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End of an Era: Our Doctor’s Decade

Dr Chip Barder, a respected educator and administrator with more than four decades of work in international schools, is leaving UNIS Hanoi in June 2018 to take a ‘gap year’—no mentioning of the “R” word, please!

Dr Chip Barder, a respected educator and administrator with more than four decades of work in international schools, is leaving UNIS Hanoi in June to take a ‘gap year’—no mentioning of the “R” word, please!

Honouring his ten years as Head of School at UNIS Hanoi, the School celebrates a strong legacy of faculty development, campus growth and educational excellence.

Under Dr Barder’s steady leadership, the School has grown from 850 to nearly 1,200 students. Average length of stay for faculty has extended from three years to more than four. International Baccalaureate (IB) test scores have remained consistently above world averages.

Dr Barder has helped the School become comfortable in its current campus, open for only four years at his arrival for the 2008-09 academic year. Since then, the campus expanded through addition of the Sports Centre, the Centre for the Arts, an all weather sports field, new covered recreational courts and a new cafeteria building.

During his tenure, Dr Barder has worked with 15 school division administrators. In nearly all cases, they left the School for promotions, a testament to Dr Barder’s role in their career growth. He steered a professional development programme that has been key to attracting and keeping the very best teachers at UNIS Hanoi.

“Buildings are only buildings,” says Dr Barder, who started his career as a teacher and counsellor. “It’s what happens in the classrooms that counts.”

He started the UNIS Hanoi Scholarship Programme, which has sponsored 13 Vietnamese scholars currently at the school or graduated. More than $600,000 has been fundraised in support of scholarships over the last four years, including to create the Dr Charles Barder Scholarship, supporting students for the decade ahead.

The Alumni Programme, which now connects 55% of the growing alumni community to the School, started under Dr Barder’s leadership. He has also continued UNIS Hanoi’s vital connection to the United Nations and deepened the School’s commitment to supporting education within Vietnam.

Dr Barder has worked closely with the School’s Board of Directors and led best governance practices in the international school community worldwide. He shepherded the School through the creation of two strategic plans, including the current Strategy 2020 that will guide the transition to a new Head of School, Jane McGee, starting next academic year.

Dr Barder will be remembered best, however, for his engaging personality, personal wisdom and love for the community. Famed for keeping a guitar in his office, he played in classrooms, during speeches and at every UN Day celebration. He has been a fixture at community events and sports tournaments, always greeting students, chatting with parents and cheering on UNIS Hanoi teams.

“I am incredibly proud to have led this great school for a decade,” says Dr Barder. “I will miss the regular contact with students, faculty, parents and staff. Ms Canada and I love being part of such a vibrant community, and it will be hard to leave UNIS and Hanoi. We have come to love the people of Vietnam, and we know we can always count on them as friends forever.

“I wish each member of the School all the best as you continue to strive to be the best school that you can be. I hope everyone will stay focused on student learning as the driver of all decisions and actions. This is how a school continues to move from good to great.”

After completing his work at UNIS Hanoi in June, Dr Barder will continue the fine ‘gap year’ tradition of traveling and spending time with family and friends as he seeks his calling for the next part of his life.

Dr Barder, we will miss you!