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Appointed - Margarita Mendez
Oct 1, 2021
Nov 5, 2021
Dear Search Associates Colleagues,
On behalf of the Search Committee, the American School of Doha (Qatar) Administration, and their partners at Search Associates, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Margarita Mendez as the ASD Lower Elementary School Principal. She will begin her position during the summer of 2022.
Ms. Mendez is currently the Lower Primary Associate Principal at Hong Kong International School assisting in leading a division of 765 students and 135 faculty and staff. She assumed this leadership position in 2017 after having served as the Director of Early Childhood at the Benjamin Franklin International School, Barcelona. Margarita also has classroom teaching experience from Nursery through Grade 1.
Ms. Mendez has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia; a Degree in Early Childhood Education from the Universidad de Barcelona, Spain; and a Master of Arts in Applied Educational Leadership and Management from the Institute of Education, University College of London, University of London with a dissertation focused on “Exploring Play-Based Learning and Project-Based Learning: Supporting Teacher Progress at Lower Primary Stage.”
The Search Committee, the American School of Doha Administration and Search Associates would like to thank all of those who applied for the position of Lower Elementary School Principal at the American School of Doha as well as everyone who participated in the inclusive search process.
Brent Mutsch and Norma Hudson
The American School of Doha
Lower Elementary School Principal Position
To begin in August 2022
The American School of Doha (ASD) is an English-language day school offering an American curriculum, pre-kindergarten to grade 12, for expatriate families and Qatari nationals who seek a comprehensive, caring, American standards-based curriculum program in an international setting. ASD is an independent, non-profit, coeducational day school operating under the policies and by-laws of a twelve- member Board of Directors and a nine-member Board of Trustees, which is chaired by the U.S. Ambassador.
The American School of Doha was founded in 1988 and opened in a villa to serve a small number of expatriate families. With increasing demand for high quality education in Qatar, a new campus was opened to house six hundred students in 1998-99, and with the explosive growth of Qatar in 2005, a new expansion project was undertaken that resulted in a new middle and high school on adjoining land and a complete renovation and expansion of the old campus for the elementary school. From 2013-2017, ASD underwent a $35M Campus Improvement Project to increase capacity and improve facilities across the entire school. This Campus Improvement Project has maximized the school footprint to allow for enrollment of up to 2288 students from pre-K to grade 12.
The surge of growth in ASD has resulted in the creation of a progressive school with an impressive and varied program that serves students from over 75 countries, including approximately 50% from North America and 12% from the host country of Qatar. The academic program has been a forerunner in professional learning and curriculum development, and the school enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence. Elementary and middle school students follow a U. S. standards-based curriculum in a comprehensive school setting. High school students have the opportunity to choose from the Advanced Placement program and the IB Diploma program as part of their American high school diploma. ASD is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and a certified IB Diploma School.
Mission, Vision, and Core Values
The ASD community is constantly renewing and challenging itself through an active strategic planning process, which establishes the vision, mission, and core values of the school. This is a community-wide process and involves parents, students, teachers, administrators, and board members.
The American School of Doha is characterized by a shared vision of learning that is supported by a strong practice of collaboration and a genuine commitment to professional growth and learning. This shared vision for student learning is supported by three key elements:
- Instructional strategies that are developed through research, collaboration, and evidence of student success
- Skills in analysis of evidence of learning to ensure that we are achieving our learning targets and implementing differentiation where needed
- Strong emphasis on developing positive, active global citizens through community service and learning social and environmental responsibility
Although over fifty percent of our students are North Americans (43% U.S. citizens & 11% Canadians), diversity is viewed as a strength of the school and is one of the experiences that our students refer to most when reflecting on their education at ASD.
The majority of our students attend colleges and universities in North America, and many of our Qatari students are opting to attend one of six prestigious American universities at Education City in Doha. Ninety-eight percent of our students continue their education after high school in North America, Qatar and in more than 20 countries around the globe.
Qatar is a leading center for the development and production of LNG (liquefied natural gas). The expatriate community has grown rapidly over the past several years as a result of the many projects associated with the gas and oil industry in Qatar. However, other initiatives by the Qatar government, especially in the areas of education, sports, and health services have widened the array of expatriates moving to Qatar. This, along with ancillary services in banking and construction, has made Qatar one of the great stories of the early part of the 21st century.
