Welcome Letter from Director of ISR

July, 2017

Dear Parents, Students and Members of the ISR Community,

I am delighted to write my first letter to you as the new Director of the International School of Riga, after many months of anticipation.  Since my arrival in Latvia, my family and I have experienced the warmest of welcomes from those we have met from the ISR community.  The spirit of community and support remains as rich now as it was during my previous visits and we feel privileged to be joining your school.  A special thanks to Stefka Elincheva, former PTA President, for ensuring that our family has everything we need, including homemade strawberry jam!

Additionally, since my arrival, I have had the opportunity to meet the new ISR Board and have begun to establish a good working relationship with them.  I am excited to work for a Board that is very diverse, international and who are all deeply committed to both the current and future development of the school.  I look forward to collaborating with them in the near future.

When first considering the Director position at ISR, I wrote to the hiring committee and Board members that;

“I am not simply looking to lead in another great school. I seek to lead a values-rich, mission-driven learning community in which I can envision my family as integral members.”

My experiences thus far this summer, although brief, have confirmed my strong opinion that ISR exemplifies such a community.

My priority as the new Director is to ensure that we maintain our strengths while continuing to both acknowledge and address our areas for growth.  In so doing, we will continue to build our reputation as a learning-focused, world-class international school that is guided by way of the Latvian heart. 

The ISR mission, which prioritizes child development and student achievement, will guide all the work that I will oversee at the school.

‘We are a respectful learning-focused community where each student is inspired to achieve his or her potential and to become an ethical, confident, and internationally-minded citizen of tomorrow.’

As both an educator, school leader, and father, I feel extremely fortunate to be part of a community that prioritizes what is best for students and student learning above all else. 

Since my arrival this summer, I have had the fortunate opportunity to be at the ISR campus during summer camp and speak with the ISR staff, teaching faculty and board members.  The most common question that I am asked is, ‘What are you going to change?’.  My response is that change is optimal when all opinions and options are first considered.  As the new Director, I intend to first be a scholar of ISR and continuously ask questions about everything we do in order to become better informed about the school’s culture, teaching and learning, and community.  For, it is only fair, respectful and pragmatic that I first attempt to understand before making decisions on which areas should be maintained or improved.  Also, throughout this process of inquiry I intend to  reflect back to the ISR community to ensure that my impressions are accurate.  Equally important, is my intent to be honest and transparent to the ISR community of my assessment of our school's strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.

During this period of exploration, I am excited to get to know as many people in the ISR community as possible and start building long-lasting relationships. I plan to make myself readily available to the whole ISR community as much as possible.  So, I want to mention that my family and I will be in Riga for the majority of the summer break.  If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to email me at craig.williamson@isriga.lv.  Additionally, if you would like to meet in person, I would welcome the opportunity.  Simply send me a quick email meeting request and I will do my best to accommodate your schedule.  Finally, I intend to organize and invite you to a ‘Meet the New Director’ meeting in order for me to gain wider knowledge of the ISR community and for the first time, feed back to you in person about my assessment of the school and its programs thus far.

I would like to thank you personally for your continued commitment and support towards the staff and pupils of ISR and look forward to meeting you.


Craig Williamson