HK Schools: Changes At The Top, 2019-20

Several international schools in Hong Kong will see a change in their leadership team at the start of the next academic year. WhichSchoolAdvisor.com rounds up 2019's early movers and shakers.
HK Schools: Changes At The Top, 2019-20
By Carli Allan
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Which international schools will have newly appointed principals from August 2019? We round-up the latest announcements from schools including ESF Discovery College, ESF Beacon Hill School, Christian Alliance International School, Harrow International School, American International School, and Kellett School.


James Smith (centre left)

ESF Discovery College

ESF Discovery College will have a new principal starting in August 2019. The English Schools Foundation (ESF) has announced the appointment of James Smith, who will replace Mark Beach when he leaves at the end of this academic year.

Smith is the current head of secondary at Discovery College (DC), and prior to this he was vice principal at ESF’s King George V School for four years. This all-through International Baccalaureate (IB) World School on Lantau Island has a student population of 1,300 across Years 1 to 13.

Smith says:

"I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity to serve our community and to build on the exceptional work done by Mark Beach as our Founding Principal.

In the coming months I look forward to building new relationships with students, parents and staff, and strengthening existing ones that I have enjoyed since my arrival at the College in 2016."

ESF Brenda Cook
Brenda Cook

ESF Beacon Hill School

There are changes at the top of another ESF school. Brenda Cook, who is currently the principal of the two-form primary Glenealy School, will be replacing acting principal Susan Chung at Beacon Hill School from August 2019. Beacon Hill is a three-form entry primary school with 540 students enrolled.

In a letter to Glenealy parents, Cook said :

"Having now completed much of what I set out to do at Glenealy it is time for me to seek another challenge. Staying within our ESF family is really important to me, and it is bittersweet for me to let you know that I have accepted another principal position at Beacon Hill School."

Mark Steed JESS
Mark Steed

Kellett School

Mark Steed will take over from Ann McDonald as principal at Kellett School from the beginning of the 2019/20 academic year. McDonald is retiring after 22 years at the helm of this British international schools, which has campuses in Kowloon Bay and Pok Fu Lam.

Steed has more than 30 years’ experience in the education sector and is currently director of Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) in Dubai. Prior to that, Steed worked in the UK as principal of Berkhamsted Schools Group in Hertfordshire and headmaster of Kelly College in Devon.

Commenting on his new appointment, Mr Steed said:

“I’m thrilled to be taking on the role of principal & CEO of Kellett School. Both the prep and senior schools have a fantastic reputation, in Hong Kong and beyond, and I’m excited to be joining an outstanding team of educators to ensure that their well-founded reputation continues to grow.”

American International School of Hong Kong

A new head has been announced for the American International School of Hong Kong (AIS). Anita Simpson will join the all-through school in Kowloon on August 1, 2019 as head of school, taking over from Cameron Fox. AIS has a 30-year track record of delivering a college-prep education, and is one of only a very few international schools in Hong Kong to offer the full AP programme.

Simpson moves to Hong Kong from Dubai, where she is currently principal of learning for Grades 1-5 at GEMS Dubai American Academy.

On the school’s website, Fox says:

“Anita is a proven educational leader, award-winning innovator, and experienced international educator. She has worked extensively in international education with the renowned Dr Michael Fullan as the Canadian Cluster Leader for New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL), a global learning lab that involved students and teachers in seven countries around the world including Finland, Uruguay, The Netherlands, USA, Australia, and New Zealand.”

Christian Alliance International School

Richard Vanderpyl has joined the Christian Alliance International School (CAIS) as head of school this month (March 2019). Vanderpyl moves to this campus in Kowloon from his position as principal at Middleton Grange School, a Christian all-through school in New Zealand. CAIS, which opened in 2017, offers a Christian education from preparatory through to Grade 12 that is based on Canada’s Alberta curriculum.

Harrow International School Hong Kong

Samantha Steed will join Harrow International School as the director of lower school education and the executive principal of the Little Lions Childhood Development Centres from September 2019. Steed moves to Hong Kong from Dubai, where she has been the founding principal of Ranches Primary School since 2015.

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