Secondary School Principal at Xiamen International School in China
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Secondary School Principal
Xiamen International School (China)

Appointed - Peter Burnside
Sep 8, 14
Oct 22, 14

Xiamen, China

Secondary School Principal

- - effective August, 2015 - -


The School

Xiamen International School (XIS) is a private, non-profit, coeducational, day school serving students from Pre-K (4 year-olds) 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 IB Programs. The educational program is based on the three IB frameworks (PYP, MYP, Diploma Program) and the curriculum is standards based delineating what students should know and be able to do after each grade level. Total school enrollment is 450+, with a faculty of 62.



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. 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

Xiamen International School’s campus is located in a growing residential area outside the 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, fitness room, pottery room, a one : one laptop program, wireless internet access, two art rooms and an elementary multi-purpose room.



Total enrollment at Xiamen International is 450 students and is growing at an annual rate of approximately +8%. All of XIS’s graduates attend universities. Entrance to universities is predominately in the United States but graduates have also attended universities in Asia or Europe. Maximum class-size caps are 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 are working to complete a standards-based curriculum that will identify learning outcomes for each subject at each grade level. All courses in grades 11 and 12 are IB only and students pursue the IB diploma. They are also awarded an XIS high school diploma equivalent to a US high school diploma. Students complete the IB diploma program by either being a full diploma candidate or taking certain courses as certificate only. 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 staff includes 62 faculty members including four (4) administrators (Headmaster, Deputy Headmaster, and Secondary and Elementary Principals). The Board is currently reviewing the possibility of a Director of Curriculum and Instruction. The faculty is predominately from the United States, but also Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Philippines and several other countries. All staff members hold at least a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree. The school also has office staff, TAs, bus drivers, security guards and electricians.



The Board of Directors is self-perpetuating and consists of seven (7) members, five (5) are appointed and 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 is an ex-officio member of the Board.


Academic Calendar

The school year consists of 191 teacher contract days of which there are 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/New Years and Chinese New Year and one-week vacations in the Fall and Spring.


Position Description

The Secondary Principal is the chief administrator and instructional leader of that division (i.e., grades 6-12). The person in this position develops and implements policies, programs, curriculum and instruction, and activities that promote the educational development of each student and the professional development of each staff member.


Description of Responsibilities/Duties

  • Believes in, acts according to, and effectively demonstrates a clearly defined philosophy of learning based on the premise that all children can learn.
  • Communicates high expectations of self, faculty, and students and effectively inspires and empowers all to reach them. 
  • Uses his/her extensive knowledge of curriculum and his/her personal repertoire of effective instructional practices to guide the faculty in curriculum development and improvement of instruction. 
  • In consultation with the Headmaster, defines the responsibilities of faculty and staff, allocates resources, schedules classes, special activities, and events, and institutes program improvements in accordance with XIS's mission, core expectations, and annual goals. 
  • Monitors student performance and facilitates planned instructional change based on student achievement data within a cycle of continuous improvement. 
  • Monitors and evaluates teacher performance and initiates effective professional growth processes through differentiated supervision. 
  • Communicates with colleagues, students, and parents effectively. 
  • Actively ensures that classroom teachers, specialists, and counselors work in concert to monitor and meet all students’ academic and social needs. 
  • Encourages implementation of innovative teaching practices consistent with XIS’s instructional philosophy and curriculum. 
  • Continuously develops him/herself as a principal through thoughtfully planned formal professional development activities, readings and study, and networking with colleagues and peers. 
  • Personally models qualities that create positive school climate; integrity, enthusiasm, respect, openness, and humor.


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 MYP and the Diploma program
  • Knowledge of budget for the secondary division


Preferred Qualifications

  • International experience 
  • Excellent academic record 
  • At least 3-5 years as a teacher in an IB school plus 3-5 years 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. 
  • Principal’s 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 Secondary School Principal's package includes: 

  • Competitive salary
  • Housing allowance
  • Retirement benefit
  • Health insurance 
  • Shipping allowance 
  • Travel allowance
  • Tuition for dependent children
  • Professional development opportunities


Procedure for Filing an Application

XIS has appointed Dr. Ralph Jahr of Search Associates to act as consultant in the search for a new Secondary Principal. The deadline for application is October 22, 2014.  Candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest and the requested materials as early as possible.  The review of files will begin as soon as applications are received. Finalist candidate(s) will be interviewed first either by phone, Skype or personal interview and then will be flown to Xiamen and will have the opportunity to meet with the board, administration faculty, parents, students, and non-teaching staff. The new Secondary Principal will be appointed shortly after interviews of finalist candidate(s) have been completed.

Notice – Should an outstanding candidate be identified prior to the closing date, the Headmaster, in conjunction with the Board, reserves the right to hire immediately and give notice to the other candidates.


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 Secondary School Principal 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 three 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 4MB or less and sent to Search Associates at the email address listed below. Please send the application to:

< >  For further information about Xiamen International School, please see the school's website:  


Ralph Jahr, Ph.D.                                                                     Tel: 609-759-0431

Search Associates                                                                   Email:

2008 Cove Ln                                                                           Skype – ralph.h.jahr

Roseville, CA 95747-8835 (USA)                                         Web:

Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Diana Kerry was an international educator and administrator for 25 years in various countries, including Iran, France, Thailand, and Indonesia.