Upper School Principal at International School of Indiana in USA
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Upper School Principal
International School of Indiana (USA)

Dec 16, 19
Jan 10, 20


Upper School Principal

This outstanding opportunity is becoming available July 2020.  The Upper School Principal has wide ranging responsibility for students, faculty and support staff in Grades 6 through12, and reports to the Head of School.

The School:
Founded in 1994 with support from business and community leaders to further the integration of Indianapolis and Central Indiana in the global economy, ISI is an independent, secular, non-profit pre-school through Grade 12 school located in the north of Indianapolis.  We are an International Baccalaureate World School offering the IB Primary years, Middle Years and Diploma Programs.  Total enrollment is nearly 600, with some 280 in the Upper School.  The majority of students are from local and locally settled families, many of whom have a strong international connection.  A smaller proportion are from internationally mobile families working temporarily for Indianapolis companies or institutions.  The school also enrolls a number of “International exchange students” on F1 visas who live with host families and who aim to graduate from ISI.  The school employs some 100 academic staff and administrators, as well as additional support staff, many of whom are international.  The school is governed by a 20-person Board of Directors, all of whom are volunteers who serve for limited terms.

The Upper School encompasses Grades 6 through 12, combining Middle Schools and High School.  All students in Grades 11 and 12 participate in the full IB Diploma and in spite of our non-selective nature our long-term success rate is significantly above both the US and the world average and our students go on to leading colleges and universities.  For the last five years ISI has been ranked among the top US High Schools in the Washington Post’s High School Challenge Index.

ISI is accredited by ISACS (the Independent Schools Association of the Central States), recognized as an International Spanish Academy by the Spanish Ministry of Education, and as a Confucius Classroom by the Chinese authorities. ISI was one of the first schools in the world to receive the Council of International Schools (CIS) “International Certification.”

ISI occupies two campuses.  All Upper School students are on our beautiful 65-acre Michigan Road campus, with students in grades 9 to 12 housed in the Taurel Building, and students in grades 6 to 8 in the Blackwell building, which also houses the school’s gym.  A five-minute walk separates these two buildings.  Lower School students - those age three through grade 5 - are housed in our 49th Street Building some two miles away from the Michigan Road campus. However, the launch of the ONE ISI capital campaign in the fall of 2019 will see ISI create a unified campus at the Michigan Road property as early as 2021-2022 academic year, pending construction schedules.

A significant feature of ISI is our foreign language immersion approach, which mainly impacts the Lower School, where students are taught the entire curriculum French, Mandarin or Spanish by native speakers who are all IP PYP trained.  In Grades 1-3 students have one class of formal English per day, and in Grades 4 and 5 the students spend approximately half of their time in their target language, and half in English.  In the Upper School, students who have come up through the immersion program continue with Humanities and Language Arts taught in their target language, but otherwise subjects are taught in English.  We also offer Humanities in English for students without the immersion background.  In Grade 6 students add another foreign language: French, Spanish or Mandarin.  All language teachers at ISI are native speakers.  While we have given major emphasis to our Upper School science and mathematics programs in recent years, our commitment to linguistic proficiency and intercultural understanding is a key aspect of our mission and a major differentiator for ISI in the local independent school market.  Many of our graduates are impressively bilingual or trilingual, with many gaining the IB Bilingual Diploma.

The Upper School currently runs 9 overseas trips each year to French, Mandarin, and Spanish speaking destinations for students in grades 6, 9 and 10. A tenth trip for students in our English as a Second Language (ESL) program is also run annually.  All are called “exchange trips”, although not all involve an actual exchange of students. We regard these trips as curricular and we expect all student to attend.

The Upper School has a one-to-one laptop policy.  Teacher are issued with a school MacBook Pro, and all students are required to purchase their own MacBook.

Extracurricular activities are a significant aspect of the Upper School, especially our after-school sports program, which is also followed closely by parents.  High School students participate in IHSAA (Indiana High School Athletics Association) tournaments.  In recent years we have been striving to improve our fine arts and other extracurricular activities, and the Upper School Principal will play a major role in this.

As is typical of the other private schools in the United States, tuition does not cover our actual costs. Therefore, constant fundraising is a necessity.  Fundraising activities are led by our Advancement Office, but all are expected to actively support these efforts.

Competition from other local independent schools as well as from public schools is significant.  A number of local public schools are now offering one or more IB programs.  Parent expectations are extremely high.  It is not uncommon for students to leave at the end of Grade 8 to seek the traditional American “high school experience” at one of the bigger stand-alone high schools. The school employs a four-member Admissions Office that works to two to enroll new families and help retain current students.

On graduating the majority of students choose to study in the USA.  The school employs college counselors who advise and guide students and parents throughout the college application process.  ISI has established an outstanding track record for the quality of the universities and colleges at which our students are accepted, and for the college credits and financial merit awards that many of our students are offered.

Indianapolis has successfully reinvented itself since the decline of its heavy manufacturing industries.  It boasts a clean, smart and livable city center, outstanding medical research facilities, good universities, top companies, a large convention center, a number one rated international airport, leading sports teams like the Indianapolis Colts NFL American Football team, the Indiana Pacers NBA Basketball team as well as the Indy Eleven professional soccer team, and world-famous motor racing events, including the Indianapolis 500 on the famous Brickyard race course.  In 2012 the city hosted the Super Bowl (the American Football Championship), the biggest sporting event in the US calendar, and received accolades from across the country.  The Michigan road campus is next to Newfields, a sprawling world-class cultural complex, that includes the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the city has many other high quality cultural offerings, including the outstanding Children’s museum.  Indianapolis is one of the cities with the lowest cost of living and the highest quality of life in the US.  It is known as “the crossroads of America”, and many great “must-see” are just a few hours’ drive or a short flight away, including Chicago to the north.  Many ISI families and colleagues live in pleasant suburbs to the north of the school.  The Midwest is a very friendly and authentically “American” region of the US.

