Head of School
Mr Simon Leslie
Simon commenced his role as Head of School of AIS in May 2016. He has been employed by the Cognita Asia Group of schools since August 2013. Within the Cognita Group he has held the posts of Headmaster of the International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC), Vietnam and Head of Talent Acquisition (Academic) across the region.
Prior to joining Cognita Simon spent a significant amount of time working in Thailand at prominent international schools, including ten years at the NIST International School in Bangkok. He has also been head of schools in Tanzania in East Africa, and at Geelong Grammar School Timbertop in Victoria, Australia. Simon has vast experience in running both the academic and business sides of international schools and has worked in multi-cultural environments for a number of years. He has lived away from Australia since 1994.
He has a particular love for and interest in Outdoor Education and has founded much of his teaching career on the philosophy of Kurt Hahn, the German philosopher who lead the way in establishing organizations such as Outward Bound; the United World Colleges; the Round Square Group of schools; the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and the International Baccalaureate. He has worked in government and non-government schools, boarding and day schools, international schools, profit and nonprofit schools and coeducational schools.
Simon was born in Maitland, New South Wales but grew up in the northeast of Victoria near Mount Buller. He graduated from Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, NSW with a Bachelor of Education and Diploma in Teaching.
Simon is married to Joy Leslie and they have three children, Sam (30), Jess (28) and Ellie (22).
Mr Andre Casson
Andre commenced as Head of Secondary School at AIS midway through Term 3 in 2012. In 2014 Andre took on the role of acting Assistant Principal (Academics), and in November 2014 Andre was confirmed as the fourth Principal for AIS. He brings 20 years’ education experience to the School teaching in independent schools in Western Australia and Queensland and in an international setting in Shanghai.
Andre began his teaching career at Christian Brothers Agricultural School Tardun, a small rural boarding school in country Western Australia. He was appointed as the school’s Sportsmaster and taught Years 8 – 10 Science. After two years Andre was promoted to the position as Deputy Principal with oversight for the school timetable and pastoral care.
Upon returning to Perth Andre gained a position as a teacher of Science and Senior Physics at Aquinas College, an independent boy’s boarding school. While at Aquinas he was appointed to the position as Head of Science and Head of Bryan House. As Head of Science Andre was engaged with implementing the Western Australian Curriculum Framework into the faculty. He was also charged with maintaining the school’s excellent matriculation results. Head of Bryan House was a pastoral position where Andre was able to engage with the students to ensure their well-being and progression through the school. It was through these positions at Aquinas that Andre gained an insight to the important link between curriculum and pastoral care to ensure positive educational outcomes for the students.
After six years at Aquinas Andre took the opportunity to work at a new school in China, Dulwich College Shanghai. He was appointed as one of the inaugural staff members to the position of Deputy Head of Senior School. At Dulwich Andre developed a passion for international education and an insight to the challenges confronted by students in a third culture setting. Moreover, he was able to engage with the IGCSE and IB Diploma Programme both as a teacher and manager. During Andre’s tenure at Dulwich the Senior School grew from an enrolment of 120 students in Years 7 – 9 to its capacity of 700 students in Years 7 – 13. Furthermore, during this period two cohorts of students graduated from the school with the IB Diploma Programme producing impressive results.
In 2010 Andre returned to Australia to commence the position as Deputy Head of Senior School at Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie) in Brisbane. His position had oversight for the school timetable, daily organiser of school events and pastoral care. At Churchie Andre was able to reconnect with independent education in Australia. Through attendance at the Association of Heads of Independent Schools Australia (AHISA) he was able to develop networks with school leaders from throughout the country. Moreover, he was able to reconnect with best practice in Australian schools both in the areas of teaching and learning and pastoral care.
Andre comes to Singapore with his wife Jodie and two young children, Jaxon and Remi.
Head of Early Years
Adam joins us from the British School, Rio De Janeiro ,Brazil where he was the Head of Lower Primary. Adam has over 25 years experience in teaching and leadership roles in a range of countries and settings. Before moving to Brazil he was the founding Head of Early Years at the International School @ Parkcity ( ISP ),a start up school in Kuala Lumpur. ISP was his second start up school having been a founding teacher and Deputy Head of Kindergarten at Dulwich College Shanghai.
In his spare time Adam enjoys cooking and has developed an unhealthy addiction to T.V chefs .He enjoys most sports and still plays rugby and cricket when he can, although somewhat slower than in previous years. Adam and his family enjoy traveling and look forward to re-visiting some of their favorite places in SE Asia and also discovering some new ones. Adam’s wife Amanda and two children Daisy and Alex join him in Singapore ,Alex and Daisy will be attending AIS.
Head of Elementary
Mr Neil Smith
B.A. (Hons), PGCERT
Neil joined AIS as the Head of Elementary in August 2014 bringing with him extensive experience of middle and Senior Leadership in International Schools.
Having trained in the United Kingdom his first teaching post overseas was in an intermediate school on the East coast of New Zealand. He then took on the challenge of working in Kuwait shortly after its liberation, working as an elementary class teacher there for over 4 years.
After a two-year period as a class teacher at the Overseas Family School (Singapore), Neil relocated to Phuket, Thailand where he joined the newly opened Dulwich International College. Initially working as a class teacher and Deputy Head he assumed the role of Head during his first year at the prestigious school.
Neil then took on a leadership role at the Canggu Community School, Bali in its newly developed campus. Having seen the School’s roll increase from approximately 70 students to close to 300 in just two years, Neil took the opportunity to head up the Primary section of Garden International School in Kuala Lumpur. Neil enjoyed 7 years at GIS as it continued to go through many changes and cement its place as one of the most dynamic and forward thinking Schools in the region. The push for a holistic education was strong, with elements such as the camps programme and community service providing the platform to ensure every child was challenged to meet the GIS vision. Throughout the period of development and diversification GIS saw its overall academic results continue to improve.
Neil and Linda have joined AIS with their two children Adrian and Jasmine who are currently both in the Preschool. Neil continues to enjoy teaching and in particular coaching rugby, swimming, athletics and multi sport events.
Head of Secondary
Ms Fiona Johnston
MA, BA, PGradDipEd
Fiona joined AIS in 2012 and was appointed as Head of Secondary in 2014.
Prior to joining AIS, Fiona has worked in independent schools in Queensland, Victoria and in the UK, where she has held key pastoral and academic leadership positions. With a background in music education and the arts, Fiona has worked as a consultant for the Queensland Studies Authority before she took on the role as Head of Music at Stuartholme School, followed by her position as Housemaster at Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie). While in Brisbane, Fiona was a Panel Member for both Senior Music and Music Extension.
Fiona is also passionate about providing opportunities for Women in Leadership. She was pivotal in launching AIS's first Women in Education Leadership Conference in 2014 and 2015, attracting delegates from across Asia and Australia to discuss issues surrounding women and leadership in education contexts.
Fiona was recently awarded a scholarship for the Australian Independent Schools Association Flagship Leadership Program, a nine month intensive leadership program for experienced senior leaders in schools. She looks forward to expanding her leadership knowledge and engaging in dialogue with like-minded School Principals in Australia. Fiona resides in Singapore with her husband Matthew and two children, Benjamin and Millicent.