Faculty & Staff

Meet the Yu Ming team that brings a wealth of experience — professional and cultural — to our school.

Administration

Sue Park Head of School
Diana Kong Director of Mandarin Curriculum and Instruction
Jamila Dugan  Assistant Principal
Wendy Larson Operations Manager
Mica Tucci  Office Manager and After School Program Coordinator

Mandarin Immersion Teaching Staff

Eve Wu Kindergarten Teacher
Shih Hsing Huang Kindergarten Teacher
Carol Kao First Grade Teacher
Kristina Lau First Grade Teacher
Wei Shen Second Grade Teacher
Rui Fan Second Grade Teacher
Xinyi Xu Third Grade Teacher
Zhiyi Zhao Third Grade Teacher
Lisa Wu Fourth Grade Teacher
Alice Kuang Fourth Grade Teacher
Han Han Fifth Grade Teacher
Sandra Sheng-Chuan Chang Mandarin Reading Coach and Art Teacher
Laura Lee Music Teacher
ChihWei (Rencha) Chen Kindergarten Teaching Intern
Fangzhu (Lily) Li First Grade Teaching Intern
Peiyi (Camilla) Xu Second Grade Teaching Intern
Wen Shuin (Elsa) Hsu Third Grade Teaching Intern
Renee Chang Fourth Grade Teaching Assistant
Jie Song Fifth Grade Teaching Assistant

English Teaching Staff

Lisa Jordan Head of English Department and Kindergarten English Teacher
Jenny Suen First and Second Grade English Teacher
Robin Chen Third Grade English Teacher
Melanie Cardoza Fourth Grade English Teacher
Teresa Lucan Fifth Grade English Teacher
Jill Yee English Reading Coach
Mia Perez English Reading Coach

Other Staff

Heather Collins School Counselor
Bethany Avila Health Services Coordinator
Kenny Hunter Lunch & Recess Supervisor, Alcatraz
Lidia Leon Lunch & Recess Supervisor, Herzog
Lauren Smith Education Specialist
Allison Zeitounian Behavior Intervention Specialist
Danny Lau Custodian

Sue Park, Head of School


Sue comes to Yu Ming from Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, a network of Los Angeles charter schools serving 3400 students in preschool through grade 12. Serving as Senior Vice President of Programs she was responsible for leading the strategy and execution of the Camino Nuevo Continuum of Care working towards building a comprehensive continuum of integrated support services from Pre-K through college completion. Sue returned to Camino Nuevo after having previously served as Vice-Principal and Principal at the Burlington campus. During her years away from Camino Nuevo, Sue worked with Teach For America as the Vice President of State and District Relations, lived in Hong Kong where she headed The Women’s Foundation, and was a founding staff member of the international education organization, Teach For All, as the Managing Director of Development Resources.

Sue has also worked as a bilingual K-through-3rd grade teacher in LAUSD and a private-sector attorney. Throughout her career, Sue has been committed to addressing systemic challenges that limit educational access and opportunity for students in under-served communities in the U.S. and globally. Sue earned a B.A. with honors from UC San Diego, her J.D. from UC Berkeley, and her M.A. in Administrative & Policy Studies in Education from UCLA through the Urban Principal Leadership Institute.

Diana Kong, Director of Mandarin Curriculum and Instruction


Diana Kong was born in Taiwan and was educated in the USA since high school on. She earned her bachelor degree in Child Development and Family Studies, and minored in Youth Services. She has also completed her master degrees in Educational Leadership and Educational Psychology. Currently, she is still working on her Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction. Diana has worked in bilingual field for over 15 years. Being educated in both countries and having a passion in facilitating children’s development and learning, this has driven Diana to continue seeking opportunities to make a difference in bilingual education. Her goal at YuMing is to ensure learning and teaching are effective and productive for both students and teachers that meets common core standards.

Jamila Dugan, Assistant Principal


Jamila comes to us as a native Oaklander committed to providing an excellent education for all children. Jamila has worked as a teacher, coach, and facilitator of professional development, and hopes to utilize her experience to push support the Yu Ming vision. She is currently in a full time doctoral program studying leadership for educational equity at UC Berkeley and spends additional free time exploring the bay area with her two small children. She brings a passion for equity and excellence to Yu Ming and is looking forward to another amazing year!

Wendy Larson, Operations Manager


I was born in Taiwan, but most of my childhood was spent in sunny Southern California. I received my BA in Human Development from U.C. San Diego, and my MA in Teaching from U.C. Irvine. Prior to my move to the Bay Area four years ago, I lived in San Diego where my daughter was born. When not chasing around my labradoodle and my five year old, I enjoy baking, crafting, and dreaming of tropical vacations.

