Diversity Collaborative

The Diversity Collaborative recognizes the value of diverse perspectives and the importance of including members of groups that have previously been underrepresented in international school leadership. The Collaborative will go beyond compliance and tolerance, to championing inclusion, and respecting and celebrating diversity.

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Little data exists on the diversity of international school leaders, but US data from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) suggests that while women and educators of color are increasingly assuming a variety of leadership roles in schools, still only about a third of US private school heads are female and only seven percent are educators of color. In a presentation on the leadership pipeline, Liz Duffy, ISS President, stressed that, "It’s important that the leadership of international schools reflects the increasing diversity of students and families in those schools, especially since many studies have shown that diverse teams make better decisions and such teams provide effective role models for all students."



The Diversity Collaborative is committed to creating a more diverse, inclusive, equitable and just environment among the leadership of the international school community. This collaborative hopes to utilize the talents of leaders in education to create lasting changes in the way we engage, support and promote educators who encompass a broad range of identities.

Diversity in leadership is an educational and moral imperative because it improves education through role modeling, inclusive decision making and equitable access and opportunity. Embracing diversity in leadership helps to improve our schools and the world.

With diversity comes:

More Learning

More Innovation

Broader Opportunity

Broader Access to Talent

Better Decisions

Better Performance

Attracting, sustaining and supporting talented leaders in our schools who reflect the diversity of our students, faculty and society benefits us all. Through leadership diversity, inclusion and excellence, international schools thrive and strengthen as learning communities.

We welcome all school community members to join in the effort to ensure we have a broad spectrum of people in leadership positions across our international schools. All who are ready to champion this stance are welcome.

Currently the Diversity Collaborative has assembled and identified five strategic focus areas:

Pipeline Development

Conference and Trainings

Mentoring and Sponsorship

Data Gathering

Best practices



Sustaining School Leaders: From the Pipeline through the Search Process and into the Profession

Spring 2018 edition of InterEd, Page 15

By Liz Duffy, ISS President & Beth Pfannl, ISS Vice President Administrative Searches and Governance Services

Read More »

Parents for Diversity

A collective of parents committed to achieving inclusive and non-discriminatory learning environments that allow children to fulfill their true potential in the world.
Learn More »



Women leading change: A platform for those interested in developing and empowering current and future generations of women in leadership within international schools.
Learn More »

Women & Leadership: Patterns, Strategies and Tools for Navigating Your Leadership Journey

Presented at NAIS Annual Conference, February 2019
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The School Leadership Pipeline: Ensuring Robust Leadership Development at Independent Schools

Presented at NAIS Annual Conference, February 2019
Download »

Connect with the Diversity Collaborative

Members of the Diversity Collaborative are presenting throughout the 2018/2019 conference season. View topics below.

September 2018

Tri-Association (Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic) - Women, Diversity and Leadership: The Power of the Pipeline

October 2018

IB Conference (Vienna, Austria) - Women and Leadership, Understanding Students’ Cultural Diversity and Learning Preferences

NESA (Athens, Greece) - The Diversity Collaborative: Frameworks and Tools to Achieve DEI

EARCOS (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) - panel of head recruiters discussing women and leadership

November 2018

WLead at Level 5 (Shenzhen, China) - weekend workshop on Women in Leadership

January 2019

ELMLE (Valencia, Spain)

February 2019

AISH Oasis (San Francisco, CA, USA) - Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice seminar

AAIE Head Talks (San Francisco, CA, USA) - DEI: Moving Beyond Conversation to Meaningful Action; I am white, male and privileged. I am also biased prejudices and have many “ists” and “isms” - why has it taken me 50 years to see this?

AAIE Deep Dive (San Francisco, CA, USA) - Frameworks and Tools for Achieving DEI in International School Leadership

AAIE-ISS Women’s Breakfast (San Francisco, CA, USA) - Featuring Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queenbees and Wannabees

Women and Leadership Symposium (Quito, Ecuador) – Enabling Voices: Inspiring and supporting women to lead in their personal and professional lives

NAIS Preconference and Workshop (Long Beach, CA, USA) - Women and Leadership: Patterns, Strategies and Tools for Navigating Your Leadership Journey; The School Leadership Pipeline: Ensuring Robust Leadership Development at Independent Schools

March 2019

21st Century Learning (Hong Kong)

CEESA (Warsaw, Poland) - Cultivating the Leadership Pipeline and Fostering Diversity in Leadership

April 2019

AASSA (Santiago, Chile) - Women, Diversity and Leadership: The Power of the Pipeline

ECIS (Lisbon, Portugal)

June 2019

ISS Mary Anne Haas Women’s Symposium (Princeton, NJ, USA) - multi-day workshop on women and leadership in international schools