Meet the Yu Ming team that brings a wealth of experience — professional and cultural — to our school.
Laura Johnson-Ross Founding Principal
Lina Huang Office Manager
Polly Yan Administrative Assistant
Ina Ting-Fun To Lead Kindergarten Teacher
Maggie Tsang Kindergarten Teacher
Isabel Hsu Kindergarten Teacher
Alice Chiu First Grade Teacher
Carol Kao First Grade Teacher
Wei Shen Second Grade Teacher
Xinyi Xu Second Grade Teacher
Lisa Jordan English Language Coordinator
Christina Chen English Teaching Assistant
Trisha Ma Teaching Assistant
Kara Nossardi School Counselor
A Multicultural Leader for a Multicultural School
Principal Ross understands what it takes to teach and nurture global citizens, and brings the leadership skills and experience needed to build a strong institution and community. As a former teacher, Laura highly values the work of teachers and has a proven track record of being able to work collaboratively with individuals from a variety of backgrounds. She is extremely knowledgeable, well-versed in instructional leadership and able to attract great talent to the staff of educators and administrative support at Yu Ming.
Originally from the UK, Principal Ross spent the last five years in China, first in Hong Kong and then Beijing. She was the co-founder and Education Director of LEAP Child Development Centre in Beijing, which taught English language and communications skills to over 150 four to twelve year olds in an immersion environment. At LEAP, she developed an innovative new curriculum for teaching English as a second language and built successful partnerships with some of Beijing’s most prestigious international schools, including Harrow International School and the Canadian International School.
Principal Ross started her career as a member of the inaugural intake of Teach First, the UK equivalent of Teach for America. While teaching in one of the poorest boroughs in London, she acquired Qualified Teacher Status, was selected as a national “Fast Track” teacher by the UK Government’s Department for Education and was promoted to Head of the school’s physical, social, health and citizen education department.
Her school served a large immigrant population of several different ethnic groups, including children from Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, China, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Caribbean; the number of children speaking English as a second language was approximately 30%. Principal Ross is accustomed to working with diverse communities and has extensive experience identifying and working with children with special education needs or who are struggling to stay on top of their education. Her comprehensive training in behavior management has been critical in her success with working in challenging school environments.
Laura has an MA in Geography from Oxford University and an MBA from Peking University.
I lived in Tokyo until I was 6 years old, speaking Japanese and Taiwanese with my parents. I still remember my struggle with Mandarin when I first started elementary school in Taipei. By third grade, I was fluent in Mandarin. My family immigrated to United States after I completed elementary school, and again I had to immerse myself in a new language. I graduated from UC Davis majoring in pre-veterinary medicine and Chinese with a minor in
art studio. Base on my own experience, I understand what it is like to learn a new language in an immersed environment. I believe it is truly the best way to learn new languages, and Yu Ming students are extremely fortunate to have this opportunity.
I started my professional career during dotcom years hence most of my past experience has been with high-tech start-up companies. I learned a wide range of skills and often had to wear multiple hats while working in start-up environment. I have worked as an IT specialist, web designer, technical support manager, and software development administrative assistant.
I am very excited to now join a start-up Mandarin immersion school. I believe that I can
make a great contribution with all the experience and skills I have. I am looking forward to
learn all the ins and outs of school management and get to know every student!
I was born and finished my high school in Hong Kong. I went to Taiwan and received my bachelor degree in Social Work at Tunghai University in 1986. As a result, I picked up Mandarin in Taiwan. When my family and I immigrated to the United States in 1990, I got culture shock right away. The weather, language, custom and living style were totally different with those in Hong Kong. It took a few months for me to adjust. And, I chose to continue my advance study in education. I had finished my master degree, Bilingual Education at New York University in 1993. I love children and I believe that I have a sincere desire to make a difference in the lives of them.
