Incoming Upper School Principal

Introducing David Markus

David Markus

In September 2018 David Markus was appointed as the next Upper School Principal for Zurich International School, effective August 1, 2019.

We are looking forward to welcoming David and his wife, Penny Kline, and daughters Emma and Allison to our school community. 


Current position:
Upper School Principal, Washington International School, Washington DC, USA

Career Overview:

  • Taught History at high school level (9 years)
  • Taught Russian at the high school level (7 years)
  • Served as an assistant principal (2 years)
  • Served as a principal (8 years)

Educational Background:

  • BA, Tufts University (International Relations)
  • MA, School for International Training (Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages)
  • MPA, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government (Public Administration)
  • MEd, Trinity University (Educational Administration)


  • swimming
  • hiking
  • learning languages
  • Sudoku
  • watching school sports

Educational Leadership Philosophy

Educational Philosophy
Over 25 years in schools, I have always believed that our job is to help students to develop agency to change their lives and the world around them. This means that we as educators should help them realize their own power by creating environments and learning experiences that challenge them to expand beyond their intellectual and personal limits. We do this by helping them develop dispositions such as curiosity, perseverance, problem solving, and empathy. With these dispositions, students can learn any subject, develop and maintain relationships, and become reflective caring people. The success of our schools should therefore be judged by the extent we prepare our students to go out into the world with the knowledge, skills and inclination to successfully improve it.

Leadership and Management
Some of the most inspirational leaders in history have understood that their “greatness” is tied to Martin Luther King’s conception of a “servant leader.” King would ask people he met, “What have you done for others lately?” Whether as a teacher, parent, or principal, I find that we all have the greatest impact when we are focused on how we can improve those around us. This philosophy shifts our thinking and work with all constituents as we look for ways to tap their potential as individuals and teams to achieve the school’s goals. In this model, the leader is a teacher, a mentor, a talent scout and a facilitator of growth. This approach creates a learning culture where students, parents and teachers are inspired to work together for the benefit of all.

Professional Collaborations

  • NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools)
  • ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development)
  • New Leaders for New Schools
  • PDK (Phi Delta Kappa International)

David's Family:

  • Married to Penny Kline, 23 years
  • Daughter Emma Markus, 18, will attend university in the US next year
  • Daughter Allison Markus, 12, will enter Grade 7 next year
  • Dog Kodi, 3 years old, Labrador
Markus family and dog
David Markus Children

Curriculum Vitae

2012-2019: Upper School Principal, Washington International School, Washington DC, USA

2011-2012: Upper School Assistant Principal, Washington International School, Washington DC, USA

2010-2011: Assistant Principal, Pre-K to Grade 8, Friendship PCS, Washington DC, USA

2009-2011: Principal, Johnson Middle School, Washington DC, USA

2008-2009: Resident Principal, Cardozo Senior High School, Washington DC, USA

1999-2007: History Department Chair and Teacher, Durham Academy, Durham, USA

1998-1999: History Teacher, Camelot Academy, Durham, USA

1991-1998: Russian Program Director and History Teacher, Northfield Mount Hermon School, Northfield, USA

1989-1990: General Services Officer and Exhibit Guide, US Information Agency, USSR

Key Professional Development:

NAIS Aspiring Heads Fellowship, 2017-2018

Agency by Design - Making across the Curriculum, 2018- present

Washington International School Summer Institute, 2017

Project Zero Perspectives Conferences, 2011 and 2016

National Diversity Practitioners Institute, 2016

Future of Learning Institute, 2014

People of Color Conference, 2005, local planning committee in 2013 and 2016

New Leaders for New Schools, 2008- 2010

Klingenstein Summer Institute - Columbia Teachers College: 1994