Sejong Academy Faculty and Staff
Brad Tipka, Ed.D.
Brad is an educator with over twenty years of experience as a teacher, teacher-trainer and school leader. He studied K-12 English Education/ESL at St. Cloud State, completed his Master’s in TESOL at the School for International Training and his Ed.D. from the University of St. Thomas is Educational Leadership. Prior to Sejong Academy, Brad was Director of Lincoln International High School in Minneapolis. He has also served as an Instructional Specialist/Coach at Noble Academy in Minneapolis. Brad spent five years teaching in Korea including positions at Dong A University in Busan and Seoul National University of Technology. Brad also served as an English Language Teaching Fellow with the US Department of State for three years in Indonesia and Malaysia. Brad believes in the transformational power of intercultural experience and language study. He is passionate about Korean language and culture and believes the study of Korean language and culture will be an amazing educational option for students in Minnesota. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and daughter, a Sejong Academy sixth grader.
Office Manager & Community Liaison
Sawlwin was born during tumultuous time of civil war between the Karen ethnic group and Burmese Socialist Party in Burma. Sawlwin is native Karen, and speaks Karen, English, and Burmese and is conversational in Thai. Sawlwin was certified as a Math and Social Studies teacher from the Kaw Thoo Lei Teacher Training College in the Karen state in Myanmar. Sawlwin was a classroom teacher for 12 years and Principal for four years in a Thai public school. Sawlwin received his High School Diploma in 1990, and he grew up among the very diverse groups in Southeast Asia and has been now been working for 8 years in United States in the very diverse communities. Sawlwin came to the United States as a refugee and is currently working with Sejong Academy as the school district office manager, community liaison, English-Karen interpreter and translator. Sawlwin loves learning by working with diverse groups, and his goal and dream is to serve people as human being to learn that we are one in this universe.
Technology & Student Activities Coordinator (Art Specialist)
Jessica, a Minnesota native, is returning to Sejong Academy after a hiatus as a project manager for a technology solutions company and building substitute at different charter school. She spent five years living and teaching in Korea, and she feels back at her 'second home' surrounded by Korean culture. With her polymath background in marketing, project management, technology, training, and ESL, Jessica is thrilled to find a position where she can use all of her talents asynchronously. She received her Bachelor of Science in Visualization from the Minneapolis College of Art + Design and is pursuing her Masters of Arts in TESOL at Hamline University. Jessica lives in Northeast Minneapolis with her two favorite souvenirs from South Korea, her husband and her rescue dog NamJin. She is interested in creating mindfulness, culturally relevant pedagogy and increasing cultural capital for the learners she encounters.
Juju was born in Thailand Mae La Camp and moved to the U.S in 2008. She is the Administrative Assistant and Karen Cultural liaison at Sejong Academy. She earned AAS degree as a Paraprofessional. She’s been working in the school system for three years and she loves what she’s doing. She is planning on getting her BA in Human Resources. She enjoys outdoor activities and hanging out with her friends.
Eun Joo Oh Tipka
Pre-Kindergarten Class teacher
Eunjoo was born in Busan, South Korea and is a licensed teacher in Korea in Dance and Physical Education. Eunjoo has over 26 years experience in both teaching and performing Korean traditional dance, drumming and musical drama to all ages ranging from Pre-K to adult. In addition, She put on a professional Dance performance Named “Understanding” at the Gumjong culture theatre where she did all of the choreography, trained the performers and performed herself. She has performed in five different countries around the world along with the 1988 Seoul, Korea Olympics. Eunjoo enjoys planting a garden every spring and spending time with family at the cabin along with traveling to various places throughout the US for vacation time with her husband, Terry. She has almost 12 years teaching experience at the Orono Montessori School and during this time she earned a Montessori teaching diploma. In addition to her Pre-K class at Sejong Academy, Eunjoo is also currently teaching at the Jangmi Korean traditional drumming and dance academy in St Paul, MN.
Pre-Kindergarten Class Assistant and PE Specialist
Ehghay was born in Mae La refugee camp in Thailand and moved to the US with his family in 2008. He is a soccer/volleyball coach, a PE Specialist, and a Pre-Kindergarten Assistant at Sejong Academy. He has volunteered with the youth group at Messiah Episcopal Church in St. Paul in the past and he is looking forward to going to college. Ehghay tries his best to be a good role model to the students at Sejong and during his free time he likes to play soccer, travel and spend times with his daughter.
