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The aim of the Outstanding Contribution Award is to publicly recognise individuals or Associates who have made an outstanding contribution to the AISA community. We want to show gratitude to those who through the embodiment of AISA’s values, contribute to our mission of transforming student learning in international schools across Africa.
Every year AISA and our member-schools are fortunate in having the support of educators who give generously, selflessly and consistently to support AISA’s mission and further international education in our region. This award, presented annually at the AISA Conference, publicly celebrates the achievements and efforts of these individuals. The award will be available for up to two individuals each year.
The selection criteria will include two categories of outstanding contribution:
A) Outstanding Contribution to Educational Leadership in the AISA Region
AISA bestows an annual award on the individual who, in the opinion of the Board, best represents the following qualities and endeavours:
i) Leadership for learning – creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in international schools
ii) Professionalism – ongoing commitment to improving administrative knowledge and skills, while providing professional learning opportunities and motivation to others in the field of international education
iii) Contributing to AISA – significant contributions to AISA as the leading international schools association in Africa.
B) Outstanding Contribution to an AISA Programme
This award acknowledges individuals from the AISA community who have made a significant or notable contribution to the Association’s work in recent years.
It is aimed at all AISA members who contribute their valuable time and expertise to the AISA region and the international education community at large, where they influence and encourage the professional learning of others.
This award will be offered to an individual who has demonstrably:
i) Made a substantial contribution to international education through research, publication, programme development or other activities related to AISA programmes in the region.
ii) Addressed issues of importance to international education in their work in the AISA region
iii) Influenced how international education professionals act and think about their work in the AISA region. Nominations will be evaluated on the impact of the nominee’s work in accordance with AISA’s mission and the evidence of furthering AISA values in their work. Nominations will be ranked with the top scoring two individuals will be selected as the winners.
Process and Responsibilities:
The nomination process is now open until 31st August 2019. Nominations can be made online and must be sufficiently detailed for a decision to made without requests for further information.
Nominations will be evaluated by AISA personnel and forwarded to the AISA Board for deliberation. Each member of the Board will have two votes to select the two recipients for the year.
The Award Ceremony
During the Gala Dinner at the AISA Conference, the winners will receive their awards from the Chair of the AISA Board before their peers. Nominations are open. Please click the link below to make a nomination.
This past weekend the AISA Board met in Nairobi for our annual retreat. It was highly generative time together where, with the help of our friends from NoTosh, the Board entered into a Design Thinking approach to explore some new strategic initiatives around AISA’s Governance & Leadership Programmes – the outcome being to redefine these to better meet the needs of our diverse membership. The Board also endorsed AISA’s expanded Child Protection and Well-being programme that will once again see AISA take the lead in supporting the well-being needs of our member communities using a whole-school, holistic approach. We were honored to have Tom Shearer from the US State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools join us. Tom has been visiting the A/OS school In the AISA region for several weeks and we thank him for his tremendous support of AISA and our member schools over many years.
It was also the first meeting with newly elected Board members Dr Mary Ashun and Dr Fatma Odaymat. Their well-considered and thoughtful contributions are already assisting existing board members to focus on our context as an organization that is ‘of Africa’. Their vast experience in school leadership, their passion for international education and their generosity of spirit have added immensely to the AISA Board. I wanted to take this chance to be sure you know who they are.
Dr Mary Ashun is in her 5th Year of Service at Ghana International School after heading a private school in Canada. Prior to that, she was a member of Faculty at Redeemer University after teaching Primary and Secondary Science for 22 years. Since coming to G.I.S, she has led a fantastic team of educators to initiate an Action Research Program, grown that into a Practitioner-led conference, partnered with local Teacher Training Institutes for practice teaching, and have set up a Junior Teacher program targeted at local qualified teachers to re-train as ‘international’ teachers in our School. With a majority of host country teachers, the challenge of sometimes inadequate pre-service teacher training is a real one. Mary sits on the AISA Board Membership Committee.
