Headmaster at Commonwealth-Parkville School, San Juan in Puerto Rico
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Commonwealth-Parkville School, San Juan (Puerto Rico)

Appointed - Dr. Alan Austen
May 18, 2015
Sep 30, 2015


A New Headmaster

Effective in July of 2016 


Commonwealth-Parkville School (CPS), a non-profit organization founded in 1952, incorporated in Puerto Rico, is a private college preparatory day school. It provides an integrated and ambitious PPK-12 curriculum in English with a strong program in Spanish. It is located on two campuses: Parkville Campus in Guaynabo (grades PPK-6), and Commonwealth Campus in Hato Rey (grades 7-12). The membership of the corporation consists of parents and guardians of children attending Commonwealth-Parkville School.


Commonwealth-Parkville School is an English-speaking college preparatory PPK-12 school committed to provide for the changing educational needs of a 21st Century students by promoting creativity, values, leadership, sportsmanship, and life skills, within an engaging and challenging academic, yet caring environment.

Through core academics combined with 21st century global skills, our students will be educated to be lifelong learners, and to engage meaningfully in their communities after graduation.

V  |  Values, ethics

A  |  Activities and sports

L  |  Learning joyfully

U  |  University preparation

E  |  English, Spanish, and language programs of highest quality S  |  Stimulation of critical thinking


The history of Commonwealth-Parkville School (CPS) is one filled with innovation and pioneering spirit. In 1952, a group of dedicated parents and their families relocated to Puerto Rico to work with the Economic Development Administration (Fomento). These parents set out to create a school in English for their children that would meet their demand for excellence in education.

The founding parents rented a community center located in Roosevelt Urbanization in Hato Rey, (where CPS Commonwealth campus is located today) to accommodatestudents from Kindergarten through sixth grade. Every year a new grade wasadded until 1961, when Commonwealth School graduated its first twelfth grade class of 10 students. Since then, CPS has graduated countless notable alumni.

In 1964, Commonwealth was at full capacity. It was then when Parkville School in Guaynabo was constructed to serve as the elementary campus. It provided space for an additional two hundred students from Kindergarten through sixth grade.  From the start -- as is the case today -- the school established innovative curricula in academics in English with a strong program in Spanish. CPS achieved an unrivaled track record addressing the needs of a diverse and changing student body.


Improvement to facilities have been massive and conducive to the delivery of a curriculum heavily influenced by technology, one which captures student interest and promotes individual teacher-student connections. The 2012 Middle States Association Visiting Team's final accreditation report states: “The technology available to you would be the envy of many schools.” CPS continues to grow and substantially invest in training for its faculty and administrators. Each year, they attend workshops, seminars, and conferences both within Puerto Rico and stateside creating advancement of innovative teaching techniques and programs.

CPS has achieved significant recognition and success in creative programming, a dramatic increase in the number of AP courses and on-line learning opportunities, stellar college acceptances,  and cocurricular activities and clubs.

Its outstanding science program has been recognized winning the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. In 2012, CPS graduated the only male student in Puerto Rico honored with the Presidential Scholar Award prior to his entrance at Princeton University. 

With this growth, however, the traditional hallmarks of individualizad instruction: small class sizes, low student-teacher ratio (8:1), and commitment to academic excellence, sports, fine arts, and  leadership opportunities continue unabated.


Having two separate campuses Elementary (Guaynabo) and Middle and High School (Hato Rey) allows students to develop academically and socially among their peers in  small and familiar learning environments.


Parkville Campus – Located in Guaynabo (see map) in the upper middle class gated community Urb. Parkville, Parkville is well-kept, attractive campus.  

A master plan to renovate this campus is currently underway with its first phase completed in the Summer of 2012.  Improvements already accomplished include: 

  • Expansion and remodeling of the Patricia Clare Library
  • Classroom additions
  • New computer lab
  • Re-designed entrance and center patio - allowing free play and easy and rapid drive-thru for parents at arrival and dismissal

Commonwealth Campus: Located in Hato Rey (see map), just minutes away from Plaza Las Américas, Colegio de Ingenieros, Coliseo de Puerto Rico and train station, Commonwealth is an attractive campus with a magnificent blend of the past (historic Central Office Building) and the present (modern refurbishments). The School has an open manicured central garden enhancing the overall learning environment. Facility improvements are ongoing and consist of the following core provisions to support teaching and learning:

  • Computer centers 
  • Specialized science labs  
  • Every classroom equipped with interactive media equipment  
  • Wi-Fi throughout campus 
  • Well equipped classrooms
  • Library
  • Art rooms 
  • Sports facilties
  • Media production studio (2013-2014)


The CPS Advantage:

Commonwealth-Parkville School’s educational journey from preschool to grade 12 is noteworthy and rewarding. We welcome all students* to become part our “Comets history.” At CPS everybody knows your name. The 2012 accreditation MSA report concludes that “CPS has developed a school culture that fosters a sense of belonging, ownership and commitment. CPS is a family. As a student told us, ‘I know that I belong here.’”

