Head of School at The Pan American School of Porto Alegre in Brazil
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Head of School
The Pan American School of Porto Alegre (Brazil)

Appointed - Ms. Shaysann Kaun Faria
Apr 1, 2020
May 8, 2020



Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Pan American School of Porto Alegre in Brazil (PAS POA) we are pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. SHAYSANN KAUN FARIA as their next Head of School, effective July 2021.

Shaysann brings an extensive international background in teaching and leadership to the position, as well as academic credentials that are a solid preparation for her leadership journey now culminating in the headship of PAS POA. Shaysann earned a B.A. in English from Washington State University, followed by an M.Ed. in Education from the College of New Jersey. In addition, Shaysann received a Certificate in Advanced Educational Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she is currently also pursuing a Certificate in School Management and Leadership. Coursework with the Principals Training Center (PTC) has further served to enhance her experience in instructional supervision, curriculum, and effective schools administration

Shaysann began her international career as a teacher at Nagoya International School and at Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro where she also served as Middle School Principal. For the past 11 years Shaysann has been both High School Principal ( 2009-2016 ) and Director of Learning and Teaching at Colegio Nueva Granada ( CNG ) in Bogota.

The Board Chair at PAS POA, Lair Hanzen, welcomes Shaysann into the school’s community by describing her as “the right leader for our school’s next chapter, just as we are optimistic that we will overcome the current challenges, embrace change and thrive in the years to come”. Further details of the school’s community announcement are provided HERE, including a warm acknowledgment of the leadership of current Director Jeff Jerkovac who has led the school for the past 12 years, shaping both quality and the school’s growth into today’s strong foundations.

The Pan American School of Porto Alegre community, its Search Committee and Board of Directors, and Search Associates would like to thank all the exceptional candidates who expressed an interest in the Director position, and everyone who supported and assisted the search process.

Günther Brandt

Senior Consultant

Search Associates











The Pan American School of Porto Alegre is a private, not-for-profit, Pre-K to Grade 12, co-educational international school of 440 students, governed by a Board of Directors. Founded in 1966 it has evolved into an IB World School offering the Primary Years Program (PYP), the Middle Years Program (MYP), and the AP Capstone Program. Ambitious to grow into a mid-size school and equally ambitious to further grow in quality, the next Head of School (HoS) will provide dedicated and inspirational leadership to realize the school’s vision of “being an exemplary international learning community”.

The Head of School is the chief administrator reporting to the Board of Directors, with the responsibility to implement the school’s mission and to carry out the Board’s policies and expectations.

Required Experience, Skills, Attributes

  •  Inspirational, passionate, performance-driven and innovative
  • Truly international and multicultural mindset
  • Skillful communicator, good listener, honest and transparent
  • Administrative/leadership experience in international schools
  • Minimum Masters Degree: (subject-specific and/or leadership related)
  • IB/AP experience

Highly Desired Experience, Skills, Attributes

The Pan American School of Porto Alegre seeks a Head of School who brings a strong balance of professional skills and personal attributes to all aspects of leadership. Accordingly, these highly desirable skills and attributes are important to achieving success in moving the school to the next level:

  • Strategic thinker and skillful executor, including ability to manage growth
  • Student-centered, ensures an inspiring, inclusive, innovative and safe learning environment
  • Recruiting experience focusing on retaining and further developing outstanding faculty, staff and administrators
  • Leads by example, with integrity, modeling values and behavior
  • Supports a school culture of high expectations and aspirations
  • Builds teamwork, unity, and trust, acts as a mentor.
  • Visible and accessible in the life of the school and community, networking and developing mutually beneficial partnerships
  • Open-minded, values diversity, strong intercultural proficiency
  • Learning leader, who is self-aware, confident, and empathetic, with a high level of Emotional Intelligence
  • Resolute and resilient in tough decisions in the best interests of students and the entire school community, solution-driven
  • Appreciates language learning, seeks to learn Portuguese


We Are Pan American - Founded in 1966

At Pan American, we offer outstanding international programs that educate the whole child. In a caring and respectful environment, students are challenged to take risks and be leaders in their learning.

Our teachers are a diverse group of life-long learners, and our families collaborate in the spirit of an international community. At Pan American, our students are empowered to positively impact change and inspired to build their futures.

We like to say that our families are our school. This has much to do with how the school began in the mid-'60s, when a small group of North American families, living in Porto Alegre, mobilized themselves in search of the best possible education for their children.

