This past March, Winona State University’s Adult & Continuing Education (ACE) department coordinated a 3-day in-person professional development workshop series for K-12 educators at Sri Acmar International School in Selangor, Malaysia.

The workshop series was titled “Effective Teaching & Facilitation for Educators” and was led by WSU alum and instructor Waihon Liew.

The workshops focused on identifying the qualities of effective teaching and creating action plans to develop those skills with peers. Educators also completed a wellness assessment and used the results to design effective self-care techniques and school-wide wellness campaigns that will lead to ongoing wellness education.

These topics are very much needed because our global ecosystem is facing so much uncertainty.

Waihon Liew

Waihon applied social-emotional learning (SEL) techniques during the presentations. SEL is lacking in the school systems in Malaysia, and this workshop series inspired Malaysian educators to become world-class teacher-leaders.

WSU Adult & Continuing Education awarded Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to all attendees who met university-verified criteria.

Group of K-12 Malaysian educators.

As the primary trainer, I gained a lot just from listening to my participants. We have so much in common because we are all educators and lifelong learners. The only advantage I have over my audience is that I am a few years older than most of them.

When we learn as a community, we are able to come up with better solutions. We are a community of learners, improving our school and our nation!

Waihon Liew

As peers in WSU’s Organizational Leadership master’s program, Waihon Liew and Business Outreach Coordinator Julie Kiehne utilized several leadership principles and best practices they learned from several of their courses, including Systems Thinking, Change Leadership, School Leadership, and Supervision & Curriculum Development.

I am looking forward to more collaboration with my alma mater to conduct workshops in Asia.

I would also like to invite other alumni to consider doing the same thing: to be a part of this community of learners improving our world.

Waihon Liew

I have personally learned how I can adapt my approach and interactions to get the best out of my team, enabling me to become a more effective leader.

This workshop has helped me develop ways to deal with different situations using my knowledge and self-awareness. It has been an enjoyable process and one which has challenged me to be a better educator.

Valerie Tee

Head of Education, Acmar International School

WSU plans to further develop this international training program this summer with a second cohort of Malaysian K-12 educators.

It’s rewarding to be a part of a quality professional development initiative that reaches across our borders to partner with educational administrators who are committed to investing in the future of their school systems as well as the futures of the children and families they serve.

Julie Kiehne

Business Outreach Coordinator, Adult & Continuing Education

Waihon Liew

About the Instructor, Waihon Liew

Waihon considers himself an accidental educator. He never thought he would stay in the education systems over the last 27 years.

He has an MS in Educational Leadership and a BS in Human Resource Management from Winona State University. He also has a master’s degree in cross-cultural studies from ACTS International College. Prior to working as an educator, he worked for four years at a bank in Malaysia in the human resource department.

Waihon has taught at the university level in Malaysia and Minnesota and at public K-12 schools in Minnesota. He has been a head badminton coach for three years at a public school in Minnesota, coaching his team to the state tournament for three consecutive years.

Since 2015, Waihon has been teaching at a public K-12 school that’s predominantly made up of students from refugee families. He enjoys working and serving as a mentor and life coach to these students: “Getting to know my students and their families is very meaningful to me as an educator. They have taught me a lot about compassion and have enriched my life.”

Watch a news clip from a Malaysian reporter interviewing Waihon Liew.

About Acmar Schools, Mayalsia

Acmar Schools have been established with more than 26 years of history as one of the education pioneers in Klang Valley. Its well-rounded holistic approach is aimed at nurturing children’s progress in academics, sports, and mental and social development. They provide state-of-the-art facilities in a conducive learning environment.

The Schools’ mission is to provide quality education for the holistic development of creative, intellectually critical, and socially responsible individuals. It is committed to excellence, integrity, service to school and community, and supports the country’s aspiration to be a regional educational center.

About Adult & Continuing Education

Adult & Continuing Education (ACE) at Winona State University offers a wide range of non-credit and for-credit course offerings to enhance professional development. Whether through online learning, immersive classroom experiences, or hands-on training, Winona State strives to meet student needs so that they can reach their personal and professional goals.

For more information on continuing education and workforce customized training opportunities at WSU, contact Julie Kiehne at