Elementary School Assistant Principal at Saigon South International School, HCMC in Vietnam
Vietnam < Back to Leadership Vacancies

Elementary School Assistant Principal
Saigon South International School, HCMC (Vietnam)

Dec 24, 21
Jan 15, 22

Elementary School Assistant Principal

Saigon South International School

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Application Deadline

January 15, 2022

Start Date

July 2022




Job Title: Elementary School Assistant Principal

Reports to: Elementary School Principal

Teams: Elementary School Faculty, Elementary School Leadership Team, Senior Leadership Team

Committees: Actively participates in and contributes to school committees as applicable or as assigned



The Assistant Principal is a learning leader in the elementary school and within the wider school community. As such the scope of their work and influence is great.  The elementary school principal and assistant principal work as a team and collaborate in the many facets of work leading to the highest quality teaching and learning. Major areas of this collaborative work are:

  • implementation of strategic initiatives in support of our school’s mission, vision, and core values in the elementary school;

  • support and guidance of effective teaching and learning in the elementary school with a focus on the development of foundational skills, inquiry learning, meeting the needs of multilingual and multicultural learners, and ensuring the overall intellectual and personal development of every student;

  • promotion of faculty members’ and teaching assistant’s professional growth and learning through a process of annual supervision and evaluation;

  • fostering a positive and caring school climate through strong relationships with students, parents, teachers, and support staff.

The assistant principal directly reports to the elementary school principal.  Together, they ensure a safe, comfortable, and dynamic learning environment for our students.   


  • Government-issued teaching certification in elementary education  

  • Administrative Qualifications

  • Masters degree or higher in education


Required experience

  • 5 years of successful experience as an elementary school classroom teacher

  • 5 years of leadership experience at the elementary school building/divisional level  

Preferred experience 

  • 2+ years teaching in international education  

  • 2+ years working in a leadership/administrative position as an elementary school building administrator 

  • Proven experience working with Asian cultures  

  • Proven technology skills


As directed by the elementary school principal, the assistant principal will:

  • champion the vision for effective teaching and learning in the elementary school;

  • foster a culture of dedicated and continuous improvement throughout the elementary school;

  • analyze student assessment data as well as other relevant data to inform and guide instructional practice and programs in the elementary school; 

  • assist in the evaluation, development, and implementation of educational programs in collaboration with the Office of Teaching and Learning;

  • build effective and learning-focused teams through recruitment, orientation, coaching, mentoring, and professional development;

  • serve as an instructional leader and role model by engaging in professional learning activities and staying abreast of the latest educational reform and how it applies to the elementary school setting;

  • explore and promote the use of effective and innovative instructional practices and educational technologies;  

  • communicate regularly with students and parents in a variety of formats to ensure understanding and support of elementary school policies, practices, and programs;  

  • work closely with faculty, parents, and students to address individual concerns regarding student behavior and academic progress in support of student learning and achievement;

  • foster strong relationships with students to serve as a mentor and provide support both in the intellectual and personal development of students;

  • cultivate and ensure a school culture and environment that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion and that is responsive to student needs;  

  • foster positive community relations with parents and the broader community.


As directed by the elementary school principal, the assistant principal will manage the time, energy, and work of the elementary school to maximize the positive impact upon student learning.  This will include the following activities:

  • organize and facilitate effective meetings and communications to ensure maximized impact upon student learning;

  • ensure curricular initiatives and endeavors are effectively translated into the teaching and learning;

  • observe teaching and learning in action on a regular basis in order to provide effective coaching and maximize the students’ learning experience;

  • provide leadership and effective supervision of divisional staff members and teaching assistants in an effort to promote professional growth and instructional effectiveness


In addition to the above-stated responsibilities, the elementary school assistant principal will:

  • ensure a school environment that is safe, comfortable, and supportive of all students’ engagement and learning, including the oversight of student conduct;

  • communicate clearly and coherently about elementary school programs, schedules, and events with community members to promote maximum support and involvement;

  • intentionally and purposefully continue in their own professional learning through reflection, self-analysis, professional development activities, and professional network membership;

  • perform other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the elementary school principal or head of school.

Terms of Employment: The successful candidate will be offered a three-year initial administrative contract, with subsequent contracts dependent upon demonstrated achievement of annual goals.



Start Date: July 2022

Application Deadline: January 15, 2021

Please submit your application to Melanie Sylvester (msylvester@ssis.edu.vn)

Applicants are requested to send the following documents by January 15, 2022 (interviews will be conducted via Zoom).

  • A letter of application, no longer than two pages, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in this particular position.

  • A current resume.

  • A list of references of immediate supervisors, including current email addresses and phone numbers. 


