April 18, 2023, marks 55 years since the inception of the American International School of Düsseldorf, now the International School of Düsseldorf.

Join ISD Director, Frank Tschan, as he reflects on this milestone, and shares the impressions of former ISD student, Laurie Zivetz, on those early days.

Our heritage


In 1968, a group of passionate and visionary parents, led by Hank and Evelyn Zivetz, gathered in the living room of the McNaughton family. It was during that meeting that their collective vision of an international school in Düsseldorf, with English as the main language of instruction, started to become a reality.

In the first year of the American International School of Düsseldorf (as it was then known), there were just 32 students, a library consisting of some 50 books, two pianos, a couple of blackboards, and a classroom with two portable heaters. Despite their limited resources, the founders still managed to organize fundraising, acquire building sites, devise an annual calendar, and write a bilingual school constitution. By the following year, student numbers had tripled.

It took little more than a decade for AISD’s educational programme to develop a strong reputation for excellence among internationally mobile families. Throughout its history, this school has consistently endeavoured to be at the forefront of best practice in education, giving its students the best opportunities to thrive at school and beyond.

ISD has grown significantly over the last half century. It has diversified. It has adapted to meet the challenges of modernity. But the very essence of our school's values the will, optimism, and resilience of those parents in the McNaughton's living room remains ever-present. These values are the lifeblood of the ISD spirit and the defining characteristics of our school's vibrant international community today.


Michael Coffey

I went to ISD in 1986 for two years and I ended up spending three quarters of my working life there because it was such a special place. Its heart was a community of happy and purposeful learners; an ever-changing constellation of people of different generations, abilities, cultural backgrounds, and beliefs. At ISD, it was normal to be different. Its soul was the positive, respectful and collaborative working relationship between students and teachers. I will always be grateful for the privilege of being a part of this wonderful institution and having the opportunity to contribute to its mission.

Michael Coffey
Former ISD Senior School Principal