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Incoming Director

We are delighted that Elsa Hernández-Donohue will join Zurich International School as the next Director from July 1, 2024.

Elsa will join us from Vientiane International School (VIS), an IB World School, where she has served as Head of School since 2018. Prior to her arrival at VIS, Elsa spent seven years at the Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS), first as the Elementary School Principal then as Head of two campuses. Elsa started her career as a teacher in her native Venezuela and, as some might remember, she taught at ZIS Lower School from 2004 to 2006. 

Incoming ZIS Director Elsa Hernandez-Donohue

Elsa Hernández-Donohue

We asked incoming Director, Elsa Hernández-Donohue to introduce herself to the the ZIS Community in this short video.

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Soon after she took her first education course at the University of Florida, Elsa Hernández-Donohue knew that working with children was her calling. Since then, she has enjoyed teaching, learning, and leading in international schools for almost thirty years in nine countries.

Currently, Elsa serves the community of the Vientiane International School as the Head of School.  She has been and was recognized as one of the 2017 National Distinguished Principals by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the State Department Office of Overseas Schools. Elsa’s latest passion focuses on supporting the expansion of leadership capacity throughout the school, with particular attention to growing diverse teacher leaders, middle-level leadership, and highly effective leadership teams.


Central to Elsa's professional philosophy is the idea that children are competent learners with an innate curiosity about the world. Her devotion to teaching and learning has led Elsa to continuously inquire into what constitutes a quality experience for all learners.

Elsa's passion for constructive approaches to teaching and learning guides her daily work. Her early experience working with young learners led her to deeply understand the importance of the Early Years as a foundation for the education of all learners. It inspired her to discern further how effective teaching at any level is about centering the learners, knowing them deeply enough to understand them as human beings, to nurture and amplify their sense of curiosity and desire to learn. To Elsa, knowing learners to inspire a love of learning is essential. 

Elsa with her granddaughter
Terry Donohue
Donohue family
Donohue family
Donohue family
Donohue family
Donohue family
Elsa's husband and grandson