Primary School Principal at Bishop Mackenzie International School in Malawi
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Primary School Principal
Bishop Mackenzie International School (Malawi)

Appointed - Lisa Hughes
Jul 29, 2023
Sep 14, 2023


Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of Mr. Adrian Moody, the Director of Bishop Mackenzie International School (BMIS), I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Lisa Hughes as the next Primary School Principal at Bishop Mackenzie International School.

Lisa holds a Master's in Education from the Open University in the UK. Lisa is currently serving as founding Head of Primary at Oberoi International School in Mumbai, India, where she has led the Primary School since 2017. She leads a team of over 100 teachers. Prior to this she was Head of Primary at Hanoi International School, Vietnam. She has also served as the PYP coordinator at MIRAS International School Astana, Kazakhstan and MEF International school of Istanbul, Turkey. 

Lisa will be joining BMIS in August with her two children.  

Search Associates would like to thank all of the candidates who applied for this position and to everyone who assisted and supported the successful Primary School Principal search process for BMIS. 

Kind regards,



Bishop Mackenzie International School (BMIS)

Lilongwe, Malawi

seeks a new

Primary School Principal

Effective August 2024




We are a diverse and welcoming community in a joyful learning environment that promotes well-being, sustainability, and inclusivity and celebrates growth as success.


Bishop Mackenzie International School (BMIS) is committed to the development of responsible, confident, compassionate and independent citizens of society. Teachers, students and parents will work together to ensure that all students:

  • receive equal access to a broad and balanced curriculum, regardless of race, religion, ability or gender;
  • have the opportunity to reach their full potential intellectually, emotionally, socially, morally and physically;
  • develop skills for independent, creative and critical thought;
  • develop a positive attitude towards our host country, based on understanding and knowledge;
  • develop an awareness and tolerance of different cultures, beliefs and lifestyles;
  • are encouraged to act in a courteous and responsible manner towards all members of the community and the school;
  • become concerned for the quality and care of the local and global environment;
  • are offered education in an international context which ensures transferability and continuity with educational institutions around the world.


Bishop Mackenzie International School (BMIS) is an English-medium private, non-profit co-educational day school founded in 1944 that has grown to provide an education to 620 students in the primary and secondary schools from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 (4 – 18 years old). The school was named in memory of Charles Mackenzie, a prominent figure in the early history of Malawi. He joined David Livingstone on the Zambezi in 1861 as Bishop of Central Africa and Head of the Anglican Universities Mission, the first Christian mission in this part of Africa and the inspiration of Livingstone himself. Mackenzie’s career was brief and was a tragedy of disease, hunger and tribal warfare. Mackenzie died of malaria and the mission collapsed almost before it began, yet he helped create a vanguard for the destruction of the slave trade by means of Livingstone’s much heralded “Commerce and Christianity.”

BMIS was founded in 1944 as The European School under a colonial administration that maintained separate European, Asian and African schools. Originally there were no more than a dozen pupils, housed on the site of the Golf Club. The school expanded rapidly in the 1950s, acquired its present location and became a boarding establishment throughout the then Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. This reverted to a day-school under the Nyasaland Government, and later provided boarding facilities again when the Designated Schools Board was organised in 1977.

From 1977 onwards BMIS developed very much along the lines one might expect of a large primary school with an international clientele. Efforts were made by a succession of Head teachers and members of teaching staff to ensure that the best available options were offered to pupils and parents who had an interest in the school. Under the Designated School Board, the school developed an enviable reputation for quality education. A decision in 1990 saw an extension of the Primary School by the creation of a Secondary Department, now a thriving part of the school.

In 1998 BMIS separated from the Designated Schools Board and established itself as a Trust under Malawi law. All parents are members of the Parents’ Association, which constitutes the membership of the Board of Trustees. BMIS became an International Baccalaureate World School in 1997, authorized to offer the Diploma. The school expanded the IB programmes in 2006 introducing PYP, which was authorized in 2011. As the students have moved up through the school, MYP has been introduced and BMIS is now a fully authorized MYP school. The school’s most recent evaluation/accreditation visit took place in 2019. This year BMIS celebrates its 80th anniversary.



BMIS is fully accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and is authorised to offer the IBPYP, IBMYP and the IBDP programmes. The school is due to have a combined CIS/NEASC accreditation/IB evaluation in September 2024.


BMIS is a non-profit organization run by a Board of Trustees. The Board consists of nine elected members, three of whom are Malawian taxpayers, three non-Malawian taxpayers and three non-taxpayers. Board members are elected from the parent body by the Parents Association. The Director and Principals of the Primary and Secondary schools, an elected teacher representative from the Primary and Secondary Schools and the Chair of the PTA are ex-officio members. The Board may also appoint ex-officio members with particular skills in order to fulfil its obligation to facilitate the smooth running of the school.


BMIS is an authorised International Baccalaureate (IB) World School offering PYP, MYP and Diploma Programmes to students across the age range from 3 – 18 years. 


BMIS enrolment is about 620 students from 45 different nationalities. 370 of these students are in the Primary School. About 40% of students are Malawian. The balance of students are children of expatriates or long-term residents working for NGO’s, Diplomatic missions or business.


There are 65 faculty members, from 11 countries including the UK, Malawi, the US, Australia and SA.  The average length of stay for expatriate teachers is 4 years.


