Berkeley - Jefferson Faculty and Staff
Chien-Hsuan Chen 陈粁嬛, Early Childhood Berkeley Site Director
Chien-Hsuan was born and raised in Taiwan and received her B.A. degree in Early Childhood Education at the Chia Nan University of Pharmacy & Science before finishing her M.A. degree in Curriculum Design at the Dominican University of California. After graduating, Chien-Hsuan worked at Shu Ren International School as the preschool director and Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 teacher from 2008-2012. She later went to work at a Reggio Emilio/IB school in Tokyo, Japan as a Chinese homeroom teacher for 3-5 years old in order to enrich her understanding of secondary language acquisition. Students in Chien-Hsuan’s class will gain Chinese communication skills in a secure environment through student initiated inquiries and hands-on projects, while also experiencing new media forms that enhance children’s creativity and imagination. During her spare time, Chien-Hsuan likes to get as close to nature as possible.
Xueqing Wu, Homeroom Teacher (Pre-K2)
I was born and raised in Guangdong, China and completed my Business English major in Wuyi University. After I came to the US, I obtained my Associate of Science degree of Child Development at City College of San Francisco. Before coming to Shu Ren, I worked in both public and private preschool for over five years. I also taught Mandarin to young children in a non-profit organization. I like to interact with children. It is enjoyable to spend time with children because I like to see their smiles and witness their growth. Each child is individual and full of potential. I believe all children will thrive by using appropriate ways to stimulate their interests. In my spare time, I like traveling, hiking and spending time with my family.
Xiaohong Guan / Michelle, Assistant Teacher (Pre-K2)
Michelle Guan was born and raised in China and qualified in accounting at an early age. After coming to the United States, she developed a keen interest in children's education, she attended Laney College and worked hard to get her foot in the door. Now with 7 years of solid early childhood education experience and unanimous approval by parents and children, she is confident to make children feel at home when they walk into school, providing a warm and safe environment for everyone by providing inspiration and attentive care.
Zoe Weng 翁可欣, Homeroom Teacher (Pre-K3)
Zoe Weng was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan and has received a Bachelor’s in Chinese Literature from Chinese Culture University. Zoe worked as a preschool lead teacher in Pre-K2 in San Francisco. The school included Reggio Emilia and the emergent curriculum. She also studied 12+ units of Early Child Education from both CCSF and TTC. In all aspects, she values children as strong, capable, and resilient. By utilizing an approach that is tailored to fit every child’s needs, she believes all children are able to reach their potential and beyond. In her spare time, she likes reading story books to her daughter, singing songs, and traveling.
Yannu Li 李雁女, Assistant Teacher (Pre-K3)
Yan joined Shu Ren International School in 2019. She was born in China and moved to the United States in the early 2000s. Yan started her studies at Laney College in 2008 and she later attended City College of San Francisco in 2018, studying child development. Yan has been in the early childhood field for four years. She began her career in early childhood in a Montessori International School, where she adapted and developed the different methods of early childhood education. Yan is passionate about early learning and enriching young minds through education. In her free time, Yan enjoys cooking and traveling with her family.
Yi Lin Yang 杨逸琳, Head Teacher (Pre-K3)
Yi-Lin Yang was born and raised in Taiwan and obtained M.A degree in Teaching Chinese as International Language at Nanyang Technological University, National Institute of Education in Singapore. She have been teaching Chinese in Taiwan and Singapore since 2010. For the past 6 years, she was teaching at an IB International School in Singapore as a Chinese homeroom teacher for the Chinese-English bilingual program. Yi-Lin is an energetic and goal-driven instructor who is dedicated to helping each student reach their full potential, regardless of academic capabilities or challenges. She believes the children will gain Chinese communication skills in a secure environment through exploring inquiries into the curriculum and yet have a lot of fun learning.
Yan Lin 李燕, Assistant Teacher (Pre-K3)
Yan Li was born in Chenzhou City, Hunan Province of China. She graduated from Chenzhou Vocational and Technical College majoring in hotel management and worked as a manager for five years in Shenzhen, one of the largest Japanese restaurants in China, ''Zhong Sheng Ming Cai''. Now, she is taking a specialization in child development at Merritt College. She loves children very much, and seeing the smiles on their faces when they feel happy makes her happy. So she thinks it is very meaningful to accompany them to help them grow every day!
