Wendy Lee, Ed.D., Academy Director
Dr. Wendy Lee has over 15 years of experience working with children of diverse cultural backgrounds in a wide range of settings. Most recently, she has been an elementary school teacher in Irvine Unified School District, with a specialization in teaching English as a Second Language to newcomers to the country. Previously, she was Assistant Director of the Center for Learning through the Arts at UC Irvine. Dr. Lee holds a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at UCLA with a focus on teacher training and teachers’ use of technology. She is also the mother of three young children, and understands the importance of building foundations in learning at an early age.
Shu Pan, Chinese Curriculum Coordinator
Shu Pan previously served as an Educational Department Director of the Family Education Committee of Nanjing, with a Bachelor’s Degree from Jinling Institute of Technology in Nanjing, China. Her management experience is coupled with an extensive 10-year research background in children and family education, during which she published multiple articles on children’s education. In her current position as a Chinese teacher and Curriculum Coordinator, Ms. Pan integrates her native Chinese language skills, comprehensive field expertise, and passion for helping children learn through interpersonal communication skills.
Patricia Tina Wu
Patricia Tina Wu has a B.A. in English and M.A. in Education from Stanford, as well as a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from UC Irvine. She has nearly ten years of experience teaching preschool through adults, and spent two years teaching Music and Movement in Mandarin in the Bay Area. Ms. Wu studied Chinese for two years at National Taiwan University and the Mandarin Training Center, and has taught at a bilingual Mandarin Chinese elementary school.
Frances Tan has been teaching Mandarin Chinese to elementary school students for over 10 years, most recently as part of the federal Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) in Walnut Valley Unified School District. Mrs. Tan is a native Chinese speaker who earned her M.A. in the U.S., where she has resided for over 40 years. Her strong bilingual skills and participation in training conferences for teaching Chinese with documented strategies have enabled her to work successfully with young people to learn about her home language and culture.
Johanne Galloway Liang
Johanne Galloway Liang obtained her B.A. from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and an A.A. from FIDM in Los Angeles. In addition to being a native Chinese speaker, she has a Chinese learning certificate from National Taiwan University and served as a bilingual preschool and kindergarten teacher in Taiwan for five years. Mrs. Liang hopes to help each of her students develop a solid foundation in Chinese language.
Sunny Ding graduated from National Chung-Hsing University in Taiwan with a bachelor’s degree in Chinese Literature. She taught Chinese at a vocational high school and an afterschool program when she was in Taiwan. She also earned her Montessori Early Childhood teacher credential in Los Angeles. After working at Montessori preschools for two years, she found that her true passion is teaching Chinese. Before joining Karis Academy, she taught Chinese for several years at a preschool and an afterschool program.
Linda Kuo earned a bachelor degree from Tokyo Bunga University In Japan. She obtained an official teaching license and has been teaching students for more than 20 years. She is passionate and dedicated to helping students who are interested in learning Japanese or Mandarin Chinese. She has taught students ranging in ages from 3 to 20.
Ping (Apple) Wang
Ping Wang graduated from Sichuan Conservatory of Music with a B.A. in Music Education. After graduating, she earned her teaching certificate at Confucius Institute, and she taught accordion and piano to kindergarten-aged students in her alma mater. Ms. Wang has been teaching children since 1999, and has been using her teaching aptitutde to teach Chinese for the past 10 years. At Karis Academy, she teaches and tutors children of all ages, including Kinder Chinese, Chinese 1, and Chinese 2.
