Principal/Head of School at Hsinchu County American School in Taiwan
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Principal/Head of School
Hsinchu County American School (Taiwan)

Appointed - Debra Willacey
Feb 16, 2022
Mar 25, 2022


Dear Search Associates Colleagues,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Hsinchu County American School, Taiwan, Norma and I are very pleased to announce the appointment of Debra Willacey as the school's new Principal/Head of School to commence in July 2022.

Debra most recently served as Head of Secondary at Nibras International School in Dubai, UAE.  Previous to that appointment, she was the Assistant Head of Secondary at Almizhar American Academy and also was the Math Specialist for the UAE's Ministry of Education.  Before beginning her international career, Debra taught and coordinated math instruction in US schools.

Ms. Willacey earned her Masters Degree in Education from Nova Southern University with a focus on Educational Leadership, and was awarded a BS in Elementary Education from Florida State University.

She introduced herself to the HCAS community with this statement:

"I am a Jamaican-American who, inspired through personal experiences, quickly developed a deep passion for education. I know my why. I use it each day to fuel my actions and lead by example!"

We wish Debra a successful beginning to her leadership role in Taiwan and would also like to thank all applicants who showed interest in this position 


Barbara and Norma





PRINCIPAL/HEAD OF SCHOOL  - August 2022 or 2023


Hsinchu County American School in Taiwan (

is seeking a new Principal/Head of School beginning August 2022 or 2023

Barbara Powers and Norma Hudson of Search Associates

are assisting HCAS by leading the search.

History of the Hsinchu County  American School

Hsinchu County American School (HCAS) was established in 2016 as part of an organization that originated in healthcare with the founding of Ton Yen General Hospital in 1998. The school is recognized by Taiwan Ministry of Education and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges with a Candidacy status since February, 2019. 

Mission & Values


The school motto is AUT VIAM INVENIAM AUT FACIAM which means “Either I will find a way or make one,” emphasizing society’s need for entrepreneurial and trail-blazing leaders for the 21st century.


HCAS’s mission is to educate the whole person using the Dalton Plan to develop individuals who contribute to humanity. Our community of lifelong learners fosters healthy, creative, social, and globally minded individuals who can think independently and critically. Our students strive for academic excellence by taking a challenging, balanced curriculum in core disciplines, the Arts, and technology as embodied by the Seven Cs: Compassion, Collaboration, Community, Contribution, Creativity, Critical-thinking, and Communication.

Dalton Plan

The Dalton Plan was developed by Helen Parkhurst. She was the founder of the Dalton School (aka Children University School in New York City) and her philosophy of education spread in America, England, Germany, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, India, China, and Japan during 19th and 20th centuries.  

The Dalton Plan has two principles: Freedom and Cooperation.  Principle of freedom is based on the uniqueness of the individual with his or her independence, creativity and interests. Principle of the cooperation is based on positive socialization through collaboration and exchanges with a variety of people.

The three parts of the Dalton Education includes the House, Assignment, and Laboratory.  The concept of the house goes beyond the scope of the homeroom for the sake of the attendance.  It is where socialization and bonding takes place between students.  The assignment is a set of goals based on contracts and projects between students and teachers.  Assignment can measure the progress of students not only by the teachers, but by students themselves in self-directed ways. The Laboratory is a concept of a “garage” which enabled inventors and entrepreneurs of America to foster their own passion.  This is an experience that can be either teacher or student led during the school hours as a co-curricular activity.



Principal/Head of School Job Description and Qualifications

Hsinchu County American School (HCAS) is looking for a dedicated Principal / Head of School (HOS) to oversee the school for grades K-12. The HOS will fulfill the school mission to educate the whole child inspired by the Dalton Plan, encouraging students to explore and develop their strength, interests, and talents. The HOS will fulfill the vision of recreating the Western private school education environment in Taiwan and establish HCAS as a world-class international school that supports students in getting into leading universities around the world.

HCAS is currently accredited by WASC with a candidacy status and seeking the full accreditation. Ultimately, HCAS believes the accreditation process is a continuous school improvement process that supports their commitment to student learning and wellbeing. The HOS will foster student academic excellence and rigor through a US Common core standard-based curriculum and AP program. The HOS should be an effective instructional as well as administrative leader.

In addition to being an effective leader, the HOS will also be an effective manager with the ability to bring together eastern and western staff to build a cohesive school operations team. HCAS is a young school finishing its sixth year that requires a lot of school building. Numerous policies and procedures have been created, however more systems are still needed to streamline school operations. Prior HOS experience and long-term intention to be in Taiwan and Asia is preferred. HCAS is looking for a HOS who is capable and willing to put aside personal ego and agenda to build a unified community that serves a larger purpose through the school and ultimately contributes to the betterment of our students, our community and the world.

