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Dear SSIS Parents:

It is with tremendous pride in our School, tinged with sadness, that I announced that the next school year (2017-2018) will be my last here at Saigon South International School. Next spring I will complete my fifth and final year as Head of School and will be transitioning to a new opportunity at another school. This decision was reached after lengthy consideration of what the next best step was for my family and the great position that SSIS is now in for the realization of its new Strategic Plan.

Over the past four years it has been an absolute pleasure to lead an amazing group of administrators and teachers both in the daily work of delivering an incredible educational experience to your children and the always restless work of professional development and school improvement. I inherited a wonderful school from past heads including Ellen Stern, Charles Barton, and Gerry Keener, who in their times also worked with great teachers and administrators. No school is simply the product of the Head of School but rests upon the work of many dedicated and hard-working individuals.

When I look at the present and the future of SSIS, I see an amazing school that is already great and, keeping in focus the goals of the current Strategic Plan just announced, deserves to be ranked among the very best schools worldwide. We have students brimming with potential and talent who achieve great things, faculty who are dedicated to their craft, their students, and to a vision which prepares students to assume places at the very best universities and colleges around the world, staff who dedicate long hours to creating and maintaining outstanding facilities and delivering superior service, and a supportive community of SSIS families.

The goals of our Strategic Plan will not be achieved overnight, but can be accomplished before most of our current students graduate. In reflecting on the needs of my family and on the work ahead at SSIS, I have decided, and the board has graciously agreed, that this is the right time for SSIS to have a change of leadership at the top and to find the next Head of School who will lead this school for many years to come. Therefore, I will be stepping down at the end of next year, in June 2018, as I, Hsiaoling, and our family move on to serve our next school. Our daughters, Alexandra (Class of 2017) and Leandra (Class of 2018), will always be proud graduates of SSIS. Karstan (Gr 8) and Cedrik (Gr 6) have been made better young men for their time here, too. Both SSIS and Vietnam have been a welcoming home to us during these years.

Again, I could not be more pleased with this School and gratified by all that we have been able to accomplish here together. Five years is a significant period in the history of a school which only turns twenty years old next year. We have lots to celebrate next year and I will cherish the memories of this place for a long time.

Future announcements with come from the Board as we establish a search for our next Head of School.

Sincerely yours,

Mark Iver Sylte, Head of School

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