Message from the Board of Directors

Officers of the Board for 2019-2020

I am delighted to announce that the following Board officers were approved for the 2019-2020 school year:  

Board Officers/Executive Committee
Board Chair: Dr. Amie Pollack
Vice Chair: Ms. Ngo Thi Quynh Hoa
Treasurer: Mr. Hieu Nguyen
Secretary: Mr. Louis Vigneault Dubois

The 2019-2020 UNIS Board of Directors and officers assumed their duties following the board meeting on June 4th. Board officers serve in that capacity for one year.

Departure of UN Appointed Board Member

The Board would like to thank Paul Priest  for his dedicated years of service on the Board. Paul will be returning to Australia with his family to take on a new position there. Paul was appointed to the Board in November 2016 and has served on both the Campus Development Task Force and the Committee on Directors. We are grateful to Paul for his strong advocacy of the SDGs and their incorporation into all aspects of our school.  We look forward to welcoming a newly appointed UN Board member after the summer.

A Call for Volunteers for 2019-2020

Before we all head in different directions over the summer, I would like to ask you to consider volunteering at the school next year.

The Board of Directors at UNIS Hanoi are all volunteers and we depend upon other members of the community to volunteer their time and talents for the benefit of the School. There are many ways you can help the school. The following are some examples:

  • Class parent representative
  • School Community Organisation (SCO)
  • Booster Club
  • Spring Fair
  • Helping new families on orientation day at the start of the school year
  • Volunteering for a Board committee or task force

If you would like to volunteer on a Board committee or task force next year, please send your CV and bio to Board of Directors Administrator, Maeve O’Donovan, at

Have a wonderful summer

Thank you to the Board, Committee and Task Force members and everyone who contributed to making 2018-2019 another wonderful year. Safe travels, we look forward to welcoming you back in August. And best of luck to those families leaving Hanoi this summer. We wish you well and encourage you to keep in contact via our Alumni network.

Have a great summer!

Amie Pollack
Board Chair

Join the Welcome Team!

Join our team of Welcome Volunteers to meet and greet new families during their orientation – TUESDAY, AUGUST 13 
We need as many parent volunteers as we can get to help us welcome over 200 new students and their families! We’re looking for smiling faces at our Welcome Tent, New Family Registration, The Shop and general way finding around campus.
If you are interested in helping out on this important day, simply register (name / email / telephone) on the Orientation Volunteer Registration Form and we will contact you before Orientation with a detailed information plan. 
We look forward to hearing from you and hope that you will join us!
Questions? Contact Nathalie Grun (

From the Head of School…

This is the time of year when our entire community is in transition. Members of our school community are either leaving, entering a new place, or being left behind.

Many of our teachers and staff are also in transition. We are grateful to the following individuals who have been a part of our school community, actively contributing to our school values of Learning, Community and Responsibility. We know that they have touched the lives of many students and their families during their time at UNIS Hanoi.

Edward Gilbreath
Tech Director
Carl Strefford
Senior Manager Operations
Bronagh Lucardie
Senior Manager Admissions
Susan McComic
Health Centre Coordinator
Liana Bianchi
Senior Manager – Marketing & Enrollment
Thango Vu
Senior Manager Business Administration
Andy Myers
Aquatics Academy Manager
Francis Beeckmans
ES Mother Tongue
Nao Akagawa
MSHS Mother Tongue

Please join me in wishing them well for their new adventures ahead.

Jane McGee
Head of School


UNIS Hanoi Reads Summer 2019 – Million minutes challenge!!

(Phoenix Summer Reading graphic by Noi Kim 5A)

If everyone reads for just 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week in the long holiday (14 June – 13 August 2019), together we can read for a million minutes! Imagine how much you can experience, how many new worlds you can visit, how much you can learn in just a short time each day. Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that reading makes you healthier and smarter … and it’s fun!

You can read anything! Do you like serious mysteries, or romantic humor? Do you enjoy graphic novels and comics, or true crime, or biographies? Do you read magazines or newspapers? Do you read interesting articles or blog posts online? Listening to an audiobook while you travel counts as “reading” as well.

Everyone at UNIS Hanoi is challenged to join in – students of all ages (parents can read to the non-readers), teachers and staff. Students in Grades 2-5 have been introduced to the Library homepage and can navigate their way to recording their minutes of reading every day!

In the Elementary School, there will be PRIZES for the top individual readers and for the top performing grade level. These prizes will involve water. And teachers. And soaking. So, read. And when you’ve finished, read a little more.