Ying ( Tina ) Plummer
Ying graduated from Hua Dong Normal University in Shanghai with a Bachelor Degree in Education. She has 17 years of teaching experience in a bilingual elementary school in China. She has taught both English and Chinese for all grades in her school. Tina Lao Shi earned her International Chinese Language Teaching Certificate in Nan Jing. Recently she successfully finished a government Chinese training project in Berlitz Language Center in Costa Mesa. She loves to use her excellent teaching experience to help students with their Chinese skills
Shixuan Shirley Wang
Shirley Wang graduated from UC Irvine as an Education Major with Specialization in Children’s Learning and Development and After-School Learning and Development, with a Minor Specialization in Children’s Psychology. Miss Wang is a native Chinese speaker who moved to the United States after middle school. She started as a teaching assistant to help children learn English in China and has been teaching at Karis Academy since 2016, with children from ages 3 to 8. Miss Wang has a strong passion for teaching and she believes that an educator’s passion can influence children’s passion for learning.
Soon Im Park
Soon Im Park attended Incheon Teacher’s College in Korea and was an elementary school teacher who taught for over 30 years. She also helped found a Korean International School in China. In the U.S., she has been teaching Korean-American children for over 4 years, constantly coming up with new ways to make learning fun and interesting for kids. Mrs. Park’s students love her warm and caring personality. Her experience teaching Korean ranges from beginning levels through advanced, including SAT II test prep.
Soonae Kim has been teaching Korean to children in Irvine for the past six years. A Korean School Association of America (KOSAA) certified teacher, Ms. Kim has completed Korean Language instruction training in South Korea at the Yonsei Language Institute, and in the United States at the Korean Education Center in Los Angeles. Ms. Kim loves her students and is passionate about educating them about the language and culture of her native country.
After earning her B.A. in Social Ecology from UC Irvine and her Master of Arts with Specialization in Teaching and Learning in a Global Society from National University, Annie Tran utilized what she learned to work at a language institute, YOLA, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. After a year overseas, she returned home and dove into higher education. She has been working at the American Language Program (ALP) in CSU Fullerton for over three years, teaching a range of English courses to international students. Ms. Tran also taught one semester at the American Language Institute (ALI) in CSU Long Beach. Currently, Ms. Tran also teaches at UC Irvine in the Intensive ESL Program. During her free time, she likes to travel, eat, hang out with friends and family, and watch Korean drama.
Miss Jen has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English, with an Emphasis on Professional Writing, and a Minor in Communication from California State University of Long Beach. She is also TEFL/TESOL Certified to teach English as a Second Language, with an Emphasis on Teaching Young Learners and Business English. Her teaching experience involves working with many students from all different cultural backgrounds, from Preschool to Business Adults. She is currently Teaching our ESL Summer Camp Program and the Curriculum Coordinator, as well as tutoring private English lessons at Karis Academy. Her educational expertise and passion for working with children have helped her serve as a guide to help young learners build more confidence and succeed in learning English.
Valerie Macias graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a B.A. in Education and a B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior. She is currently working on a Multiple Subject Credential at Cal State Fullerton. She previously worked in the Tustin School District and has taught classes at Karis Academy including Kindergarten Enrichment, tutoring, and teaching English. She also represents Karis Academy as our Spanish teacher to LePort Montessori. Miss Macias loves teaching and hopes to share her passion for education with her students.
Laura has taught violin, viola, and piano in the Southern California area to over 100 young students. She began her music studies at age 5 with piano, and violin at age 11. She started teaching at two music studios after graduating from Chapman University in 2015. Laura received her Bachelors of Arts in Music with a minor in Integrated Educational Studies, and was under the instruction of William Fitzpatrick and Robert Becker. She also enjoyed performing violin seasonally as a part of Olaf’s Snowfest at Disney’s California Adventure from 2014-2016.
Julian Tessler has tutored children for years in Academics, Piano, Basketball, and Martial Arts. During his studies at UC Irvine, he became a Collegiate Silver Medalist in Wushu. He also served as the Coordinator for the Chinese Association Martial Arts demonstration group at UCI, which has performed in festivals and events throughout Orange County for the last 12 years. Julian has a strong passion to instill an interest in Martial Arts to our future generations and focuses his classes on discipline, training, and techniques to help students develop focus, internal strength, and self-awareness.