More than 50 years later, PAS POA has become a benchmark for quality education in Brazil, encouraging students to have a life-long passion for learning.

We embrace the journey of continuous improvement and believe that academic excellence is achieved by educating the whole child. In our learning environment, students feel welcomed and supported.

Here students are encouraged to take part in intellectual and interpersonal activities and are equipped with skills that will serve them in the classroom and in life. Students partner with their teachers, and teachers are also learners. The pursuit of academic excellence guides our priorities as we inspire students to build their future.



Inspire life-long learners to build their future


To be an exemplary international learning community nurturing confidence to embrace change.


THE City

 Porto Alegre

Pan American is located in the southernmost capital city of Brazil in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in beautiful Porto Alegre. The city was founded over 200 years ago and offers a rich and diverse culture and history. A large portion of the population emigrated from Europe (Italy and Germany) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Porto Alegre is a modern and vibrant city of 1.48 million inhabitants, and is the twelfth- largest city in Brazil, only second to São Paulo in industrial and commercial importance. Different to São Paulo, Porto Alegre is known for having less traffic, an average air quality index of 23, and for its many trees and parks. On the weekends you can find the parks filled with locals enjoying the sun and sharing chimarrão, a local beverage usually served hot.

Porto Alegre is ideally located in relation to other Brazilian cities and South American countries. In a short 1.5 to 2 hour flight you can arrive in Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires in Argentina. Driving north, within an hour you arrive in the beautiful mountains of Rio Grande do Sul, also known as the "Serra Gaucha." Within in the same amount of time, heading north-east you will arrive at one of the southern beaches, or "litoral."

Porto Alegre is the birthplace of many great writers, intellectuals, artists, and politicians that have marked Brazil's history. Most importantly it is the home of Brazilian Gaucho culture. Gauchos are comparable to the North American cowboy. They are known for their bravery and generosity as well as their cattle skills. Whereas you might not find many cattle roping gauchos in metropolitan Porto Alegre, you will find that here a culture of generosity is very strong. Newcomers are more than welcome!

Learning at PAS POA

Pan American is fully accredited by Cognia (formerly AdvancED) in the USA, recognized by the Ministry of Education in Brazil, and is an authorized IB world school offering the PYP and MYP programs. High school students have the option to graduate with both the American and Brazilian Diplomas, as well as the Advanced Placement Capstone.

As a constructivist-based school, we embrace a student-centered, inquiry-based approach to learning. Participation in a wide range of programs drawn from the arts, physical wellness, core academic subjects, and languages allows students to freely and holistically express themselves, recognizing and enhancing their talents.

Students also benefit from supportive advisory environments with adult advocates who see their role as facilitators in helping students to develop skills, understandings, and relationships, that best prepare them to act as responsible global citizens. 

Teaching assistants to support differentiated instruction in all primary school classrooms, an extensive support staff including four counselors, a counselor assistant, instructional coach, science coach, social studies teacher-leader coach, student support services coordinator, two librarians, five learning support teachers, four physical education teachers, two athletic coaches, two after school assistants, one nutritionist, two full-time nurses, and five visual and performing arts teachers are all ways that we are able to meet the varying needs found in our student body. 

We aspire to prepare students for success in both present and future educational studies and endeavors and to develop them as international citizens with excellent moral values.

In addition to the continuous improvement of our core curricular activities, we offer innovative and collaborative learning opportunities through design projects, service learning, and IT literacy skills. Instructional, IT, Social Studies and Science coaches support the development of an integrated curriculum where students are able to develop their critical thinking problem-solving, creativity and innovation, communication, collaboration and leadership skills.

In Primary school, this is achieved through such activities as Tech and Robotics club, Elementary Band, and Student Council. In Secondary school this is achieved through more complex structures and offerings, such as Model UN, Student Council, NJHS, NHS, Math club, Robotics, Sports Teams, Musicals, Town Halls, Service Learning, and a range of electives. Secondary students are also encouraged to participate in international summer programs where they can further explore their interests.

Faculty are required to incorporate a variety of new techniques and strategies into their teaching, to engage their students in investigating real-life situations and making connections to the outside world.

