Carlucci American International School of Lisbon

The Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (known as CAISL) is a prominent private international school in Linhó, Sintra, a wealthy suburb of Lisbon on the Portuguese Riviera. Founded in 1956, CAISL is the oldest American school in the Iberian Peninsula and the only U.S. State Department school in Portugal.[1] It is named in honor of Frank C. Carlucci III, former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal and U.S. Secretary of Defense.[2] Hillary Clinton, at the time First Lady of the United States, officially inaugurated CAISL's current campus in Linhó in 1998.

Carlucci American International School of Lisbon
CAISL logo (transparent).png
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Coordinates38°46′07″N 9°22′48″W / 38.768686°N 9.380012°W / 38.768686; -9.380012Coordinates: 38°46′07″N 9°22′48″W / 38.768686°N 9.380012°W / 38.768686; -9.380012
Other nameCAISL
Former nameSt. Columban's School
TypePrivate international school
Established1956 (1956)
FounderAnthony A. McKenna
DirectorBlannie M. Curtis
Secondary PrincipalNate Chapman
PrincipalKatie Morris
GradesPre-K — 12
Color(s)Blue and red   
MascotCAISL Wolves
Annual tuition€11,000-21,000
Official nameFundação Escola
Americana de Lisboa
WebsiteOfficial website

CAISL operates as a dual American and International Baccalaureate (IB) program and is one of Portugal's most expensive schools.[3] CAISL's student population is largely international, with most students connected to diplomatic missions and embassies in Lisbon, followed by Portuguese nationals, and a sizable minority of Americans.[4] CAISL has numerous partnerships with institutions, such as the prestigious Gulbenkian Foundation, to support research initiatives into teaching methods, philanthropic outreach, and to host international conferences and cultural exhibitions.[5] In 2016, Hewlett-Packard (HP) awarded CAISL with the HP Award for Innovation in Education.[6] CAISL alumni have gone on to hold influential positions, both abroad and in Portugal, and have included Grammy Award-winning artists, Presidents of Portugal, Yamaha Artist-awarded concert pianists, and world-renowned journalists.


A panel of azulejos celebrating CAISL's 50th anniversary with an image of the old crest of St. Columban's School superimposed in front of CAISL's current emblem.

CAISL's history begins in 1956, when the school is founded as St. Columban's School, by Irish professor Anthony A. McKenna, to serve the children of the American engineers who were in Portugal working on the Salazar Bridge (now 25 de Abril Bridge), in Lisbon, so that the children would be able to reintegrate back into the American system upon their departure from Portugal.[7] During this time, the school was housed in the Quinta da Casa Branca, an 18th-century quinta (manor or estate) in Carnaxide, Oeiras, outside of Lisbon.[8]

The school renamed itself the American International School of Lisbon (AISL) in 1995, when management of the school passed from private ownership to the Fundação Escola Americana de Lisboa (American School of Lisbon Foundation; FEAL), a not-for-profit foundation was created by the American Delegation to Portugal, the Ford Motor Company, and Espírito Santo Financial Group. These three entities became the three, equal members of the school's board of trustees. With the school's new not-for-profit mission and with a new oversight organization, through FEAL, AISL became a U.S. State Department-recognized school.

After the creation of FEAL in 1995, the foundation's main priority was to centralize all of the schools of AISL onto one purpose-built site, as the secondary school, elementary school, and early child center were housed in different facilities spread across the Portuguese Riviera. In 1997, in cooperation with the municipal government of Sintra, a new purpose-built campus was built in Linhó, in the freguesia of São Pedro de Penaferrim, on land granted on a permanent lease by the municipality near the Quinta da Beloura. In 1998, the Linhó campus was inaugurated by Hillary Clinton, then the First Lady of the United States.[9]

In 2001, the school officially changed its name to its current designation as the Frank C. Carlucci American International School of Lisbon, in honor of American diplomat and politician, Frank C. Carlucci, who served as American Ambassador to Portugal, from 1974 to 1978.[10] Carlucci, who went on to serve as Deputy Director of the CIA and U.S. Secretary of Defense, played a prominent role in Portugal following the events of the 1974 Carnation Revolution, especially in maintaining good Luso-American relations.

CAISL has maintained a friendly school rivalry with the British St. Julian's School in Carcavelos, as competitive leading international schools in Portugal.


Anthony A. McKenna founded the school in 1956, making CAISL the oldest American school in the Iberian Peninsula.
Quinta da Casa Branca, the estate which originally housed the school in Carnaxide.

