ECIS has had four corporate identities in its first fifty years.
The first incorporation was in 1966 as a Swiss non-profit, the second in 1974 as an American Foundation (Delaware), the third in 1983 as an American 501(c)(3) Delaware non-profit corporation, and the fourth (and current) in 2012 as a UK non-profit.
Alongside incorporation is the matter of nomenclature. When it was resolved to form the organisation in 1965, it was given the name European Council of International Schools, and its core membership was international schools within Europe, although the idea had had its genesis in Beirut. Over the years, as membership parameters were revisited and expanded to permit membership of non-European schools, the ECIS base grew to include members on six continents. When ECIS relocated its offices to London in 2011 and was granted UK charitable status the following year, the name of the organisation changed to ECI Schools, as the utilisation of ‘European Council’ was not permitted on account of EU regulations on that combination.
In January 2016, the ECIS Board of Trustees voted to change the name behind the acronym to the Educational Collaborative for International Schools, emphasising the organisation’s collaborative nature and removing geographical limitations from its name. In many ways, this development was inevitable and perhaps somewhat overdue, given the association’s truly global membership. Yet the use of the acronym ‘ECIS’ will long remain a positive nod toward and suitable reminder of its nascent membership in Europe, which remains the organisation’s core market.
Related closely to corporate identity and nomenclature is the leadership provided to ECIS by its executive directors over the years. While every executive director has served the organisation loyally and with skill, it is fitting to highlight an extraordinary leadership period of 29 years provided by Gray Mattern and his successor, Michael Maybury, each of whom led the organisation during years of rapid growth, both in terms of schools served and programmes undertaken.