Sung-Joon (Sunny) Pai began working in the Boston Public School system as a student teacher in 1998 at Fenway High School. The following year, he became a founding faculty member at the Boston Arts Academy (BAA). Over seven years at BAA, Sunny was a science teacher, writing teacher, advisor, student government coordinator, department chair, interim curriculum coordinator, and principal intern. He was also on the founding faculty of Rainier Scholars, an enrichment program for students of color in the Seattle Public Schools. Sunny completed both the Principal Residency Network principal-training program and the Boston Principal Fellowship. In 2005, Sunny was hired as the founding principal at the Media Communications Technology High School (West Roxbury Educational Complex) and served there for four years.
After a year of world travel, including a stint in Cape Town, South Africa working with a community-based program that helped formerly incarcerated youth transition back into society, Sunny became a Program Director at Charlestown High School for the Diploma Plus, Chinese SEI, and Spanish SEI small learning communities. As Director of the Diploma Plus (DP) Programs at Charlestown High School Sunny and his team created DP’s performance-based model for students who have not yet been successful in high school. Sunny is committed to establishing a culture of growth, where all students – especially students who have struggled in traditional academic models – can achieve at the highest levels.
Sunny holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (BA, Chemistry), Harvard Graduate School or Education (M.Ed, Teaching & Learning), and UMass-Boston (CAGS, Ed Leadership). Recently, Sunny won the Lawrence W. O’Toole Award, a $100,000 grant determined by public vote to support individuals committed to advancing student-centered learning. In addition, Sunny was recognized in 2016 by The Boston Globe as a Bostonian of the Year honorable mention for his leadership with the DP program.