Superintendent at American International School Dhaka in Bangladesh
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American International School Dhaka (Bangladesh)

Appointed - Position has been filled by Stephen Herrera - Interim John Gates
Nov 19, 14
Feb 28, 15

On behalf of the AIS Dhaka School Board, Search Associates is pleased to announce that Mr. Stephen Herrera is the next Superintendent of AISD, beginning the summer of 2016.


Mr. Herrera was selected by the Board from a highly qualified field of candidates as part of a rigorous selection process spanning several months of this school year.


Mr. Herrera brings a wealth of experience to AISD.  He has been the Superintendent for the American School of Campinas, Brazil for the past eleven years.  Prior to becoming the Superintendent in Campinas, Mr. Herrera spent 26 years in a number of administration and teaching positions in Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and the United States.  During Mr. Herrera's tenure in Campinas, he has dealt with all of the same issues currently facing AISD.  He has demonstrated his ability to successfully manage these issues, lead change when needed and bring together a school and broader community.


During his visit to the campus for interviews, Mr. Hererra stated that he was very impressed with the faculty, staff, students, facilities and sense of community at AISD.  Both Mr. Hererra and his spouse, Bridget, are anxiously looking forward to becoming a part of the AISD community and taking the school to new levels of excellence.


For the 2015-16 school year, Mr. John Gates will serve as Interim Superintendent, providing leadership to transition until Mr. Hererra arrives.  Mr. Gates is currently serving as the interim high school principal at the Academia Cotopaxi in Quito, Ecuador.  He began his overseas administrative career in Islamabad, Pakistan, and went on to be the Head of School in Brasilia, Brazil; Damascus, Syria and, at the Walworth Barbour American International School in Israel.


Search Associates is proud to have assisted in both of these searches.




The American International School Dhaka


Seeks a New Superintendent

effective July 2016




An Interim Superintendent will be appointed for the 2015-16 school year and a long-term Superintendent is sought to follow. The application deadline is February 28, 2015, with interviews scheduled for late March or early April, 2015.
                                        The new Superintendent will begin duty the following year in late July, 2016.


School Profile


Mission Statement

AISD creates an academic and social environment based on American educational principles. We challenge students from an international community to achieve their potential, become life-long learners and contribute to a changing global society. 




Vision Statement

Preparing students to become stewards of a just and sustainable world.



Core Values

We are a compassionate, caring and diverse community. 

We act with integrity and respect. 

We embrace creativity and balance.

We are proud of our diversity and willingness to collaborate. 

We hold each other accountable to these values. 

The School


Founded in 1972, the American International School Dhaka (AISD), is an independent, college preparatory, not for profit organization, offers an international education founded on research and best practice, facilitated by an enthusiastic and compassionate faculty.  Our program promotes the academic potential, multicultural understanding,environmental awareness well rounded , physical and social development of every student. 


AISD has approximately 750 students: 380 in the Elementary School, 165 in the Middle School and 205 in the High School. AISD is and accredited by The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the Council of International Schools and the International Baccalaureate Organization. It is governed by a nine member School Board, five appointed by the Board and four from the parents or guardians of students, five members must be US citizens.  The parents of our students typically are professionals serving with various embassies, the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, multinational companies, and service agencies.  Forty-two nationalities are represented in the school.


The AISD Elementary School (ES) is Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5.  The ES is an engaging inquiry-based student centered learning community.  The curriculum is rigorous yet inclusive to all learning styles. Students are expected to active participants in their own learning, and are given opportunities and assistance to do so. The Elementary School is an IB PYP school. Services, including EAL and learning support teachers at each level and a Life Skills Program, are integrated as much as possible with the student's regular classroom environment.  The ES academic experience is complemented by a strong extra-curricular program.  The program includes competitive and noncompetitive sports, after-school activities, performing arts, student leadership, and service opportunities.


The ES is committed to meet our school's vision and take action for a just and sustainable world.  AISD elementary students take action in a variety of ways.  Many of the ES projects are self-sustaining initiatives that provide meaningful assistance to members of our community. 




The AISD Middle School (MS) consists of grades 6-8.  The five major elements of the MS are the core curriculum, the quarterly exploratory program, electives, the grade level advisory team, student support services, and the co-curricular program. These components reinforce the AISD mission statement and provide a learning environment 

that supports and nurtures the development of early adolescents. 