One of the three largest international schools in Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon South International School (SSIS) stands out as a leading school in terms of its university placement, innovative programs, well-trained international faculty members, and the commitment to knowing and supporting all students. A competitive admissions process and English-language expectations also distinguish the School in terms of academic performance. 

The only K-12 international school run as a not-for-profit entity in the city, SSIS opened its doors in 1997. Created to be “a community school” for the newly established area of Phu My Hung in District 7 of Ho Chi Minh City, the school has enjoyed great success from the start and grown exponentially over the past 24 years. Today, Early Childhood through Grade 12, consists of approximately 1200 students, and plans are to grow to 1800 over the next decade. 


The mission and founding Core Values of SSIS reflect the clear intentionality of the founders, and the School remains true to its original focus today:

Mission: SSIS is a college preparatory school committed to the intellectual and personal development of each student in preparation for a purposeful life as a global citizen.

Core Values: Academic Excellence, Sense of Self, Respect for All, Balance in Life, and Dedicated Service.

Our Core Values have always been tied to the growth of character and balance, and it is important that each child thrives. Going forward, SSIS is embracing the tenets of positive psychology as integral to the student experience. This dual focus—on academic and personal development—distinguishes SSIS from its peer schools.


Dr. Catriona Moran, Head of School, has just started her fourth year at the School, and there is unanimous excitement about her leadership and influence on SSIS. Her infectious enthusiasm, tireless commitment, and wise stewardship of the School are acknowledged as important influencers for the future of SSIS. 

The new elementary school assistant principal at SSIS will join a Senior Leadership Team composed of the three school principals, three assistant principals, the associate head of school for teaching and learning, the associate head of school for finance and operations, the director of admissions, marketing, and communications, the director of activities and community outreach, and the technology director. A subset of the overall leadership team also meets regularly to direct the School’s academic leadership. The new elementary school assistant principal will be an integral part of that team.


The School operates as a not-for-profit proprietary school owned by the Phu My Hung Corporation. All revenue generated by the School is invested solely in the School, and all decision-making is filtered through the lens of the mission and core values.

Exciting plans for facilities upgrades and expansion are in place and include a new middle school facility, new arts classrooms, a new STEM center, and other upgrades. 




There is widespread acknowledgment of the quality of the faculty: “dedicated, hard-working, intelligent, experienced, qualified, passionate, and challenging.” Recognized for their support of students, parents also appreciate the generous amount of time teachers devote to individual students.

All of the faculty either coach or lead club activities after school, so students have the chance to see faculty members in a variety of settings. 

Faculty members appreciate the “inclusive” working environment at SSIS and appreciate working in a school that wants to “renovate, innovate, and grow.” Professional development grants are generous and faculty make the most of the opportunities.

Of our increasingly diverse full-time faculty and administrators, 71% are North American. European, Asian, and African backgrounds are represented, as well. Over 72% of the faculty hold advanced degrees.


Students at SSIS care about the world and strive to make an impact through their daily actions; they know that their voice and contribution matter. Their teachers describe them as inquisitive and empathetic.

Parents often express that their children experience a strong sense of belonging in our elementary school. They highlight the welcoming, and supportive environment and the “wonderful community,” and teachers that are patient, kind, encouraging, and respectful.

The student body is Vietnamese, Korean, North American, and Chinese, including other Asian and European nationalities and Australian/New Zealanders.



The Elementary School program, and school year, are designed around four units of study, called ‘Super Units.’ The units are planned, taught, and assessed using a project-based learning approach and structured inquiry to support students in making connections between the core subject areas. The four Super Units are:

  • Understanding Ourselves: Achieving my Goals in Life

  • Understanding Others: Serving the Needs of Humanity

  • Understanding our Environment: Sharing the Resources of our Planet

  • Understanding our World: Managing the Complexity of Systems

For unit-planning purposes, the elementary school uses American standards as guides for subject area units: Common Core (Language Arts and Mathematics), Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and AERO (Social Studies).

Active engagement in our Super Units is a high priority for our Elementary School. Connecting to our community within the gates and beyond provides valuable learning opportunities for our students. Students may be learning from a guest speaker, on a field trip, or meeting their High School buddies to connect throughout the elementary school campus. They engage in various events on campus that involve other divisions, such as a TOK exhibition or the annual Space Conference for Grade 5 students. Engaging within SSIS and the larger community makes learning come alive.


