2019-2020 Faculty and Staff
Brad Tipka, Ed.D. 브래드 팊카
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 seventh grader.
Sawlwin Si. 살윈시
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.
Juju Lay. 주주래이
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 an 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.
Patrick Amunson. 패트릭 아먼선
Technology Coordinator & Music Makers Program Instructor
Patrick is the creator of The MusicMakers curriculum. The Music Makers program began in January 2019 at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater La Crosse as a way to teach children in the basics of music production, and music theory. Varying levels of lessons allow even the youngest of musicians to participate in the Music Makers program. As students progress through the curriculum they will be exposed to a variety of genres and the influential artists as well as cultural history. The curriculum is specifically designed to incorporate how the globalization of society and the meshing of different cultures has influenced music throughout history. Students will take an active role in planning their education by choosing genres are not only interesting to them but will also see themselves reflected in musicians of different cultures.
Keuntak Jang. 장근탁
Student Activities Coordinator & PE Teacher
Keuntak Jang is the P.E teacher and activity coordinator. Keuntak was born and raised in South Korea. He is originally from Suwon and moved to the U.S in 2012. He received his Bachelors in Sports Management at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in May 2019. In his free time, he enjoys working out, playing soccer, and cooking.
Karen Hong. 전은혜
Librarian & Reading Corps Coach
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.
Eun Joo Oh Tipka. 오은주
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.
Eh Gay. 에개이
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. During his free time, he likes to play soccer, travel and spend time with his daughter.
Jiyoung Kim. 김지영
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.
Hyein Lee. 이혜인
Hyein was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea and moved to Chicago, USA in 2010. She recieved BM with honor in Sookmyung Women’s University in performance piano and M.M in Yonsei University in collaborate piano in Korea. She has 17 years experience of teaching kids. Ms. Lee’s goal is to create an environment for creativity, to challenge kids to be creative, and to encourage students to love and to be proud of themselves. It will help them to find creative solutions to complete their task. In her free time, she likes listening to music and crocheting.
Dong Jin Choi. 최동진
Grade 1 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.
Miseon Hwang. 황미선
Grade 1-A Teacher
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.
Jihee Jina Kim. 김지희
Grade 2 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!
Gayun Lee. 이가연
Grade 3 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. 조윤경
Grade 4 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.
Kelsey Crowder. 켈시 크라우더
Grade 5 Teacher
My name is Kelsey Crowder and I am the 5th grade teacher. I am so excited to be back at Sejong Academy! I graduated from University of Minnesota-Morris with my BA in elementary education and received my masters in Urban Education from National Louis University. I have had the opportunity to teach in a variety of grades ranging from Kindergarten to 7th grade. I have taught in Korea, Chicago and the twin cities area. I strive to provide my students with a safe and welcoming environment and try to encourage and empower my students daily. During my free time I like to spend time with my family.
Hoonseok Oh. 오훈석
Grade 6 Homeroom & Middle/High School Science Teacher
Hoonseok spent 5 years his childhood in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan and moved back to South Korea at the age of 10. He studied science education in his undergraduate courses and learned physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, and instructional methods in science. He spent 2 years doing research during undergrad studies. He made two sky-blue phosphorescent iridium compounds and successfully received publication of his research paper in Bulletin of the KCS (Korean Chemical Society), which is one of SCI (Science Citation Index) in Korea. He was a soldier in the Republic of Korea Army and rose to a sergeant by the end of his military service. He worked in a public middle school in South Korea as a homeroom teacher and science teacher. He designed a lot of experiments to help his students understand scientific concepts. He likes to collaborate with his students and encourage them to share their thoughts.
Sa jin Kwok. 곽사진
Middle/High School Science Teacher & EL 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.
Jorden Carlson. 조던 칼선
Grade 7 Homeroom, MYP IB Coordinator & Middle/High School Social Studies Teacher
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.
Dohee Ahn. 안도희
Grade 8 Homeroom & Middle/High School Math Teacher
Miss Ahn was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She has a BS in Elementary Education (K-6) from St. Cloud State University. Miss Ahn believes that students learn best when they have good relationships with their teachers. For this reason, she will place an emphasis on getting to know her students, to lead and guide them into good scholars in the future. During her free time, she likes to go for a walk while listening to music. She also likes watching movies or TV shows.
Dasom Gang. 강다솜
Grade 8 Homeroom & Middle/High School Math Teacher
Dasom Gang was born and raised in Gimhae, which is famous for pottery and an archaeological museum in South Korea. She earned a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Mathematics Education with teaching licensure course at Silla University in South Korea. She is currently studying her master’s degree in special education at St. Cloud State University. Before coming to Sejong Academy, she gained six years of teaching experience in both countries; South Korea and US. She taught from elementary school students to adult Math and English for four years in Korea. In addition, she has a Mathematics teaching certificate from New Jersey. She taught middle and high school students at Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health & Science Charter School, located in Bronx, NY, as a mathematics teacher. Now, she works as a mentor and supervisor to international students who are learning Korean at St. Cloud State University.
