Head of School at ACS International School, Egham in UK
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Head of School
ACS International School, Egham (UK)

Appointed - Mark A. Wilson
Oct 27, 2021
Nov 15, 2021


On behalf of the Board of Trustees of ACS International Schools, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Wilson as new Head of School at ACS Egham, to commence in August 2022.

Mark will join ACS Egham from the US, where he is Head of School at The British International School of Houston.      He brings a wealth of education leadership experience gained in China, at the British International School Shanghai, and at schools in South-East England, before his move to the US six years ago.

Educated in the UK, he holds a BA (Hons) in Drama/Dance and Sport/Leisure from De Montfort University Bedford, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Drama) from Middlesex University.

Mark has significant leadership, teaching and IB experience, which resulted in him being awarded best IBDP results in North America.  Mark was an International Schools Awards finalist in 2020, achieved NEASC accreditation for his school in 2020 and also achieved Apple Distinguished School Status.    In addition to school leadership, Mark has worked as an educational trainer, consultant, and guest speaker with a variety of organisations in the UK and overseas, including PGCE Teacher Training programmes at Middlesex University and the Royal Academy of Dance. 

ACS International Schools Chief Executive, Tim Cagney, shared with the ACS Egham school community:

“Mark is an excellent fit for the school and I am delighted that he will be joining our outstanding IB specialist school ACS Egham following an extensive and rigorous recruitment process.”

A keen sportsman, Mark enjoys taekwondo, football and skiing. He also enjoys the arts and spending time with his wife and two children.

Thanks very much, and best wishes,

David and Julie



This search has been extended - please note new closing date of November 15, 2021


HEAD OF SCHOOL - from August 2022

  ACS International Schools (https://www.acs-schools.com/) are seeking a new Head of School

for ACS International School Egham, from August 2022, to succeed Jeremy Lewis.


“We are looking to appoint a new Head of School for our dedicated IB school in Egham.   

This is a pivotal and high-profile leadership role at ACS, and the ideal candidate

will have the desire and ambition to match our aspirations”.


David Cope and Julie Ryan of Search Associates are assisting ACS by leading the search.

ACS is committed to inclusion across race, gender, faith, identity and abilities.


We believe that diversity helps us to fulfil our purpose, realise our vision

and exemplify our values.   We welcome applications from candidates

who will add to the diversity of our senior leadership team”.



Situated on 20 acres of glorious English countryside adjoining the Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park, and only 25 miles from central London, ACS Egham is an IB World School with 600 students (4 to 18) and 160 faculty and staff from over 50 countries.    

ACS Egham is the only school in England fully authorised to offer all four of the acclaimed International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes:  Primary Years (PYP), Middle Years (MYP), Career-related (CP) and Diploma (DP).     It also offers an American-style High School Diploma for all students who complete the programme of study, accredited by NEASC.

The school offers an exceptional learning environment on a beautifully landscaped campus. Outstanding facilities include well-equipped IT labs, three recently upgraded libraries, indoor and outdoor learning spaces and classrooms, playgrounds, Forest School areas and sports fields, as well as an excellent Visual Arts and Design Technology Centre, a Science Wing and a dedicated IB Diploma Centre.     The school also features a specialist Drama space and mobile stage, a stunning Sports Centre complex with dance studio and fitness suite, two FIBA basketball courts, an indoor climbing wall, an outdoor traversing wall and an external gym.

More details of the curriculum, co-curricular activities and facilities at ACS Egham are available at https://www.acs-schools.com/egham/about-acs-egham.


Founded in 1967, ACS International Schools (www.acs-schools.com) are now educating around 3,500 students, aged 2 to 18, day and boarding, from more than 100 countries.     The four schools – three in the greater London area, in Cobham, Egham and Hillingdon, and one in Doha, Qatar – are all non-sectarian and co-educational.     They employ over 900 staff (760 in the UK, 140 in Qatar), as well as a substantial number of substitute staff, coaches and specialists.

