Meet the staff of the Center for Global Education at Asia Society.
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Vice President, Education
Director, Center for Global Education
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.
Director, Global Learning Program
Neelam is the Director of the Global Learning Program and works to lead curriculum and professional development initiatives that strive to graduate students both college-ready and globally competent.
She supports the development of materials for the International Studies Schools Network and online teacher professional development programs that provide the study and application of global competence to an international audience.
Prior to joining Asia Society, Neelam was the Vice President of Programs at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) where she designed curriculum and professional development programs in the areas of youth entrepreneurship and innovation. In addition, she had a lead role in NFTE’s research and evaluation initiatives.
She has a BA from the University of Southern California, an MA in Educational Leadership from Pepperdine University, and a Doctorate Degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, in Curriculum Studies. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher.
Linda Driscoll is Executive Associate for the Center for Global Education at Asia Society, and her work focuses on fundraising and partnership development; public engagement, including events and communications; and overall administrative support for the Center.
Prior to joining Asia Society, Linda worked on community engagement for the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, building partnerships with local schools and universities, workforce development programs, and nonprofits focused on talent development within the cleantech sector, as well as contributing to the organization's Diversity & Inclusion and Women in Cleantech initiatives. Linda's passions are social justice and human rights. Linda holds a BA in Broadcasting & Communications from San Francisco State University.
Senior Program Associate, China Learning Initiatives
Yang Guo is senior program associate for China Learning Initiatives at Asia Society's Center for Global Education. Yang is a winner of multiple awards in science and technology innovation competitions globally and nationally and has organized of dozens of nationwide and international conferences and youth exchange programs.
She is passionate about bridging U.S. and China relations through people-to-people exchanges and partnership building. In addition, Yang was the Chinese Environment-Friendly Youth Ambassador, designated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China.
Yang graduated from Columbia University with a Master’s degree in Public Administration and received her Bachelor's degree from Beijing Normal University.
Kate Kemeklis (née Farmer) is the Director of Partnerships for the Center for Global Education at Asia Society, based in New York City. In this role, she engages national and global partners with the goal to collaboratively develop global competence in students, teachers and education leaders worldwide.
Prior to joining the Asia Society in 2014, Kate worked with teams in Denver Public Schools to open new globally-focused schools managing ongoing strategy and operations around partnerships, experiential learning, family engagement, funding, recruitment, communications and extended learning. In a variety of consulting roles in the U.S. and in Chile, Kate focused on international education programs, fundraising and partnerships, and outreach and expansion initiatives. Before moving to the U.S., Kate managed international service-learning programs in China, Mongolia, Bolivia, and Sri Lanka.
Kate has a BA in Human Geography with Sociology and Social Anthropology (Keele University, UK) and an MA in International and Intercultural Communication (University of Denver, Colorado), and has pursued further learning opportunities at a number of Spanish language schools, Stanford's d.school, and the University of Colorado’s School of Public Affairs.
Assistant Director, Global Learning Beyond School
Heather began her career as an English teacher at a New York City high school where she implemented interdisciplinary curricula utilizing a workshop format for developing students’ literacy skills.
She then managed several out-of-school time programs before overseeing capacity building projects and coaching educators in topics such as conflict resolution, lesson planning, SEL, behavior management, among others.
Heather taught an undergraduate course called Perspectives on Childhood for the Children's Studies department at Brooklyn College. She joined Asia Society in 2012.
Heather received a BA in theater from UC San Diego and an MA in education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Alexis Menten is the Managing Director of the Center for Global Education at Asia Society, where she is responsible for strategic and program planning, fundraising and grants management, and partnership development.
She directs Asia Society’s Global Learning Beyond School initiative to advance global learning in non-formal education programs and oversees an international working group and research project that explores the integration of 21st century skills in education systems in the US and Asia.
Prior to Asia Society, Alexis worked on youth programs and educational technology initiatives in Central Asia and the Middle East. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, and holds a Masters in Public Administration from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
Director of CTE
Heather Singmaster is Director in the Center for Global Education at the Asia Society, where she oversees the Global Cities Education Network and work integrating global competence into Career Technical Education (CTE) programs as well as state and national policy.