“ Aside from its tolerance, CPS fosters an environment conducive to teacher-student relationships that resemble a mentor-protégé dynamic, that many of us would be lost without. ”

Excerpt: Valedictorian speech delivered by Cemil Revan Purington, Class of 2012, U.S. Presidential Scholar, Junior at Princeton University“

The passion that teachers have for being helpful and available to their  students, coupled with the schools relatively small size, creates a supportive learning environment unlike any other. Here at CPS. students are far more than just numbers. COMETS develop a certain character at CPS: We’re perseverant, we’re passionate, and we’re hard workers. ” Valedictorian speech delivered by Daniel Rodríguez Sanabria Class of 2014 | U.S. Presidential Scholar | Sophomore at Harvard


Proven record of outstanding leadership in a PreK—-Grade12 school

Committed to carrying out the school’s Mission  

An inclusive leader able to build teamwork 

Respectful of the school’s history, culture, diversity, and achievements. 

Committed to the professional development of the faculty 

A visionary academic leader familiar with new trends and best practice 

Willing to be immersed in the Puerto Rican culture 

Be deeply and meaningfully involved in the life of the school 

Engaging public speaker and advocate of the school in the community  

Inspirational and persuasive, getting people to “go the extra mile”

Sound decision maker

Open minded and resilient , energetic, and persevering with strong work ethic

Committed to teacher supervision and support

Accepting of a global view of education

Sound administrative skills, including effective delegation 

Good working relationship with the Board of Directors

Willing to be part of community and school associations (CAIS, Rotary)

Possesses integrity, excellent character, and good values 

Personable, approachable , outgoing, , with outstanding people skills

Good working relationship with staff,  faculty, and students

Experience or willingness to participate in fund-raising initiatives

Application process

Search Procedures

Those interested in applying for the long term appointment should send an application no later than September 30, 2015. 

(The review of files will begin as soon as applications are received).  Candidates should note that, in the event that an outstanding applicant is identified early in the search process, CPS reserves the right to make an appointment before the deadlines mentioned above and to bring the search to a close. For this reason we encourage interested candidates to apply at the earliest possible time.

Candidates should send all the information requested below as a single email with an attachment(s) to Search Associates:

with a cc to
  • A letter of application, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in the Headmastership at the Commonwealth-Parkville School.
  • A current résumé not to exceed two pages.
  • A one to two page statement outlining educational philosophy and leadership style.
  • A one-page list of references with phone numbers and E-mail addresses. This should include the current Chair and Treasurer of the current Board of Directors at your school, plus former board members or others as desired.
  • A maximum of three letters of reference (scanned at low resolution) that may already be in your possession.
  • Submission of your application is an acknowledgement that the school may contact references both listed and not listed who would know your professional background. 

Finalist candidates will be identified by the Search Committee and will be interviewed, if applicable, in San Juan  before or after the deadlines outlined above, as appropriate.  Finalists will have the opportunity to meet with faculty, parents, students, and non-teaching staff. The new Headmaster will be selected soon after the conclusion of the interviews.  

For more information, please visit our School’s Website at: Cpspr.org

And watch our video 


I visited CPS for two days in May of 2015,  meeting with all constituencies of the school in both group and individual meetings while also spending some informal time on both campuses which afforded me a good sense of the life of the school. It was evident from the very start of my visit, meeting with the Chair of the Board and the full Board which included a  closing session at the end of the two days, that CPS is blessed with a highly positive school climate. Students, staff, and parents all have high praise for the school’s warmth, family character, and the dynamic and supportive relations between students and faculty. CPS is well established in the independent school market in Puerto Rico. Teachers are highly committed, many with long and dedicated tenures. Students repeatedly expressed their care and love for the school, the close and supportive relationships they have with each other. Over the years CPS has placed graduates in highly selective universities. There is considerable pride throughout the school about the many learning opportunities and the resources available to support and sustain accomplishments. The Board of trustees left me with a strong sense of its passion for future developments while sharing the pride in the school’s history and traditions.


This is a terrific opportunity for an inclusive leader to build on existing strengths and delineate opportunities for future growth. I left CPS highly encouraged by what I saw, by the many kindnesses and candid observations  provided by all I met, and by the welcoming atmosphere at all levels of the school. Any set of right candidates will surely be delighted to take on this excellent professional challenge in a school that is keen to move forward with new leadership.
Günther Brandt
Consultant, Search Associates

Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Bill Turner’s international teaching career has taken him to Sudan, Italy, Qatar and the UAE as well as his home country of England. His very first teaching position was in rural Sudan.