You’ve had a varied career with Dipont over the last nine years…
Yes, I started as a math teacher in Chengdu in 2010, opening the center there along with two other teachers, which I loved. Then, the opportunity came to apply to be a math AQM (academic quality manager), based in Nanjing. Because AQMs travel to all the centers, I was really able to see the scope of the whole company, as well as gain useful admin experience. Then, my wife got pregnant and I didn’t want to travel so much, so John Birchall (academic director) was kind enough to put me back into a center, teaching math in Suzhou. It was new so it was pretty exciting to be part of the small team that helped create the center, as opposed to coming into an already established school.
And now you’re the center principal at that school?
After a couple years of me being a teacher, the then center principal moved on and I was asked to take over. This is my fourth year as a C.P. (center principal). The center is still pretty small but we’ve been growing slowly. Our center’s physical location has changed each year so even though I’ve been there for six years, it’s felt like every year we’ve started anew, which keeps things interesting. I’m really happy in my role and my family is very settled so I do feel I could end my career with Dipont.
So you’ve really been able to take advantage of the mobility that Dipont offers teachers?
Dipont has provided great opportunities for me to try different roles throughout my career. In my previous experience in international education in other countries, once you’re ready to leave your school, you inevitably have to leave the country as there’s limited options for career progression. What’s great about Dipont is that you can move into different roles within the same company, and still within China, so that helps you build your experience. With Dipont always expanding and moving into new areas, like the new independent schools, if you find that you fit in with the company there’s just so much opportunity.