This March 7th–9th, Senior Consultant Gunther Brandt joined Founder John Magagna at the annual conference of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). For most of his 40 plus years in education, Gunther has served as Head of School, both overseas and in the U.S. He has also been a member of several regional associations, the IB Heads Standing Committee, and has served on accreditation teams. Therefore, both John and Gunther could attend almost any educational conference in the world and find friends and former colleagues. This March, they were eager to familiarize the NAIS community with the new branch of Search Associates, Search USA.
Gunther enjoyed sharing with newly-elected NAIS President Donna Orem knowledge of schools and school leaders, many of whom have served in both national and international arenas. They chatted about her vision for NAIS going forward and the theme of the conference, From Vision to Values. Gunther also enjoyed connecting with Katherine Tinh, NAIS Board Chair, who mentioned that, over the years, international school heads have served on the board.
Gunther realized at the conference that quite a few former international teachers find their way back to the U.S. in leadership positions in independent schools and organizations. He and John spoke with Robert Landau who, after 40 years in international education, now leads the Hawaii Association of Independent schools. Gunther also shared tales of "long gone years of the 80s and 90s" with Beth Hamilton who taught under Bill O'Hale at Chapel School in Sao Paulo but who is now Associate Director at New England Association of Schools and Colleges, as part of the Commission on Independent Schools. Another surprise was Gunther's reunion with Mike Ehrhardt, whom he hired in the 90s as a teacher at Graded School in São Paulo, now Head of the Cary Academy in Cary, North Carolina. Gunther exclaims, "A small world it is!" In addition to catching up with several other international school heads, Gunther briefly attended the presentation "Thoughtful Innovation: The R and D Journey of SAS" by the Superintendent of Singapore American School (SAS), Chip Kimball.
Gunther attended Douglas Lyons' presentation, "Return on Investment: Why an Independent Education is Worth the Cost." Doug brought a dual perspective to the topic, having served as Superintendent of public schools in Greenwich, CT before becoming an independent school head and, for a number of years now, President of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools. Gunther says,
"Some interesting parallels can be drawn between the international schools market and U.S. independent schools, especially in major world cities where several schools, with a range of curricula and qualities, compete for clients in the same ways U.S. independent schools do."
The continual Search Associates presence at educational conferences, such as NAIS, keeps us in close touch with school administrators and recruiters around the world, and with current educational thought, debate, and best practices in many crucial areas. For 27 years, Search Associates has had the privilege of supporting hundreds of schools and thousands of teachers and students in schools all over the world. In fact, at the close of the 2016/17 academic year, we will have placed over 35,000 teachers, interns, and administrators, over 3,100 in this year alone. Our mission continues to be guided by the conviction of Founder John Magagna, who learned early in his own high school education that "nothingis as important as placing good teachers in the classroom."