Staff and Advisors
The Chinese Early Language and Immersion Network (CELIN)
Our distinguished advisors volunteer their valuable time and expertise to serve on the Chinese Early Language and Immersion Network (CELIN) National Advisory Committee.
Shuhan C. Wang
Dr. Shuhan C. Wang is Project Director of CELIN. She is President of ELE Consulting International, providing technical assistance, teacher professional development, curriculum and materials development, and program evaluation in language education to schools, districts, states, institutions of higher education, organizations, and governments.
Wang is former Executive Director of Chinese Language Initiatives at Asia Society (2006–2009) and Deputy Director of the National Foreign Language Center, University of Maryland (2009–2012). Her work is published in books and peer reviewed journals, including Flying with Chinese, a series of textbooks for K–6 learners of Chinese.
Wang serves as an advisor to the Ministry of Education in Singapore on the Mother Tongue Language and Chinese Primary Curriculum Projects, and works with the Maryland State Department of Education to develop Elementary STEM-focused World Language Curricular Modules, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top initiative.
Joy Kreeft Peyton
Dr. Joy Kreeft Peyton is Senior Project Associate of CELIN at Asia Society and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in Washington, DC. She works with teachers and teacher educators to implement educational innovations and study factors that influence their success.
Peyton is also a former Spanish and linguistics teacher in high school and university programs. She is co-editor of two major volumes on heritage languages in the United States: Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States: Research, Policy, and Educational Practice (2014) and Heritage Languages in America: Preserving a National Resource (2002) and of a special issue of the Heritage Language Journal (2013) on the vitality of heritage languages in the United States. In collaboration with other language educators and researchers, she co-established the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages and is a member of the editorial advisory board of the Heritage Language Journal.
Cleopatra Wise is the Director for Asia Society's Center for Global Education, China Learning Initiatives (CLI). She is responsible for managing the CLI team and executing programs that promote Chinese language learning among young people in the United States.
Before joining Asia Society, Cleopatra served as an International Program Manager at Peking University for seven years. During her time there, she spearheaded the school's global outreach and special initiatives.
Cleopatra holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Southern California. She also earned an MBA from the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University.
Cleopatra is a Florida native and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and Krio.
Dr. Anthony Jackson leads Asia Society's work in global education, which strives to enable all students to graduate high school prepared for college, for work in the global economy, and for 21st century global citizenship.
Jackson oversees the Center for Global Education at Asia Society, a global platform for collaboratively advancing education for global competence for all. The Center’s multifaceted approach includes the International Studies Schools Network, a network of over 30 schools around the United States that systematically integrate a global focus within the curriculum; Global Learning Beyond School, which supports globalizing youth programs including afterschool and community programs; the Global Cities Education Network, a learning community of high performing Asian and North American urban school districts dedicated to solving common high priority problems of practice and policy; and China Learning Initiatives, which provide national leadership to support learning of Chinese language and culture.
Trained in both developmental psychology and education, Jackson is one of the nation’s leading experts on secondary school education reform and adolescent development. Jackson directed the Carnegie Corporation’s Task Force on the Education of Young Adolescents which produced the ground breaking report Turning Points: Educating Adolescents in the 21st Century, and co-authored the seminal follow-up blueprint Turning Points 2000, considered one of the most influential books on middle school reform. His most recent work is Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World.
Jackson holds a BA from the University of California at Berkeley, and MA and PhD in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan.
Maquita Alexander is the Head of School of Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School. She served as the Principal of the school from 2009–2012. She has led the school's development of its the immersion and International Baccalaureate program. She has successfully set and met both internal program goals and DC educational targets.
Maquita has worked closely with the Chinese program team to develop effective classroom management strategies for new immersion teachers. She has more than 19 years of teaching and administrative experience, including 15 years in the Fairfax County Public School system and eight years as an elementary school teacher. She has a Master of Arts in Educational Technology Leadership from George Washington University, a Master of Teaching, Elementary Education from Virginia Commonwealth University, and an administrative certification in Curriculum and Administration from George Mason University.
