International Schools and Systems Fact Sheet

How will the International Schools and Systems Certificate Program assist me?


The International Schools and Systems Certificate Program was developed to assist school teachers and leaders in making the transition from a national (provincial, state) school to an international school.  The transition involves searching for a position, applying and securing a position and, ultimately, assuming the role in an international school.  Our program will provide information to assist in the transition.


The completion of this certificate program will place your CV in the applications pile above anyone without any international experience.
Instructor and International School Principal Joe Atherton


First, participants will develop an understanding of how international schools are organized and governed across the world and a menu of options for applying for a leadership position.  Our instructors, who are former Ontario, Canada principals and currently international school heads, will share their personal experience of applying for international school positions.


Good International schools are looking for several qualities in the leaders they hire.  Most importantly they look for a demonstration of successful leadership in the candidates present and past posts.  They are looking for leaders who have demonstrated adaptability and flexibility. They want leaders who demonstrate cultural sensitivity.  These attributes are essential for success in international education.  The cost of recruiting school leaders is significant for international schools.  What they fear is, that a candidate with no prior experience, will fail to adapt to their new reality.  The information gained by completion in this certificate will give the candidates an understanding of the realities of leadership in international education so they can determine if it is a good fit for them.  The information will also better prepare them for success in the interview process and in the position if they are lucky enough to get a position.
Instructor and International School Principal Joe Atherton


Second, participants will explore the nature of international schools, thereby being clear about the differences between national and international schools. The differences, of course, are broad in scope and deep in nature.  For example, in the absence of a single curriculum for international schools, leaders must select from a number of options, while ensuring accreditation and world-wide recognition.


I was very naive about the realities and the challenges of international education when I first went overseas.  The information included in this program would have made the transition much smoother.  A significant difference for me was how international schools were governed.  Module one will prepare candidates well for the governance structures they will encounter.
Instructor and International School Principal Joe Atherton


Third, participants will understand the differences in leading and managing an international school. Teacher recruitment, for example, is very different.  Most often, school administrators travel great distances to participate in job recruitment fairs.  In these settings, administrators must sell the quality of their school as well as the international setting of the school. It is a very competitive environment for both teachers and administrators.


Professionally, I have the opportunity to make changes in schools that significantly improve the learning experience for students.  Being free of the bureaucracy of an education system is a liberating experience. To make changes in an international school requires the approval of only a few people, the School Head, and the School Board, who are usually parents, or the owner.  Compare that to making significant changes in your system.
Instructor and International School Principal Joe Atherton


In the end, the International Schools and Systems Certificate Program provides excellent information about the transition from a national (provincial, state) school to an international school.   Our instructors, who have spent years in the international context, will guide participants through the course material, share their personal stories, and provide participants with an important connection to the world of international schools.


The opportunity to work with educators from different parts of the world, interacting with parents with vast cultural differences and students with a varied educational background has challenged my beliefs and, changed my values and philosophy. I am a much better educator because of my international experience.

Personally, my wife Jody and I have lived in 3 countries and visited over 30 countries in the past 10 years. The opportunities are abound for travel. Experiencing the colourful culture of India, the beauty of Europe and the excitement of Brazil in a World Cup year were and are truly enriching experiences. 

Instructor and International School Principal Joe Atherton

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