Primary/Elementary Principal at Windhoek International School in Namibia
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Primary/Elementary Principal
Windhoek International School (Namibia)

Oct 26, 20
Nov 18, 20



Is looking for a

Primary / Elementary Principal

Starting Date : August 2021



Windhoek International School is the only international school in Namibia.  It is also the only IB school in Namibia.

It is a non-profit school of around 400 learners from Early Years to Grade 12 and is governed by a volunteer board.

The school opened in January 1991 and will celebrate its 30th birthday in a few months.  It is located on the western edge of the City of Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, and occupies a large plot, much of which is still available for future development.

WIS has offered the PYP since 1998 and the following year was authorised to offer the IB Diploma.  IGCSEs are also offered in Grades 9 and 10.

The school is fully accredited by NEASC and is an active member of the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA).  We are a proudly inclusive school.

The student population is extremely diverse with some fifty nationalities represented at any time.  The teaching body is similarly diverse with staff from eighteen countries at the time of writing.  A little more than half the students are Namibian.

Facilities are good but an ambitious development plan hopes to make them better than good over the coming years.



Windhoek is more or less in the centre of the country.  Good roads run north, east and south out of the city and will take you to all the corners of the country.  (To go west, drive north and then turn left.)

The population of Windhoek is around 400,000 but it feels much smaller.  It is 1,600m (5,250 feet) above sea-level.  Humidity is low all year round and the climate is almost Mediterranean – mild winters (though often chilly at night) and hot summers.  The rainy season (which comes in summer) usually starts in December and continues until March or even April.  Rain in June, July or August is almost unheard of and it is very rare in May, September and October.  But even when rain is expected, it can be very erratic. 

There are two or three good shopping malls in Windhoek and many good supermarkets.  You can get pretty much whatever you want here.  There are a couple of cinemas (and they are modern, multi-screen, air conditioned, and clean) but there’s comparatively little by way of theatre or live music.  There are one or two small bookshops.

You can eat out well in Windhoek though the choice of venues is fairly limited.  Locals sometimes complain about the traffic but, compared to many places, it is not a problem at all.  There is very little industry and the air quality is good.  Crime is not unknown but it is not common.


Namibia is sometimes described – affectionately – as ‘Africa for Beginners’ or ‘Africa Lite’.  There is some truth to that.  It is very definitely ‘Africa’ but, compared to many countries, the roads are good, the electricity doesn’t go off three times a day, the climate is not too punishing, supermarket shelves are full, crime is not a major worry, there is press freedom, the government is stable, and so on.  You can even drink the water.  This is not in any way a hardship posting.

The country is vast and very largely empty (*) but all parts are easily accessible and exploring the extraordinary variety of landscapes is one of the joys of living here.  Accommodation throughout the country is plentiful and often of excellent quality.  Very expensive places cater for the wealthiest tourists but most lodges, camps and parks are quite affordable. 

English is spoken very widely and it is the language you will find everywhere from legal documents to menus.  Afrikaans and German are also widely spoken and there are two dozen indigenous languages.

(*) It is nearly twice the size of California and bigger than Germany and Spain combined but with a population of just 2.5 million.


The Primary (Elementary) Principal is a member of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) along with the Secondary Principal and Director.  There is also a full-time PYP Coordinator and the whole-school Director of Teaching and Learning contributes to the continuing development of the Primary curriculum.

The leadership structure of the school is comparatively flat and collegial.

There are 34 teachers and Teacher Assistants (though we call them Educational Assistants) in the Primary School.  Classes are very rarely larger than 20 and each class teacher has a full-time EA.

There is a strong Learning Support Department and a full-time teacher of EAL.  In the Primary School, specialists teach Art, Drama, Music, P.E., French, and Portuguese.  The Technology Coach supports the use of technology in the classroom.

It is expected that the Primary Principal will:

  • have a profound understanding of, and commitment to, the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP);
  • explicitly endorse and support the school’s philosophy, Mission, and Vision as determined by the Board of Directors;
  • understand and value the unique characteristics that differentiate an authentic international school from a national school;
  • maintain mutually respectful and professional relations with colleagues at all times.

The Primary Principal is responsible for:

  •  the overall operation of the Primary School (currently defined as Early Years up to and including Grade 5);
  • working with the Director, the recruitment of suitably qualified and experienced teaching staff;
  • the recruitment of suitably qualified and experienced Educational Assistants;
  • evaluating, mentoring, advising, and guiding Primary teaching staff to maximise student learning;
  • assigning, and when necessary reassigning, teachers and Educational Assistants to classes;
  • the annual creation and continuous review of a Primary School timetable;
  • identifying and, within the constraints of the annual budget, meeting the professional development needs within the Primary School;
  • overseeing and supporting the work of the PYP Coordinator and subject leaders;
  • in cooperation with the PYP Coordinator, subject leaders, and class teachers, arranging and delivering information sessions to WIS parents and other stakeholders;
  • liaising regularly with the Secondary School Principal and the Director of Teaching and Learning to ensure cohesion and consistency of practice;
  • liaising, as necessary, with the WIS Parent-Teacher Association;
  • the preparation of an annual budget for the Primary School;
  • monitoring and managing the annual budget for the Primary School;
  • participation in the student admissions process;
  • in collaboration with the Learning Support Department and the Admissions Office, the placement of children in classes;
  • informing the school community of events and developments within the Primary School;
  • ensuring that parents of children in the Primary School receive regular, accurate and relevant feedback on their children’s progress;
  • managing such disciplinary matters as may arise within the Primary student body;
  • responding to parental queries and concerns as appropriate;
  • ensuring that the Primary curriculum at WIS and pedagogical practice are informed by best practice worldwide;
  • contributing to such periodic reports and school visits as may be required to maintain the school’s accreditation status, programme authorisation, and good standing with other bodies and authorities as necessary;
  • advising and informing the Director and, as necessary, the Board of Directors of significant developments, threats or opportunities regarding the Primary School.

Please apply if you have:

  •  substantial experience of the IB Primary Years Programme;
  • three or more years’ experience of a leadership role in an authentic international school;
  • experience of working outside of your home culture;
  • excellent people skills and a desire to work in an inclusive multicultural context;
  • a big hat.  (The sun here can be fierce.)


A competitive package will include salary, pension, accommodation allowance, home leave flights, medical insurance, and tuition for up to two children.

Windhoek International School does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, colour, religion, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, political affiliation or family responsibilities


Please apply directly to the school.  Applications should be sent to and clearly marked PRIMARY PRINCIPAL.

Applications should include:

  • a full CV / résumé;
  • a letter of application of not more than two pages;
  • a list of four referees, one of whom must be your current Head of School.

All documents should be sent together and in pdf form.

Please do not send open letters of reference.

The deadline for applications will be Wednesday 18th November 2020.  However, as always, the school reserves the right to bring that date forward if and when a number of outstanding applications are received.

Did You Know…?

Director of School Relations David Cope's career has taken him to Europe, Africa, North and Central America, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.