This “one organisation: four schools” structure strengthens ACS at both individual school and group level.   This is reinforced by the collective experience, talent and knowledge of ACS staff who collaborate across the group and are supported by the professional expertise of Head Office colleagues in education, partnerships, marketing, development, finance, HR, IT and property.

For many years ACS has operated on a not-for-profit basis, reinvesting annual surpluses into development and expansion.   Recognising this, ACS became a fully registered UK charity in September 2018, which has formalised its not-for-profit nature.   Charitable status enables ACS to provide financial assistance, through bursaries and scholarships, to many more students whose families cannot afford to fully fund their education.    It also allows ACS to partner with local schools and community organisations – through mentoring, exchange programmes, joint activities or sharing facilities – to the benefit of ACS and our partners, staff and students. 

ACS educational programmes are based on international research, learning standards, principles and practices, and on a commitment to maintaining high standards of scholarship, citizenship and student-centred learning.     With a broadly selective admissions policy ensuring the acceptance of students with a wide range of abilities, the schools achieve top-tier academic results, and ACS graduates enter many of the most esteemed universities in the UK and worldwide. 


Over 50 years ago the founders of ACS, Mr Manos Poularas and Mr Gordon Speed, made a reality of their vision to create an inspirational learning environment for London’s expanding global community, opening their first school in 1967 and subsequently a further five schools in quick succession in the London area.    ACS rapidly became well known and well established and, by investing in new facilities and always searching for best practice, has since maintained and built upon its reputation as a leading international school group committed to excellence.   

By 1975, the existing schools were unable to increase capacity to meet the needs of the growing expatriate community, so two further properties were purchased and developed, the first in Cobham and the second in Hillingdon.  Once these two schools were developed and operational, the other schools moved from the smaller central London sites.

In 1995, responding to the ever-increasing demand, ACS opened a third school in Egham, Surrey, which has now grown to about 600 students.    From the start it was intended that ACS Egham should become an IB World School, and it is justly proud of its offerings from early childhood to IBDP and CP.   

In 2011 ACS opened its first school outside the UK, in Doha, Qatar.   The school has successfully established ACS and its reputation in a new territory, and has attracted strong enrolment.   A new landmark campus in Al Kheesa was opened in September 2020 with outstanding facilities and innovative learning spaces designed to accommodate 2,200 students.


Strategic vision and values

As well as updating its brand identity ACS has recently reviewed and restated its strategic vision and values, building on and enhancing the founders’ legacy of 50 years of community, positive change, excellence and internationalism.    Becoming a charity in 2018 secured this legacy and prompted ACS to look to the future.    Its purpose is simply to inspire the world’s next global thinkers and doers.

 Education Strategy (details at https://www.acs-schools.com/about/education-strategy)  

ACS’s Education Strategy describes general intentions which reflect the desired position for its schools in 2025.    It intends to deliver significant change, including:

  • a sharper focus on inspirational teaching that continually improves student learning results
  • demonstrated public benefit and global competence through a greater range of educational experiences
  • an expanded and carefully monitored notion of what it means to belong to a healthy international learning community
  • equitable, distinctive, and systematically implemented support for all students to achieve challenging educational goals.

Charitable status has given ACS an exciting opportunity to participate in building a culture of philanthropy and engaging parents and staff in fundraising – to support wider investment in teaching programmes and capital development projects – and also to participate in engagement events with 26,000 ACS alumni and friends of 100 different nationalities.


The Head of School will promote the ACS vision and values, philosophy and ethos through day-to-day interactions with the Egham school community, ensuring the delivery of an impactful, enriched, child-centred programme.

The Head of School will be an integral member of the ACS International Schools Leadership Team in the further development of its strategic vision and objectives. The Leadership Team has accountability and authority to develop and implement future strategy of the group under the guidance of the ACS Board of Trustees, whose members represent a wide range of skills and experiences that add to overall organizational capability. 

In recent years, a number of notable improvements have been made at ACS Egham, including curriculum development and documentation, use of student data, implementation of performance effectiveness and professional development systems and a number of facilities upgrades (including the planning of an exciting project to create improved learning spaces), as well as the growth of ACS’s humanitarian project in Nepal.     