All students who complete CAISL's graduation requirements earn an American high school diploma. Additionally, those who fulfill the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program requirements, earn an IB diploma. CAISL graduates are eligible to apply for entrance into universities around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal and other European countries.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) awarded CAISL with its 2016 Award for Innovation in Education.[6]


CAISL is known within the region as a leader in sciences education, with numerous initiatives and partnerships with institutions, like the prestigious Gulbenkian Foundation, Silicon Valley giant Hewlett-Packard, and technology education nonprofit, to develop innovative methods of teaching science and technology.

Since 2005, CAISL and the Gulbenkian Foundation, one of the wealthiest foundations in the world, have partnered together to form the Experiential Learning Methods in Sciences Initiative, a project aimed at researching and developing innovative methods and best practices in science education.[11] The initiative, led by a team of Gulbenkian researchers and CAISL professors, has been stated to have had profound effects in the teaching of science education in Portugal.[12][13]

CAISL is an affiliate school of in Portugal in participating in the Hour of Code initiative.[14]

CAISL has participated annually in the FIRST Lego League National Championship, an international robotics competition, since 2018.[15]


CAISL is a member of The Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) and sends a student delegation annually to the AMIS International Music Festival.[16]

CAISL hosts the annual Sintra Theatre Showcase (Portuguese: Mostra de Teatro das Escolas de Sintra), a showcase of school drama departments from across the Sintra area of the Portuguese Riviera.[17][18]

CAISL hosts art exhibitions throughout the year across, where student art is presented to the communities of the Portuguese Riviera. CAISL's seasonal exhibitions, occasionally held in cooperation with other local international schools, are always included within the official cultural agendas of local cities on the Portuguese Riviera, including Cascais, Estoril, and Sintra.[19][20]


CAISL's athletic teams, known as the CAISL Wolves, compete in sports tournaments on regional, national, and international levels. CAISL is a member of the European Sports Conference, a sports conference of international schools across Europe.[21]

CAISL is a host school of both the Iberian Volleyball Tournament, the Iberian Soccer Tournament, the Iberian Basketball Tournament, and competitions of international schools across the Iberian Peninsula.[22][23][24]


Crest of the old St. Columban's School.


CAISL partners with the prestigious Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon in supporting research and development of new teaching methods, allowing CAISL to utilize innovative pedagogical methods in its curriculum.[5]

Since 2011, CAISL has had an partnership with the BPI Portuguese Investment Bank to facilitate investments in primary and secondary education.[25]

In 2013, CAISL hosted its 1st Conference on Early Childhood Learning, in cooperation with Pais&Filhos, an international child education publication.[26]

In 2018, CAISL hosted the Symposium on Intercultural Learning, an event held in partnership with the Council of International Schools.[27]


Since 2006, CAISL has partnered with Novabase, the largest information technology firm in Portugal, in an initiative to promote and support English language education in public schools across the Portuguese Riviera, through teacher training and school outreach.[28][29]

In 2018, CAISL has become an affiliate of the Sharing Foundation, an international philanthropic organization dedicated to promoting literacy and early childhood education.[30]

CAISL and Habitat for Humanity have partnered together since 2007 to send a delegation of students annually to help provide humanitarian relief to disadvantaged people.[31]


CAISL has regularly partnered with institutions, such as the American Embassy, the Portuguese Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Culture of Cabo Verde, among other cultural organizations and government institutions, to host and promote cultural events and awareness.[32]

Iberian Model United NationsEdit

CAISL founded and hosts one of Europe's largest model United Nations conferences, the Iberian Model United Nations, since 1995. The conference is held in the Centro Cultural de Belém, in Lisbon.[33][34] IMUN's keynote speakers have included prominent politicians, diplomats, United Nations officials, and rights activists, such as internationally awarded author Richard Zimler and U.S. Ambassador Robert A. Sherman.[35][36]

For the 2017 edition of IMUN, President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa served as keynote speaker.[37][38]


Bust of CAISL school founder Anthony A. Mckenna in the school's library rotunda.

CAISL is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA).[39] The school is licensed by the Portuguese Ministry of Education and an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. CAISL is the only school in Portugal with support from the U.S. State Department.

Leadership of the school's direction over its curriculum is entrusted by the Board of Trustees to the School Director, currently Ms. Blannie Curtis, who assumed the position in 1997. CAISL is divided into two sections, which are led by their own principals: the elementary school (k-5) and the secondary school (6-12). The current Elementary Principal is Katie Morris and the current Secondary Principal is Nathan Chapman.


The Carlucci American International School of Lisbon is governed by the Fundação Escola Americana de Lisboa (FEAL; Portuguese for "American School of Lisbon Foundation"), a private foundation under Portuguese Law, which is in turn governed by a three-member Board of Trustees. The Embassy of the United States, Lisbon and Visteon, having played important roles in the formation of CAISL's non-profit status, each appoint trustees (2 from the Embassy and 1 from Visteon) which serve for three-year terms.