Dr Fatma Odaymat was born in Ghana and completed her primary education in West Africa. Before joining the world of International Education, she was involved in developing and managing education and protection programmes for children of all ages in Africa and the Middle East. As a United Nations Officer and a consultant, she designed and managed programmes for Early Childhood Development, building and rehabilitating schools, working on mental health, and peer to peer youth projects, in addition to providing learning opportunities for teachers, and working with governments on the ratification of education and protection policies. Dr Odaymat brings that global experience to Al-Rayan International School where she works with 150 staff to ensure that the students enjoy the highest standards in international education, with a focus on international-mindedness and service learning. Fatma sits on the AISA Board Governance Committee
The Board also finalized the selection of its Appointed Member for 2019/20:
Brad Waugh is a native of Vancouver, Canada and came to Mali as the Director of AISB in July 2015. His work as an educator began in Canada and, since 2001, has taken him to Bolivia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nepal. He is a passionate teacher of mathematics, physical sciences and Theory of Knowledge, and has taught students from grade 8 through post-secondary. His previous work in school administration has included posts as a secondary school principal, whole school principal and deputy director. Brad enjoys bringing students, teachers and parents together to develop dynamic, student-centered learning communities. He and Renée Comesotti have two daughters, Ceilidhe and Kieran, both graduates of international schools and confirmed third-culture (adult) kids. Brad sits on the AISA Board Membership Committee.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Caroline Jacoby, Motunrayo Ige and Irene Epp who all completed their terms with the AISA Board this year. Each of these women leaders contributed in such unique and valuable ways, generously allowing us to access their experience and insights in order to move our organization forward. On behalf of the current AISA Board and the entire AISA Community we thank you.
Finally, its that time of year where we say farewell to some of our departing Heads of School and an initial hello and welcome to the incoming heads of AISA schools. For those departing thank you for your contributions to international education on the continent and for your support of AISA. We wish you all well.
Name of the School
Incoming School Head
Outgoing School Head
American International School of Freetown
Ambatovy International School
International School of Kigali-Rwanda
International Community School of Abidjan
International School of Uganda
Ms. Caroline Jacoby
The American International School of Kinshasa
Lusaka International Community School
Martin van der Linde
Banjul American International School
Haven of Peace Academy
American International School of Conakry
The 10th annual AISA GISS conference was held at the International School of Tanganyika (IST)., Dar-es-Salaam Tanzania. The event ran from the 16th to the 19th of January 2019 with the overall theme of “Toa Mkono”. In the local tongue of Swahili, this means “lend a hand” and links back to the core values behind the GISS summit. This connects to the concept of sharing ideas in order to better deal with the issues that are seen in the various international communities.
Along with this theme, there were 3 themes that were the focus over the course of the conference. The themes of Subiri (Wait), Tazama (Observe) and Badilisha (Change) were incorporated daily.
AISA GISS hosted 24 student-led workshop, 4 advisor sessions, 10 service day activities, 4 keynote speakers, 2 change makers panels, and an artisan craft fair. These activities were spread out over the duration of the 3 days.
Dear AISA Heads of Schools and Trustees,
Good Governance is on the way..., well, at least the AISA Good Governance Institute is, one of the "Deep Dives" at the AISA 2019 Conference in Capetown, November 21-23, 2019.
The institute will provide Heads of School and Trustees the opportunity to explore the tenets of the AISA Code of Governance. Sessions will include six broad topics, covering the range of governance practice:
We promise to present research-based information and proven good governance practice, and capitalize on the "wisdom in the room," offering opportunities for Heads and Trustees to share what works at their schools and what keeps them up at night!