Mica Tucci, Office Manager and After School Program Coordinator


Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, I earned a BA degree from Lawrence University, in Appleton, Wisconsin and then worked in educational administration as a Spanish Program Assistant for a study abroad program in Costa Rica.  Being passionate about education, I became interested in teaching and went on to earn an MA-TESOL degree from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. I gained my first formal teaching experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer at a primary school in La Palma, El Salvador. I then moved across the world to teach English at a university in Bhutan for two years. I am honored to contribute my skills to the innovative,  international community of Yu Ming as the school’s Office Manager and After School Program Director.

 

Teacher and Staff Bios

 

Eve Wu  吳怡玟, Kindergarten Teacher

I was born and raised in Taiwan. I have a B.A. in English education from National Pingtung University of Education, Taiwan. I have an M.S.Ed in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Pennsylvania. Afterwards, I worked at an Immersion School in Princeton, NJ, for one year. Now I am teaching at Yu Ming. I am passionate about teaching and look forward to sharing my enthusiasm in lifelong learning with students at Yu Ming.

Shih-Hsing Huang 黃詩杏, Kindergarten Teacher


I was born and raised in Tainan, Taiwan. I am a native Mandarin speaker and can also speak Taiwanese. I received an undergraduate degree in Chinese literacy from Providence University of Taiwan. In 2006, I completed my Masters in early childhood education at Chaiyi University in Taiwan. In the same year I earned my Teaching Credential.

I’ve just finished my second education Masters from the Dominican University of California in May 2015. Before coming to America to study my Master degree, I taught 7 years as a homeroom teacher in public schools in Taiwan. When I go back to Taiwan for summer and winter vacations, I still work as a substitute teacher.

In addition to caring about students’ grades, I also focus on social skills and emotions. I like to use dances, songs and interesting activities to help students learn as well as inspire their learning interests. I am very happy to a member of Yu Ming while I continue my teaching career.

Carol Kao  高芮蓮, 1st Grade Teacher


I was born and grew up in Taiwan, about 6,000 miles from California. I received a Bachelor’s degree and teacher credential in Early Childhood Development and Education. After graduating, I taught in kindergarten for two years, during the teaching, I have learned many teaching strategies that support students’ needs. I left for the United States in 2005 and obtained my Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Upon graduating, I worked with students who were from Minnesota competitive school in Chinese immersion program. After two years spent in Minnesota I moved to Indonesia and taught Chinese in an international school for another year. Throughout my extensive and academic teaching experience, I have developed a deep understanding of culture differences, individuals’ learning and thinking patterns and social development. I am passionate about developing innovative curriculum. I enjoy using music, singing, and chanting in my curriculum. I look forward to sharing my experiences and passions for education with Yu Ming School!

Kristina Lau, 1st Grade Teacher

Kristina Lau was born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver, Canada. She learnt to appreciate multicultural and multilingual environments, and values the importance of a second language. Outside of Teaching, Kristina loves to take up dance classes and get close to the nature.She looks forward to incorporating interactive and inquiry based learning approaches in her classroom, where students experience the same joy she had in learning a second language. She is very excited to start the new school year here at Yu Ming with her little Monkeys.

Wei Shen 沈 薇, 2nd Grade Teacher

I was born and grow up in Shanghai. Teaching in Mandarin immersion programs has been my passion for the past 5 years. After completing the Bachelor’s Degree in Second Language Acquisition in Shanghai University, I earned the Master’s Degree in Foreign Language Teaching and Curriculum from DePaul University. I joined Yu Ming as one of the funding teachers in 2011.

Rui Fan, 2nd Grade Teacher

I was born and raised in Anhui province, located in eastern China across the basins of the Yangtze and Huai Rivers. I have a B.A. in English Literature from Chuzhou University and a M.A. degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with a Certification in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language, from the University of Maryland.

Before joining Yu Ming, I taught elementary students for two years in a Mandarin immersion setting at the Baltimore International Academy. My teaching philosophy is to motivate students to learn. It is my passion to bring meaningful and fun learning experiences to children.

Xinyi Rachel Xu 許昕怡, 3rd Grade Teacher

My Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education has given me a strong background of education policies and pedagogies. After earning a Master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum at Michigan State University, I have been teaching in language immersion programs in the United States science 2009. My cross­culture education experience in both China and the United States forms the foundation of who I am today. I believe in the potential of every learner. What makes teaching so enjoyable to me is that it is also a learning process. My students are amazing and they motivate me to be a better teacher. My favorite thing about being a teacher is seeing my students smiling faces every day!

