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Our Senior Leadership


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Gaye Rawding

Head of Schools

Gaye Rawding is the current Head of School for Daystar Academy. Gaye is originally from Canada and has recently worked as an independent consultant specializing in educational leadership and professional learning. She has operated at both national and international levels with government officials, corporations, universities and school districts. She has developed projects and/or managed schools in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kuwait, Canada and China. Gaye is an experienced school supervisor and principal having previously developed and managed K-12 schools. 

Gaye understands the unique challenges and nuances of bilingualism and bicultural programs. She shares similar values and aspirations to Daystar; values that have guided her decisions as a leader. She will lead Daystar to achieve our vision of becoming China's premier bilingual K-12 school.


Guo Jiankang
Guo Jiankang

Chinese Principal, Beigao Campus/Sanlitun Campus

Principal Guo began his teaching career in 1961 as an elementary Chinese language, math and homeroom teacher. Also, he was a math instructor and researcher for the Dongcheng District and went on to be the head of the Dongcheng Elementary Teaching and Research Office. In 1989 he was named as a “Prominent Teacher” by the Beijing Municipal government. In the spring of 1994 Principal Guo represented Jing Shan Elementary to support the founding of the GuangDong Country Garden. He stayed on at the school in the roles of elementary head and then as vice-principal of the school.


Suly Li                                                                    

Early Learning Center Principal, Beigao Campus

Suly Li is originally from China and is fluent in English. She has a Master's degree in Education from Australia and has AMS certified. She has more than 15 years of early childhood education and management experience, as well as a popular teacher, AMS trainer, AMS practicum coordinator. She is passionate about Montessori education, working with teachers to deepen their understanding and implementation of the Montessori curriculum and ensuring parents have the support needed to extend the Montessori philosophy and practices at home. Ms. Li has a well understanding of not only Chinese and Western culture, she has two children and she believes that it is always a happy thing to continue her passion for her career. 



  Elementary School Principal, Beigao campus

 Susan Jarnot-Benthem is the Elementary Principal at Beigao campus. The 2020-2021 school year marks her 22nd year as an educator. She has served students and families as a teacher, instructional coach and building/division principal. She has leadership experience within Elementary, Middle School, High School and Central Office.

Susan is originally from Seattle, Washington in the United States. She holds a Master’s in Education from the University of Washington in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on instructional leadership. She received her principal certification from Danforth Educational Leadership with the University of Washington. She is a Danielson Instructional Framework for Teaching trainer.


Kari King                                                      

Elementary School Principal, Sanlitun Campus

Kari King has 13 years of experience in education, beginning her career in public education in North Carolina and spending the past 9 years in international education. Kari received her bachelor's degree from Appalachian State University in K-12 Education: Music. She began as a primary music teacher and has served as the Head of Primary and PYP coordinator internationally, where she cultivated her passion for inquiry-based education and collaborative learning. Kari has spent her career in education building programs from the foundation up and helping to foster true learning communities.


daniel williams

Secondary School Principal

Daniel Williams is from Wales and came to China in 2010. He joined Daystar Academy in August 2019 following nine years working in international schools in Suzhou as a physics teacher and a school leader. He has considerable experience in the IB DP, IB MYP and A Levels as both a teacher and leader. He holds a BSc from the University of Swansea, a Masters in Applied Education Leadership and Management from the UCL-Institute of Education and another Masters in Digital Technologies, Communications and Education from the University of Manchester. In 2016, Daniel began his Doctorate Degree in International Education at the University of Bath. He has a keen interest in Chinese history, culture and language. 


Jessica Heyman                                              

Director of Teaching, Learning, and Innovation, Beigao/Sanlitun Campus

Jessica Heyman is currently Daystar's Director of Academic Services and Program Innovation. She began her teaching career in 2004 and has experience teaching IBMYP, IBDP, and Advanced Placement courses. Prior to joining Daystar, she was an MYP Coordinator and Individuals and Societies teacher in a large Maryland high school. Jessica is an active participant in the IB Community. She is currently an IB Educator and has led IB workshops in both the IB Americas and IB Asia Pacific networks. She holds M.S.Ed. degrees in Secondary Social Studies Education and K-12 Administration as well as a M.A. and B.A. in Political Science. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in curriculum and instruction.