Each week, Education World profiles a different school principal or assistant principal. His or her responses offer insight into what a school administrator's day is like and the special challenges school leaders face.
Yanbu International School, a Junior Kindergarten-12 school in Yanbu Al-Sinaiyah, Saudi Arabia (350 students)
How did you get your current job?
I sought a position as a school administrator in an international setting after working in schools in Oregon for 14 years. I found this position through the International Schools Services. It has turned out to be the best career move I could have possibly made!
What is the biggest challenge you face this school year?
Retention of quality faculty is a big challenge. Most of our staff members are Western Hemisphere university-trained and licensed. As an American curriculum school, this is a requirement for consistency of the program. Due to the remote location of my school and the various political and terrorist actions in the Middle East, tensions can be high among the Western Expatriates in Saudi Arabia. After investing significantly in staff development, recruiting costs, and travel expenses, we strive to maintain a solid, consistent school faculty.
What is your education motto?
"Empowered with academic excellence, we at Yanbu International School are lifelong learners committed to lead with integrity."
Who most influenced your decision to become an educator?
My father, who was a school administrator, showed me that dedication and enthusiasm for schools has a major impact on the life of a community.
What does your work contribute to society?
In so many ways we are doing educational missionary work here in Saudi Arabia. Eighty percent of our students are not from western nations, yet they want the American style education for their futures. I believe that we are helping their futures and, at same time, we are learning from them; thus helping everyone.
How do you motivate your staff to go above-and-beyond?
I support professional growth opportunities for staff and encourage their contributions to the development of the school. I believe that if you put people in positions of leadership, you will motivate faculty to go above and beyond our wildest expectations.
What other thoughts would you like to share?
As a principal, new parent, and world traveler, I believe the world is so small that we must embrace differences and enjoy the fact that as a human race, education is how we build our futures.