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“Welcome Back” From Your Executive Director

“Welcome Back” From Your Executive Director

I recently went back and read the first “welcome” I wrote to our membership in August 2007. What struck me is that eight years later, the premises of change, connection and the need for continual reinvention of education and our organization are perhaps more relevant than they were when I was an AASSA “newbie”:

“The world—and particularly the world of international education—is changing rapidly and AASSA has to be nimble enough to change in what is a highly competitive and continually shifting market. In doing so, however, we must embrace and incorporate the new without losing our identity or history. At the same time, we must not allow our past to constrain our future efforts. Through all of this, the key element (as in any good educational program) is the human factor: the relationships and trust that have developed and will continue to be forged over time.”

In September, the AASSA Board of Trustees will hold a ‘day of visioning’ facilitated by Teresa Arpin aimed at reimagining and repositioning AASSA for the ever-changing landscape of international education and our role as a regional organization. One of our goals is to be a “leader of international education” and inherent in that is a rising to the challenge of change. That will mean questioning the conferences and services we have historically offered and being open to entirely new ways of serving the region.

A few new ways of operating are already planned for this year:

  1. Social media is a reality of our times and is making huge inroads in education. Silvia Tolisano has been contracted as a consultant to AASSA and is already at work increasing our presence on Twitter. We will expand our Facebook presence and AASSA blog has just been launched which will be managed by Silvia and assisted by Amanda Sterk of the American Nicaraguan School. Our ‘virtual presence’ will be extended to the curation and promotion of our major conferences and the AASSA Recruiting Fair.

We are pleased to announce AASSA’s new blog at

The blog is also be accessible via the main page of our website:

You will be able to search for past newsletter articles as well as receive announcements in between the quarterly traditional newsletter calendar dates. Contributions are tagged and categorized to make it easier for you to find areas of interest. We look forward to sharing this blog platform with you in order to encourage continued conversation and connections between AASSA member schools, around articles, guest posts and international teaching and learning in general. Subscribe via RSS or get notified via email of any updates.

For up to the minute announcements and curated information relevant to the international educator, administrator and schools, follow us on Twitter:


and like us on Facebook:

  1. In order to better connect categories of staff throughout the region, we aim to develop listserve groups based upon our Directory entries.

  2. Another new direction for AASSA—being strongly supported this year by Dr. Bill Scotti and the Office of Overseas Schools—is the offering of workshops/institutes/conferences by member schools for the region. The plan is that AASSA will serve as a modest financial sponsor and promoter of these events but have no role in either the organization or the running of the events. The State Department is funding our efforts for the coming year to launch this concept.

  3. An application to host an institute or conference open to AASSA schools during this academic year has been sent to all school heads. If a school’s proposal is accepted, they will receive sponsorship funding. Interested schools must apply by September 1 to be considered.

  4. The Office of Overseas Schools is also sponsoring Special Needs institutes which will be held for AASSA schools located in Brasilia and Rio in September and Quito in March. Institutes will also be partially funded for the AASSA Educators’ Conference in Curaçao in March and the Latin American Administrators’ Conference in Atlanta.

  5. The annual Salary and Benefits” survey produced by AASSA will be produced every other year. The reality is that there is not a significant change from one year to the next and we spend a lot of time and energy for little result. If any heads would like last year’s Survey, please email me. [Change involves becoming more efficient….and that sometimes means cutting back in one area to focus on another!]

  6. The Business Managers have developed a dashboard of key statistical data points for sharing among schools in the region. Each Business Manager has been contacted to submit their school’s information on Google Docs.

  7. Major upgrades have been made to the AASSA Recruiting Fair online system for the coming year. For the 2014 Recruiting season, we will begin to require that candidates submit only confidential references in addition to stressing the importance to recruiters of checking references and doing criminal background checks prior to confirmation of hiring.


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