Kindergarten 1 Class teacher
Jiyoung was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea and Oregon, USA. She has BS in Educational Foundations(ECE,ELE) with minor in Business Administration from University of Oregon. She also earned her M.Ed in Curriculum and Teaching from University of Oregon with an endorsement in ESOL. Miss Kim’s goal, as an educator, is to provide a safe learning environment for all culturally diverse students to become true scholars and support in their mental, physical and social development. In her free time, she likes to cook, watch movies, and play instruments.
Kindergarten 2 Class teacher
Bio to come.
Dong Jin Choi
1st Grade Classroom Co-teacher
Dongjin was born and raised in Dangjin, Korea. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Gongju National University of Education. As a certified teacher, she taught first, second, and sixth grades for 8 years at elementary schools in Seoul until moving to America. Mrs. Choi also has her Teaching Foreign Languages Certificate for Korean and she is in a Master’s program of Elementary Education at Western Illinois University. She believes children learn best when they are in a happy, challenging, comfortable, and safe learning place. Her favorite leisure activities are Korean calligraphy and hiking. Now she lives with her husband, two sons, and two parakeets in Shoreview.
1st Grade Classroom Co-teacher
Hoonam was born and raised in Busan, South Korea. She has a BS in secondary English education. She worked at several middle schools in South Korea for about 16 years as an English teacher. 16-year-working as a teacher demonstrates her career successes and the solid commitment to teaching students. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) from St. Cloud State University. During her studies in the graduate program, she has taught adult English learners in the EAP (English Advanced Program) of the university for a year.
Jihee Jina Kim
2nd Grade Classroom Teacher
Ms. Jina was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She received a BA in Hotel Management and English Literature in Korea. While in college, she was a volunteer English teacher to young, impoverished children in France. This teaching experience made her change her entire life path. So, Ms. Jina moved to the States and again started a long school journey. She graduated from Concordia University-St.Paul with a BA in Child Learning Development - Early Childhood Education and will complete an MA in Teaching Elementary Education from Hamline University in the fall of 2017. She believes in creating a safe environment for all students and in bringing relatedness for the students to fully reach their potential in the classroom. Her goal as an educator is to spark curiosity in the minds of students! Aside from education, she likes to travel to everywhere to experience new cultures and to find new delicious foods to try out as well!
3rd Grade Classroom Teacher
Gayun was born and raised in Changwon, South Korea. She received a BA in Theatre Arts in the University of Minnesota. She explored stage management, set design, and educational theatre while she was in college. Educational theatre experiences inspired her to become a teacher and started to study education at Hamline University. She is writing a capstone thesis for her Master’s degree this year and expected to graduate Spring of 2019. Her goal as an educator is to create a safe learning environment for all students and encourage students to become life-long learners. In her free time, she likes to watch movies, walk around parks, travel, and eat good foods.
Yun K Cho
4th Grade Classroom Teacher
Yun was born and raised in South Korea and Liberia. She has a BA in Oral Communications and Speech Communication with double minors in Promotional Communication and French from St. Catherine University. She also earned her MA in Elementary Education from Fairfield University in CT. Upon completion of her studies, she moved back to MN with her husband and taught 4 years in several schools teaching 4th, 5th and 2nd grade. Mrs. Cho believes in a Community of Learners and uses Responsive Classroom Management to help her students learn with joy and achieve their highest potential in a friendly and respectful learning environment. Apart from teaching, Mrs. Cho loves to take long walks in the park, garden, make floral arrangement and of course eat, sleep and relax while getting a pedicure with friends. She currently resides in Apple Valley with her husband, Simon, and her two sons, Micah and Titus.
Middle School Language Arts & 5th Grade Homeroom Teacher
Addison is originally from Wisconsin. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English Education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and her master’s degree in Reading from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Before coming to Sejong Academy, she taught for a year at an adult education center and helped students earn an alternative diploma. She then taught 7th and 8th grade English and many electives at a K-8 charter school in Arvada, Colorado. When she decided to move back home, she taught 9th/10th grade English and reading at New Richmond High School, and for the past three years taught 8th grade English at Hastings Middle School. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband and one year old, Leonard, running, traveling, doing yoga, and reading a good book! She is so excited for the upcoming school year at Sejong Academy!