When I moved to Bay Area, I had taught Kindergarten ELD class at El Dorado Elementary School, San Francisco Unified School District for 11 years. The last four years, I had been a Kindergarten Mandarin Immersion teacher at Starr King Elementary School, San Francisco. It was really a challenge at the beginning of each school year. Almost all of the children had no Mandarin background. They didn’t understand the language or my directions at all. We were like playing Bingo everyday. I used Total Physical Response, gesture, real figures, and pictures to help them understand what I was teaching. I created an active and comfortable environment for them to learn Mandarin and content areas. After a few weeks, many of the kids started to sing songs, use greetings, and respond in sample daily routine in Mandarin. I love to be a teacher and I welcome the challenge of the profession everyday. I am looking forward to work with your child and you with a fun-filled learning year in Yu Ming!!
I was born and grew up in Hong Kong. When I was in 9th grade, my family and I immigrated to the United States. I went to San Jose State University and earned my Bachelor’s degree in therapeutic studies. After working as a substitute teacher and a teacher assistant, I discovered my passion to teach and work with young children. Therefore, I decided to go back to school and work towards getting my Multiple-Subject credential and Special Education credential from CSU East Bay. Since then, I have been teaching Kindergarten to 2nd grade in the public school system for more than 6 years. Teaching has been a challenging, rewarding, and enjoyable experience to me. It has always been my passion and desire to help children develop a genuine love of learning, and to help them grow in characters and academic. I am very excited to join the team in Yu Ming this year and get to know all of my students and parents. We are going to have a great year learning and growing together!
When I am not teaching, I enjoy cooking, and making art and craft projects. My husband and I enjoy hiking and playing badminton together. We love spending time with our two kittens.
I was born in Taiwan and my family moved to a tri- border area along the junction of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil when I was six years old. I was then enrolled in a school in which three different languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese) were simultaneously taught among different subjects. In the afternoon, I was also immersed in a Mandarin speaking environment while attending a Taiwan’s government established Chinese school. Thanks to the efforts of my lovely parents for setting up a language policy at home and providing a rich literacy support, I was able to maintain my own heritage language, become poly lingual and develop multiliteracy. Upon graduating from high school, I came to the US to pursue higher education; I majored in Child and Adolescent Studies for my bachelor’s degree. While studying, I developed my genuine passion about education and working with children. In my five-year teaching experiences that I embarked on upon my graduation, I learned and deepened my knowledge about the importance of one’s heritage culture and language. Therefore, I went back to school and obtained a MS. emphasis in Bilingual Education and Multiple-Subject BCLAD credential. I believe that there is no job better than teaching; each day is different! Children are a constant source of amazement and watching them learn and grow is extremely rewarding. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, traveling, hiking and especially hanging out with family and friends. I am very excited to join Yu Ming School and look forward to meeting and learning with my students and their parents!
I grew up in the Bay Area and attended U.C. Santa Cruz where I majored in Psychology. I received my California Teaching Credential three years ago and have been teaching ever since. I spent the last year living abroad in Taiwan to gain a deeper understanding of my culture. While I was there, I had the privilege of working at a language school teaching English. As a teacher in a different country, I was challenged to modify my teaching methods in order to accommodate the cultural differences between our two countries. I enjoyed my stay in Taiwan immensely and truly appreciated my heritage. I learned something new everyday and my time there has turned into an unforgettable journey.
I believe that education is important and a valuable asset to everyone. As a teacher, I hope to inspire my students to love knowledge and to have a desire to keep on learning. My desire is to help your child discover his or her individuality and work alongside with them to maximize it. My aim is to provide a safe learning environment that encourages students to grow socially, emotionally, and cognitively.
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 United States in 2005. I 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. Thus I know all about what it’s like to be in an “immersion” environment.
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 also enjoy exploring the world and playing the Chinese instrument, Er-Hu. I volunteered to teach Er-Hu in my spare time in addition to teach in the school. I look forward to sharing my experiences and passions for education with Yu Ming School!
