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

Appointed - Peter Burnside remained in the position
Dec 3, 2017
Jan 12, 2018


Xiamen, China

Secondary School Principal

- - effective August, 2018 - -

Search reopened

The School


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 as well as those families coming from the Chinese regions of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. 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

The Xiamen International School campus is located in a growing residential area outside the central 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, a one-to-one laptop program, wireless internet access and two art rooms.


Total enrollment at Xiamen International is over 450 students and is growing at an annual rate of approximately 5-8%. All of XIS's graduates attend universities. Entrance to universities is predominately in North America but graduates also attend universities in Asia or Europe. Maximum class-size caps are 24 students at the elementary and 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 have completed a standards-based curriculum that identifies learning outcomes for each subject at each grade level. All courses in grades 11 and 12 are IB oriented and students mostly pursue the IB diploma. They are also awarded an XIS high school diploma which is equivalent to a US high school diploma. Students complete the IB diploma program by either being a full diploma candidate or taking certain courses to simply earn certificate(s). 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 includes 66 faculty members including four (4) administrators (Headmaster, Deputy Headmaster, and Secondary and Elementary Principals). The faculty is predominately from the United States, but also includes faculty from China, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. All staff members hold at least a Bachelor's or Master's degree. The school also has office staff, teacher assistants, bus drivers, security guards, custodians and electricians.


The Board of Directors is self-perpetuating and consists of seven (7) members. Five (5) are appointed and up to 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 normally attends each meeting.

Academic Calendar

The school year consists of 191 teacher contract days of which there are at least 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, 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 Ralph Jahr and Brent Mutsch of Search Associates to act as consultants in the search for a new Secondary Principal. The deadline for application is January 12, 2018. 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 and the Search Committee, reserve 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: and For further information about Xiamen International School, please see the school's website:

Dr. Ralph Jahr
Telephone: 609-759-0431 (USA – Pacific Time Zone)
Skype: ralph.h.jahr

Dr. Brent Mutsch
Telephone: 970-368-6879 (USA – Mountain Time Zone)
Skype: brentmutsch

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