Head of School at Woodford International School in Solomon Islands
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Head of School
Woodford International School (Solomon Islands)

Appointed - Anthony Baron
Mar 22, 2017
May 29, 2017


Woodford International School

Honiara, Solomon Islands


Head of School to begin January 2018 (or possibly earlier, by negotiation)



Woodford International School (www.wis.edu.sb) has been providing quality education to international and local students in the Solomon Islands for over 60 years. This not-for-profit school is governed by a parent-elected Board and is located in a purpose built facility in Honiara. A new high school complex was built in 2007 and the administration wing was redeveloped in 2011. Currently WIS has a total student population of 380, comprising over 30 different nationalities and ranging from Kindergarten to Year 11.



Students from kindergarten to year 5 follow the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) curriculum.  Years 6 to 10 use Cambridge Secondary curriculums, culminating in the International General Certificate of School Education (IGCSE).  The school recently extended its offering to include year 11.  Year 11 students currently sit the Solomon Islands national examinations.  In the near future, Woodford plans to offer an internationally-recognised certificate program, such as the Cambridge A-levels or International Baccalaureate diploma or career program, for students in year 11 and 12. 



With the sudden departure of its Head of School in December 2016, the Woodford International School Education Authority is seeking to employ a new Head of School to implement its 2017-2021 Strategic Plan (attached).  The Head of School is supported by a strong leadership team.

The school enjoyed a period of rapid growth in the ten years to 2014.  In the last two years, enrolments have fallen, reflecting shifts in expatriate demographics in Honiara.  The school needs to evaluate its current business model in light of these shifts, with a view to continuing to deliver on its ambitious strategic goals, in a sustainable manner.  

The school is looking for a Head of School who will lead, develop and inspire our multi-cultural, diverse staff to build on Woodford’s strengths and to seize opportunities to strengthen the school in line with our Vision:

Globally-ready learners

daring to dream

confident to act

empowered to achieve


The school welcomes applications from women and men with a proven track record in a school leadership position, whether as a Head of School or Deputy, and for whom our Vision, Mission and school Values resonate.  Applicants should have experience living abroad, preferably in a developing country, and should be ready to demonstrate personal resilience and initiative.

The responsibilities of the Head of School may include:

  • Reviewing, updating and implementing existing strategic, annual operating and professional development plans.
  • Attending Board meetings, implementing Board policies, and advising the Board on educational, financial, business and other matters.
  • Developing budget proposals that support pursuit of strategic priorities; administering the budget in a transparent, fiscally responsible manner.
  • Ensuring compliance with local laws; liaising with national and local governments, and other key stakeholders.
  • Ensuring the school and school-owned buildings are safe and well- maintained.
  • Building mutually beneficial partnerships with key ‘client stakeholders’, including embassies, financial institutions and corporate service providers.
  • Mentoring and coaching the leadership team and conducting staff appraisals.
  • Supervising curriculum development and implementation.
  • Maintaining open and effective communication with staff and parents.
  • Maintaining a friendly and professional atmosphere where all students, teachers and parents are valued and respected
  • Building confidence (among locals and expatriates) in Woodford as Solomon Islands’ leading school and in WIS’s capacity and commitment to provide its students with a holistic education of international standard that equips them to be ‘globally-ready’.



The following characteristics are indicative of the kind of person the School seeks. While the successful candidate may not have all these qualities, please consider whether you are the kind of person we are looking for - before you apply.

Personal Skills and Abilities

 1.      Effective Leadership

Within Woodford Community:

  • Maintains focus on the core purpose and Vision of the school— providing for the holistic education of each individual student to ensure every WIS student is ‘globally-ready’, daring, confident and empowered.
  • Can inspire, motivate and support staff of diverse cultural backgrounds to work together to attain the school’s Vision and Strategic Goals
  • Leads teaching and learning: creates and sustains the conditions under which quality teaching and learning thrive
  • Capable of raising student achievement at all levels and all stages
  • Respected by and respectful of teachers and other staff
  • Ensures leadership is distributed and collaborative: inspires, motivates and empowers teams, working together, to accomplish the vision and strategic goals of the school
  • Promotes equity and excellence
  • Influences, develops and delivers on Board / community expectations and government policy
  • Engages and works with the whole school community to build an inclusive, dynamic, and vibrant school culture that respects and celebrates its diversity within its local and international contexts
  • Knows when decisions are required and uses the available evidence and information to take, support, inform and effectively communicate these decisions, taking into account the social, political and local circumstances
  • Communicates, negotiates, collaborates and advocates effectively and relates well to all in the school community – reflecting a solid understanding of Solomon Islands’ and other cultures.
  • Communicates effectively with parents and the school community on student outcomes and achievement, and other school-related matters
  • Reflects on one’s own leadership, and is committed to continuous personal and organisational learning and development