Michele Anciaux Aoki
Michele Anciaux Aoki is an International Education and World Languages Advocate, who recently retired as International Education Administrator for Seattle Public Schools, where she was responsible for developing and supporting the ten international schools in the district and their K-12 dual immersion programs in Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. She was also Co-Director of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington.
From 2008 to 2014, Michele served as World Languages Program Supervisor at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), where she provided technical support on world language standards and assessment to 295 public school districts and professional development for world language teachers across the state. She also worked with the State Board of Education and Washington State School Directors Association on developing and implementing a model policy and procedure for Competency-Based Credits to award high school credits to students with demonstrated language proficiency and was project director on a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the Road Map World Language Credit Program. She was instrumental in introducing the Seal of Biliteracy in Washington State. Since 2011, Michele has partnered with the University of Washington on their Russian STARTALK Teacher and Student Program. Michele has a Ph.D. in Slavic Linguistics and taught Russian language and English as a Second Language at the University of Washington for a number of years and as a Fulbright lecturer in Romania. She has received two leadership awards from the Washington Association for Language Teaching (WAFLT) as well as the Consul General Award from the Consul General of Japan, and continues to volunteer as an advocate for languages.
Michael Bacon works as the Portland Public Schools (PPS) Assistant Director for Dual Language Immersion, which provides program, professional, and curriculum development for 15 immersion programs in Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, and Vietnamese in 24 K–12 schools.
Bacon also directs the K–12 portion of the NSEP-funded K–16 Oregon Chinese Flagship grant in collaboration with the University of Oregon. In collaboration with the Rand Corporation and American Councils, he is involved in three studies on the Effectiveness of Dual Language Immersion on Student Achievement in PPS, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. Bacon frequently presents and conducts workshops at local and national conferences on various aspects of immersion education and currently serves as President of the Dual Language Immersion Special Interest Group of ACTFL. He has 19 years of teaching and administrative experience in immersion education.
Sue Berg is CEO/Executive Director of Yinghua Academy, a full immersion Mandarin Chinese K–8 school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The school opened in 2006, as the first public charter Chinese immersion school in the U.S. and the first Chinese immersion school in the Midwest.
Berg is a seasoned PS–12 global educator with background in traditional public school, charter school, and private international school settings. With a strong foundation in successful classroom teaching, she has expertise in curriculum design and delivery, the creation of internal and external assessments, teacher training, performance evaluation, and maximizing student learning. After twenty years in educational administration, specializing in new and developing schools, she strives to be a transformative leader who focuses on establishing systems, building effective and efficient teams, and developing strong relationships among all stakeholders.
Jeffrey W. Bissell
Dr. Jeffrey W. Bissell is Head of School at Chinese American International School (CAIS), where he has overseen the establishment of an innovative framework for curriculum development allowing for the effective integration of Chinese and English across multiple disciplines.
CAIS, the nation's oldest Chinese/English dual language immersion school, is located in San Francisco, California. Bissell has also led CAIS’s strategic initiative to develop language-based experiential learning programs for CAIS students in China and Taiwan. He is the former resident director of School Year Abroad (SYA) in Beijing China, chair of the Board of Trustees at Western Academy of Beijing, and adjunct professor of Chinese language at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has lived in China and Taiwan for a total of 15 years.
Dr. Tara Fortune is an independent consultant specializing in strategic planning and support for dual language and immersion education. For over 20 years she served as Director of the Immersion Research and Professional Development Project at the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA), University of Minnesota. In this role she has partnered with veteran practitioners and leading immersion researchers to offer professional learning experiences that bridge research and practice. Her work has involved schools, districts, state agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Fortune's publications include two co-edited research volumes on immersion education, a research-to-practice handbook on struggling immersion learners, and articles in journals such as Foreign Language Annals, Modern Language Journal, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, and the Journal of Content-Based and Immersion Education (JICB). In 2016, she received the U.S. Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education. Recent research examines achievement and language and character literacy acquisition in early total Mandarin immersion programs.
