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Appointed - Amanda Sunderman
Dec 27, 2021
Jan 31, 2022
Dear Search Colleagues,
On behalf of the Tarsus American College community, and the Board of Directors of SEV Schools – Turkey, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs. Amanda Sunderman as the next Head of School at Tarsus American College beginning in August 2022. She is currently serving as the Director of Teaching & Learning (Deputy Superintendent) at I-Shou International School (bilingual IB continuum school with 600 students), in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Her appointment has been shared with the TAC school community.
In Amanda’s current position, she oversees the school’s instructional and professional development programs inclusive of the three IB programs. She has direct involvement in coordinating the accreditation and authorization visits of the Council of International Schools and the International Baccalaureate. She leads the IB Programme Coordinators, school-wide subject chairs and deputy subject chairs to ensure the vertical alignment of the curriculum. She introduced Harvard’s Data Wise process and the Learning Analytics Collaborative platform which led directly to an improvement in the use of internal and external assessment data. Throughout her time at I-Shou, Amanda developed a school culture where data and differentiation were used to enhance teaching and learning.
Amanda is a graduate of the Massachussett’s College of Liberal Arts Leadership Academy and she has a certificate of International Leadership from the Principal’s Training Center. She has a double MA (Education / Educational Equity, Multicultural & Bilingual Education) from the University of Colorado. She is currently pursuing an EdD in Educational Policy, Planning, & Leadership with a concentration in International Leadership from the College of William & Mary. She is married to Mark who is a writer and former educator. The Board wishes to thank all members of the TAC community for their active participation in the Head of School search process.
Search Associates would like to thank all of the candidates who applied for this highly sought position, and to everyone who assisted and supported the successful search process for the Tarsus American College.
Dr. Eric Sands, Senior Consultant
Tarsus American College
Head of School
Effective August 1, 2022, or August 1, 2023
The School and Community
The school was originally founded in 1888 as St. Paul's College under the supervision of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) based in Boston, Massachusetts.
Tarsus American College (TAC) is now managed by the Health and Education Foundation (SEV), a Turkish non-profit foundation trust which also owns the school’s physical premises. SEV was founded by the graduates of UAA (Uskudar American Academy, Istanbul), ACI (American Collegiate Institute, Izmir), and TAC, referred to as the ‘SEV American Schools’, and Talas American Middle School in 1968. Later, SAC (SEV American College, Istanbul) and three K-8 SEV Schools in Istanbul, Izmir and Tarsus were established by the SEV Foundation.
Foundation Mission and Vision and TAC Objectives
TAC works under the Foundation’s mission together with its other sister schools “to foster the development of globally-minded, well-rounded, happy individuals who make positive contributions to society through their academic achievements and social consciousness”. The aim is to achieve the vision of “being the largest and strongest educational foundation in Turkey, improving the quality of life through our holistic approach to education and the healthy and sensitive individuals we nurture”.
TAC’s goals ensure the way towards this mission and vision by adhering to the ideals of modern Turkey’s founder: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, sustaining academic success while developing mind, body and spirit, developing critical thinking, social and communication skills and being committed to justice, mutual respect, human rights, ethical behavior, tolerance and self-discipline. It should also be noted that a diversity of perspectives and cultures, environmental awareness, scientific inquiry, literary and artistic approaches, appreciation of information technology, and the social sciences as well as life-long service to humanity are among the goals of the school.
Curriculum and Learning at TAC
TAC is governed by the Head of School reporting to the SEV Foundation’s General Manager. The Turkish Principal, the authorized legal authority as recognized by the Ministry of Education, reports to the Head of School. TAC provides co-education and serves as a day and boarding school. It is a CIS accredited and International Baccalaureate (IB) World School (since 2007 and 2005 respectively). It offers both the IBDP Program as well as a national Ministry of Education track. TAC will be switching to become a November IB school thus will have both November and May IBDP programs for the next two years.
There are currently 615 students (all Turkish) and 125 of them being the seniors of 2022. The students are admitted to the TAC Prep year (English immersion) by way of a highly competitive national examination and after Prep study for a further 4 years of high school. The class sizes are around 20-24 students. TAC has a total of 120 teachers and staff, of which approximately 70 are teachers and around 15% being international, predominantly from the United States, UK, Columbia and Nigeria.