The Early Childhood program holds student agency, play, creativity, interest, and social-emotional development at the core of its delivery. The central method of understanding and how teachers guide students through their learning is based on the five developmental domains. They are:

  • Approaches to Play and Learning

  • Cognitive Knowledge and Development

  • Communication, Language, and Literacy

  • Physical Development and Motor Skills

  • Social and Emotional Development


Teachers collect anecdotal evidence, observations, various summative and formative assessments, data, and collaborative information throughout the learning year that guides the curriculum. The developmental domains and standards are woven into the four Super Units with daily/weekly/monthly student interests and used as a springboard for the child’s daily learning. Students’ day flows from indoor to outdoor learning and focuses on high-interest experiments or provocations that combine multiple developmental domains. Teachers mold the students’ future learning experiences by observing, guiding, and supporting their interests. Maximizing the child’s agency and excitement to learn through play is the top priority. 


Our Learning Support team’s focus is academic. Learning support teachers collaborate with classroom teachers to develop a plan for student support guided by a detailed referral process. They collaborate with classroom teachers and deliver small group instruction in an inclusive setting. Additionally, they work one-on-one or in small groups with students who need further academic support in a pull-out session. 

Our ES EAL team’s focus is academic language acquisition and development, with the goal of equitable access to the curriculum. There is a designated EAL teacher for G1-5, led by the ES EAL Coordinator.

Collaboration by all these teams is constantly visible. Both Learning Support & English As an Additional Language teachers’ schedules are flexible and built based on support needs. 


The Wellness Program is based on Positive Psychology (PERMAH) and incorporates education and practical application for teachers, students, and parents.  In the homeroom, there is an emphasis on students forming positive and meaningful relationships with their peers and teachers. Students learn about making good decisions, managing their emotions, and the benefits of having a growth mindset. Lessons are taught focusing on health and well-being concepts that provide students with both understanding and practical knowledge. 


Overall we have a rich community of specialist teachers who inspire, energize, uplift, encourage, celebrate, and support the holistic child. Each specialist teacher works closely with the homeroom teams to integrate within the Super Units, which results in deep, authentic learning and exploration. Student art is displayed prominently throughout the school as a visual representation of student learning and artistic expression. There is a constant buzz of creativity within our specialist classrooms, whether on the stage, in the pool, or on a canvas.

As an international school, it is important to celebrate our multicultural learners, one of the ways we do this is by celebrating multilingual abilities starting in Kindergarten. Our grade-level teaching assistants are led by our two Vietnamese instructors to provide lessons throughout the student’s elementary career. 


SSIS has been designated the only Apple Distinguished School in Vietnam and technology plays a vital role in our elementary school facilitating innovative learning experiences for our students and enhancing the workflow and productivity of our faculty.

Our youngest learners build foundational computational thinking skills using hands-on, screen-free robots and from Grade 1 with their own iPad. From Grade 4 students expand their knowledge with Mac laptops allowing them to take their creativity to the next level. In our Spark Lab and Makerspaces students can design, code, and build with a combination of recycled materials, natural materials, and electronic components and are a hive of activity during recess times and after school.  


As with all of SSIS, the ES division has seen a growth in enrollment in all its enrichment learning programs, and an increase in staffing. While the ES division embraces its growing population, it seeks to continue to foster a nurturing and inclusive environment for learning. It aims to further extend opportunities for students to create, innovate, discover and explore while reveling in the joy of childhood.  

The challenges brought forth by the Covid-19 pandemic and the unprecedented transition from classroom to virtual learning have created a unique opportunity for curricular changes that promote student autonomy and student agency. 

Areas outlined for improvement are more after-school activities, more sports, increased student leadership opportunities, and a greater focus on inclusiveness and respect among students. 

The successful candidate and new SSIS elementary school assistant principal will have the combination of skills, experience, and successful track record to effectively help to lead the elementary school  through the next growth and development period.


Located just south of Ho Chi Minh City’s downtown area in District 7, SSIS sits in a model community planned and built by the Phu My Hung Corporation and known as the “greenest” section in all of Ho Chi Minh City. Most of our classrooms and offices either look out over our lush 6-hectare or a tributary of the Saigon River which runs alongside our grounds. District 7 was planned so that residents can walk, ride a bike, or use a scooter and be within 10 minutes of all-important services, including green spaces for relaxation and exercise. 

For those that enjoy the hustle and bustle of a big city, the downtown area is approximately 20 minutes away by car. The most populous city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is the vibrant, energetic home of over 8 million people. It is considered the financial center of Vietnam. Also, the most visited city in Vietnam, welcoming over 7 million visitors a year, it is easily accessible from the larger cities around Asia making it a great travel hub. When welcoming guests, the four-hour Vespa food tour is not to be missed! The climate in Ho Chi Minh City is defined as tropical, and the average humidity hovers around 78-82%.

Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Diana Kerry was an international educator and administrator for 25 years in various countries, including Iran, France, Thailand, and Indonesia.