I was born and raised up in Shanghai, speaking Shanghainese at home while learning Mandarin and English at school. It was six years ago that I majored in Exterior Chinese (Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language) at Shanghai University and received my Bachelors degree there. After my graduation, I became a Chinese language teacher in a private international school for a multi-age classroom of kindergarten and first grade students. My first year of work experience as a Chinese teacher provoked me to seriously think about my career development as a Chinese language teacher. How could I effectively provide my students with opportunities to explore the Chinese language? Therefore, I decided to further my study of second language teaching at DePaul University of Chicago and received my Master in Education. During my graduate school study, I have taken every opportunity to explore the language teaching and learning environment in local Chicago schools.
Having completed challenging study, research, and teaching experience in Chicago, I have acquired a deeper understanding of teaching, especially in second language education. I implemented my understanding of second language teaching theories into a real classroom, and developed my own language teaching philosophy. My classroom has always been a safe place for children to freely share their ideas, to comfortably try the new things, and to appreciate diversity. I am excited to join Yu Ming School and to share my passion with the team!
Xinyi Rachel Xu 許昕怡, 2nd Grade Teacher
I am from hairy crab and smelly tofu; I am from steamed buns and fried dumplings dipped in vinegar; I am from the most crowded streets, with trotting people, ringing bicycle, and honking cars.This is the sleepless city called Shanghai. I am from Dragon, Panda and Monkey King; a mysterious country with 5000 years of history. Red is the passion; Yellow is the bright. The characters with graceful strokes painting my language makes me proud.
Hi, Everyone! My name is Xinyi. I attended East China Normal University where I majored in early child education. In my junior year, I had my intern in Walt Disney World in Orlando for 5 months. This was the first time I came to the United States and I truly treasure all the memories there.
After I graduated, I became a Chinese teacher in Meadow Brook Elementary at Forest Hills Public Schools in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I received my Master’s Degree in Teaching and Curriculum from Michigan State University in the summer of 2011. I have taught kindergarten Chinese immersion for three years and enjoyed the challenge of developing an immersion program. 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. Having been educated in eastern philosophy and teaching in western culture, I am very lucky seeing pros and cons in both education systems. My favorite thing about being a teacher is seeing my students smiling faces every day!
I believe that life is an adventure which makes me open-minded and courageous. I enjoy living in different cities and I love to travel seeing people in different places and experiencing different cultures. I have been to most provinces in China, 25 States in U.S., and Toronto – Niagara Falls in Canada. I am very excited about moving to the Bay Area and joining an awesome team, Yu Ming!
Photo and bio to come
Christina Chen, English Teaching Assistant
I was born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised in Davis, California. Some of my earliest language memories include: hearing my relatives speak Taiwanese and Mandarin, and attending a nursery school in the Philippines where we learned the word for “watermelon” in English, Tagalog, and Mandarin. In junior high, I began to study French at school as well. My exposure to different languages and cultural experiences in my youth definitely made a lasting impact on me! I received my Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology at UC Berkeley and my Master’s degree and Elementary Credential at Stanford, and then taught Kindergarten in Alameda where I had an amazing year with 20 unforgettable children. Now, I am an Oakland resident in the Lake Merritt neighborhood and ride my yellow bike to work. When not at school, I can most often be found reading, creating, and cooking. In my teaching practice, I am passionate about interdisciplinary learning, multilingual literacy, and multicultural identity. I am excited to support Yu Ming students in their growth as bilingual learners, and to encourage their curiosity about the world around them. I look forward to an excellent year of close collaboration with a wonderful team of teachers, parents, and community members.
Photo and bio to come
Kara Nossardi, School Counselor
I come to the Yu Ming community with 16 years experience in academia, having taught both Spanish and Communication Studies at the middle school, high school, and university levels. More recently, I have worked as a school counselor at a K-8 public school in Marin County, serving a culturally and linguistically diverse population of students and their families. My transition from teaching to counseling has been both rewarding and fluid, as I am able to draw on my education training when working with students in a therapeutic milieu. On a more personal level, I am extremely grateful to be able to work with the students at Yu Ming; I see each and every one of them as perfect beings, embarking on a journey of self-discovery and growth. My hope is that my time with them will enrich their school experience and give them social-emotional skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.