Director Search

On January 29, Jeff Paulson announced his decision to leave Zurich International School in June 2019. Zurich International School has embarked on a search for a new director.

In preparation for his departure, the Board of Trustees has established a search committee led by current trustee Ron Steijn. To assist in the search, the committee has hired educational search firm Carney, Sandoe & Associates.

This page will be updated regularly as new information becomes available.

Search Consultants

The search committee, as its first step, has selected Carney, Sandoe & Associates as the consulting firm to conduct a national and international search for candidates. The committee will guide the search process and work closely with the search firm as candidates are named.

Ben Bolté and Fred Wesson were the team members from Carney Sandoe who visited ZIS in March. The other members of the Director Search Committee from Carney Sandoe are John Chandler and Art Charles.

Search Committee

Yvette Bannon, P’20, P’23, P’29
Clemens Hoegl, P’18
Ian Hoke, P’26, P’29 (Learning Leader Upper and Middle School)
Catherine Jolly, P’24 (Lower School Principal)
Kevin Lane, P’12, P’13, P’17 (Trustee)
Jennifer Model, P’18, P’21 (Middle School Teacher)
Mark Schulz, P’17 (Deputy Director)
Ron Steijn, P’14, P’16, P’18 (Chair of the Board of Trustees, Committee Chair)
Alexandra Hallen Utterman, P’26, P’29 (Trustee)
David Widerberg, P’22, P’24, P’29 (Trustee)

P = parent with the graduation year of their child/ren



The goal of this section is to anticipate some questions about the search for ZIS’ next Director. If you have additional questions, please contact search chair Ron Steijn at

Q. Who is leading the search process?

A. The ZIS Board of Trustees is responsible for selecting and hiring ZIS’ next director. To facilitate the search process, the board created a search committee that will recommend a director candidate to the board. The group is comprised of several parents and employees and as well as a group of trustees. Recognizing that selecting our next leader is a critical milestone for the school, the board has engaged Carney, Sandoe & Associates, a leading search firm based in Boston, to serve as consultants to the search committee throughout the process. The firm has led numerous international searches and will assist the search committee in managing the search process from start to finish.

Q. What is the role of the Search Committee?

A. The search committee directs the search process from start to finish. They will coordinate input from ZIS’ varied constituencies – both groups and individuals, work with the search firm to craft the position statement, sort through the initial round of candidates vetted by the search firm, and organize and conduct interviews with the semifinalists and finalists. At the end of the process, the search committee will present one broadly supported candidate to be confirmed by the ZIS Board of Trustees. Upon confirmation of the candidate, the committee will facilitate the leadership transition and integration into the school. A major function of the search committee is to keep the ZIS community informed and engaged throughout the search process, while respecting the confidentiality of the candidate recruitment process.

Q. What is the role of the consultant?

A. Carney, Sandoe & Associates provide advice to the search committee concerning format, logistics, procedure, and best practices in the search process. The consultants will gather data from the online questionnaire and conduct personal interviews to fully understand our culture and institutional needs. Then, working closely with the search committee, they will translate the school’s mission, philosophy, and objectives into a leadership profile. The consultants ensure that the position description includes the personal characteristics and style required for the new director to “fit” effectively with the ZIS culture and values. Together with the search committee, the consultants interview and checks references of all candidates before referring their credentials to the search committee for review. The consultants provide committee members detailed interview questions custom-designed to probe whether candidates possess the specific leadership qualities identified as required by the school. They help structure interviews, visits, and reference checks to ensure that these meet the candidates’ and the committee’s needs for information. The consultants also facilitate the flow of feedback between the candidates and the search committee.

Q. What is the current director’s role?

A. Jeff Paulson’s primary focus will be continuing to lead the school and implementing existing strategic priorities until June 30, 2019.

Q. What is the Board’s role?

A. The ZIS Board of Trustees is responsible for hiring ZIS’ next director. Working closely with the search committee chair, the board assures a high level of congruence between the school’s mission, core values, challenges and opportunities for ZIS, and the desired candidate profile. The board of trustees will meet the finalist candidates, and acting on the recommendation of the search committee, will approve the appointment of ZIS’ new director.

Q. What is the faculty, staff and administration’s role?

A. Four employees are part of the search committee. Their role is to represent the best interests of the school (not any one particular interest). ZIS’ employees will remain actively engaged throughout the search, from giving feedback and commentary to the search firm during the information gathering stage prior to publication of the Director's Position Statement to meeting finalist candidates.

Q. What is the role of current parents?

A. Parents can complete the online questionnaire which will inform the Director's Position Description. Parents have the opportunity to meet with the consultants during the site visit and with candidates during the finalist campus visits. Throughout the search process, parents are encouraged to share their additional thoughts with the search chair via email

Q. What is the students’ role?

A. Students will be asked to participate in different ways, depending upon what is most age appropriate. A group of students will be invited to meet with the consultants to offer their thoughts on qualities they would like to see in a new director and the search committee also plans to involve students to offer their insights during candidate site visits.

Q. What is the role for alumni/ae?

A. Alumni/ae will be asked to participate in the online questionnaire.

Q. How can I participate in the search process? How can I contribute?

A. All members of the ZIS community are encouraged to share their additional thoughts with the search committee via email to The community will be invited to complete an online questionnaire via email.

Q: How long will the search take?

A: The search is a five-stage process, which starts with the preparation phase and ends with the transition of the new director into the school. The second phase is outreach and recruitment, where the consultants use direct solicitation as well as general announcements to identify potential candidates. Next, candidates are evaluated before, in the fourth phase, finalists visit school to meet with the community. The exact timing is dependent on progress through these phases, but it is anticipated that the new director will be announced by the beginning of the next school year.

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