HIS Niseko Campus Principal at Hokkaido International School in Japan
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HIS Niseko Campus Principal
Hokkaido International School (Japan)

Appointed - Dr. Victoria Spagnoli
Jan 20, 2023
Feb 10, 2023



On behalf of the HIS Niseko Principal hiring team,  I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Victoria Spagnoli as the new Principal of the Niseko campus of Hokkaido International School, beginning August 1st, 2023.  This appointment followed a lengthy and wide-ranging global search led by Search Associates.

Dr.Spagnoli is an accomplished educator and school leader, with over 30 years of US and international experience. She currently serves as Vice Principal of Burgaw Middle School in Burgaw, North Carolina, where she has led numerous successful school-improvement initiatives since starting that role in 2018. She has worked in a variety of teaching and administrative roles throughout her career and will bring a wealth of experience to her new role, including a teaching background in English, art, and media studies. 

 Dr. Spagnoli earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Carolina and her Master’s in Teaching from San Diego State University. She will be accompanied to Hokkaido by her daughter, Norah, who is currently studying Japanese language and culture at the university level. 

The Head of School, Tim Schlosser, has written to the school community as follows,

“The hiring team is delighted to welcome Dr. Spagnoli to the HIS Niseko community, and we congratulate her very warmly on her appointment. She rose to the top of a competitive field, and members of the hiring team highlighted her authenticity, relational leadership style, and warmth.  We are looking forward to beginning the transition process and to excellent collaboration with Dr. Spagnoli.”

Dr. Spagnoli writes: “I am excited and honored to accept the principal position at HIS Niseko! I look forward to learning and growing alongside Niseko staff and the parent community whilst amplifying the voices and ideas of every student in our care. I can’t wait to meet you and to begin a fabulous school year together in August!” 

Hokkaido International School and Search Associates wish to thank each of the candidates who expressed interest in this important position, and also everyone who contributed to the success of our extensive search process.


Jeremy Lewis, MEd

Senior Consultant, Search Associates





Hokkaido International School– Niseko, Japan satellite campus - seeks to appoint a new Principal with teaching responsibilities, with contract beginning August 2023.


Jeremy Lewis of Search Associates is assisting with the search.



Mindful leadership and learning through academic pursuit, character development and global engagement


At HIS we believe in:

  • global engagement
  • growth for all
  • repeated positive struggle
  • the need for lasting connections between knowledge, skills and understandings
  • experiential learning
  • learner-centered experiences
  • character-rich environment


Founded in 1958 in Sapporo, Japan, Hokkaido International School is an original member of the Japan Council of International Schools and the oldest international school in Hokkaido. While maintaining its strong historical roots and identity, HIS will also embrace opportunities for growth and change through its five-year strategic plan. To quote our school song, we aspire to be “the Star of the Northern Sky": a premier international school option for our region of Asia, and a school that cultivates students who possess a global perspective, a strong character, and a deep commitment to building a brighter future.


The HIS Niseko Campus was founded in 2012 and now serves 44 students, Early Years - 8th grade.




Hokkaido International School in Niseko is a private, coeducational day school that offers a western-style education from Early Years through 8th grade for students of all nationalities. English is the language of instruction. Hokkaido International School in Niseko was established in 2012 and is a branch of Hokkaido International School in Sapporo. HIS Niseko and HIS Sapporo are the only fully accredited international schools on the island of Hokkaido.

Hokkaido International School stands as a center for leadership development, complementing academic rigor with character enrichment to prepare young minds for global engagement and lifelong personal achievement.

For further details please visit the HIS website: www.his.ac.jp



This role represents a unique and exciting opportunity for prospective candidates who are seeking to combine leadership/administrative responsibilities, with teaching. It is very important to note that there are significant teaching and class coverage responsibilities associated with the role of Principal at the Niseko campus (which serves approx. 44 students ages 3-14 in multi-age classrooms). Specifically, providing ELL support will be a requirement in the position, as well as teaching at least 1-2 elective classes (Art, PE, and Wellness are examples of electives taught by Niseko administrators in the past). The selected candidate will be  a “teaching administrator,” and will need to support the various needs of a small school, being flexible to take on tasks such as driving the school van (we are looking for a candidate willing to obtain a driver’s license in Japan), fundraising for the school, and occasionally assisting staff with housing-related issues. The Principal is a leader of the Niseko campus but works very closely with the Head of School, who is ultimately responsible for all final administrative decisions and accountable to the Executive Board for the continued growth and success of the campus.


The position of Principal at the Niseko implies both independence and interdependence as the Principal works in collaboration with the Head of School and the Principal of the Sapporo Campus. The Principal has the authority to make local decisions and the necessity of working in conjunction with the larger school mission, vision, and ethos. This means the Principal must work within a team and at the same time accept responsibility for the entire team. Although the two-hour drive from Sapporo to Niseko represents a significant separation between the two campuses, an important aspect of the Principal position is for the Principal to foster unity throughout the school.


Roles and Responsibilities for the HIS Niseko Principal

Please note that this position includes significant teaching (ELL / specialist) and class coverage responsibilities

The Niseko Principal  works in partnership with the Head of School. The Niseko Principal works with some autonomy but more closely in support of the Head of School. This means the Principal must work within a team and at the same time accept responsibility for the entire team. The Principal must communicate directly with the Head of School and also help facilitate communication between teachers at the Niseko Campus and with faculty and the administrators at the Sapporo Campus.

