Keystone Academy opened in 2014 on a campus in Shunyi District, Beijing. It has grown to 1,300 students and has rapidly established a reputation as a leading school with a distinctive approach to education. Keystone Academy is a national Chinese school with a pronounced international flavour – a new concept of a ‘World School’ that seeks to blend the best in Chinese, American and international pedagogy and practice. It is founded on three keystones: bilingual immersion in Chinese and English; building character and community throughout its residential setting; and promoting Chinese character and identity in a world context.


How RSAcademics supported Keystone Academy

RSAcademics was engaged to lead an executive search and advise on the appointment of a new Head of Primary and Deputy Head of Primary. An in-depth briefing took place in the school over several days, allowing RSAcademics to engage with, and seek the views of, a diverse cross-section of the school community. This immersive experience allowed RSAcademics to compile a detailed recruitment brochure, also translated into Chinese, and advertisements for placement on jobs boards around the world. It also supported the school in preparing its primary school community for the process of leadership transition. A global search took place over several months, engaging candidates steeped in bilingual education.

Candidate Profile

RSAcademics reviewed the profiles of over 215 professionals to target the very best candidates for the roles. Given Keystone’s mission, its aspirations as a new ‘World School’ and its commitment to holistic education, the search placed a heavy emphasis on engaging candidates with proven commitment to service and character education, and a broad and reflective educational perspective that would fit comfortably with the outlook of the School Leadership Team.  It was also critical to identify candidates with a track record of leadership within a bilingual context.

The Outcome

A strong field for preliminary interview was identified comprising candidates currently leading schools in China, Russia, Spain, Colombia, England, Australia, Thailand, UAE, Kenya, Kazakhstan and Egypt. A number of the candidates taken to this stage were Chinese nationals or of Chinese origin, and there were also British, American, Canadian and Australian candidates.

Selected candidates were invited to Beijing to participate in a two-day final interview process, which RSAcademics helped design. The open, consultative interview process allowed candidates to engage with key people and groups of people in the school community, and helped the panel made excellent appointments.



Russell Speirs, CEO and Founder:

Daniel Lewis, CEO RSAcademics International:

Julian Whiteley, Senior Advisor – Asia and Middle East:


“As a result of RSAcademics’ advice, the school has grown by 1/3.”

Anthony WallersteinerHeadmaster, Stowe School