Founding High School Principal at Soong Ching Ling School, Shanghai in China
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Founding High School Principal
Soong Ching Ling School, Shanghai (China)

Appointed - Position has been filled
Nov 25, 15

Position Announcement

Founding High School Principal

Soong Ching Ling School, Shanghai, China

September 2016

The Opportunity

Soong Ching Ling School, located in Shanghai, China, invites applications from qualified individuals for the position of Founding High School Principal for its Multicultural Division with duties to begin in August of 2016. The High School is planned to open in August of 2017. The High School Principal will be responsible for the overall organization and leadership of both the new high school and the already existing middle school. He or she will function as the Upper School (6-12) Head for the Multicultural Division.

Responding to the strong demand for high quality, Western style education in Shanghai, Soong Ching Ling School has announced plans to expand its current Middle School (Multicultural Division) into an Upper School that serves students in grades 6 through 12. The Founding High School Principal will lead the planning and execution of this exciting venture, building upon Soong Ching Ling School’s already excellent reputation. This is a rare career opportunity for an experienced school leader to create a unique school program and environment that embraces current best practices in learning and teaching in order to make real the School’s vision of offering students an exceptional education that guides them to become critical thinkers who are tolerant, respectful, curious, and knowledgeable citizens of China and the world.


Soong Ching Ling School (SCLS) welcomes families from all over the world who want their children to be educated in an international and multicultural environment. The school aspires to offer its students an exceptional educational experience that draws on the best of western and eastern educational philosophies, curricula, and cultures. It is organized into a Multicultural Division and a Domestic Division, each with their own administration and faculty.

At Soong Ching Ling School all practices, policies, curricula, and decisions are guided by the words of our revered founder, Madam Soong Ching Ling, who famously said we must give children the most valuable things. With these words guiding us, we strive to teach our students to be compassionate and understanding people as we provide them with the skills and educational foundation they will need to live successful and meaningful lives.

Soong Ching Ling School’s Multicultural Division currently offers an American-based, international curriculum for students in Grades 1 – 8. Although many of our students are Chinese citizens who reside in Shanghai, we also have students from all over the world who will continue their future educations in high schools and universities in the U.S., Canada, or the U.K. In August, 2017, SCLS will add a 9th grade in the Multicultural Division. In 2018, 2019, and 2020, SCLS will add 10th, 11th, and 12th grades, respectively.


The traditions and history of the school are embedded in the strength and determination of Madam Soong Ching Ling, the wife of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founder of modern China. Today our students walk in her footsteps as they learn to lead with respect and admiration as well as strive to excel in their academic, artistic, and athletic endeavors. Soong Ching Ling School is sponsored by the China Welfare Institute (CWI), an organization that was begun by Madam Soong in 1950 for the purpose of supporting programs, facilities, and initiatives devoted to the health, care, well being, and education of women and children. Today the China Welfare Institute is the umbrella organization that oversees fourteen entities. In addition to the School,the CWI focuses on maternity and child healthcare, preschool education, enrichment activities, and children's culture.

The China Welfare Institute opened the Soong Ching Ling Kindergarten in 1991 on the Hongmei Road campus. In 2005, Soong Ching Ling Kindergarten expanded, opening a second campus in Qingpu. Soong Ching Ling School began in 2008 with the debut of the Primary Division on the Qingpu campus. A Middle School was added in the Domestic Division in 2012 and in the Multicultural Division in 2013, also on the Qingpu campus.

VISION: We hope to offer students an exceptional education that guides them to become critical thinkers who are tolerant, respectful, curious, and knowledgeable citizens of China and the world.

MISSION: We aspire to educate and nurture students in the areas of academics, the arts, athletics, character development and global awareness so that they will be positive citizens in today’s society while preparing for tomorrow’s world.

VALUES: We value uniqueness, effort, persistence, good behavior, creativity and learning.


The beautiful campus is situated in the Qingpu District of Shanghai Municipality, west of downtown Shanghai and just a five-minute drive from the G50 highway. Its 36 acres of lush green fields are surrounded by mature trees and beautifully maintained gardens. The campus is framed by a rural countryside setting and is adjacent to a historical but very active canal system. The campus is a unique gem in the midst of the huge urban environment that is Shanghai.

