Lower School Director at American School of Paris  in France
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Lower School Director
American School of Paris (France)

Appointed - Ms. Paola Torres
Sep 29, 2023
Oct 21, 2023


On behalf of Ms. Jane Thompson, Head of School at the American School of Paris (ASP), we are pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Paola Torres as the next LS Director at ASP.

Paola is currently the Elementary Principal at the Carol Morgan School in the Dominican Republic and prior to that, was the Elementary and Early Childhood Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, where she also served as the Admissions Director, Special Education teacher and Lower School Assistant Principal.

Paola received her M.S. in Exceptional Student Education, as well as her B.S in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Barry University in Florida. Her Certificate of International School Leadership was awarded by the Principals Training Center (PTC) in Miami. Paola also holds a Certificate in School Management & Leadership from Harvard University. She was the recipient of the National Distinguished Principal Award 2019, recognized by the United States Office for Overseas Schools as one of two international school recipients.

Active in the world of international education, Paola leads accreditation visits for the New England Association for Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the IB, and is a frequent attendee and presenter at international school conferences, while promoting opportunities for women in leadership and the importance of child safeguarding.

Bi-lingual in Spanish and English, Paola is originally from Ecuador.  She and her husband Tony have three children and will relocate to Paris in July 2024 with their son, Alberto, who will be a HS junior. 

Search Associates would like to thank all of the candidates who applied for this position and to everyone who assisted and supported the successful LS Director search process at ASP.

 Best regards,

Julie Ryan and David Cope


Lower School Director

from August 2024


The American School of Paris (ASP), a renowned international school

located in the beautiful suburb of St. Cloud, near Paris, seeks

a dynamic, empathetic and skilled educator to lead the Lower School

into its next phase of providing an outstanding program for children ages 3-11.


Julie Ryan and David Cope of Search Associates

are assisting the school by leading the search.


Application deadline: October 21, 2023


ASP and Search Associates are keen to attract suitably qualified applicants

from diverse backgrounds, particularly candidates whose gender, race, nationality or identity

is currently under-represented in international school leadership.

Please see ASP’s DEIJ guiding statement here.

School Overview

 The American School of Paris was founded in 1946 to educate children of American diplomats arriving in Paris after WWII.   Its popularity and pioneering spirit ensured a steadily increasing enrollment, and in 1967 the school moved to its current location just outside the city of Paris beside the beautiful forest of the Parc de St Cloud.  Since then, much has changed: the demographic of students is now gloriously international, the campus has been transformed with extensive renovations and new buildings, and the school has become a leading example of forward-thinking education, empowerment of young people and building a strong diverse community.

 The school’s current enrollment is 800 students, of whom 240 are in the Lower School.

 The mission of ASP is to inspire and prepare every student to achieve personal and academic excellence as an engaged global citizen by providing a challenging innovative program within a compassionate environment.  We take every word seriously.  The commitment that we want the best for every child is enshrined in our inclusion policy and the purpose of the work we do together.  We see our responsibility stretching beyond our students achieving their academic potential to doing all we can to ensure they thrive and become agents of positive change in their world.


 The school is a non-profit organization led by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. This Board of Trustees is responsible for the long-term viability of the school, financial oversight and support of the Head of School.  The Board works closely with the Head of School to ensure good governance and to advance ASP's strategic mission.  It comprises 12-16 members who are current and past parents from a wide variety of backgrounds, and usually includes an alum of the school.


The American School of Paris is accredited by the Council of International Schools and by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and is also accredited by the International Baccalaureate Organization to offer the IB program.  The school is also a member of the Educational Collaborative for International Schools, the Principals’ Training Center and Next Frontier Inclusion.


 ASP provides an American curriculum with an international perspective.  At High School level students can opt for different pathways including the IB Diploma, Advanced Placement exams or a High School Diploma.

 Our American approach to education instills in students confidence, positivity, and a ‘can do’ attitude. Through an inquiry- based and student-centered approach, the curriculum and pedagogy inspire students to critically explore a wide range of topics, lead their learning pathways, ask great questions, and to learn from their mistakes. This holistic approach enables them to achieve academic and personal excellence resulting in curious, confident, and independent students. In addition to critical-thinking skills and abstract reasoning, students at ASP also hone ‘soft’ skills including collaboration, leadership, intercultural competency, and self-management, skills necessary for success in the classroom and beyond.


 The campus and facilities of ASP are a source of pride and joy. We have a fully resourced Performing Arts Center which seats 300 and a black box theater as well as two full size gymnasiums and a physical training center.  In 2018 the school inaugurated the new Upper School buildings, Arts link building and Lower School cafeteria as well as a newly renovated Lower School wing. Students love their access to the STEAM lab and the Fab lab spaces as well as the open green spaces of the campus grounds.

