Meet Our Community

Our school belongs to


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.

Our TEACHERS are at 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

Our PARENTS are active participants in

our vibrant 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

Our ACADEMIC SENIOR LEADERS continue our legacy of excellence.

Our Academic 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 as 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.

Early Years Assistant Principal, Carmen Murray

I feel very privileged to join SSIS in 2014 as Early Years Coordinator and Teacher. I am from Auckland, New Zealand and have happily been involved in Education since 1995. My teaching career has predominantly been in Early Years and with 5 and 6 year olds. I have taught in and around various parts of New Zealand and in 2001 my husband and I spent nearly seven years teaching at Nanjing International School where I ran the Pre-Kindergarten class. Upon returning to New Zealand, I embarked on leadership roles and spent the last two and a half years fulfilling a Deputy Principals role. I am extremely excited and enthusiastic to be a part of a school that offers quality IB curriculum. I feel very fortunate that my husband and I share a passion for the same profession and I believe that parents, students and educators are members of a team, that when respectful relationships are formed, all contribute to the progress of our children’s educational journey.

Secondary School Assistant Principal (Academic), Katie Wellbrook

I began teaching in 2010 working with disadvantaged students in the north of England. After two very rewarding years of teaching, I took the dive into international teaching moving to Muscat, Oman where I worked in a bilingual Omani school and enjoyed learning about Islamic culture. Whilst exploring the beautiful Gulf of Oman, I met my partner Ewen Bailey.
Ewen and I moved to Suzhou to join SSIS in 2014. I have had the pleasure of taking on many roles at SSIS. I joined the Secondary School as a teacher of MYP and DP English Language. I went on to become Head of Grade 9, MYP Coordinator and am now the Assistant Principal for Academics.
I have a BA in English Literature from the University of Sheffield and am currently studying for my Masters in Education, Gender and International Development with the Institute of Education at University College London.
I am a keen musician, part-time triathlete and avid explorer.

Secondary School Assistant Principal (Pastoral), Elicia Mendonça

I joined SSIS in 2016 as the IB Diploma Coordinator and have since moved into the role of Assistant Principal (Pastoral). 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 supporting students in discovering who they are, what inspires them and what challenges they face. I love travelling the world and discovering new cultures and cuisines and am lucky to have excellent travelling companions: my husband, Daniel and our baby girl, Bea.