Dr. Bernadette Carmody, Head of School
The International School of Amsterdam (ISA)
If I needed to coin one word to sum up Jon's talent it would be robust. And I'm pleased to say that we've worked deeply now at two international schools across the world.
From his first site visit to the American International School of Guangzhou (AISG) way back in Fall 2017, Jon tackled a range of complicated systems-related difficulties wholeheartedly and with deliberate determination and leadership to do the best job possible. Jon undertakes his work in a vigorous manner, and he has had a strong, positive impact on the school.
Initially, GSO was contracted to work on restructuring and rewriting the entire set of policies and procedures for the school. The size and importance of the task were enormous. Over time, policies and procedures had been poked at and re-written in a piecemeal approach. Drawing upon his past corporate and education experience, Jon set to the task methodically after first developing a framework with which to systematically tackle the task and an implementation plan. He was tenacious in this work, leaving no detail untouched.
During his site visits with us, he would engage patiently and deliberately with a host of people from all stakeholder groups within the school to ensure that he had gathered all perspectives related to a given policy and/or procedure before beginning to recraft it. The interactions served to build the buy-in that later made their implementation a success. The scope of the work was gigantic, and the number of details involved was immense. Further, as a result of his excellent analytical skills, the deliverables produced were exceptional.
Indeed, everyone who worked with Jon in the development of the policies and procedures learned from him in this regard. Throughout the process, wherever Jon was in the world he would meet with us. On time and according to his pre-designed work plan, we received status updates, summary recommendations, insights from observations, etc.
There is no doubt that the actionable outcomes provided opportunities for us to enact transformational school improvement.
Additionally, once we knew what a valuable leadership resource Jon was for the school, we looked to him to help us in many other areas. Due to his vast leadership experience in systems and operations, we relied on his insights in all comprehensive operational areas.
Most importantly, with very short notice, Jon stepped into the Director of Admissions role.
It was the best thing that could have happened for the school at that time as, under his leadership, the Admissions Office ran more effectively than ever before and left the school with its highest-ever enrollment capture with 100% on-time payment, due to his leadership and diligence. Additionally, he led the final implementation of a brand-new Admissions Portal. Due to the work he’d already done with us on policies and procedures, he knew the school very well and inspired confidence in prospective parents.
In essence, he took on the challenge and leveraged his leadership experience and intellect to do what needed to be done with no transitional knowledge but a great deal of skill, interfacing with the Business Office personnel for invoicing, the IT staff for systems implementation, and the Communications Office for portal updates, Open House invitations, etc. Jon brought to the role a perfect blend of people skills and task management skills and all in his care learned from him.
In his interactions with a wide selection of members of the school community, Jon was professional, polite, and purposeful. He navigated several complicated and sensitive situations with a pleasant demeanor, and he delivered some difficult realities to unwilling ears with grace and determination. His skills as a communicator were certainly put to the test and they did not let him down at all.
In summary, l thoroughly enjoyed learning from, and working with, Jon during his involvement with AISG. I'm grateful for the intelligence and wealth of experience he brought to the school and the improvements that he fostered through his work.
I've now also called upon Jon to work his ongoing school improvement magic in my role as the Head of School at The International School of Amsterdam, from overall schoolwide strategic leadership and board counsel to full operational policy foundation rebuild and mentorship to my leadership team. We touch base regularly and are currently shaping the evolution of ISA, with harmony and inclusion of my team at the core of our next phase of development.
I'd be happy to share more details of my rewards in working with Jon and GSO. Please contact me if I can be of any further assistance.
Dr. Bernadette P. Carmody
Prior Director, American International School of Guangzhou (AISG)
Current Head of School, International School of Amsterdam (ISA)