Student as learner - WE believe:

  1.  in honoring and developing the whole child, preparing them both intellectually and emotionally to be successful and autonomous in a diverse and global society;
  2. that goal setting and reflection require students to carefully self-examine their skills and knowledge, preparing them to become their best selves and achieve their fullest potential;
  3. students should be taught communication, research, problem-solving, thinking and self-management skills that are transferable across subject areas and situational contexts;
  4. that children learn to value the dignity and the worth of others by engaging in dialogue and collaboration.

Teacher as learner - WE believe:

  1. in modeling personal and professional life-long learning for our students, demonstrating that learning is ongoing and should push us outside of our comfort zones;
  2. that classrooms are places of learning, both for students and teachers; therefore, we constantly strive to build upon and improve our instructional practices in order to provide quality, meaningful, and authentic learning experiences for our students;
  3. that reflection deepens professional practice and positively impacts students learning;
  4. that best educational practices occur in moments of collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Learning in the classroom - We believe:

  1. that students learn best when actively engaged in open-ended inquiry experiences that build on what the student already knows;
  2. that each student begins their learning journey at a different place and should be provided multiple avenues by which they can pursue and demonstrate their learning;
  3. that formative data is integral to the teaching process and should be gathered and utilized to determine each student’s readiness for learning, both in foundational skills and conceptual understandings;
  4. that classroom instruction should involve a variety of teaching strategies that invite and challenge individuals to meet and exceed the desired learning objectives;
  5. that student growth is fostered by honoring individual strengths, encouraging creativity and risk-taking, and valuing the process of learning;
  6. that learning is moved from theory to practice when students engage in meaningful action and application of skills beyond the classroom.

PAS POA Community

Pan American is comprised of 440 students, 320 families, 142 staff and faculty members, all representing 13 different nationalities. Our students, parents, and teachers work together to create a respectful environment where learning can happen.


Pan American is a not-for-profit, secular, coeducational day school, accepting students of all nationalities in PreK through Grade 12. There are currently 440 students enrolled, 281 in primary school, and 159 in secondary school. 92% of the total student population is from South America, with the balance being a mix of American and International students.

PAS POA students consistently exceed both the US and AASSA NWEA norms in Reading, Language Usage, Math, and Science in spite of the fact that 80% of our students are English Language Learners. Our focus, however, is on improving the learning of each and every student, as such, we focus on the conditional growth index provided by the NWEA.

The SAT scores for PAS POA students are consistently above both US and International averages, with Critical Reading and Writing scores over 95 points higher, and Math scores 129 points higher than both US and International averages.

PAS POA students are engaged learners, diligent inquirers, and principled leaders. They care about their school and about upholding the PAS POA`s core values of leadership, determination, respect, collaboration, and integrity. 



PAS POA students are constantly encouraged, challenged and inspired by a caring, diverse and qualified faculty. As a relationship-based school, teachers are encouraged to build trust with both students and parents, so that learning can happen with as few barriers as possible. 

Of our 87 person faculty, nearly half hold a master's degree or higher. and all are committed to modeling life-long learning by engaging in professional development and specialization courses. Part of the school's yearly budget is dedicated to supporting teachers continuing their learning.

Each teacher has an individual PD account which can be used towards achieving their professional growth goals identified in their yearly Teacher Performance Evaluation System (TPES). The performance evaluation system used to guide the professional learning of teachers (TPES), counselors (CPES), and principals (PPES), enables the staff to collect and present data to document performance that is based on well-defined expectations.

Our faculty are committed to their students and to providing a rigorous world-class, student-centered, inquiry-based education. PAS POA faculty are creative, driven, caring and critical thinkers.



PAS POA parents are highly engaged in school-life. From volunteering at school events, to participating in their child's unit of inquiry, to being part of the school board or board committee, PAS POA parents make a difference. The best way to speak of parent involvement is through PAC. 

The Parent Action Council (PAC) is run by parent volunteers and works closely with school administration to build a collaborative culture, support key programs, engage with all stakeholders, and support numerous events throughout the school year. PAC’s mission is, “to promote and support the Pan American mission and vision, fostering a sense of community through volunteerism and collaboration.

The structure of the PAC is formed by an Executive Committee, Care Committee, and Cafeteria Committee. PAC's activities are further disseminated by section communicators and classroom representatives. Communicators, help to reinforce and spread important school messages while classroom representatives act as the liaison between the faculty, the administrative team, and parents.

