In June 2001, Todd Gribbon and his wife Liz were excited about their move to Lahore, Pakistan. He had just begun his first international post as Elementary/Middle School Principal at Lahore American School when the events of 9/11 happened. Sadly, Todd, Liz, and their two children—Kathryn (4) and Jessica (3)—had to be evacuated. They left Lahore—and the international circuit—with a pledge to return at some point in their careers. Todd says,
Timing is an important variable—in life, comedy, and in searching for employment in the international circuit. It was April of 2019 when I began pulling together my resume and cover letter and requesting references from former supervisors.
In order to improve his opportunity for employment, Todd and Liz met with Senior Associate Gary MacPhie and his wife Executive Assistant Barbara MacPhie of Search Associates (SEARCH) Ontario to understand how the recruitment cycle would evolve for the 2019/2020 school year. He also reached out to former teaching colleagues—now administrators—to assist him in preparing for interviews: Deanna Emond, Elementary Principal Yangon International School and Graeme Scott, Director of Fairgreen International School.
Back in 1999, when Liz and Todd attended the SEARCH Dubai fair and were recruited to Lahore American School, Todd recalls having notes placed under their hotel door by directors wanting to interview husband and wife together. Todd reflects,
Even though social media has intensified the linking of schools with potential school personnel, sitting across from a perspective supervisor and getting a feel and fit of her or his temperament as a leader is, in my mind, most critical. This face-to-face conversation generates the opportunity to build an important relationship. The power to accomplish any task in any organization or school is in the capacity generated by relationships, as author J.M. Wheatley says in Leadership and the New Science.
During the SEARCH Ontario fair in December 2019, Liz and Todd personally connected with a variety of SEARCH candidates and recruiters from prospective international schools. The Gribbons had registered for the event together as a way of assessing their future employability as a couple. While Liz was offered a number of interviews at the fair for Guidance Counselor, she will remain in North Bay, Ontario for a year to pursue her Ontario Principal’s Qualifications and to guide and support their children who are heading into postgraduate studies.
For Todd, though, the time is right to return overseas, and he feels fortunate to have interviewed and been appointed as Elementary Principal by Dr. Zak Palsha, Director of Al-Bayan International School, Kuwait. Todd cannot wait to resume his international education career:
I am so very grateful to have this opportunity to build community again in the overseas school circuit. What I recall most of my last tenure overseas was the richness of staff relationships, which were focused on student achievement as the underpinning raison d'être of our work as educators. My memories reflect the most purposeful and professional of dialogue among colleagues dedicated to students’ academic and social achievement.