Director Search Updates

New ZIS Director

Dear Members of the ZIS Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Ms. Lisa L. Lyle as the next Director for Zurich International School, effective August 1, 2019. The Board's decision to select Lisa Lyle was taken after a diligent and thoughtful process over several months with consideration of all involved stakeholders.

Dr. Jeff Paulson will continue to lead ZIS until the end of the next school year. During this period, he and his team will work closely with Lisa to ensure a seamless transition of leadership.

Lisa comes to us from Mary Institute - St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS) in St. Louis, Missouri, a PreK - Grade 12 independent school, where she has served as Head of School since 2007.  Prior to her arrival at MICDS, Lisa spent five years as Assistant Head of School at the Blake School, a private school in Minneapolis, MN. Lisa started her career as an Instructor of French and Humanities at the Lawrenceville School, a boarding school on the East Coast of the USA.

Our next Director is a graduate of University of Texas at Austin, and received her Masters Degree in French Literature from University of Pennsylvania, where she also completed all the coursework for her PhD.  She received a Masters in Private School Leadership from Columbia University, Teachers College, where she was also a Klingenstein Fellow.

Lisa brings over 25 years of experience in working with students, faculty and parents in a range of distinct school settings. Under her leadership at MICDS, the academic program has grown in strength and stature. Most importantly, Lisa's values and vision for education align with our mission - Learn, Care, Challenge, Lead. She matches rigorous, disciplined analysis with an open mind, keen intuition for people, and a strong sense of community. Lisa has demonstrated throughout her career that she is an exceptional listener and thoughtful collaborator, and she works well with all  constituents.

In accepting her appointment, Lisa said, " David and I are delighted to be joining the ZIS community. Our visit to Zurich provided us with a wonderful (if brief!) window into the ZIS learning community and led us to believe that both ZIS and Zurich will be a wonderful fit.  

At every turn the members of the school community greeted us warmly, asked great -- and probing!-- questions,  and responded eagerly and honestly to our own. From students and parents to faculty, staff and board members, each had prepared carefully and demonstrated both great love for what ZIS is today and great excitement about the future. ZIS is truly a community living into the mission of Learn, Care, Challenge, Lead!  I feel honored to be invited to join in that inspiring effort and look forward to working with the full community to build on the excellent work led by Jeff Paulson and other leaders in the ZIS community. "

This appointment concludes a worldwide search begun by the Search Committee in February, 2018, with the assistance of our consultant, Carney Sandoe. The whole community was involved and supported this important endeavor. The Search Committee consisted of trustees, faculty, administrators and parents. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to thank all involved and especially the members of the Search Committee for their invaluable contributions that allowed the Board to successfully fulfill one of its most important tasks, the selection of the school's next director.

Please join me in welcoming Lisa Lyle, and her husband, David Sanders, to the ZIS community.

Kind regards,

Ron Steijn
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Chair of the Search Committee

Director profile


Dear Members of the ZIS Community,

I would like to give you an update on the progress of the search for a new director. First of all, I would like to thank everyone in the community who participated in meetings with Ben Bolté and Fred Wesson of Carney Sandoe in March and to all who have provided their input through the online survey. Through all your feedback, the consultants have been able to establish a good understanding of the opportunities and challenges at ZIS. Together with the search committee, they have created a detailed profile that is used in their screening process. This profile has been posted on the director search webpage.

Carney Sandoe has received a lot of interest in the position from a broad and extensive pool of candidates. The next steps are:

  • Carney Sandoe will review the applications and will interview the candidates.
  • Carney Sandoe will provide the search committee with the candidates’ profiles.
  • The search committee will review the profiles and conduct Skype interviews.
  • Based on the profiles and these interviews, the search committee will select the finalists, who will be invited to come to visit school in person.

