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Dear Members of the SSIS Community –

Please join me in congratulating Head of School, Mr. Mark Sylte, on his appointment as the next Executive Director at the American School Foundation in Mexico City, Mexico.   The announcement of Mr. Sylte’s appointment was made on 10 January, 2018. While we are sad to be saying farewell to Mr. Sylte and his family, we know that Mr. Sylte will continue his valuable work in education with passion, commitment, and kindness. The Board of SSIS is grateful to Mr. Sylte for his valuable service and contributions to SSIS over the past five years.

Mr. Sylte joined us in 2012, and during his time at SSIS,  Mr. Sylte has built a strong team of Administration and Faculty, and implemented changes in the programs, policies, and facilities at SSIS, that have resulted in many school-wide improvements, and the strengthening of student learning and the student experience.  SSIS has grown and thrived, with a 20%  increase in enrollments, continued improvement in student achievement, and teacher retention rates reaching historical highs.

In terms of programs, there has been a strategic focus on building a STEM/robotics program. Mr. Sylte spearheaded the shift to becoming an Apple school, a three-year effort completed in 2016; in 2017, SSIS was selected as the first Apple Distinguished School in Vietnam. This has come hand in hand with the implementation of an elementary school MakerSpace, a middle school DesignLab, VEX robotics clubs and competitions, expanded offerings in math, robotics, and computer science throughout the school, and the hiring of personnel dedicated to STEM efforts. In recent years, SSIS has successfully hosted many international teach and education conferences, bringing teachers, administrators, and consultants to SSIS from all over the world.

In the high school, a focus on strengthening the college counseling office has given our students better choice and opportunities in the college admission process, and has raised the profile of SSIS in the United States and the international university arena. In addition, Mr. Sylte has continued to strengthen our commitment to the IB and AP programs with the addition of new classes, which has given our students more robust choices in the dual paths of IB and AP.

During Mr. Sylte’s tenure, SSIS had a very successful mid-term WASC evaluation, as well as a full WASC accreditation visit. Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, under his leadership, a comprehensive school-wide Self Study process was undertaken, culminating in the WASC visit in March 2017, with SSIS gaining full six-year accreditation status.  In the spring of 2017, Mr. Sylte led our school-wide strategic planning process, that has given SSIS a blueprint on how to continue to improve and strengthen student learning and the student experience.

On behalf of the Board, we thank Mr. Sylte for his significant contributions as Head of School. I truly appreciate all he’s done, and even more so, appreciate that in Mr. Sylte is the heart of a scholar — a true educator who generously shares what he knows with others and who possesses an infectious love of learning.  There will be a planned celebration for Mr. and Mrs. Sylte in the spring, and in the meantime, please join me in extending a hearty congratulations to Mr. Sylte!

Sincerely yours,

Gayle S. Tsien
Board Chair
Saigon South International School

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