When it comes to international schools, no 2 are alike. With distinct contexts, significant diversity, complex curricula, and unique missions, international schools come in all shapes and sizes. For this reason, international schools require a highly skilled administration that provides multifaceted leadership to the staff, academics, organization, and culture to ensure student learning. 

To better equip heads of schools to lead in complex and changing environments, we piloted the Leadership Program for Heads of Schools. The pilot program was established in collaboration with International Baccalaureate (IB) — a non-profit foundation that offers 4 high-quality and challenging educational programs for a worldwide community of schools — to address the leadership needs of executive heads of schools. Attendees of our joint 2-day program included heads of schools and principals from Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, and Singapore.

We modeled the program after our foundational Lead 4 Success program, which relies on the “Fundamental 4” skills of self-awareness, learning agility, influence, and communication. Our Societal Advancement faculty member Greg Cameron and adjunct faculty member Anne Combs tailored our normal offering to international school administrators, including additional content on effective leadership skills including: direction, alignment, and commitment; boundary spanning; trust; and collaboration.

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The program’s peer-learning environment proved to be of utmost value to participants. These leaders identified similarities in their respective roles as heads of schools and principals, allowing for deep reflection and application of the content. Participants agreed that this component contributed most to the learning.

“I really liked the sharing/listening,” reflected one participant. “The structured activities allowed reinforcement of the concept.” Another head of school felt the learning was enhanced from “real-life alignment and practical implementation because it gives real/synthetic takeaways that we can use tomorrow.”

Program participants also shared their appreciation to IB for promoting this leadership training, which offered a different experience than typical workshops for IB leaders. What’s more, they expressed enthusiasm for future programs that use CCL’s leadership solutions to promote IB philosophy, implementation, and practices to meet the complex and essential needs of IB heads of schools.

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