Director Search Updates

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