ZIS Leadership Team
Mr. Andrew VanderMeulen
Head of School
Andrew began his career in education at the turn of the millennium in small town Ontario, Canada. After three years of experience teaching History, Mathematics, and Law, the call of overseas teaching proved irresistible, and nearly 15 years later he’s delighted to call Zhuhai home.
Previous to joining ZIS, Andrew and his wife Mirjam found themselves in wonderful schools in Yemen, the Bahamas, Tanzania, and most recently in Shanghai, China. Along the way their family grew with the additions of their children, Simone and Theo.
In addition to teaching roles in various curricular programmes, Andrew has assumed a range of school leadership responsibilities over his career. Whether as Curriculum Coordinator, Board Member, Deputy Principal, or a member of accreditation and strategic planning initiatives, Andrew believes that excellence and innovation in schools is best driven by the people and community who share a common vision and passion for education. Since being introduced to the International Baccalaureate in 2007, he has been a champion of its high standards of teaching and the personal achievement students find in its programmes.
Andrew holds an MA in Education with a focus on Educational Leadership and Management from the University of Bath and a BA from Queen’s University in History and Religious Studies. He is certified as a Principal by the Ontario College of Teachers and is a member of the Ontario Principals’ Council.
When not on campus, Andrew can most likely be found on the running track or the football pitch. Breaking away from civilisation from time to time, he likes to find secluded campsites and wooded trails to share with family and friends.
Mr. Jordan Rose
Head of Primary and PYP Coordinator
Jordan Rose is a Canadian Primary teacher who has spent the past seventeen years living overseas and working in the field of international education. He is a dedicated PYP practitioner, whose roles at ZIS have included Year Four and Year Six classroom teacher, Math Coordinator, and PYP Curriculum Coordinator.
In his time at ZIS Jordan has played a major role in the development of the teaching and learning in the school’s Primary Year Programme. He has helped shape the Year 6 Exhibition, coordinate math instruction, and strengthen the program of inquiry here at Zhuhai International School. Jordan was also an important part of the management team that helped prepare ZIS for their successful IBO Evaluation in 2017.
As a dedicated PYP educator, Jordan believes in the power of inquiry based learning, and that students achieve at their highest levels when they are challenged to make meaning from new and engaging experiences. He is also committed to the IB’s goal of creating internationally minded young learners that are open minded to the beliefs of others and capable of working cooperatively and effectively in any and all group situations.
Jordan’s teaching career began as a language specialist in South Korea and Taiwan. Since then he has worked around the world at renowned international schools in the United Arab Emirates, Honduras, and now here in Zhuhai, China. He holds a Graduate Diploma of Education from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, and a Masters in Multidisciplinary Studies from the State University of New York.
This is Jordan’s fifth year in Zhuhai. He lives here with his wife Magda, and their two young children, Della and Oskar. Magda is the ZIS Year Two Classroom Teacher, and Della is six years old and preparing to attend her fourth year of school at ZIS. Oskar was born here in Zhuhai and will be turning two years old this September.
Jordan loves to play sports. His favourite sports are golf and basketball, but is a fan of all types of athletic competition. Jordan is the head coach of our Under 19 Boys Basketball team, and is looking forward to a big year from his promising young team. Jordan also enjoys travelling and seeing new places. At last count he has visited over 40 countries.
Ms. Mirjam Berghuis
Head of Learning Services
When first learning how to fish, Mirjam was encouraged to try different methods and be patient with herself. A safe learning environment created by a caring instructor who had time made all the difference.
As an educator, Mirjam knows that compassion, creativity and collaboration lead to positive results.
After studying both French and Education at Ottawa University, Mirjam began her career in 2000 as a French Immersion teacher.
A few years later, together with her husband Andrew, they decided a little adventure was in order before settling down. This temporary move overseas turned into a career. Mirjam has taught French, English and History in Yemen, the Bahamas and Tanzania. 7 different curricular programs later and it became clear that the IB was the best fit as it lead to greater innovation, in-depth exploration, and student development in her classroom.
As the Director of Languages at the Western International School of Shanghai, admissions, curriculum writing and language programming became a bigger focus.
Together with Andrew and their two children, Simone and Theo, Mirjam enjoys exploring the great outdoors, snapping pictures and discovering new cultural experiences.
Mirjam is a Workshop Leader with the IBO specializing in Language Acquisition. This allows her to work with fellow professionals to further develop educational practices. She is currently our Head of Learning Services.
Head of Secondary
Vanessa Leah is an Australian teacher with twenty years’ experience moulding minds Mathematically and Scientifically. For six of those years she has served schools on the senior management team.
China is her second overseas experience, wetting her feet in the very flat seas of Oman in the UAE where she taught Mathematics and implemented a Pastoral system into the secondary school.
Vanessa has three beautiful and engaging daughters, two of whom join her at ZIS. Her eldest, having matriculated at ZIS in 2016 is now attending the Australian Defence Force Academy in the hopes of becoming an Intelligence Officer.
While she teaches Mathematics for fun, it is the social, emotional growth of students that fires Vanessa’s passion and through the IB programs, she is able to engage, equip and empower students to facilitate personal growth and individual success.
Vanessa serves the ZIS community through curriculum knowledge (Australian Curriculum, IGCSE, AP, MYP, DP) and through her experience with Student Leadership, Model United Nations, Personal Project and CAS.
ZIS Advisory Board