Leading an international school through change

Published on 14th September, 2018 by Amy Bardsley. Published in For Candidates / TIC News

Carl Lander has worked as a school leader, school inspector, and an educational advisor around the world. Originally from Yorkshire in the UK, Carl is currently Head of St. John’s School in Chile, where he has been working for a year. TIC Recruitment helped Carl to find the leadership vacancy and supported him through the process of application, interview, selection and remuneration negotiation. Here, Carl talks about his new role, and the opportunities and challenges he’s facing as an international school leader in South America:

St John's is a Chilean school with an English heritage. It’s a great school, with a great history.

It aims to offer an international curriculum; the IB (International Baccalaureate). It is different from previous schools I’ve worked at because, although it is an international school, it’s very ‘Chilean’ at heart. 

Leading an international school in Chile

It is a challenge to encourage and develop the ‘international’ side of the school. This is especially so as there are currently only three international staff here. A founding Principal builds a school from the ground up, with best practice as a guide. An already established school has a Principal who develops and tweaks the school towards outstanding, and this is the role I am playing at the school.

St Johns is an established school that was not founded on best practice, but grew organically in isolation. It has no procedures in place and this is what I am currently addressing. My role is predominantly about managing change. I am founding and establishing work scrutiny, teacher observation and assessment for learning procedures, at the same time as managing and developing 76 years of local practice. 

The school is not unique in the challenges it faces. I worked in Bolivia for four years and believe all of the international schools in South America face similar challenges; St. John’s has striking similarities to other international schools in the country.

Life with my family in Chile

My family moved with me to Chile. They’ve found the move a very positive one, and two of my children attend the school.

Chile is a modern country comparable to any European country.

Advice to senior leaders aspiring to Headship

My advice would be to fully research the culture of the country and its attitude to education; not all schools are the same, not all countries are the same.  Pay attention to the leadership role you would like; founding, developing academically, developing business, or fine tuning for excellence, and look for a school that matches the role you desire.

I would recommend using TIC. They echoed my own voice and represented me well to the school. 

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Amy Bardsley

Amy is one of our recruitment consultants she has great experience of recruitment selection methods and strategies and since joining TIC has attended international conferences and placed many teachers overseas.