Lower School Division Head at Whittle School and Studios Suzhou in China
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Lower School Division Head
Whittle School and Studios Suzhou (China)

No longer accepting applications
Dec 20, 19
Jan 31, 20



Seeks an

Lower School Division Head

To begin in Summer 2020

Application deadline:  January 31, 2020

About Us


Organization Overview

Whittle School & Studios is an endeavor to modernize Preschool to Grade 12 education by building the world’s best physical and integrated environment for human learning and development.  Whittle School & Studios will be comprised of more than 30 Preschool-Grade 12 campuses located in the world’s most vibrant cities over the next 10 years. The campuses are designed by architect Renzo Piano and led by education entrepreneur Chris Whittle. Our first two campuses launched in September 2019 in Washington, DC and Shenzhen, China. Our next endeavors include a September 2020 phased-in opening in Brooklyn, NY beginning with an Early Learning Center and then a Fall 2021 full-campus opening. We are also opening a Suzhou, China campus in Fall 2021.

Working with expert faculty, Whittle students will cultivate the skills, creativity, and character required to address the world’s most pressing challenges. As they progress through each level of academics, personalized pathways, and dynamic international experiences, our students will demonstrate their growth as thinkers, makers, scholars, collaborators, and global citizens. Whittle graduates will be fully prepared to succeed in the best universities and to make their unique contribution to the broader world.

Our campuses are comprised of four divisions: Early Learning, Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School.  Our Early Learning Centers focus on developing students age three to six. At this age and division level, faculty use immersive language techniques to achieve literacy, creative expression, and introductory work on a foreign language. The Lower School is geared to students entering 1st grade through to students leaving 5th grade (in the U.S.) and 6th grade (in China). At this age and division level, essential practices focus on personalized pathways aligned to age-appropriate skills development, the centrality of community-centered social and emotional learning, and engaging teachers and students as collaborative researchers. The Middle School addresses the growth and development of students in 6th to 8th grades (in the U.S.) and grades 7 to 9 (in China).  For this age group, we introduce design thinking and digital tools, responsibility, and appropriate applications and deliver experiential learning, project-based learning, personalized instruction, and mastery-based learning. The Upper School, which addresses the needs of students in 9th to 12th grade (in the U.S.) and 10th to 12th grade (in China), extends and deepens students’ understanding of material from Middle School; stimulates and supports students’ in-depth exploration of their evolving academic, artistic, and experiential interests; and emphasizes creativity, imagination, and positive reinforcement for thinking and expressing oneself with originality and sophistication.

The Studios component of Whittle School & Studios refers to our ancillary program umbrella under which all of our out-of-school activities exist—including extended day and enrichment courses, to summer camp and global journeys’ programs. We strongly believe that students learn through hands-on experiences and guided inquiry by making use of the Whittle experiential learning philosophy. Courses are led by Whittle School & Studios faculty as well as global and local experts. Each campus in the Whittle global network adapts and customizes Studios’ content to meet the needs and interests of the local community.

Our global team of faculty, staff, and leaders is comprised of innovators in science, design, technology, and human learning, applying their diverse talents to engineer education from the ground up to cultivate global citizens attuned to local culture. We focus on the science of learning, personalized curriculum, global experience, and holistic human development.


The Opportunity

Early Learning, Lower School, Middle School, & Upper School Division Heads for Whittle School & StudiosSuzhou, China (opening in Fall 2021)

Current Campuses

Washington, DC and Shenzhen, China

Company Headquarters

New York, New York

The Division Head Position


Position Summary

Whittle School & Studios is seeking accomplished and dynamic school leaders for the positions of Early Learning, Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School Division Heads for its Suzhou, China campus, which will open in Fall 2021.  These individuals will be hired and on board by Summer 2020 for a full year of planning prior to school launch in Fall 2021.)


Whittle School & Studios’ Division Heads have previously led schools or held significant school leadership position/s in their previous assignments.  Under the leadership of – and in collaboration with – the Head of School, Division Heads possess core responsibility for: 1) implementing the school’s academic program and practices; 2) establishing a student-centered school culture that embodies Whittle’s global core values and academic principles; 3) managing key aspects of the campus’s operations and relationships; and 4) providing oversight, guidance, and support to faculty.


Driven, insightful, dynamic, smart, flexible, reflective, resilient, and analytical, a successful applicant will be comfortable with:  problem solving on a regular basis; customizing and adjusting solutions, project plans, programs, and the curriculum to an evolving local context; selecting, and providing ongoing instructional feedback to, faculty; exuding confidence and leadership in a variety of situations; and creating collaborative relationships to maximize the coherence of the school, its program, and its alignment with a global network of campuses. Although not required, experience in the start–up and scale-up of a new school, business, or non-profit is desirable.

