25 years of worldwide teaching experience New Principal at the International School

Plittersdorf · Canadian Robert Sims is the new principal at Bonn International School (BIS). He is, as he says, learning something new every day and intends to open the school further to the outside world.

 Canadian Robert Sims has taken over as headmaster from Pat Baier, who has retired.

Canadian Robert Sims has taken over as headmaster from Pat Baier, who has retired.

Foto: Axel Vogel

Canadian Robert Sims is the new principal at Bonn International School (BIS). Sims, who holds a doctorate in education, has replaced headmistress Pat Baier, who retired. Even with his many years of experience as a teacher and director of international schools, he is still learning. "As a Canadian who worked for 25 years in Colombia, Indonesia, Taiwan and most recently Poland, I have a wide range of cultural and educational experiences that influence everything I do," Sims tells GA of what he can bring to his new position. These experiences shaped the way how he considers multiple perspectives and remains open to finding creative and engaging learning solutions.

Sims speaks of an "overwhelming sense of community“

His first impression of Bonn was a mixture of awe at the beauty of the Rhine, the parks and the surrounding landscape, Sims continues. And then, he says, he found "an overwhelming sense of community and pride among the citizens in their city, its history and its quality of life". When he first arrived at his new school, he immediately sensed a positive attitude there as well.

Of course, he had been informed about the academic standards as well as the pedagogical experience of BIS, the new headmaster continues. "But it was wonderful to also feel, so to speak, the heart that beats in this success." Everyone he has spoken to so far, parents, staff and students, has openly expressed their love for their school. "And I like to be infected by that," Sims says.

English is the language of instruction

He says BIS teaches in a challenging way while looking after the well-being of every student. "The International Baccalaureate is a demanding programme, and at the same time, students grow to meet those demands," the director says. As an accredited International Baccalaureate World School, BIS offers the internationally recognised baccalaureate degree. English is the language of instruction. All students from 75 nations learn German several times a week. The school is run by the non-profit association of the same name, which is 100 per cent financed by school fees.

He was welcomed with enthusiasm, Sims reports. Of course, getting a new headmaster can be a challenging moment. But even before he started, he had met everyone involved in a two-year process, he says. "So now we started with a very good feeling." Plans for what he wants to achieve at the school will be made together with the BIS community, Sims says. "Together we will set long-term goals that build on BIS's strengths and draw on its international community, highly qualified staff and good learners.“

He is currently planning the celebrations for the school's 25th anniversary, and wants to thank the organisations and people who have supported BIS since 1997, and would love to further integrate the school into the local community. For example, by expanding the BISSV sports club, partnering with local schools and reviving the American Club.

Original text: Ebba Hagenberg-Miliu

Translation: Mareike Graepel

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