Officials from the most populous province in Korea visited Killian Hill Christian School on Monday, as part of a tour to enhance relationships for cultural exchanges.
More than 200 students from the private Lilburn school greeted the foreign officials from the Gyeonggi-do province when they arrived late afternoon. First, there was a special welcoming ceremony, which included singing and gifts for the visitors.
Then, officials held meeting for more than hour to discuss working together. Led by Sang Kon Kim, the province's superintendent of education, the delegates visited the school specifically to see if it would be a good fit for its educators to come teach.
Kim thinks it would be. He lauded the well-mannered students and the school for its values placed on education and respect.
"To my understanding, the teachers and the students at Killian Christian School have such fine relationships, so that attracted me," Kim said, through a translator. "The educational value this school has has touched me.
"And, I see a positive attitude at the school toward our wish for sending teachers here and having exchance programs."
According to Killian Hill Christian School officials, the exchange program would consist of eight to 10 elementary teachers arriving in the 2013-2014 school year and spending six to eight weeks learning and collaborating with American teachers.
Minister of Education Paul Williams said he thinks the teacher exchange would be a positive learning and cultural experience for both the Lilburn school and the teachers from Gyeonggi-do.
"I've been encouraging me teachers to get outside the box," Williams said following the Korean delegates' visit. "I want them to be open to new ideas."
And, learning from Korean teachers regarding such things as math education, he said, would be highly advantageous. Eventually, officials said, Killian Hill Christian School educators may even teach in Korean schools.
Such a cultural exchange would have to be approved by the Gwinnett County Board of Education, but the state Department of Education has already given the program a green light.
Earlier in the day, the Gyeonggi-do officials met with Georgia's state superintendent John Barge and signed a historical agreement allowing the exchange and future educational collaborations. Kim said it was the first agreement signed between his province and any state in the U.S.
Yoon-Mi Hampton, a Killian Hill Christian School parent who attended Kumoh Elementary School in the Gyeonggi-do province, said she's happy the Lilburn school keeps adding to its model of excellence.
The values are similar to those she grew up with in Gyeonggi-do, where the communal nature of her village meant everyone helped everyone. There was also a high level of respect for elders.
"I think that's wonderful," she said about the cultural opportunity. "We really need to have relationships with the foreign countries, as well, because we are all in this together."