Since 1985, Jonathan Ullmer MBE has devoted his educational interests and skills to enhancing students’ experiences both domestically and globally. He led two schools from “unsatisfactory” to “excellent” as the CATS Colleges’ founding Director of Education and Principal, with leadership regarded as “exceptional” by UK Inspectors. The CATS colleges’ mission is to help international students prepare for university achievement and to improve their English abilities as they prepare for their future careers.
Jonathan Ullmer earned a Distinction in Teaching Practice after studying English at Durham and Oxford Universities. He obtained his MA in North American Literature from the University of Victoria in Canada. He also holds a diploma in the Therapeutic and Educational Application of the Arts from the Institute for Arts in Education and Therapy, as well as the Royal Academy of Music’s LRAM certification as a teacher.Mr. Ullmer began his teaching career in 1985 at the Swanley School in Kent, where he taught English and Drama. He began his career as the Arts Curriculum Director at Cecil Jones High School 11-18 Foundation School in Southend in 1989, before going on to Sawyers Hall College of Science and Technology in Essex in 2002 as Assistant Principal. In 2008, he joined CATS College Cambridge as Vice Principal before becoming Principal of CATS Canterbury, the oldest CATS College, in 2010.
Jonathan accepted an offer from Haileybury to lead their school in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan’s capital, in 2017. Jonathan’s expertise in school improvement brought him to the city school, where he worked with the teachers to guide Haileybury through a highly successful inspection, with the school receiving outstanding international practice in 17 of 19 areas.Jonathan also guided the school to NEASC and CIS certification, preparing the school to be able to offer American diplomas, as well as leading the school to its first highly successful International Baccalaureate results. The school was nominated for a Times-Independent Schools Award and won two prizes for its student leadership programs and Kazakh language instruction while he was in charge.
Jonathan Ullmer’s own international education enabled him to lead an international school in Canterbury that offers 26 different native languages together with the IB in an academic atmosphere that includes approximately 60 different nationalities. He has led the CATS Colleges in the development of policy and practice to ensure uniformity across all colleges, as well as the establishment of leadership awards during Global Leadership Days, which engage students in many aspects of college life. CATS Boston, London, Cambridge, and Canterbury have all hired him to write and implement development plans.He oversaw the changeover of the CATS Canterbury University Foundation Programme, which is currently available at all three UK colleges. With the exception of Oxbridge, this is the only school foundation course that sees students go on to all of the Times’ top institutions.Mr. Ullmer is especially proud of Student Voice, which allows students to submit comments on both the intranet and the ATS app, earning the Independent Schools Association’s Award of Excellence.
Jonathan Ullmer oversaw over 50 school and community initiatives in the wider Southend area, collaborating with local industries, churches, schools, and organizations. For fifteen years, he chaired the Trustees of a Southend counselling service, which grew by 700 percent. He also headed a team that developed regeneration work with 400 young people as Chair of Love Southend.
Since 1987, when his piece “History Comes Alive!” in the Kent Education Gazette explored the history of American Indians through play, Jonathan Ullmer has been published in a variety of magazines. He also wrote the books Creative Drama and Explosive Drama, both published by Moorley, in addition to a number of articles.Two 2014 honors warrant special mention. As the fastest-growing CATS College, CEG with CTS Canterbury received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Her Majesty the Queen also awarded Jonathan Ullmer the Order of the British Empire for Services to the United Kingdom and International Education.Jonathan Ullmer is the creator of the Excellence in Schools organization.