Wendy Lee, Ed.D., Academy Director
Dr. Wendy Lee has over 10 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.
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.
Tasha Chang Poblete
Tasha Chang Poblete is a teacher and artist with an extensive background that includes a degree in fine art from Cal State University Long Beach and work with clients including Skechers, Disney, and Warner Brothers. As a teacher, she has experience planning instruction for students with diverse needs, using a wide variety of teaching aids, motivational, and implementation strategies to engage students in active learning. In addition to teaching at high school, she is a native Chinese speaker and has taught students of all ages in a variety of subjects, including visual arts, dance, and academic subjects.
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.
Alicia McCabe obtained a B.S. with highest honors from CSU Long Beach and a J.D. with highest honors from UC Berkeley. After doing legal work for more than a decade, she completed the Multiple Subject Teacher Credential Program at Concordia University in Irvine. She is in her eighth year as a one to one tutor specializing in students who speak English as a second language. She works primarily with elementary and middle school students and with adults in all areas of English language arts including writing and also teaches math. Her adult students generally focus on vocabulary, pronunciation, conversational English, American idioms, and American culture.
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.