Zhiyi Zhao, 3rd Grade Teacher

Hello, dear students and parents. My name is Zhiyi Zhao. I am excited to be here as a Chinese teacher in Yu Ming Charter School. I grew up in Beijing and went to college in Hangzhou, China and graduate school in Michigan State University where I started my career of teaching Chinese. I love traveling and I worked as a part-time tour guide in Beijing in college. I love learning different languages and culture and I am happy that I could be part of your children’s exploration of languages and culture.

Lisa Wu, 4th Grade Teacher

Hi from Ms. Wu! I have been teaching in a self-contained Mandarin immersion classroom since 2013. Ever since I started teaching, I have been focused on getting to know my students and creating a sense of belonging, caring and self-worth in the classroom. “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” My students will walk with me hand in hand on the life long learning path; the goal is to not only move forward, but also not to miss the scenery along the way.

Alice Kuang, 4th Grade Teacher

Hello, my name is Alice Kuang. I would like to thank for the precious teaching opportunity that Yu Ming Charter School gives me. I am very happy to share some of my little pieces of story of my life with you. I grew up in Canton (Guandong) China, and immigrated to San Diego with my parents in year 2003. Two years later, I got admitted by UC Davis, one of ideal colleges. In the first half of my undergraduate life, I did my chemistry study for years, and I was willing to serve as a doctor after graduation. However, as time went by, I gradually found that Chinese language was still my long-lasting passion, so I changed my major into linguistics and Chinese. I am excited to be the Mandarin teacher for our fourth graders!

Han Han 韩寒, 5th Grade Teacher

Ms. Han was born and raised in Hangzhou, China, on a cold snowy winter day. She moved to Beijing for high school and college, and then flew all the way across the ocean to teach Chinese immersion in the US­ Michigan, Illinois, and then California. She is a blessed world explorer and a devoted life­long learner. “Let’s have tea together, or take a walk, and talk.”

Sandra Chang 張聖涓, Mandarin Reading Coach & Art Teacher

Sandra has taught in various educational institutions before joining Yu Ming Charter School. She started her teaching career in Washington American School, an English-immersion school in Taichung, Taiwan.  At Washington, Sandra served as the lead teacher of a class of 5th graders and also the social studies teacher for the lower grades. After discovering her passion in teaching, she pursued her master degree in art education in Houston and received her single subject teaching credential in studio art and technology.

Sandra taught for two years as a high school art teacher in Alvin High School in Houston, Texas. Her responsibilities include planning and implementing lesson plans, conducting student performance assessments, organize art supplies, maintaining communication with parents, engaging in problem solving and providing guidance for the students. She was positive and eager to acquire new skills and knowledge, and have developed essential teaching skills through hands-on experience. Sandra has a BA in Fine Art from University of Southern California and a MA in Art Education from University of Houston. She is happy to finally settle and raise her two children with her husband in this vibrant city. Sandra enjoys baking, playing piano, swimming and creating projects with her little ones in her spare time.

Laura Lee, Music Teacher

Laura created Mandarin Music classes as well as wrote the award­-winning children’s book Little Laura and the Birthday Surprise, a bilingual musical storybook adventure, with the hope of inspiring families to raise their children bilingually. Laura is an Advanced Simply Music Piano Teacher, Kindermusik Educator, and active member of the Music Teachers’ Association of California with a double BA of Music and Molecular Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Outside of the music studio, Laura is joyfully married with three spirited children. It is a joy for me to see families smile, sing, and make music together. I know the love for music is a gift they can keep and develop throughout their lives.

ChihWei (Rencha) Chen, Kindergarten Teaching Intern

Bios to come later

Fangzhu (Lily) Li, 1st Grade Teaching Intern

Bios to come later

Peiyi (Camilla) Xu, 2nd Grade Teaching Intern

Bios to come later

Wen Shuin (Elsa) Hsu, 3rd Grade Teaching Intern

Bios to come later

Renee Chang, 4th Grade Teaching Assistant

I was born and raised in a subtropical coastal city called Kaohsiung from the southern part of Taiwan. In 1992, I moved to the United States with my husband to pursue our “American Dream.”  Being raised as a traditional Chinese kid through my early adulthood, I have learned many important virtues that every Chinese values: persistent, patient, and hard work. Combined with my continued growth as a first generation immigrant, I have significantly expanded my value system with optimism, diversity, and sincerity.  I believe in these values and practice them every day; I believe this will significantly benefit the children who I work with.

My career as an educator started in 2000. Prior to join the Yu Ming school, I was the math teacher and teacher assistant of the lower Elementary class at the Mission Montessori School at Scottsdale, Arizona; I was responsible for the teaching, planning and the design of the math curriculum for the first to third grade student as well as assist my colleagues to manage and maintain an attractive learning environment for the class.

