Departing Teachers say “Good-bye”


Martin Lee, News Writer

After this school year, there will be several faces no longer seen. A handful of staff depart the community with mixed emotions as they restart life from new destinations. Among this list of departing staff are: Tiffeney Brown, Secondary Principal,  Jung Hee Chey, Secondary Math teacher, Tony Vandermeer, Athletics Director and activities coordinator, and Jack Stracke, Secondary Physical Education teacher and Lower Secondary Athletics Director.

Principal Brown is ending her nine-years at GSIS, and wanted to depart leaving behind a few words of wisdom.

“Understand what the mission is in GSIS and what it means, and when you understand it and possibly can embrace that mission, follow it to the end with everything that you have because the benefits in the end are so rewarding.”

Principal Brown is leaving for Virginia, to stay with her family. She said, “I feel like I’m at a place in my life where I need to reconnect with my family and be there to support my parents so that was the motivation for me to go back home.”

She added, nine-years of being “separated from that comfortable position, which is my family and my friends,” and the independence she gained to rely on new relationships has “really helped” her in developing socially “as well as having an open mind about cultures and how to interact with people.”

She said she will “miss the community” and added that she likes “being here.”  

“I like being in this environment, I like working with the people here, I like working with the students and parents and even when there are difficult times because there are, I still love my job.”

Principal Brown concluded, “I am always going to have my hand out to help them [the community] with whatever they need and whatever they need to know, and if I have it in my power to give it, I am going to do that.”

Secondary Math teacher and Bible teacher Chey is starting her new educational career at International Christian School of Uijongbu (ICSU). She will continue her career as a math teacher. ICSU is a school with the Common Core programme while GSIS is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. She wanted to teach in a school with the Common Core.

Before leaving, Chey wanted to make sure she let her student know, “All the students at GSIS are the future of our generation. Jesus is love, Jesus is real and Jesus is alive.”

Secondary Physical Education teacher and Lower Secondary Athletics Director Stracke, finishing his five-year GSIS career, is going to a school located in Abu Dhabi. He said, “the Elementary Principal was a colleague” of his and he felt “wanted” by the school in Abu Dhabi when the Principal said, “I’ve seen you teach for two years and I don’t need to ask you any questions,” implying that the Principal trusted Stracke’s ability as an educator.

With the current enrollment being low, one of the reasons he decided to leave GSIS was there was “no position” for his wife, Kimberly Stracke, a Visual Arts Teacher.

He said, “the five years coaching volleyball with Coach Forbes” and winning the tournament, winning the conference conference championships, and going to Japan for the Far East Tournament was an “unforgettable memory.”

He added that the “overall community of kids and staff has been so rewarding.” His words of wisdom for the community are “Take a breath. Life is crazy, but sit back and take a breath for yourself once in awhile.”

Athletics Director and Activities Coordinator Vandermeer, joined the community in the Fall of 2012 with his wife. For the first two years he was a Humanities teacher and then he served as Athletics Director and Activities Coordinator for the past two years.

He and his wife are returning to their home in Oregon, a city residing in the United States of America. They still haven’t decided what they will do in Oregon. However, he said “Whatever we end up doing we hope to be used by God.”

Vandermeer added that he will miss the “the bright and welcoming smiles of the kids” and “watching the way the older students care for each other.” The final words of wisdom he left for the community quote the school Bible verse Proverbs 3:5-6. He said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding!”

The additional staff who are departing include, but are not limited to: Secondary Vice Principal And DP Coordinator, Jeremy Thomas, Volleyball Coach and Sub Teacher, Natalie Thomas, Elementary Principal, Dan Anderson, Grade Four Teacher Hana Anderson, Math Teachers Brendan Porter and Jin Seop Lee, PYP Coordinator, Kristi Mast, Grade One Teacher, Melody Welton, Elementary Korean Teacher, Eun Park, Elementary Librarian, Leslie Rains, Sub Teacher Michael Rains, Elementary Music, Nona Kilgore, ITGS Teacher Linroy Kilgore, and Mandarin Teacher, Luxia Yan.