Beyond Woodford’s internal community:

  • Inspires confidence of the broader community in the capacity of Woodford to achieve excellence in teaching and learning with local and international peers
  • Builds and sustains meaningful and productive relationships with stakeholders and appropriate partners (whether businesses, organisations or other schools) in the community
  • Contributes and collaborates to support the development of a twenty-first century education system at local, national and international levels
  • Fosters positive relationships with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders to create and link student pathways across the learning and vocational community in the Solomon Islands
  • Uses evidence from within the school and externally to inform planning for future action, monitor progress and manage change


 2.      Effective Management

  • Demonstrates well-rounded management experience with exposure to budget preparation and financial management processes for an international school
  • Builds and sustains effective systems for the efficient use of WIS financial, physical and human resources
  • Develops and effectively executes appropriate strategies and operational plans to implement the school’s strategic plan
  • Builds and maintains the conditions for strong staff morale, loyalty and commitment to the Vision and Strategic Goals
  • Identifies trends and influences that will have an impact upon the management of the school and plans for them
  • Reviews the effectiveness of processes and data collection/analysis to improve school performance
  • Provides the board with timely and accurate information and advice on student learning and school operation
  • Models exemplary professional behaviour and promotes ethical standards throughout the school and broader community
  • Able to Manage conflict and other challenging situations effectively and actively work to achieve solutions
  • Identifies and pursues opportunities to build the school’s revenue base
  • Creative in identifying and implementing means to maximise outcomes on a limited budget
  • Works in close partnership with the board to facilitate strategic decision-making.


 3.      Cultural Awareness, Integrity and Resilience

  • Proven self-awareness and strength to adapt to life in the remote Pacific
  • Capacity and initiative to develop new friendships and personal support networks in a location with few facilities
  • Willingness to admit when personal or other support is needed and to accept such support
  • Willingness and ability to live in a resource-constrained environment
  • Understanding of Solomon Islands (or related) cultures



  • Substantial experience as a leader or teacher in a multi-cultural school, preferably with International Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge programs.
  • Experience as a Head of School, Principal or Deputy, preferably in an international environment.
  • Experience living and working outside your home country, preferably including in a developing country.

Required Qualifications

  • Degree (Masters preferred) in Education or Educational Administration.
  • Teacher certification.



All applicants must clearly address these selection criteria in their application, providing examples that demonstrate their claims against the following criteria:

  1.  Ability to lead an organisation of diverse staff and students in line with the school’s vision and strategic goals (see 1. Effective Leadership).
  2. Effective management of the financial, physical and human resources of an organisation in a resource-constrained environment (see 2. Effective Management).
  3. Ability to build and maintain a positive and supportive school environment for staff, students and the broader community (see 3. Cultural Awareness, Integrity and Resilience).
  4. Experience as a Head of School, Principal or Deputy, preferably in an international environment, with substantial experience as a teacher or leader in a multicultural school environment.
  5. Degree (Masters preferred) in Education or Educational Administration and a Teacher certification.
  6. Living or working outside your home country in a developing country context is desirable.

Please note:

In the event an outstanding applicant is identified early in the search process, WIS reserves the right to make an appointment before the deadline and to bring the search to an early close. For this reason it is very important that interested candidates apply at the earliest possible time.



Candidates should send the information requested below, in a single PDF attachment. Please DO NOT send any information other than that which is specifically requested:

  • A letter of application, no longer than two pages, that specifically addresses each of the Key Selection Criteria and why you are interested in this particular position
  • A current resume not to exceed two pages, along with a head and shoulders portrait or photo (optional).
  • A one-page or two page statement outlining your educational beliefs and leadership ability and 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 the preference that ALL the above materials should be scanned into a SINGLE PDF ATTACHMENT (low resolution preferred) and sent to Search Associates at the following email addresses. nkendell@searchassociates.com  


  • A competitive international salary package (paid locally in Solomon Islands Dollars).
  • 7.5% school superannuation contribution paid on departure from post (currently tax-exempt in the Solomon Islands).
  • Accommodation and vehicle
  • International medical insurance
  • Professional development support
  • Travel Allowance
  • The WIS Board anticipates a 3-year contract with the possibility of extension.

Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Gary MacPhie is based in Toronto, Canada where he started his teaching career, and then spent 26 years overseas as a teacher, principal and recruiter in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.