If you’ve come this far, you have big dreams, the kind that may lead you far from home. Endeavoring to be a citizen of the world is thrilling but can also be stressful, scary even. We are here to help. We were once in your shoes. We’ve used those shoes to pursue education, professional success, and personal fulfillment the world-over.
Song Laird Educational Partners was founded by two people that grew up successfully navigating different countries and cultures. Both attended prestigious universities and earned doctoral degrees in education from the top American program in their discipline. Today, they both teach at an elite American university. Somewhere along the way, they found each other, started a family and developed a consultancy dedicated to paving the way for like-minded, exceptional young people.
Heejung Song Laird, Ed.D
Heejung’s enduring passion has always been the interplay of different cultures. She has spent a lifetime learning how to succeed, academically and professionally in a diverse, global community. After excelling in the domestic education system in her native South Korea, including an undergraduate study in education from Yonsei University, she came to the United States to earn her doctorate at Vanderbilt. After which, she spent fifteen years supporting educational initiatives at Samsung, Yale-New Haven Health System, and UNICEF.
An accomplished educator by training, she also has a deeply personal drive to help young people that are eager to explore the larger world. As the heart and soul of Song Laird Educational Partners, Heejung brings cutting edge educational expertise, a wealth of professional experience, and an abiding personal connection to all our clients.
She completed the certificate program for Independent Educational Consultants from University of California, Irvine. She teaches at Human and Organization Development at Vanderbilt University and volunteers at the college counseling department at a local high school. She enjoys learning, painting, walking, yoga, and Tae Kwon Do.
Professor David Laird, Ed.D.
Born to a globe-trotting family, David’s formative years were split between Mexico City, Tokyo, New York, and Boston. In addition to global travel, education and athletics have been the other constants in his life. As a professional, the dominant theme of his work has always been exploring the mechanisms of personal and communal growth.
David has always been fascinated by the conditions in which humans truly excel. After twenty years of teaching and leading secondary institutions, devoting himself to developing young people, he joined the faculty at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University.
Now, in addition to supporting the work of Song Laird Educational Partners, David is the Assistant Professor of the Practice, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at the Peabody College at Vanderbilt where he presents and teaches on the topics of leadership and improvement strategy. In addition to supporting students’ academic and professional interests, David has also coached track and field, basketball, tennis, Tae Kwon Do, and triathlon.
Ms. Thuy Rocco, M.S.
Thuy Rocco is the author of The Last Surviving Child: A Memoir, a collection of stories and poems about her refugee journey from the darkest moments of death, poverty, racism, discrimination, abuse, and depression to a life of survival and hope. Her memoir won several awards, including a finalist in the 2019 Independent Author Network Book of the Year, a finalist in the 2019 the Indie Excellence Award, won Silver in the 2019 eLit Awards for excellence in digital publishing, five star rating for Reader’s Favorite, Reader Views, and Amazon. The short film from her story, “Playground English” was nominated for the Midsouth Emmy Awards.
She was the first to go to college and completed her degree, French Literature and International Studies from Emory & Henry College. She went on to complete her masters in English at the University of Memphis. She plays the role of a principal writing advisor in Song Laird Educational Partners. She spent over 15 years teaching and training in many different areas: English as a Second Language, culture and diversity, technology, Tae Kwon Do and Kanban. She loves to mentor, volunteer, travel, cook traditional Vietnamese food, write, and most of all, spend time with her family.
It is a great honor to have our professional advisors in education consulting and career development. They are recognizable experts in the region and across countries. They provide inspiration, professional knowledge, and life-long wisdom to Song Laird, which will enhance our client’s chances for success.
Dr. Neal Nadler
Heejung has known Dr. Nadler since 1996 when she started her master’s program in Human Resource Development at Vanderbilt University where he was a director of the program. Dr. Nadler has been her mentor and advisor who has taught her life wisdom, dedication, and professional goals. Previously educating people at Marin Corps, World Bank, and Vanderbilt University, he has managed his own consulting company training and coaching in 40 different countries over 40 years in the areas of management and executive development and organizational development. He also coaches CEOs and other senior executives in the USA and abroad.
Ms. Kathryn March, M.S., CEP
Ms. Kathryn March worked for more than 20 years in the fields of education and career counseling. She has continued to provide benefits to Song Laird as a great mentor to Heejung in the education consulting practice. She has been an independent consultant since June 2007. Before that time, she worked as a high school counselor, serving as Director of Counseling at a high school in Williamson County, Tennessee and a Dean of Students at a suburban high school in Minnesota. She also spent eight years in the career counseling field. Ms. March has a passion to work with high school students and young adults to help them find both their best fit in post-secondary education and develop a career direction.