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A Conversation with SSIS's Longest-Serving Employee, Ms. Thuy

A Conversation with SSIS's Longest-Serving Employee, Ms. Thuy
Tanya Olander

At the heart of any great school community are the people who have dedicated their careers to nurturing it. As part of our Belonging Committee’s new “Meet a Dragon” series, we are honored to introduce you to Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy, who has worked at SSIS for an incredible 26 years.

If you’ve stepped foot in our elementary school office, you’re sure to know Ms. Thuy, assistant to the elementary school principal. Her warm and welcoming smile is the first face you’ll see. As the longest-serving employee at SSIS, she’s “grown up” with the school she first joined as a new university graduate (See image above, Ms. Thuy with first SSIS principal Mr. Stephen Wilcox in March of 1998). From one building, dirt roads, and just thirty-five students in its inaugural year she’s witnessed the evolution of SSIS first-hand. 

Ms. Thuy recalls how from her very first day as the sole office staff member, she was met with kindness and support. The school's project manager at the time, Sandy Driscoll, was dedicated to helping Ms. Thuy learn about admissions and operations. "I recall how Ms. Driscoll stayed late into the night helping me to check off an order of hundreds of imported school materials that came straight from the airport," Ms. Thuy shares.

During the Tai Chi classes offered by former elementary school principal Dr. Keller, Ms. Thuy says she learned a lot. “He said that people are like rocks with different shapes that together roll from the hills. Some may push or hit each other on the way down, but it helps the rocks change their shapes over time. In the end, the rocks become nice and neat like people who can get along nicely.”

In 2022 Ms. Thuy was recognized for 25 years of service at SSIS. Here she's flanked by Dr. Moran and former ES Principal Dr. Keller.

Strengthening Bonds and Passions

People may be surprised to learn that one of Ms. Thuy’s passions is her love of the Russian language. “I started when I was in middle school, and I just love it. I think it is such a beautiful language,” she shares. But she also likes a bit of speed, and it’s not uncommon to see her strap on a pair of rollerblades and skate on the service road after school hours.

When asked how she would further strengthen SSIS's community bonding, Ms. Thuy suggests establishing a simple song and dance routine that everyone performs together periodically. "It would be an easy way to stay active and connected and remind us of our shared SSIS experience—even after people move on." Her suggestion speaks volumes of the care she takes to form tight-knit relationships, many of which she’s maintained over the years with former faculty and students—all who stop by to see her when they visit the campus.

Reflecting on the school's commitment to diversity and inclusion, Ms. Thuy emphasizes the importance of "hiring qualified teachers who love and put children first." After her decades of service to SSIS, Ms. Thuy is integral to the warm, welcoming community we cherish and we're so grateful for her tireless efforts in creating a space where everyone feels they belong.

At SSIS, we believe celebrating and learning from the diverse stories and perspectives within our community is key to fostering an environment of true belonging for all. We look forward to introducing you to more Dragons who inspire us in the months ahead.

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