Chia-Pin Chen 陈嘉萍, Head Teacher (Pre-K4)
Chia-Pin was born and raised in Taiwan where she received her B.F.A. and M.A. degrees. She worked in the museum as an exhibition planner for several years. She also had experiences teaching art to children in Taiwan before she pursued being a preschool teacher. A few years ago, she took two classes in child development and found the subject fascinating and was inspired to explore more. Because of her art background, she views each child's unique potential to the fullest and is excited to see each child thriving. She likes art and nature. In her spare time, Chia-Pin enjoys painting, watching movies, hiking, and camping.
Jiecai Xu 许洁彩, Assistant Teacher (Pre-K4)
Jiecai was born and raised in Guangdong Province, China, and graduated from Guangdong AIB Polytechnic College. She studied Child Development at Merritt College and received her Child Development Teacher Permit in 2017. Jiecai started working at Shu Ren International School in 2015. She has been an assistant teacher in the Pre-K classes since 2016. She loves children very much and hopes to learn and grow with them. It is her greatest satisfaction to see the smiles and progress of children at every stage. She enjoys listening to music, traveling, and enjoying food.
Ying Johnson / Sonny, Homeroom Teacher (Pre-K4)
Sonny was born and raised in China, where she received her B.S degree. She participated in the Chinese teaching training in Great New York in China. She worked as an engineer at Emerson in Hong Kong and Shanghai. She used to teach 6th grade Math in a public school in TX and also worked in a children's museum as a discovery guide. She started Early childhood education from SF and continued pursuing a specific area - Montessori primary education, and received a diploma in Germany. She is very fortunate to have a sweet, loving, supportive family, and her two children are their best gifts ever. They are glad to settle in a sweet spot in Berkeley. Yoga, hiking, cycling, and traveling have been part of her life for a decade, connecting her to the great big world. She is passionate about nature, and her goal for the next decades is to do things to conserve our Earth. She is excited to grow together with children to help them become better global citizens.
Yansu Rong, Assistant Teacher (Pre-K4)
Yansu Rong is from Guangdong, China and has been teaching Chinese language and literature for nineteen years in China. In the US, she attended various classes in Early Childhood Education at Merritt College and received her Child Development Associate Teacher Permit. She has been worked in preschool for four years. She enjoys the wonderful performance of children participating in the routine and fully believes that each child is unique, has unlimited potential, and has an invaluable future. In the process of teaching interaction, she inspires children's interest and encourages them to explore and learn spontaneously.
Annie Chen / Yanru 陈燕如, Assistant Teacher (Pre-K)
Annie is from Guang Dong, China, and has worked as an Assistant Teacher at Shu Ren International School since December 2013. Annie completed the Associate Teacher and Teacher Assistant program at Merritt College in 2013. She enjoys working with children and being a mother to her own two children. She enjoys volunteering, hiking, fishing, playing tennis, and socializing with friends. She is very proud of our students, especially when they start speaking Mandarin to us, without having any prior Chinese language experience at home. She thinks everyone should learn a foreign language, and that it is always better to start earlier than later.
Alexandra Ditchey, Primary Years Program (PYP) Coordinator
Alexandra Ditchey is a dedicated educator with a passion for fostering global-mindedness, creative and critical thinking, and a commitment to lifelong learning. With a strong academic background and extensive international teaching experience. With a Masters in Elementary Education and 15 years as a Primary Years Programme educator, her journey in education has taken her across the globe, with teaching experiences in China, Vietnam, and Italy. Her international exposure has not only enriched her pedagogical approach but also broadened her perspective on education's role in shaping global citizens.Currently in her third year as the PYP and English Curriculum Coordinator at Shu Ren, she has taken part in shaping the school's approach to education. From her very first year of teaching the PYP curricular framework, she recognized the importance of instilling values such as global-mindedness, preparing learners for creative and critical thinking for local and global action, and fostering a spirit of lifelong learning. She is deeply committed to creating a more sustainable future through education. Her vision revolves around cultivating a safe, engaging learning community that supports best practices in teaching and learning under the International Baccalaureate framework and pedagogy. By nurturing this community, she aims to empower educators and students alike to become agents of positive change in a rapidly evolving world.