Middle School Social Studies, 6th Grade Homeroom & MYP IB Coordinator
Jorden was born and raised in Minnesota. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from St. Catherine University in Saint Paul and received a Master's Degree in Secondary Social Studies Education also at St. Catherine. She then worked for the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities as a program director for five years. She worked with many youth programs, including summer camp and Youth in Government. Her favorite things include coffee, spending time outside, reading, and Nebraska football. Jorden's favorite quote is from Anne Frank, "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment to improve the world." She tries to live by this and inspire her students in this way.
Middle School Science & 7th Grade Homeroom
Hyebin was born in South Korea and spent her late adolescent years in the U.S.A. She has a Bachelors of Elective study with a minor in Early Childhood education from Saint Cloud State University. She volunteered in various education roles in Saint Cloud, MN and Seoul, South Korea. She completed her courses in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) from St. Cloud State University. During her studies in the graduate program, she has taught middle/high school English to learners from Saint Cloud, Minnesota. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her two kitties.
Middle School Math & 8th Grade Homeroom Teacher
Heejung was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She has BS in Occupational therapy with teaching licensure course. She has occupational therapy license and special education teaching license. She worked at high schools and special education schools for 5 years as a special education teacher in Korea. She is studying special education in the United State for master degree. She is interested in teaching students who have difficulties with learning. She hopes students don’t be afraid of asking when they don’t understand the contents,. Please feel free to ask her when you have a question!
Middle School Korean Language Arts Teacher
Suyon was born and raised in South Korea. Originally from Pohang, she studied French literature and mass communication at Kyungpook National University in Daegu before moving to Seoul. She also lived in Beijing, China for 1 year to study Chinese, and in Madison, Wisconsin for 6 months to study English. She then worked for several Korean companies including Samsung and NCsoft for about 10 years planning events and exhibitions. Suyon returned to school at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul to pursue a career in teaching and earned her MA in Teaching Korean as a Foreign Language. She taught Korean at Dongguk University and at Korea Aerospace University in Seoul before moving to Minnesota and joining Sejong Academy. From her own language learning, she has found that that learning foreign languages introduces us to bigger and more exciting experiences and opens up a broader world for everyone. She looks forward to helping students learn that mysterious key for their lives in her Korean language class. Suyon lives with her husband, who is an English language teacher, a son who loves Taekwondo, and a daughter who loves Korean food.
Sa jin Kwok
English Language Learner Teacher & Team Coordinator
Sa Jin’s diverse experiences intersect in the classroom, where he is focused on education as a building block for individual and community empowerment. After graduating with a BA in East Asian Studies from Grinnell College, he worked alternatively as a social activist and a mixed martial artist in Hawaii, South Korea, Japan, and Minnesota. He worked as a residential counselor for troubled teens, battled against human trafficking to US military bases in South Korea, performed grant-writing at Asian Women United Minnesota, volunteered for the Korean Service Center, and conducted research for the South Korean National Human Rights Commission. Sa Jin taught English throughout his twelve years in Seoul, working with a variety of students (from elementary to graduate school) and professionals (from university professors to surgeons) in a variety of settings. After moving back to Minneapolis in 2014, Sa Jin began working at Sejong Academy. He strives to make ESL instruction meaningful by connecting it to students’ personal background, their community and their struggles. Sa Jin lives near Lake Calhoun with his wife, Lisa and their cat, Bunny. In his free time, he likes to exercise, cook, and write.
English Language Learner Teacher
Hyewon was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. She has a BA in History from University of London, UK and her MA in Marketing Communications from University of Westminster, UK. She worked as a marketing manager at LG Electronics in Seoul, Korea for over eight years before pursuing a career in teaching. Hyewon earned a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate from Sookmyoung Women’s University in Seoul, Korea and taught middle and high school students for three years before joining Sejong Academy. Apart from teaching, Hyewon loves to travel around the world. She has traveled to over twenty countries and lived in two other countries in the past eight years prior to moving to the US. She also loves to read books, watch movies and spend time with her family. Hyewon lives in Minnetonka with her husband, Dongyun and two sons, Jacob and Benjamin.
