate from Alto in 2020. Alto’s new Head of School will have in important role in growing and promoting the Alto high school program and in establishing Alto as the first - and leading - school in the Bay Area to offer the full IB continuum from preschool through high school.

Located in one of the most desirable regions in the world to live

Alto International School’s home is a small campus in a quiet, family-friendly residential neighborhood with tree-lined streets in Menlo Park, California. The school is close to downtown Palo Alto, a vibrant area of restaurants and shops, and the impressive campus of Stanford University. Just a few miles away are many of the most influential and exciting technology companies of Silicon Valley, such as Facebook, Apple and Google. Many of Alto’s parents work in the tech industry, often providing Alto with unique access to those companies.

San Francisco, home to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and one of the most vibrant cities in the world, is just 25 miles away, offering a wide range of cultural opportunities. The beautiful Pacific coast can be reached in less than an hour. The coast and the San Francisco Bay offer many kinds of water sport and sightseeing opportunities. Napa Valley, one of the most famous wine regions in the world, is a couple of hours away, and not much further are Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe, a beautiful mountain region offering first-class winter sports opportunities. The Bay Area is blessed with year-round mild temperatures and abundant sunshine, making it one of the most desirable regions in the world to live.  

Learn more

Additional information about Alto International School can be found on the school’s website: www.AltoSchool.org  as well Alto’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/altoschool/

Preferred Qualifications

  •  Master’s Degree, preferably in educational leadership
  • Proven record of educational leadership

Desired Attributes and Skills

  • Will support the mission and goals of the school with integrity and transparency in communication, relationships, and operations
  • Will appreciate the advantages of a small school with a warm and involved parent community, that practices a progressive IB philosophy committed to student-centered and inquiry-based teaching and learning (currently 250 plus students growing to 400)
  • Has a background in teaching and in leadership roles in an IB school
  • Is a capable administrator that leads and inspires a culture of performance, accountability, innovation, and teamwork
  • Has interest in joining a German bilingual school and has experience in bilingual/immersion language learning programs
  • Speaks a language other than English; knowledge of German would be an asset but is not a requirement
  • Is an articulate and effective communicator with a capacity to advance the school in the wider community, representing ALTO INTERNATIONAL SCH0OL with vision and passion
  • Will be an inspired participant in the school’s development programs focused on Annual Giving, special events, and the goals for capital campaigns
  • Is a strategic, analytical leader who will work cooperatively with the Board of Trustees in crafting the school’s future path.
  • Is a visible leader immersed in the life of the school, committed to the healthy development of children and adolescents in an environment of guided, rigorous, independent, and differentiated learning.
  • Keeps abreast about best practices and innovations in education including the use of technology in teaching and learning
  • Is a personable, authentic individual whose networking skills will help build strong relationships with feeder schools and other local IB and independent schools
  • Will look to a sustained commitment well beyond the initial contract


  • Sense of humor
  • High energy level, performance driven
  • Active listener and learner
  • Compassionate and fair
  • Can-do attitude, hands-on mentality
  • Open-minded, culturally inclusive
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Problem Solver, solution-driven

Application process

Please send applications as instructed below no later than March 30, 2019

(The review of files will begin as soon as applications are received).  Candidates should note that, in the event that an outstanding applicant is identified early in the search process, Alto reserves the right to make an appointment before the deadline mentioned above and to bring the search to a close. For this reason we encourage interested candidates to apply at the earliest possible time.

Candidates should send all the information requested below as a single email with a single PDF attachment to Search Associates:


with a cc to


  • A letter of application, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in the Head of School at the Alto International School.
  •  A current résumé not to exceed two pages.
  • A one to two page statement outlining educational philosophy and leadership style.
  • A one-page list of references with phone numbers and E-mail addresses.
  • A maximum of three letters of reference (scanned at low resolution) that may already be in your possession.
  • Submission of your application is an acknowledgement that the school may contact references both listed and not listed who would know your professional background.

For further information about ALTO INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL see www.altoschool.org

For a School Video on teaching and learning at ALTO see https://vimeo.com/317828759

Did You Know…?

CEO of Search Associates, Jessica Magagna, was born in Morocco and attended the American Community School in Iran while her father was headmaster.