Addison Filiatreaux. 애디선 피리아트로
Grade 9 Homeroom, AVID & Middle/High School English Language Arts 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!
Suyon Kim. 김수연
Middle/High 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.
Molly McCormick. 모리 맥코믹
Middle/High School Korean Language Arts Teacher
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.
Susan Porter. 수잔 포터
ADSIS Reading Teacher
Susan grew up in Minnesota. She is a recent graduate from the University of Northwestern-St.Paul with a B.A. in Graphic Design and a minor in Spanish. In her free time she enjoys cooking, reading, sharing meals with others and being outdoors.
Dan Risinger. 단 리싱아
Art & ADSIS Reading Teacher
Dan grew up in Roseville, Minnesota before going to River Falls to attend University. At U.W. River Falls, Dan majored in English and Art Education. In College Dan studied Painting, Printmaking, Writing Composition and Literature. Dan is an avid Painter and enjoys Hiking, Archery, Playing guitar, and has recently picked up the Banjo. Dan Volunteers at the St. Paul Raptor Center by preparing food for the birds and cleaning their cages. Over the summer, Dan traveled across the country with his girlfriend Emily. This year Dan wants to teach a long term lesson on Korean folk-lore by having students interpret folklore into a comic book.
Heejung Choi. 최희정
ADSIS Math 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!
Hyewon Lim. 임혜원
English Language Learner Teacher, grades K-2
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.
Sacha Chandavong. 사샤 찬도방
English Language Learner Teacher, grades 3-5
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.
Noelle Roubinek. 노엘 루벤엑
English Language Learner Teacher
Noelle is a Korean adoptee and grew up in the east central part of Minnesota. She has a BA in History and Political Science from Bethel University in St. Paul. She spent a year teaching English in Gwangyang, Korea. She earned her MA in TESOL from St. Cloud State University while also obtaining her MN teaching license in ESL. She has taught English language learners at several colleges and universities. She has also earned her MA in Korea Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. She spent another year teaching English in Korea, this time in Cheongju. She enjoys cooking, traveling to explore new places, and spending time with her nephews.
Heasook Shin. 신해숙
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.
Jaewho Ko. 고재후
Special Education Teacher
Jaewho moved to Minnesota in 2013 from Incheon, South Korea. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elective Studies and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in special education at St. Cloud State University. She has a special education teaching license and has worked with students with different needs in many areas. Before coming to Sejong Academy, she taught Korean language and culture class for six years, worked as a field experience supervisor, and was a mentor to international students at St. Cloud State University. She strives to make learning fun and believes that all her students can succeed.
Eunsol Elaine Kim. 김은솔
Special Education Teacher
Eunsol (aka Elaine) was born and raised in Korea. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Academic Behavior Strategist, Special Education and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) at the University of Minnesota. She first joined Sejong Academy as a student-teacher during her last semester in college and is thrilled to work now as an Education Paraprofessional. She desires to help her students find what they are good at since she believes everyone has talents in different areas. She also thinks that it is important for everyone to learn to face and overcome challenges in life for personal growth. In her free time, she likes to listen to music, play instruments, do colorings and have fun with her roommates.
Seungwoo Lee. 이승우
Special Education Student Teacher
Seungwoo was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. He will complete his bachelor’s degree coming December and obtain special education teacher license from St. Cloud State University. He taught Korean language and culture at St. Cloud community class, and tutored children with Autism for 5 years. He was a paraprofessional at Sejong Academy for ADSIS Math last year and doing student teaching this semester. His teaching philosophy is building flexible rapport with students he teaches. In his free time, he likes to read books, spend time his cute cat, watch movies and cook.
Jieun Becker-Kim. 김지은
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.
Hye Yun Lee. 이혜윤
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.
Daisy Vang. 데이지 뱅
Special Education Assistant
Daisy was born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance, and a minor in Asian Languages and Literature, with a focus on Korean. She discovered her enjoyment in working with students and witnessing those “light bulb going off moments” during her time as a literacy mentor. In her free time Daisy enjoys spreadsheets, long walks, listening to Korean music, expanding her Korean language skills by translating articles, and organizing and managing fan projects for concerts.
Apple Paw. 에플 파
Special Education Assistant
Houa Moua. 후아 무
Reading Corp Tutor
I am a current undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota, studying Asian Languages and Literature with a focus in Korean Language. Born and raised in St. Paul, MN, to Hmong refugee immigrant parents, I have first hand experience of what happens when schools lack the cultural competence needed to aid students to reach their full potential. As a reading tutor, I hope to be a source of comfort and resource to my students and their teachers. I hope to learn from my students as much as I'm also tutoring. Outside of the school setting, I am very active in my community. I enjoy going out to plays and other local events where I can support my immigrant community.