by Alex Geffner-Mihlsten

Since the opening of Chadwick International (CI) in Songdo, some teachers have migrated from the original Chadwick to the second school in Korea.

So far, two individuals at Songdo came from Chadwick. Jeff Mercer is the assistant head at Chadwick International, while Ginger Puffer teaches kindergarten.

People had voiced concerns about whether the administration could remain focused on PV Chadwick with a new school. Headmaster Ted Hill responded by electing Mercer to oversee Songdo’s Chadwick.

“Mercer was made the assistant head, so that I’m not in Korea all the time and I’m not devoting an inordinate amount of time to it,” said Hill.

Mercer currently alternates between staying in PV and Korea, maintaining an active connection for both schools.

“I think [Songdo] is amazing,” said Mercer.  “Driving in on this trillion-dollar suspension bridge, into a brand new city is quite the experience. The city has a very western feel, , with a lot of land set aside for parks and lakes.”

Mercer was excited to become involved with the teachers at CI. He praised them as being similar to teachers at Chadwick.

“The teachers of Songdo are energetic, bright, capable and kind,” said Mercer. “They are true pioneers, in that they signed on to teach at Chadwick International without an actual contract.”

Mercer further praises the teachers for taking the first big step in establishing Chadwick as an international school.

“These are people willing to test the waters of this new school without any assurance of how it will turn out for them,” said Mercer. “The teachers are truly committed to the school’s mission and vision, and they certainly weren’t afraid of the ambiguity.”

Hiring new teachers was a difficult process. The government did not give a license to Chadwick until a few weeks before the school year started.

“We received the license for the school on June 25th. People knew about it before then, but the school could not advertise until then. They had to finish an eight month process in three weeks,” said Hill.

Mercer decided to go to CI to help the school get a successful start to its first year.

“I wanted to be involved with the process of helping to ensure that Chadwick International is infused with the Chadwick’s mission, vision, and values,” said Mercer. “I also want to ensure the comfort of all the students in Korea. I felt that if we are asking our students to take responsible risks and to value other perspectives and other cultures, it would somehow be, obviously, hypocritical for me not to ‘walk the talk.’”

The other Chadwick teacher who moved to Korea is Puffer, who used to teach kindergarten at Chadwick and now teaches the same grade level at CI. Puffer was the only teacher from Chadwick who volunteered to shift to the new school.

“No teachers have been sent to Korea,” said Hill. “In fact, Ms. Puffer simply volunteered to go to Korea, and Mr. Mercer goes back and forth between Chadwick International and Chadwick. Technically, of course, we haven’t assigned teachers to switch schools.”

Hill also truly encourages the ongoing bond between the two schools. “The faculty over there is awesome, so if we can get some teachers to come over here and teachers from here want to teach over there, it would be great. Both schools have teacher housing, so teachers could switch schools without any housing difficulties. ”

Teachers such as sixth grade teacher Connie Schneider and Athletic Director Rollie Johnson already visited Korea.

“In the future, we ultimately hope for teachers to move back and forth constantly,” said Hill.

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