The MS offers students a variety of learning opportunities outside the classroom setting. Boys and girls have the opportunity to compete in volleyball, soccer, basketball, swimming, badminton and track and field.  In addition, students are encouraged to participate in after-school activities.  Each grade level in MS takes part in a weeklong class trip in South Asia / Asia Region.  Class trips are designed with both an adventure and service component. Service learning is integrated into the MS curriculum and is organized through classes and through grade level advisory teams. 


The AISD High School serves grades 9-12  and is committed to the realization of students' potential through a holistic program, instructional differentiation, and recognized international standards of achievement.  The academic programs and facilities of AISD are guided by the philosophical principles of American education and International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.  AISD promotes the development of informed, creative, and critically thinking individuals by supporting an environment that provides the highest standards of education based on the principles of the IB Learner Profile.  


The HS offers a range of activities including sports such as volleyball, swimming, tennis, soccer, basketball, cricket and track and field, Discovery Week trips, service learning projects, theatre, Global Initiatives Network, Model United Nations, National Honor Society, Habitat for Humanity, Student Council and C-squared (IT Club). Service Learning is an essential part of the AISD High School experience and is a requirement to earn an AISD Diploma.  AISD graduates attend their top choice university throughout the world; one-third of them attend universities in the US. 


The Campus 


AISD is situated on a 4-acre site in the residential diplomatic enclave of Dhaka.  Situated near embassies and the expatriate community AISD serves as the community center for school families.  The center of campus reflect a park-like setting where families spend weekends playing and having lunch on campus.


The campus has undergone significant renovations since 2012 and over 80% of the campus has been modernized to date. There are over sixty classrooms in fully renovated, modern, spacious, centrally air-conditioned buildings. The school has two libraries with over 36,000 titles, campus-wide wireless access, six science laboratories,  a 400 seat performing arts center, art and music facilities, school cafeteria, counseling offices, coffee shop, and doctor's clinic.




Athletic and outdoor facilities include a covered 25-meter heated swimming pool, three gymnasiums, climbing wall, fitness center, three playgrounds, rooftop basketball courts, soccer pitch and tennis court, a field-turf soccer/athletic field.  




The opportunities and challenges the new Superintendent will face include:




The next Superintendent of AISD will have the opportunity to lead a school with a strong reputation, serving a community that is highly engaged and supportive of its positive trajectory.  Students and parents alike are happy to be a part of the AISD community.  The school is known as the community center for its families and warmly opens its doors to all school families.  AISD benefits from a strong financial base and is debt free.  The classrooms are well resourced, technology is abundant and special care has been given to recruit high quality faculty. The school board is highly supportive and is engaged in strategic planning.  


Completion on the Campus Modernization Plan includes two new libraries, an administrative wing, all new ES classrooms, art and science labs, a renovated gymnasium, newly built 400 seat performing arts center and a 4-story student commons building with two cafeterias scheduled to open in November 2015.




The AISD community seeks a leader who is visible and approachable while managing the varying demands of a highly active and involved school.  Ensuring successful completion of the campus modernization plan will be an important focus of the new Superintendent who should also seek to adopt strategies to control costs.  Thinking strategically, the next superintendent will need to evaluate potential for growth in services offered.  In addition, the next Superintendent should have interest in building the school's endowment and engaging its alumni.  AISD is fortunate to have a high quality academic program and the next leader will be expected to strengthen the academic experience for every student.


Candidate Profile: Characteristics, Experience and Qualifications Sought in the New Superintendent


Leadership and Management

Good management skills and strong leadership are necessary to provide an efficient and effective operation.  AISD is fortunate to have competent teachers and administrators who will thrive with able leadership.  The new Superintendent will need to build on the strong foundation of a good school yet be innovative and continue to guide the school on an upward course.


Leadership at AISD is defined as possessing genuine passion for and commitment to the mission and vision of the school, “Challenging students to become life-long learners to contribute to a changing global society as stewards of a just and sustainable world.”  


Experience and Qualifications

Senior management positions in other international schools, especially in developing countries, is expected, with points of emphasis including:

a strong record of recruiting and retaining quality teachers and supporting professional development

experience with IB and PYP program

experience in curriculum development across all three schools

knowledge and use of modern technology for learning and institutional enhancement

willing to make a longer term commitment to the school


Life in Dhaka


Bangladesh is a developing country with many challenges: a dense population, extreme poverty, limited infrastructure, occasional political strife, corruption and traffic congestion.  However, Bangladesh is also one of the largest Muslim-majority democracies in the world, has a burgeoning number of higher education institutions and a growing educated middle class.  Bangladeshis are warm and hospitable hosts. They are justly proud of their rich cultural traditions, and expatriates can enjoy music and dance, local river trips and other excursions, fine craftsmanship, delicious local cuisine and colorful local culture.  Bangladesh is a land of extremes, but those with an adventurous spirit and readiness to engage with the people and culture of Bangladesh find it a rewarding experience. 