The current Board of Trustees of the Fundação Escola Americana de Lisbon is composed of:

Management of CAISL's financial matters is delegated by the Board of Trustees to the Chief Business Officer, currently Paulo Parreira.


At the beginning of the 2019–20 school year, enrollment was 705, with 295 students enrolled in the elementary program and 380 enrolled in the secondary program. For the 2017–18 school year, 94 students were U.S. citizens, 267 students were Portuguese nationals, and 314 third country nationals.

Notable peopleEdit

Grammy-winner, Bryan Adams (Class of '70).
Chief of Press of UEFA, Pedro Pinto (Class of '92).




  1. ^ Revista País Economico - Olhos Postos nos Lideres de Amanhã
  2. ^ Jornal de Noticias - Frank Carlucci diz que a Democracia Portuguesa esta a envelhecer
  3. ^ Diario de Noticias - Escolas estrangeiras atraem cada vez mais portugueses
  4. ^ Expresso - Alunos do Brasil e da China enchem escolas internacionais
  5. ^ a b RTP Noticias - Professores aprendem novo método de ensino através de experiências
  6. ^ a b ComputerWorld - HP Portugal Premeia Clientes
  7. ^ Journal for the Advancement of International Education - The Carlucci American International School of Lisbon Celebrates 50th Anniversary
  8. ^ Público - Há 50 Anos, um Professor Irlandês Criou um Colégio Americano
  9. ^ Revista Pontos de Vista - Uma Líder que Tem como Missão Formar Líderes
  10. ^ Pares e Ímpares, Memórias de um Bairro - Uma Escola Americana
  11. ^ Gulbenkian Foundation - Annual Report 2010
  12. ^ Journal of Science & Children - Lessons from Portugal: What Can We Learn from Professional Development Efforts in Science Education in Portugal?
  13. ^ Educare - Por uma ciência mais experimental
  14. ^ CAISL - Technology
  15. ^ CAISL - Lego First League
  16. ^ CAISL - AMIS International Music Festival
  17. ^ CM Sintra - Entrega de diplomas da 23ª Mostra de Teatro das Escolas de Sintra
  18. ^ Sintra Noticias - Entrega de diplomas e apresentação das Menções Honrosas da Mostra de Teatro das Escolas
  19. ^ Cascais - Agenda Cultural No.43 2010
  20. ^ Cascais - Agenda Cultural No.44 2010
  21. ^ CAISL ESC Tournament
  22. ^ CAISL Iberian Volleyball Tournament
  23. ^ Iberian Basketball Tournament
  24. ^ El Mundo - Marina d'Or acoge un torneo de fútbol internacional entre estudiantes de España, Francia y Portugal
  25. ^ Banco BPI - Relatórios e Contas 2011
  26. ^ CAISL - Early Childhood Event "Vale a pena ir à pré!" Debuts at CAISL
  27. ^ CAISL - Internationalism
  28. ^ Novabase - Cursos de Verão Novabase / CAISL
  29. ^ The Portugal News - American school promotes teaching English to Portuguese public school students
  30. ^ NovAFrica - Angola é dos países prioritários do projecto da Sharing Foundation
  31. ^ CAISL - Habitat for Humanity
  32. ^ ClubK - Mais de 50 títulos angolanos expostos na Escola Americana de Portugal
  33. ^ CAISL - Iberian Model United Nations
  34. ^ Diario de Noticias - Regras da conferência
  36. ^ U.S. Embassy in Portugal - Ambassador Sherman at the 21st Annual Iberian Model United Nations Conference
  37. ^ Ministry of Education of Spain - La Consejera de Educación de la Embajada de España en Portugal acompaña a los alumnos en la XXIII Annual Iberian Model United Nations
  39. ^ CAISL - Accreditations
  40. ^ Publico - Daniel e Jorge Sampaio: Encontro de Irmãos
  41. ^ CM Jornal - A Escola Portuguesa de Bryan Adams
  42. ^ LinkedIn - Pedro Pinto[permanent dead link]
  43. ^ Expresso - Diana de Cadaval: "Gosto que me Chamem Princessa"
  44. ^ a b "CAISL Commencement 2014". Carlucci American International School of Lisbon. 6 June 2014.
  45. ^ Jornal de Leiria - Edicao N.º 43 do Jornal Akademicos
  46. ^ Sol - Paula Lobo Antunes: ‘Cheguei a fazer voz erótica em linhas telefónicas’
  47. ^ "About Suzanne" Archived 2009-12-15 at the Wayback Machine, Suzanne Anton Website, Accessed August 29, 2009.

External linksEdit