Ann Marie G. Gunter
Ann Marie Gunter is World Language Consultant at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, where she focuses on initiatives involving the professional development, support, and implementation of the proficiency-based North Carolina World Language Essential Standards.
She also works with LinguaFolio, dual language/immersion programs, and global education initiatives pertaining to language. (There are over 120 dual language/immersion programs in North Carolina, which encompass 7 languages—Cherokee, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Japanese, and Spanish—across 33 districts, 3 charter schools, and 6 independent schools.) She is a doctoral candidate at North Carolina State University, and her dissertation research explores the reasons why local policymakers decide to launch a dual language/immersion program. She serves as the President of the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL).
Robin Harvey is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Foreign Language Education, TESOL, and Bilingual Education in New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, where she focuses on teaching foreign language in elementary school and early immersion education.
She is director of NYU's Project for Developing Chinese Language Teachers (DCLT) and former program director of NYU’s STARTALK Immersion Training Program for Teachers of Chinese (Grades 1-6). Harvey is co-author (with Pauline Huang) of Rhythms and Tones: Inventive Songs & Chants for Learning Chinese (Chinasprout, 2010), and Rhythms and Tones 2 (Chinasprout, 2012).
Sharon Huang is the founder and executive director of HudsonWay Immersion School, a Mandarin and Spanish immersion school for children ages 2 to grade 5, with campuses in New Jersey and New York City. She started HudsonWay in 2005 after being unable to find a Mandarin immersion preschool for her then-2-year-old twin sons.
Formerly employed as a marketing executive of companies such as Nabisco International, AirTouch, and Weightwatchers.com, Sharon and her husband are now fully devoted to the entrepreneurial mission of HudsonWay. The school has grown to encompass preschool, elementary, and summer camps in two locations, along with a family immersion summer camp in China.
Janis Jensen is an independent consultant for world languages and global education. She also serves as Program Director for STARTALK Grant Projects at Kean University that includes oversight of Hindi and Urdu Student and Teacher Programs and the newly developed Master’s degree program in Hindi and Urdu Language Pedagogy.
She is program liaison to the Kean University Graduate School of Education and teaches several graduate courses. Janis previously served as Director of the School for Global Education and Innovation at Kean, responsible for professional development initiatives focusing on 21st century learning and teaching and global education. She has also served as Director of the Office of Academic Standards at the NJ Department of Education, where she oversaw the development and implementation of the NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards and educational technology. Prior to that appointment, she coordinated the implementation of world languages and international education policies, programs, and initiatives at the department. She is past president of NCSSFL, NNELL, and NJ ASCD. She co-authored the ASCD publication, The Essentials of World Languages, Grades K-12: Effective Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment.
Dr. Yu-Lan Lin has been a teacher/administrator for 34 years. She recently retired as the Executive Director of the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools (CLASS) and is also the former Senior Program Director of World Languages for Boston Public Schools.
In 2004, Dr. Lin was selected to serve on the Chinese AP Task Force Committee for the College Board, and in 2005, she served as Content Advisor for the AP Chinese Program. From 2008–2012, she served on the AP Chinese Curriculum and Assessment Development Committee. She serves on the World Language Advisory Committee and the Academy Assembly Committee for the College Board. Her publications include co-authorship of the CLASS Professional Standards for K–12 Chinese Teachers. She is the recipient of MaFLA’s Distinguished Service Award, NECTFL’s Nelson H. Brooks Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Profession, and ACTFL’s Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in K–12 Foreign Language Education.