In recent years, Qatar has taken on a multitude of impressive construction projects, including a new skyline in the city as large-scale buildings are erected. The Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art on the corniche, a new airport, and the sporting facilities erected for international competition are some of the best in the world. In 2022, Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup. Doha continues to invest heavily in infrastructure and cultural development to ensure its place on the world stage. Safe and modern, Doha is both an exciting and an easy place to live and work.
The ASD faculty consists of 215 teachers who are primarily from North America. In recent years, the staff has become more diverse, with the addition of teachers from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and further afield. Approximately sixty percent of the faculty has advanced degrees. The lower elementary school is led by the principal, who, along with a full-time associate principal, two counselors and one librarian, provide great experiences and guidance for our more than 500 lower elementary school students.
The faculty is housed in a state-of-the-art, purpose-built residential compound with resort-like facilities, including pool, tennis/padel/squash courts, sauna, fitness center, restaurant and all the amenities needed to live comfortably. The school provides busing to and from the compound for faculty (and children of faculty) as part of the compensation package.
The American School of Doha, with its contemporary glass design and geometric canopies, is a work of art in itself. The lush campus of twenty acres is one of the greenest and most enjoyable in all of Doha. The campus currently provides state-of-the art facilities, including a new elementary library with a “maker space”, a new learner’s pool, an enclosed early childhood play courtyard, a greenhouse, two 25m swimming pools (one outdoor and one indoor), a full-sized soccer pitch, a smaller soccer field for elementary, the only baseball diamond in Qatar, a 400 meter track, an indoor climbing wall, a theater for 630 people, four elementary music rooms, seven purpose-built art rooms, three computer labs, two cafeterias, a middle/high school library, three presentation rooms, ten science labs, a central office complex, a drama room, two tennis courts, three covered playgrounds, and an extensive fitness center. This school year has seen the creation of our new Pre-K 3 program which provides a rich learning experience, centered around exploration and play, supported by dedicated and experienced early childhood educators.
The Lower Elementary School Principal is the learning leader in the lower elementary school and a member of the school’s Leadership Team, reporting directly to the School Director, Mr. Steve Razidlo. Collaborating with the Lower Elementary School Principal and Director on the leadership team are the Director of Finance and Operations, divisional Principals and Associate Principals, a Director of Student Support Services, an IT Director, a Director of Teaching and Learning, a Director of Human Resources, a Director of Activities and Athletics, a Director of Safety and Security, and a Director of Admissions.
The Lower Elementary School Principal is charged with managing the daily operations of the lower elementary division, providing leadership in assessment, and development of the instructional program. The Lower Elementary School Principal is responsible for developing a collaborative, innovative, and nurturing environment for employees and students; providing leadership in student safeguarding and all matters of child protection; promoting respect among employees, students and parents; assigning, scheduling, supervising, and evaluating approximately 90 lower elementary faculty and staff; and representing the school positively within the broader school community. The successful candidate must be energetic, well versed in educational pedagogy, experienced with and supportive of standards-based curricular programs, able to inspire confidence in his or her faculty, and fulfilled by working closely with students in their activities and day-to-day life at ASD.