The school boasts beautiful and more than ample facilities that include 13 large, purpose-built buildings with large, bright, and well-equipped classrooms. There are dedicated classrooms for science, technology, music, dance, and art in multiple locations throughout the campus.  In addition, there is a brand new Library & Performing Arts Center with a 650-seat theater, a new Science & Art Building housing laboratories and studios intended for eventual use by high school students, a newly renovated cafeteria, several athletic fields, an indoor pool, gymnasium, outdoor basketball courts, track, and tennis court.


In the Multicultural Division Primary and Middle Schools, the curriculum is based on the best elements of the Common Core State Standards developed by the U.S. Department of Education. This core is integrated with curricular strands that build on and honor the host culture and provide all students opportunities to learn Chinese language, culture, and art.


Students have opportunities to join swimming, soccer, basketball, badminton, table tennis, baseball, volleyball, and track & field teams and clubs. The School is a founding member of the Shanghai School Sports Association for international school students in Shanghai. The after school enrichment programs further contribute to our goal of developing the whole child, and we offer a range of choices in computer programming, remote controlled piloting, student newspaper, Spanish, music, drama, dance, and soccer.

School at a Glance


1991 as a kindergarten on the Hongmei Road campus

2005 Soong Ching Ling Kindergarten opened on Qingpu campus

2008 Soong Ching Ling School opened on Qingpu campus with grade 1 & 2

2012 Middle School – Domestic Division – began on Qingpu campus with grade 6

2013 Middle School – Multicultural Division began on Qingpu campus with grade 6


LOCATION:   Qingpu District of Shanghai Municipality


ENROLLMENT (2015–16) 

Domestic Division (1 – 5):  297

Domestic Division (6 – 9):  136

Multicultural Division (1-5):  376

Multicultural Division (6-8):  86

               TOTAL STUDENTS:   895*


FACULTY: (2015-2016) 

Domestic Division (1 – 5): 29

Domestic Division (6 – 9): 19

Multicultural Division (1-5):  37

Multicultural Division (6-8):  14

               TOTAL FACULTY (full time):   99


TUITION: (2015-2016)

Primary School: $48,000 CNY per semester (about $15,000 USD per year)

Middle School:  $60,000 CNY per semester (about $19,000 USD per year)

MEMBER: National Association of Independent Schools

CAMPUS: 36 acres

  • Five classroom buildings
  • Three dormitory buildings (the residential program is being phased out; new applicants are no longer accepted as boarders)
  • Cafeteria
  • Athletic facility with indoor swimming pool and gymnasium
  • Library & Performing Arts Center
  • Science & Art Building
  • Administration building
  • 300-meter track
  • Several athletic fields
  • Multiple outdoor basketball courts and one tennis court
  • Dedicated classrooms for science, technology, music, dance, and art


*Soong Ching Ling Kindergarten serves an additional 900 students on two campuses, one adjacent to SCLS in Qingpu and the other on the original Hongmei Road campus.

The Position


The person who assumes the position of Founding High School Principal will have the unique opportunity to lead the creation of a school program, curriculum, and culture. The Principal will be responsible for all steps in the preparation process in anticipation of the opening of the new High School in 2017 with Grade 9. (At the same time, he/she will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Middle School beginning in August, 2016.) The high school will grow sequentially with one grade being added each year until 2020. At full capacity, it is projected that the Upper School (grades 6-12) will enroll 50 students per grade level for a total of 350 students.

The Founding High School Principal/Upper School Head will report directly to the Head of School. Among other responsibilities, he/she will be expected:

  •  To build a coherent and vibrant 6 – 12 curriculum and co-curriculum that gives students the experiences they need to develop into life-long learners with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in their futures. 
  •  To set the tone, ethos, and working and academic climate for the school.
  •  To work collaboratively with faculty and administration to bring the school’s vision, mission, and values to life among students, faculty & staff, parents, and the community at large.
  •  Provide educational vision, current research, and strong, thoughtful, and dynamic instructional leadership.
  •  To ensure, inspire, and nurture highly effective learning and teaching.
  •  To develop and implement a professional development program for faculty that supports individual growth, renewal, and innovation.
  •  To develop and implement a system of professional evaluation.
  •  To establish open and healthy communication among all members of the school community and to be an effective and consistent communicator and educator with the parent community.
  •  To ensure appropriate balance, rigor, and variety in academics, the arts, sports, academic-support services, and extracurricular options.
  •  To make sure the school provides a safe and healthy environment for the entire educational community.
  •  To establish a counseling department that serves students’ academic, personal, and college needs.
  •  To develop written policies and procedures for all areas of school life.
  •  To prepare the school for eventual accreditation by a U.S. regional accrediting association.
  •  To ensure efficient implementation of technological resources in the support of learning.
  •  To develop a staffing model sufficient to the needs and aspirations of the school, and then to recruit, hire, and retain highly-qualified faculty to fill these positions.
  •  To create a welcoming community that allows all its members to thrive from their very first day as a part of the SCLS family.
  •  To oversee and monitor Upper School spending and insure that the school’s ample resources are stewarded well.
  • To understand and embrace Chinese cultural influences on the school’s values, history, curriculum, policies, and programs.