Lam Tsoi 蔡琳, Chinese Program Coordinator
Lam Tsoi joined Shu Ren International School in December 2010 as a volunteer. Tsoi has been a homeroom teacher for grade 2 to grade 5 since 2013. Besides teaching, Tsoi has also acted as our Chinese curriculum coordinator since 2014. Previous to working at Shu Ren, Tsoi worked in a public high school in Hong Kong for 10 years teaching Chinese, Chinese History, and Mandarin. Tsoi received a B.A. and a Master of Philosophy (Chinese Literature) degree from Hong Kong University. Tsoi holds both Chinese and Mandarin teaching credentials in Hong Kong and has also passed the California Single Subject Test in Chinese. She has completed the certificate program in Teaching Chinese as a Heritage/Foreign Language awarded by UC Berkeley. Tsoi enjoys reading, traveling, and eating.
Hsin-Hui Peng-Hendricks 彭馨慧, Head Teacher (Kindergarten Mandarin)
Hsin-Hui is originally from Taiwan. After receiving a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction focused on Early Childhood Education and Montessori teaching credentials in both early childhood education and elementary education, she has been teaching in different Montessori Chinese immersion schools for over fifteen years in the US. She has taught in New Jersey, Illinois, and 8 years of that time has been in Berkeley. She started her teaching journey at Shu Ren in 2022. She believes that learning new knowledge is very important and powerful. She will use her professional teaching experience and passion to guide your child. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, hiking, and exploring nature with her family.
Andrew Greschler, Head Teacher (Kindergarten and Grade 1 English)
Andrew is originally from Colorado, but he has been living and teaching in Asia for the past ten years. Recently, Andrew returned to America after teaching in private schools in Taipei for five years. While he was there, he designed programs to help the schools to become more student-centered, engaging, and empathetic to students’ needs. Andrew also completed an American elementary teaching licensure program. His classroom is a place where students can express themselves, explore a variety of academic themes, and work together to complete projects. It’s Andrew's goal to keep his students active and curious. In his free time Andrew enjoys hiking, biking, creative writing, and creating intricate fish tanks.
Yumi Guo 郭诗韵, Assistant Teacher (Kindergarten Mandarin)
Yumi was born and raised in GuangDong, China. She came to the United States with her family when she was in high school. She had a wonderful childhood and the influence of a mother who was a preschool teacher, Yumi dreamed of being a teacher when she was very young. Yumi chose to major in Early Childhood Development and earned a B.A. degree at Cal State East Bay in 2019. The past few years, Yumi enjoyed working with preschool age children. She discovered that children of different ages develop and learn differently, and the diversity of children makes her feel it's amazing to be part of their growth. Yumi is grateful for the opportunity to join Shu Ren, she can't wait to learn and explore with our elementary school children.
Shiqiu Leng, Assistant Teacher (Kindergarten and Grade 1 Mandarin)
Shiqiu Leng graduated from Beijing Normal University with a B.A. degree and boasts more than 30 years of teaching experience. In China, she taught at Hunan University of Science & Technology and later at Hunan University for over 18 years. She obtained her Teacher's Qualification License in 1996. In the United States, she taught Mandarin from Grades 6 to 12, including AP Chinese Language and Culture, for 7 years. Additionally, she substituted and assisted with Mandarin from grades K-8 for 6 years. She has a deep love for children and thoroughly enjoys working with them.
XinYun (Dori) Dai, Assistant Teacher (Grade 3 and Grade 4 Mandarin)
Dori believes every child is different and unique. As an assistant teacher, Dori brings assistance with equity instead of equality. She is dedicated and worked hard to bring a positive impact to her Shu Ren students! In her spare time, Dori spends most of it with her 4-year-old daughter. Dori loves playing musical instruments like piano, guitar, ukulele and cello. These instruments are very therapeutic.