Reporting to the Chief Executive, the new Head of School must have the inspirational leadership skills and flair for innovation required to build creatively on this legacy of successful growth and achievement, and so move the school to the next level.

Key to success are the following:

  • Promoting the ACS vision and values, philosophy and ethos through day-to-day interactions with the whole ACS community of staff, students and parents.
  • As a key member of the ACS Leadership Team, being a strong strategic, inspirational and collaborative leader, delivering the School and ACS Education, Partnership, People and Growth strategies.
  • Having international experience at this senior level including substantial experience in strong IB schools and knowledge/experience of national and international programmes and educational standards.
  • Being passionate about holistic student education, and about the professional development of all ACS Egham staff.
  • Having a strategic understanding of enrolment strategies including growth and financial management.
  • Supporting performance through performance effectiveness systems, to deliver improved student learning outcomes.

Key Responsibilities

School Leadership

  1. Contribute to strategy development across the ACS International Schools and work with the Board of Trustees, Leadership Team, school staff and community to develop a strategic plan for the school’s future.
  2. Refine and review the school’s improvement plan based on ACE Learning Principles, ISI standards, and IB Programme Standards and Practices.
  3. Provide international education vision and direction by identifying and empowering staff to implement effective practice in teaching and learning.
  4. Use data and the benchmarking of every child’s learning to drive instruction strategies and curriculum development, incorporating new technologies into teaching and learning.
  5. Establish a detailed programme for faculty and staff professional development, to help, lead and direct the teachers to continuously improve their performance and achieve academic excellence.
  6. Implement Education Strategy and meet annual KPIs in the Education Quality Framework.
  7. Contribute widely as part of the Leadership Team e.g. attending Leadership Team meetings and participating in ACS Forum and ACS wide Committees from time to time.

Curriculum and Assessment

  1. In collaboration with the Board’s Education Committee and in line with Education policy, lead curriculum development and assessment practice, ensuring high standards for teaching excellence in line with ACS professional effectiveness standards.
  2. Ensure the development and implementation of an equitable and inclusive learning community.
  3. Drive innovative practice and create conditions for successful technology integration and the development of high-quality digital learning environments.
  4. Champion social and emotional learning as key factors in personal and academic success.

Health, safety and well-being (including safeguarding)

  1. Take an active interest in the daily life of all students, ensuring discipline and high standards of behaviour and attendance, and motivating them to achieve their potential for personal and academic growth.
  2. Monitor and review the range of academic, university and career and social/ emotional guidance services for students to ensure best practice is adopted, children’s and young people’s welfare is safe-guarded and high standards are maintained.
  3. Maintain an extensive co-curricular programme, including a large variety of activities and sporting teams for students, to enhance the breadth of opportunities that the school offers and to promote a positive school culture.

Organisation and Staff Management

  1. Plan and allocate clear individual accountabilities, communicate, support and evaluate the work undertaken by groups, teams and individuals, ensuring the clear delegation of tasks to teachers and other staff so that changes and improvements in the school are delivered on time and at a high level of quality.
  2. Ensure high standards and continued educational developments by monitoring performance data, and working with the Principals and other senior leaders to ensure effective teaching practice, innovation and improvement, staff welfare and wellness, and expected student learning results.

Improvement of Facilities

  1. Develop and maintain the school’s facilities, working closely with the Facilities team, to ensure the campus is safe and offers the best possible learning-centred environment for students and staff.

Creating a high profile for the school externally and with parents

  1. Promote the school in the local community and more broadly across the local region and on the international stage, so that student places are filled with suitably qualified children and young people each year.
  2. Drive and enable student enrolment management and growth.
  3. Develop and maintain positive relationships with parents and the wider community to ensure they support the school’s direction and understand the school’s ethos and approach.
  4. Actively support the bursary programme to widen access and enhance the student and school community.

Budget Control

  1. Develop a structure for building a school budget based on needs and maintain control of agreed financial budgets to ensure financial plans are met.


