Head of School at Magen David Academy in Panama
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Head of School
Magen David Academy (Panama)

Appointed - April Yetsko
Nov 30, 16
Feb 15, 17


Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the Search Committee and the Board of Directors of the Magen David Academy, I am pleased to announce that Dr. April Yetsko has accepted the position of Head of School for the 2017/18 school year.

Dr. April Yetsko is currently the Head of School at the International School of Monagas, Venezuela. Previously, she was the Chief Executive Officer/ Director of Vida Charter School in Pennsylvania, USA. Dr. Yetsko is also the founder of the Vida Charter School. Prior to creating Vida Charter School, she was the Director of Education at Challenge Academy also in Pennsylvania. Before moving to Pennsylvania, Dr. Yetsko was a Special Education Teacher at Lincoln Middle School in Texas and started her teaching career as a Special Education Teacher at Liberty Middle School also in Texas.

She has her Ed.D in Educational Leadership from Regent University. Prior to her Doctorate she earned her M.Ed in Special Education from the University of Texas Pan American. Her B.A. is from George Mason University.

The Search Committee and I would like to thank all those who expressed interest in the Magen David Academy, and wish each of you the best of luck as you pursue new career challenges and opportunities.




John F. Magagna

Founding Director

Search Associates


New Extended Deadline!

Magen David Academy seeks a dynamic, enthusiastic, professional leader to be its Head of School effective July 1st, 2017.  Our ideal candidate is an experienced educator with the desire to grow professionally while taking MDA to the next stage of academic excellence. We are looking for an educator and leader who can demonstrate passion for the learning process, who integrates creativity, values, cultural sensitivity and best teaching practices, who can continue to engage students, teachers and parents to achieve our strategic goals, guided by the Mission and Vision of our school.


Magen David Academy is an international private school, founded in 2008 and located in Panama Pacífico (formerly known as Howard Base) in the Republic of Panama.  From our first year’s enrollment of 130 students in elementary grades, we have grown to 425 students in grades Pre-K3 to 12th grade.  MDA graduated its first class in June 2016 with 100% of the class enrolling in one of their top three university choices.

Magen David Academy (MDA) serves the Jewish community of Panama, which is made up of 12,000 members.  Our school is a close-knit environment with small class sizes. Throughout their school years, students will accomplish learning expectations from a three-tiered curriculum of American, Panamanian and Judaic standards.  Upon graduation, each one will receive two diplomas: a High School Diploma accredited by AdvancED/SACS , and a Bachelor Diploma of High School certified by the Panamanian Ministry of Education (MEDUCA).

The school is AdvancEd/SACS accredited.  There are a minimum of 180 class days in our school calendar, following a North-American type school calendar with the first semester beginning early August through January. The second semester runs from February through late June. Panamanian and Judaic holidays are observed.

Our Mission:Magen David Academy strives to provide our students with a challenging and inspiring education that integrates both high quality Jewish and secular education to achieve academic excellence.

Our Vision:

Magen David Academy encourages lifelong learning in a safe, respectful environment that meets the individual needs of each of our students.  We are dedicated to creating a learning experience that combines unique elements of our students´ Jewish values with critical thinking skills and cutting edge technology.  Our goal is to develop our students into global leaders prepared to contribute to the social, cultural and professional challenges of the 21st century.


Classes are taught in English, complemented by the Panamanian curricula taught in Spanish, and the Hebrew and Judaic content taught in Hebrew/English.

 Student Body:


MDA has 425 students enrolled in grades PK3 through 12 from families belonging to the Jewish community of Panama, with many other families from different nationalities such as Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Israel, USA, and more who have moved to Panama over the years.

School programs are delivered by qualified, energetic teachers from around the world. Our teaching staff of 70+ educators comes from many countries such as USA, Canada, France, Israel, among others.

Life in Panama:

The Republic of Panama, with Panama City as its capital, is a unique place. As a country, it is a developing nation with abundant wooded and tropical scenery and friendly people in mostly informal settings. Temperatures vary according to location and altitude; although overall, the annual average temperature on both coasts is 29°C (81°F). There is little seasonal change in temperature, with warm days and cool nights throughout the year, with high humidity. Panama is geographically located north of the equator and has two seasons, wet and dry.

