Dipont Education has recruited a head of school to lead and manage the development of its latest K-12 campus development in China.
US citizen Carol Santos has been appointed head of the new school, which is set to open in 2020 and will follow an American and bilingual Chinese curriculum. At capacity the school, which will be in Kunshan, just west of Shanghai, is expected to cater to 2,800 students.
This is the first international posting for Carol, who brings with her a track record of delivering high-quality educational projects as well as senior leadership experience in prestigious, independent US boarding schools. Prior to joining Dipont, she was head at public day school Centennial Academy in Atlanta, Georgia, USA where she led efforts to operate more independently as a charter school, fostering a culture of excellence and improving student academic performance.
Her varied career in education has seen Carol, among other things, teach mathematics to high school students, set up a summer science and engineering program for girls in Connecticut, coach varsity basketball, serve as dean of students, coordinate student recruitment efforts, and develop teacher leadership systems that have allowed her staff to flourish and succeed. She has a bachelor’s (B.S.) in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s (M.Ed) in educational leadership from the Teachers College, Columbia University, and is currently completing her doctorate (Ed.D) at the University of Pennsylvania.
On her appointment, Carol said: “To start a school completely from scratch is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is a really interesting and exciting project, and I am looking forward to spending the next year developing the school’s educational model and physical and cultural environment. Being able to design a school from the ground up is a real privilege and I’m very grateful to Dipont for allowing me to bring my leadership experience to this project.”
A ‘model for cultural fusion’
The new campus in Kunshan is the third K-12 school to be developed by Dipont in a unique partnership model with local government and a leading Chinese school. It follows the successful opening of Nanwai King’s College School Wuxi and RDFZ King’s College School Hangzhou in 2018.
Dipont’s educational partner for the project in Kunshan is The No. 2 High School Affiliated With East China Normal University, highly regarded for its progressive approach to educational development and its teacher training.
Over the next year, Carol and the founding team, made up of representatives from Dipont, the local partner and local government, will plan every element of the new school, from its curriculum and ethos to the design of the campus.
Carol says she hopes to see the school become a model for cultural fusion that showcases the value of people coming to a true understanding of each other and each other’s cultures.
“I would hope the school will develop a daring culture,” she said. “A community that dares to seek understanding and that dares to soar with the truth that new understanding brings in order to serve others in ways that improve our world. I hope it will reflect its Chinese and American cultural backgrounds as well as offer a collegiate, high-achieving environment with limitless possibilities for students.”
Senior management roles in the school are already being recruited and most will be in place for August 2019 to allow a year of preparation prior to the school opening. Vacancies will be advertised on Dipont’s website as they become available.