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Rob Sims: Director General at Colegio Granadino etc.

Rob Sims playing guitare

Rob Sims (B.Ed. ’91, M.Ed. ’00) knew he wanted to be a teacher when he was in Grade 10. “When I realized I couldn’t be a hockey player, I decided teaching was the next best thing,” he jokes. In fact, one of his high school teachers spotted a special quality in Rob that she believed would make him a great teacher. He listened to her and from then on pursued a career in education, applying to Queen’s after being told there would be no way he could possibly get in. His path has taken him to the most interesting places in the world including Taiwan, Indonesia, and Colombia, where he is now Director General at Colegio Granadino.

After he completed his Concurrent Education program and earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1991, he took a teaching job at a Canadian private school for one year while he waited for his girlfriend and future wife, Cynthia Clark (B.Ed. ’92) to complete her degree. Then the two of them set out to fulfill a dream they both had – to teach overseas.

“We both had done overseas practice teaching and we had both decided we wanted to work outside of Canada. From that first decision, our careers have been in schools overseas.”

He completed his Master’s at Queen’s part-time over a five-year period, coming back to Canada from his schools in Taiwan and Indonesia during the summer months, focusing his thesis on the phenomenon known as “third culture kids,” children who are raised in a culture outside of their parents’ culture for a significant part of their developmental years.  Continuing to be interested in culture and Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Rob earned a PhD in Education Leadership from Touro University in California, researching the impact of CQ on international teacher recruitment and retention.  

Rob and Cindy love their life overseas and have a special connection with Colombia, and raising their daughters there has given them incredible advantages.  Now in their teenage years, they thrive in Colombian culture. Living examples of third culture kids, the girls are fully bilingual and extremely adaptable, and have taken the best of their parents Canadian culture and their Colombian host culture.

Each January Rob returns to Queen’s to attend the Teachers Overseas Recruiting Fair (TORF), an event that assists thousands of teachers to find positions in leading international schools. Rob believes this is one of the best recruitment fairs in North America and he is always happy to come “home to Queen’s” to find young, bright talent for his school, especially those teachers prepared at the Faculty of Education at Queen’s.

He feels the Queen’s Bachelor of Education program is a strong one where teacher candidates learn how to empower kids.

“My time at Queen’s has flavoured everything I do. I’m particularly thankful for professors like Lynda Colgan, who pushed my research to a point that I could do my PhD.  My success in my doctorate was thanks to the foundation I received at Queen’s.”  

In fact, his preparation and drive has led him to be not only a school director, but a Lead Evaluator for the AdvancED accreditation agency, President of the Association of Colombian and Caribbean American Schools, and, most recently, the President of the Tri-Association of Schools for Latin America.

Hockey’s loss, it seems, was international education’s gain.

Rob Sims with one of his students