The Niseko Principal is responsible for day-to-day operations and coordination among the various divisions within the school. The nature of the Niseko Campus requires that the administrator be both an instructional leader as well as an administrative leader.                                              

The Niseko Principal participates with the schoolwide Leadership Team in assuring the school’s credibility and accountability to all constituencies, and ensuring that communications about the Niseko campus reflect the HIS mission and values.

The Niseko Principal is responsible for:

Curriculum – the Niseko Principal is a member of the Curriculum Team and assists the Head of School in monitoring the curriculum delivery at the Niseko Campus and also ensures that the delivery reflects the school’s curricular beliefs. The Principal  observes and evaluates teachers, curriculum delivery, and assessment, and  ensures that educational materials are provided and that they are appropriate. The Principal develops the student and teacher schedules, and  supports the Head off School report to the Executive Board on the evaluation of the instructional program, progress of the students and the general administration of the School.  The Principal works with the Head of School, Curriculum Team and appropriate staff on instructional programming, The Principal plans and schedules as needed faculty, grade level or subject meetings essential to both administrative efficiency and the improvement of instruction, including the development of curriculum guides, adoption of textbooks, selection of instructional media and library books, organizing an in-service program, establishing a testing program, and generally maintaining high standards of instruction. The Principal is  responsible for the classification, promotion and graduation of students.

Community – the Niseko Principal communicates with members of the school community about important school information, and is the main communication link within the faculty community. The Principal  is directly involved with promoting parent involvement in the school and in promoting communication within the school community, and serves as co-chair of the PTA.The Principal will oversee teacher-led After School Activities, and provide at least one per year personally. 

Accreditation – the Niseko Principal needs to be well-versed in the WASC accreditation process.

Student Support, Reporting, and Behavior -The Niseko Principal is responsible for developing a staff awareness of the need for student guidance and for instituting effective guidance procedures in the school.  The Principal establishes a system of reports, records and forms to be used in the school, including reports to parents on the progress of their children, and is responsible for enforcing the student behavior policies of the Executive Board.  The Principal ensures proper supervision of students in the school building and on school grounds during recess, and during established before and after school times. The Principal is also the key administrator working with student data.

Enrollment – The Niseko Principal meets with prospective families and their children as needed and is directly involved with the interviews of incoming students and works with the Head of School  in support of the admissions process for incoming students.

Child Safeguarding & Pastoral Care- The Niseko Principal helps to  ensure high quality learning and support for students’ needs–personal, social, and academic The Principal will also ensure adherence to schoolwide child safeguarding policies.

Recruitment & Marketing- The Niseko Principal is expected to represent and promote the school   enthusiastically in the wider community, particularly to prospective parents and students and to help ensure key publicity materials are kept up to date. The Principal must also maintain positive relationships with neighbors and local government officials.

Employment – The Niseko Principal supports the Head of School  in recruitment, appointment, assignment, classification, evaluation, transfer, and promotion of full time, part time and substitute staff members. The Niseko Principal  is responsible for assisting the Head of School with faculty evaluation on the Niseko Campus, and also serves as a professional support to staff.  The Principal is  responsible for the evaluation of the professional services of the school staff on a regular, on-going basis.

Other Duties - the Principal of the Niseko campus also supports the Head of School in developing the school calendar and the budget, and supports in the inventory of instructional supplies and equipment of particular value to ensure that all items are accounted for at the beginning and at the end of the school year.  The Principal must be flexible to take on other duties as required.

Personal specifications:

Experience in curriculum development

Community builder with parents, students and teachers

Skilled at nurturing a staff and promoting a positive teacher culture

Good team member

Qualified and willing to drive the school van

Flexibility and preparedness to assume a range of roles and responsibilities

Sound knowledge of recent international and national educational developments

Collaboration and consensus builder

Experience of and commitment to outdoor education

Committed to performance, results-delivery, and drive

Ability to provide clear leadership and to inspire enthusiasm in others

Experience and interest in promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ)

Serves as a model for instructional planning and delivery

Ability to foster  positive relationships with students

Consistency and follow-through

Time management and personal / professional balance

Strong written communication and interpersonal skills

Knowledge of Japanese is not a requirement, but is a significant plus



The Principal’s starting salary range is relatively competitive..  In addition, please note that full housing benefits, company car,  full child tuition benefit, and a number of other significant supports are included as part of the package.  Full details of other benefits will be given to short-listed candidates.




Hokkaido International School is committed to best practice in child safeguarding; any offer

of employment will be subject to relevant background checks and checking of satisfactory

reference from previous employers.



Suitably qualified candidates should send their application as an email attachment to Jeremy Lewis of Search Associates jlewis@searchassociates.com including all the items below, collated together in a single pdf, to arrive as soon as possible, and no later than February 10, 2023.  Hokkaido International School reserves the right to close the selection process at any time if the right candidate is found; the review of applications begins as applications are received.

  • 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 current CV (no more than two pages)
  • a short statement of educational and leadership philosophy (no more than one page)
  • the names and full email and telephone contact details of at least three professional referees who have served as immediate supervisors (one of which should if possible be the leader of the applicant’s current organization).
  • A maximum of three letters of reference (scanned at low resolution) that may already be in your possession (optional).

It is expected that interviews will mostly take place during late January and  February 2023. However, as stated above, Hokkaido International School reserves the right to invite selected candidates to interview, and if appropriate to make the appointment, in advance of this schedule.


Final closing date: February 10, 2023. Please send applications to  jlewis@searchassociates.com


Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Gary MacPhie is based in Toronto, Canada where he started his teaching career, and then spent 26 years overseas as a teacher, principal and recruiter in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.