SSIS Link Handbook Compendium AA Governance AA01 Mission and Core Values

AA01 Mission and Core Values


    SSIS is a college preparatory school committed to the intellectual and personal development of each student in preparation for a purposeful life as a global citizen. 


    Academic Excellence

    A challenging academic program, based on American standards, that teaches the student how to think, to learn, to problem solve, and to work individually and in teams while acquiring a foundational knowledge base of the world.

    Sense of Self

    A community atmosphere in which each student can gain a sense of who he or she is in the world; to develop self-confidence, strong character, convictions, leadership abilities, grace, courage, the desire to be a life-long learner, and the commitment to achieve excellence in all he or she does.

    Dedicated Service

    A view that looks beyond oneself to the assets and needs of the surrounding community and the world and finds fulfilment in unlocking potential in the service of mankind. The model SSIS graduate will demonstrate a caring attitude, be environmentally aware, and persevere for the good of the community.

    Balance in Life

    An academic program that promotes an appreciation for all of life and seeks to balance the sciences with the humanities; academics with the arts; mental wholeness with physical, social, and spiritual wholeness; and future career with family relationships.

    Respect for All

    A perspective that each individual is a person of worth. 


    The Mission and Core Values of the school were established in 2003 over several days of meetings involving the founders of the School and the School leadership. As the guiding principles of the School, the serve to define who we are and guide decision making and the setting of priorities for the School.

    Unlike some schools, the Mission and Core Values of SSIS are not “living documents” to be altered, amended and reinterpreted with each passing year. Rather, they are a call to a particular set of beliefs regarding education and the foundation of a shared community of learners. They define who we are as we search for like-minded and passionate educators from around the world to deliver a world-class education to young men and women of character in an ever changing world.

    Our presentation of ourselves as professionals has a great impact on supporting or detracting from what we teach. All teachers, as well as assistants and all other employees of the school, are expected to model the school values and rules as part of our educational community.


    The community of Phu My Hung (PMH), located in District 7 south of central Ho Chi Minh City, was the brainchild of Lawrence S. Ting and Ferdinand Tsien, founders of Saigon South International School. Together these pioneers conceived of a modern, dynamic extension of Ho Chi Minh City, a joint Taiwanese-Vietnamese venture which would transform the marshy area once thought to be undevelopable into a thriving, modern community. The Saigon South New Urban City Center, where Saigon South International School (SSIS) is located, was developed to address the region’s need for urban expansion. The vision was to create an area which would support a high population density while maintaining forty percent green space and establishing walkable neighborhoods that would minimize the need for either public or private transportation and offer housing in a wide range of price points. Additional projects in the area contributed to the city’s energy infrastructure, port capacity, and manufacturing.

    To attract and maintain a diverse community, both expatriate and local Vietnamese, the Phu My Hung Corporation supported the establishment of several private schools to supplement the local area national school network. A Korean School, a Japanese School, and a Taiwanese School within District 7 offer their respective national curriculums and are attractive to those families planning a short sojourn or intent on reintegrating their children to home country schools after leaving Vietnam. A private Vietnamese curriculum school with a strong English-language focus, The Lawrence S. Ting School, serves more than 1,200 students from city and includes a boarding community.

    SSIS was conceived from the start as the premier private school for expatriate students seeing an internationalized education with a structure, style and tradition that emanated from the independent schools of the United States and a curriculum that reflected the best of worldwide educational thinking. The PMH Corporation set aside prime real estate at the heart of District 7 to enable the school to offer facilities second to known in the region. Early in the school’s history the Founders, together with their children and educational advisors from the States, established the School’s Core Values (Academic Excellence, Sense of Self, Dedicated Service, Balance in Life, Respect for All) which, together with the Mission Statement, serve to guide the decision-making of the School’s administration.

    Beginning in 1998 with only thirty-seven students and six faculty members in rented facilities, the SSIS has grown rapidly, especially in the past eight years, to over 950 students and 112 faculty members on its present 6 hectare campus with three purpose-built buildings housing the divisions of the school and with broad grass fields for athletics and recreation. SSIS offers a curriculum for students from EC 3 through grade 12 that challenges minds, nurtures growth, prepares students for top schools around the world, and calls them to live purposeful lives as global citizens.

