The Governing Board of YHALE is the governing body of the charter school and is responsible for overseeing the execution of the school’s mission through its program focus, curriculum and operations.
The Governing Board holds monthly meetings. The meetings are posted on the school website and open to the public. Agendas and minutes and other board-level documents can be found on the school website. Each board meeting has an open comment period and we invite you to attend and participate.
The Governing Board has committees that meet at least monthly. Each committee is chaired by a member of the Governing Board and can be comprised of members of the Board, Administration, and parents.
Liza A. Park – Founder & Board Chairperson
Liza Park began working on the concept of YHALE in late 2014 – just a couple of years after she had moved to the Atlanta area. She realized that there was no dual language immersion program in Korean language even though the Korean community is quite large in the Atlanta-Metro area, and Korean is the third most spoken language in Georgia. She also noticed at the time, there were very few Mandarin dual language immersion programs in Georgia even though Mandarin was experiencing massive growth across the U.S.
Ms. Park had the experience of being a news reporter and anchor for more than 15 years, and during that time, she specialized in covering local and state government as well as education. Her knowledge of charter schools began in 1998 while covering the Florida legislature and the changes made to the state charter school laws during that year.
With the knowledge Ms. Park had covering education, she knew that a charter school would be the ideal type of school to introduce an educational program that offered dual language immersion in Korean and Mandarin as well as incorporated the best educational and cultural practices of the East and the West. A charter school offers access to all students regardless of their socio-economic background or previous exposure to learning more than one language.
In addition to having a career in the media, Ms. Park has also been a practicing attorney both civil and criminal law. She has served as an assistant state attorney in Florida prosecuting a myriad of crimes from DUI to attempted murder. She then joined a civil law firm that focused on some of the nation’s highest profile personal injury and civil rights cases. While there, she was both a trial attorney and the director of public and media relations.
Ms. Park has won national awards for her documentary work and several Associated Press awards for her news stories. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Florida State University’s College of Communication. She has served on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross of the Big Bend in Tallahassee, Florida.
Ms. Park graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida State University with a bachelor degree in both Communications and English. She also graduated from the Florida State University College of Law. While at FSU, Ms. Park was elected student body president and was a founder of Burning Spear, Inc., a leadership honor society.
Marissa Le – Board Secretary
Marissa Le joined the first group of parents interested in Korean or Mandarin dual langauge immersion for their children in January 2015. Since then, she has helped form the volunteer base for what eventually became YHALE. She was instrumental in the initial research, marketing and community outreach for YHALE. She also helped with all the organizational and clerical aspects of YHALE’s petition for charter school status.
Ms. Le became a member of the YHALE Governing Board in the Fall of 2018 and took over the position of secretary in November 2019. As a board member, she helps to maintain the records for YHALE, to prepare the Board meeting agendas, to accurately record the minutes of the Board meetings, to record and post the minutes of the Board meetings and to comply with the laws, rules and regulations regarding Board meetings, functions and compliance. She also completes various paperwork for the Board.
In her professional career, Ms. Le is a litigation paralegal in Atlanta, Georgia. Previously, Ms. Le was a general manager within the food & beverage industry and freelanced as a Thai-English interpreter and translator in South Florida.
Ms. Le has also served as a personal assistant to the President of the Thai-American Association of South Florida. In that capacity, she was a community organizer helping to develop, promote and produce cultural events, educational projects, and community organizations in Miami, Florida.
Ms. Le is a second generation Thai-American. As a child, Ms. Le learned and practiced the Thai language at home and attended weekend school. She also spent summers in Thailand to improve her language skills. She continuously earned top scores and honors for her continued proficiency in the Thai language. She attributes her parents for her Thai language skills and proficiency because they required her to complete daily Thai study and practice as well as regular assessment and testing as a child.
She loves learning about different cultures from people with different ethnicities and backgrounds. She was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado, and she had the unique advantage of being exposed to various cultures and ethnicities at an early age. This helped shape her open-mind and heart and adds to the satisfaction she feels everyday in helping people through her career. Marissa’s seven-year-old daughter, Lia, will start her third-grade year at YHALE in August 2021.
Ms. Le holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University in International Business and Trade.
Lya Clay – Treasurer
Lya Clay joined the YHALE Governing Board in early 2023. The board sought out Ms. Clay for her accounting and business bookkeeping experience. She is also bilingual in Spanish and English.
Ms. Clay is Colombian-American. She moved to Georgia in 2003 to join her parents and other family members who were already living here.
She began studying English at Kennesaw University in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Later,
she met her husband, Daniel. Lya and Daniel married and started a family in Gwinnett County.
Ms. Clay served as an accountant for eight years prior to opening a local irrigation systems business, South Rain Irrigation LLC, with her husband. She manages the business, logistics and accounting for their business.
Ms. Clay believes that being bilingual holds tremendous benefits and advantages. She
regularly uses her bilingual skills while operating her family business and in her social
and family life.
Ms. Clay received her Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from EAN in Bogota,
Emile Hanam – Board Member
Emile Hanam joined the YHALE governing board in May 2020. She has resided in Gwinnett County for 30 years, and is an experienced realtor in this area.
Emile is originally from Indonesia and fluently speaks both Indonesian and English. Emile’s knowledge, perspective, and experience helps her to understand and work collaboratively with diverse groups. She believes that schools are the backbone of communities; and we must work hard to ensure that our schools are the best they can be, so our students and communities continue to thrive.
Emile has been married for 22 years and is blessed with three amazing children. Her two daughters have recently graduated from Peachtree Ridge High School, and her son will start his first grade at YHALE.
She holds a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing from Georgia State University. She works as a realtor with RE/MAX.
Tamecha Buck – Board Member
Tamecha Buck began her journey with YHALE in the midst of the 2020 pandemic with an entering 2nd grader.
She also took the initiative to help spearhead YHALE’s first Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) as Co-President for the 2020-2021 school year. In this leadership role, Ms. Buck began many fundraising activities for the school. She has remained an active volunteer and contributor to YHALE since its opening.
Ms. Buck has also been actively involved with Gwinnett County Public School system for the past 15 years as a parent. She has volunteered in various areas including sports and school booster programs.
Ms. Buck has been an active law enforcement officer for the State of Georgia for the past 27 years and still serves in that capacity. She resides in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and she’s the mother of two heavenly angels, Chase and Javarius.