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Leadership Searches | Dr Michelle Kleiss will be joining the Overseas School of Colombo as their new Head of School
Posted 15/06/2018 14:34


Dr Michelle Kleiss will be joining the
Overseas School of Colombo as their new Head of School after an extensive worldwide search led by CIS. Our congratulations go out to Michelle and the OSC community on this appointment. 

Dr. Michelle Kleiss joins the Overseas School of Colombo as the new Head of School as of August 2019. A native of Toronto, Canada, Dr. Michelle Kleiss has been Head of School at the American International School in Cyprus, an IB World Diploma School, since 2009. Before Cyprus, she was a Head of School in Saudi Arabia for four years, and a Middle School Principal as well as an Early Childhood Director in Cairo, Egypt. A career international educator, she taught in overseas schools in Germany, Brazil and The Dominican Republic. Over the years she has conducted numerous workshops at regional conferences, and has been a team member and Chair of several accreditation teams for Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) and The Council of International Schools (CIS).

In 2000, she was the first recipient of the AAIE Ernie Mannino Scholarship Award for her contribution to the field of international education, awarded by the Association for the Advancement of International Education. She is currently serving her first term on the International School Advisory Committee (ISAC) with Middle States Association, a Committee of 11 School Heads from around the world reviewing all accreditation team reports originating in overseas schools. 

Passionate about culture and sports, she was a national level field hockey player – who now transfers the power of teamwork into the diverse schools she leads.  She holds a Bachelor Degree in Education from The American University in Washington D.C., USA, a Master’s Degree in School Administration and Supervision from Bowie State University of Maryland Colleges and Schools, USA, and in 2013, she earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, USA.

OSC selected CIS Leadership Searches, represented by Pauline O’Brien, Director of Career & Recruitment Services, to lead the search for a new Head of School, in a process involving students, parents, teachers, administrators and the Board at OSC. In consultation with the Board members, a process of careful evaluation ensued, matching the skills, experiences and philosophies of the candidates against the needs of the school. Contending candidates were personally video-interviewed by CIS and reviewed before being invited to Colombo for final interview.

Michael Cragun from the Board of the Overseas School of Colombo commented, “We look forward to Michelle Kleiss bringing her enthusiasm and experience to OSC. It’s a great school and will only get better under her leadership. We appreciate Pauline O’Brien’s facilitation of our search process, backed by the CIS network of international educators. Pauline provided candid and helpful feedback throughout the process, on both the candidates and the needs of our school”.

Dr. Michelle Kleiss said- “In searching for a new Head of School position, it was important for me to work with an organization who believes in getting to know both the candidate and the school community closely in order to safeguard a match in terms of philosophy, values, skill-set and strengths.  Pauline O’Brien, from CIS, facilitated the entire search process professionally and thoughtfully.  She was supportive and transparent; always aiming to ensure that the needs of both the candidate and the school were met so that a successful outcome could be achieved.  I am excited about joining the OSC community in 2019, and look forward to continuing to work with CIS in the future.”  

The Overseas School of Colombo is excited about this new appointment and looks forward to welcoming Michelle and her family to the school next year. 


CIS Career & Recruitment Services provides a variety of solutions to accommodate a school’s individual recruitment needs. CIS is a dedicated partner in the search and selection of a new Head of School, Principal or Divisional Leader, providing our expertise and support throughout the entire search, screening and placement process. Our personal approach maximises the potential of a successful match. Learn more.


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