Southern California Team
Sumant Bhat is in his third year as the Head of Middle School at St. Anne’s Episcopal School, a PS-8 school in Denver, Colorado. In addition to his work on curriculum and programming, he leads diversity training and growth for all faculty and staff at St. Anne’s and leads the school’s Multiculturalism and Inclusion Committee. Prior to St. Anne’s, Sumant worked at three other independent schools as a teacher, advisor, coach, department chair, dean of middle school, international trip coordinator and in admissions. Sumant holds a B.A in Economics and Psychology from Williams College and a MA in Educational Leadership from the Klingenstein Program at Columbia University.
Noah is a 7th and 8th grade English teacher and the 8th Grade Dean at Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera, CA. At MCDS, Noah has been involved in constantly revamping and revising the curriculum of both the 7th and 8th grade English classes in order to ensure that the types of literature that his students are reading, writing, and thinking about are inclusive and diverse. Noah is also a member of the faculty of the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, a national conference that serves over 1,600 high school students from national independent high schools. In addition, Noah's writing has appeared in NPR's CodeSwitch, Hyphen Magazine, and The Toast.
Chris is in her 13th year teaching 8th-grade English at Black Pine Circle School in Berkeley, California. There, she is the Diversity Co-coordinator as well as the teacher sponsor for the Diversity Club and the Black Student Union. She is the co-moderator for the API-Chai mailing list, a forum for Asian/Pacific Islander activist educators in independent schools. Between grading essays, practicing the circus arts, and following the sport of competitive eating, Chris is delusionally confident that she has enough time on her hands to help reboot AsEA.
Originally from the East Coast, Stan is an English teacher at San Francisco University High School (UHS). He teaches 9th grade English as well as various electives ranging from "Ethics & Argument" to "Things Fall Apart," a survey course on post-colonial fiction, to 11th and 12th graders. When Stan attended the AsEA conference in 2008, he was surprised and elated: he met other educators who looked like him and who also understood some of the issues and questions that he had about teaching, learning, and navigating predominantly White spaces. For him, the AsEA conference is a place to (re)connect, recharge, and restore oneself as an educator--both in practice and for the soul.
Sungbae originally hails from Seoul, Korea, moved to San Francisco from Boston (Go Celtics!), and has been teaching middle school English at Marin Country Day School for the last six years. He enjoys discussing identity with both students and colleagues alike and has led workshops about teaching identity through personal narratives at POCC, CAIS, etc. He’s looking forward to meeting other passionate educators through AsEA for inspiration and fellowship.
A native of the midwest, Joanna moved to Seoul, Korea, where she spent her formative years attending an international school before returning to the U.S. for college. (Go Blue!) After 9 years out east in the boarding school world, Joanna now teaches English and serves as a 9th grade mentor at San Francisco University High School. She is excited and eager to be a part of the planning committee for the AsEA conference, after having heard about it from former colleagues who fondly shared and cherished their experiences at previous AsEA conferences. Joanna hopes that this will be an opportunity and space for Asian and Asian American educators to connect, collaborate and celebrate in community.
Hailing from Canada, Carwai teaches mathematics in the middle school at Black Pine Circle School in Berkeley, CA. She loves the challenge of making math accessible and relevant for all students. Her experiences at the NAIS People of Color Conferences inspire her to work in schools to build more thoughtful and inclusive communities. Carwai hopes to see the AsEA conference create a space for educators to connect, share ideas, and provide support for their work in schools.
Born in Vietnam and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Leslie currently spends her days in the fifth grade classroom at Marin Country Day School. She is also a faculty of the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, where she gets to work alongside inspiring diversity practitioners and high school students from across the country on social justice work. Prior to moving to the lovely West Coast, Leslie taught at Abington Friends School. It was at AFS where she delved into the work of equity and inclusion in independent schools and continued to explore the intersectionality between her queer and Asian identities. She has presented at the People of Color Conference and the National Association of Independent School's Annual Conference about issues of diversity and how teachers come to understand their racial identities within the context of the classroom.