The Parent Action Council initiatives focus on the community by supporting new teachers, new families, international families, school events, student-led initiatives, as well as parent-focused initiatives. Most recently, PAC has focused on creating a positive agenda of enhancement mornings for parents, focused on topics that arise within our community. These have included the creation of an ambassador training,  the inauguration of PAS Saudável (PAS Health & Wellness), and PAS Sustentável (Enviro Project).


School Board

Pan American is governed by a Board of Directors composed of seven members, four of whom are elected by the General Assembly for a three-year term, and can be re-elected for two more terms. Three additional members are invited, by the elected members, to serve a one-year term or more. One of the invited seats is reserved for a member of PAC (Parents Action Council) to ensure a close link to the parents.

The purpose of the Board, on behalf of the Pan American School of Porto Alegre Association, is to fulfill the school’s mission and vision, guaranteeing that the school properly directs its resources and achieves its expected results with integrity and long-term sustainability. The Board committment is five-fold: 

the Association entrusts the Board with the educational development of the children, and expects the Board’s first and greatest concern to be in the best interest of each and every student without distinction as to who they are or what their background may be, fitting the individual needs of every whole child;

as a parent's association, the relationship of the Board and community is one based on trust and transparency. The Association is entitled to know the facts about its school, and the Board must take the initiative in ensuring that it is both informed and understands the information provided. The Board will work with all stakeholders to provide the finest possible school programs, staff, and facilities;

the relationship of the Board and Head of School is a supportive and evaluative one, based on mutual trust and respect, where the HoS is the only formal link of the School and the Board. There is collaboration on strategic matters and a clear understanding of each other's roles and responsibilities. The assessment of the HoS is done not only against the Job description, but more specifically against the agreed annual goals; 

the Board has a fiduciary responsibility, being strategic but also the steward of school's well-being in the broader sense, attending to the bigger picture and guiding principles, leaving operational management and leadership to the HoS;

the Board has a moral obligation to keep the school strong and must never neglect its obligation to the children and youth of this school community, nor surrender its responsibilities to any other person, group, or organization.


Our facilities are one of our greatest challenges, and therefore greatest opportunity. To address this opportunity, in addition to an on staff civil engineer, there is a special board committee, called Grounds and Buildings, whose focus is on enhancing learning by improving facilities. 

Currently, PAS POA is housed in the residential neighborhoods of Petropolis and Chácara das Pedras. The main campus (Obino) occupies a 6,850 m2 constructed area with 44 classrooms including: five student support rooms, a fully equipped gymnasium, four gardens/outside play areas, two music/drama studios, interactive boards in all classrooms, three state-of-the-art science laboratories, a Maker's Space, a collaborative space, two art classrooms with a photography lab and kiln, a recently renovated cafeteria, and library with more than 42,000 titles.

In 2014 our former main campus (Paetzel) was renovated. At the start of the 2015-2016 school year, our Early Years Program began its classes there. Our Early Years campus occupies a 1280 m2 constructed area, contains seven classrooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria, and an outside playground.

While moving our Early Years program to Paetzel initially addressed our need for additional space, it was not enough to entirely meet our growing needs for additional outdoor space. For this reason, PAS POA purchased the adjacent property which is now our outdoor learning space, with a basketball court, soccer cage, and climbing structures.

Although not ideal in terms of total outdoor space, the school is well located and our infrastructure allows for closeness. Our next steps include the construction of a new building that will consist of 12 additional classrooms and increase our rooftop garden spaces. As our school community continues to grow,  we continue to update our Master Plan to ensure our facilities match such growth.


Application Procedure

The Pan American School in Porto Alegre (PAS POA) has appointed Search Associates as a consultant in the Head of School Search, with Dr. Gunther Brandt as the Lead Consultant. The deadline for applications is May 8th, 2020

Candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest and the required materials as early as possible and the PAS POA 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, and candidates should send the information listed below in a single PDF FILE attached to an email:

  •  A letter of application describing your interest in the Head of School position at PAS POA, listing your strengths as a candidate and how your qualifications and experience align with the profile of the desired candidate.
  • A current resume not to exceed two pages
  • A one-page list of at least 4 (four) referees who have been your direct supervisors, with current phone and email addresses
  • A maximum of three letters of reference scanned at low resolution that may already be in your possession

The Total DOC size should be kept at less than (4) MB if possible. Applications should be sent to admin@searchassociates.com and gbrandt@searchassociates.com

For further information on the school please see www.panamerican.com.br


Did You Know…?

Many international schools start recruiting in September for the following school year.