Seoul Campus Says Farewell To Mr. O’Connor & Ms. Sterner

Each year KIS sends wonderful educators and administrators around the world. We miss each. Here, two Seoul Campus students share their appreciation for principal Justin O’Connor and music teacher Laura Sterner. 

A Good Teacher With A Good Life!

By Talia

Do you know anyone who went on hiking and whitewater rafting for thirty days with children? Or anyone who had no intention of doing what they are doing today? Well, I know someone, and his name is Justin O’Connor. People know Mr. O’Connor as the Seoul Campus principal but he has a history that you would have never imagined.

JustinIn college, Mr. O’Connor never had any intention to become a principal. If anything, he wanted to become a football or wrestling coach. Working as a coach he suddenly realized he wanted to become a wildlife biologist instead. He joined a camp for kids and became a camp adventure counselor, where he went on hikes and whitewater rafting with children who wanted an adventure. He worked the adventurous job for four years. Later in life, he decided he wanted to go to college and while at college he he received a Masters degree and got married to Tara Verenna. He began teaching chemistry and biology at his college.

He moved to Colorado and became a volunteer firefighter and worked as a science teacher at a elementary school. There he was asked to become the assistant principal by the principal of the elementary. He accepted the offer and he got the feel of the responsibility of a principal. He and his wife decided to move overseas to experience adventure, so they went to an international schools job fair in Iowa and found KIS.

After six years at Pangyo and two years at Seoul Campus, Mr. O’Connor helped improve our schools by growing the EE trips and using applied learning, which is real life situations taught at school. Most importantly KIS is now a family friendly environment that everyone enjoys. Mr. O’Connor is now moving to Portland, Oregon and we wish him the very best.

Ms. Sterner Is A Fabulous Teacher!

By Yerin

Do you know who is the person who does a very important job at KIS? Well, that person is only Laura Sterner!!! She is such a important person because she made a big change in KIS Seoul by teaching us music. Sadly, she will be leaving KIS Seoul to go to her home in Pennsylvania but she is a wonderful teacher in this school and made a really big impact by teaching music. She teaches me music and is always kind to me.

LauraAs a music educator, she hosted a winter and spring concert and offer the KIMEA choral festival for grades three to five students. Also, Ms. Sterner is part of our community. She and Ms. Kim helped each other organize International Day and the spring talent show. Then, because she was so good, she changed her job a little bit, to focus more on after school clubs teaching ukulele, brass, vocal, drama, and world music elements to the school community. She is very busy! Do you think her job is so good? It is so gooooood!

In this school every single person loves Ms.Sterner. She is one of my best teachers in this world!! Ms. Sterner in so compassionate! Everyone in this whole world loves Ms. Sterner! Do you ask why? Because she is a very important person, helps everyone out, and she is always nice to every single people she meets or talk with! We will miss her so much!


Thank you Talia and Yerin for sharing your appreciate for Mr. O’Connor and Ms. Sterner. We wish all educators leaving KIS the absolute best!

And special thanks to another educator who is moving on, Crystal Lang, a third grade teacher at Seoul Campus who encourages students in the Phoenix Flyer club to write articles like the above. She has been such a wonderful part of the KIS community and the Phoenix Flyer will miss her enthusiasm! 

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