IB PYP Academic Director at The Garden International School in China
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IB PYP Academic Director
The Garden International School (China)

Appointed - Marco Menendez
Aug 6, 14
Aug 26, 14


The Garden International School




The Garden International School is the first American Kindergarten in Huanan (Southern China) region, as well as the only kindergarten that merges early-childhood education with kindergarten in Guangzhou district. Our curriculum is based on 5 kindergarten education domains in China, embracing the excellent American teaching models and learning environment to create a brand-new educational concept of “Grafting” & “Integration”. Our philosophy is to generate more possibilities for life, and our mission is to nourish children to become leaders for the world. We edify kids without forced learning, providing them with the most natural learning environment. At The Garden, you will witness authentic American teaching methods: learning naturally in a loving and nurturing environment, and enjoying happiness through exploration. 


Our vision is to provide the best quality education for our learners. We pride ourselves on our approach to application-based learning and are looking to further enhance the quality of  The Garden School by becoming a full IB accredited school, starting with implementation of the IB Primary Years Program (PYP). 


The Garden School’s mission is mission is: Let every child shine


We have imported the best educational resources, including outstanding and caring international teachers, led by a team of professional administrators. Our curriculum is designed by the President of the California Kindergarten Association, Debra Weller, who draws on over 30 years of educational expertise in the kindergarten education. The Garden School environment is designed to fully capture the spirit of wonder, discovery and nature. We intend that these resources will support development of the IB PYP curriculum in our school, going forward.

The Garden School is a member of the California Kindergarten Association, which has been serving early childhood educators for 31 years. It is a unique, professional, membership organization with an established international network of educators and administrators. The Mission of the California Kindergarten Association is to foster children’s fullest development by promoting best practices in teaching and learning. 

The Garden School’s rigorous academic program is founded on IB and Common Core inspired inquiry-based learning that includes thematic content. 


The Garden School is multilingual. Children at The Garden School learn language naturally by immersion in the language environment. Picking up language in this way is both easy and more beneficial as they will develop error free and accent free language skills. 


The Garden International School is fully accredited by Guangdong Education Bureau in China. It will be implementing the International Baccalaureate Organization’s Primary Year Program in 2014.


The total area of The Garden School is 5400 m2, with a uniquely designed outdoor garden of 4000 m2 and include features typical of several other countries. Outdoor facilities were carefully crafted and inspired by many leading schools around the world, and they are second to none in Guangzhou district. In particular, among them are: German swimming pool in summer/roller-skate rink in winter; ecological cycling track from Austria; outdoor stage reflecting our combining the eastern & western approaches and styles; 3D cinema from the U.S.; reception area from Finland; landscaping from France; sandpit with Malaysian sand; super slide imported from the U.S; open “big eye” kitchen.



The Garden School’s classrooms are specially designed to help preparing students for success in school and beyond. They comprise designated learning corners for drama and manipulative activities, facilitating social play and child-initiated discovery. Their print-rich environment of charts, labels, and children's literature help children develop early literacy and writing skills.



Guangzhou (Canton), a prosperous metropolis full of vigor, is the capital city of Guangdong Province located along the south coastline of China. Being an excellent port on the Pearl River navigable to the South China Sea, and with fast accessibility to Hong Kong and Macao, the city serves as the political, economic, scientific, educational and cultural center in Guangdong area. Guangzhou is a multicultural city with something for everyone. Great food, exciting night life and great shopping are everywhere. A very active expat community is welcoming to new comers, with lots of organized activities, parties, clubs and events it is almost impossible to get bored in Guangzhou. Our close proximity to Shenzhen, Macao, Hong Kong and Zhuhai provide lots of opportunity for both local and international travel. Guangzhou really is a city that has everything



The PYP Academic Director reports to the Garden School Board of Trustees through the Chinese Principal. 



A generous salary and benefits package will be negotiated with the successful applicant, tailored according to experience, qualification, and family circumstances. It is expected that in addition to salary, the package will include flights, housing, health insurance and children's tuition (up to 2) at the Garden School. The initial contract will be for two years.



The PYP Academic Director must have strong leadership abilities and an educational vision that is consistent with the school's mission. He or she should be familiar with or clearly committed to the school’s efforts in obtaining authorization for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program.

The Academic Director should have a minimum of 3 years school administration experience and have demonstrated leadership in oversight of a school or school system with a balance of objective-based learning outcomes and creativity.



The Academic Director, the instructional leader at the School, spearheads the development of the school’s curriculum and culture. He or she is responsible for ensuring that The Garden International School is accomplishing its mission and vision through leadership of faculty, staff and implementation of the educational organization.

The Academic Director leads teachers and staff in the development and on-going improvement of the academic program; guides teachers in the implementation of school-wide best practices, discipline-specific curricula and assessments, and school culture; and trains, supervises, evaluates all staff and develops the educational program and organization of the school. 

Additionally, the Academic Director will have Responsibilities in the following areas: 

Human Resources

  • Leads in selection of staff and makes teacher hiring decisions
  • Supervises and coordinates staff and volunteers.
  • Assures that all documentations, certifications and personnel recorded are complete and current.
  • Develops and schedules classes and teacher assignments for students.  

Instructional Leadership/Professional Development

  • Supervises and evaluates the instructional program with special focus on the International Baccalaureate (IB) PYP Accreditation and Implementation, with an emphasis on English language acquisition.
  • Provides instructional leadership in successful continuation and improvement of existing teaching strategies and teaching frameworks with focus on the International Baccalaureate Program.
  • Performs classroom observation and follow-up conferences to monitor instructional materials.
  • Maintains and continues to develop professional expertise in areas of educational philosophies and practices (with special focus being on IBPYP), management skills and school site administration.
  • Provides assistance in selection of instructional materials.
  • Encourages and advises staff in their professional growth.
  • Maintains responsibility for staff development and conducts staff meetings  

Community Engagement/Communication

  • Informs parents and community members of educational program.
  • Develops effective communication tools with students, parents, community, and Board of Trustees.
  • Facilitates collaboration among teachers.
  • Act as primary spokesperson for the Garden School

 School Culture

  • Assists and supports teachers in modifying student’s behavior.
  • Maintains and monitors plans and programs for student health, safety, discipline and conduct.
  • Coordinates positive student recognition program.
  • Facilitates parental involvement in the educational process.
  • Infuses behavioral attitudes and attributes delineated in the IB model into school culture. 


The new PYP Academic Director will assume responsibilities as soon as possible. Interested candidates should send their applications urgently, but no later that August 26 2014. The Garden School Board of Trustees reserves the right to interview and appoint any exceptional candidate presenting before the above deadline. 

The Garden School has contracted Search Associates to conduct this leadership search. Candidates should apply to Senior Associate Gez Hayden by email with the following Microsoft Word attachments, on ghayden@searchassociates.com :

  1. One-page letter of application, addressing your particular interest in the post and explaining the suitability of your qualifications and experience, particularly as regards leading IB PYP implementation and authorization.
  2. One-page statement of your educational philosophy and educational leadership principles.
  3. Two-page (maximum) resume
  4. Name, position, workplace, email address and telephone contacts of THREE referees who have supervised your work and whom you have asked to provide a confidential reference.




Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Robert Barlas is the author of the Teaching Overseas Handbook.