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Whittle Appoints Global Education Management Team, Building a Truly K-12 Global School


Whittle Appoints Global Education Management Team, Building a Truly K-12 Global School

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Aug. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Whittle School & Studios recently appointed a global education management team, whose members all have significant experience in leading education institutions around the world: Nicholas Dirks, Ph.D. as vice chairman and chancellor; Jim Hawkins and Rebecca Upham as co-vice chancellors, with Rebecca also serving as chairwoman of the D.C. campus; Dennis Bisgaard as head of school of the D.C. campus; Xianzhang Shen as chairman of the Shenzhen campus; Rhiannon Wilkinson as head of school of the Shenzhen campus; and Li Yin as a senior advisor.  

Whittle School & Studios Education Leadership

Nicholas Dirks, Ph.D. - Vice Chairman, Chancellor

Nick Dirks was named the tenth chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley in 2012. An internationally renowned historian and anthropologist, Nick is well known as an advocate for accessible, high-quality undergraduate education. He has long been a champion of the globalization of higher education and collaborative innovation across academic disciplines. He has forged meaningful partnerships between universities and outside entities.

Before joining Berkeley, he was the executive vice president and dean of the faculty at Columbia University. Nick will lead the Whittle team in all education-related areas, including teaching and curriculum design.

Jim Hawkins - Vice Chancellor, Global Head of School Heads

Prior to assuming the role of Whittle School's vice chancellor, Jim served as head master of Harrow School in London, one of the world's great learning institutions and boarding schools. Jim has held several state and independent school governorships and was vice-president (Europe) of the International Boys' Schools Coalition. 

As vice chancellor, Jim will appoint the head of school for each Whittle campus and lead and support the school heads as they put together and manager their senior teams.

Rebecca Upham - Vice Chancellor, Chairwoman, D.C. Campus

Born in Washington, D.C., Rebecca comes to Whittle School & Studios after leading Buckingham Browne & Nichols School for 17 years. She has also held senior leadership posts at the Ellis School and the Harvard-Westlake School.

As vice chancellor, Rebecca will manage the global education design team as well as lead the development of teaching methods, research work and the global curriculum framework.

Whittle School & Studios Education Leadership

Dennis Bisgaard - Head of School, D.C. Campus

Dennis has worked at top U.S. schools, most recently as head of school at Kingswood Oxford School. Dennis previously held senior positions at Bryn Mawr School in Maryland, Shady Hill School, and Collegiate School. He also served on the national NAIS Board of Trustees.

Xianzhang Shen - Chairman, Shenzhen Campus

Xianzhang Shen is a distinguished educator in China with over four decades of experience as a teacher, administrator and principal. He served as vice principal of RDFZ, the esteemed public high school in Beijing. Prior to joining Whittle, he served as senior vice president of TAL Education Group.

Rhiannon Wilkinson - Head of School, Shenzhen Campus (Joining early 2019)

Rhiannon is currently headmistress of Wycombe Abbey School in Buckinghamshire, England, one of the world's leading girls' boarding schools. She has wide experience in state, independent and international education. She has held senior positions at schools in Hong Kong, Brunei and England.

Li Yin, Senior Advisor

Li Yin was the founding headmistress of Wuhan Experimental Foreign Languages. Previously, she served as a representative of China's National People's Congress for a decade and was rewarded the National Woman Leader.

Whittle School & Studios intends to create an extraordinary school that contributes to the cause of modern education. Its founding team is a global consortium of hundreds of educators, architects, artists, technologists and other experts from primary, secondary and higher education. This modern network of campuses represents the fusion of world cultures through a modernized and personalized curriculum, facilitating the growth of students who will stand out as truly global citizens.

About Whittle School & Studios

Whittle School & Studios intends to create the world's first truly modern school serving students from age 3 to 18, with a global network of high-end private school campuses. Founded by Chris Whittle, an early leader of the charter school movement in the US, the school is forming local partnerships in over 30 major cities around the world. Whittle School & Studios will bring together renowned educators to provide a world-class education for its students, one that is personalized, prepares students for the future, and enables unique global exchange experiences. The first two campuses of Whittle School & Studios will be in Washington, D.C. and Shenzhen, China, with both campuses scheduled to open in the fall of 2019.

To learn more about Whittle's Washington campus, please visit 
To learn more about Whittle's Shenzhen campus, please visit

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