 For further details of the ASP community, please look at all sections of the school’s website https://www.asparis.org/.



The Lower School Academic Program

Early Childhood Experience

The Early Childhood program (Grades K3–Grade 1, ages 3–6) encourages the school’s youngest students to discover the wonders of the world and enables them to contribute as positive, confident and caring individuals.  A child’s first years at ASP establish the solid foundation for learning that will carry them through their lives.  They are taught the essential skills needed by effective problem-solvers, engineers, innovators, artists, and agents of change.  Students learn to be curious, creative, and determined to attempt new things on their own. Outside-the-classroom learning is an integral component of an ASP Early Childhood education at ASP. With the campus situated on 12 acres, their recently re-designed Outdoor Learning space provides the youngest learners ample room to build, explore, and create in different environments.

Lower School

Across grades 2-5, programs intentionally emphasize deep inquiry, play-based and imaginative learning, outdoor education, and a standards-based curriculum approach that fully personalizes each child’s educational experience. Students engage in rigorous units of study, including chances for cross-disciplinary and project-based learning opportunities. Teachers use Paris and the surrounding region to enhance the curriculum. All students learn French language and culture in a program that engages them in a fun and interactive approach to language acquisition.

Lower School children are intellectually challenged while also learning to be creative, inquisitive, and caring people. With small class sizes and a committed, experienced faculty, the Lower School provides students with a collaborative learning atmosphere and individualized attention. They are dedicated to encouraging a spirit of creativity and inquiry, promoting the learning of key skills, and cultivating students' self-expression abilities.

Support Services

Learning is a personalized experience at ASP. All learners, including students who do not speak English as their first language or who need extra support inside and outside of the classroom, are offered support.

ASP is proud to serve a large population of international students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Students come with a wide variety of previous experiences, complex learning, and social and emotional needs. The suite of Support Services includes the Learning Support Program, which seeks to meet students’ academic and behavioral needs, as well as the English as an Additional Language (EAL) program, which focuses on students learning and improving their English language skills. The English as an Additional Language program is offered beginning in Grade 1, after testing, to ensure that all students are supported in their transition to English-language instruction.

Arts, Athletics and After School Activities

 The ASP Lower School buzzes with activity long after the final bell rings, and our rich extracurricular program offers students a world of choices in the arts, athletics, and other fun activities. From Musical Theater to Soccer and Volleyball, from LEGOs and Yoga to Science and Digital Media clubs, there is something for everyone! After-school activities are available every day for students in Grades 2–5. Activities are available two days a week for Grade 1 students and one day a week for students in K3– K5.



The ASP Community


Students and Parents

 Students at ASP represent 63 different countries; they are sociable, inquisitive, vivacious, creative, and compassionate. They enjoy and appreciate the incredible opportunities ASP has to offer and show their determination, ambition, kindness, and enterprise in various ways. They speak a variety of languages but share English in common and all speak French or are learning it. The parent community is equally diverse and dynamic from a wide range of corporate, NGO, diplomatic, creative, and other backgrounds. A remarkable Parent Association, the PFA, has done an extraordinary job of fostering a close-knit and involved community. There are many opportunities for parents to get involved and contribute to the school. They partner with the LS team to support clubs, organize events, and build community.


 Recruited locally and internationally, the faculty and staff of ASP are a close team of passionate individuals, proud of the school and its role in creating an environment where all can thrive. Turnover is exceptionally low—once people come to Paris, they are highly motivated to remain. They come from over 18 countries, with 42% hailing from the United States, and 32% from France. They are highly qualified (74% possess a Master’s degree or higher), experienced (82% have 11-30 years of experience), and committed to ASP (70% have remained at the school for at least six years).

Student Wellbeing

 At ASP, we believe that achieving your personal and academic best depends upon feeling a strong sense of belonging, being supported in maintaining balance and nurturing positive relationships.

 With Guidance Counselors in each Division, a dedicated Child Safeguarding team, and a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion task force, support is readily available for students and families. Caring for children’s well-being is the priority, both inside and outside of the classroom!


The Lower School Campus

Facilities and Premises

 The Lower School (LS) has its own entrance east of the main campus. There is a dedicated LS playground and an Early Childhood (EC) outdoor learning area accessible from the EC classrooms. The rooms are spacious with large windows. In the same area, there is a modern, light, airy LS cafeteria used for activities and presentations for parents. The LS also has access to the main Performing Arts Center for assemblies and performances. There is a delightful and very well-used LS Library, and specialist rooms for Music Art, Learning Support, and French. The Possibility Lab sparks children’s creativity and tinkering for creations and innovation, while the Discovery Lab provides students with a space for exploration, investigation, and building. For sports, the LS uses the 'Field House', a large gym with a bouldering wall.

