PenDragon - the official magazine of Lyford Cay International School PenDragon Vol 5, Spring 2019 | Page 10
up with the world and become a legitimate international school.” As the new millennium approached, the
community was on the cusp of the next point in its evolution.
The school leadership and community, consisting of parents and some alumni, set about to meet the world that
was arriving on its doorstep. Determined not to let the school be defined by the walls of the gated community
around them, they set about a quest to reach for international standards in education and achieve recognition
well beyond New Providence. Becoming an “International School,” went far beyond the diverse global school
it already was.
Board members scoured the planet for skilled change agents and world-class administrators who had literally
written the code for the emerging international school criteria and, with the introduction of International
Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum models, change was afoot. In 2000, a new Principal was appointed, Mr Thomas
Schädler who was recruited from the International School of Stuttgart, and the multi-year application to the
acclaimed IB Organisation had begun. He brought the stringent standards he was accustomed to in Europe
and Asia to marry with the Lyford Cay “island” style.
The school had become one of the first institutions in the Caribbean to be recognised by the European Council
of International Schools, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and the Council of International
Schools. Pets on campus became things of the past, as international norms for safety were adopted and
procedures were standardised as part of the various international school accreditation processes.
The IB Middle Years Programme was the first to be authorised in 2003 followed shortly by the Diploma
Programme in 2004. This made the school an all-age school with students from Nursery to Grade 12. The
school celebrated its first graduating class in June 2006.
School History from the New
By Eric Wiberg (1975-79) and Dr Joanna Paul,
Director of Development
This excerpt is taken from Chapter 3 of the forthcoming
book, The History of Lyford Cay International School, which
chronicles the beginnings of the Lyford Cay community
and the school that calls this community home.
The late 80s and early 90s were a period of very
significant changes and expansion for the Lyford Cay
School. With tremendous support, the school had
become a stand-alone institution within the Lyford
Cay community, independent of the Club, developer
and Property Owners Association. It had grown
from a one-room pink schoolhouse centred around
a leaking headmaster’s cottage to the 1980s campus
which was bursting at the seams with students.
Saved from demolition in the early 90s through the
incorporation and asset purchase led by the Dingman
and Dauphinot families, the school was growing into
its expanding footprint and mission. More change
was still to come as the school evolved to meet the
changing and growing demographics of the island in
the late 90s and early 2000s.
In the late 90s under the guidance of Headmistress
Mary Guthrie, the school expanded its offerings
to include middle school grades which attracted
many local students. In addition, alumni who had
been compelled to study abroad from young ages
bucked the trend, returning to Nassau and keeping
their children on the island for their schooling. The
student body, which numbered only 100 in 1994, had
doubled in 1997 with the addition of Grade 9. The
faculty grew from 16 to 30.
The Bahamas and Lyford Cay were also growing
as a whole. Renowned as a place for the world’s
cosmopolitan set to stay, visit, or keep their money,
Nassau began attracting new residents and investors
from around the world. Top-tier financial, legal and
career opportunities became available to parents and
alumni right outside the gates and the demographics
shifted from a migratory, short-term expatriate
model to include more families who were full-time
citizens and residents.
Subsequent headmaster, Paul Lieblich (2005–2008), noted that his predecessor “left me a school that was
running quite smoothly.” On his arrival, he expanded on the recent authorisations to offer the IB curriculums
in the elementary school. “We started with a name change to Lyford Cay International School and then to get
the school fully accredited by IB by expanding their curriculum to the youngest children. Part of what I was
brought in to do was modernising the curriculum. My having helped to co-author and co-found the Primary
Years Programme (PYP) may have helped. PYP learning is based on the student doing inquiry, finding out.
The student is learning and collecting information, then they’re constructing meaning, they’re constructing
knowledge.” At the time, adding the PYP made LCIS the only school in the Bahamas and one of a handful
worldwide to offer all three components of the IB.
Along with curriculum standardisation and external accountability, IB accreditation brought openness and
ability to interact in the global educational marketplace in new ways. Former student Michele Cove (1971-1978),
a board chair and parent, said that the board chose the IB after researching different types of curriculum and
came to the conclusion that “for our students who would be going all over the world, the IB would be the best
education that we could possibly provide for the kids.”
In order to keep
up with this new
that it was time to
expand. The late Mr
Yves Lourdin was one
of the visionaries who
helped to guide this
transition in the late
90’s in his role as chair
of the LCIS Board
and subsequently as
a Governor. Fellow
board member and
commented Mr Yves Lourdin
impact at this time, “As Chairman of Pictet Bank,
Yves knew that in order for the country to continue
to grow economically, the school would have to keep