By Erin Kwon
In the fall of 2020, Mr. Jeff Padgett has adopted the new role of a guidance counsellor in addition to his many other roles at ICSU. Since Mr. Padgett and Mrs. Cynthia Padgett joined the ICSU community last winter, they have contributed to the school in numerous ways, as both teachers and ICSU community leaders.
This year, Mr. Padgett is the school chaplain, and he leads Elementary, Middle, and High School Chapel as well as small group bible sessions. In addition, Mr. Padgett is also the Community Service Coordinator and a Homestay Parent of two. This year, Mr. Padgett said he’s also “teaching Bible 7 and 11— Like the store, 7-11 :).”
As the two guidance counsellors, Mr. Padgett and Director Mr. John Havill share responsibilities. Mr. Padgett’s role is to help students prepare for and start their career path, which entails not only college-related affairs but also vocational trades and military service. Mr. Padgett said, “My goal is to assist students in learning what higher education options they have so they can be matched up with their abilities, gifts, skills, and talents.”
Mr. Padgett has had truly global experiences and an international life. Though he is originally from the state of Indiana, in the United States, Mr. Padgett has lived and worked in places such as Los Angeles and Santa Fe in the United States, as well as Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, and Korea.
Mr. Padgett has taught Bible in ICS-Singapore for five years, as well as at a bible institute in Malaysia for more than three years. He said, “Before coming to ICSU, I was serving in Bangladesh at a refugee camp for the Rohingya refugees of Myanmar (Burma).”
While he was never a guidance counselor before, Mr. Padgett is serving as a guidance counselor now because of his education and experience: “It is my service in the military in the US Marine Corps, vocational background in electronics as a field service engineer, and I am a lifelong student myself. Currently, I am working on doctoral studies. The convergence of my education and experience is what I draw from to help our incredible ICSU students.”
However, Mr. Padgett says he also became a guidance counselor because he was “at the right place at the right time! I said yes to the Lord (and Mr Havill 😀 ).”
Although Mr. Padgett has only recently become the guidance counsellor, his extensive involvement in the role has already changed him. He said, “I have become more aware of student’s challenges and needs regarding their future and has been learning from the students as well.”
During the time Mr. Padgett has been at ICSU, he has done so much for the students and teachers and the community overall through his countless investments and involvements. He has taken on a variety of roles—chaplain, teacher, coordinator, homestay parent, and now, guidance counsellor—and his influence at ICSU has certainly changed ICSU for the better.
Yet Mr. Padgett added, “without my soulmate and helpmate, Mrs. Padgett, I could not have completed my duties.”
Senior Madeline Lee, who has started homestaying with Mr. Padgett this year, said, “Mr. Padgett goes the extra mile to help out even when he doesn’t need to. Last year he helped plan the NHS retreat when we needed it. When it got cancelled, he helped with the Water Walk and was out there encouraging the students. He and his wife are also great homestay parents.”
Outside of ICSU, Mr. Padgett is also well-known for his loving contributions to the community. He serves as the pastor of the Uijeongbu Community Church, of which he says, “I am blessed with a team of servants that help with the workload.”
In his spare time, Mr. Padgett keeps a very close relationship with his daughters and five grandchildren through internet video calls. When there aren’t typhoons in Korea, he also loves to go on walks with Mrs. Padgett.
Mr. Padgett said he has enjoyed meeting with students and praying to seek the Lord with them. He also expressed his many hopes for the coming year: “I want to serve our students and especially the class of 2021 with a standard of excellence and I want them to know that God has marked out a course for their lives. If there is anything that I can do to help reduce the anxiety that students experience when pondering their future, that is what I hope to do.”
“As a Chaplain and Guidance Counselor, I have the unique opportunity to counsel students for not only academic success but success in life because real success is helping others succeed.”