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 fifth 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.
Jin Soo Kim
Technology Coordinator and Administrative Assistant
Jin Soo was born in South Korea, spent his childhood in the Philippines and was educated since High School in the US. He graduated in 2001 with Bachelors and Masters of Engineering from Georgia Tech and after working as an Engineer for GE for two years, went on to study theology at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, obtaining his M.Div degree in 2012. He is currently working bi-vocationally, both as Music Director at Church of All Nations in the Twin Cities and as our Technology Coordinator and Admin. He is an Apple geek although he is forced to tone it down for our school which is a mixed Microsoft/Google/Apple environment. He is interested in learning about and navigating the intersection of history, the arts, religion, politics and education in our society. He lives in Columbia Heights, MN with his wife Sophie, a florist.
Ms. Day Wah was born in Burma. She finished nursing school in 2003 and worked as a nurse for four years in Thailand. She then came to the US in 2007 one day after marrying her husband. In the US she worked at MORE Social Services as a Family Advocate for five years and also have experience working in family day care. She is indispensable at our school for the role she plays in connecting of our parents, students and Sejong. She lives in Saint Paul with her husband and two children.
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
Kindergarten 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.
Saem was born and raised in South Korea. She is currently a master’s student of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota, studying Second Language Education. She has been at Sejong over one year doing the volunteer work at the first-grade classroom. She has several years of teaching experiences both in Korea and Singapore as an English/ESL teacher. As an educator she is interested in how to motivate her students so that they have confidence in
learning and exploring a variety of new things to contribute to the society in the future. Saem enjoys coffee a lot and loves to spend time with her family by traveling around the world.
Dong Jin Choi
1st Grade Classroom 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.
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
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.
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 Social Studies & 5th Grade Homeroom
Jorden was born and raised in Minnesota. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from St. Catherine University in Saint Paul. 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. Jorden returned to school at St. Catherine University to obtain a teaching license in Secondary Social Studies Education and is currently finishing her Master's degree. 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 Math & 6th Grade Homeroom
Youngjin was born in South Korea and spent much of her childhood years in California and her late adolescent years in Europe . She graduated from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Korea with a Bachelor's degree in Polish Language. She worked in the Political and Economic Section of the Polish Embassy in Seoul for about 14 years before pursuing a career in teaching. Mrs. Lee 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 IEC (Intensive English Center) of the university. Mrs. Lee is married and has two children who are 11 and 9 years old.
Middle School Science & 7th Grade Homeroom
My name is Andromeda Winters, and I am the science teacher for grades 5th through 8th at Sejong Academy. This is my sixth year of teaching. I'm originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, and I have lived in many places around the United States, including Las Vegas and Chicago. I also have lived in countries like Japan and Germany for several years teaching and going to school. I enjoy archery, volleyball, camping, filmmaking, and video games. I love science, and I love teaching and living in St. Paul, Minnesota! Please call me Ms. Winters! I'm looking forward to this year with you!
Middle School Language Arts & 8th Grade Homeroom 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.
Sa jin Kwok
ESL and Community Expert
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.
Hyewon Lim, ESL and Community Expert
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.
Heasook Shin, Special Education Teacher
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.
Jieun Becker-Kim, 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.
Miseon Hwang, 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.
Andrew Alkire, ADSIS Reading Intervention & Reading Corps Internal Coach
Mr. Alkire comes to Sejong Academy of Minnesota from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he was an English as a Foreign Language teacher at The Higher Colleges of Technology. Prior to his tenure in Dubai, he taught in Saudi Arabia and at a summer immersion program for elementary school children in Fremont, California. He also has experience teaching Korean children, as he taught in Kwangju, South Korea for a year. He loved his time in Korea, and is very happy to be serving as a Reading Intervention teacher at Sejong. His interests include reading, sports, traveling, and movies.
Dohee Ahn, ADSIS Math Intervention
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 to be good scholars in the future. During her free time, she likes to go for walks while listening to music. She also likes watching movies or TV shows.
Karen Hong, Reading Corps PreK
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.
Janice Echevarria, Reading Corps grades K-3
Mrs. Janice is a second generation Korean-American, born and raised in Chicago. After graduating from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Romance Languages and Literature, she lived a few years in Seoul, Korea where she attended Yonsei University's Korean language program and taught conversational English to numerous big company employees. After returning to the US, she spent many years working in customer service and healthcare industries. Coming full circle back to education, she is a K-3 tutor with Reading Corps, an intervention program that helps students become successful readers! Her mission is to share her love and joy of reading. Unlocking the door to reading fluently empowers the student and allows them access to a whole new world!
Charry Htoo, Cafeteria staff
Cherry was born and raised in Burma in a rural area. She moved to a refugee camp in Thailand for Karen refugees where she taught elementary school as well as Sunday school for twenty years. Cherry moved to MIchigan in 2008 and Minnesota in 2009. She lives in St. Paul with her family. Cherry has two children attend Sejong Academy. In her spare time, Cherry likes to cook and listen to music.