Special Education Teacher & Team Coordinator
Heasook was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She graduated from Korea University, majoring in Korean Language and Literature Education. Mrs. Shin received her secondary school teaching license and taught Korean language arts and literature in middle schools for 5 years. She also led a Korean Traditional Music club and taught Korean Drumming. For two years, Mrs. Shin was on special duty helping students with reading disabilities. With this experience, she became interested in teaching students with learning difficulties. After moving to U.S, she earned her M.Ed. from Ohio State University and her Ohio state Special Education teaching license under Mild to Moderate disability. Mrs. Shin has a passion and interest in teaching and helping students with learning difficulties, as well as teaching Korean language and culture.
Special Education Teacher
Mrs. Kang was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She has a Masters’ of Science in Education from State University of New York and is in the process of completing a master’s in Special Education from Saint Cloud State University in MN. She has eight years of teaching experience in Seoul, Korea. She has three Minnesota Teacher's licenses: ESL, Special Education, and English/Language Arts. Mrs. Kang thinks the most important thing in education is having a mother's heart. As a teacher with a mother's heart, she cares, teaches, and encourages her students in a classroom where they feel loved, welcomed, and motivated to learn. She advocates for an education that fits each unique individual and shows compassion for students' and parents' concerns. Mrs. Kang believes that her positive mindset will help her students believe that they can conquer the many challenges they face in the classroom and in the long run. Mrs. Kang loves to travel around the world, cook and eat good food with good company, spend time with her children, read books, and relax at home.
Special Education Assistant
Jieun was born and raised in Busan, South Korea. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from DongEui University and currently lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with her husband. She has volunteered at Sejong Academy in various capacities since 2016 - 4th grade classroom aid, after-school 1st grade lead and kindergarten winter camp counselor. Jieun is passionate about helping students and enjoys running, outside activities such as hiking, walking along the lake and listening to music. She also likes to travel to different countries.
Special Education Assistant
Ms. Miseon Hwang was born and raised in South Korea. After college, she went abroad and lived in Ireland for few years. She has a BA in English Literature and Language and a certificate in Teaching Korean as a Second Language in South Korea. Mrs. Hwang taught English in South Korea before she came to Minnesota and volunteered at Sejong Academy. Her motto is positive thinking. She also loves hiking, traveling and live music.
Hye Yun Lee
Special Education Assistant
Hye Yun was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She is returning to Sejong Academy as a Special Education Educational Assistant. She most recently worked as an Associate Educator for English Language Learners at Hmong International Academy in Minneapolis. In Korea she worked for 3 years as a head teacher at elementary school English Program in Seoul. Prior to that she spent 5 years working at an English Hagwon as a team coordinator and teacher. Hye Yun has BA in English Literature from Sung Shin Women’s University and earned her TESOL certificate from Sungkyunkwan University in joint partnership with Georgetown University. She enjoys taking her Jindo out for walks at local parks and lakes around the metro area along with traveling.
Special Education Assistant
Bio to come
ADSIS Coordinator & Math Intervention
A Korean-American Chicago native, Mrs. Janice graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Romance Languages and Literature. She has worked many years in the service and healthcare industries. Now venturing in the field of education, she is dedicated to making a difference one student at a time by sharing her joy of learning. Education is key to changing the world and she hopes to assist her students in experiencing the many opportunities that await them!
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
ADSIS Reading Intervention
Sacha is originally from Iowa and moved to Minnesota in 2009. She attended the University of Minnesota, and received a BA in International Studies. She also earned her MA in ESL from Hamline University in St. Paul. She previously worked as the EL Assistant at Sejong and she is eager to transition to her new role. She looks forward to working and learning from her students. In her free time, she likes to read, go biking, spend time with her nieces, and travel.
Reading Corps Coach & Librarian
Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, Mrs. Hong is a second generation Korean-American. She graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor's of Science in Business and focused in management information systems and marketing. She’s taught Sunday school for over 7 years. She started sending her children to Sejong since the school first opened its’ doors in 2014 and has been an active member of the PTO ever since. Mrs. Hong serves in hopes to instill a growth mindset in children where they do not fear challenges or mistakes, but rather are motivated by them and desire to learn more. She currently lives just outside of St. Paul with her husband and 3 children.
Molly McCormick is originally from Wisconsin. She studied Secondary Education: Social Studies at the University of Missouri. After earning her degree, she spent 2.5 years teaching English at Daejeon Foreign Language High School in South Korea. This past summer, she took a Korean language course at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul. She loves to spend time with friends and family, watch Korean dramas and learn more about the world around her.