The International School of Brussels

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Announcing Our New ISB Director

We are delighted to announce that the Board of Trustees has appointed James MacDonald to the role of ISB Director, effective 15 July 2020.

This appointment is the result of an extensive international search and the united and enthusiastic support from the Search Committee and Board of Trustees. We are confident we have found a dynamic, forward-thinking educator who will preserve and build on ISB’s many strengths, while bringing a proven track record to address immediate and long-term areas for improvement. His ability to begin working immediately with the school leadership, faculty and staff will help ensure we can continue to provide needed stability to our entire community and a clear strategy and plan for a full school reopening in August.

“What a privilege it is to join ISB as the new Director. The reputation of this school is truly global and well deserved. What was clear to me throughout the interview process was that this community is eager to become even better. I am thrilled to be joining the team in Brussels and cannot wait to get started!” James MacDonald, incoming ISB Director

James’ decades of IB programme experience, personal integrity, demonstrated success at improving learning and outcomes, strong financial management expertise and deep connection to ISB’s mission are among the many qualifications that make him an outstanding fit for ISB. As a recognised international educator and leader, James will further ensure that ISB will continue to attract and develop the best faculty and remain at the forefront of educational thought leadership and practice for years to come.
An international educator for more than 20 years, James brings a deep sense of responsibility for fostering diverse and inclusive school communities where students are well-prepared to enter the world as global leaders. He began his career at Yokohama International School (YIS) as an IB diploma teacher and went on to spend 14 years at YIS in a variety of roles, including head of school. While head of YIS, James successfully guided his community through a time of uncertainty in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent threat of radiation.
Following his tenure at YIS, James went on to become head of school at NIST International School, where he led the school’s transformation to a high-performing three-programme IB school. Later, he served as senior vice president of education for IB and US curriculum schools with GEMS Education in Dubai, where he oversaw a network of ten K-12 schools with more than 15,000 students. Most recently, James served as managing director of the Al Futtaim Education Foundation, overseeing the Deira International School (UK/IB curriculum) and Universal American School (US/IB curriculum).
James holds four university degrees: a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Management from University of Lethbridge, Canada, Master of Arts in Education from Bath University, UK and Master of Business Administration from University of British Columbia. He is a published author and has served on various governing bodies with organizations such as EARCOS (East Asia Association of Overseas Schools), and the IB Regional Council in Asia Pacific, which he chaired for four years. Additionally, James has led numerous school reviews and accreditations, including ISB’s 10-year MSA/CIS accreditation process in 2019. 
James and his family will soon relocate to Brussels. His wife Corry, also from Canada, is an art therapist. Their daughter will attend University of British Columbia in September while their two sons, who both enjoy sports, will enter grades 6 and 11 at ISB this coming school year.