Principal / Head of School Role Description:

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Evaluate and supervise curricular and instructional effectiveness and student performance using multiple data driven, technological resources
  • Participate in fiscal management decisions and ensure the decisions are in line with the strategic vision and plan for the school
  • Recruit and retain high quality staff with purposeful alignment to professional development
  • Oversee human resource functions of the school with emphasis on continuous improvement
  • Oversee school facilities planning
  • Build and maintain effective relations with local and national governments
  • Provide expertise regarding standards and policy development for the school
  • Create and maintain strong community relationships with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA).

Qualifications include, but are not limited to:

  • Previous experience as an international head of school or senior administrator
  • Experience working in Asia, familiarity with Taiwanese culture/norms a plus
  • Familiarity with Dalton Program is desirable
  • Knowledge and practice with instructional leadership in standards-based curriculum design and evidence-based decision making preferred
  • Experience with scaffolding protocols and processes to build collaborative communities, and school culture that is respectful and inclusive amongst faculty and staff.
  • Experience with strategic fiscal and academic program planning
  • Broad knowledge base of best practices in teaching and learning: instructional leadership capacity
  • Commitment to building linguistic and cultural capacity in the school community
  • Knowledge and experience working with English as an Additional Language population; experience working with host country students/parents desirable
  • Experience with WASC accreditation process
  • Strong human resources and operational background
  • Experience in school facility planning
  • Certification or advanced degree in educational leadership
  • Excellent interpersonal, and cross-cultural communication skills

This leader will need to be philosophically principled, administratively effective, culturally adaptive, and professionally inquisitive. The Principal / Head of School will report to the Board / Chairman through regular meetings and formal Board meetings. Expectations for the Principal / Head of School are based on the AISH Standards of Excellence for the International School Head.

Further roles and responsibilities of Principal / HOS’ are outlined in our RACIE Chart. They include the following:


  •  Hiring/Termination of local operational support staff (Admin)
  • Hiring/Termination of local teaching support staff (T.A.s)
  • Oversight of Teacher and staff contracts
  • Assign teachers to their teaching duties
  • Recruiting & Hiring/Terminating of all foreign teachers
  • Recruiting & Hiring/Terminating of all local teachers
  • Supervision & Evaluation of teachers
  • Oversight of school practices, policies, and procedures
  • Oversight of the entire admin team and all personnel
  • Supervision and evaluation of all personnel
  • Ensure that all staff handbooks are up to date


  • Oversight and approval of all textbook orders
  • Oversight and approval of all materials purchases
  • Oversight and approval of school improvement purchases
  • Oversight of General Affairs
  • Oversight of the entire HCAS facility

Students & Academics

  • Oversight of student safety
  • Oversight of all curricular program growth & change
  • Approval of all curriculum modifications
  • Oversight of the WASC accreditation process
  • Oversight of the EAL program
  • Oversight of Special Education changes
  • Oversight of all classes offered
  • Oversight of grade reporting at all grade levels
  • Set the daily schedule for HCAS
  • Supervision of all school admissions
  • Supervision of how teachers configure their grades
  • Approval of school calendar
  • Ensure that staff updates the student and parent handbooks
  • Approve the presentation of standardized test data from the academic department
  • Oversight of all school festivals (Spirit week, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc.)
  • Oversight of Lab and Extracurricular program
  • Oversight of Summer program


  • Resolve any issues that affect the school site/facility
  • Ensure the safety of the entire HCAS community when at school
  • Maintain strong communication with the PTA


  • Report to the Board on school matters
  • Regular meetings with the Board Chair to discuss about school matters
  • Attend Board Meetings to present about the school
  • Attend budget meetings
  • Assist Board to create policies and procedures
  • Implement directives of the Board
  • Cultivate a positive and unifying relationship between the Board, the teachers, staff and the school community  


  • Assist Board on creating the annual school budget
  • Advise Board to resolve overspending categories
  • Advise Board on re-allocating unspent funds
  • Implement the school budget
  • Meet regularly with finance department regarding school spending and budgeting

Educational Other

  • Supervision of all professional development for faculty & staff
  • Planning participation in educational leadership conferences
  • Managing any school crises
  • Familiarity with and oversight on observance of government regulations
  • Oversight and participation in marketing planning and discussion to promote the school through school website, social media, and information sessions 
  • Oversight of learning space design and improvement
  • School improvement including WASC action plan oversight
  • Oversight of facility planning & design

Suitably qualified candidates should send their application as an email attachment to both

 Barbara Powers and Norma Hudson of Search Associates

including all the items below, collated together in a single pdf,

to arrive as soon as possible, and no later than March 25, 2022:

  • 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 CV/résumé (no more than two pages)
  • a short 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 organization)

It is expected that interviews will take place during April 2022.  However, HCAS  reserves the right to close the application period and also invite selected candidates to interview in advance of this schedule.

Final closing date:     March 25, 2022

Applications to and

For additional photos of the area, please click here.

Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Harry Deelman was at various times headmaster of schools in a fascinating foursome of global cities: Buenos Aires, Rome, Dubai, and Bangkok.