Christopher M. Livaccari
Christopher M. Livaccari is an educator, author, and former U.S. diplomat who held posts in Shanghai and Tokyo. He is Elementary School Principal and Chinese Program Director at International School of the Peninsula in Palo Alto, California, and the Senior Advisor for China Learning Initiatives in Asia Society's Center for Global Education.
Chris previously served as Director of Education and Chinese Language Initiatives at Asia Society. During his time at Asia Society, Chris created a collaborative national network of almost 40,000 students in more than 100 schools in 28 states that teach Chinese and their partner schools across 23 provinces in China. He is a member of the board of trustees of Chinese American International School in San Francisco.
Chris is the author of New Ways of Seeing: How Multilingualism Opens Our Eyes and Trains Our Minds for a Complex World (Asia Society, 2016), and co-author of Structures of Mandarin Chinese for Speakers of English I & II (Peking University Press, 2012-2013), Chinese Language Learning in the Early Grades (Asia Society, 2012), and the Chinese for Tomorrow series (Cheng & Tsui, 2007-2009). Chris was a speaker at the 2016 Aspen Ideas Festival, has spoken on Chinese language education at the British Museum in London, and was the recipient of the U.S. State Department’s Meritorious Honor Award, citing outstanding speeches written for two U.S. ambassadors to Japan.
Tenured as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in 2003, Chris served as a press officer for multiple visits to Asia by two US presidents and two secretaries of state. He was the founding director of the High School for Language and Diplomacy and a founding member of the faculty at the College of Staten Island High School for International Studies. Both schools were members of the Asia Society International Studies Schools Network, a national initiative to create globally focused public schools with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A magna cum laude graduate of Columbia University, Chris holds advanced degrees in East Asian literature from the University of Chicago and in applied linguistics from New York University. Chris is a lifelong learner of classical and modern Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, among other languages, and an essayist whose work has appeared in print and online in Foreign Policy, AGNI, The Aspen Institute and Education Week, among many other publications and websites.
Dr. Tommy Lu has been actively gathering and developing programs for Chinese community-based schools for over 20 years. He is interested in building a platform for all community-based schools using the community of practice approach, so that every community member can share and collaborate what they have learned.
Dr. Lu serves as Department Chair of Computer Technologies at Delaware Technical Community College in Wilmington, Delaware. In addition to his computer teaching and department managing, he is actively involved with Chinese language teaching in the heritage school system in both teaching and administrative positions. Dr. Lu has served as Chinese history teacher; language teacher, where most of his students received a 5 on the AP Chinese exam; curriculum director, where he developed and implemented aligned curriculum using ACTFL’s language proficiency levels for both heritage and non-heritage tracks; vice principal; and now the principal of the Chinese School of Delaware. Through the years, he has made several presentations at international, national, and regional conferences and local schools regarding his research and practice in Chinese heritage schools. He has also served in leadership positions in many language organizations such as the ACTFL Heritage Language SIG, ACS (Association of Chinese Schools), and NCACLS (National Council of Association of Chinese Language Schools).
Yongling Lu is the Curriculum Specialist who heads the Chinese programs at Avenues: The World School – New York. She is author and editor of scholarly publications, including Ma Xiangbo and the Mind of Modern China and Education, Culture and Identity in Twentieth-Century China.
After working for a nonprofit organization, The American Forum for Global Education, Yongling joined the faculty of Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, where she built the Chinese language program and taught history and also taught Chinese, from beginning to advanced levels, to students from grades 6–12. In July 2011, she joined the team as a curriculum design specialist in preparation for the opening in the fall 2012 of Avenues, which has a Chinese Immersion Program for Nursery to Grade 4 and a Chinese as Second Language program for Grades 5 to 12.
Stacy Lyon is Utah Chinese Dual Language Immersion Director, overseeing nearly 30 elementary programs serving more than 7,000 students. Prior to joining the Utah State Office of Education, she served as World Language Program Director at a K–9 public charter school in Lehi, Utah.
