Robert F. Sylvester
Assistant Professor
Elementary & Early Childhood Education
Bridgewater State College
Bridgewater, MA

Statement of Philosophy



Co-Editor for the Americas, The Journal for Research in International Education(2001) - a research journal providing a scholarly forum for a wide range of research in the field of international education. To be launched in 2002 by Sage Publications in London.

Member of Research Committee, International Baccalaureate Research Unit (2001-Present) - Geneva, Switzerland, currently engaged in research and research policy development for the International Baccalaureate Organization as member of advisory group to the Director of Research for the IBO.

Completion of Doctoral Studies and Research Dissertation University of Bath, United Kingdom (2000-2001) - dissertation successfully defended May, 2001 on the subject; The Mission of International Education in Africa: Principles of human unity and world-view in school mission statements and in the literature of the Baha'i Faith.

Principal (Chief Executive Officer) Westwood International School, Gaborone, Botswana (1990-2000) - responsible for the planning, development, supervision and professional leadership of an emerging community-based primary school, that over a period of ten years, evolved into a K-12 international school accredited to both the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and to the European Council of International Schools. The Principal was responsible for the academic program of over 500 students from over forty countries and for instructional leadership of over 50 professional staff from over twenty countries. At the same time, the Principal was held accountable for a recurrent budget of over $3,000,000. The Principal was in charge of all world-wide recruitment, hiring, supervision and professional development activities and led an administrative and executive team of 15 professionals. The Principal served as the Chief Executive Officer of the School Governing Council and was responsible for all legal, government and diplomatic relations between the school and its constituent communities. The Principal was given authority for the development and supervision of all school building projects totaling $8,000,000 over a ten-year period. Arrangements for the International Baccalaureate Diploma were in place in the year 2000.

Assistant Registrar / Deputy to Chief Administrative Officer, United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN) Lusaka, Zambia (1989-1990) - responsible for personnel, budget, properties, general services and capital development activities serving over 65 professional staff, five hundred adult refugee students and over one hundred local service staff. Specific job responsibilities included implementation of United Nations Staff Rules, support of all student services, supervision of all expenditures and disbursements and during the period of the closing of the Institute in the year 1990, serving on an executive transition committee reporting directly to the Director of UNIN.

Lecturer, Department of Education and Teacher Training / UNESCO Expert - United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN) Lusaka, Zambia (1984-1989) - specialized training of exiled Namibian teachers in reading instruction and parallel curriculum development and research work focused on reading instruction in an effort towards establishing a national English syllabus for a future independent Namibia. Job responsibilities included participation in supervised teaching practice, developing instructional materials in school curriculum and basic literacy training for teacher educators and teacher trainees, and in developing technical documents that were prepared for the future national authorities in Namibia. Two technical survey tours of Namibia were made just before and after independence on behalf of the United Nations Institute. The duties of lecturer also included teaching advanced technical English skills to student Magistrates. A Teacher Resource Center was established in 1986 which enabled trainee teachers to produce classroom materials for supervised teaching practice. In 1988 responsibility was given for the design of a suite of three science laboratories for all the departments of the United Nations Institute for Namibia. The Science complex was built and handed over to the Zambian government in 1990.

Director of Reading (K-12) International School of Lusaka, Zambia (1978-1984) - responsible as school-wide administrator and consultant for developing reading curriculum, monitoring student progress and enhancing staff professional growth as instructional leader in a school of over 1400 students from over fifty countries and over seventy professional staff from over fifteen countries. Duties included instructional, clinical and inservice aspects, as well as counseling of parents. A fully-staffed Reading Office and Laboratory was also responsible for school-wide entrance screening process. Classroom Teacher, Grade Six, International School of Lusaka, Zambia (1976-1978) responsible for all subjects in a multicultural and multinational student environment with additional responsibilities for Reading Curriculum Development as well as textbook and information technology purchases. Promoted to Director of Reading after two years.


Married to Donese, who is a fifth-grade teacher in Lexington, Massachusetts. My son, Ray, is enrolled as a third year student at Brown University presently. My daughter, Layli, recently graduated from Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School in Waltham, Massachusetts.