She also leads the project, "Mapping the Nation: The Case for Global Competence" and is the host of Education Week's Global Learning blog. Currently, she is working on Global Competence Through CTE—a set of online professional development modules and resources to support the CTE field. She previously worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
Heather holds a Master's degree focused in Anthropology from New York University and a Bachelor's degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.
Jayne Madamba Speich
Assistant Director, Online Professional Learning
Jayne Speich is assistant director of online professional learning at the Center for Global Education at Asia Society. She designs and writes globally focused curriculum tools and teacher professional development programs, specializing in online professional learning and adult teaching and learning.
Jayne co-led the Center's development of its online professional development initiative and is the author of a CGE white paper on how adults learn and how online platforms foster their learning.
She has worked in California state education policy as chief of governmental affairs for the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, and as chief education consultant for the California Assembly Subcommittee on Education Reform. She has taught at the undergraduate level and has extensive private sector experience as a certified executive coach.
Jayne holds a BA in Political Science/Public Service from the University of California at Davis, and an MS in Education/Online Teaching and Learning from California State University East Bay.
Director, International Studies Schools Network
Lisa Tyrrell is the Director of Asia Society's International Studies Schools Network (ISSN) and leads our national team of consultants, overseeing the implementation of the ISSN Global School Design Model while concurrently designing high-quality professional learning opportunities and managing Network collaborations.
Lisa has been an educator for over twenty years and has served at the classroom, building, district, state and national levels. Lisa began her career as a science teacher in Rochester, New York, where she taught in both high-need urban and high-performing suburban schools. Lisa progressed from a lead teacher to assistant principal, and finally to district science administrator.
In 2006, Lisa joined the Massachusetts Department of Education, where she oversaw science reform efforts and led the Commonwealth's Title IIB Math and Science Partnership initiative. Prior to joining the ISSN, Lisa served as the Regional Director of Education Services at the MIND Research Institute, leading the successful implementation of their neuroscience-based math programs in major cities across the nation, including New York, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Orlando.
Lisa earned her Bachelor's degree from Ithaca College, her Master's from the State University of New York at Brockport, and her New York State Building and District Administrative Credentials from the University of Rochester.
Advisor to the President
Director, China Learning Initiatives
Jeff Wang is responsible for leading and advancing the Center for Global Education's China Learning Initiatives, which work to create programs and platforms that catalyze understanding, communication, and collaboration among young people in the United States and China.
Jeff oversees the largest annual conference on Mandarin language education in North America, whose keynote roster includes the former prime minister of Australia Kevin Rudd, former US defense secretary Chuck Hagel, and former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman. He initiated and oversees the support of 100 pairs of US-China sister schools. Jeff also advises education leaders in both China and the U.S. on building innovative, substantive, and mutually beneficial partnerships—including the planning for the annual official U.S.–China State and Province Chief Education Officers Dialogue.
Jeff speaks and writes frequently on the importance and practicalities of youth and young leaders exchange in the context of an interconnected world. Before joining Asia Society in 2007, Jeff worked at the Connecticut Department of Higher Education and on the state's academic exchange initiatives with Germany and China. He speaks English, Chinese, and German, and he has lived and worked in New York, Shanghai, Heidelberg, and Hartford, Connecticut.
Senior Finance and Operations Associate
Naixin is Senior Finance and Operations Associate for the Center for Global Education at Asia Society. In this role, she provides administrative, logistical, budget management, and financial support to the Center for Global Education.
Assistant Director, China Learning Initiatives
Cleopatra Wise is the Assistant 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 is an MBA candidate at the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University.
Cleopatra is a Florida native and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and Krio.
Senior Program Associate, China Learning Initiatives
Yiwei is senior program associate with China Learning Initiatives, an initiative of the Center for Global Education at Asia Society. In this role, she manages the Asia Society Confucius Classroom Network and provides professional development opportunities for Chinese language teachers in the U.S.
Before coming to America, she was a high school English teacher in public school in Wuhan, China. Prior to joining Asia Society, she worked as global education advisor at University of Michigan Ross School of Business and as Chinese language and culture advisor at INTO Oregon State University.
Yiwei graduated with her Master's degree in Educational Studies from the University Of Michigan School of Education. She also received two Bachelor degrees respectively from Wuhan University and Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China.
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