A panel of speakers will share personal stories and perspectives on building student agency, strengthening democracy and fortifying the workforce during an upcoming virtual forum hosted by County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
“More than one in five residents of Orange County identifies as Asian American or Pacific Islander, and this month we are incredibly proud to highlight their cultural, social, academic and economic contributions,” Superintendent Mijares said. “Our latest online colloquium will be a celebration of our AAPI communities, including our students. At the same time, it is an opportunity to continue an ongoing dialogue about the future of our county and its educational systems with the help of distinguished voices who can share their own unique experiences, insight and perspectives.”
Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month dates back to the late 1970s, when separate Congressional bills emerged seeking to recognize the contributions of Asian Americans. In 1978, New York representative Frank Horton introduced a joint resolution calling for the president to proclaim one week in May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.
President Jimmy Carter signed the resolution on Oct. 5, 1978, and over the next decade presidents passed annual proclamations. In 1990, Congress expanded the observance from a week to one month, and Congress passed a law two years later officially designating the month of May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. It was renamed AAPI Heritage Month in 2009.
Here’s a list of the featured speakers announced so far for the May 24 colloquium:
Jeff Kim, Ed.D., MPH, NBCT Teacher, Anaheim Union High School District Adjunct Faculty Member, California State University, Fullerton
Dr. Jeffrey Kim has worked in education for the past 20 years and has served in many roles, including induction support provider, department chair, instructional coach and civic lead. He is currently teaching history in the Anaheim Union High School District at South Junior High School and the online Cambridge Virtual Academy. Under his leadership, his school has earned the Civic Learning Award of Excellence through the California Judicial Branch, PAL Outstanding Program of Year and Advisor awards from the Orange County Department of Education, Bridges Distinguished School Award from OC Human Relations, and the California Democracy Accreditation. Dr. Kim, who is a member of the Council of Korean Americans, has also authored a Korean American studies and Asian American studies course for his district.
Isaac Huang, Ed.D. Executive Board Chairperson, California Association of Asian and Pacific Leaders in Education Principal, Conejo Valley Unified School District
Dr. Isaac Huang has extensive experience in meeting the academic, social-emotional and physical well-being of the whole child for the past 20 years. His passion and work in the field of education has spanned the entire continuum, ranging from infants to adult learners. Dr. Huang is a firm believer in growth mindsets and building a culture of active learners rather than passive students. With a focus on equity and diversity, he currently serves on the Conejo Valley Unified School District’s inaugural Equity Task Force. He is an advocate in the power of mentorship and supports others to become the best version of themselves. Dr. Huang dedicates his free time to serving others through his work on the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators Mentoring Committee, and he is working with fellow Asian administrators on the formal development of the California Association of Asian Pacific Leaders in Education.
Kimmie Tang, Ed.D. Associate Professor, Special Education and Early Childhood School of Education, Biola University
Dr. Kimmie Tang is an associate professor of special education and early childhood at Biola University’s School of Education. She received her doctorate of education from the USC Rossier School of Education in 2008. She has been in the field of education for more than 23 years, serving in various positions as an educator, program director, administrator, advocate and researcher. Tang has worked extensively with public and private school children across all levels of abilities, types of exceptionalities and grade levels, from early childhood to adulthood. She also focuses on students identified as at-risk, gifted, English language learners and first-generation college students. Throughout her career, she has advocated for educational justice for all students while working in the higher institution to prepare future educators.
Tu-Uyen Nguyen, Ph.D., MPH Associate Professor, Asian American Studies Department California State University, Fullerton
Dr. Tu-Uyen Nguyen received her undergraduate degrees in biology and comparative literature from UC Irvine and her master’s and doctorate degrees in public health from UCLA. She has taught as a lecturer at UCI and UCLA and is now an associate professor in the Department of Asian American Studies at Cal State Fullerton. Dr. Nguyen has taught and conducted research on Asian Pacific American community health issues for many years, particularly focusing on community-based participatory research on breast and cervical cancer disparities. Her research focuses on reducing health disparities by understanding the socioecological influences of culture and ethnicity on the health-related behaviors of medically underserved communities. Moreover, her work has inspired leaders and advocates from diverse Asian and Pacific Islander American communities nationwide to develop, implement and evaluate collaborative, community-based participatory programs that produce profound and positive health outcomes.
Avery Ngo Senior, Segerstrom High School Santa Ana Unified School District
Avery Ngo is a senior at Segerstrom High School in the Santa Ana Unified School District. Ngo is editor-in-chief of The Jag Journal. She also serves as the co-founder and president of Competitive Edge, an organization teaching underprivileged students core soft skills necessary to thrive in any field. Earlier in May, Ngo was one of nine SAUSD students who received $1,000 scholarships at the 12th annual Difference Makers celebration. She loves to read, and while she enjoys nearly all genres, she especially likes fantasy, thrillers and nonfiction. Her interest in books has translated into her love for journalism writing.