Incoming Director

Introducing Lisa Lyle

Lisa Lyle

On June 13, 2018 the Board of Trustees appointed 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 taking into consideration the input of all involved stakeholders.

We are looking forward to welcoming Lisa and her husband, David Sanders, to our school community. 


Current Position:

Head of School, Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, St. Louis, MO, USA

Career Overview:

  • Taught French and English at university level (6 years)
  • Taught French and Humanities at the high school level (12 years)
  • Served as Assistant Head of School for Academics (5 years)
  • Served as Head of School at a JK-12 day school with 1240 students (12 years)

Educational Background:

  • BA, the University of Texas at Austin (French)
  • MA, the University of Pennsylvania (French Literature)
  • MA, Teachers College, Columbia University (Educational Administration)


  • Hiking
  • Cooking
  • Reading
  • Travel

Educational Philosophy

As educators today we must prepare students to thrive in a global community facing a myriad of challenges, many of which we can hardly yet imagine. What then must we do? Clearly all students must command solid mastery of foundational knowledge and skills, along with a hunger to think critically about what one knows -- and does not yet -- in order to meet the world’s challenges with confidence and competence. This demands an inquiry approach and an abundance of developmentally appropriate real-world challenges. Within a community of learners made up of individuals with multiple perspectives, students grapple with worthy questions and develop both deeper understanding, greater empathy and better self-knowledge. In this way, we can help students develop a strong moral compass, the resolve to do what they believe is good and right, and the skills to lead others with purpose.  

Leadership & Management

It’s most helpful to think of schools as learning organizations, as communities of both students and adults engaged in the invigorating work of learning. As a school develops clarity about what it most values in student learning, the path for adult learning becomes clear. I love inviting large and small groups into the centrifuge of collaborative conversation for it is there that shared vision and commitment coalesce and it is out of that important work that the best ideas precipitate. While it’s easy to be swept away by the energy of big, bold ideas and aspirations, we can’t allow ourselves to neglect processes, protocols and policies. I’ve found that when done well these allow members of the community to engage more freely in the work at hand because they feel confident, they trust the systems in place and those in charge. Transparency and communication are key. With these systems in place and clarity about shared vision, each individual is more likely to act in ways consistent with the highest goals and best interest of both children and the institution. The best schools foster learning in everyone, engage actively in continuous improvement, make lots of time for purposeful play and inspire hope in the future.

Lisa's Family:

  • Married to David Sanders, 33 years
  • Daughter Myra Sanders-Lyle, 31, lives in San Francisco, CA
  • Son Willy Sanders-Lyle, 29, lives in San Diego, CA
  • Son Tucker Sanders-Lyle, 26, lives in Chicago, IL
  • Dog Ellie, 2 years old, Labrador
Lyle family
Lyle family photos
Lyle Family Photos
Lyle Family photos
Lyle family photos

Speaking to Lisa

Curriculum Vitae

Career History:

2007-2019 - Head of School, Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS) St. Louis, Missouri, USA

2002-2005 - Assistant Head of School, The Blake School, Minneapolis, MN, USA

1990-2002 - French Teacher and Housemaster, The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, NJ, USA

1983-1984, 1985-1999 - French Teacher, The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

1984-1985 - Lectrice, Université de Bordeaux III, Bordeaux, France

Educational History:

  • BA, the University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA (French)
  • MA, the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA (completed MA in 1984 and all required coursework in 1987 for PhD in French Literature with a focus on literary criticism and modern literature)
  • MA, Teachers College, Columbia University (Educational Administration)
  • Klingenstein Fellow, Teachers College, Columbia, University (awarded yearlong fellowship at Teachers College to study Private School Leadership)

Skills and Experience:

  • Strengths (as identified by the Gallup StengthsFinder):  Futuristic, Relator, Learner, Input, Arranger
  • Collaborative and Relational - create collaborative environments in order to nurture shared vision and craft novel solutions
  • Learner - energized by learning about new topics and love bringing people together to synthesize and extend learning; actively seek professional development and ask lots of questions of those around me
  • Strategic Problem Solver - adept at analyzing complex situations from multiple perspectives and then planning backwards to execute highest priorities
  • Data-Driven – make good use of data to inform decisions, while recognizing that not all important information is reflected in the data we often gather
  • Cross-Cultural Collaborator - skilled in and energized by collaborating cross-culturally
  • People-focused – strong record of recruiting, hiring and developing administrators and faculty
  • Effective Communicator – skilled at formal and informal communications, whether verbal or in writing.
  • Curriculum Designer - experienced with curriculum development, most notably Understanding by Design, a widely used curriculum design approach

Research and Topics Presented On at Conferences:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Fundraising
  • Contingency Budgeting
  • Faculty Development and Evaluation
  • Women in Leadership
  • Coaching for Growth

Professional Collaborations:

  • NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools)
  • ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development)
  • NDEX (Independent School Data Exchange)
  • ISACS (Independent Schools Association of the Central States), Board Member
  • Headmasters Association
  • Country Day School Headmasters Association