I will inform you of the details of the visit of the finalists in the next update. In the meantime please do contact the search committee with any questions at


Ron Steijn
Chair of the Search Committee
Vice-Chair of the ZIS Board of Trustees

Director search

Dear Members of the ZIS Community,

As you know, on January 29, Jeff Paulson announced his decision to leave Zurich International School in June 2019. The Board of Trustees has tasked me to chair the search committee to identify Jeff's successor. In this letter I would like to share some information on this process, and to solicit your assistance.

The search committee reflects a broad spectrum of the ZIS community, including four trustees who are also ZIS parents and/or past parents, two parents, two faculty members, and two members of the administration. The committee will manage the search process and provide candidate recommendations to the Board. Its members are listed below. We have also added the graduation year of their child / children.

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 
Jennifer Model,  P'18, P'21 (Middle School Teacher)
Mark Schulz, P'17 (Deputy Director)
Ron Steijn, P'14, P'16, P'18  (Committee Chair)
Alexandra Hallen Utterman, P'26, P'29 
David Widerberg, P'22, P'24, P'29

We believe it is important to include the ZIS community in an advisory capacity to the Board throughout the search process. As mandated by our foundation statutes, the Board of Trustees makes the final hiring decision.

We have spent the past weeks interviewing several highly-qualified search consultants and have decided to partner in the search process with Carney, Sandoe & Associates. Carney Sandoe is recognized internationally as a leader in recruiting heads and other senior administrators for international schools.  We are extremely fortunate that we will be represented by senior search consultants Ben Bolté, who has over 30 years of experience at Carney Sandoe, and John Chandler, someone with extensive knowledge in accreditation, as well as Art Charles and Fred Wesson, both experienced heads in international schools. We have a team that has extensive experience in head searches, particularly for leading international schools.

Next week Ben Bolté and Fred Wesson will visit ZIS to establish a detailed profile that will be used in their screening process. It is important for us to help Carney Sandoe understand our unique institutional identity and priorities as they draft the profile. While we understand that it is logistically complex to do so while teaching and learning is underway, we hope that many of you are able to participate in forums and drop-in discussion times with Carney Sandoe on March 20.

Parents are invited to share their perspectives at one of three meetings:

  • Tuesday, March 20, 10:55 - 11:40 at the Upper School
  • Tuesday, March 20, 14.30 - 15.30 at the Upper School
  • Tuesday, March 20, 18.30 - 19.30 at the Upper School

In order for us to be able to manage numbers, we ask you to register for one of these sessions via this link.

For those not able to join a live session, you will have the opportunity to complete a Director of School Survey, which will allow you to directly and anonymously express your views on issues relevant to ZIS and what we should be seeking in the next Director.

In the next week, we will be launching a dedicated webpage on you which will find search-related communications and schedules and a Q & A section. This page will be regularly updated as new information becomes available.

We are confident that we will attract an excellent pool of candidates for this important role through ZIS' strong standing in the global community and the endeavors of Carney Sandoe, and appreciate your investment in the process.

Please feel free to contact the search committee with any other questions which arise at


Ron Steijn
Chair of the Search Committee
Vice- Chair of the Board of Trustees

Appointment of consultants

Carney, Sandoe & Associates is pleased to announce that we have been retained to assist in the search for the Director of Zurich International School to succeed Dr. Jeff Paulson, who has led the school since 2012, in July 2019.  ZIS is looking to appoint an exceptional educational leader who will be the driving force in shaping the future direction of the school.  

A not-for-profit, coeducational, open admissions day school, ZIS currently serves 1,400 students in grades PK-12 representing more than 50 nationalities on four age-appropriate campuses, each led by a principal.  ZIS is fully accredited by the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools & Colleges.

The school’s vision is for ZIS students to join and strengthen a global community of citizens who are ready to make a difference. ZIS students develop the intellect, skills and character to become independent thinkers and caring individuals. This vision is fully reflected in the academic and co-curricular program, and in the overall ZIS experience. Standards drive an inquiry focused K - 12 curriculum, and both the IB Diploma and the Advanced Placement programs are offered in the Upper School.  Integrated into the ZIS experience is a strong emphasis on the Visual and Performing Arts, as well as an extensive program of Sports, Clubs, and Service Learning.  ZIS is taking the use of technology seriously, and is invested in the success of programs including makerspace, robotics, and Formula One for Schools.