The school occupies a 25-acre site on the southwestern edge of Lilongwe’s Area 3, a settled area of suburban housing. In the primary school, there are 21 teacher-based classrooms and specialist rooms for art, music and French. In the secondary section, special facilities include 21 teacher classrooms, 4 fully equipped laboratories, 2 ICT laboratories, language acquisition lab, open collaborative “Breakout Space,” drama studio and a design lab. The library is shared by the Primary and Secondary Schools, as are the sports fields and gardens. Hard play areas include a tennis courts and 2 basketball/netball courts. There are 2 assembly halls that double as sports halls and there are two outside volleyball courts. A swimming pool complex comprises of a 25 m pool, an 18 m pool, and an infant splash pool.


The Primary School program at BMIS serves students in Pre-Kindergarten to grade 5. There are three classes at each grade level Kg - Grade 5. The school is authorized to offer the IB PYP, MYP and DP programmes. The Principal and PYP coordinator work as a pedagogical leadership team and are doing an excellent job at leading the PYP programme. BMIS is a non-selective and inclusive school.

Action is a school-wide focus and there are many examples of meaningful service and environmental projects. The school links the UN’s 2030’s Sustainable Development goals to their service activities. Students appreciate the school’s close community, and enjoy knowing most of the other students in the Primary School. They also appreciate the support that they get from their teachers. The school offers a wide range of After School Activities which many students enjoy being involved in.


Malawi is a small landlocked country in Africa, south of the Equator. Malawi is listed by “World Population Review” as the sixth poorest country in the world. However, it is also a friendly and tolerant country. It is well suited to those who enjoy an outdoors and active lifestyle.

One of the major geographical features of the country is Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest lake is only a two-hour drive from Lilongwe and a popular place to relax and to participate in many recreational activities, including swimming, kayaking, fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving.  There are also a number of wildlife reserves around the country that offer the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful unspoilt wilderness. There are also many exciting travel opportunities in neighbouring countries.

Lilongwe is the capital city of Malawi, on the Lilongwe River. The city has a population of about one million people and is generally considered safe. The school is located in a residential area of the city.

Teachers appreciate the excellent quality of life that they have living in Lilongwe. People generally spend their free time enjoying the outdoors either by socializing outdoors or playing golf, swimming, cycling, walking, horse riding, running or swimming and snorkelling at the lake. There is a range of good restaurants in town. Teachers tend to make their own fun and Lilongwe suits people who are comfortable with an outdoors, small community life. Malawi is renowned for its bird life.

The Primary Principal is provided with a house on campus which has utilities and internet provided and has 24/7 generator backup.

Health care in Malawi is adequate for basic medical needs and teachers visit expat GP’s and local clinics. However, Malawi wouldn’t be a good fit for anyone with major underlying health conditions.  For serious medical needs teachers travel to Kenya or South Africa. The school provides William Russell international health insurance as well as a local health insurance.

The cost of living in Malawi is relatively low. The cost of locally grown or produced items is quite low, while imported items are expensive. Candidates may like to use this cost of living comparator tool to give them an idea of cost of living compared to where they currently live.


BMIS seeks a Primary School Principal who is an emotionally intelligent experienced leader of learning. The Principal should be an excellent communicator who is empathetic and has strengths and a proven record in building and maintaining strong relationships in the community.

The Primary School Principal is responsible for the running of the Primary School and works closely with the Secondary School Principal and the School Director, who is his/her direct supervisor. The Principal directly supervises and works closely with the IB PYP Coordinator and the Student Support Coordinator. The Principal’s role is to support these coordinators and the teachers to deliver the programmes to the students.

Areas for the new Principal to particularly focus on are:

  • Developing strong relationships with and among faculty, staff, students, parents and the wider community.
  • Being an open and transparent communicator.
  • Curriculum development and articulation.
  • Actively marketing and recruiting Primary School students.
  • Being visible and involved in all aspects of the Primary School.
  • Assisting the Director in recruiting and retain excellent Primary School teachers.


  • Leadership role in an international school.
  • A Master’s degree in Educational Leadership or similar.
  • Leadership experience in the IBPYP programme.
  • Experience living and working in the developing world


  • An excellent listener
  • Clear and open communicator
  • Emotionally intelligent with a high degree of cultural literacy
  • Visible and active in all aspects of school life.
  • A sense of humour
  • A flexible thinker


BMIS offers a competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with position expectations and market benchmarks. 


BMIS has selected Search Associates to assist them in the Primary School Principal search, with Caroline Jacoby as the Lead Consultant. The deadline for applications is Thursday 14th September 2023. 6:00p.m. GMT. Applications should be sent to: Caroline Jacoby at

Candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest and the required materials as early as possible as BMIS reserves the right to close the selection process AT ANY TIME if the right candidate is found. The review of applications begins as applications are received.

Please note that we will not forward-on candidates for further consideration by the hiring school/organization if a candidate is under contract or otherwise encumbered in such a way that would preclude them from freely entering into a new employment contract, if offered, and being available for the start date stipulated by the hiring organization.  Search Associates will contact the current employer/supervisor to request completion of a Search Associates Confidential Leadership Reference Form for all Applicants who emerge in the search as a Finalist. 

Candidates should send the information listed below in a single PDF file (not to exceed (4) MB) attached to an email:

  • A letter of application describing your interest in the Primary School Principal position at BMIS, highlighting your strengths as a candidate and how your qualifications and experience align with the position profile and the school’s areas of focus.
  • A current resume not to exceed two pages.
  • A one (1) page list of four (4) referees who have been your direct supervisors, with current email addresses.
  • A statement describing your leadership and educational philosophy, not to exceed two pages.

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.