Head of School at Xiamen International School in China
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Head of School
Xiamen International School (China)

Appointed - Mr. Deron Marvin
Aug 9, 2017
Sep 30, 2017


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Search Committee of Xiamen International School (XIS) in Xiamen, China, we are pleased to announce that after a worldwide search which produced a large number of highly qualified candidates, Mr. Deron Marvin has been appointed as the new Head of School beginning in August 2018.

Mr. Marvin is currently Elementary School Principal at The International School Yangon in Yangon, Myanmar where he has worked since 2012. He has also held administrative and teaching positions in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Gunagzhou, China, Chennai, India, and in his home country in the USA.

Mr. Marvin earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies at San Francisco State University, an M.A. in Sociology and Education from Colombia University Teachers College, and a second M.A. in K-12 Administration at Michigan State University.

The XIS Board of Directors, Search Committee and Search Associates would like to thank all candidates who expressed interest in the Head of School position, and to everyone who assisted and supported the search process.

Ralph Jahr and John Brent Mutsch
Search Associates



Xiamen, China

is seeking a

Head of School

- - effective August, 2018 - -

The School

Xiamen International School (XIS) is a private, non-profit, coeducational, day school serving students from Pre-K (4-year old) through Grade 12. It was founded in 1997 and serves students from the international business community in Xiamen, China, a thriving manufacturing hub located directly on the Taiwan Straits north of Hong Kong. XIS is fully accredited by WASC, one of seven regional accrediting agencies in the United States and is authorized to offer all three International Baccalaureate (IB ) Programs. The educational program is based on the three IB frameworks (PYP, MYP and DP) and the curriculum is standards based delineating what students should know and be able to do after each grade level. The fourth accreditation/authorization will take place in April 2018.  Total school enrollment is 450+, with a faculty of 62 and staff of 38.


 XIS’s operational mission is to inspire and develop confident, knowledgeable students who enjoy life-long learning, demonstrate global awareness and contribute compassionately to the world around them.

The Community

Families with children attending XIS come from the international community living in Xiamen as well as those families coming from the Chinese regions of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.  Approximately 48% of school families are either Taiwanese or Korean. Of the remaining 52%, about 28% represent other Asian countries and the other 20% are western. Most parents are either employed by large, multi-national corporations, or own a manufacturing business. The school enjoys positive parent support.

Campus and Facilities

The Xiamen International School campus is located in a growing residential area outside the central city of Xiamen. It is a purpose-built structure that includes classrooms, a soccer field, gymnasium, outdoor basketball courts, track, tennis courts, gymnasium, library, outdoor playing fields, two computer labs, three science labs, cafeteria, indoor swimming pool, a one-to-one laptop program, wireless internet access and two art rooms.


Total enrollment at Xiamen International is over 450 students and is growing at an annual rate of approximately 5-8%. All of XIS’s graduates attend universities. Entrance to universities is predominately in North America but graduates also attend universities in Asia or Europe. Maximum class-size caps are 24 students at the elementary and 26 students at the secondary level.


 The curriculum at Xiamen International School is similar to university-preparatory schools in the United States. XIS faculty members have completed a standards-based curriculum that identifies learning outcomes for each subject at each grade level. All courses in grades 11 and 12 are IB oriented and students mostly pursue the IB diploma. They are also awarded an XIS high school diploma which is equivalent to a US high school diploma. Students complete the IB diploma program by either being a full diploma candidate or taking certain courses to simply earn certificate(s). Students in grades 6-10 follow the MYP framework, but are also guided by best practices in middle school education. Xiamen International School emphasizes academics, arts, activities, and service. The curriculum includes a community service component and provides opportunities for student leadership in athletics, activities and clubs.  Curriculum Mapping is used to ensure a well-developed, effective, and articulated curriculum. Counseling and ELL support, are available for students with identified needs.

Faculty and Administration

Xiamen International School includes 66 faculty members including four (4) administrators (Headmaster, Deputy Headmaster, and Secondary and Elementary Principals). The faculty is predominately from the United States, but also includes faculty from China, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. All staff members hold at least a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. The school also has office staff, teacher assistants, bus drivers, security guards, custodians and electricians.


The Board of Directors is self-perpetuating and consists of seven (7) members. Five (5) are appointed and up to two (2) are parents of currently enrolled students who serve for two-year terms of office. The Board meets four times a year. The principals report at the first and last Board meeting. The Headmaster normally attends each meeting.

Academic Calendar

The school year consists of 191 teacher contract days of which there are at least 180 instructional days. School begins for students the second week in August and ends the second week in June. There are two-week vacations for Christmas, and Chinese New Year and one-week vacations in the Fall and Spring.

Position Description

The Head of School reports to the Board of Directors and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of XIS by providing the day-to-day academic, administrative, and financial leadership to the entire school community. The Head of develops and implements policies, programs, curriculum, and activities that promote the educational development of each student and the professional development of each staff member.

