October 6th–9th, Senior Consultant Caroline Jacoby joined about 450 teachers and school leaders and 60 vendors in Nairobi, Kenya for the annual conference of the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA). Our busy Search Associates representative found the event extremely beneficial.
Held at both the International School of Kenya (ISK) and the Trademark Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, the AISA conference was themed Umoja: Oneness through Community, Connections, and Stories. Caroline attended all the keynote presentations connected to the theme. She also participated in the deep dive session, entitled “Sharpening the Axe: Developing Strategic Thinkers on Your School Leadership Team,” presented by Elizabeth Imende. As part of Search Associates’ Gold sponsorship, Caroline introduced Elizabeth to attendees not only as the speaker of the deep dive session but also as the incoming (August 2024) Executive Director of AISA. Having collaborated with the AISA Board on Ms. Imende’s appointment, Caroline is a tremendous fan:
An excellent female educator and leader, born to a Ugandan mother and Kenyan father, Elizabeth was educated both in Africa and the U.S. She is a popular appointment, particularly in a region that is actively trying to promote DEIJ.
At a pre-conference session on Friday October 6th, 2023, Caroline joined the AISA Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Symposium. She feels her presence there sent a strong message to other participants: These issues are something to which SEARCH is committed. Caroline adds,
This was an excellent opportunity for me to further develop my understanding of DEIJ initiatives in the region. There was a lot of discussion around sensitivities and restrictions around sexuality in the predominantly conservative countries.
Caroline attended a session run by faculty from her previous school, the International School of Uganda (ISU), entitled Changing the Narrative: Fostering Equity & Understanding Through a Grassroots Initiative. She enjoyed both an “extremely well-attended” Women in Leadership lunch and AISA’s Gala Dinner, “always a popular event,” says she.
During the conference, Caroline had many opportunities to meet with school leaders, some whom she had helped to place and was following up with and some who, after sharing a plan to move on, discussed potential timelines for a search for their replacement. Caroline also met with directors with whom she is currently working on searches. She emphasizes,
While we can work together via email and Teams, nothing beats face-to-face conversations.
Directors of three different schools, on separate occasions, spoke to Caroline about the possibility of SEARCH running a teacher recruitment fair at the end of the AISA conference. As travel in Africa is long and expensive, most Directors and many teachers who attend the annual conference would save money and time. Not only would this be beneficial for small schools with limited budgets but also candidates with experience in Africa who want to stay on the continent but move to another school would be right there.
Clearly, SEARCH Senior Consultant Caroline Jacoby loves her work, developing and fostering relationships with educators in the AISA region.