Main Tasks
You will:

  • Ensure student success and wellbeing within a distinctly learner-center approach.
  • Maintain a positive, well-organized, safe and respectful learning environment for all, with the resources available to you.
  • Supervise and work with a team that includes a Dean of Students, an Assistant Principal/Diploma Coordinator, and Assistant Principal in charge of the Blackwell Building, and MYP Coordinator, an Athletics Director, two College Counselors, a Guidance Counselor, a Librarian, a Learning Support Coordinator, various Heads of Department, Specialist Staff and Administrative Staff.
  • Recruit, develop, evaluate and retain a top class faculty.
  • Work closely with senior leadership team, supporting the operation of the whole school, taking on such tasks that benefit the whole school as may be determined and deputizing the for the Head of School as necessary.
  • Work with the VP for Finance and the Head of school to develop and appropriate budget for the Upper School, including staffing, programs, resources and activities.
  • Oversee the creation and the operation of an efficient lesson schedule. 
  • Divide your time and attention appropriately between the two Upper School Buildings.
  • Pay special attention to our Middle School Students’ needs.
  • Ensure the continued success and further development of our academic programs, and in particular of our IB Diploma examination results.
  • Be a champion of the IBMYP and IBDP.
  • Ensure that our students continue to have outstanding college and university prospects.
  • Be an ambassador and cheerleader for the school
  • Work closely with students beyond the classroom, attending athletics and extracurricular events and encouraging participation.
  • Organize coffee morning and information evenings to communicate the school’s programs to our parents and receive feedback.
  • Keep relevant handbooks and school policies up to date.
  • Be a champion of digital technology and support new approaches to learning.
  • Ensure the further development and continued success of our exchange student program, with particular attention to student wellbeing.
  • Ensure the continued success of our exchange trips.
  • Support a strong pastoral and student leadership program, including Student Government, ensuring that our students feel included, respected, challenged and successful.
  • Manage student behavior in positive and proactive ways.
  • Provide an exceptional level of customer service to our parent body, ensuring regular and effective communication, including informational meetings, newsletters and social media.
  • Meet with parents, students and teachers who have concerns and work towards positive solutions.
  • Support the school’s efforts in marketing, public relations, fund raising and in the creation of additional revenue streams.
  • Collaborate with the Admissions Office to support the recruitment and retention of students, including Open Houses and recruitment events outside of the school.

You will have:

  • Relevant academic qualifications and teaching credentials, with an advanced degree in educational leadership.
  • Significant experience teaching in international schools at the middle and high school level.
  • Extensive training in and direct experience of the IB Middle Years and Diploma Programs.
  • A distinctly international outlook.
  • A deep affinity with the ideals of international education, and with the philosophy and values of the IBO, including service learning.
  • Intercultural understanding, with the ability to relate to and interact with students, teachers and parents from different national backgrounds.
  • A passion for working with and the ability to connect with our diverse student body and our diverse faculty.
  • Well-developed organizational and planning skills, including the ability to schedule and to determine optimum class numbers and staffing levels.
  • Sound financial understanding and business sense with the ability to develop an appropriate budget and to work to this, along with an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Competent technology skills and a deep interest in learning technology.
  • Awareness of current trends in education and the ability to design professional development that addresses these.
  • A commitment to building a positive school ethos.
  • The ability to work on continuous improvement of academic achievement while also fostering athletics, the arts and other extracurricular activities.
  • The ability to work closely with a committed and diverse parent community, delivering exceptionally high levels of customer service.
  • An understanding of and respect for bilingualism.
  • Perfect command of English and fluency in at least one other language, preferably French, Mandarin or Spanish.
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills and an acute sense of the importance of regular communication with the school community.
  • A keen sense of marketing and public relations.
  • All the attributes of the IB learner profiles.
  • The ability to listen and problem solve.
  • A warm personality and sincerity that allow you to connect with our community.
  • Patience and resilience to overcome the challenges that arise.
  • A driver’s license (driving is essential).
  • A sense of humor.
  • Hobbies, skills or interests beyond the classroom context that help you engage with students.

The successful candidate must complete background checks and if not already a US Citizen or permanent resident must qualify for US work and residence permits.

Terms and conditions
We offer an initial three-year contract.  The salary will reflect local American private school levels, adjusted for the qualifications and experience of the successful candidate.  Salaries are normally subject to state and federal tax and to social security deductions. Employees may join our subsidized health care scheme, although dependents are more expensive to cover.  The school offers a private pension scheme subject to certain conditions.  A reduction in tuition is given for employees’ children attending ISI.   Members of the administration receive 4 weeks of vacation in addition to approximately two weeks at Winter Break/New Year, a number of other days on which the school is closed, and all public holidays.

Application Procedures
Please apply immediately.  We will review applications as they arrive, and anticipate making an appointment in a short time frame.

Please apply electronically to lduncan@isind.org as described below, combining all documents in one pdf:

  • A covering email stating in the subject line “Application for position of Upper School Principal”
  • A letter of application, no longer than three pages, describing your experience, strengths and motivation
  • A current resume not exceeding three pages, including a recent passport photo inserted at the top of the first page
  • A one-page statement of your educational and leadership philosophy
  • A one-page list of professional references with telephone numbers and current email addresses whom we may contact immediately for a confidential reference.  These should include your current Head of School.

If you have links to relevant video clips that show you in your professional capacity, please feel free to share these with us.

Initial interviews will take place by telephone, Skype or Facetime.  

Deadline:  The deadline for applications is January 10, 2020.
 Please visit our website:  www.isind.org for further information about our school

Did You Know…?

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