Suzhou is an ancient city, but in recent years it has become a regional center of commerce and industry, with beautiful ancient buildings juxtaposed to glittering skyscrapers. In the 1990’s development of Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), a smaller area outside of Suzhou’s downtown area, commenced under the partnership of the Chinese and Singapore governments. The creation of SIP was carefully planned, managed and curated to create a zone in China that would attract both multinationals and large Chinese businesses to the area. The intent was to modernize, digitalize and internationalize Suzhou. At the same time the two countries saw it as a way for two great and sovereign nations to join together. The partnership, which still exists today, allowed China to learn Singaporean management practices while giving Singapore the opportunity to become a closer partner with China, a growing super power. The partnership was the first of its kind in China and cities like Chengdu and Tianjin later followed suit.During the development process the team recognized there would be a strong need for an international school to educate the children of the incoming expats and the Suzhou Singapore International School was established.


SSIS is owned by China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development Group commonly known as CSSD. CSSD was founded as a partnership between the governments of Suzhou and Singapore in order to support the on-going growth and development of Suzhou and the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP).

China Singapore International Education Service commonly known as CSIES, is an affiliated company of CSSD and provides professional management services and administrative support to SSIS. CSIES staff work every day with SSIS staff under the direction of our Head of School to ensure the daily operations and smooth running of our school. HR, finance and other key business administrative functions are provided by CSIES.

The Governing Board of SSIS is made up five directors drawn from the management teams of CSSD, CSIES and our Head of School. The Board must approve major actions taken by the school (sale of assets, etc.), and generally acts as an oversight body to our Senior Management Team with the Head of School reporting directly to the Board. The Board along with the Chinese and Singaporean governments recognize that SSIS is essential in the on-going success of Suzhou and SIP.


The SSIS Senior Management Team (SMT) team consists of our Head of School, our Secondary and Elementary School principals, our Assistant Secondary and Elementary School Principals, our Director of Professional Learning and Development and our Director of Marketing and Admissions.

The responsibilities of the team extend beyond managing the school’s day-to-day operations and implementing school policy. The team also provides strategic direction for the school, setting school policy, budgeting functions and submitting an annual report regarding the management status of the school to the Board of Directors. Our Senior Management Team completes all of these functions while focused on excellence through continuous improvement, working together to create a school culture of personal leadership, compassionate interaction, and cultural synergy.

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.

Director of Professional Learning & Development, Ewen Bailey

My passion for education developed during my teacher training in Manchester as a Teach First participant between 2009 and 2011. The experience of working with motivated and idealistic professionals opened my eyes to what is possible through education.

I have a BSc (Hons) in Zoology from the University of Dundee and have since gained an MA (Educational Leadership) from the University of Manchester. After Teach First, I worked as a science teacher, pastoral coordinator and curriculum coordinator during three years at Al Sahwa Schools in Muscat, Oman. I joined SSIS in August 2014 with my partner, Katie, and look forward to contributing in as many ways as possible to the SSIS community. I am equally excited about discovering more about China and its culture.

I like to keep active and particularly enjoy football (soccer); although I would probably benefit from spending less time watching it and more time playing it!

Director of Communication & Information Technology, SAM BOURGEOIS

Sam has 12 years of experience in technology and education, with 8 of those years spent working in bush Alaska school districts. He has learned a lot about diversity, challenging educational environments, and educational technology through these experiences and is passionate about equitable access to resources regardless of location.

Sam started his career teaching in Louisiana. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he decided to make the move to rural Alaska to teach and eventually manage the school’s network and hardware. Sam later moved to Anchorage, Alaska and worked as an education consultant. For 4 years he worked for the Lower Yukon School District, first as the Technology Coordinator then the Director of Technology. For the next 3 years Sam worked as a telecommunications director, overseeing the business functions, engineering, architecture, and support efforts for dozens of Alaskan school districts.

Looking for a new adventure and fresh challenges, Sam joins SSIS with his wife and 2-year-old son. Sam has a B.A. in Secondary Education, Social Studies and a Master’s of Science, Curriculum & Instruction: Concentration in Technology. Sam has his teaching certificate (Alaska, USA) and is Cisco Certified Network Associate, an ITIL certified practitioner, an Apple Certified Maintenance Technician and Help Desk professional among other professional certificates.