Here are some easy steps to enjoy your summer reading and give your family lots of options for reading:

  1. Install the apps Sora and Destiny Read on your family iPad. Sora will give you access to all of the eBooks and audiobooks we have in the library – perfect for travelling. Use your UNIS Hanoi username/password to login (without
  2. Go to Epic and enroll your family for 3 months of reading for $3 using this link: – use the code SUMMER19 to access the offer. Then bookmark this page on the iPad so it can be accessed easily.
  3. If you read in another language go to the International Children’s Library using this link: – bookmark this page and there are thousands of books appropriate for all ages in many languages.
  4. Go to the Library Home page – – bookmark this page – explore the different suggestions for different grades
  5. LOG YOUR MINUTES EVERY DAY!! And watch the grade graph grow!

Having problems? All students can log in using the same user name and password they use to log into the computers (not their email address). This can be used for Destiny as well. Parents can use their Veracross log in to access all library information.

Something for parents? Over the last year, the Library has tried to put all of the subscription magazines as digital subscriptions. If you add the app RB Digital to your iPad or phone you can access all of our magazines and read them online. You can follow step by step instructions on installing the app here. You will be prompted for a country selection (Vietnam) and then a school selection (UNIS). All UNIS magazines (print and digital) can be seen on this list. There are 94 magazine subscriptions in the Library and there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @unislibrary and forward your “reading in different places” holiday snaps to for uploading to our school account.

Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash

Happy Reading!

Monica Mayer and Deborah Wells-Clinton

Our Alumni

Effective July 2020, Andy Page-Smith (Alumni Faculty/Staff) is appointed the next Academy of International School Heads (AISH), a community of heads and deputy heads of international schools around the globe. AISH membership consists of heads of school of 45 different nationalities, in 90 different countries and spread across six continents at schools with different curricula systems and language offerings. Andy was UNIS Hanoi Elementary School Principal from 1998 to 2001. Below is an article from The International Educator Vol. 33 No 4 April 2019 by Dr Chip Barder (Alumni Head of School about the appointment.

“It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Dr. Andy Page-Smith as the new CEO of the Academy of International School Heads (AISH), effectively July 2020. Andy brings almost 40 years of service as a professional educator, including 18 years as a Head of School in Kuwait, Hong Kong, and currently in Johannesburg.

In addition to his time and commitment as a teacher, principal, and Head of School, Andy has served as a professional learning consultant in a variety of schools offering a wide range of expertise and support. AISH is extremely fortunate to have such an accomplished and distinguished international school leader as its next CEO.

Andy will succeed Dr. Deb Welch, who has been CEO since 2015 and who has done a remarkable job of facilitating the growth and development of the organization. We congratulate Deb for all that she has done to lead the organization to its current position of stability and strength. Deb will remain at the helm of AISH until July 2020, at which time Andy will assume his new role.

Our organization is at its largest ever, counting 450 individual members (Heads and Deputy Heads of international schools). The AISH standards are being used more and more by Heads around the world and are providing a research-based tool for their growth and development. Because of its expansion and the growing member requests for support and advocacy, AISH has teamed up with Global Online Academy to offer a series of professional learning modules facilitated by experienced colleagues.

OASIS day drew over 120 as a type of “pre-conference” to Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) Conference. The Summer Seminar continues to receive extremely positive reviews from attendees each year. And of course, AISHnet continues to provide “just in time” advice and support for those questions, problems, or concerns that need immediate attention.

Andy will be the fourth CEO as AISH enters its 21st year, following in the footsteps of founding CEO Clark Kirkpatrick, succeeded by Bambi Betts, and then of course Deb Welch – all distinguished and accomplished international school leaders. AISH has been fortunate to have had a tradition of strong leadership and we are confident in Andy’s ability to take AISH forward.

We anticipate a smooth leadership transition over the next 18 months while we continue to work hard to support and advocate for our membership. In the meantime, congratulations to Andy on his successful appointment.”

Every week we feature a short profile of one of our global alumni in Tin Tuc. UNIS Hanoi is connected to 55% of all alumni students, families and faculty with our very own world wide web connecting UNIS Hanoi in the four corners of the globe! 

A Year in the Life of our New Canteen…

As we wrap up our first year in the new canteen, we would like to share with you some of the changes that have occured during the year, progress that we have made with sustainability efforts and what we can look forward to when we return in August.

