Since graduating in 1996 with a BA (Hons) in Marketing, Tom worked in marketing, hospitality management and IT before embarking on a career as a teacher. After teaching and leading in English Language schools, he graduated with a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGDE) in Primary Education from the Moray House Institute of Education at the University of Edinburgh. Tom has taught in Scotland, Egypt, Poland and various locations in China. He joined Nord Anglia Education in 2010 as Leader of Teacher Development at the British School of Beijing, Shunyi. In 2014 he moved to Hong Kong to become part of the founding team at the Nord Anglia International School, Hong Kong, where he has been the Head of Planning& Administration.
"I love to teach, am passionate about education as a key to improving lives and I plan lessons to ensure collaborative learning amongst children as a means of promoting rapid academic progress. I firmly believe we have to prepare our students to be responsible global citizens, confident individuals and successful learners, and that time at school should prepare our students for success in life, equipping them with the skills, knowledge and abilities to be the best they can be. Nord Anglia provides the highest standards of education with outstanding teachers, excellent environments in which to learn, and a truly personalised approach, and I consider myself fortunate to work for such a vibrant and exciting company, which drives educational change using advanced pedagogy and theories of learning, and constantly strives to reach new heights of excellence", Tom said. "I enjoy coaching sports at school – the satisfaction of seeing the children work hard as a team, showing dedication and commitment in training and their anticipated success wakes me up early on Saturday mornings in winter! Travelling is another one of my passions – living in China has been the springboard for a number of trips around Asia, and the opportunities are endless; the most difficult aspect is choosing where to go next! I am very excited to be moving to Chengdu with my wife and son, who will join Léman in the Primary School.
Q: What brings you to Léman International School Chengdu?
Tom: I visited Chengdu many years ago on a family vacation, and the wonderful memories of that trip and experiences are still with me today. When the opportunity came to be considered for the role at Léman, I didn't hesitate. LIS is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year and has enjoyed great success in the past – the chance to join the team here and contribute to future success was irresistible. Chengdu is a city unlike any other in China, successfully combining cutting edge development and leading technological and urban change, with a relaxed pace and outlook on life that embraces social interactions and enjoyment. It is a great place to be at the moment, and the future looks very bright indeed.
Q: What do you think should be the main goal of a school principal?
Tom: The main goal of a Principal seems simple – to make sure everything in school works well! A major focus is the ability to lead growth and continuous improvement, ensuring the systems and processes for success are in place, driving academic challenge and rigour, and to champion the school, its students and staff in the community and beyond. We want our students to achieve more than they could at any other school in Chengdu, and it is the Principal's responsibility to put all the pieces together to allow that to happen.
Q: How do you help teachers improve their instruction methods?
Tom: At Nord Anglia we believe in developing and supporting everyone in the school, not just students but our colleagues as well. Teachers work together with senior leaders to identify areas of development, then look for opportunities to share practice, to observe colleagues, to use online options such as Nord Anglia University, and to network with educators in China and further afield. We take professional development seriously and invest every year to ensure our teachers are the best equipped they can be to deliver inspiring and challenging teaching and learning experiences for the benefit of your children.
Q: From your point of view, what should be the relationship of a principal and the students?
Tom: At Léman we pride ourselves on knowing children and young adults as individuals, to ensure their needs are met and to understand their different characters, their likes and approaches to learning. Personalised learning is one of our core beliefs, and for our students to be successful we fully embrace this. The Principal, as much as the class teacher, admissions team member and even the class ayi, gets to know and build relationships with the students they come into contact with. I am greatly looking forward to spending time with our students, getting to know them in classes, clubs and all of the other times our paths cross.
Q: What will you bring to Léman to benefit our whole community?
Tom: As Léman celebrates its 10th year, this will be my 10th year with Nord Anglia Education. I am confident that I bring knowledge of how to ensure LIS benefits from being part of the group, for students and staff to be able to take advantage of the collaborations with MIT, Juilliard and UNICEF, the professional development opportunities on NAU and with Kings College London and from the Global Campus, competitions and events. I am passionate about professional development, having led on this area in Beijing and Hong Kong, and understand the value of continual teacher learning and the impact it can have on student achievement. Finally, I still thrive on seeing student success, whether it be the light in the eyes moment when a child grasps division for the first time, the sheer excitement and joy when an acceptance to a first-choice university is confirmed or watching as language develops to a point where a student can present to the whole school in English with confidence. All of these moments and more ensure that I am relentless in my expectation that we provide the best opportunities, the best learning experiences and the highest expectations for every student in our care.