On Saturday, we will be available for one-on-one consultation sessions for Heads, Trustees, or school governance teams, to explore specific challenges and questions you might have in dialing in good governance at your school. Plus, we will share news about the "next-gen" resource to Boards. Following on from the AISA Code of Governance, the AAIE sponsored, US Department of State Office of Overseas Schools funded project to develop training materials for Board Chairs and Heads to work in partnership to lead their Boards to effective governance has been launched, and we'll share that with you at the conference.
Please check out the AISA conference webpage and feel free to contact any of us for more information about our Deep Dive together in Capetown. Hope to see you there!
Teresa Arpin David Chojnacki Rick Detwiler
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
The Inaugural AISA Invitational Conference, hosted by American International School, Lagos (AISL)
By Kim Rayl, Director of Teaching and Learning
The conference theme, “Developing Globally Competent Students” was highlighted during the opening plenary session as five high school students shared their AISL experience during a moderated panel, answering: When you think about the future, what do you see as the greatest challenge facing your generation, and what are the skills and competencies you will need to face those challenges? Challenges such as global warming, environmental degradation and the changing landscape of work due to AI were noted, while the concept of empathy was seen as a particularly relevant and critical competency. The students also reflected on the value of an international education not only for themselves, but also for the world, sharing their thoughts on, What makes AISL an international school? While a student population of over 55 nationalities as acknowledged as contributing to AISL’s internationalism, the students dug deeper, speaking to the duality of feeling belonging and acceptance when joining AISL as they simultaneously felt empowered to maintain their individuality and pride in their diversity. Specific examples of how AISL teachers design Project-Based Learning (PBL) units that challenge students to become increasingly self-directed and intrinsically motivated learners, while building their global competence, helped the audience of inspired educators draw a connection between theory and practice. The AISL competency, effective communicators, was demonstrated by all five high school students as they confidently shared their perspective with conference participants.
The opening plenary was attended by AISL’s Board of Trustees Chairperson, Mr. Ali Safieddine and US Ambassador Representative to the Board of Trustees, Ms. Carole Cox. AISL was also honored to host representatives from the Lagos Teaching Services Commission; Director, Mr. Aina Adewale and Deputy Director, Ms. Osu Adenike who expressed their appreciation for the outreach efforts made on the part of AISL. Introduced by Superintendent Greg Rayl, the AISL expanded Arts program was highlighted during the opening ceremony with performances by elementary, middle and high school students who didn’t mind coming to school on a Saturday for the chance to perform!
Participants attended four deep-dive workshops in total- two per day- from a selection of twenty offerings, the majority of which were led by AISL teachers and administrators. The offerings were varied and designed to address the specific interests of teachers, administrators and school owners. The feedback before and after the event has been very positive. Mrs. CJ Okoye, a Chemistry Teacher and Head of Department for Science from Essence International School in Kaduna shared her thoughts on the opportunity the AIC presented: “I was excited about the opportunity to attend the conference and to be enriched academically and in management skills. I cannot wait to go back to my school and share my experiences. It’s been an adventure and AISA is that point of call we’ve been waiting for to move up the academic ladder.” Likewise, Kevin Donnelly from Brookstone School in Port Harcourt found the conference theme and networking opportunities of most value: “I’m looking forward to listening to new ideas, meeting new people and seeing how we can adapt education practices for the 21st century.”
The AISL teachers and administrators that presented workshops expressed how professionally fulfilling it was to participate, noting that participants were highly enaged and eager to learn. After two days of presenting, networking and sharing, AISL teachers and Administrators that presented, and volunteers, were understandably exhausted! But in any worthwhile endeavor, the end justifies the means. The inaugural AIC was just that; the first in a series of annual conferences that AISL will host with AISA each March. Why? Because as a learning organization, when we give back to our host country, our region, and our educational association, we have the opportunity not only to highlight the AISL curricular program, but we are in turn inspired to grow and to learn. The questions we ask and the manner in which we spend our time defines us. Continuous growth, learning and sharing; these are the values that define AISL.
