Appointments Vacancies

Vice Principal / Director of Innovation – Suzhou Innovation Academy, China

Suzhou, China


We are delighted to be supporting the Suzhou Innovation Academy in the search for a new Vice Principal/Director of Innovation.

From August 2021

Suzhou Innovation Academy has a bold aim: to be one of the most innovative international schools in Asia. It is a young school, and has an ambitious vision that reflects its location in one of the most exciting cities in China. This is a wonderful opportunity to be a part of this journey, combining administrative, academic and pastoral leadership with a commitment to achieving the school’s innovation aspirations.

Suzhou Innovation Academy was established and authorised as an IB World School in 2019 as The International School of Rhodes. It is a fully-residential school predominantly for Chinese students in Grades 10-12, and has behind it the vision and the support of a board already associated with important ventures in international education in China and Europe. With the appointment as Head of School of Simon Head (formerly Director of the International School of Dusseldorf, member of the IB Heads Council), the school has positioned itself as a leader in innovation in education.

Suzhou, a beautiful city about 100km from Shanghai, has for centuries been a centre for education in China and is now ranked third in China for innovation. The city government has actively promoted industrial transformation and created a home for innovation and entrepreneurship. Next-generation information technology, biomedicine, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence are becoming strategic growth points for the city’s future development.

The board and leadership of Suzhou Innovation Academy have recognised the opportunity for a world-leading school that can support the Suzhou government’s innovation aspirations. The school couples the IB Diploma with an entrepreneurship foundation programme in a collaborative community committed to innovative learning that is engaging, relevant, joyful and impactful. The goal is a truly progressive learning experience where learners flourish and are inspired to take action for a better world. At the school’s heart is a clear concept: ‘Innovate for Impact – Connect, Empower, Transform’. The school is currently located within the much larger Suzhou International Foreign Language School, but it is anticipated that it will move to its own campus by 2024.

The new Vice Principal/Director of Innovation will play an essential role in supporting the Principal as the school grows. This will require a leader whose strong track record of leadership and administration will ensure the school provides the best possible opportunities for all learners. Alongside this, the successful candidate will foster a holistic, forward-thinking, creative learning environment with academic programmes that are contemporary, challenging and relevant and curriculum innovation that is genuinely embedded throughout the school. He or she will also help to build and maintain the external relationships that will provide an interface with enterprises and innovative developments in Suzhou. The key to success will be a strong combination of high level administrative leadership skills and a real passion for curriculum innovation.

The salary and package for the position will be highly competitive,

This appointment is being managed on behalf of Suzhou Innovation Academy by RSAcademics. For a preliminary, confidential conversation with Jean Sullivan, Head of International Search, or Keith Clark, Head of International Appointments, please contact

The deadline for the receipt of applications is Wednesday 24 March 2021 at 10:00 (UK)/18:00 (China).

Preliminary Interviews with RSAcademics will commence before the applications deadline and SIA reserves the right to appoint a candidate prior to the closing date. Early applications are therefore encouraged.

To apply, please submit the following:

  • A completed application form.
  • A completed data sharing agreement.
  • A copy of your Curriculum Vitae/Resumé.
  • A covering letter addressed to the Mr Simon Head, Head of School. The letter should explain your reasons for applying, the relevance of your experience and how you relate your personal educational philosophy to your understanding of the school and the role; the letter should also reference some of your experience of and enthusiasm for curriculum innovation in schools.

Applications should be made electronically to RSAcademics. Please email your documents (all as PDF files please) to Julia Coffey at  Julia can also be reached by calling her on +44 (0)1945 754416.

Suzhou Innovation Academy/The International School of Rhodes is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all employees to act in accordance with the school’s policies and guidelines. The successful applicant will be required to undergo all checks relevant to the post.

About this vacancy

Key Dates

  • Deadline for applications 24 March 2021 10:00am (UK)/18:00 (China)
  • Early Preliminary interviews with RSAcademics colleagues will commence in the week commencing 15 March 2021
  • Longlist interviews will take place by video call with members of the SIA leadership in the week commencing 5 April 2021
  • Final round interviews will take place in mid-April