Duties and Responsibilities
1. Leadership for Learning
- Champions the implementation of the strategic plan and lower elementary school initiatives
- Directs the lower elementary school curricular objectives and professional learning goals
- Establishes and assesses yearly lower elementary school goals
- Represents the lower elementary on the Leadership Team along with an associate principal
- Understands and knows standard based curricula and is able to assist in the implementation of the curriculum in collaboration with the Director of Teaching and Learning
- Manages change and encourages innovation, communication and healthy risk-taking
2. Staff Development
- Collaborates with teachers on individual goals and provides timely and thorough analysis of teacher performance through implementation of the school’s performance evaluation system
- Recruits, hires, evaluates and develops high quality, committed faculty and staff
- Establishes lower elementary professional development needs within the strategic plan and school goals
- Communicates effectively with divisional employees to ensure alignment and collaborative decision making
- Liaises between Board of Directors, Director, Leadership Team, parents, employees and students
- Maintains regular written communication with faculty, parents, and students
- Articulates the lower elementary school program and initiatives through open houses, Parent Advisory Forum, parent conferences and other venues as needed
- Understands and effectively articulates the school’s values, strategic plan, board policy, and established procedures
- Oversees procedures for reporting student progress to students and parents on a regular basis
- Plans and implements a master schedule which ensures that each student receives the full benefit of the program (both curricular and co-curricular)
- Plans, organizes, and oversees the development and implementation of lower elementary school emergency procedures in coordination with the other divisions and Director of Safety and Security
- Leads divisional strategy to embed a culture of equity, diversity and social justice that supports our commitment to engage voices and honor the dignity of all
5. Child Protection and Safeguarding
- Leads divisional commitment to safeguarding students as a priority
- Develops, communicates, oversees and complies with relevant policies and procedures including but not limited to: - Child protection, - Code of conduct
- Collaborates at leadership team level to further develop school wide child protection and safeguarding
- Designation as a member of the divisional Child Protection Team
Skills and Attributes Desired
- A collaborative, dynamic, and self-motivated individual with a passion for providing the best possible educational experience to lower elementary school students
- Proven multicultural awareness, sensitivity in meeting the needs of a diverse student body and commitment to inclusive just and equitable practices
- Collegial, open, forward looking and proactive, and an advocate for lower elementary school students, faculty, staff, and families
- An individual who enjoys interacting with students and playing a vital part in their lives
- Communicates effectively in written and oral formats
- Well versed in technology and its use within the classroom for effective student learning
- Models a collaborative and supportive approach to problem solving
- Innovative and creative, models the values and direction of the school
- Demonstrates success in people development, team building and leadership
- Unquestionable personal integrity and professional ethic
Required Qualifications and Experience
- Minimum of MA or MED or equivalent in Educational Administration/Policy, Educational Leadership, or similar field and principal certification
- Successful experience as Principal or Associate Principal in a lower elementary or elementary school setting
- Demonstrated excellence in leading people, managing processes, and improving learning
- Demonstrated experience leading faculty in a PLC environment to set and reach SMART, learner leading goals
- Exceptional knowledge of best practices in curriculum, assessment, pedagogy, and data driven decision-making
- Five or more years of successful teaching at the lower elementary or elementary school level
- Experience in an international and/or multi-cultural environment
ASD offers a highly competitive compensation package for this position in a country with no income tax. This position will begin August 2022. Retained as consultant for this search is Search Associates.
Aligned with the recommendation of the International Task Force on Child Protection, the successful applicant will complete a global background check as part of the hiring process.
ASD actively seeks to employ a diverse workforce. We are committed to the recruitment of leadership which better balances equity and diversity across our school.
The American School of Doha has selected Search Associates as its partner in the search for the Lower Elementary School Principal with Dr. Brent Mutsch and Dr. Norma Hudson serving as the lead consultants. The deadline for applications for the position is November 5, 2021. Candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest and the requested materials listed below as early as possible as The American School of Doha reserves the right to close the selection process at any time should the right candidate be identified.
Candidates should submit the following information in the format requested:
- A letter of application, no longer than one page, explaining why you are interested in this leadership position.
- A current resume not to exceed two pages.
- A personal statement of educational philosophy not to exceed two pages.
- A list of references who have served as an immediate supervisor to include current email addresses and telephone numbers.
- A maximum of three letters of reference (scanned at low resolution) that may already be in your possession.
Please note that all application materials must be scanned into a single pdf attachment of 4MB or less and sent to both email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The review of applications will begin as soon as applications are received. Qualified candidates will be interviewed and potentially forwarded to The American School of Doha for further review. Finalist candidates (with spouses, if applicable) will be invited to the campus to see the school in operation and to meet with members of the school community for further interviews. The new Lower Elementary School Principal will be selected following the campus visit, finalist interviews, and reference checks and will likely be appointed in advance of the 2021 winter break.
Dr. Brent Mutsch Tel: 970-368-6879 USA- Mountain Time Zone
Skype: brentmutsch Email: email@example.com
Dr. Norma Hudson Tel: 970-389-1906 USA- Mountain Time Zone
Skype: normajhudson Email: firstname.lastname@example.org