For our 50th Anniversary Conference we have brought together a world class platform of global experts who are shaping education to meet the needs of the next generation. Their thinking is breaking barriers, challenging convention and putting students and learning at the core of what we do. Together, these voices will herald the future of international education and should not be missed!
Ewan McIntosh, Founder and Manager of No Tosh, has revolutionised the way schools think and act strategically. With a passion for learning and a conviction that innovation, creativity and design thinking can change the way people think, the way they learn and the way they work , Ewan brings a fresh look at strategic leadership to our conference. Familiar with how international schools work, Ewan will provoke you provoke you and challenge the way you see strategy, leadership and school governance. Growing out of his work at the conference, Ewan will be leading his first Incubator Group of school leaders who will work with him on strategy, leadership and governance for a 9 month period as part of a new, regional partnership between No Tosh and AISA.
See more on Ewan at https://notosh.com/ and YouTube here.
Jay Mctighe, Author and Global Thought Leader in Education, has co-authored 14 books, including the award-winning and best-selling Understanding by Design series with Grant Wiggins. His work has been translated into ten languages and he has led professional learning for educators in 35 countries on six continents. Jay had facilitated at AISA Conferences twice before and due to the enduring relevance and applicability of his work, he returns again. He is one of the great voices that has shaped education in the past few decades and learning with him directly is a must-do for everyone working in education today.
See more of Jay at https://jaymctighe.com/
Jennifer Abrams, formerly a high school English teacher and a new teacher coach, is currently a communications consultant who works with educators and others on new teacher and employee support, being generationally savvy, effective collaboration skills, having hard conversations and creating identity safe workplaces.
Jennifer’s publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicate, Collaborate & Create Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked - the Whos, Whens and What Ifs. Her upcoming book out in March of 2019 is Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives.
Jennifer was named one of the “18 Women All K-12 Educators Should Know,” featured in the blog ‘Finding Common Ground’’ from Education Week, and has also been awarded the International Educational Entrepreneur Award by the International Academy for Educational Entrepreneurs.
See more on Jennifer at www.jenniferabrams.com, or Twitter @jenniferabrams.
Alexa Schmid, the International School of Kenya’s Middle School Principal, has been selected by the U.S. Department of State as Principal of the Year for 2019.
With 16 years of teaching and leadership experience, Ms. Alexa Schmid has combined her passion for education, a steady vision, and strong leadership to create an environment in which students and teachers achieve success together, and where emphasis is placed on the development of student-led opportunities and creating a sense of belonging and identity for middle school students.
According to the International School of Kenya’s Director, Mr. David Henry, "Alexa Schmid has a can-do attitude that gives her the ability to quickly adapt to new situations and find solutions that all can agree with. This, coupled with her humbleness and evidence of student success, makes her a deserving recipient of the National Association of Secondary School Principals Award.”
“I am deeply pleased and honored to receive this prestigious award,” said Schmid. “There are many metaphors that can explain our role as leaders; however, my favorite is one of principal as a gardener. In this vein, our job as leaders is to nurture and support those in our community to blossom,” stated Schmid. “I need to create fertile ground and a space where creativity, innovation, and possibilities seem endless. I try to do this through modeling risk-taking and curiosity.”
As a distinguished principal recipient, Ms. Schmid has been invited to participate in The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) National Principal of the Year (POY) program for 2019, where she will be recognized among similarly named principals from the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defence Education Activity, and the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools.
The award, sponsored by NASSP, is given in recognition of providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.
Ms. Schmid will travel to Washington, D.C. in late September 2019 to participate in the NASSP National POY ceremonies. During the event, principals will participate in professional development, network with NASSP staff and their peers, and on Tuesday, October 1st be officially recognized for their achievement during an awards program and reception.
“Alexa’s input into her school community continues to be an admirable example of positive leadership,” says Henry. “She has been an invaluable asset to the International School of Kenya, and we are confident her impact on our students and community will resonate for years to come. As a community, we are exceptionally proud of her and all of her accomplishments.”
