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Haeyoung+Koh

Haeyoung Koh

Assistant Director of Educational Equity Haeyoung Koh grew up in Seoul, Korea and moved to Seattle when she was in 4th grade. Koh attended Redmond High School and majored in political science at Scripps College in Claremont, California. She is married and has two kids named Josie and Finn. She enjoys watching Korean dramas, riding her skateboard, and traveling.

What was your high school experience like, in Seattle?

It was a very awkward time for me! I was not as confident as you or any other BHS students that I’ve met. I think a lot of it had to do with my AAPI identity, and understanding where I fit in, and it wasn’t as openly talked about back then. I was really confused and was constantly thinking about where I fit in, so I tried sports, I tried band, and I discovered that my people were in the school orchestra.

Between the transition from high school to college, did you immediately know what your path would be, and your career? Or did you figure that out along the way?

I had a lot of pressure from my family to graduate college with a certain type of degree that’s useful, and then go to law school or do something that when I look back on is something that is not aligned with my personality and my interests. There was lots of confusion about what I should be doing. I remember in sophomore year of college I called my parents crying and I was like, I don’t wanna be—I went to a liberal arts college so I felt like I had more flexibility in things I studied—but I was like, “I think I wanna transfer to an art school” and I was just really unhappy. I ended up majoring in political science and international relations.

Could you tell me a little bit about your family?

Yeah, I have two little kids, Josie is five years old and my son Finn is two, a pandemic baby! My husband is a resident; he’s in the healthcare industry and I’m in the education field, so we sometimes joke we’re both in these two systems that are very broken in America.

What led you to this point in your career, and this job in Brookline?

So going back to when I was having those insecurities about what to major in, I knew I liked working with kids and in education. You know, being an educator you actually do use a lot of your creativity and creative muscles. Honestly, this job that I’m very new at—I’m only like a month into this job—kind of just popped u`p! But now that I’m in this role, it feels very fulfilling because a lot of the ideas that I had as a classroom teacher are now able to happen at a district level position, with more flexibility and autonomy, than being a classroom teacher. And there are just so many responsibilities of being a classroom teacher that a lot of my ideas never had enough time to come into fruition.

What is your favorite way to relax?

My favorite way to relax is watching Korean Dramas, and a more active thing is—one thing I took up during the pandemic, while other people were making sourdough bread- was learning to ride a skateboard! That was something I always wanted to do, but I feel like once you become a mom there are things that become like…, “Oh you do that as a mom?!” So I wanted to break those stereotypes of what a mom can and can’t do. So I started riding an electric skateboard called One Wheel, and it’s incredible—like that’s how I blast all my stress, by riding into the sunset, after the kids go to sleep.

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