Darlene L. Huson

The American International School of Lusaka
Department of State – Zambia
Lusaka, Zambia

When Darlene Huson became principal of The American International School of Lusaka (AISL) six years ago, she set out to shift the school’s culture away from individual classroom “silos” to a fluid and thriving professional support network, paving the way for changes that have positively impacted student achievement and professional collaboration while advancing the school’s mission to support the whole child. AISL now takes a team-based approach to establishing strategic curriculum and learning goals, with small groups of teachers working together to research, problem-solve, and generate proposals for consideration of the whole team. This culture has allowed the school to make significant shifts under Huson’s leadership, including transitioning to a mixed-age, inquiry-based model for early childhood education that better aligns with the school’s constructivist pedagogy. Balancing her trust in her team’s leadership ability with the need for structured pathways of growth, Huson has created new professional development opportunities for teachers as well as teaching assistants, who now play a co-equal role in guiding instruction. Huson has previously served as a teacher and administrator at schools in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Florence, Italy. She holds a Master of Education in Elementary Education from The College of New Jersey, where she also completed post-graduate study in Educational Leadership, as well as a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from Portland State University and a Principal Certificate of Eligibility from the New Jersey Department of Education.