Elective courses, second language courses e.g., French and German, as well as co-curricular and extra-curricular activities are the non-negotiables of TAC. These range from the history excursion club to fitness to the performing arts. Additionally, the school offers opportunities to participate in student governance and sports (fencing, archery, dance, tennis, soccer, volleyball, and basketball). Participating in organizations such as European Youth Parliament, Model United Nations, International Schools Theatre Association, and Destination Imagination are also of high importance. All students are also expected to perform at least 20 hours of community service each year.
The teacher student ratio is 1:7. Nearly all TAC graduates continue onto university education either in Turkey or overseas. Matriculations of 2021 graduates include many esteemed international institutions from all over the world including but not limited to Rice, Purdue, Delft University of Technology, Bocconi and King’s College.
Students in Grades 9 and 10 follow the Turkish national curriculum with one elective. The aim of these two years of study is to give each student a broad background in all academic areas. This background helps students in selecting course concentrations in Grade 11 and 12. All math and science courses are taught in English. A second foreign language of French or German is required in Prep, Grade 9, and 10.
Students in Grades 11 and 12 choose electives to supplement the common course requirements. These elective choices are based upon their intended area of future study, courses required for university entry, and areas of special interest. Turkish Literature and Turkish Language Arts are required in both grades 11 and 12, yet the number of hours depends upon the student’s future university plans.
TAC's educational and service buildings are located in Tarsus, in green fields, in a 30 acre campus. In the 1880s education took place in the school's first building, Shepard Hall. In 1911 Stickler Hall was completed, at the time it was the tallest building in Tarsus with five stories. Stickler Hall is the symbol of Tarsus American College.
Korkut Beriker Library and Media Center with its unique architecture is equipped with more than 18,800 books, an electronic database, and computer laboratory. Sports facilities include two indoor, one semi-covered and one open gymnasium, courts, practice areas and fitness rooms. The TAC campus also has two auditoriums, with the Stickler building facility accommodating 272 people and the new building accommodating 640 people, as well as an amphitheater for 370 people, open sports courts and academic buildings which house more than 30 classrooms. TAC's dormitories for boys and girls are located right across from the main campus, in the new campus.
The facilities for boys and girls in their new location is a warm home to students coming from 28 different cities in Turkey and is one of the best dormitory facilities in the country with regard to their architectural structure and amenities.
Adjacent to the TAC campus is the Tarsus SEV K-8 school (TSEV). Although the governance structure of the TAC and TSEV are separate, they work cooperatively since they share some common grounds and services.
Living in Tarsus and Opportunities of the Region
Living in Tarsus is a unique experience in which one may feel a juxtaposition between the past and the present. While it boasts a population of approximately 400,000, Tarsus still feels like a small country town. Meandering around the town will bring you to many antique sites of interest including Cleopatra’s Gate, the church and well of St. Paul, the burial place of the Prophet Daniel as well as Roman ruins. Tarsus is currently in the process of having the historical quarter designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is fairly easy to commute by way of public transportation around Tarsus, Mersin and Adana. The train station in Mersin is within walking distance of the business and shopping centers.
Turkey is the hub for many international flights. Turkish Airlines and other local low-cost carriers provide reasonably priced travel to the east and west. Local popular destinations are Gaziantep, Maras, Konya, Adiyaman, Urfa and Ankara.
TAC is seeking to appoint an internationally-experienced Head of School to work in collaboration with the SEV Foundation’s General Manager and their administrators to ensure that the school is both educationally and financially sound and that educational policies are consistent with the educational goals of the Ministry of Education and in line with SEV’s Mission and Vision. The Head of School is expected to conduct the administration of the school in alignment with the Turkish Principal.
The position provides the opportunity for close personal attention to each student and their needs. The successful applicant will be someone who has shown evidence of high energy and initiative in moving schools forward in a progressive and responsible manner. TAC is looking for someone who can make a long-term commitment to continue its tradition of forward thinking in providing the best possible education for its students.
The position requires a dynamic educational leader, one with advanced written and verbal communications skills, a highly-developed level of interpersonal empathy and a willingness to engage at every level with our local community. The successful candidate will be able to navigate within diverse cultural mixes and demonstrate an international mindset, with a strong focus on student learning, and pastoral and academic achievements within a Turkish and English bilingual international program.
