Joel Westa, CEO/president of Christian Schools International, traveled to Seoul, South Korea, in October to meet with Christian schools there and to speak at a Christian school symposium. The week-long trip allowed for continued conversations between CSI and Korean schools that began over a year ago when South Korean educators visited the CSI offices.
“The Christian schools in South Korea are growing, thriving, and are led by very passionate leaders who truly have a heart for the Lord and for their kids,” said Westa. “I visited many Christian schools and met with their leadership, which allowed us to have a pretty frank roundtable discussion around differences in our cultures and what CSI could do to help these schools. These schools struggle with teacher recruitment, teacher and administrative development, board leadership; they are interested in accreditation, training for staff and administrators, and our curriculum.”
While there, Westa was a keynote speaker at the 2016 International Symposium on Christian Alternative Education for Shalom, a gathering of Korean educators. “I gave an address on the challenges facing Christian schools in North America, and participated in a discussion on how those struggles applied to Korean schools. The conference, hosted by the Christian Alternative Education Association of Korea, was one of the largest ever held in Korea regarding Christian schooling, with well over 220 educators in attendance” said Westa.
Westa also met with the head of ACSI in Korea, the head of the Association of Christian Schools in Korea, and had a tour of the foreign missionary cemetery. Christian education in Korea was started by Presbyterian missionaries in the early 1900s, and these missionaries are honored by Korean Christians as well as by the government.
“Of course there are differences between Christian schools in North America and those in Korea, but we also share many of the same issues; we also share the same amazing God, who has called us to be family,” said Westa. “I am excited to continue the discussions with our brothers and sisters in Korea to see how we can work together in the future.”