    SSIS Heads of School

    Stephen Wilcox (1996-1998)

    Dennis Clark (1998-1999)

    Robert Crowther (1999-2002)

    Garry Keener (2002-2007)

    Charles Barton (2007-2012)

    Ellen Deitsch Stern, Interim (2012-2013)

    Mark Iver Sylte (2013 - present)

    SSIS Elementary School Principals and Assistants

    Mary Lower (2003-2009)

    Gary Woodford (2009-2014)

    Adam Dodge (2009-2014)

    Dr. Daniel Keller (2014 - present)

    Barbara Reynolds (2014 - present)

    Roxanne Amor-Ross (2016-2017)

    SSIS Middle School Principals 

    Molly Burger (2013 - present)

    SSIS High School Principals and Assistants

    John Fast (2002-2004)

    Michael Connolly (2004-2007)

    James "Jim" Scorgie (2007-2009)

    Paul Johnson (2009-2014)

                Timothy Fitzgerald (2012-2014)

    John Kruk, Interim (2014-2015)

    Jacob Hendrickson (2015- present)

    Dr. Timothy Chute (2016 - present)


    Saigon South International School is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), which is based in the USA. SSIS’s last visit was a full re-accreditation in the spring of 2017. The next mid-term accreditation is scheduled for the 2019-2020 school year.


    The East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS) is an organization of 149 member schools in East Asia. These schools have a total of more than 100,000 EC to 12th grade students. EARCOS also has 173 associate members—textbook and software publishers and distributors, universities, financial planners, architectural firms, insurance companies, youth organizations, etc.— and over 33 individual members.

    Membership in EARCOS is open to elementary and secondary schools in East Asia which offer an educational program using English as the primary language of instruction, and to other organizations, institutions, and individuals interested in the objectives and purposes of the Council.

    SSIS administrators and teacher participate in many EARCOS conferences and professional development sessions during the year.


    The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) is a nonprofit membership association that provides services to more than 1,800 schools and associations of schools in the United States and abroad, including more than 1,500 independent private K-12 schools in the U.S. Independent schools are non-profit private schools that are independent in philosophy: each is driven by a unique mission. They are also independent in the way they are managed and financed: each is governed by an independent board of trustees and each is primarily supported through tuition payments and charitable contributions. SSIS is a private, independent, international school and an affiliate of NAIS. 


    SSIS is a founding member of MRISA. Membership in MRISA is open to accredite international schools in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam that use English as a medium of instruction. This association promotes interschool sports and cultural exchanges. Students travel to other schools in the region or host visiting students from participating schools.

    Students who participate must be in good academiMic standing at least six weeks prior to the event. This time line is necessary in order for the list of participants to be sent to the school hosting the event. Student participants must adhere to the MRISA code of conduct during the event and collect and complete work missed during their time at the event.

    The member schools of MRISA are:

    Northbridge International School of Cambodia (NISC)
    International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)
    Vientiane International School (VIS)
    International School Eastern Seaboard (ISE)

    Saigon South International School (SSIS)
    International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) - A Cognito School Hanoi 
    International School (HIS)
    United Nations International School of Hanoi (UNIS)


    The Fay School is junior boarding school (K-9), private and independent, located outside of Boston in the USA. It is a non-denominational, not-for-profit, co-educational school in which children of diverse talents and backgrounds with average to above average academic abilities are offered a high-quality education in a secure, nurturing, and academically challenging environment.

    For the past several years Saigon South International School and Fay have had a sister school relationship. SSIS and The Fay School are linked through history (the writing of the SSIS Core Values), alumni (members of the SSIS board), and past projects involving students and faculty of the two schools. 


    Situated along a tributary of the Saigon River and within easy walking distance to the many shops, cafes and restaurants, the school enjoys all the conveniences of being located in the new urban center of Saigon South. Although only twenty minutes from the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, this planned residential community has clean air and river breezes, wide streets and ample sidewalks, making it an ideal setting for families to live and children to go to school.

    Saigon South International School has a large, 6-hectare campus with three main buildings that will accommodate approximately 1100 students in Elementary (EC3-Grade 5), Middle (Grade 6-8) and High School (Grade 9-12).

    Our current facilities provide large, spacious classrooms and ample facilities for art, music, physical education, aquatics, dance, and IT education. There are separate libraries for elementary, middle and high school, a covered 25-meter swimming pool and smaller pool for introductory swim classes, an auditorium/theater, a BlackBox Theatre, outdoor growing beds for science, a double-sized gymnasium for elementary and middle school, a separate gymnasium for high school, and a shared cafeteria. Separate play areas for the early childhood program and elementary students allow for safe play and developmentally appropriate activities and behavior. Middle and high school students use our two large playing elds behind the high school building for after school athletics. The facilities and resources are what one would expect at a top-tier international school.

    Safety and security of the children are a priority. Perimeter fencing, security guards, CCTV, and strict access control provide a secure campus and safe environment. 

    Page last modified 11:36, 28 Mar 2017 by hos


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