Areas of Leadership
- Chairs/coordinates administrative meetings regarding the High School in addition to the School Governing Body.
- Provides for the day-to-day supervision of the academic program and other operations of the school in cooperation with the Principal.
- Leads the revisions of the school strategic plan, policies, procedures.
- Ensures data driven decision making in teaching and learning as well as all other aspects of the school management.
- Supervises and directs the restoration of the school's historic buildings and their usage for education/school-wide activities.
- Engages at every level of the school community including the alumni, parents, consulate officials, and all other local protocol within the boundaries of the Foundation’s policies and under the General Manager’s directions.
- Manages public relations and maintains positive channels of communication with alumni, parents, and community leaders together with the Principal and in coordination with the SEV Foundation.
- Ensures the well-being, safety and security of the premises.
- Is authorized and responsible for the daily running of the school under the chair of the School Governing Body.
- Ensures the preparation of the budget.
- Oversees the provision and use of equipment required for education and instruction.
- Provides leadership for the High School Program.
- Sets the High School’s educational priorities.
- Takes necessary action to ensure TAC’s teachers and staff remain up to date with regard to scientific, technological, and educational developments.
- Leads the development and review of high school curricula, guidance, co-curricular programs, clubs, and activities.
- Takes the necessary measures to develop and maintain the general discipline and climate of the whole campus in cooperation with the Principal.
- Coordinates K-12 integration together with the TSEV and TAC Principals.
- Oversees the CIS and IB Diploma re-accreditation process together with the Principal.
Human Resources Leadership
- Attracts, retains, supports, assesses and develops teachers and staff together with the Principal.
- Provides continuous supervision and instructional observation of all international teachers.
Successful candidates will have:
- A Master’s degree in education or educational leadership.
- A minimum of 5 years head of school experience at a school with local and international curriculum.
- A good command of oral and written communication skills in English.
- A demonstrated commitment to a minimum three-year contract.
- Experience in working within matrix organizational structures.
- Expertise in strategic planning and budgeting.
- Experience in the extensive and effective usage of educational technology.
- Possesses integrity, honesty, confidence, firmness, fairness, transparency and visible leadership.
- Willing to work hand-in-hand with the Turkish Principal, the Foundation General Manager and their administrators.
- Tactful communicator acting as a goodwill ambassador and messenger of peace between different stakeholders: alumni, parents, administration and students.
- Putting student well-being, teaching & learning at the forefront while recognizing the community’s different perspectives.
- Willingness to embrace all cultures and diversity.
- Pursues and explores innovative educational best practices.
Salary and Benefits
The salary will be regionally competitive and will depend on the qualifications and experience of the successful candidate. Benefits include housing and car allowance, health insurance, travel allowance and professional development opportunities. Salary considerations and length of contract will be detailed during the interview process.
SEV Foundation has partnered with Search Associates to facilitate the search for the new TAC Head of School. Eric Sands is serving as the lead consultant.
Qualified candidates should send the information listed below as a single PDF File attached to an email as soon as possible, but no later than January 31, 2022. SEV Foundation reserves the right to close the selection process at any time if the right candidate is identified.
- A letter of application, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in the TAC Head of School position.
- A statement describing your leadership and educational philosophy, not to exceed two pages.
- A current résumé not to exceed two pages.
- A one-page list of references, to include supervisors, with current addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.
Candidates should send all requested information directly to Eric Sands at Search Associates: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aligned with the recommendations of the International Task Force on Child Protection, TAC holds itself to the highest standards of effective recruiting practices with specific attention to child protection. Employees at SEV/American Schools model the SEV Foundation’s code of ethics and values, the ‘United Nations Rights of the Child’ charter, and the Council of International Schools Accreditation standards on Child Protection.
Our institution’s primary concern is to provide education for students in a totally safe environment. The candidate, by applying to this position, acknowledges, accepts, and declares:
- never to have committed any crime related to child abuse.
- never to have been accused of and/or engaged in any action that would qualify as child abuse.
- never to have taken part in such a crime and/or assisted in hiding such facts.