Gerard MacMahon has been appointed Executive Master for Wellington College Shanghai after twelve years as a school principal in England and the Middle East and one year as the Master of Wellington College International Shanghai. He will be leading both the International and Bilingual schools of Wellington College in Shanghai.
In 2004 he was appointed headteacher of Sheldon School in Chippenham, Wiltshire. In 2008, Sheldon was judged outstanding in all 38 inspection categories by Ofsted. Gerard was made a National Leader of Education in 2010, and Sheldon was identified as one of the top 100 schools in England when becoming a Teaching School in 2011.
Gerard was born in Dublin (something he has in common with the Duke of Wellington) and raised in Bristol. He graduated in economics from the London School of Economics and trained as a teacher at UCL’s Institute of Education. He was the founding head of sixth form at Balcarras School, Cheltenham. He moved to Qatar in 2012 to be headmaster of Al Khor International School, one of the world’s largest international schools with over 4,000 students. In both 2016 and 2017, Gerard was named one of the ten most influential international school heads in China.
Graduating from Edinburgh with a BSc in podiatric medicine, Vanessa practiced biomechanics and paediatrics for the National Health Service in the North East of England. During this time, Vanessa studied for a PGCE and following her appointment as lecturer at Durham School of Podiatric Medicine moved in to an academic role teaching honours degree students in the field of human growth, development and paediatric disorders. Holding a strong desire to see personal and professional growth, Vanessa led a team of academics to write the first foundation degree for assistant practitioners in podiatry (UK).
After 15 years in Higher Education, Vanessa relocated with her family to Abu Dhabi, UAE where she retrained in Early Years education and management of Early Years settings. After five years in the UAE, Vanessa moved further East to be an active part in the changing educational landscape within China. The opportunity to afford children an inspiring and current early years education underpins her motivation whilst bringing teams of like-minded practitioners together to provide excellence in early years’ education forms the underpinning ethos of her work. Huili Nursery Shanghai holds shared values and vision at the very heart of its culture and this, to date is Vanessa’s greatest achievement.
After graduating from Fudan University law school and completing a degree in Chinese language and literature at East China Normal University, Yuki Gong became involved in early childhood education. With six years in public kindergarten, five years in bilingual nursery and nine years in international schools, she gathered a wealth of experience through twenty years’ teaching practice, as well as a solid knowledge of Eastern and Western education philosophies. She uses her expertise to lead the teaching practice at Huili Nursery Shanghai, aiming to provide personalised and holistic education for every pupil.
Yuki’s experience in leadership has resulted in the ability to create a safe, fun and enabling learning environment where the awareness of responsibility and autonomy is stimulated among teachers and pupils. She believes that building mutual trust and respect between pupils, parents and colleagues is at the heart of an inspiring early childhood provision. Only by promoting playing and exploring, active learning, creativity and critical thinking can we support our children to grow up to become effective learners.
Ben Blackwood moved to Wellington College Shanghai from Redland High School for Girls, a leading independent girl’s school in Bristol, where he has been the Bursar for eight years. Ben first became a bursar after completing a 26-year career as an officer in the British Army.
After completing his A-levels at Welbeck College, he chose to go to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, rather than university. On completion of his training he was commissioned in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, and proceeded to serve in many parts of the world, including Germany, the Gulf, the Balkans and the Falkland Islands. One of the highlights of his career was being selected for training as an Ammunition Technical Officer, including bomb disposal. Towards the end of his service he completed a Master’s Degree in Engineering Business Management at the University of Warwick.
Ben has always been interested in most sports and was privileged to be selected to play hockey for the Ordnance Corps, as a goalkeeper. His main sport now is cycling and he has undertaken a number of challenging rides. He is married to Fiona and they have two children, Victoria and Thomas, who are also at Wellington.
Lydia is the bursar of Wellington College Shanghai, responsible for overseeing operations, services and purchasing. Before joining us, she spent four years in the same capacity in Beijing City International School, which accommodates both foreign and Chinese pupils.
Lydia also has extensive experience in the accounting industry, where she was attached to several international firms, including Arthur Andersen and KPMG. During this time, she led various financial projects in real estate, resorts and service related industries, assurance and advisory business for multi-national organisations and public listed companies.
Lydia is a chartered accountant, a fellow member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), an experienced member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants and the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She also completed an MBA from Oxford Brookes University.