Head of School at Discovery School in Honduras
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Head of School
Discovery School (Honduras)

Sep 20, 21
Oct 22, 21


 

DISCOVERY SCHOOL

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Seeks for a Head of School

Effective July 2022

 

DISCOVERY SCHOOL is a private, international, non-profit school located in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Founded in 1993, the school has over 28 years of experience in education. Today, it serves grades Nursery to 12th and is accredited by COGNIA, the Honduran Ministry of Education, and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State of Overseas Schools. Discovery School is a member of the Association of Bilingual Schools of Honduras (ABSH), College Board (AP Program), and of the Association of American Schools of Central America (AASCA). The first graduation of Seniors took place in June 2003.

With approximately, 210 students, Discovery School is a unique school, best known for its low student-to-teacher ratio (average of 7 students per teacher and 17 or fewer students per class); hands-on and experiential learning; international student body (17+ countries); development of multidisciplinary skills; and a zero-tolerance for bullying (students are taught how to collaborate, cooperate, disagree constructively, and respect differing opinions). The school’s philosophy focuses on giving the students a well-rounded education, integrating sports, music and arts, technology, and emotional intelligence.

The school is looking for a Head of School who will collaboratively lead, develop and inspire the school’s multi-cultural and diverse community to build on strengths and to seize opportunities to strengthen the school in line with the school culture, mission, vision, and values.

Facilities

Discovery School consists of a purpose-built facility located on a spacious 7-acre site adjacent to the Anillo Periférico (beltway). The school has a beautiful panoramic view of the nearby mountains. Classrooms are spacious and conditioned to hands-on learning activities. The campus includes a small soccer field, a cafeteria, a gym, playgrounds, green areas, and generous parking. It also has an administration building and specially equipped rooms for music, art, a computer-information center, and a library. The campus is very secure, surrounded by a solid security wall, security gates, and CCTV system.

The Philosophy

As follows from its name, the Discovery School is built around the concepts that learning is a process of discovery and that teaching and learning are developmental and lifelong passions.

The school believes that the most meaningful education takes place through first-hand experiences based on themes that cut across subject lines and integrate knowledge. This implies a progressive approach to learning that is distinct from many traditional schools in its focus on exploration and inquiry, open-ended questions, hands-on experiences, simulations, experimentation, active participation, and collaborative student-teacher relationships.

DS Vision Statement

Through the development of the whole person, learning is a process of discovery making our school the top choice for empowering future global leaders.

DS Mission Statement

Discovery School’s high-quality education prepares students for the challenges of life and future academic and professional work in a safe environment that promotes and instills:

  • Self-esteem
  • Critical thinking
  • Celebration of cultural diversity
  • Social and environmental responsibility

Beliefs

  • We believe everyone is an individual with something to offer and there is always room for growth.
  • We believe it is okay to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • We believe that if you can be anything in the world, be kind.
  • We believe integrity is non-negotiable.
  • We believe communication is key to tolerance and understanding.

Parameters

  • We will always put our students first.
  • We will always stay innovative and creative.
  • We will always maintain a balance between academics and social-emotional intelligence.
  • We will always have small class sizes to ensure inquiry-based learning.
  • We will always strive for diversity of thought and culture.
  • We will always encourage students to be curious and ask questions, respecting opinions and ideas.

The Organization

A seven-member School Board, elected by the parents, governs the school through the Head of School. The Head of School oversees all business and academic areas of the school. Membership in the Association is automatically conferred on the parents and guardians of children enrolled in the school. A representative appointed by the U.S. Embassy and the Head of School is a non-voting member of the board.

Curriculum

Discovery School has an enriched U.S.-style curriculum with high academic standards. It has adopted the Common Core curriculum in math and language arts, which provides for alignment across grade levels and content areas. Instructional methods and assessment techniques encourage students to solve problems by thinking creatively and critically and by working together. The science curriculum integrates NGSS (21st Century Next Generation Science Standards) and STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

The school uses the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) for Maths, English and Spanish, and Advanced Placement (AP) exams for external validation of our academic program. Early childhood and primary teachers (K-grade 5) follow the Guided Reading Program which helps build and strengthen students' literacy skills in phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Elementary classrooms combine cooperative learning settings with open carpeted areas for circle time, reading activities, and discussion groups. To enhance the learning experience, students use different digital programs such as IXL, Raz-Kids, SAAVAS (Math), and others. 

The academic program, including Pre-AP and AP courses, prepares students for entrance into competitive universities in the U.S. and throughout the world. The school is currently offering 6 AP courses: AP Environmental Science, AP Calculus AB, AP Human Geography, AP English Language and Composition & AP English Literature and Composition (offered in alternate years), AP Spanish Literature & Culture, and AP Computer Science Principles. Other AP courses are offered based on demand and student interest.

For Social Emotional Learning, the school implements the Lions Quest Program (K-12) that focuses on positive behavior, anti-bullying, character education, connection to the school, and drug, tobacco, and alcohol awareness. All classes are taught in English, except for Spanish and Spanish Social Studies.

