The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Upper School Principal to Work Part Time Next School Year

Upper School Principal Sarah Polland in her office. (Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal/International Dateline)

Upper School Principal Sarah Polland will be working 60% of the time next school year due to personal needs. Grades 11/12 Assistant Principal James Bourke will be taking on the role of Associate Principal in order to aid Polland with her part time schedule.

Head of School Suzanna Jemsby sent a series of emails to inform the Upper School staff and students of the situation. In Jemsby’s first email, sent on Feb. 17, she shared that Polland would be completely leaving WIS due to personal considerations.

“Just yesterday Upper School Principal Sarah Polland shared the news that she will not return to WIS for the 2022–2023 school year,” Jemsby wrote to all faculty and students. 

In the following email, sent on March. 4, she told the school that Polland would be working part time instead of taking a leave of absence. 

Story continues below advertisement

“When I had met with [Associate Head of School Natasha] Bhalla to share my news for next year, I wanted to give the school ample time to find a replacement, knowing that it was already February,” Polland said. 

Soon after, she met with Bhalla and they came to the conclusion that a part time schedule could, in fact, work.

“While [Jemsby] was in London and I was here [in D.C., Polland] and I were talking, and it came to light that, in fact, it wasn’t that she couldn’t be here the whole year, it was that she couldn’t do it full time,” Bhalla said. 

Bhalla explained that Polland took into consideration how hard it would be for WIS to operate while looking for a new principal and that her working part time was a doable solution. 

With Polland’s half time schedule, things will look a little different on campus. “For example, maybe [Polland] will be [on campus] Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then not Thursday and Friday,” Bhalla said. “That’s one model that this could work on.”

Polland appreciates the modifications to her schedule and is grateful to be able to prioritize her health while still working at WIS.“I think [the new adjusted schedule] will provide me the opportunity to maintain this position while also allowing me the time to focus on some health concerns,” Polland said. “I am feeling very grateful to have both next year.”

With Bourke having a lead role in helping WIS sustain the IB diploma program, some have questioned if or how the IB will be affected.

“I will not allow the IB to be affected,” Bourke said. “I am very committed to the IB and to the diploma program being very strong and successful here.. WIS has a long reputation and history of being a strong IB diploma school and nothing about this is going to [change that].” 

Students and teachers should feel informed and prepared for this change and how it will affect campus life next year, according to Bourke.

“Things won’t be the same as this year,” Bourke said. “My vision… is that we will begin the year with some big picture announcements about how things have shifted.

The changes will place a larger amount of responsibility on Bourke and the new Grades 9/10 Assistant Principal. “There are still some conversations happening about how exactly the remainder of the responsibilities will be allocated,” Bourke said.  

Bourke explained that there is still some planning left to do regarding the exact responsibilities that he will take on. 

“There are always going to be things that are challenging, but I do feel that [Polland] and I have a very strong working relationship, our team has a very strong working relationship and I am confident that we will navigate this successfully together,” Bourke said. 

Polland expressed her gratitude towards next year’s arrangement and the support she has received from the WIS community. “I think this decision shows that while we are professionals, we are also humans, and the support the school is giving me in allowing me the flexibility that I need for next year really speaks to the unique community that we have here [at WIS],” she emphasized.

By Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal
Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal, Print Publications Editor/MS News Adviser

Comments (0)

All International Dateline Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *