Kim Kawamoto is the Athletic Director of Taipei American School. She won the prestigious Army Athletic Association Award in 1992 and was a two-time American Women’s Sports Federation All-America selection. Kawamoto served at Army West Point as an associate athletic director before joining TAS.
Why I Chose Taiwan.
I’m from Hawaii and I am a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Signals Officer. I served 21 and a half years in the military and this is my first job outside of my retirement. Prior to coming here, I served as an associate athletic director at West Point, where I had played four years of basketball. I was a point guard. In 2016, I don’t know how, but I was inducted into the West Point Sports Hall of Fame.
After retiring from the military, I was exploring different options. I put my name in with a head-hunter and she told me about an athletic director position at Taipei American School. I was intrigued at the prospect of helping to build TAS’s middle school athletic program into a more competitive program. Plus, everybody that I talked to just said what a great place Taiwan was.
Me coming from Hawaii, I am used to island-living, so it seemed like a good fit. My biggest thing is safety. You hear about the shenanigans going on right now in China, but everybody said Taiwan is different, Taiwan is safe, and coming here that’s been so true.
I was actually born in Vietnam. I’m half Vietnamese and half all different things. Growing up, my parents said, “You’ve got to study hard! You’ve got to go to a good school!” They didn’t really support me in athletics. That was not something that was going to put food on the table. It was always, “Study, study, study!” So I am happy to be here as a mentor and a role model, since a lot of these kids grow up in that same environment where athletics aren’t as valued as academics.
But for me, it’s been the key to opening so many doors professionally and personally. And I get to exemplify that here. I think a lot of people like to hire people that have played sports because it shows that you can be part of a team. Being an athlete is like its own classroom. It’s a really great way of teaching kids how to be resilient, because you lose more than you win a lot of the time. You deal with failure. Grit, resilience: these are all key aspects of sports. You can fail, and if you do fail, it’s how you come back from it. That’s what life is like too.