Environmental Sustainability

The school has a strong and growing commitment to environmental sustainability. It is a key strand of the facilities strategy and an important element of the curriculum. The school has recently installed a pilot project of solar panels as a result of a student’s Physics projects and some impressive lobbying; the Lower School green team established a paper recycling program.


The Lower School Director

 The ideal candidate will collaborate with ASP's strong Senior Leadership Team in nurturing a warm and supportive learning community where children thrive, both academically and socially, and where the faculty is challenged to grow professionally.

ASP is looking for a dynamic, highly skilled leader, able to inspire a team of dedicated professionals with integrity, vision, and optimism.

The Lower School Director should be an active presence on campus and have an outstanding record of accomplishment in best practice for children ages 3-11.

Everyone at ASP looks forward to welcoming someone with energy and a keenness to get to know them, someone who will not shy away from difficulties, and who will continue to build a collaborative and joyful community.

The Lower School Director will report to the Head of School and will also be a member of the ASP Senior Leadership Team.

Essential responsibilities of the Lower School Director:

  • Commit to and support the mission of the school as a vital member of the Senior Leadership Team
  • Lead by example; strong understanding of early childhood and elementary development; articulation and implementation of best practices; support faculty in delivering innovative curriculum
  • Take responsibility for the learning and well-being of Lower School students and staff
  • Be an active and visible presence in all areas of school life
  • Support equity, inclusion and belonging at all levels—students, parents, and faculty
  • Communicate clearly, efficiently and transparently with all constituents in a proactive and timely manner
  • Build a positive collaborative ethos and support collaborative practice within faculty and staff teams
  • Participate in the recruitment, hiring and ongoing support and development of teachers
  • Foster a growth mindset that encourage high expectations and accountability.

Desired qualifications and requirements

  • Advanced degree in educational leadership or its equivalent
  • Minimum 5 years’ experience as a successful principal, preferably in an international setting
  • Significant experience as a teacher, including at the Early Childhood and/or Lower School level
  • Broad pedagogical and curricular knowledge including an understanding of and commitment to progressive education (e.g. play-based learning) and to research-based best practices
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills that have resulted in effective presentations, consensus-building, and divisional success
  • Outstanding cultural awareness and interpersonal skills, ability to build rapport with multiple stakeholders.

 Approach, attributes and cultural competencies

  •  A resilient and courageous leader who is not daunted by setbacks or regulatory issues
  • An adaptive leader who is empathetic and culturally competent, with an abundance of creativity, warmth, accessibility, intelligence and a strong sense of humor
  • An organized and structured thinker with excellent time management skills
  • A confident leader and collaborative decision-maker, who has unquestionable integrity and high emotional intelligence
  • A competent user of technology who values using data to assess learning progress and supports the exploration of new technologies
  • A good listener who appreciates multiple perspectives, builds consensus when appropriate, and who is comfortable making difficult decisions
  • An energetic, self-motivated educator, who cares about people, our planet, and the positive impact of a world-class international education

Salary and Benefits

 The competitive compensation package will be commensurate with the qualifications and experience of the successful candidate. Details will be shared with those applicants who are selected for interview.

 Living in Paris

 Paris certainly lives up to its reputation as a magnificent and enchanting city. There is always something new to explore, amazing exhibitions, events, markets, performances – or you can happily while away many hours in street cafés, drinking delicious coffee and watching the world go by.  Outside of the city there is a multitude of stunningly beautiful areas to explore including of course Versailles and the wine and champagne regions.  If none of that convinces you, just come for the baguettes, the cheese and the butter – there is none better in the world.

Application procedure

ASP and Search Associates are keen to attract suitably qualified applicants

from diverse backgrounds, particularly candidates whose gender, race, nationality or identity

is currently under-represented in international school leadership.


Suitably qualified candidates should send their application as an email attachment to

both Julie Ryan and David Cope of Search Associates

jryan@searchassociates.com and dcope@searchassociates.com

including all the items below, collated together in a single pdf,

to arrive as soon as possible, and no later than October 21, 2023:

  • a letter of application (no more than two pages), briefly outlining why the candidate wishes to apply for this position and what specific skills, qualities and experience she/he can offer
  • a CV/résumé (no more than two pages)
  • a short statement of educational and leadership philosophy (no more than one page)
  • the names and full contact details of at least three professional referees who have been the applicant’s direct supervisors (one of which should if possible be the leader of the applicant’s current organization)

The Search Committee will select finalists by early November. These finalists will then be invited to the ASP campus for a multi-day visit in November. The Lower School Director will be selected after the conclusion of the school visits.

Final closing date:     October 21, 2023


It is expected that interviews will mostly take place during October and November 2023.   However, ASP reserves the right to invite selected candidates to interview, and if appropriate to make the appointment, in advance of this schedule.


Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Diana Kerry was an international educator and administrator for 25 years in various countries, including Iran, France, Thailand, and Indonesia.