Vivian Lin, Head Teacher (Grade 1 Mandarin)
Vivian was originally born and raised in a small village surrounded by rice fields in Taiwan. This is her first year teaching at Shu Ren. Prior to coming to Berkeley, Vivian lived in Singapore and other parts of the US. Through living in Singapore, around the US, and doing a lot of international traveling, she gained a good understanding of Western culture. In addition, Vivian also has extensive experience teaching international students of different age groups, from preschool to the 8th grade, in both IB and American School curriculums. As an educator, Vivian believes that creating a learning environment and culture of safety, care, respect, risk-taking and open-mindedness develops student agency and promotes action taking. Besides teaching, she particularly love traveling, cycling, reading, music, nature and food.
Zhiling Xu 许志玲, Assistant Teacher (Grade 1)
Zhiling Xu graduated from South China Normal University with a B.A. and has been in the education field for more than 30 years. She first taught at a college of adult education in Guangzhou for more than 10 years. Zhiling then moved to the Bay Area and continued to teach Chinese at after schools and weekend Chinese schools. After obtaining ECE related credits and qualification certificates at Merritt College and Contra Costa College, she joined Shu Ren International School in 2010 where she worked for eight years. Then she transferred to an after school Chinese Program at a public school. When this program was closed because of the pandemic, Zhiling returned to Shu Ren in March 2021 and now works as an assistant teacher in Kindergarten. She is very passionate about teaching and education. In her spare time, Zhiling loves reading and outdoor activities.
Yu Zhang 张裕, Head Teacher (Grade 2 Mandarin, Physical Education Teacher)
Yu Zhang was born and raised in Guangzhou, China. He graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the Education University of Hong Kong (Major Elementary School Education, Minor P.E.) and Master of Education from Hong Kong Baptist University. Then he became an elementary teacher in Hong Kong. After moving to the Bay Area, he became an elementary teacher of Chinese Bilingual Class in SFUSD (San Francisco Unified School District) for 5 years. Besides teaching, he loves tutoring and playing badminton. Yu earned 3rd place for the men's team in 2010 China Universiade Badminton Championship, competed in the semi-final of the 2015/2016 UC Berkeley Badminton Tournament and won 1st place in the 2016 Stanford University Badminton Tournament. He enjoys playing badminton not only around the Bay Area, but also around the world. During his spare time, he likes to do different activities such as snowboarding, mountain biking, and motorcycling. He believes that students can achieve high levels in both academics and sports.
Rene du Toit, Head Teacher (Grade 2 English)
Rene is a South African who was born in Zimbabwe. Ever since she was a young girl, she has dreamed of being a teacher. Rene has a Bachelor of Arts in Education (Foundation Phase) and has experience teaching on three different continents. Her husband is from Colombia and they have a young daughter. Rene loves to travel and learn about different cultures. In her free time, Rene enjoys being with her friends and family, shopping, drinking coffee, hiking, and swimming.
Nancuo Suo, Assistant Teacher (Grade 2 Mandarin)
"Nancuo was born in Tibet and grew up on her grandparents' farm, with cousins as her neighbors, so family is a big part of her life. She moved to mainland China when she was eight years old and completed a PhD in Cultural Anthropology. She worked for 10 years in the village called "Regong" in Northeast China. She's so excited to be working at Shu Ren second grade this year!
Deirdre Loungway, English Support Teacher (Kindergarten to Grade 1, Grade 3 English)
Deirdre was born and raised in the Bay Area and received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. After working for several years in the non-profit sector, she returned to school to earn a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential at San Francisco State. For many years, Deirdre taught 1st and 2nd grade in both South San Francisco and Virginia. Her students were from diverse backgrounds and many were English language learners. She loved helping facilitate their academic, emotional, and social growth. Later, she took time off to raise her own girls, volunteering at their schools, and coaching soccer. Now, she is excited to support the vibrant Shu Ren School community of teachers and learners by providing English support in the early grades. During her spare time, Deirdre enjoys exploring new places with her family, hiking with her dogs, and getting lost in a good book.
