BECOME A MEMBER! Sign up for TIE services now and start your international school career


In Memoriam: Dr. Elsa C. Lamb

By Yolanda Murphy-Barrena
In Memoriam: Dr. Elsa C. Lamb

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the recent passing of our former Executive Director and international educator and leader, Dr. Elsa Lamb. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family, close friends and the many colleagues, students, and parents that she worked to support, inspire, and mentor over her many years of teaching and leading at various international schools, regional associations, and finally the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE). Elsa was a talented, dynamic, and committed international educator and leader who contributed to our educational community and the students she greatly cared for as a teacher for 20 years. She then served for more than 20 additional years as the school director of various communities around the world, including the American School of Barcelona in Spain, the American School of Asunción in Paraguay, and the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, Nicaragua, where she was able to utilize her mastery of Spanish to engage and nurture full involvement from all members of the school. Wherever she went, Elsa built a reputation for increasing rigor, building positive community, and keeping a sharp focus on providing excellent student support services and programming for the children in her care. During her years of international service as a school director, Elsa also actively helped shape international education as a member of the board for the regional associations of MAIS, ECIS, and AASSA, along with AISH and AAIE. After serving as AAIE President and Board Chair, Elsa then led AAIE as Executive Director from 2008 until her retirement in 2015. Elsa leaves a legacy that lives on in some very concrete ways, and through the growth and success of the many school communities she led and the countless students, teachers, and colleagues that she positively impacted over her many years of caring service. One example of her legacy includes the generations of youngsters who get their first taste of a formal international education at the Elsa Lamb Early Childhood Learning Center that was dedicated in 2000 at the American School of Barcelona. Other examples of her legacy are the many school principals and heads that have benefited from the AAIE Leadership Institute and Certificate Program that Elsa founded and nurtured during her time at AAIE. International schools will continue to benefit from these highly qualified and well-connected international school leaders who gain the experience, skills, and knowledge through the unique curriculum and leadership-mentoring component of her program. Elsa’s lifelong passion for nurturing excellence in leadership and supporting the growth of others also lives on in our global leadership community through the continued engagement of our global AAIE family as we connect, question, share, and support each other daily in better serving the students and families placed in our care. There will be an opportunity to recognize and celebrate Elsa’s lifelong impact on international education and the difference she made to her many colleagues and friends at our 52nd AAIE Conference and gathering in New York. More information will be shared regarding how best to offer your condolences and honor her legacy, including sharing stories and paying tribute in your own unique way to the life and legacy of Dr. Elsa Lamb. With peace to all who knew and loved her.

Please fill out the form below if you would like to post a comment on this article:


11/01/2022 - Christiana Succar
I am so saddened to hear of Elsa's passing. I had the honor of working with her at ANS in Managua. When I learned I was relocating there because of my husband's work, I reached out to Elsa inquiring about teaching there. She welcomed me with open arms and hired me on the spot. My time with ANS was the best years of my teaching experience, and I will never forget how she made it happen and always made me feel heard and profoundly respected. When my time was up, she tried everything possible to continue our time there, which was a true honor. Luckily, I kept in touch with her for a while when she retired, but I am saddened we lost touch and that she passed away! Thank you, Elsa, for all of your contributions to education and the other lives you touched as well! You are truly missed!
05/14/2022 - Ross McIntosh
Elsa Lamb was a fantastic person to work with. She was an outstanding leader who took a school (ANS) that needed a lot of work, and turned it into a top performing school. She worked her butt off, and took the time to listen to your ideas to make the school better. I loved working under her. She was kind and had absolutely no ego.
04/14/2022 - J Stinnett MacKersie
Elsa was an inspiration to many. She had an ability to make others feel at ease regardless of the circumstances. I attended High School in Houston, Texas with Elsa and she excelled at everything she attempted. Elsa left this World a much better place and those who knew her and learned from her will remember her passion for teaching. May she Rest in Peace and May Her Memories Be A Blessing.