Meet Our Community

Students

Our school belongs to our students.

Everything we do is for our students and it shows in the happy faces that arrive to school each morning. Each day, our students are given the opportunity to learn not just from our teachers, but from each other as well. They are encouraged to share their own experiences and cultural norms. The uniqueness of being a true international school means our students are able to see the world from a different perspective than their peers from their home country. Students come for an education and leave with something more.


Faculty & Staff


The heart of what makes our school outstanding.

SSIS faculty and staff are comprised of over 170 experienced professionals. Our dedicated teachers come from over 20 countries, bringing their own unique perspectives on teaching and learning. Every faculty member is fully qualified, subject to rigorous pre-hire background screening, and certificated in their home countries. And, because we are serious about creating lifelong learners, over 50% (and counting) hold advanced degrees in their respective subject areas. Full staff directory


Parents


More than a School. An International Community.

Studies show that students perform better when there is open communication between home and school. This is why we have a strong open campus policy. Parents are encouraged to participate in all aspects of their child’s SSIS education. We love seeing parents on campus helping-out, joining in or just stopping by to have lunch with their child. We have established parent-friendly meeting policies so that you never miss the chance to be involved. Whether you’re interested in supervising a field trip, contributing to a bake sale or want to lead a committee for our International Family Day, there are no shortage of ways to get involved and other parents from all over the world to make friends with.

We also have an active and lively Parent School Partnership (PSP) organization to bring our community together and better encourage parent involvement throughout the school year. Find out more about the PSP here


Senior Leadership Team


A Legacy of Excellence.

Our Senior Leadership team is comprised of a diverse group of educational leaders who are able to bring their own experiences and perspective to running our dynamic school.

Head of School, 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 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, 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 Principal 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.

Elementary School Assistant Principal, Jocelyn Pollock

I am the Assistant Elementary Principal. I have been teaching since 1984 and I have taught in both New Zealand and England. My last position was as Deputy Principal in an Intermediate School in Wellington, New Zealand. SSIS is my first international school and I really look forward to working with the students, parents and staff of SSIS.

I moved to Suzhou with my husband. We have one daughter who is at university in New Zealand. We are excited about living in Suzhou and getting to know such a vibrant, friendly community.

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), Elicia Mendonça

I joined SSIS in 2016 as the IB Diploma Coordinator. I also teach Business Management. Prior to joining the SSIS community, I taught at schools in Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Portugal. I have a Bachelor Arts/Bachelor of Teaching (Humanities) from the Australian Catholic University and have also completed a Masters of Leadership and Management in Education at the University of Newcastle. I am passionate about the Diploma Programme and promote a learning environment that encompasses the traits of the IB Learner Profile. I love travelling the world and discovering new cultures and cuisines. I am accompanied by my husband, Daniel.