I am very excited to be part of the family of Yu Ming. I believe my experiences and the values I practice will better prepare the young students I work with for a life long journey of success and learning.

Jie Song, 5th Grade Teaching Assistant

The only thing I’m sure about being an educator is: being simple, being natural and being happy. Bruce Lee puts it as “expressing yourself honestly, totally and completely”, for me, learning and teaching are both a way of knowing ourselves, and then, fearlessly expressing our feelings to the outside world. As a teacher, I’ll always remind myself to put teaching in heart. Teach with my heart, not mind. The heart communicates the best of all languages. If I have it in your heart, I will be a good teacher sooner or later. Curriculum design and classroom management can be polished through training and experiencing over time, but the discovery of my own teaching philosophy is the hardest part. It is a life-long project that can’t be finished without the help and inspiration of my lovely students. I firmly believe in the life-long value of dual-immersion education: it helps our kids to be bi-lingual, bi-literate, and bi-social. That’s why, I am here at Yu Ming, as the 5th grade TA, to learn from my wonderful colleagues, from all visionary parents, and most importantly, from my students.

Lisa Jordan, Head of English Department and Kindergarten English Teacher

Lisa Jordan was raised in the Bay Area. After receiving degrees in psychology and English, Lisa pursued a California teaching credential. For the past twelve years Lisa has served diverse student populations in East Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Oakland. She has taught kindergarten through fourth grade and has also worked to support students in Junior High and High School. Lisa is motivated by the knowledge that all children can succeed and she finds no greater joy than watching a child learn something new. In addition to teaching, Lisa has worked as a school leader for the past seven years. Lisa is an enthusiastic member of the Yu Ming Team and loves working with the teachers, students, and families.

Jenny Suen 孫婕, 1st and 2nd Grade English Teacher

Jennifer joined Yu Ming in 2013 as a kindergarten Mandarin teacher, and transitioned to the English Language Arts team in the fall of 2015. She received a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University. Jennifer was born in Taiwan, raised in Ohio, and has lived and worked in over ten cities on four different continents. As a teacher, Jennifer is passionate about interdisciplinary curriculum, inquiry­driven lessons, and project-based learning. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys traveling, reading, and learning new languages.

Robin Chen 陳盈, 3rd Grade English Teacher

I was born in New York, but at the tender young age of two weeks old, I moved to Hong Kong. Raised by my grandparents from Chaozhou and Shanghai, I grew up speaking Cantonese and Shanghainese. At the age of 5, I moved back to the United States, where I immediately was immersed in both an English and a Mandarin learning environment. I pursued a double bachelor’s in Chinese and Linguistics at Carnegie Mellon University, and then I earned my Master’s in Teaching Chinese at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Through my own diverse language learning and teaching experiences, I have a deep understanding of what it means to be bilingual and bicultural. I am excited to encourage the young learners at Yu Ming on their journey toward bilingualism!

Melanie Cardoza, 4th Grade English Teacher

I have been lucky enough to call the Bay Area home my entire life. I grew up in Livermore, where I attended public school from kindergarten through high school. My elementary school experience was unique in that I was in a multi­graded classroom with 60+ first through fifth graders. I had three amazing teachers who ignited my passion for education and teaching. After high school I received a B.S. in Organizational Communication from the University of Portland in Oregon. I received my multiple subject teaching credential from St. Mary’s College in Moraga. I feel extremely lucky to a part of the Yu Ming community.

Teresa Lucan, 5th Grade English Teacher

Teresa Lucan is from Southern California, but has been a Bay Area local since the early 90’s. She attended Saint Mary’s College to study education, and her love of learning has continued through the years in the study of cognition, emotion, holistic health, and education. Teresa has taught students ranging in age from preschool through high school for the past 18 years. She loves to travel to new places with her family and 8 year old son. Teresa is excited to work with Yu Ming community!

Jill Yee, English Reading Coach

After graduating from Colby College in Maine with a B.S. in Mathematics, I went to work in the corporate world. I started in software development and eventually transitioned to Project Management and put my slightly obsessive organizational skills to good use. I worked for a large consulting firm in San Francisco, but traveled all over the country. After ten years I was ready to settle down and pursue my love of teaching. I traded in long hours at the office for long hours grading papers and planning lessons. And I loved every minute of it. I received my California Teaching Credential (with CLAD emphasis) through St. Mary’s College. I spent seven years in the Walnut Creek School District, teaching mostly second grade with a short time in fourth grade. After taking time off for my family, I’m so excited to be teaching again. And especially happy to be teaching at Yu Ming, a wonderful school where my two children are learning and thriving. I believe that an important aspect of successful teaching is trust. I work hard to get to know my students and their interests, treat them with respect, and set high expectations. I have seen the most hesitant learners make much progress within a safe, nurturing environment; and I look forward to joining such an environment at Yu Ming.

