School History

The Yanbian International Academy (YIA) was begun on September 16, 1992, by Dr. James Chinkyung Kim, the President of Yanbian University of Science and Technology (YUST). A group of mothers, who were the wives of YUST Professors, began to teach a small group of students in both English and Korean at YIA. The school was little more than a home school until the fall semester of 1997. At that time there were a total of 25 students.
In the fall of 1998, almost half of the students left YIA to attend the newly founded Korean International School. Only 14 students, 5 full time teachers, and 10 part time teachers greeted Dr. James Wootton, the new Headmaster, at the beginning of the fall semester. Dr. Wooton secured Western trained teachers and established an American school with an American curriculum. He set the school on a sound educational basis and schedule. Therefore in the fall of 1999, the school grew to a total of 28 students. Dr. Wooton served faithfully and diligently for 2 years at YIA.
Beginning in the fall semester of 2000, Lee Nichols was named as Headmaster. There were 30 students, 4 full time teachers, and 17 part time teachers. Mr. Nichols is still serving as Headmaster, but Mr. Scott Kim will become the new Headmaster on August 1, 2013. During the spring semester of 2013, YIA has 119 regular students and 9 part time home schooling students in grades K – 12, 15 full time teachers and 13 part time teachers. One student, Suah Han, began school in kindergarten in the fall semester of 2000. He and Mr. Nichols came in together, and since Suah will graduate in June of 2013, he and Mr. Nichols will go out together.
YIA over the years has become well known for its dedicated and professional teachers as well as for its happy students. Dr. Graham Windsor (from England), Wei Hua Ni and Kai Ping Gau (YIA’s main Chinese Teachers), Rebecca Lee (Kindergarten and later grade 1 Homeroom Teacher from Korea), and Stella Choi (Grades 1, 2 Homeroom Teacher from Los Angeles) have all taught at YIA for eight years or more, and only Dr. Windsor and Rebecca Lee have left. The other teachers will not be named in this article, but all have done and continue to do a tremendous job spiritually and academically of teaching, loving and leading YIA students.
In the fall of 2004, YIA began to have only Kindergarten through Grade 8, because Taejon Christian International School (TCIS) began giving YIA high school students a discount. Over the years, some 39 YIA students received a discount to attend TCIS, and there is still one former YIA student at TCIS. YIA began a high school program in the fall semester of 2009. We added Grade 9 in the fall semester of 2009 and Grade 10 in 2010.
At the end of spring semester of 2011 we launched a building expansion program by which we expanded our first floor and added a large, new second floor . Enrollment increased from 74 students in the spring semester of 2011 to 101 students in the fall semester of 2011 due to completion of our building expansion program. We added grade 11 in 2011 and Grade 12 in 2012. The first graduating class of seniors will graduate from YIA on June 21, 2013. At present, we are not an accredited school, but we offer AP courses in some subjects. Our combination of small classes and dedicated, loving teachers makes a big difference in the lives and in the study of our students. Several of our former students have had outstanding records in American and Korean Universities. YIA is a great place to go to school!