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Search's Magagna receives 2015 Walid Abushakra Award
Posted 01/01/2015 10:00AM

John Magagna became a teacher because of the profound influence his own gifted high schools teachers had on him. As a result, throughout his long career, he firmly believed that nothing was as important as hiring teachers. For him, the most exciting thing about being a school head was going forth empty-handed each recruiting season and coming back to his school with superlative teachers. And thus, in 1990, he had a vision! "Why not make recruiting talented teachers and administrators his life's work?" This is how, twenty-five years ago, Search Associates was born.

John founded Search Associates in 1990 on a wing and a prayer, and a "newfangled thing" called a fax machine.  His plan was to wait a year to see whether Search Associates would succeed, knowhing that he could always go back to being a school head if it did not. Fortunately, success came quickly, though if anybody had suggested in those early days that the company would assist more than 3,000 educators in finding international school positions in 2014 alone, he wouldn't have believed it. 

Since its founding, the company has assisted in placing 26,000 teachers and administrators in top international schools. Now in transition, Jessica Magagna, has been appointed the company President, and plans to continue her father's legacy for many years to come.

As recognition for his increasing impact on teaching in international schools, John was given the Walid Abushakra award at the Annual Educational Services Overseas Limited (ESOL) Dinner. Mr. Magagna is the third individual to receive this prestigious award, which was presented to him at the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) Conference in February 2015, in San Francisco.

The criteria for the Walid Abushakra are as follows:

  • Recognition for at least 15 yeras of service to international schools.
  • Recognition by colleagues and associates for outstanding performance or service to international schools.
  • Recognition for putting forth ideas and initiatives that serve to advance the standards of international education.
  • Recognition for personal dedication and commitment to values inherent to international education.

The $5000 award will be given as a donation to a 501 C 3 charity of Mr. Magagna's choice

Mr. Magagna was greatly surprised by his selection, but visibly please to accept the award, which was presented to him by Daryl Russell, Esol consultant and long-time friend.

In his brief acceptance comments, John thanked his colleagues and friends in international education for their support and friendship, with special thanks to Walid Abushakra and Esol.

We asked later about his contribution to the international school community and his thoughts on receiving the award, he commented, "It is certainly very rewarding that my work and the work of Search Associates is being recognized, because it tells us we are on the right track and are meeting our goal of trying to improve the quality of teaching in international schools. It was very gracious and thoughtful of ESOL to present this award to me. My Family and I look forward to many more years of friendship and cooperation with Esol and with the Abushakra family."

Republished with permission from The International Educator (TIE). View the original article on TIE’s April 2014 issue here. 

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