Mia Perez, English Reading Coach

Mia has been a member of the Yu Ming community since its founding year in 2011. At Yu Ming, she has worked as an English teacher, a reading, and an English language coach. She received her Bachelors degree from the English Honors Program at the University of Washington and her Masters in Education and Multiple Subject Credential from the University of California, Berkeley’s Developmental Teacher Education Program. Prior to Yu Ming, Mia taught at University Child Development School (UCDS), an independent Seattle elementary school, nationally recognized for its excellence and innovation. Throughout her professional and academic experience, she has developed a deep understanding of students’ cognitive and social development. She is passionate about designing curriculum that is academically challenging, equitable, and socially just for a diverse classroom of students. Mia was born and raised on the island of Guam and is passionate about traveling and seeing the world.

Heather Collins, School Counselor

Heather Collins has over eight years of experience working in a variety of settings with children, adolescents, and families. She has been a counselor at Rosa Parks Elementary School and Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley and Bessie Carmichael Middle School in San Francisco. Before moving to the Bay Area, Heather was a psychotherapist in a San Diego private practice.

With a compassionate approach, she strives to appreciate the unique perspective of each student, building upon innate strengths to help guide them in adopting healthy behaviors to cope with stress, experience pleasure in activities, and feel successful. It is her goal to help develop a safe and supportive school environment where students can thrive socially and academically. Heather received an MSW and BA from Tulane University, is a graduate of the San Diego Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program, and received a Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) from Sacramento State University.

Bethany Avila, Health Services Coordinator

I was born in Marietta, Georgia. Relocated several times as a child, from living in the Philippines to California, New York and back here now in California. I believe living in so many different places has made me a more balanced person by being exposed to and having adapted to a variety of cultures. Starting at a young age, caring for the well-being of others has been a love of mine. I’ve taken a strong interest in philanthropy and the health of children. To better my understanding, I furthered my education in Unitek College’s Nursing program for Vocational Nurses and graduated in 2012. I will ultimately like to continue my cultivation of healthcare and receive my BSN in the future. I have high hopes to one day travel and provide excellent healthcare to many countries that lack the access to any kind of wellness program.

For now, there is no better place to broaden my knowledge and care for children than working as the nurse for Yu Ming Charter School. I will be here at Yu Ming Monday through Friday! On the weekends I work with children at an intermediate care facility and I’ve been with them for over a year now. I enjoy working with children, being able to take part in the framework of their foundations. I take passion in the health and wellness of a child and couldn’t be more happy to be here!

Kenny Hunter, Lunch & Recess Supervisor, Alcatraz

Bios to come later

Lidia Leon, Lunch & Recess Supervisor, Herzog

Bios to come later

Lauren Smith, Education Specialist

I am thrilled to be joining the Yu Ming community this year as the Education Specialist. I grew up around Boston, Massachusetts where I attended undergrad and obtained a double BA in Elementary Education and Liberal Studies. More recently, I have been living and working in Washington, DC as a Special Education teacher and case manager, where I also completed my M.Ed in Special Education. I am coming from another Mandarin immersion charter school, so I am beyond excited to be able to continue that work in a new community! I am particularly passionate about building self-determination and self-advocacy in all students, especially those with learning differences. I am also equally passionate about providing a diverse, inquiry-based education. I love the whole child approach to education, and believe strongly in education rooted in social justice. I have worked at both the elementary and middle school level, so I love that I will be able to work with all ages at Yu Ming! I look forward to joining this community and continuing to explore the Bay Area!

Allison Zeitounian, Behavior Intervention Specialist

My passion for bilingual education and kids brings me to Yu Ming. I grew up in San Diego where I received my B.A. in Linguistics with an emphasis in TESOL. I spent a year teaching English in Peru at a Bilingual Elementary school and then volunteered in Ecuador at schools with limited resources. Upon returning to the United States, I enrolled in a post baccalaureate program in the field of Communicative Sciences and Disorders. Since then, I have worked as a Spanish teacher at an Elementary school in San Diego for K-3 and volunteered at the Vista School in Culver City, a non-public therapeutic school designed for children in grades K-12 with severe behavior challenges and learning disabilities. I am excited to be apart of the Student Support Services team at Yu Ming!

Danny Lau, Custodian

Bios to come later