Chinese Language Immersion Faculty - The International School

Chinese Track Faculty

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Candy Lee
Pre-K (3 year olds) Teacher

  • CFL Teaching Certificate from Taipei Language Institute, Taiwan
  • Master's in Computer Science from University of New Haven
  • Bachelor's in English Literature from Tamkang University, Taiwan
  • Teaching since 2003; At TIS since 2014

Born to a family of educators, I'Lin "Candy" Lee has almost a decade of teaching experience. Most recently, she worked at The Portland Chinese School, where she taught Chinese to non-native speakers for seven years. She also spent the past school year working as a PreK teacher within the Bodhi Tree Language Center’s Chinese immersion program.  Candy received her BA in English Literature from Tamkang University in Taiwan, and her Teaching Certificate in Chinese as a Foreign Language from the Taipei Language Institute. When not teaching, Candy enjoys traveling, reading, learning about history, art, and music, and walking her dog.

Candy loves to teach because not only does she help children to learn and grow, but she loves to experience their pure enjoyment of life. She is looking forward to joining TIS so that she can introduce the excellence and beauty of Chinese culture, and help to broaden the multicultural understanding of our young global villagers.

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Ju-Ya Cheng
LowK (4-year-olds) Teacher

  • From Taiwan
  • Master's in Visual Art Education, National Pingtung Teachers College
  • Bachelor's in Language and Literature Education, National Taipei Teachers College
  • Teaching since 2003; At TIS since 2014

Ju-Ya has over a decade’s worth of experience and most recently was a Mandarin immersion Kindergarten teacher at the Hope Chinese Charter School in Beaverton.  Ju-Ya has a BA in Chinese Language and Literature Education from the National Taipei Teachers College and a Master’s Degree in Visual Art Education from the National Pingtung Teachers College, both located in Taiwan. She has received Certificates in Elementary School Teaching, Mandarin Teaching, and Overseas Cultural and Traditional Arts Teacher Training, all in Taiwan. When not teaching, Ju-Ya enjoys cooking and baking for her family and friends. Producing great food in her kitchen always gives her happiness.

Ju-Ya enjoys working with the TIS staff, students, and families. She enjoys working with teachers from cultures and other language tracks, as she thinks it is mutually beneficial for the development of teaching skills.


Emily Chinyu Pan
Kindergarten Teacher

  • From Taiwan
  • Bachelor's in English from Christ's College in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Master's in Education with Bilingual Endorsement from George Fox University
  • Teaching since 2001; teaching at TIS since 2008

I am always excited to work with children to learn through the immersion program and to watch them making their progress. It is really one of the blessed gifts that young children can pick up a language naturally if they are exposed to the immersion environment with a certain amount of time. I am glad to see the students have the opportunities to explore a lot more within the provided international curriculum and multicultural community setting. Our goal is to lead the students to become life long learners with worldview values to enhance them as global citizens.


Tongfang Zhao
Kindergarten Teacher

  • From Qing County, Hebei Province, China
  • Degree in English Education from Huaibei Teacher's College, Anhui Province
  • Graduate Degree in English as a Foreign Language from Hebei Normal University, Hebei Province
  • At TIS since 2010
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Hu Nan
1st Grade Teacher

  • From TianJin, China
  • Bachelor's in education in Elementry Teacher Education College in Tianjin, China
  • Teaching since 1992; teaching at TIS since 2006

I moved to Portland from China and was happy to find a place at TIS where I can share my language and culture.

My favorite part of being a teacher here is watching my students give presentations in Chinese. I feel so proud of them as I see them display their confidence and language skills. I set very high expectations for my students and it’s great to see their achievements. I want to give my students the building blocks to reach the next level and be successful. I also try to teach them to be responsible and caring towards others. These are life-long skills that will help them succeed in the larger world.


Sophia Antonis
1st Grade Teacher

  • From Taiwan
  • Bachelor's from Fu-Jen University in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Post graduate coursework in Education at Portland State University
  • Teaching at TIS 2000-2006 and 2009-present

I enjoy teaching young children at TIS because in elementary school it is exciting to watch how fast children learn and participate in that process. TIS provides me an extraordinary opportunity to share my language and culture. Helping the students at TIS become global citizens has brought me a tremendous amount of joy.


Aiyun Yin
2nd grade Teacher

  • From Wuhan, China.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Language and Literature from Wuhan University.
  • Master of Art in Teaching from George Fox University
  • Teaching License for K-12 (Oregon)
  • Teacher's License from Department of Education of China
  • Trained in Psychology and Education Putonghua Grading Test: Grade A of Level Two (Chinese Language Teacher)
  • Teaching since 1990; teaching at TIS since 2006

I started out working as a middle school teacher in China and later taught at a college. I love working with young children because they make every day brand new. I enjoy teaching and learning, knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of my students.