The school offers a U.S. Diploma, the AP International Diploma, and the Honduran Bachillerato Internacional en Ciencias y Humanidades.

Faculty

In the 2021-2022 school year, there are two principals (EC/ES and Secondary), and 35 full-time faculty members. All teachers have university degrees and teaching qualifications/ experience.  All classroom teachers are bilingual (English/Spanish).

Students

About 54% of Discovery School students are from Honduras and the other 46% are from expatriates whose parents are working for foreign governments, NGOs, and/or international businesses. Our students are being prepared to be citizens of the world, they are friendly, easygoing, and constantly accepting new students from different cultures and backgrounds. Currently, there are around 210 students, and it is very common to have many multi-grade activities, where the students get to know each other very well.

The New Head of School

Discovery School under the leadership of the incumbent Head of School reached important milestones. The new Head of School will have the responsibility to maintain the school’s current accreditations and memberships, increase school enrollment, implement the Discovery School strategic plan and lead the school’s leadership, staff, and community to even higher accomplishments than the ones already achieved. The DS Head of School needs to have the capacity to motivate, inspire and challenge staff and students to demonstrate the school’s mission in action and to embody the DS Wolves traits. The Head of School is responsible for directing and continuously improving all aspects of the school including (but not limited to) learning and teaching, finance, operations, and student recruitment, in line with all Discovery School practices and its culture.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Implement Discovery School education standards and practices.
  • Lead the school through international accreditation/re-accreditation processes (COGNIA (2026), AASCA, ABSH, national regulations, etc.)
  • Achieve the school’s educational goals.
  • Making school improvement.
  • Build an outstanding team. Recruit, develop, retain the highest quality international, national, teaching & non-teaching staff.
  • Community engagement.
  • Development of sustainable practices.
  • Work closely with the board to provide the best quality education and services to the community.

Required Qualifications:

  • At least three years (five years preferred) of successful international experience as head of school, or principal at an accredited International School.
  • At least a Master’s Degree in Education from an institution approved by a U.S. regional accrediting agency.
  • Certification in School Administration from an accredited Institution.
  • Fluency in English and Proficiency in Spanish, with excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience with curriculum development including knowledge of Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Technology Integration, Four Blocks, and Advanced Placement.    
  • Knowledge and understanding of recent educational developments.
  • Solid experience in the evaluation, assessment, guidance, support and professional development of teaching staff.
  • Experience managing the business aspects of a school including establishing budgetary priorities and projections and working within approved budgets.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Strong work ethic and sense of responsibility combined with high enthusiasm, creativity, energy, perseverance, initiative, follow-through, and charisma.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with highly diverse and multicultural constituents – teachers, and staff, parents, students, government officials, community leaders, and the Board of Directors.
  • Leadership qualities, including the ability to recruit, motivate and retain outstanding teachers as well as the commitment to enforce – in a fair manner – that all teachers meet or exceed the high standards expected of a school with a premier education academic program.
  • Marketing and networking abilities and recruitment strategies for implementing a program for campaigns.
  • Evidence of ability to effectively supervise, motivate, inspire, and evaluate staff effectively.
  • Experience leading an international school demonstrating cross-cultural empathy, flexibility, and adaptability.
  • Good public relations and communications skills with outside agencies.
  • The candidate must be honest and direct, welcome the participation of faculty and parents, and be capable of making difficult decisions.

Personal Qualities and Competencies

  •  Highly ethical (honesty, fairness, integrity and understanding)
  • Focused on quality
  • Strategic thinking
  • Managing performance
  • Achievement orientation
  • Problem solving and conflict resolution
  • Proactive (creativity and innovation)
  • Team building
  • Open-minded and flexible
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Good communicator

Application Process

Discovery School has appointed Search Associates to act as consultants in the search for the new Head of School, with Mr. Paul Poore being the lead consultant. The deadline for applications for the position is October 22, 2021. Candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest and the requested information listed below as early as possible as the Search Committee reserves the right to close the selection process at any time if the right candidate is found.

The review of files will begin as soon as applications are received. Finalists will be selected by the Search Committee as early in the process as possible. Finalist candidates together with their spouse (if applicable) will be invited to meet virtually with the Board and Search Committee for final interviews. The new Head of School will be selected upon the conclusion of the virtual visits and final interviews. The new Head of School will begin in July 2022.

Candidates should send the information listed below as a single pdf file attached to an email to Paul Poore: ppoore@searchassociates.com:

  • A letter of application, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in the Head of School at Discovery School.
  • A statement describing your leadership and educational philosophy, not to exceed two pages.
  • A current résumé not to exceed two pages.
  • Contacts (e-mail addresses and phone numbers) for at least three past and current supervisors.  (We do not accept character references or non-confidential letters of reference from colleagues, friends, students, or parents). 

Website and Video

Additional information about Discovery School can be found on the school’s website at:

www.discoveryschool.edu.hn and a promotional video is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C757UxHNkgI

The deadline for submitting applications is October 22, 2021.  We reserve the right to close the search earlier than the stated application deadline if a suitable and qualified candidate is found early in the process. Interested applicants should submit all required materials as early as possible.

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

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.