We are always keen to hear from AISA Educators, Leaders and Associates who want to take part in the webinar series. If you have a topic you want to share and you are a passionate presenter who can discuss the issue and answer questions from participants, then we want to hear from you!
Our webinars follow an interview format, so you will asked to explain the big issues in your topic, offer advice and engage with your audience. You can apply to be part of one of our webinars via the online form.
We are thrilled to announce that the 2020 AISA-Global Issues Service Summit (AISA-GISS), will be hosted by the International Community School of Abidjan on 16 – 18 January, 2020.
Please mark your calendars and plan to send a team of students from your school if you can. More information on website https://aisa.or.ke/AISA-GISS
Jambo and warm greetings from the AISA office in Nairobi.
I am just back from the latest AISA Board meeting in Kampala. In fact, it was just me and the AISA Board Chair (Caroline Jacoby) in attendance there. The rest of the Board were in their offices at schools around Africa. We were connected by a Zoom meeting over 4 time zones. I have to say I was a little nervous about how this would go with potential connectivity and power issues and some ‘soft’ issues around our ability to communicate effectively and avoid the inevitable interruptions that might come to a head’s office during our meeting.
In the end it went extremely well. We were online for around 4 hours and under Caroline’s careful guidance worked our way systematically and efficiently through our extensive agenda. Some key parts of the discussion were around AISA’s new programming for Wellbeing in our schools, as well the plans for a significant review of the way we support Governance and Leadership learning in our schools.
For the former, it has been my contention for some time that for effective student learning to take place there needs to be an atmosphere that is conducive to the well-being of the entire school community, not just for students, but for educators, parents, co-professionals and school leaders (including our heads of school). As I visit schools it is easy to tell when the leadership team pays specific attention to this. These schools have a different feel to them. In a world where both the external and internal pressures seem to be increasing, AISA intends to look carefully at how we can support you to be at your very best as you work towards realizing your own school mission and your individual goals in life. More on this as we explore these ideas further.
Another key discussion with the AISA Board was around the Governance and Leadership support we offer from AISA. In the coming year, AISA intends to conduct a thorough review of this support and redesign our programming where necessary so that our Governance and Leadership support becomes more sustainable, more accessible, more robust and more effective. I think the days of conducting endless ‘Board Training’ retreats has run its course. Even with the best facilitators in attendance, the high turnover of board members and heads of school in our region tend to make this approach less effective – it just does not gain the traction it needs to be successful. So, with the AISA Board’s support, we’re going to look at the governance needs of our schools very carefully and work with several partners to design something better.
We’re also preparing for our inaugural AISA Invitational Conferences (AIC) in Lagos at the end of March. This carefully curated professional learning event is aimed at supporting non-member schools who value the same personalized learning approach as AISA schools and may wish to learn more. A key aspect of the AIC will be to introduce some of our key accreditation partners to the leadership teams of these schools in order to increase their appreciation of what continuous school improvement can look like. I’ll let you know how it goes next month.
The Board did a whole lot more in its meeting covering a whole variety of topics and issues. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their work. In particular I would like to thank our Chairperson Caroline Jacoby who is stepping down from the AISA Board this year. She has been a supportive guide and mentor to me and has stewarded the organization through a period of growth and development, the impact of which I hope you have felt as I have.
I’d also like to thank Dr Irene Epp who is also completing her term on the AISA Board as she moves into the next phase of her life after international schools. Irene has been involved with the Association for many years. In recent times her wise counsel on the AISA Board and her guiding and structuring of our Small Schools Initiative in particular have had a deep and lasting impact on our region.
AISA is very pleased to announce the addition of two new Board members to our ranks. Dr Fatma Odaymat (ARIS) and Dr Mary Shun (GIS). Read their bio's on the AISA website here.
We know you join us on congratulating them on their election to the AISA Board.
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