Singapore by way of South Korea and Kentucky isn’t a well-worn path. But it’s the one of DR JP RADER, the new Director at International Community School. We asked him a couple of question about his journey.
Where are you from?
I was born in New York but I grew up in Korea. I currently call Kentucky home, and will shortly do the same for Singapore.
Which place holds the fondest memories?
My favourite places to live have been Lexington, Kentucky and Seoul, Korea. The beauty of the bluegrass countryside is hard to beat. The stables and farms that line the route to our home are breathtakingly beautiful. Seoul, on the other hand, is a huge, sprawling city but it’s where I grew up. Seoul’s historical significance strikes me each time I pass Namdaemun Gate or the downtown area. You can feel the energy.
What took you to South Korea?
My parents were missionaries with The Salvation Army, and they took me to Korea when I was six months old. We travelled for two weeks across the Pacific on a boat. I lived in downtown Seoul until I was 18, and attended the Seoul Foreign School (SFS). Later, I worked at SFS for 20 years as well as my alma mater, Asbury University, in Kentucky. Three years ago, I moved back to Korea to be the Secondary School Principal at Gyeonggi Suwon International School.
Do you speak Korean?
I do. I used to eat dinner at my house and then run to our neighbours’ house and eat with them as well. Since they didn’t speak any English, I picked up Korean very quickly. The Korean staff and parents at the schools where I’ve taught have appreciated and respected my understanding of the language and country. When I was growing up, Korea was a third world country coming out of the war. When I returned as an adult, it had transformed into a first world country with one of the most dynamic economies in the world. To live there is a wonderful blend of the old and the new.
What subjects have you taught?
I began by teaching Physical Education but spent the majority of my career teaching Secondary School History courses in IB and AP. My wife Helen has also been teaching overseas for over 30 years. She will be the ES Learning Support teacher at ICS this year.
How did you learn about ICS?
My daughter, Brittney, is ICS’s ES Physical Education teacher and girls’ varsity volleyball and basketball coach. I was her high school and college volleyball coach, so it will be fun to watch her. Her husband, Jesse, is the ES Art teacher. They have loved their time at ICS, and we are excited to join the ICS community with them.
Has sport been a big part of your career?
I played collegiate soccer and tennis at Asbury University and later coached women’s volleyball there. I was the Athletic Director at SFS and coached there, too. Building successful teams is similar to building a strong school – each involves bringing in strong people and putting them in a position to succeed.
What plans do you have for ICS?
My plan is to observe, listen and engage with the school community to see how we can grow as a strong Christian school that continues to deliver academic excellence
5 fast facts about JP Rader
Collects: Military and historical items
Favourite book: The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
Favourite sports team: LA Lakers, Oakland Raiders, Manchester United
Last Halloween costume: Batman
Bucket list travel destination: New Zealand
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