Meet Our Founder
Maria L. Kim
I dreaded going to Korean school every Saturday, but my parents constantly reminded me that as a Korean, I should know our language. It was in high school when I finally appreciated and embraced being Korean-American. I began looking forward to our Korean family traditions, listening to Korean songs, watching my parents' Korean dramas, and eating authentic Korean foods.
After graduating from NYU with a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism, I spent years in the television industry. Writing script after script, I found it very unfulfilling and never felt appreciated. After volunteering at my church to teach Sunday School for the preschool class, I realized that I enjoyed teaching young children and found it very fulfilling. Therefore, I decided to go back to school and earned my Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I became certified to teach preschool through 8th grade and worked in the public and private sectors. Having been fascinated with language acquisition and development, I earned two more certifications in ESL and Bilingual/Bicultural Education. With all these certifications and unique credentials, I was hired by the Ridgefield public school system to create and start their newly mandated Korean bilingual program. This was where I taught students in the ESL/Bilingual programs for 10 years.
Not only am I a teacher, but also a mom of two. When my children were young I searched for a bilingual preschool so that they could reap the benefits of being bilingual. However, there were only preschools that taught in either exclusive Korean or English. The students who went to Korean preschools usually ended up in my ESL class. On the contrary, students who attended American preschools lost most of their Korean language abilities. Therefore, I saw the need to create a TRUE bilingual preschool.
With the culmination of all my experiences as an educator and parent, I have come to realize the significance of immersing our children in a bilingual and bicultural environment. After having taught and developed curricula for over 25 years, I have taken only the best of everything to offer you a unique bilingual and bicultural learning experience.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly with any questions about our school.
Thank you for your interest in iPlusOne Academy,
Maria L. Kim
Director & Founder
Arriving in America at the age of two, my first and only language was Korean. As soon as I became five years old in the early 70’s, I entered a Kindergarten classroom in the American public school system. Back then, ESL programs (English as a Second Language) was non-existent. I lived through a time where I was forced to sink or swim. Luckily, I was able to swim (with the help of American TV shows.) Although I was immersed in English at school, I was able to retain my Korean. The reason being is that my parents and grandparents exclusively spoke Korean at home and I was expected to do the same.
My parents were avant-garde immigrants who knew the importance of preserving our native language and culture while acculturating in America. However, growing up in the 80’s, I thought that I was an American girl who only needed English like everyone else.