As the hub of the community, AISD hosts events in the evenings and weekends: plays, concerts, sports, after school or adult education activities. Although Dhaka is one of the largest cities in the world, many expatriates remark on its small-town feeling, which is enhanced by the neighborhood environment of Baridhara and adjacent communities in which most school families reside.  Opportunities for volunteering abound and its community have big hearts and give newcomers a warm welcome. 


Dhaka’s location is good for easy getaways to exotic places like Thailand, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Laos or Vietnam, while its warm, seasonal climate means it is possible to swim at Christmas and play softball in January.  


Anyone who is community minded, curious and flexible will enjoy living in Dhaka.  Even more importantly, s/he will enjoy working at AISD.


Most of the school population lives in what is termed “the diplomatic enclave”, which comprises three quiet northern suburbs of the capital. Infrastructure in this area is appreciably better than in other areas of the city and country. School families generally live in spacious apartments within a walk or short drive from the school, though traffic can be congested at certain times of the day. There are many restaurants, local markets and western-style supermarkets nearby in the area.  Health care in Dhaka has improved significantly over the past several years.  Although, most school families choose to have any major medical procedures in either Bangkok or Singapore, there are excellent doctors and modern hospitals in Dhaka. AISD has an association with a local hospital, which runs a clinic staffed by expatriate doctors at the school. 


Position Requirements U.S. Superintendent's Certification

U.S. Citizenship 

Minimum of a Master’s Degree in Education or equivalent 

Minimum five (5) years administrative experience


Other Preferred Qualifications: Prior experience as a school director

Prior experience in international education, especially in a developing country

Leadership positions involving the IB programs


 Compensation Package


The compensation package will be attractive and commensurate with the candidate’s experience and skills.


Application Process:


In the interest of identifying the best candidates for this position the AISD School Board has selected Search Associates to assist in this process.  The application deadline is February 28, 2015, with interviews scheduled for late March or early April, 2015.  The new Superintendent will begin duty the following year in late July, 2016.


Interested candidates should apply as soon as possible.  Screening will start as soon as applications are received.  PLEASE NOTE that the board of directors reserves the right---in the event that a truly superior candidate emerges early in the search process--to shorten the search and to make an earlier appointment. For this reason it is important that interested candidates apply in a timely manner.


Candidates should email in the same transmission the information requested below as a single PDF attachment to Search Associates:


A letter of application, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in the Superintendent’s position at the American International School Dhaka

A current résumé not to exceed 2 pages, addressing the preferred qualifications

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


Candidates wishing to learn more about the American International School Dhaka should visit the school website at



Comments from a Consultant:
“I had the honor of being Superintendent at AISD for four of its early years, when we moved out of rented villas onto the new campus.  Last year, while on campus for the school’s 40th Anniversary, I witnessed how that initial building had undergone several transformations and many additions as the school has grown. 
Many notable international school administrators have called AISD “home” for part of their career and all reflect fondly on the experience.  People-oriented, high-energy administrators will be happy in the close-knit AISD community that consists of a variety of nationalities.  The new Superintendent should have a variety of interests to bring him or her into social contact with as many people as possible.
Life in the Gulshan/Baridhara area of Dhaka can be very comfortable, understanding that Bangladesh is a developing country, requiring flexibility to adapt to the activities available. 
As can be readily seen from the opportunities and challenges the new Superintendent will deal with, AISD is a sophisticated school on the move to an even higher level.  Many people reading this announcement will already have seen the message on AISHNet from the outgoing Superintendent, who wrote, in part: “I would strongly encourage you to consider AISD.  Often called a "hidden gem" I see AISD and Dhaka as "on the map."  It simply is not the Google image destination many think of.“  He went on to highlight the facility, learning, the city and community as a place to live, and a strategic minded, supportive school board.  Early returns from a faculty survey support his opinions.  The challenges are manageable and the successful candidate can look forward to a feeling of accomplishment years hence.
Jim Ambrose




Did You Know…?

CEO of Search Associates, Jessica Magagna, was born in Morocco and attended the American Community School in Iran while her father was headmaster.