The next Director of ZIS will be:

  • A leader of leaders who cultivates collaborative, close-knit educational teams of the highest standard

  • A thoughtful, articulate community builder with excellent interpersonal skills

  • Crucial to the successful design and implementation of ZIS’ long term strategy

  • Able to capitalize on ZIS’ strong legacy to further elevate the School with respect to Academics, Character Development and Culture

  • Goal oriented in approach, thrives in a large and complex multi-campus environment

  • Knowledgeable about best educational practice, especially with respect to curriculum, assessment, differentiated pedagogy, integration of advanced technology

  • Cross-culturally open and experienced, with an appreciation for Swiss culture and the ability to foster relations with local government/community

  • Experienced with fundraising and facilities development projects

  • Maintaining our financial sustainability with robust business acumen

Salary and benefits are commensurate with a leadership position in a major, dynamic international school in Europe.

Consultants will be visiting the school March 20-22 and we expect to have a fill position description ready by mid-April. If you know of someone who may be interested in and qualified for this position, or if you have further questions, please contact Ben Bolte, John Chandler, Art Charles, and Fred Wesson by replying directly to this e-mail.

Announcement regarding Director Jeff Paulson

January 30, 2018

Dear Members of the ZIS Community,

On behalf of the ZIS Board of Trustees, I write to share our immense gratitude and respect for Jeff Paulson, who last night announced his resignation as ZIS Director, effective at the end of the 2018/19 school year.  

Since coming to ZIS in 2012, Jeff has made a tremendous impact on our school, working tirelessly to improve its operations, teaching quality and reputation. He has professionalized management of the school, updated systems and processes, and built a leadership team aligned around our strategic vision. His many achievements include creating and implementing an innovative professional development model, managing closure of the Baden Campus, responding to unexpected changes in student enrollments, and implementing major curricular improvements. ZIS's stellar reputation among international schools, and our success in recruiting the very best teachers, are in no small measure due to Jeff's leadership. He will leave ZIS a much stronger place than when he arrived.

The Board will immediately begin a global search for our next Director involving trustees, faculty, leadership team members, staff and parents, and working with an external search firm. We will inform you as that work progresses. We are confident that we will find a superb director to help take ZIS forward to ever greater achievements.

We look forward to continuing to work with Jeff over the next 18 months. But at this moment, please join me in thanking him for all he has done for ZIS.

Best regards, 

Kevin Lane
Chairman of the Board of Trustees


Dear Parents and Students,

I am writing to let you know that, last night, I informed the Board of Trustees that I will step down as ZIS Director at the end of June 2019. By that time, I will have had the incredible privilege of serving this school and community for seven years, and as with all good things, the time will have come to seek the next challenge.

In that time, our school has nurtured students of impact, individuals who have the confidence and courage to meet the challenges of the future head-on. Our graduating classes have not just the intellect, but the emotional awareness to work with others and be critical thinkers and problem-solvers. I am proud to have worked with such wonderful and talented colleagues, excellent teachers, administrators and staff members, supportive parents, and committed trustees. Most of all, I continue to be energized almost daily by the stories and accomplishments I hear from our students. I am so proud of their individuality, courageous spirit, and academic and personal accomplishments.

Still, there are 18 months left before I leave. There is plenty of work ahead, and I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees to ensure a smooth succession and leading our Strategic Leadership Team as we continue to make progress on continuous improvement plans and to ensure continuity of top quality education. I know you would expect nothing less of ZIS.

Thank you for all you have done to make my family's time here such a positive experience. ZIS is a wonderful place, and we will miss it – and you all – very much.

Warm regards,

Jeff Paulson