Co-founders Bio


Sung S. Kim, a graduate of the English Education Department, Seoul National University, is a dedicated professional who has developed creative Standards-based lessons for elementary teachers throughout the Los Angeles area since 1993. She achieved MA degree in TESOL at California State University. She teaches in the Korean Dual Language Program in the Los Angeles Unified School District since 1993.

Since 2014, as the president and the director of National Korean Studies Seminar (NKS), Sung Kim has managed all seminar development including grant writing, all communication with Korean Cultural Center, and recruiting the educators and administrators with Mary Connor, advisor of this seminar. Kim has also helped to create numerous power point slide lectures on Korean history and culture for elementary and secondary classes. She was dedicated to the Korea Academy for Educators (KAFE) from 2005 to 2013 as a vice president and assistant program director, helping Mary Connor. In 2014, Sung Kim established the National Korean Studies Seminar with Mary Connor and has served as the president of NKS since NKS was created.

Since 2012, as the President of KLTA-USA, she has managed general operations and grant writing to help Korean language teachers in the USA for providing Korean Online Contents, a Korean online teaching materials and networking resources since 2010. From 2010 to 2015, she has presented in the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language (ACTFL) Conferences, American Association of Teachers of Korean (AATK), and a Symposium on Asia at UCLA as a presenter. Since 2009, she has actively involved in establishing International Korean Educators Network (IKEN) and developing the Korean digital textbooks and Korean Online Course for Korean language teachers (2010-2016). She also worked to establish Korean Dual Immersion program in Hacienda Unified School District and Korean language classes at Wilson High and Rowland High School in East Los Angeles. She was a board member of the Foundation for Korean Language and Culture and was honored for her contribution to the SAT Korean Practice Book Project (2005-2007). Since 2007, she had worked as an instructor in the Teachers College and Korean Heritage Education program facilitated by the Korean Education Center, Los Angeles.

In 2010, Sung Kim was awarded the “Distinguished Teacher of 2009” from the Minister of Education, Science and Technology Department of the Republic of Korea. She has been received many other awards from various organizations: Los Angeles Unified School District, International Korean Educators Network, and Foundation of Korean Language and Culture since 2005. In 2015, she was awarded the “20 years Dedicated Teacher Award” from Foundation of Korean Language and Culture.

She is also:

President, K-12 Korean Language Teachers Association in the USA (KLTA-USA),

Program Director, International Korean Educators Network (IKEN)

Certificated teacher, Korean Dual Language Program, Cahuenga Elementary, Los Angeles Unified School District.

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Mary Connor taught Asian Studies and United States history for 35 years in the Los Angeles area. She is the author of The Koreas: A Global Studies Handbook (ABC-CLIO, 2002), a response to the need for a high school reference book and text on Korean history and culture. She is the editor of Asia in Focus: The Koreas (ABC-CLIO, 2009), a reference and text that covers the history and culture of both Koreas. In 2015, Mary Connor published Common Core: Korea, an extensive collection of lessons and resources for K-12 educators. She is the co-founder of the Korea Academy for Educators (KAFE) and organizes seminars and workshops at the Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles and workshops on Korean history and culture and the Korean American experience throughout the United States. Connor served as President and Program Director of KAFE from 2004-2013. She is the co-founder of the National Korean Studies seminar and now serves as the organization’s advisor.

Connor has received national and local recognition for her efforts to improve teaching about Asia. She has received prestigious fellowships: the Keizai Koho Center Fellowship to Japan (1997) and two Korea Society Fellowships (2000 and 2004). She is the recipient of the Peace Corps Association Global Educator Award (2002) and the Tachau Award (2005), the only award given to a pre-collegiate teacher by the Organization of American Historians. The Korean Consulate Los Angeles honored Connor in 2007 for her efforts to inform educators about Korean history and culture. In 2009, Connor lobbied successfully in Sacramento for the inclusion of Korean history and culture in the California History-Social Science Framework; this will lead to greater inclusion of Korea in textbooks throughout the United States. In 2011, she received the Prime Minister’s Award from the Republic of South Korea and the Daekyo Global Educator’s Award for her commitment to Korea. She was honored on October 6, 2012 by the Council on Korean Studies at Michigan State University for her efforts and in 2014 by the Korean American Educational Research Center, Los Angeles for her contributions to the field of education.

As a result of her passion for teaching, Connor shared her expertise for ten years as a presenter at conferences (National Council for Social Studies and the California Council for Social Studies Conferences). She has taught in programs about Korea at the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Illinois, University of Washington, University of Colorado, University of Michigan, East Rock Institute, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, University of the Pacific, and Cal State Fullerton. Since 2004, Connor has also organized workshops on Korean history and culture in many school districts in both Northern and Southern California and in 2011 started the first workshops in Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego, and Tucson on Korean history and culture and the Korean American experience. In 2012 she also organized workshops in Atlanta, Chicago (two workshops), and San Diego and helped to facilitate a workshop in Fremont, California.

Connor has published over twenty-five articles in leading journals, such as Education About Asia, Social Education (NCSS), News and Reviews (Asian Educational Media Service, University of Illinois), and Independent School (the journal of the National Association for Independent Schools). An essay, “Teaching United States History Thematically,” was published in the Teachers’ Edition of The Americans (McDougal Littell), one of the most widely used United States history textbooks. In 2010, Mary Connor assumed a position on the editorial board of Education About Asia, the leading journal for educators who teach about Asia.

The first seminar on Korean history and culture and the Korean American experience was created in July 2004. In order to sustain and broaden programs, the Korea Academy for Educators (KAFE) was founded in 2006. Its mission was to bring Korean history and culture into American classrooms, respond to changing demographics, improve cross-cultural understanding, and meet the needs of Korean American students and their families. By the fall of 2013 over 2, 510 educators had participated in KAFE programs from throughout the United States. Since National Korean Studies Seminar (NKSS) was founded in 2014, the administrators of the National Korean Studies Seminar are utilizing the experience from organizing all KAFE seminars for a decade, developing new programs in line with recent developments in the field of education, and extending its outreach to educators throughout the United States.

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