  1. In collaboration with the Partnership Director, enable and grow a hub partnership community in the local area.

Development, Fundraising and Alumni Relations

  1. Work closely with the Advancement Director and Head of Development to further the culture of philanthropy and giving with parents and alumni.



Communications and working relationships

The Head of School will work closely with the following groups of people, among others:

  • Students and parents, including the Parent Student Organisation and its leaders
  • School leadership team and staff
  • Board and Group Services staff
  • Other leaders in ACS, including the Education Strategy Services Team 
  • Other schools within and outside ACS to contribute to the development of the education system and to create a network of contacts in local, private and international schools.

The diagram below illustrates the leadership structure at top-tier level:


Enthusiasm and passion for the role is expected as a given.  The ideal candidate will be an experienced school leader, who demonstrates the following:


  • A track record of successful school leadership and management, in an international context, including experience of the following specific areas:  
  • Achieving high educational standards, as assessed by international and local regulators and inspection organisations.
  •  Commitment to the IB programmes and understanding of their successful implementation, including continuity and transitions between programmes.
  • Managing innovative change, to ensure continuous school improvement.
  • Motivating staff to give their best, recognising them when things go well and coaching as necessary for performance improvement, to build morale and personal esteem.
  • All aspects of school financial management, including management of budgets.
  • Managing enrolment, staffing and facilities.
  • Promoting international-mindedness in staff and students.
  • Managing parent and alumni fundraising and engagement programmes.

Knowledge, skills, qualities and competencies

  • Collaborative and inspirational leadership style, based on excellent interpersonal, communication, analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to create a sense of community, through being an involved and visible presence on campus.
  • Passion for holistic education and people development.
  • Tact, diplomacy and proven emotional intelligence.
  • Personal impact and presence, recognised as credible by other academic leaders.
  • Ability to build a network of contacts across various stakeholder groups and disciplines.
  • Competency with a range of digital management tools and learning technologies.
  • Understanding of school enrolment strategies within an organisational business model.
  • Up-to-date knowledge of the ISI framework as well as NEASC accreditation, and IB Programme Standards and Practices.
  • Good understanding of national education policies, legislation and compliance.

“ACS is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, and as an employee of ACS you are expected to share this commitment.

The protection of our students’ welfare is the responsibility of all staff within

ACS International Schools, and individuals are expected to conduct themselves

in a way that reflects the principles of our organisation”.



The school will offer a highly competitive package reflecting the successful candidate’s qualifications and experience.   The Head of School’s salary is normally subject to annual review.

Benefits in addition to an attractive salary are likely to include the following:

  • Single private medical insurance (PMI) cover
  • Life Assurance
  • Up to 10% matched employer contribution into the ACS pension scheme
  • Employee assistance programme for all well-being needs
  • Housing allowance and relocation package
  • Annual home leave allowance (subject to eligibility)
  • Full sponsorship of a Tier 2 visa to ensure right to work in the UK
  • Bursary for education of school-age children (according to the ACS Bursary Policy)


ACS and Search Associates are keen to attract suitably qualified applicants

from diverse backgrounds, particularly candidates whose gender, race, nationality or identity

is currently under-represented in international school leadership.


Suitably qualified candidates should send their application as an email attachment to both

David Cope and Julie Ryan of Search Associates

dcope@searchassociates.com and jryan@searchassociates.com

including all the items below, collated together in a single pdf,

to arrive as soon as possible, and no later than November 15, 2021:

  • a letter of application (no more than one page), briefly outlining why the candidate wishes to apply for this position and what specific skills, qualities and experience she/he can offer
  • a CV/résumé (no more than two pages)
  • a short statement of educational and leadership philosophy (no more than one page)
  • the names and full contact details of at least three professional referees (one of which should if possible be the leader of the applicant’s current organization)

It is expected that interviews will take place during November/December 2021.   However, ACS reserves the right to invite selected candidates to interviews in advance of this schedule.

Final closing date:     November 15, 2021

Applications to both: dcope@searchassociates.com and jryan@searchassociates.com

Did You Know…?

Since 1990, Search Associates has assisted over 50,000 educators to find jobs in international schools around the world.