Head of School at HELP International School in Malaysia
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Head of School
HELP International School (Malaysia)

Appointed - Martin Van Rijswijk
Aug 14, 2018
Oct 1, 2018



We are pleased to announce that after a thorough search process the Board of HELP International School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has recently appointed Martin Van Rijswijk to be their next Head of School.

Martin has a BEd degree from Massey University, New Zealand, and Diplomas and a Master’s Degree in Education from Bath University, UK.        After teaching in New Zealand for several years he moved into international education in Malaysia, becoming Principal of Garden International Primary School in 1997 and then Principal of Kinabalu International School in 1999.      Since 2002 he has successfully held leadership positions at Shrewsbury International School, Bangkok (2003-2006), New Cairo British International School (2006-2012) and Bavarian International School (2012-2014).    Martin is currently back in New Zealand, as Principal of Whangarei School.

Martin will start his new job in Kuala Lumpur in August 2019 and he and his wife are greatly looking forward to returning to Malaysia and joining the HELP community.


Search for a new HEAD OF SCHOOL


 from August 2019


The Board of Governors of the HELP International School (HIS) is looking for a new Head of School to take over from the current Head, Davina McCarthy, with effect from the summer of 2019, and have asked Search Associates to help them in their search.


The HELP International School (HIS), founded in 2014, is the fastest growing private school in Malaysia and has received the 5-Star SKIPS (Malaysia Private Education Institution Quality System) rating (2015-2017) from the Ministry of Education in the 2015 rating exercise.  The School is managed by HELP Education Services Sdn Bhd (HES), a subsidiary of the HELP Education Group, established since 1986.     HIS started strongly with 500 students in its inaugural intake in January 2014.    It now has a total population of 1,352 students of 25 nationalities and will be reaching its maximum capacity of 1,425 students by the September 2018 intake.

The school has achieved extraordinary growth and success in its short 5 years of existence, and the Board has high aspirations for it to continue to develop into one of the top schools in the region and a model school for Malaysia.

The School was awarded the status of Apple Distinguished School in 2017 and received IPC accreditation for International Mindedness in 2018.      It has recently been awarded the Eco School Silver Award in July 2018.    The School is currently in the process of applying for FOBISIA membership; the audit team visit has taken place in May 2018, and the feedback from the team has been very encouraging.      HIS was also accredited by Common Sense Education with Certified School Digital Citizenship and became a member of the Association of International Malaysian Schools (AIMS).

HIS is part of a group of 3 schools, the other 2 being in Johor Bahru and Kuching, that are collectively managed by HELP Education Services (HES) which comprises a management team of 5 people based in Kuala Lumpur, led by a CEO with leaders in administrative operations, human resources, marketing and finance.

The HIS Board of Governors is a group of senior academics with a long-standing background in education management.   The School’s academic quality and standards are overseen by the Board of Governors and the finances of the School are managed by the Board of Directors. The Head of School is supported a robust leadership team overseeing the teaching and learning as well as the pastoral care of the School. He/ she is assisted by three (3) Deputies in charge of Primary, Secondary and Curriculums and Innovation respectively. The middle leadership team consists of five (5) Assistant Principals, three (3) Key Stage Coordinators and (14) Heads of Year, including the preschool coordinator. The School practices meritocracy in its staff recruitment process and has an even number of expatriate and local academic staff. The administrative structure of the School is strongly supported by five (5) managers overseeing Admissions, Facilities and Events, Human Resources, Finance and Marketing.


HIS offers IEYC in its preschool, IPC for the primary curriculum, IMYC for its Year 7 and 8 curriculum and Cambridge ICSGE and A Levels in the upper secondary years. For admissions, applicants are subjected to CAT4 assessment with an English proficiency test as a written component. The academic progression assessment is supported by year group CAT4 testing in Year 3, 6 and 9 and Year 6 and 9 checkpoint exams. HIS is also an inclusive school with a Special Education Needs offering: 10% capped seats in each year group to support students with special learning needs.

School Vision Statement              

To become a world-renowned school that embodies a holistic educational philosophy.

School Mission Statement            

To provide an educational experience that will enable and inspire our students to experience life in all its fullness.

School Motto

Our school motto, Vita ad Plenitudinem, which in English means “Life in all its fullness”, captures the essence of what we hope to achieve at HELP International School (HIS).     At HIS, it is our mission to ensure that all our students enjoy a FULL school life which will prepare them to live FULL lives as adults.

School Values

  1. Pride of Achievement
  2. Sharing Success
  3. The Courage to Be
  4. To be Compassionate
  5. To be Significant


The HELP International School Campus is located in Subang Bestari, a new residential suburb conveniently located in the larger conurbation of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

Served by a new highway network that connects the school campus to the NKVE, the new Guthrie Highway and the Sungai Buloh Highway, the HELP International School is easily accessible from almost anywhere in the Klang Valley.

