Senior Associates Gez Hayden, Ray Sparks, and David Cramer were an integral part of the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) Leadership Conference, which took place at the Cape Town International Conference Centre, South Africa, March 4-6, 2016. AISA is an organization of 74 member schools whose purpose it is to support their development.
Of the 140 delegates attending the conference, 105 currently hold senior leadership positions in African international schools. This presented an outstanding opportunity for Gez, Ray, and David to speak directly with decision makers from Search Associates member schools, to learn of the challenges facing them, and to hear how they are pushing forward the frontiers of international education on the continent. The theme of the conference--Multi-Leveled Leadership: Creating Connected Schools--drove the content of the professional development sessions, which the program pledged “[fostered] deeper levels of cohesion amongst all school stakeholders.”
One example of cohesion occurring in AISA’s member schools is the ongoing discussion and progress in creating and improving guidelines for Child Protection. At last year’s conference, Senior Associate John Ritter led a consultation workshop on Child Protection. This year, Denis Larkin of Lincoln School in Accra, Ghana updated attendees on progress made by AISA’s team of advisors, who have been appointed to help member schools establish Child Protection policy and procedure in terms of employment and operational practices. Clearly AISA schools have benefited and will continue to be enhanced by this ongoing discussion about developing strategies to keep children safe.
A further focus session addressed Service Learning, and delegates attended workshops on Leading for Learning, led by Kevin Bartlett; Finance for Learning, presented by Chip Barder; Governance for Learning, headed by Teresa Arpin; Admissions/Marketing for Learning presented by David Willows; and Coaching for Learning, directed by Andy Page-Smith and Liz Hargreaves.
Gez Hayden, former Director of Nanjing International School China, now based partly in China and partly in the Western Cape, South Africa, was particularly fortunate to reconnect with Africa heads and principals who were colleagues of his in China schools: Matthew Kirby, Head of Westwood School, Gaborone, Botswana; Greg Rayl, Head of the American IS Lagos, Nogeri; Andy Page-Smith, Head of the American International School of Johannesburg, South Africa; and Lesley Peacock, Secondary Principal at IS Uganda.
Ray Sparks met with former colleague Jodi Lake, who has been at the International School of Kenya for the past 10 years; Dennis Larkin Head of School at Lincoln International School, Ghana; Robert Horton, Head of School at the International School of Moshi in Tanzania; Colin Webster, who was hired as a head of school from the Search Leadership Fair; and Chip Barder from the United Nations International School of Hanoi. Ray met many new heads of schools from the African region for the first time, and he visited Andy Page Smith’s school in Johannesburg in the week following the conference.
David Cramer, currently working on a number of leadership searches in the Africa region, connected with many school heads and potential candidates during the three days of the conference. Because the conference this year was limited to school leaders--140 of them--Search Associates was able to interact in a meaningful way with almost everyone in attendance. For us, there is no better way to support international educators and, ultimately, children around the world.