The School has identified the following as the preferred qualifications and personal attributes of the ideal candidate. This is not a generic laundry list of experiences, skills, and personality traits, but rather a very specific and targeted “wish list” describing the profile of the kind of candidate who we believe is most likely to enjoy the challenges of this unique position and thrive as the Founding High School Principal and Upper School Head for the Multicultural Division of the Soong Ching Ling School.



  • Previous successful experience as a Head of School, Assistant Head of School, or Upper School Head, preferably in a similar school environment in a country where English is not the native language.
  • A Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, or a similar field, with a demonstrated interest in remaining at the forefront of educational trends. (Administrative certification preferred.)
  • An effective and respected teacher who relates well with students and colleagues.
  • The flexibility to learn, adapt, and embrace cultural differences and new situations, and the ability to adjust, understand, and celebrate the host culture.
  • The ability to work collaboratively with a large and talented team of teachers, administrators, and other school personnel, and the capability to build and lead a culturally diverse faculty and staff.
  • The capacity and desire to thrive in a startup environment, as well as the self discipline to balance creative dreaming with every day logistical realities.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated capacity to develop and sustain productive relationships within and beyond the school community.
  • Previous experience with a U.S. based curriculum, and hands on experience with curriculum development at the high school level.
  • Demonstrated strategic thinking and analytical skills, and the ability to use those to influence the educational agenda of the school.
  • Strong writing skills to appropriately document the curricular and policy foundations of a new school.
  • Proven commitment to a well-balanced program that focuses on the whole child.
  • Proven track record of success in hiring, leading, and inspiring faculty and staff.
  • Experience with the implementation of educational innovation and the use of technology to enhance learning.
  • Previous involvement with facilities allocation, renovation, and design.
  • Native English speaker.
  • Experience or familiarity with the East Asian/Chinese educational landscape.
  • The ability to speak Chinese, while certainly an advantage, is not a requirement.



The ideal candidate will have a global mindset. He/she will be culturally tolerant, open-minded, and respectful. It will be someone who understands and accepts that China is not the United States, and who appreciates how the richness and traditions of Chinese history and culture can enrich the school’s climate and educational programs. In addition, the ideal candidate will have many of the following characteristics:

  • flexible, adaptable, and patient
  • passionate, yet thoughtful and reasonable
  • highly tolerant of ambiguity
  • a unifier by inclination
  • sensitive, perceptive, and a good listener
  • honest, candid, ethical
  • a strong work ethic and self-starter
  • persistent and optimistic
  • reliable and committed
  • a problem-solver
  • confident
  • sense of humor


Salary and Benefits

The School is committed to attracting and retaining a highly qualified Upper School Principal. The salary and benefits package will be competitive, and commensurate with the qualifications and previous experience of the successful candidate. Further details will be given to short-listed candidates.

The Process


 This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced and dynamic educational leader. Suitably qualified candidates may send the information requested below, preferably in a single PDF email attachment, to Soong Ching Ling School’s Development Consultant, Dr. Kevin Conway – Please DO NOT send any information other than that which is specifically requested:

  • a letter of application (no more than two pages), briefly outlining why you wish to apply for this position and what skills, qualities, and experiences make you a good fit for this specific position and the Soong Ching Ling School
  • a current CV not to exceed two pages
  • a statement of educational and leadership philosophy (no more than one page)
  • a list of current telephone numbers and email addresses for at least three professional references who have worked with you in a supervisory capacity
  • a head and shoulders photo (optional)

 A note on timing: There is no deadline for applications. However, the review of files will begin as soon as applications are received.  The Search Committee is interested in making an appointment as soon as possible. Candidates should note that, in the event that an outstanding applicant is identified early in the search process, SCLS reserves the right to make an appointment at any point in the process and to bring the search to a close. For this reason we encourage interested candidates to apply as soon as possible.

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…?

Senior Associate Julie Ryan was named a National Distinguished Principal by the U.S. State Department and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.