Leadership

SSIS is divided into two sections: Elementary School (Pre-Nursery – Grade 5) and Secondary School (Grades 6-12). The school management team includes the Head of School, and Elementary and Secondary Principals and Assistant Principals.

Head of School, Nicholas Little

I started at SSIS in 2002, and have seen two of my three children graduate from this school. Before coming to Suzhou, I taught English and Humanities for several years in my native country, the United Kingdom.

Teaching wasn’t my original career intention: I graduated from Oxford University with a History degree before doing post-graduate qualifications in Law; but a ‘gap’ year teaching Western Culture at a college in the north of China changed my life path for good. I married a Chinese woman and turned from Law to Education. Nearly twenty years later, I have not regretted either!

Education is a constantly optimistic profession, especially in an International Baccalaureate school aiming to mold students from over 45 different nations into global citizens and lifelong learners. I have seen a lot of changes in my time at this school, but that inspiration is the same.

Elementary School Principal, Catherine Nicol

Becoming a teacher was my ambition from my own primary school days and, as a third culture kid, it is not surprising that I have ended up spending most of my career in international schools.

After graduating from university in the UK with a BA (Honours) Degree and PGCE, I spent three years working in UK schools before beginning my international adventures in Japan, Thailand and China. I have worked as a classroom teacher, IB curriculum coordinator, Assistant Elementary Principal and more recently as an Elementary School Principal. I love all the work that I do. I went on to gain a Master's Degree in Education and have worked extensively for the IB as a workshop leader, school visitor and consultant.

My passion and commitment is helping students to realise their full potential and become meaningful contributors to a global community. As a parent of two beautiful girls, I understand the challenges that parents can face and their strong desire to ensure that their children are the best they can be. I look forward to working in partnership with parents at SSIS to achieve this.

Secondary School Principal, Richard Bruford

My interest in teaching and learning came through coaching young swimmers to national level in the United Kingdom. Always wanting to make a difference to the lives of young people, education was a natural choice as a career. I have been involved in education in schools since 1995, starting out as a Geography teacher in southwest London. A move to Australia beckoned in 1998 and I was fortunate to quickly find my feet on the other side of the world taking up various leadership positions in prestigious Australian IB schools including SCECGS Redlands, Sydney, and Prince Alfred College in Adelaide. During my time in Australia, I completed a Master’s in Education (Leadership and Management) at Flinders University, which continued my thirst for learning.

I believe it vital for teachers and school leaders to collaborate and share practice not only in their own schools but in the education world at large. Subsequently, I have been fortunate to have presented at numerous conferences and workshops in the Asia-Pacific region, notably on the themes of leadership in schools. To complement my role at SSIS, I am a consultant for IB candidate schools and a visiting team leader for IB authorisation visits

It is important to strike a balance between work, family and play. I enjoy spending time with my family learning new things together as we see different parts of China and the world, while I also have a healthy appetite for competing in endurance sports such a triathlon whenever I can.

Elementary School Assistant Principal, Rebecca Clentworth

I have been teaching at SSIS since 2007 and have been the Elementary Assistant Principal at SSIS since 2009. I am from Wellington, New Zealand and trained at Wellington College of Education after receiving my Bachelor of Education from Victoria University. I taught in various schools around New Zealand before embarking on my overseas career.

Since coming to SSIS I have embraced the IB philosophy and am excited to be part of such a quality IB World School. We are a data focused school and use data to ensure that the children are being delivered the highest quality education. We make certain that teachers are given every opportunity to develop and enhance their skills. I have a strong focus on children as individuals and use my knowledge and experience to help our children through their education journey.

Secondary School Assistant Principal (Academic), Dan Williams

I have lived in China since 2010 and joined SSIS in 2016. I aim to support teachers in engendering our globally minded students with the skills to become lifelong learners, resilient to change and ensuring that they have the opportunity to discover and develop their passions.

I have a deep love of learning and I began my education at the University of Wales, Swansea where I was awarded my Bachelor of Science in Physics and completed my postgraduate teaching certification at the University of Wales, Cardiff. Additionally, I have a Master Degrees with distinction in Digital Technologies, Communications and Education from the University of Manchester and another from the prestigious UCL-Institute of Education in Applied Educational Leadership and Management, with leading the IB in an international context as a particular focus. In 2016 I began a Doctor of Education degree at the University of Bath. In my spare time I enjoy sampling the endless variety of food China has to offer, while learning more about the history, culture and language.

Secondary School Assistant Principal (Pastoral), Lucy Burden

I joined SSIS in August 2013 as a Learning Support Teacher and Head of Grade 8 and now hold the exciting role of Assistant Principal (Pastoral) for the Secondary School. I have a Bachelor of Educational Studies in Special Education from Melbourne University and a Master in School Leadership from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. I began my teaching career in 1989 and have worked in a number of government and non-government schools in Australia. Prior to joining SSIS I was Head of the Junior School at Bentleigh Secondary School in Melbourne where I worked for 10 years as an English, Humanities, Drama and Special Education teacher. Coming to live in China and work at SSIS is my first foray into international teaching and I am sharing this incredible experience with my husband, son and daughter.