Leadership Spotlight: Liz Gale

ISS Leadership Search was honored to support the Head of School search for the United Nations International School of Hanoi in Hanoi, Vietnam. Congratulations to Dr. Liz Gale for accepting the position, beginning August 2025! Liz is currently the Deputy Head of School at Taipei American School.

Liz holds a BA in English and Psychology from the University of Michigan; an MA Ed from the University of Michigan; and an EdD from the University of Nottingham. Through her career, she has served as Head of School – Pudong Campus / Deputy Director of Schools at Shanghai Community International School; Lower School Principal at Shanghai Community International School; and Elementary Assistant Principal at the American International School of Guangzhou.

In this feature, learn about her journey in education, the values she holds as a school leader, and how UNIS Hanoi’s culture and commitments align with her aspirations.

What drew you to pursue the world of education? And what drew you into international education specifically?

My inspiration to pursue the world of education stems from a deep-seated passion for fostering intellectual curiosity and personal growth in young minds. From the onset of my career, I have been driven by the desire to create educational environments where students feel safe, supported, and inspired to reach their full potential.

My journey began in domestic education in the US; however, it was my move to international education that truly broadened my perspective and deepened my commitment. Working in international schools in Asia for over two decades, I have developed a profound appreciation for cultural diversity and its enriching impact the educational learning environment. This international context has not only enhanced my professional skills but also instilled in me a dedication to nurturing global citizens who are compassionate, resilient, and prepared to contribute positively to our complex world.




One of Liz’s greatest joys is authentically interacting with students in their learning environment. She believes there is nothing more rewarding than witnessing the enthusiasm and excitement of students as they engage in learning.

In a school community, Liz believes that adults must serve as role-models of lifelong learning through purposeful and ongoing engagement in professional development.

Please tell us about your education philosophy and your leadership style. What can your new community expect?

My educational philosophy centers on fostering a culture of trust, belonging, and an unwavering commitment to ensuring that all student and adult learners alike can thrive. My leadership style is rooted in building genuine relationships with al community stakeholders, valuing diversity of thought, and promoting transparency, engagement, empathy, and collaboration. By nurturing these values, I aim to inspire a unified and inclusive atmosphere that drives educational excellence.

The community can expect a leader dedicated to high standards, continuous improvement, and open communication. I will work collaboratively with teachers, administrators, and students to shape a progressive and inspiring future. My approach involves developing a strategic framework that aligns with the school’s mission and values, fostering faculty growth, and integrating global issues and technology to enhance real-world learning experiences. Together we will create a vibrant learning community where each student’s potential is not only recognized but fervently championed, advancing the next generation of thought leaders and change-makers committed to making a positive impact on the world.


Congratulations on your new position at UNIS Hanoi! What excites you about being in this new role and school? What are your hopes?

I am excited about the Head of School role at UNIS Hanoi because it aligns perfectly with my professional values and aspirations. UNIS Hanoi’s commitment to fostering an inclusive, empowering, and globally minded community deeply resonates with me. I am inspired by the integration of UN principles and Sustainable Development Goals within the school’s framework, demonstrating a dedication to nurturing global citizens who are academically proficient and actively engaged in shaping a more equitable and sustainable world.

As an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, I am eager to join a community driven by these shared values. My leadership experience in dynamic international school settings, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, has honed my skills in strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, and creating student-centered environments. I am well-prepared to lead UNIS Hanoi in continuing its tradition of educational excellence and achieving its objectives.


UNIS Hanoi campus

As a multicultural family, Liz, her husband Carel, and their children, Anna and Alexander, are thrilled to join the diverse and international community at UNIS Hanoi.

And finally, what was your experience with ISS Leadership Search like?

I had an exceptional experience with ISS, thanks to the personalized support and encouragement from Beth Pfannl. Her responsiveness and caring nature were remarkable, making me feel valued and supported throughout the entire process.


Many thanks to Liz for sharing these insights and experiences! Wishing her, her husband Carel van Apeldoorn, and their two children Anna and Alexander a smooth transition to life in Vietnam. We look forward to seeing Liz’s globally-minded leadership at work with the UNIS Hanoi community. You follow her journey on LinkedIn.

If you’re interested in pursuing a school leadership position, please check out our current leadership searches or get in touch with the ISS Leadership Search Team.