Chief Operating Officer at Singapore American School in Singapore
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Chief Operating Officer
Singapore American School (Singapore)

Appointed - Applications are no longer being accepted
May 12, 16
Jul 29, 16

Singapore American School

Chief Operating Officer

Singapore American School is a high performing school system committed to providing each student an exemplary American educational experience with an international perspective. We are seeking motivated and qualified team members who will collaborate, innovate, and make a positive difference within the SAS community to reach our vision - A world leader in education, cultivating exceptional thinkers, prepared for the future.

Position Description

The Chief Operating Officer is an integral member of the Senior Administrative Team and reports directly to the Superintendent. The COO works closely with the leadership team to lead and manage all aspects of the school’s operations including finance, facilities, security, transportation, human resources, and contracted services. This includes the supervision of 4-5 direct reports with 30-40 employees and a large set of contractors.

The COO executes the superintendent’s direction for operations of the school. They are responsible for the development of the financial management strategy and for contributing to the school’s strategic goals.

Strategy, Vision and Leadership

  • Advise the superintendent and the cabinet on financial planning, budgeting, cash flow, investment priorities, and policy.
  • Serve as the management liaison to the Finance and Facilities committee of the Board, and the Investment Advisory Committee.
  • Develop new systems of financial and operations management that ensures the most effective use of school resources, strong fiscal controls, and supports the objectives of the school.
  • Communicate consistently and accurately to the superintendent and management team.
  • Represent SAS externally with parents, businesses, government officials, and community organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and American Association.
  • Assess the competitive landscape in Singapore and make recommendations for remaining competitive.
  • Provide thought leadership to support the school’s academic and co-curricular programs.
  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality.
  • Ensure staff members receive timely and appropriate training and development.
  • Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach: assign accountabilities; set objectives; establish priorities; and monitor and evaluate results.



  • Develop and manage all year-over-year annual planning cycles
  • Oversee Finance Department day-to-day operations
  • Oversee and execute SGD150 million annual budget and allocation of reserves
  • Oversee the School’s cash flow and work with banks to ensure positive cash management
  • Collect, analyze, and present financial information to the Superintendent and SAS Board as requested by the Superintendent.
  • Partner with the Superintendent and Board Finance Committee on strategic financial planning, investments, debt, and overall financial operations
  • Generate financial models necessary to make sound decisions in regards to establishing annual tuition and fees.
  • Create, lead, and execute all financial reporting functions
  • Oversee annual audit processes, insurance assessment, and SAS risk management
  • Create and oversee financial and accounting controls and reporting procedures to ensure tax and legal compliance


Risk Management & Insurance

  • Lead all Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) efforts; including leading the ERM Committee
  • Understand and mitigate key elements of the school’s risk profile
  • Monitor all open legal issues involving the company, and legal issues affecting the industry
  • Construct and monitor reliable control systems
  • Maintain appropriate insurance coverage
  • Ensure that the company complies with all legal and regulatory requirements
  • Ensure that record keeping meets the requirements of auditors and government agencies
  • Maintain relations with external auditors and investigate their findings and recommendations


 Human Resources

  • Supervise the administrator in charge of Human Resources.
  • Provide oversight for HR financial strategies by estimating, forecasting, and anticipating requirements and trends.
  • Provide HR leadership by aligning resources, developing action plans, measuring and analyzing results, initiating corrective actions when required, and minimizing the impact of variances.
  • Oversee decisions regarding personnel salaries and benefits.
  • Oversee and develop employee benefit plans, with particular emphasis on maximizing a cost-effective and competitive benefits package.
  • Oversee implementation and maintenance of personnel policies.
  • Grow and maintain a working knowledge of Singaporean labor laws and practices.



  • Supervise the Facilities & Services Director.
  • Oversee the short and long-term building and maintenance operations.
  • Oversee campus security
  • Ensure continuous collaboration, awareness, and updates of all emergency manual(s), supplies, procedures, and training curriculum.
  • Ensure compliance with all health and safety guidelines and regulations.
    Contract Operations
  • Provide oversight through the Contract Services Manager for a healthy, cost effective, and pleasing food services operation.
  • Provide oversight of the school’s contractor for print management.


Terms of Employment:

  • Salary and benefits shall be paid consistent with the SAS approved compensation plan for this position.
  • Two year initial administrative contract.

Application Deadline: July 29, 2016


  • Minimum Bachelors Degree in business, finance, or related field. Preferred Masters degree in business or equivalent.
  • 10+ years of leadership experience in accounting, finance and operations or equivalent.
  • A qualified candidate will demonstrate proficiency in people management, finance, strategic planning capability across broad verticals, and long-term strategic physical plant management.
  • Experience of supervision of Human Resources, Facilities planning, Security and Risk management.
  • Experience leading tender procedures for equipment and services and facilities management.
  • Experience working in a fast moving environment and a track record of success.
  • Understanding of K-12 American curriculum international schools and their challenges.
  • Understanding of the work in international mid or large size organization.
  • Experience in appraising and implementing a new accountancy package, ensuring that new work streams and the control environment are optimized in conjunction with the new software.

Skills and Strengths

  • Excellent leadership and organizational skills.
  • Academic and professional preparation to assist with implementation of large complex initiatives.
  • Understanding of governance best practice and specific practices at SAS.
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills.
  • Ability to handle multiple priorities simultaneously with changing urgency daily.
  • Ability to collect and analyze data and information, draw conclusions, and produce reports and recommendations.
  • Ability to reason logically and analyze and solve organizational and managerial problems.
  • Ability to plan, coordinate and independently implement administrative decisions.
  • Ability to establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders within the school and community.
  • Ability to work successfully alone or on a team.
  • Ability to develop and/or reviews proposals, prepare analyses, draft responses.
  • Highly flexible with availability to work nights, weekends, and during school vacations.

To apply please click here:

Attention: If you apply for this position, please inform the school and us ( that you saw the notice on the Search Associates website. 

Did You Know…?

Search Associates is a family-owned business founded by John Magagna, former international educator. After working with her father for ten years, daughter Jessica Magagna is now President.