As many of you know, we changed our canteen concept this year and  Epicure was brought in to be our service provider. In addition to serving healthy, well-balanced meals and maintaining the highest standards of food hygiene, they were tasked with helping to reduce single use plastic, and catering to our many on-campus School events.

Epicure is keen to be responsive to community feedback and in order to ensure unfiltered user-opinion is being heard we have introduced an in-canteen satisfaction app, encouraging students to rate their experience daily. As the use of the app develops, the data will be used in conjunction with sales and food-waste data to improve menus and customer service training.

In addition we have met with the parent community, student councils and the School Community Organisation (SCO) to both gather feedback and gauge progress on Epicure’s initiatives. There have been regular updates at the Head of School Community Meetings throughout the year and today we summarise a year of canteen development.

A very popular initiative has been Epicure’s commitment to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at UNIS Hanoi; No food was served in single use plastic containers, food waste was reduced from last year and 90% of the food was sourced locally with traceability (which can have cost implications).

In addition, with the input from students and community members, we saw several positive changes in the canteen menus and serving options over the course of the year. In response to feedback, the Cafe increased both its snack and ‘quick lunch’ options, serving times during breaks have been significantly reduced, ES students are now given a set meal to help ensure they have a balanced lunch, ‘Fun Food Days’ were added to the menu for popular favourites, sauces are served separately and the salad bar options have grown both in terms of serving choices and with additional side-orders of  protein offered.

Not only did Epicure cater 270 events during the 2018-2019 school year but we also saw an increase of 2,387 hot meals and salads sold from the 17-18 year as of May 27th. This year, the canteen was available on Saturdays during Saturday Soccer and for select campus events on the weekends, such as last week’s STEAMFest.

We are sharing this information to keep you up-to-date and also to share that more changes will be implemented at the start of the new school year. We believe we have laid a great foundation to build from but we will work to continue to enhance the canteen. Next year, we plan to roll out the following changes:

  1. Further increase in selection and rotation of items available in the Cafe
  2. Salad bar available to Grades 4 and 5
  3. A student advisory committee will assist with food ratings, menu selections, tastings and general feedback
  4. A separate meal (in addition to the fixed hot meal) option will be added during the Middle School and High School  lunch
  5. And improved and more dynamic Canteen website page to keep the community up to date

We value your feedback. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Andy Bird, Epicure Director at

You are also welcome to speak to me regarding the canteen

Epicure will kick off the 2019-20 school year by catering the Back to School BBQ. We look forward to seeing many of you back next year as we continue to grow and enhance our canteen.

Misty Shipley
Director of Finance and Operations

Campus Use and Access Over The Summer and Operational Changes

As we close the 2018-19 school year, we want to inform you of campus use and access over the summer, and a number of operational changes that will take place at the beginning of next year.

Community Summer Campus Use:

In order to meet safety and security standards during campus improvement projects taking place over the summer, general community access to the campus will close at the end of the school day on the June 12 and resume once school starts in August. Summer Programme will be in operation, but the campus will not be available for free play during the summer. Energize and facility bookings will run as normal.

Parking of Two Wheeled Vehicles:

Over the past few years, we have been seeing an increase in two wheel transportation. In order to accommodate this, we need to make a few adjustments to the parking lot.

  1. For push bikes, we will ask everyone that arrives before 8:00 to enter through Gate 5. You will also notice that the bicycle and push scooters will be separated depending on the age of the students. Elementary students will be directed to park in one area, while secondary and adults (unless accompanying an elementary student) will park in a different section. For bicycles that enter after 8:10 please use the main gate. 
  2. The parking for electric bikes will be expanded but located in the same area.
  3. All motorized bikes require a parking permit and will be checked at the gate. If you drive a motorized bike that does not have a parking permit attached you will be asked to park in front of Main Gate Guard House. To register your bike, please come to the operations office.
  4. All students will be required to show a valid Vietnamese driver’s license (in accordance to the law) in order to obtain a parking permit for their bike.

Child Safeguarding:

In our continued efforts to strengthen our child safeguarding practices and to align with accreditation standards, adults using the facilities for Energize and any community events will no longer be permitted to use the student dressing rooms in the Sports Centre. There are restrooms behind the gym that will be designated adult use only. Please see the map for the exact location.

We wish you a wonderful summer and look forward to welcoming many of you back in August. For those of you transitioning on, we are grateful for the opportunity to have had you as part of our community and look forward to staying in touch via our alumni network.

Have a wonderful break!

Misty Shipley
Director of Finance and Operations

TEDx Youth

Dear UNIS Hanoi community,

Vietnam Youth Leaders is a service learning group at UNIS Hanoi dedicated to connecting youth and encouraging responsible leadership.