By road, the HELP International School Campus is:

• 5 minutes from Kota Damansara

• 5 minutes from Subang Airport (Domestic Airport)

• 10 minutes from Ara Damansara and Hyatt Saujana

• 20 minutes from Mutiara Damansara (The Curve, IKEA)

• 25 minutes from Mont Kiara & Bangsar

• 35 minutes from Kuala Lumpur City Centre

Pictured below are some of the nearby residential areas frequented by expatriate staff.

For further information about the School, please see https://his.edu.my/.




To provide a challenging, effective, well-rounded international educational experience for the students attending the School



The Head of school is responsible for the direction and supervision of all personnel who perform their respective functions within the school.

The Head of school reports directly to the CEO of HES, Dr Goh Chee Leong.

The Head of School will also have to provide regular reports to the Board of Governors who oversee the academic standards and direction of the school.



  • Responsible for the coordination of all school activities and programs.
  • Direct the school, students and staff towards the school’s vision, mission and the school’s goals.
  • Develop, implement and maintain the vision and mission statement of the school. Involve students, staff and parents.
  • Actively promote international education opportunities for students to develop global leadership skills and an understanding of global issues.
  • Responsible for developing, monitoring, evaluating and promoting the school instructional programme.
  • Work with Senior Leadership Team and Board of Governors to ensure current innovative educational practice, relevant curriculum content and regular assessment of the educational quality.
  • Establish and promote high standards and expectations for all students and staff for academic performance and responsibilities for behaviour.
  • Develop school improvement plans with staff that align with the school’s long and short term goals.
  • Use meaningful data and statistics to make informed decisions on school improvement.
  • Lead a system of faculty / staff monitoring whereby all teachers receive systematic feedback on their professional performance.
  • Recognize and promote the use of Information Technology as an essential 21st century learning tool. Effectively use technology for efficient and effective administrative practices.
  • Lead the production of secondary curriculum and promotional documentation.
  • Establish procedures for reviewing current policies and procedures for changes as needed.
  • Coordinate and supervise a school management team, including the Deputy and Assistant Principals.
  • Assist in the process of recruiting high quality teachers for the school.
  • Plan, propose and manage staff assignments.
  • Organize programmes for assistance and orientation for new teachers.
  • Take responsibility for the preparation of the teacher handbook and student handbook.
  • Oversee the development and implementation of the school master calendar in the context of the whole school calendar.
  • Coordinate student advisory groups and programmes.
  • Develop community contacts, and work productively with community organisations.
  • Develop procedures for the maintenance of permanent records.
  • Work with the Assistant Principals in maintaining a consistent and fair behaviour management system for students.
  • Supervise and approve field trips, staff development activities, assemblies, report card distribution, parent/teacher conferences, and other special events.
  • Attend school performances and fixtures.
  • Maintain a positive, interactive and transparent relationship with the school community.
  • Contribute actively and creatively support the whole-school Administrative team.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the HES CEO.




  • Completion of at least a post-graduate certificate in education. Certification of having completed a course in school leadership will be an advantage.
  • Candidates must have experience of successful work in senior school leadership positions, preferably as Head of School, but exceptional candidates who are currently serving as Deputy Principals are welcome to apply.
  • Commitment to teacher training and the development of both local and expatriate staff
  • Strong organizational, public relations and interpersonal skills.
  • Commitment to internationalism in education.
  • Ability to demonstrate, with evidence, the impact of leadership on student achievement in the school.
  • Sound knowledge and understanding of pedagogy, and ability to lead the school staff in teaching and learning.
  • Proven ability to work autonomously and collaboratively as a member of a leadership team, with high levels of accountability.
  • Demonstrated capacity to produce and implement clear, evidence-based improvement plans and policies and lead innovation and change.
  • Demonstrated capacity to ensure the school’s resources (human, physical, financial) are efficiently allocated and managed.
  • Evidence of ability to create a professional learning community that is focused on the continuous improvement of teaching and learning, supporting all staff to achieve high standards and commitment to their own learning and wellbeing.
  • Demonstrated capacity to work well with a diverse school community and develop positive relationships parents/families and the local community.



The initial contract offered to the successful candidate will be for three years, renewable thereafter by mutual agreement between the Head of School and the Board of Governors.

The compensation package will be commensurate with the responsibilities of the position and will include the following:

  • A competitive salary, with an optional Employees Provident Fund contribution
  • Group PA Insurance
  • Group Hospitalization and Surgical Insurance
  • Accommodation allowance
  • Full tuition fees cover for up to 2 dependent children enrolled with HIS
  • Annual return airfare for Head of School and his/her dependents
  • Relocation allowance (reimbursement basis)



Suitably qualified candidates should send to David Cope of Search Associatesdcope@searchassociates.com - all the items below collated together in a single pdf as an email attachment (to arrive as soon as possible, and no later than October 1, 2018)

  • 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 he/she can offer
  • a CV (no more than two pages)
  • a 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 organisation)
  • a good recent head-and-shoulders photo

Interviews are scheduled to take place during November 2018, with the final round in Kuala Lumpur. However, HIS’s Board reserves the right to invite selected candidates to interviews in advance of this schedule.

Closing date: October 1, 2018       Applications to:              dcope@searchassociates.com


Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Gez Hayden led the first international school authorized to offer all three IB programs in China.