Shauna Strohschein, Head Teacher (UOI Chinese Reading Support, Grade 3 Mandarin)
Shauna is thrilled to be joining Shu Ren International School this year. She was born and raised in Beijing, China, and lived in the US for many years. She received her bachelor's degree from Beijing Normal University and a Master's degree from Beijing Culture and Language University. She also holds a PGDE from Hong Kong Chinese University. She taught for 24 years in bilingual and international IB schools in Hong Kong. She enjoys traveling, reading, and engaging in outdoor activities. Her passion lies in helping her students unlock their full potential. As an educator, she believes in an inclusive, progressive, and internationally minded classroom where children are empowered to flourish and make a positive difference. She hopes they are working in partnership to create relevant and meaningful learning experiences where children develop their understanding, knowledge, skills, and attributes for success. She is very excited for the new school year and is looking forward to meeting with families soon!
Jin Wei, Homeroom Teacher (Grade 4 Mandarin)
Jin Wei or Wei Lao Shi (魏老师) has been working as a Mandarin Chinese teacher in an international school in Shanghai for more than 26 years when she set foot in California. When she was at school in Shanghai, she took on the roles of homeroom teacher and year leader. She loved her students and enjoyed being a teacher. She has a passion for nature, reading, and hiking. Back in Shanghai, she was involved in numerous charitable activities, one of which is called Be Your Eyes, an organization that helps visually impaired people run. By guiding them, she finished her first guide-running marathon. Now, she focuses more on walking and meditating than running. She is looking forward to a fantastic year at Shu Ren!
Jamie Strong, Head Teacher (Grade 3 and Grade 4 English)
Jamie started her teaching career as a fifth-grade classroom teacher at an international school in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. During her 6 years teaching overseas she was trained as a PYP teacher and is passionate about inquiry-based learning. After 14 years as an elementary teacher, Jamie can proudly say that she has taught on 4 continents, in international private school and U.S. public school; she taught students of different nationalities, religions, languages and needs. Jamie's experience and exposure are some of her biggest strengths as an educator.
Anny Chen 陈曦, Head Teacher (Math Program Coordinator, Grade 5 and Grade 6 Mandarin)
Originally from China, Annie has a B.A. in Chinese Language and Literature and an M.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language. Before coming to Shu Ren, Anny taught Chinese language and culture at Conway High School, Arkansas for two years. Then worked as a 5th grade homeroom teacher and a Chinese Second Language teacher in Shanghai United International School for six years (an IB school). She has also worked as a grade level coordinator for sixth grade and organized the PYP exhibition for her previous school. She is very experienced with the upper primary IB PYP curriculum and always enjoys learning and inquiring with the students.
Mel Slater, Head Teacher (STEM Program Coordinator, Grade 5 and Grade 6 English)
Mel was born in New Orleans, and grew up in England, Texas, and Newfoundland. They received a BA and MA in Education from West Virginia University, and has been teaching for fourteen years. Mel enjoys teaching math and science, and also playing games with their students. Growing up in a wide variety of places sparked a curiosity and passion for learning about different cultures. In their free time, Mel enjoys bike riding, playing hockey, hiking with their partner, cooking, and helping their many house plants grow.
Rong Ji 姬蓉, Assistant Teacher (Grade 5 and Grade 6 Mandarin)
Rong Ji first joined Shu Ren in August 2013. Ever since her returning to Shu Ren in 2019, Rong has successively served as a teaching assistant for grades 3 and 4/5, a Mandarin Chinese teacher for the stand-alone class,and a leading teacher for the summer camps. Prior to Shu Ren, Rong worked as a corporate strategy consultant, equity analyst, and telecom engineer for decades. Rong holds a master's degree in finance from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, a bachelor's degree in telecom engineering from the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and a certificate in “Teaching Chinese as a Heritage/Foreign Language” from the UC Berkeley. She also receives an Associate Teacher certificate from the Diablo Valley College. Inspired by Shu Ren's mission and core values, Rong enjoys working and growing together with Shu Ren families and children to becoming a lifelong learner.
