Our Educators

Jiani Zhang

Kindergarten Mandarin Teacher

Jiani has taught in Mandarin preschools that appreciate the process of discovery and care about developing social and emotional skills in children. She enjoys teaching children 5-6 years old with games. She also enjoys developing lessons according to children’s abilities and interests. She is easy-going and loves laughing. On weekends or holidays, she likes to travel and try different foods.

  • Currently teaches PlayThrive YCT 1 class (age 5 – 6 years)
  • 7 years of Mandarin-teaching experience

Sabrina Zhang

Kindergarten Mandarin teacher

Sabrina has 8-years of teaching experience including 4 years of experience teaching Mandarin to children from diverse cultural backgrounds. She received her M.S. of IT degree at the University of Sydney researching quality teaching in an online learning environment. She is expecting to complete the M.S. of Education degree in 2021. She loves designing curriculums that propitiate to students’ age and level and facilitating students to develop their interests and make the best efforts that they can. With strong S.T.E.M background and years of working experience in the High-tech industry, she is keen to deliver project-based learning combined with S.T.E.M. She also enjoys challenging herself to pursue professional knowledge and training to better serve the children. In her spare time, she likes hiking and reading.

  • Currently teaches PlayThrive YCT 1 class (age 5 – 6 years)
  • Master’s degree in IT and soon in Teaching

Xiaoqing Carrie Tang

Kindergarten Mandarin Teacher

Carrie received her Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics at UCLA and a Master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at San Francisco State University. She taught children 2-7 years old with diverse cultural backgrounds. Student-center is her key teaching philosophy. She is looking forward to discovering children’s interests and enhancing their Mandarin learning at PlayThrive.  In her leisure time, she enjoys hiking, biking, and going to the movies. 

  • Currently teaches PlayThrive YCT 1 class (age 5 – 6 years)
  • Master’s degree in TESOL

Kelly Lan

First Grade Teacher

Kelly has been a well-loved teacher at PlayThrive for 5 years teaching kindergarten and first-grade classes. She cares deeply about children’s growth socially and academically. She enjoys connecting with students from various backgrounds and bridging their Mandarin conversations over a variety of topics. Kelly was a graphic designer for 9 years and we benefit from her neatly created teaching material. In her spare time, she loves sharing good food and good times with friends and family.

  • Currently teaches PlayThrive YCT 2 class (age 6 – 7 years)
  • 8 years of teaching experience

Lesi Wang

First Grade teacher

Lesi is an enthusiastic language teacher and has been teaching language since 2015. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics at Binghamton University, and her Master’s degree in International and Multicultural Education at the University of San Francisco, with a focus on Bilingual Education. She has rich experience teaching languages to children from 2.5 to 12 years old and adults. With her love of language and education, she is passionate about promoting bilingual education and creating a warm and friendly classroom for students to enjoy the Chinese language and culture. In her spare time, she likes to make good food for her family and friends.

  • Currently teaches PlayThrive YCT 2 class (age 6 – 7 years)
  • Master’s degree in International and Multicultural Education

Yang Zhao

Second Grade Mandarin teacher

Yang has been teaching children from 3 to 16 years old in China since 2008. Since she came to the US, she has spent four years teaching mandarin in preschool classrooms, volunteering for early learning centers and city college in San Francisco. She has a passion for teaching Mandarin, especially enriching young minds through play and mindful experience. She brings patience and joy to the classroom and loves to help children grow and learn. In her free time, Yang really enjoys distance running and running marathons.

  • Currently teaches PlayThrive YCT 2 class (age: 7-8 years)
  • 5 years of experience teaching Mandarin
  • 15 years of experience working in Education

Cathy (Shuo) Ma

Upper-grade teacher

Cathy has been a teacher since 2015. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Peking University and took courses in Early Childhood Education courses. Her philosophy is that: the proper education for children is not to stuff their heads with words, sentences, and ideas dragged together from textbooks but to open up their minds to the outer world so that a living stream may flow from their minds, just like how leaves, flowers, and fruits spring from the buds of a tree. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and reading.  

  • Currently teaches PlayThrive YCT3 classes (age: 8-11 years)
  • 7 years of teaching experience

Xiao Luo

Head of School

Xiao joined the PlayThrive in July 2020 after getting her master’s degree in Educational Technology, where she explored how to apply technology to language learning both effectively and productively. Prior to her study, she had been a public elementary school lead teacher (multiple subject credential) in China for 9 years. Since Xiao moved to the Bay Area, she taught Stanford students HSK 5-6, worked with preschoolers via the play-based way, and shared Chinese culture with middle school students in Summit Denali.   She’s passionate about teaching language skills and developing the whole child through project-based learning.  She’s also an avid runner and enjoys traveling. 

  • Currently teaches PlayThrive YCT3 classes (age: 8-11 years)
  • Teaching Mandarin since 2005
  • Master’s degree in Educational Technology

Wei-Hsuan Chien

Campus Director

Wei has 15 years of professional art and design experience in a small business environment, where she developed expertise working simultaneously on many projects all the while efficiently managing multiple administrative tasks. She is deeply convinced by the importance of whole-child education and applies the principles with her child in her trilingual family. Wei also has experience as a teacher’s assistant in a preschool classroom environment. During her free time, Wei-Hsuan enjoys cooking, baking, sewing, and all kinds of hands-on activities with her child. 

  • Streamlines PlayThrive school operations
  • Passionate about whole child education

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