We have the privilege to host a TEDxYouth event on 8 June from 9.00 to 13.00. This year’s theme is What if… where we explore new ideas and look out into a world of more possibilities.

TEDxYouth is an opportunity for great young thinkers and leaders to take charge and share amazing ideas.

If you would like to attend this awesome event, please submit your event registration through this link. Tickets are free and in limited supply, so don’t wait and miss out.

Meet some of the speakers of What if… TEDxYouth event:

If you have any questions, please contact


Vietnam Youth Leaders

From the Head of School

Dear Parents,

It is hard to believe that in a very short period of time, we will be gathering together to “Bang the Drum” to close down the School year. The end of the year brings an excitement and energy through many celebrations while simultaneously creating the opportunity for reflection as we process another year of Learning, Community and Responsibility.

Over the next few weeks, we will be celebrating the journey of our students, their academic progress and achievements, their commitment to service, their pursuit of athletics and activities, and a number of rites of passage as our students move from one division of the School to another or from UNIS Hanoi to post-secondary experiences.

We are very excited to be celebrating the achievements of the Class of 2019 next week with our students and their families at the annual Tree Planting Celebration, the Grand Walk and our Graduation Ceremony.

Additional celebrations over the next few weeks include Farewell Assemblies, Grade 8 Promotion and Grade 5 Celebration Assembly as well as events to celebrate our leaving faculty and staff and to honor the years of service of those who are staying.

As we head into the final three weeks of school, our community – students, parents, faculty and staff – are going through the highly emotional process of transition. In the next few weeks, I urge families that are both staying and going to dive into the research on “leaving well” so they can find ways to support their children through this period of transition. If you feel your child needs additional support, please reach out to our counselling team.

As the faculty and staff work to ensure a smooth, effective and well communicated close to the school year, the leadership team is no exception. In the final Tin Tucs of the school year, we will be communicating with you regarding some end of year developments from our annual action plan priorities, including developments with the canteen, summer campus projects and our new fundraising initiative for 2019-2020.

We will also give you a taste of what is to come and some of the planning already underway for next year.

I look forward to seeing many of you at our end of year events!

Yours sincerely,
Jane McGee

First STEAMfest Success at UNIS Hanoi

This past week, approximately 100 members of the UNIS Hanoi community came together to celebrate STEAM on campus.  

The day started with local STEAM celebrity guest speakers sharing their inspiring agricultural, architectural, and educational work in our surrounding community. We were honored to have Ms Trang Tran, Fargreen founder, who is helping tackle the rice burning in Vietnam by creating organic & sustainable agricultural solutions; Mr Luong Trung Tien shared his love of Science/STEM, and the YouTube channel he created to reach students in Vietnam; and architects Man Xuan Nguyen shared his eye popping prototype of using AI and robotics to automate buildings which he calls the Pizzabot Assembler.

We then enjoyed UNIS Hanoi student and staff presentations at a variety of 12 engaging booths, with topics ranging from Flotatoes (aeroponics) to Hover Shoes.

The day wrapped up in the pool for an underwater ROV challenge.

Thank you to the UNIS Hanoi community for coming out and celebrating with us.  We look forward to making this a repeat event in the coming school years!

If you have any feedback, please share with

Operation Healthy Heart’s Fruitful Outcomes

On 10 May, our service group, Operation Healthy Heart went on a trip to visit the young children who used to have their heart complications.

Operation Healthy Heart is a group that aims to raise money in cooperation with Heartbeat Vietnam. We raised money to fund the less fortunate children’s surgeries. There are several children in Vietnam that lack the money to have proper treatment for their heart condition. The service group was originally the product of a PYP project done by Linnea Niklasson (Grade 12).

During the service trip members from the group went to the Cardiovascular Centre – E Hospital, along with gifts for the two children as well other children in the same ward. The first child that we met suffered from Pulmonic Regurgitation, this is where the pulmonary valve leaks and as a consequence blood flows back into the heart before it reaches the lungs for oxygen, however after multiple surgeries she is now much healthier and can go back to school.

The second child that we visited was much younger and she was still hospitalized when we went to see her. She suffered from Tricuspid atresia which is a heart valve defect, she has suffered from this since birth. She will go through additional surgeries to improve her condition.

From this visit, the members learnt the value and outcomes of all the work that we have done over the years. Throughout the year we have collected money through events such as the Winter Fest in December and selling popcorn during school plays.