Description of Responsibilities/Duties


  • serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the Xiamen International School and reporting to its Board of Directors;
  • making policy suggestions to the Board of Directors, and implementing all school rules and regulations;
  • ensuring a workable and efficient system is in place to operate all school affairs;
  • updating the established five-year strategy plan;
  • developing the school’s yearly working plan;
  • allocating human resources including staff management, hiring new personnel, professional development, evaluating staff, determining employment renewal / termination of expatriate teachers, and recommending the hiring of key local Chinese positions for the Board’s approval;
  • ensuring all efforts to increase student enrollment, establishing admission and record keeping procedures, enforcing the school disciplinary policy, assuring supervision of all student activities, and providing a safe and secure environment for students;
  • promoting good communication with the staff, students and the extended school community to create a positive and inclusive school environment and promoting the school to the wider community;
  • fostering a positive relationship with the host government, the board and the national and international business and educational communities;


  • serving as a representative of the school in conducting public relations and fundraising for the school;
  • developing the annual financial budget and presenting it to the Board for approval according to established principals and procedures, assuring expenditures are under budgetary control, implementing the school financial policies to ensure healthy financial operations, and overseeing the operation and maintenance of school property;
  • directing and evaluating all phases of fiscal and business services including the maintaining, operating, and planning of facilities, supervising transportation, and ensuring the purchasing and dispensing of teaching supplies in accordance with school approval and purchasing procedures;


  • serving as a professional consultant to the Board of Directors on current educational practices and trends, advising the Board on educational needs of the school, and overseeing the ongoing review and development of the school’s educational program;
  • ensuring support for the school and its programs with members of the school community;
  • remaining professionally current by meeting the continuing educational requirements as specified by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), promoting and strengthening the school’s reputation locally and internationally, upgrading the foreign investment environment in Xiamen by enhancing the educational and teaching quality;


  •  performing other duties as assigned by the Board of Directors.

Required Qualifications

  • A proven record of outstanding educational leadership in a senior level position
  • A graduate degree in education or related field
  • Deep knowledge of the IB program
  • Knowledge of budget and process

Preferred Qualifications

  • International experience
  • Excellent academic record
  • Experience as a teacher in an IB school plus experience in a leadership role in an IB school
  • Strong work ethic and the ability to successfully balance a complex institution while providing leadership for a host of academic, artistic, athletic, and service learning programs
  • Proven record of working harmoniously with a board, administration, faculty, staff, parents, students and the community.
  • Head of School/Superintendent certification is a plus
  • Knowledge of Mandarin and/or experience working in China (or Asia) is a plus

Personal Attributes / Characteristics

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • A good listener with a collaborative administrative style
  • Honesty, integrity, compassion, and a good sense of humor
  • Ability to generate trust with all constituent groups
  • Strong organizational and proven problem-solving skills
  • Ability to balance the diverse perspectives of different stakeholders
  • Cultural openness, sensitivity, and understanding

Salary and Benefits

The salary will be competitive and will be commensurate with the qualifications and experience of the successful candidate. The Head of School package includes:

  • Competitive salary
  • Housing allowance
  • Retirement benefit
  • Health insurance
  • Shipping allowance
  • Travel allowance
  • Tuition for dependent child(ren)
  • Professional development opportunities

Procedure for Filing an Application

XIS has appointed Search Associates to facilitate the Head of School search with Ralph Jahr and Brent Mutsch as the primary consultants. The deadline for application is September 30, 2017. Candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest and the requested materials as early as possible as the Board reserves the right to hire immediately if the right candidate is identified. The review of files will begin as soon as applications are received. Semifinalist candidates will be selected by Search Associates and their applications and supporting materials will be forwarded to the XIS Search Committee on a rolling basis. The XIS Search Committee will interview selected Semifinalist candidates and 2-4 Finalist candidates will be identified by October 2. Finalist candidates (with their spouse if applicable) will be invited to Xiamen in late October or early November and will have the opportunity to meet with the board, administration, faculty, parents, students, and non-teaching staff. The new Head of School will be appointed shortly after interviews of finalist candidate(s) have been completed.  Candidates who wish to apply should submit the information requested below in the form and manner requested.

  • A letter of application, no longer than two pages, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in the XIS Head of School position.
  • A current résumé not to exceed two pages
  • A one or two-page statement outlining your philosophy of education.
  • A one-page list of at least four references with current phone numbers and email addresses.
  • A maximum of four letters of reference (scanned at low resolution) which may already be in your possession.

Please note that all materials must be scanned into a single pdf attachment of 5MB or less and sent to Search Associates at the email address listed below. Please send the application to:

rjahr@searchassociates.com  and bmutsch@searchassociates.com.

For further information about Xiamen International School, please see the school's website: www.xischina.com  


Ralph Jahr                                                          Tel: 609-759-0431 USA – Pacific Time Zone

Skype – ralph.h.jahr                                           Email: RJahr@searchassociates.com


Brent Mutsch                                                      Tel: 970-368-6879 USA – Mountain Time Zone

Skype – brentmutsch                                           Email: BMutsch@searchassociates.com


Did You Know…?

Senior associate Harry Deelman was a student under Alec Peterson ("father of the IB") in the 1960's, and was shown the DP hexagon very soon after its creation.