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Paving the Way: ISM Leaders Featured in Remarkable Publication on Women in School Leadership

20 March 2024

This March, as we celebrate International Women’s Month, our school takes immense pride in recognizing the achievements of women on our leadership team. We are particularly grateful for the contributions of Assistant Superintendent Clarissa Sayson and Elementary School Assistant Principal Jasmeen Philen, who were recently featured in the book “Finding Your Path as a Woman in School Leadership: A Guide for Educators, Allies, and Advocates” by Kim Cofino and Christina Botbyl. 

This remarkable publication highlights the journeys of over 70 successful female leaders in international, public, and private schools around the world, offering valuable insights about the realities of being a woman in K-12 school leadership today, and provides actionable steps to support new leaders in their school communities. Clarissa and Jasmeen’s inclusion in this book is a testament to their dedication and expertise, ultimately inspiring our students and our wider school community.

Finding their Own Paths as Women in School Leadership

(as narrated in Kim Cofino and Christina Botbyl’s “Finding Your Path as a Woman in School Leadership”)

Clarissa has moved through many different roles throughout her career, which has helped her gain the wealth of knowledge and experience that shape her perspective as a leader. From her beginnings as the head of an English as a second language department to Middle School Assistant Principal to  Elementary School Principal and to her role now at International School Manila (ISM) as Assistant Superintendent, her journey shows the power of genuinely believing in one’s capabilities to lead. As narrated in the book, Clarissa realized her capacity to lead when she moved into her role in middle school, a division outside of her experiences at the elementary level, having to wear many hats in order to move projects forward. Despite unfamiliar environments and challenges over the years, she has learned how important it is to let go of the lack of confidence in one’s self, and that ultimately has led her to become the leader she is today.

Similarly, Jasmeen Philen is a seasoned leader and educator whose contributions to Kim and Christina’s book focus on exploring intersectionality for women in leadership positions. She shed light on the significance of having people from diverse backgrounds in leadership. As quoted from the book, she says that “when you’re in leadership, you have the ‘ear’ of the highest-level leaders.” She continues, “when you root for the underdog, everyone wins.” Truly, when leaders in international schools aim to better represent the diverse world and communities they serve, it helps ensure that everyone’s voices are heard, acknowledged, and included in every aspect of learning. And we thank Jasmeen for always advocating this in her leadership today.

Our school is fortunate to have a wealth of talented and dedicated women in leadership roles. From principals, to department heads, to program leaders, these women have become pillars in strengthening our school community. As we celebrate International Women’s Month, we take this opportunity to honor and extend our gratitude for the invaluable contributions of the strong women leaders of the school. Thank you for inspiring our community–especially our students, the next generation. Your influence reaches far beyond campus. Let us continue to uplift and support one another to break barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create a more equitable and inclusive world for everyone. Happy International Women’s Month to the phenomenal women of ISM!