ISM Board [mailto:BoardMailbox@ismanila.com]
Dear ISM Community,
Please find enclosed a Letter of the Board of Trustees dated 29 September 2006, in both English and Korean translations.
Very truly yours,
29 September 2006
Dear ISM Community,
Your Interim Board of Trustees continues to meet and work hard together to move forward on the agenda I outlined in my previous message. I would like to share with you new progress and decisions.
New Committees and Working Groups
We have established a number of working groups and committees to address issues of immediate importance. A Working Group on Governance is currently reviewing candidates of expert consultants to work with the Board and the ISM Community on improving our governance model through possible changes to our by-laws. A Communications Working Group will enhance the flow of information between the Board and the entire ISM Community. And, standing committees on Finance/Resource, Education and Audit will fulfill Board responsibilities in each of these areas. Finally, members of the Board have volunteered to work with the Administration on the very important re-accreditation process, which is now getting underway.
Accreditation, Teacher Turnover and Recruitment
In my last message, I conveyed our commitment to establishing a long range, stable learning environment for our children and educators. The Interim Board has reviewed several factors important to establishing such a stable educational environment. These factors include an improved governance model, successful re-accreditation, minimizing the turnover of teachers, and recruiting the best educators to fill upcoming vacancies. We have concluded that this year's accreditation is perhaps ISM's most important, since for the first time it will combine two accrediting organizations, one American and the other international, and it will not be fully repeated for another ten years. Its outcome is critical to ISM's future success. Regarding teacher turnover, this year ISM faces a larger proportion of teachers whose contracts are expiring than in recent years (for various reasons). Many of our teachers will be deciding soon whether to stay at ISM or to put their names forward for job fairs. In the meantime, international teachers around the world will soon begin to investigate employment opportunities, including those at ISM. The recruiting environment for teachers is highly competitive, given the growth in the number of international schools around the world. In sum, we are facing a very important year with potentially large turnover in teachers and, of course, a complete turnover of the Board of Trustees next May, in line with our commitment to serve only in an interim capacity.
New Superintendent Search
ISM's recent crisis has raised questions about its reputation, which creates additional challenges to a successful accreditation and the retention and recruitment of the best teachers. This applies equally to the search for a new superintendent. Until ISM changes its governance model through a revision of its by-laws to prevent a recurrence of the recent crisis, recruiting a new superintendent is more difficult than it needs to be. Moreover, several major international schools are competing with ISM for new superintendents this year, and they have now pulled ahead of us in the search process. Ideally, a search for a new superintendent should be planned well in advance and commence in May of the preceding year (ours was initiated in August without prior planning). A search should also be overseen by a board that has experience and institutional knowledge. Given that next May, ISM will have a totally new board, we felt that it will be beneficial to have continuity in the senior levels of the school's administration.
Renewal of Superintendent's Contract
Given this context, the Interim Board concluded that we need quickly to reestablish ISM's stability and credibility by resolving the issue of our Superintendent, Mr. David Toze. We reviewed parent surveys on satisfaction with every aspect of ISM, including its Administration, and all available board records, including the minutes of previous board meetings. All of these materials reflected strong support for David's performance as Superintendent. The Interim Board is very impressed with David's demonstrated record of improving the educational environment for ISM's students. Therefore, in a unanimous decision, the Interim Board asked David to renew his contract for two years. This is the same decision, independently arrived at, which a previous Board made in May 2006. I am very pleased to announce that David has agreed to this renewal of his contract. The Interim Board believes that this renewal of David's contract will significantly help reestablish ISM's international credibility and institutional stability. We further believe that this will have a very positive impact on the accreditation and the retention and recruitment of teachers. We look forward to working with David and his leadership team to further improve our excellent school.
I realize that this message is long, but I wanted to honor our commitment to transparency in explaining the reasoning behind important decisions which we believe are in the best interest of ISM and its students. The Interim Board members and I look forward to continuing our dialogue with you, and we welcome your input on these important issues.