We hope that the community will continue to support this group.

Anushka Biswas, Taku Shiwa and Thu Giang Pham (OHH service leaders)

Keep Your Sick Child at Home

Dear Parents,

The School health Centre is seeing a very high number of students with fever. We have received a few medical reports positive for influenza (Flu).

Many students detail to the nurse that they were sick before coming to school. Unfortunately, there is nothing we are able to do except send your children home, but not before they have passed their germs onto other students on the school bus and in the classroom.

What can parents do to help minimize the cross infection risk to our students, staff and UNIS Hanoi community:

  • If your child is unwell in the morning take their temperature.
  • Keep your child at home if they have a fever of 38 degrees C / 100 degrees F
  • Ensure your child stays at home at least one full day after a fever has broken naturally, without fever-reducing medicines. This allows their body time to fully recover.
  • Ensure your child stays home for one full day  after the last episode of diarrhea and/or vomiting.
  • Notify the nurses at of illness so we can continue to monitor

Many thanks for your ongoing support,

School Health Centre Nurses

Our Alumni

Nicholas Svensson (Class of 2011) and friends completed a trek to the highest point of Africa, Mount of Kilimanjaro, at 5,895m. To make the trip more purposeful, while the cost of the trip was self-funded, Nicholas and the team partnered with UNICEF for a personal fundraiser and raised over GBP 2,000 for children in needs.

“It was an incredibly tough but magical experience”, Nicholas shared from Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro, 5895 Amsl.

Every week we feature a short profile of one of our global alumni in Tin Tuc. UNIS Hanoi is connected to 55% of all alumni students, families and faculty with our very own world wide web connecting UNIS Hanoi in the four corners of the globe!

From the Board of Directors – New Board Appointments

At the 14th May Board meeting, the Board approved the appointment of Amie Pollack (parent elected 2015-2019) to the Board appointed position becoming vacant in June as Barry Knaggs completes his third and final term on the Board. Amie’s second term will run from 2019-2023.

Ngo Thi Quynh Hoa was re-appointed to the Board for a second term of four years (2019-2023).

United Nations Resident coordinator Kamal Malhotra has appointed Dr. Le Thanh Forsberg to replace Dr. Catherine Phuong who will step down in June. Dr. Forsberg is appointed for a four-year term 2019-2023. The Board would like to welcome Le Thanh Forsberg, and looks forward to working with her.

Le Thanh Forsberg joined the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office as UN Results and Partnerships Specialist in August 2018. Prior to joining the UN in Vietnam, she served as a research advisor and anti-corruption policy specialist at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) in Stockholm, Sweden. Before joining SIDA, Ms. Forsberg was an Oxford-Princeton Global Leadership Postdoctoral Fellow where she focused on health policy research. She holds a Ph.D. from Lund University and the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden. Le Thanh has three children at UNIS.

Recognition for Two Departing Board Members

Barry Knaggs (Board Member 2009 – 2019)

The Board would like to recognise the outstanding contribution of Mr. Barry Knaggs. Barry joined the Board in 2009, served as the Board Secretary in 2010, chair of the Advancement Task Force and member of the Strategy Task Force in 2010-2011, chair of the Buildings & Facilities Committee and member of the Strategy Task Force, Advancement Task Force and Committee on Directors in 2011-12 and Vice Chair of the Board 2011- 2013. He was Chair of the Campus Development Task Force from 2014-2018, has served on the Executive Committee since 2015 and is Treasurer this year.

Barry has more than 30 years of experience in the IT industry, starting from being a software developer to project management, moving on to sales, business development and corporate IT management in Vietnam. His daughter graduated from UNIS in 2017 and his 2 younger children are current students at UNIS.

We are grateful for Barry’s dedication and long-standing service to UNIS!


Dr. Catherine Phuong

The Board would like to thank Catherine Phuong for her dedicated work on the Board 2017-2019. Catherine has served as a UN-appointed member. She joined the Board as soon as she arrived in Hanoi in September 2017, leaving unpacked boxes to attend the 2-Day Board meeting. She has been an active contributor at Board meetings and attended the East Asia Region Council of Schools Leadership Conference with the Board. Catherine was member of the Fundraising Task Force during 2018-2019 where she particularly contributed to reviewing the ethical framework for major donations and defining the Impact Fund for next year. Catherine Phuong is French and works for the United Nations Development Programme as Assistant Country Director – Governance and Participation.

Thank you to Catherine for all her valuable contributions!