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A principal and a man of many parts and professions

BRITISH International School Shanghai Nanxiang principal Michael Embley is a highly experienced international school leader.

He started his international school leadership career at the highly prestigious British School of Taipei in Taiwan. The school is still recognized as one of the best schools in the region with many graduates going on to take places at the world's best universities.

He then went on to the British School of Caracas in Venezuela which, established more than 50 years ago, has one of the longest uninterrupted histories of any international school in the world and a fine tradition of educational excellence.

Later, at KIS in Norway, he took the school on to achieve superb examination results with average marks higher than all other schools - for every subject - in the country. KIS is still ranked one of the top five schools in Norway. Additionally, during his time in Norway, Embley worked as a consultant for the Norwegian government on the establishment of two other international schools. Once founded, these schools have continued to be successful and are developing excellent reputations of their own.

After a brief time in Thailand, he moved to Shanghai with his family and took up leadership at the BISS Nanxiang campus. BISS Nanxiang is the newest of the BISS campuses and is situated in beautiful grounds 30 minutes from downtown.

BISS Nanxiang enjoys an excellent and growing reputation with parents, and a recent inspection rated a number of areas of the school as being among the best in the world. It is Embley's firm intention that BISS Nanxiang will go on to emulate the fine academic record of his previous schools and also continue to build on the tradition of good manners and strong ethical education of the school.

Before coming to education, Embley worked for a number of years in medical research with the late Professor Simon Baumberg at the prestigious University of Leeds. With Professor Baumberg, Embley researched genetic control mechanisms that gave an insight into aspects of cancer. His time in medical research had a profound effect on him and he has vowed to ensure that every student in his care is nurtured and carefully guided toward making the right choices and is fully supported as they advance through life.

Embley's other passions include sword fighting. In his youth he was awarded the British National Championship on no less than five occasions, even going on to win the European Championship three times. He is a keen coach of the sport at BISS Nanxiang.

Students will be entering regional competitions in a couple of years and he has no doubt they will do extremely well. Not only does the sport encourage physical development and skill, but also mental discipline. However, it is also great fun and the students love to take part.

A keen interest in music led Embley to a short career many years ago as a professional musician in a number of rock bands and shows. While his own musical career might be behind him, he is a keen advocate of student bands and the value of music in general.

Technology is another area in which Embley has led previous schools to great success. The MIT-backed Lego Mindstorms program has a worldwide competition in which Embley's Norwegian team came a very close second in the Norwegian regional finals. The BISS Nanxiang Mindstorms team is already in training to compete in the Asian regional heats and is the only international school in Shanghai to be taking part at the moment - another unique opportunity for the students at Nanxiang to grow, learn and have fun.

His commitment to education and the students in his care is evident in the time. A firm believer that education should be structured and discipline should be firm but fair, he also believes that students learn most when learning is fun and their inquiring minds are stimulated, not simply spoon fed.

Embley has four lovely children and a beautiful wife who he feels very lucky to be married to - and even luckier that she is "short sighted!"


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