Tuesday 28 Sep 2021
Wuxi Dipont School of Arts and Science Governors Announce Head’s Appointment

Dear member of DSAS community,

We are writing to let you know that Dr. John Kennard is retiring from his post at DSAS. Beginning from September 2021, Mr. Peter Derby-Crook, currently the Director of Academic Management at Dipont Education Group, will assume the role of the Executive Principal to lead the school into the next phase of its development.

John has led the school, in the most difficult time of a pandemic, weathering the numerous unprecedented challenges inflicted by the threat of the covid, the ban on global travel and the disruption to school life. Meeting these challenges head on with swift and decisive action, Principal Dong, John, Principal Shen and the senior management team have displayed tremendous resilience, courage and leadership in not only steadying the ship in turbulence, but also taking the school to a new height. During his tenure, DSAS community has seen steady progress in ever sphere of the school operation. The student body continues to grow, in number as well as in substance. Thanks to the diligent and devoting work by John and his colleagues, the desire to achieve excellence in every aspect of school life has gradually taken root in the minds and hearts of the students. Ceremonial and theatrical activities, highly welcomed and acclaimed by the parent body, have offered the students an arena for the development and display of talents. These are also critical binding moments for the nurturing of a strong sense of community. In 2021, we celebrated the graduation of the first cohort of 12th graders, who, with strong track records, have all been admitted to the colleges and universities of their choice. Despite the challenges associated with international recruitment, DSAS welcomed many new teachers into the diverse community under John’s stewardship. And last but not least, the participation of the parents in school life has never been higher. The school community of educators, students and parents is flourishing.

Sadly, the long, fatiguing months of fighting an unusual battle on so many fronts have taken a heavy toll on John’s heath. The physical exhaustion sometimes triggered irregularities in his heart condition. John, with his characteristic sense of duty, has engaged the board in the discussion of an early retirement. He will faithfully fulfill his contract if the board insists but thinking for the best interests of the school, the feeling is that the daunting task of leading a large, growing school requires a leader in better health condition. The board, after careful consideration of the situation, appreciates John’s suggestion and has decided to move on with the new appointment. We thank John for his exceptional service to the school and wish him very best for the future. DSAS, being the “last and the best school” he had worked for, in John’s own words, will always be a welcoming home to him. John is now working closely with Peter and the SLT to prepare for the work of the incoming academic year.

Mr. Peter Derby-Crook, an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a successful history of leading prestigious international schools, is no stranger to the community of DSAS. Peter joined Dipont in 2019 as the Director of Academic Management to supervise and support the academic management of the high school centers and the K-12 independent schools. The work in the role has offered Peter a unique opportunity to understand the school at a very intimate level and to have an existing collegial relation with the teachers and the leaders at DSAS. Such advantages will make the transition seamless.

Before joining Dipont, Peter was Vice President in charge of education at GEMS, the largest education group in the world. Prior to his post at GEMS, Peter had led 7 prestigious schools in various countries, including Tanglin Trust School in Singapore, the British International School Jakarta, the British School in Tokyo, the British School Muscat and others. Looking ahead, we are very fortunate to be able to rely on the breadth and depth of Peter’s experience and his excellent leadership in the school’s pursuit of greater excellence. Peter’s work at the school has already begun. With great excitement, we ask you to join us in welcoming Peter to the community of DSAS.

Yours sincerely,

Board of Governors,
Wuxi Dipont School of Arts and Science