- Elementary School
- High School
There’s a new face — albeit behind a mask — walking the hallways of our Elementary School, and that’s our new principal Ms Catherine Nicol.
Ms Nicol is joining our school with 33 years of teaching experience. She started teaching in 1987 as a Primary School Teacher in Leeds, and 3 years later moved to Yokohama, Japan for her first overseas role.
“I stayed in Japan for 16 years and during that time was a classroom teacher, Curriculum Coordinator and Assistant Principal. I always think of Japan as the place where I really grew up!” she shared.
Ms Nicol was born in Germany, raised in Dusseldorf, Hannover and Surrey - a third culture kid if you may.
After her colourful teaching stint in Japan, she moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she taught ESL and continued her work on curriculum as an Assistant Principal. Soon after she was ready for new adventures and took a position at the International School of Tianjin in northern China.
“This dynamic school was challenging and gave me many opportunities to grow professionally, including my first position as a Principal.”
Her next stop — and the most recent one before SJI International — was Suzhou Singapore International School, the largest school she said she has worked at and the most culturally diverse.
Having worked in several different international schools, she brings a breadth of experience and expertise to SJI International; in particular, a knowledge of and passion for a strong and forward-thinking curriculum that prepares young people for the future.
“I make a point of keeping abreast of developments in learning and education through workshops, professional training, webinars and personal reading and look forward to working with the team on looking at how we can apply new developments to an already strong programme at SJI International. I am also a proponent of collaboration, whether it is forming a strong leadership team, bringing teachers on board with the school’s mission and vision, or forming a whole-school model where the different sections connect and interact with each other. I believe there is strength in numbers and in making the most of the collective expertise within our school community. I look forward to building on what is already happening at SJI International,” she added.
HER GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS
Professionally, she believes her greatest achievement is the way in which she has supported teachers to be their very best, whether it is through the provision of encouragement and challenge, professional development opportunities or coaching.
Personally, she believes — without a doubt — that her greatest achievement is being a mother.
“I feel that it is the greatest privilege and joy to have been blessed with. My girls were adopted as toddlers from China and, as a single mum, the process of becoming their mother was both challenging and daunting. With the support of a wonderful adoption agency, friends and family, I made two trips into the unknown and came back with the greatest treasure anyone could wish for. Abby, Esther and I have lived together internationally which has been the perfect environment for us as a family. The girls have been able to stay in touch with the culture of their birth while developing their own unique identity. Seeing them as young adults and knowing they have become independent and confident in who they are, is what all parents hope for, and what has been my life’s most worthwhile work and achievement.”
FUN FACTS ABOUT MS NICOL
Favourite movie: Adult - Shadowlands | Children - Paddington
Favourite holiday spot: New Zealand South Island
Favourite historical figure: Mother Teresa
Favourite Singapore eatery: “I don’t have a particular favourite eatery, but love Indian food.”