Desired Qualifications

  • Proven record of effective instructional and operational leadership in a demanding and student-centered environment. 
  • A minimum of three years’ leadership experience, preferably at a leading private PreK-12 institution.
  • Excellent academic credentials; minimum of a Master’s degree.
  • Three-to-five years demonstrated school leadership and classroom teaching experiences preferably at a leading private Preschool to Grade 12 institution—including evidence of a passion for working with our youngest students, and a resolute commitment to student-centered, interdisciplinary project and place-based learning.
  • Demonstrated experience in program, school, and/or project management; academic strategic planning and implementation; curriculum development and implementation; faculty selection, support, and evaluation; and professional development design and delivery.
  • Demonstrated successful experience with international students and their families, in a variety of contexts.
  • Deep knowledge of the economic and political environment, in the country where the school is located.
  • Expertise with independent school operational, economic, and management practices.
  • Experience in the start–up and scale-up of a major new project, a new school, a business, or non-profit would be helpful.
  • Deep knowledge of current learning theory and science, including understanding of issues associated with learning differences.
  • Effective, clear, and sensitive communication skills (written, verbal, and electronic).
  • Fluency in English with proficiency or a desire to build language proficiency in a second language (Mandarin speaking desired in China).
  • Facility with educational technology and social media in the context of a safe and respectful learning environment. 

Candidate Attributes

  • Enjoy learning, leading, and people.
  • Engage and lead passionately, deliberately, motivationally, and inspirationally.
  • Display a generosity of spirit and commitment to the personal growth of all campus community members.
  • Make informed decisions.
  • Model integrity and trustworthiness.
  • Work collaboratively, positively, respectfully, creatively, inclusively, transparently, and reflectively.
  • Appreciate global affairs, local culture, and diverse backgrounds and points of view.
  • Possess comfort with taking risks, change, ambiguity, and solving problems.
  • Respond to crises and pressure with calmness and attentiveness to student health and well-being.

Core Responsibilities

1. Implement the school’s academic program and practices:

  • Facilitate quality implementation of Whittle’s academic program principles, curriculum, and design expectations.
  • Facilitate implementation of our academic program, principles, curriculum, assessments, and design expectations.
  • Connect practice at the campus level to educational research and curricular coordination at the Headquarters level.
  • Manage and support curriculum development and the continuous improvement of the learning environment through comprehensive monitoring of data and practice.
  • Collaborate with staff and local partners to effectively implement Studios, Whittle City Core, and Centers for Excellence.

2. Establish a student-centered school culture that embodies Whittle’s core values & academic principles:

  • Establish a safe learning environment for all students and adults that acknowledges, respects, and celebrates diversity and differences regardless of socio-economic status, race, gender, or other personal characteristics.
  • Build effective, trusting relationships and teams with faculty, staff, students, and parents.
  • Oversee and implement a successful divisional student advisory system.
  • Drive high expectations for all students.

3. Manage aspects of the campus’s operations and relationships:

  • Support realization of enrollment, financial, and student progression targets.
  • Support implementation of smooth schoolwide operations.
  • Establish supportive, consistent, and transparent communications with family, students, and stakeholders.
  • Develop, implement, and adapt effective project plans.

4. Provide oversight, guidance, and support to faculty:

  • Select, hire, develop, supervise, and evaluate Division faculty and staff.
  • Design, coordinate, and deliver ongoing professional learning throughout the academic year.
  • Monitor and facilitate effective implementation of the performance appraisal system.
  • Establish structures and opportunities that encourage and promote faculty teamwork, collaboration, and innovative ideas and approaches to enhance teaching and learning.



Whittle School & Studios provides market competitive salaries for all our staff, as well as employee benefits which include, where applicable, 401K, Medical, Dental, Life and Disability Insurance


To Apply

Whittle School & Studios has selected Search Associates to assist them with this search, with George Entwistle as the lead consultant.  Interested and qualified candidates for each position should submit the following application components consolidated into a single .pdf document, to gentwistle@searchassociates.com.

  • A cover letter, not to exceed two pages, outlining why this opportunity is compelling and what about your background and experience has prepared you for the opportunity
  • A resume, not to exceed two pages
  • A statement of your education and leadership philosophy, not to exceed two pages
  • A list of up to 5 current and past supervisors who are in a position to judge your leadership qualities, including names, email addresses and phone numbers.

Please note in the subject of your email the position you are applying for.

The deadline for applications is January 31, 2020.  WSS reserves the right to close the selection process prior to the deadline if the appropriate candidates are found.

Thank you for your interest in these exciting opportunities!

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