Panama’s population is roughly 3.8 million inhabitants; approximately 2 millions+ are located within Panama City.

Among the many attractions Panama has to offer are the Panama Canal, a variety of beaches either on the Pacific or the Caribbean sides, rivers, valleys and mountains.  Further, Panama has a growing economy and increasingly serves as a preferred destination for many foreigners.

Since 1904 the US Dollar has legally circulated in Panama.

Head of School Position and Requirements:

The objective of this position, as the Head of School, is to oversee all administrative and instructional functions of the MDA Program PK3-12 to meet the educational and religious needs of students in accordance with the mission, vision and goals of the school.

The Head of School leads and works with a leadership team of school principals, section coordinators, the Judaic director, resource and administrative department personnel, a teaching staff of 70+, a maintenance team, and the student body.  This position will report to a 10-member Board of Directors that sets the overall direction of the school.

We are looking for candidates who meet the following criteria:


Completed a Masters or post-graduate degree in the field of education

Native English Speaker

Minimum 5 years-experience in leadership positions

Experience managing staff of at least 100 people

Ability to lead, motivate and manage people to work as individuals and members of a team

International experience

Technology savvy

Experience building and maintaining an effective school culture

Experience in education as an upper school teacher and/or high school administrator

  • Head of School need not be Jewish to be the successful candidate for this position


Experienced in accreditation processes

Experience in curriculum development

Experience of working in an interdenominational and/or multi-faith environment

Experience in culture/community building

Understanding and experience of best educational practices

Personal characteristics required for the position:

  • A visionary leader who works collaboratively in the development of the school
  • A passion for education and working with students
  • A desire to contribute and foster a positive learning community
  • An excellent communicator and public speaker
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to relate to others at all levels
  • A team player who is interested in building the capacities and talents of those with whom he or she works
  • An awareness and interest in supporting community social service
  • An excellent level of written and spoken English
  • Honest, compassionate, friendly and fair
  • Willingness to work with and learn from the Judaic community, traditions and values.

Salary and Benefits:

Salary will be competitive and depend upon the qualifications and experience of the successful candidate.  Benefits include:

  • Competitive salary package
  • Bonus Structure
  • Relocation Assistance
  • Professional assistance in securing proper permits and documentation required to live and work in Panama
  • Housing and Vehicle
  • Retirement Fund
  • Private medical insurance

While the initial contract will be for a period of three years, it is the hope and expectation of the Board of Directors that at the end of that time it will be mutually desirable to extend it.

Application Procedure:

Magen David Academy has selected Search Associates to act as our consultant to assist with this search.

Interested candidates should send an application AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE TIME but no later than February 15, 2017. (The review of files will begin as soon as applications are received.) Candidates should note, however, that in the event a uniquely outstanding applicant is identified early in the search process, Magen David Academy reserves the right to make an appointment before the deadline mentioned above. For this reason it is VERY IMPORTANT that interested candidates apply as soon as possible.

Candidates should send the information to Search Associates as requested below. It must be submitted EXACTLY in the form and manner requested. Please DO NOT send any information other than that which is specifically requested:

  • A letter of application, no longer than two pages, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in this particular position 
  • A current resume not to exceed two pages
  • A recent photograph
  • A one-page statement outlining educational beliefs and leadership style
  • A one-page list of references with phone numbers and email addresses
  • A maximum of three letters of reference which may already be in your possession 

Please note that ALL the above materials must be scanned into a SINGLE PDF ATTACHMENT (low resolution preferred) and sent IN THE SAME TRANSMISSION to Search Associates at both of the e-mail addresses listed below. Also, please note that it is important to limit the size of your SINGLE PDF to 8 MB. 

AND a cc to

Initial interviews will be held via Skype videoconference.

Candidates wishing to learn more about Magen David Academy can go to the school’s website at:  www.magendavidacademy.org


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