In this role, she also taught in the Chinese program she initiated and built over a 7-year period and led the development and expansion of the K–9 Arabic and Spanish FLES programs. She is an experienced mentor and has worked with teachers from Peru, Mexico, Jordan, Egypt, Taiwan, and China. In 2013, she was invited by the American Council of Teachers of Critical Languages Program to assist in training for school administrators, host international guest teachers, and participate on the teacher selection team doing live interviews in Egypt. She has served on two Utah Chinese Curriculum Advisory Councils and has a passion for designing curriculum.
Rita A. Oleksak is the Director of Foreign Languages/ELL for the Glastonbury Public Schools. She oversees a staff of 60 foreign language teachers and ELL tutors and is responsible for hiring and direct supervision. Her work focuses on building target language proficiency in a grade 1-12 articulated and sequential program.
Glastonbury has also been funded for nine STARTALK summer programs including Arabic, Chinese, and Russian teachers and students. Rita currently serves on the STARTALK Taskforce. She is past president of the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL), the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NADSFL), and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). As president of ACTFL, she had the honor of addressing a Senate Sub Committee to present ten legislative priorities for language learning in the United States. She is also past president of the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) and former co-chair of the K-16 Foreign Language Teachers of Western Massachusetts Collaborative. She is a member of the LILL Leadership Team. In 2013, Rita was honored to be awarded the NADSFL–Pearson Supervisor of the Year award.
Nancy C. Rhodes is a language education consultant and specialist in foreign language education for children, with a focus on language education research, instructional program design, professional development, and program evaluation. She is the former Director of World Language Education at the Center for Applied Linguistics.
During her tenure at the Center for Applied Linguistics, Rhodes directed numerous language education studies and recently completed the third in a series of federally funded national surveys of K–12 foreign language instruction that provide a portrait of language teaching across the country (Foreign Language Teaching in U.S. Schools: Results of a National Survey, Rhodes & Pufahl, 2010). She has also authored or co-authored Foreign Language Teaching: What the U.S. Can Learn from Other Countries, Elementary School Foreign Language Teaching: Lessons Learned Over Three Decades (Foreign Language Annals, spring 2014), and Language Immersion: Celebrating 40 Years of Growth (2012). She is a founding member and former Executive Secretary of the National Network for Early Language Learning.
Deborah W. Robinson
Dr. Deborah W. Robinson serves as K–12 strategist and consultant to The Language Flagship. She has extensive experience in the K–16 arena, having taught French and Spanish in elementary, immersion, afterschool, summer, and traditional secondary and postsecondary programs.
She also was an assistant professor at The Ohio State University, developing pre-service and international teachers. Prior to joining the Flagship, Robinson served 11 years as World Languages Consultant at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and was recognized by the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages as the 2010 State Supervisor of the Year. At ODE, she facilitated the development of standards and curriculum and provided leadership on projects, including a U.S. Department of Education FLAP grant to develop a model K–4 Chinese curriculum. She also led a taskforce on the institutional impact of the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning through a Title VI International Research and Studies grant to ACTFL.
Paul Sandrock, Director of Education at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), directs this organization's professional development and initiatives around standards, curriculum, instruction, and performance assessment. Previously, he was with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
In his work as Assistant Director of Content and Learning at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), he began that state's implementation of the Common Core State Standards and coordinating the areas of English language arts, mathematics, international education, and world languages. He earlier served as the DPI state-wide consultant for world languages. Sandrock taught Spanish for 16 years in middle school and high school and authored The Keys to Assessing Language Performance and Planning Curriculum for Learning World Languages. He previously served ACTFL as a board member and president and received ACTFL’s Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in Foreign Language Education, K–12.
Eric Schneider is Superintendent for Instruction in Minnetonka Public Schools. As a suburban district in Minnesota with 10,000 students located west of Minneapolis, Minnetonka is committed to language immersion and offers a K–12 program in Spanish and Mandarin that serves over 2,000 students.
