So What does a Head of School Do, Dad?

Our new Head of School, Pete Corcoran, remembers the first time his eight-year-old daughter, Maya, asked him this question for a project her class was doing for Careers Day. 

He explained to her that a Head of School was responsible for leading change in schools that focused on improving student learning. But, like many simple explanations, it’s a lot more complicated than that. It starts with creating a collective vision for the future of education for our students.

Creating a Vision

Great schools continuously focus on ways to improve student achievement.  They gather, analyze and synthesize student performance data and use that information to create a roadmap of where they want to go next. This involves addressing five key questions around change:

Where are we now?
Where do we want to go?
Why is it important to change?
How will we get there?
What will success look like?
Staff then collaboratively make informed decisions regarding the curriculum, instruction, assessment, programs, services and support needed to take their school to the next level.

Experience Leading Change

Mr. Corcoran has over 40 years of experience leading change in schools. For the first 25, he worked as a teacher and principal in the Canadian public school system and for the past 16 has served in various leadership roles in international schools around the world.  

He was the high school principal and then Head of School at Seoul International School in South Korea, recently ranked #15 in Best International Schools in the World. From there, Mr. Corcoran went on to become Executive Director for Qatar Foundation Schools. Finally, before moving to Vietnam, he served as Head of School at the Canadian International School in Singapore an IB continuum school of 3,200 students.

Noteworthy Achievements

In 2015 Mr. Corcoran was appointed as the Founding Executive Director for Qatar Foundation Schools and was tasked with the responsibility of creating a new school consortium of 10 schools and programs serving a population of 4,500 students. 

Following his appointment as Head of School at the Canadian International School of Singapore Mr. Corcoran grew the school’s enrollment to a historic high and expanded the Bilingual Language Program from Kindergarten to Grade 12 during his five-year tenure.

Where We’re Headed

Mr. Corcoran has one overarching goal for CIS and that is to be the best international school in Ho Chi Minh City. To do this the school will have to focus on the three aspects it believes will make the biggest difference in improving student learning outcomes. The previous Council of International Schools (CoIS) accreditation report was extremely helpful in identifying those for the school.

Three Priorities For the Next Three Years

Not surprisingly, the school’s first priority will be promoting exceptional student achievement through the delivery of a world-class curriculum, outstanding instruction, and programs and services that provide care and support. 

In addition to encouraging academic excellence, the school will continue to emphasize the development of global citizenship, teaching our students to act with principles and engage with others to improve the world.

Finally, this school will continue to focus on growing our organizational capacity for collaboration, synergy, transparency and clarity of purpose as we commit to our goal of delivering our students a truly world-class education.

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