Zoe Farmer, Art Instructor
Zoe received a B.A. in Sculpture in 1999 and in 2001 she completed a postgraduate certificate in education at the Institute of Education in London, England. Before moving to the Bay Area, Zoe spent 12 years teaching art and photography to middle and high schoolers in London. A practicing artist since 2007, Zoe has shown work in both London and San Francisco and earned an MFA in Sculpture at the California College of the Arts. Since arriving in the Bay Area in 2012, Zoe has worked with The San Francisco Arts Education Project. She has taught art, ceramics, and photography in several public schools in San Francisco from grades K through 8. She has also taught sculpture and 3D design classes to undergraduates at California College of the Arts. Through The San Francisco Arts Education Project, Zoe has worked on many large collaborative public art projects with school children and the wider community. These collaborations have been shown in the SFartsED gallery at the Minnesota Street Project gallery in San Francisco. Zoe continues to be involved in artistic and scientific collaborations delivering community-building workshops to the public. Zoe has a five-year-old child who attends a Spanish immersion international school. Zoe and her family identify strongly with the international model for building global bilingual citizens. Zoe is an avid scuba diver and passionate about the ocean.
Ellie Fullman, School Librarian
Ellie Fullman is Shu Ren’s new school librarian who comes to the position with over 15 years of Elementary teaching and library experience. She has received a B.A. degree in English Literature and TESOL Certification from U.C. Berkeley, a Master's degree in Information and Library Science from San Jose State, and Reading Intervention training from Linda Mood Bell Academy. Blending this experience and training, Ms. Ellie hopes to instill the love of reading into the school culture, teach students how to confidently find and evaluate information in today’s complex world of data, and create a community space where learning, exploration, and creation takes place. A Bay Area native and global traveler at heart, she can often be found perusing library book stores for high quality children’s books, backpacking across high peaks, gardening, and simply trying to live life to its fullest with friends and family.
Cindy Ng, Performing Arts Instructor
Yu Zhang, Physical Education Instructor
Yu Zhang, a former Hong Kong certified PE teacher, was an accomplished coach and referee from the Hong Kong Dodge Ball Association. With a strong focus on badminton, Yu has established himself as a formidable athlete in various international events. Notable achievements include a 3rd place finish at the China University Badminton Championship in 2010 and a 1st place win at the Stanford Badminton Tournament in 2016. Yu's dedication to badminton also shines through his consistent semi-final appearances at UC Berkeley Badminton Tournaments and a recent 3rd place finish at the Synergy Smash Badminton Tournament in 2023. Beyond his personal accomplishments, Yu's involvement in coaching and refereeing has contributed significantly to fostering sportsmanship and camaraderie. His journey exemplifies his commitment to physical education and inspiring others to excel in the world of sports.
Amaia Lasa, Spanish Teacher
Amaia was born in Bilbao, Spain. She holds a degree in information sciences with a specialization in marketing from the Universidad del País Vasco. Most of Amaia’s professional experience in Spain is in the area of technical education, as a corporate trainer. At Viva el Español, Amaia has experience teaching all grade levels, from Kindergarten through middle school. She is a teacher who comes to the classroom prepared and ready to teach and share her traditions with a fun and engaging style that kids are drawn to. Amaia’s love for teaching has led her to pursue coursework in Early Childhood Education at Mills College. In her free time Amaia enjoys spending time with friends and family, cooking, gardening and reading.
Selene Durán, Spanish Teacher
Selene holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from the Culiacan Institute of Technology in Culiacan, Mexico. In addition to several years experience working in that field, Selene worked as a Spanish Teacher Assistant at Tennyson High School in Hayward. Selene has taught with Viva el Español at a variety of pre-schools and elementary schools throughout the East Bay for several years. She also held the position of Manager of Elementary School programs at Viva el Español until returning to Mexico with her family. Selene comes from a family of educators, both of her parents working as teachers for more than 3 decades in Mexico. She says "I love my roots, and I love to share with kids the wealth of the Spanish language".