Selected Professional Services

Association of International Schools in Africa - Board of Directors (1994-2000) elected and served on Board of Directors of the only professional organization serving international schools in Africa. Served as Treasurer from 1997-2000.

Westwood School Foundation (1995-2000) served as member of Board of Directors of foundation established under U.S. Code 501.c.3 for the purpose of further developing the equity and endowment base of Westwood International School in Botswana.

American Business Council (1995-1999) - appointed to serve the interests of businesses and professional constituencies in Botswana which, in part, originated from an American orientation.

Accreditation of Lusaka American International School (1995) - served as member of accreditation visiting team to Lusaka, Zambia which served the joint accreditation exercise of the European Council of International Schools (UK) and the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (US).

Selected Professional Reports and Products

Strategic Planning Projections and Detailed SWOT Analysis, Westwood International School (April, 2000) - report requested by School Governing Board for transition planning.

Annual Report of Westwood International School (1991-1999) - prepared and edited an annual report for presentation to shareholders and parent members of the holding company of school. Reports covered financial, academic, development and legal chapters.

Principal's Reports to the Governing Board, Westwood International School (six reports each year, 1991-2000) - responsible for regular and comprehensive reports of finance, staffing, school program and capital development

A Handbook for Parents - Westwood International School (1992-2000) - an annual comprehensive resource for all parents produced by the Principal's office which provided all relevant descriptions of policy and program at the school.

Accreditation Final Report (June, 1998) - submitted by Westwood International School to the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and to the European Council of International Schools (ECIS)

Report to Panel of Inspectors, Ministry of Education, Gaborone, Botswana (1998) - in partial fulfillment of requirements for official inspection of Westwood International School by the government authorities in Botswana.

Information Technology Master Plan, Westwood International School (1997) - developed a formal report to School Governing Board for long-term technology needs.

Results of Survey of Technology programs of International Schools in Africa (1997) - presented to Information Technology Institute for Administrators of Association of International Schools in Africa in Harare, Zimbabwe.

A Workshop Manual for Use in a Strategic Planning Retreat for School Governance (September, 1997) - developed with the Chairman of the Westwood School Council, a training manual for use with the International School of Tanganyika, Dar es Salaam, in a workshop/retreat sponsored by the Association of International Schools in Africa.

Report of School to School Partnership, Chicago and Gaborone (1996) - three year report of activities of exchange program between Westwood International School and Lyons Township High School, Lyons Township, Illinois which was presented to the respective Governing Boards of both schools in the United States and Botswana.

Handbook for Professional Staff, Westwood International School (1996-2000) - developed a comprehensive orientation and documentation booklet for all professional staff and professional recruits.

Proposal for the Establishment of a School Foundation under US501.C.3 (1994) - successful application for the establishment of an independent foundation that served to attract tax-free international support for the activities of Westwood Intenational School.

Report of School to School Partnership, New Jersey and Gaborone (1993) - three year Report of Activities of Exchange Program between Westwood International School and Trenton State College which included the supervision by the Principal of teacher-trainees from Trenton State College (now - The College of New Jersey) who were undergoing six weeks of supervised teacher practice at Westwood International School.

Grant Proposals to Office of Overseas Schools, United States Department of State (1991-1999) initiated, developed and supervised a series of State Department grants to Westwood International School over a ten-year period which included activities in the area of professional development, school science facility development, expansion of information technology programs and the support of American History offerings in the primary and secondary schools.

Proposal for Financing of Capital Development at Westwood International School (1992) - comprehensive financing proposal submitted to every financial institution in Botswana and successfully submitted to Botswana Development Corporation who, in response to the proposal provided over $2,000,000 in capital support on terms extremely favorable to the school. The school was the first ever non-profit company in Botswana to receive funds in this manner.

WESTPAC - The Conditions of Service and Contract Documents for Westwood School (1991) one of the first documents produced as Principal of Westwood School was the combined documentation from the conditions of service package offered by Westwood School Council.

A Teacher Training Manual for Initial Reading Instruction, United Nations Institute for Namibia ( December, 1988) developed for use with teacher trainees at the United Nations Institute for Namibia, Department of Teacher Training and Upgrading. The six chapters included; The Stages of Reading Development, Basic Strategies Used in Learning to Read, Basic Strategies Use in Teaching Reading, Phonics Skills, Reading Aloud to Children, Classroom Observation of ChildrenÕs Reading.