Minnetonka offers the same rigorous curriculum in three languages, and student progress in the target language is measured by ACTFL-aligned assessments. Minnetonka is a leader in the use of technology, with over 5,000 iPads deployed in grades 7 through 12. Minnetonka is a leader in innovation, using crowdsourcing software to identify new solutions that have the potential to improve current programming or to create new markets for added revenue. Based on this work, Minnetonka launched a new VANTAGE program for profession-based learning, a virtual-learning platform, Tonka Online; and a K–12 Computer Programming curriculum called KidsCode! Schneider has served as Director of Curriculum and is a former high school principal from Napa, California.
Dr. Duarte Silva is Executive Director of the California World Language Project (CWLP) in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. Designed to strengthen and enhance professional development opportunities for California's language educators, CWLP has seven regional sites across California.
These sites are located at campuses of the California State University, independent colleges and universities, and county offices of education. Silva is responsible for providing leadership to the Project’s programs statewide and for overseeing evaluation of the programs outcomes at each site. As a former member of the California Curriculum Commission, he chaired the Foreign Language Subject Matter Committee and was a member of several other committees that advise the State Board of Education on a variety of language-related issues. He has chaired several state adoptions of instructional materials for Foreign Language and English Language Development students and oversaw the development of criteria for the role of technology in supporting the teaching of languages.
Madeline K. Spring
Dr. Madeline K. Spring is director of the UHM Chinese Language Flagship at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Before coming to UHM in the Fall 2014, she was at Arizona State University (ASU), where she served as director of both the Chinese Language Flagship and the Chinese Flagship/ROTC Pilot Program.
Dr. Spring was also director of the ASU Confucius Institute and the Chinese Language Program. Her research interests are divided between medieval Chinese literature (especially Six Dynasties to Tang prose and rhetoric) and current issues in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (TCFL). In that area, her focus is on curricular design and implementation, content-based instruction, intercultural communication, online communities, and other issues related to developing Superior Level language proficiency. Dr. Spring has played a leadership role in defining and disseminating information about Chinese Language Flagship programs both nationally and internationally. She has also developed models for collaboration between the Language Flagship, Confucius Institutes, State Departments of Education, and faculty and students in university-level Chinese programs and in other academic departments and units across campuses.
Jacque Bott Van Houten
Jacque Bott Van Houten is the World Language Specialist for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky, where she designs proficiency-based curriculum and provides professional development for over 150 grade K-12 teachers. Prior to this, she taught language at the middle school through university level.
Van Houten also worked for 15 years as world language supervisor for the Kentucky Department of Education. She is past president of the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL), the National Association of State Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NCSSFL), and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). She is also past president of the Kentucky World Language Association (KWLA), which honored her with a lifetime achievement award. As ACTFL president, she facilitated a Memorandum of Agreement between ACTFL and the European Council of Modern Language and initiated the ACTFL Global Engagement trips for teachers. Jacque was one of the early developers of LinguaFolio, co-project director for the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements, and led the ACTFL task force for the Can-Do Statements for Intercultural Communication for Learned Languages. She was a lead teacher for the College Board Guest Teacher program at Stanford and UCLA and served on the STARTALK Advisory Board. Her awards include the French government’s Ordres des Palmes Academique, NCSSFL–Pearson Supervisor of the Year award, and the ACTFL Florence Steiner award for Leadership in Foreign Language Education.
Elizabeth (Beth) Weise is author of A Parent’s Guide to Mandarin Immersion. Her children attend Mandarin immersion schools and both speak Chinese despite having grown up in an English-only household. She was on the committee that helped start the Mandarin immersion program in the San Francisco Unified School District in 2006.
She writes the Mandarin Immersion Parents Council blog. Weise studied Chinese at the University of Washington. Today she is a technology reporter at USA Today, based in the paper’s San Francisco office, though she has had opportunities to report from China, Singapore, and Taiwan.