UW Bothell inspiring change across the world

Hye-Sook KimBy Douglas Esser
A Fulbright research scholar from South Korea is returning home after a year at the University of Washington Bothell with insights that could change the way educational leaders are trained in her country.

Hye-Sook Kim, left, is a professor of education at Yonsei University in Seoul, specializing in administration, policy and leadership. For the past year she has been on sabbatical as a Fulbright scholar. (Marc Studer photo)

She learned something new from the Leadership Development for Educators (LEDE) program in the School of Educational Studies. It prepares teachers to move into jobs as principals or other administrators.

As Kim sat in on several LEDE classes, “I thought, this is really good.”

“I know it’s not easy because of different cultures, but the idea to train future education leaders systematically and let them prepare is a really important mission for me,” she said. “I got the insight from the program, and I will adjust it to my Korean education system.”

Kim is in an influential position as the next president of the Korean Educational Administration Society – the first female president in the 51-year history of the society.

In Korea, school leaders typically do not receive leadership training until after they have been promoted, she says.

“I will be in a better position to introduce this kind of system,” Kim says. “That is my inspiration.”

Kim thanks Professors Tom Bellamy and Brad Portin for their “unlimited” support. She says she found something in common with School of Educational Studies Dean Ed Buendia, who recently came from the University of Utah, where Kim earned her Ph.D.

Kim chose to do her research in Washington for a different reason. It is one of the states with an elected state school superintendent, and her topic was conflict resolution among education and government leaders. She found the ongoing debate over school funding in Washington a “hot issue.” She expects the superintendent, lawmakers and governor will negotiate a tentative conclusion, though not a perfect resolution.

Kim found some ideas in conflict resolution to take back to Korea to share with the Ministry of Education in Korea.

“Here there are conflicts, but they know how to reach a tentative agreement,” she said.

Thanks to Kim's visit, a relationship has been established that could add benefits to both the University of Washington Bothell and her Korean university. Kim says she and Buendia have been talking about possible exchanges in the future.