School Leadership

David Henry, Director

David Henry is passionate about teaching students to learn how to learn through authentic, community-connected experiences. These types of service learning experiences coupled with caring, safe environments give teachers better opportunities to make connections and personalize learning for the whole person while encouraging educational risk taking.

ISK mirrors this philosophy in its approach to education by teachers and staff. Together, with students, they strive to create solutions for tomorrow’s challenges often through inquiry-based, student-led initiatives. At the same time, ISK maintains academic excellence in a diverse, inclusive environment.

David Henry became Director of ISK in July 2016. He has worked as an educator internationally in four different decades in places such as Niger, Uzbekistan, El Salvador, Mali, Saudi Arabia, and Chad. He began his career internationally as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso. He has graduate degrees in both International Development Education and Educational Leadership and sees international schools as leading educational change, connecting learning to community development and service. His family is multicultural and they believe in the benefits of being able to raise their daughters in a multicultural setting like ISK, are tremendous.

His experiences have helped him confirm that school communities being able to work together doing the right work in a trusting atmosphere improves school-wide achievement. He believes that students, faculty, staff and community members need to celebrate their commonalities and be allowed to nourish their sense of individuality and ownership in their school. ISK, as a school, does just that as it inspires and nurtures passion, creativity, and ambition in pursuit of a better world. He is honored to be serving such a school and its community.

Patricia Salleh Matta, Elementary School Principal

Patricia Salleh Matta became our Elementary School principal in 2006. She came into the role with over 30 years as an educator. Her experience spans elementary, middle and high schools, and she has worked in Ireland as well as various countries in both East and West Africa.

Ms. Salleh Matta began her career as a science teacher, where she received the “Hank Bertness Teacher of the Year Award.” This award recognized her outstanding service and commitment to international schools in Africa. Now her training includes counseling, curriculum development, science in education, teacher training and school administration. She educated both her sons internationally, and they all agree it provides a unique and valuable foundation for the future.

Alex Schmid, Middle School Principal

Alexa Schmid is a student-centered, mission-driven educator. She believes in the power of a growth mindset, collaborative partnerships, open and transparent dialogue between all stakeholders, and the importance of being a lifelong learner. Alexa has been a leader through several change processes in schools, believes in the importance of educating the whole child, and puts a strong emphasis on nurturing relationships and community building.

Alexa joins ISK in July 2017. She has previously worked as an educator in Egypt and India, and started her international career as a Peace Corps Volunteer with the fisheries program in Zambia. She has an undergraduate degree from Duke University, a Master of Education degree from Plymouth State University (PSU - New Hampshire) and her Principal Certification is also from PSU. She is currently working on her Doctor of Education in Learning, Leadership and Community (coursework to be finished in the summer of 2019). Prior to being a principal, Alexa taught middle school math.

Alexa is joined in Kenya by her husband, Stewart, who is a high school English teacher and coach, and her twin daughters, Sophia and Isabella.

Robert Blanchard, High School Principal

Robert Blanchard has been working as an educator in Kenya since 1994 and at The International School of Kenya since 2000. Rob is a United States K-12 certified Principal, though he is a high school specialist. He is an experienced English teacher and has a comprehensive understanding of the IB Diploma program. He holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Dr. Blanchard promotes open dialogue and reflective practice within the ISK community, and values strong relationships with students, faculty, parents, and support staff. He acknowledges the difference that a single teacher can make in the life of individual students. He has chaired the school’s professional development program for many years and is passionate about pushing himself and all ISK educators to always be looking for ways to improve teaching practices and the experiences of students.

Dr. Blanchard appreciates the kind of life-changing and empowering education that ISK provides for 14-19 year olds living in Nairobi. He aims to keep students at the forefront in every decision and create an environment where students place knowledge in context, develop communication skills, reflect on goals, identify patterns, and apply learning into ethical actions that occur outside the school walls.

Jodi Lake, Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Jodi Lake, the Director of Teaching and Learning since 2007, brings a high level of experience and creativity to the ISK community. Thirty-three years ago, Ms. Lake began teaching grade 4 at a bilingual school in Mexico, then later taught grade 5 in Japan. Prior to coming to Kenya in 2007, she returned to Latin America where she taught grade 4 at an international school in Venezuela, later serving as their curriculum coordinator.

Ms. Lake is passionate about the learning process and believes that this is essential to student achievement. Collaborating with teachers, parents, students and staff is key to the dynamic ISK curriculum.