Primary Course for Namibia, Social Studies PupilÕs Text (April, 1986) engaged teacher trainees and an indigenous artist/illustrator in developing suitable illustrations for a draft primary school Social Studies text for use in an independent Namibia. The work was associated with the classroom program of the teacher trainees in such a way that the theory of textbook and curriculum design was woven in the classroom exercise.

A Handbook for Reading Instruction, K-12 - International School of Lusaka (1980-1984) Developed a comprehensive reference source book for all teaching staff, updated annually.

Workshop Presentations

A Re-examination of the Obligations of Pastoral Care in a Secondary School: Conflict Resolution at an International School, Westwood International School (April, 1999) - the results of a four-month interview survey of students and teachers regarding the incidence of peer intimidation and efforts by teachers towards conflict resolution.

Report of Survey of Secondary Students and Their Use of Technology at Westwood International School (January, 1999) - a report to teachers, parents and governance on a survey of secondary school students related to their use of information technology at home and at school.

The Use of Strategic Planning Principles in the International School (June, 1998) - a workshop presentation to parents and governance members interested in examining the dynamics of decision-making at the governance level.

A Workshop and Strategic Planning Retreat for School Governance (September, 1997) International School of Tanganyika, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - a workshop/retreat sponsored by the Association of International Schools in Africa in which teams of school heads and school board chairpersons assisted as facilitators in a training and strategic planning weekend exercise.

Study-Skills Instruction as an Instructional Tool for Primary and Secondary Levels (September, 1997) - a workshop presented to all professional staff at Westwood International School in an effort towards re-examining the efficacy of study skills as a central tool of all subject teaching in an international school.

Developing Mission Statements for Each Subject Area in the School - K-12, Westwood International School (April, 1996) - an effort to extend the curriculum structure at each grade level by identifying the controlling principles of teaching and learning in each subject area.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child - A Curriculum Resource (1992) - developed an introduction of the CRC for classroom teachers following the decision by the school to adopt the United Nations document as a school wide statement of values.

A Brief Investigation into the Levels of Reading Difficulty and the Control of Sentence Length in the (draft) Namibia Junior Secondary History Text (November, 1985) - a professional critique of the first draft of a history text for Namibian schools which was presented to the Seminar on Education for Liberation at the United Nations Institute for Namibia, Lusaka, Zambia.

Selected Conference Presentations

Association of International Schools in Africa (October, 1999) - Annual Conference, Harare, Zimbabwe - workshop presentation on behalf of Board of Directors, AISA regarding the review of member school mission statements and the revised mission statement of AISA.

Special Needs Association of Botswana (May, 1996) - acted as host to annual conference of the second annual meeting of a newly-formed national professional support organization.

International Reading Association, Annual Convention (May, 1984) - presented workshop entitled "Initial Reading Programs in Multilingual, Multiethnic Communities"

Selected Articles and Theses

(2001) The Mission of International Education in Africa, Principles of human unity in school mission statements and in the literature of the Baha'i Faith (unpublished dissertation), University of Bath, United Kingdom.

(2000) The unintended classroom: changing the angle of vision of international education, International Schools Journal, vol.19, no.2, pp 20-28.

(1998) Through the lens of diversity: inclusive and encapsulated school missions, in International Education: Principles and Practice, Hayden M C and Thompson J J (Eds), London, Kogan Page, pp 103-118.

(1974) A Critical Survey of Literature Supporting Worldminded Education, (unpublished dissertation), Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

(2001) From the Sands of the Kalahari to the Snow-Filled Streets of Boston, National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) website, International Education, jhtml, September 2001

(2001) Disintermediation and Research, IB Research Notes, Information for the IB research community, International Baccalaureate Research Unit, vol. 1 no. 3,July 2001, pp 13-14.

(2001) The Death of Distance, IB Research Notes: Information for the IB research community, International Baccalaureate Research Unit, vol. 1 no. 4,October 2001, pp 11-13.

You can download my resume in RTF format, as well as my resume for Baha'i activities.