When you have a job that you love and makes you happy, you never get tired of it. I feel so fortunate that I’m able to take my hobbies (Chinese and teaching) and use them in my profession.

My favorite part of the day is when a child comes up to me and proudly says “Teacher, look what I did.” I also love when parents tell me that their son or daughter is talking about what we learned in class or singing songs in Chinese at home. It makes me so proud. The hardest part of my job is watching the students move on at the end of the year. It’s always sad to see them go, but at least we were able to share memories, grow and learn together.

Click here for an article about Aiyun.

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Yu Chu "Charlotte" Chen
2nd Grade Teacher

  • From Taipei, Taiwan
  • BA in English, National Taiwan Normal University
  • Diploma in Elementary Administration and Education, Taipei Municipal Teachers' College
  • Master's in Language Teaching from the University of Warwick, Coventry, England
  • Postgraduate Diploma in English Language Teaching and Administration from the University of Warwick, Coventry, England
  • At TIS since 2016

I am looking forward to working with everyone at TIS and to seeing our learners grow up happily. I really enjoy reading (books, magazines, comic books), watching some TV dramas, and animation.  I also want to learn more to master my tech skills to cope with the world of Apps around us.


Renzhen "Jennifer" Zhu
3rd Grade Teacher

  • Bachelor of Science in Math, China
  • A.A.S. in Computer Information Systems, USA
  • Confucius Institute Certificate
  • Teaching since 1982; teaching at TIS since 2003

For me, teaching is not just a job, it is my passion. I have worked at The International School for over a decade. It is so amazing to work with young children. I really enjoy getting to know their personalities over the course of a school year and to see how they grow, both academically and socially.

At TIS it’s also a tremendous experience to see how the children learn, grow and share through the PYP. With this learner framework, children become active participants in their education, not just passive recipients. I love to see these little kids becoming explorers of the big world around them. For me, being part of the teaching staff here is also a dynamic and wonderful experience. The teachers are from all over the world. We are our own little global community, working and collaborating together.


Maggie Chang Yihyun
3rd Grade Teacher

  • From Taiwan
  • Bachelor's in Chinese Literature from University of Providence in Taiwan
  • Master's in Educational Technology from National University in San Diego 
  • Graduate study at Virginia Tech
  • Confucius Institute Chinese Language Teacher Certificate
  • Oregon Registry Trainer 

I have taught Chinese language to diverse groups of students from K to 6th grade and up to college level in both Taiwan and the United States. For the past seven years, I have been working as an Early Childhood Education Consultant / Trainer. Teaching and Chinese Literature are both my passions. I am excited that I can contribute and share my passion with the TIS community. It is always rewarding to see students opening their views to different cultures and gaining confidence through second language learning. I believe the collaboration between school and families create the best support for student learning. As a teacher, I always put students first; I strive to create a positive environment with mutual respect that allows each student to develop as a whole person. 


Yu Min Liu
4th Grade Teacher

  • From Taiwan
  • Bachelor's and Master's in Chinese Literature from Taiwan’s National Central University
  • Certificate of proficiency for teaching Chinese as a second language from the Ministry of Education in Taiwan 

Confucius, the greatest teacher of China said ”Education is for all”, and when facing different students, he taught them in accordance with their aptitude.

As a follower of Confucius, I believe that everyone should enjoy the joy of learning, and there’s no infallible rule of teaching. It is the teacher’s job to find out the best way to inspire individual students.

In my class room, I appreciate and respect the differences of my students, and will encourage them do the same with one another. In the coming year, we will study and work cooperatively, share ideas and fun, learn more about ourselves and the world, build creative thinking and wilder minds.


Yifeng Gao
4th Grade Teacher

  • From Tianjin, China.
  • Bachelor's in Journalism from Tianjin Sport University
  • Master's in Education from Portland State University
  • Teaching at TIS since 2015

When I heard that I can go back to teach at TIS, I was so excited and glad, as I've been dreaming to teach at TIS since I left (as a substitute) TIS two years ago. It's such honor to come back to work for TIS again. TIS is a great language immersion school; I've known so many experienced teachers teaching there; the environment of the entire school makes me feel warm and comfortable. The most attractive part is the IB philosophy.

When not teaching, Yifeng has many hobbies, like drawing, music, sports, traveling and cooking. He particularly likes to draw, paint, and play guitar.

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Chunwei "Christy" Appleberry
5th Grade Teacher

  • From China
  • Bachelor's from Tianjin Normal University, Foreign Language School
  • Master's in Education from Concordia University
  • Teaching since 2009; teaching at TIS since 2014

Prior to moving to Portland, Chunwei "Christy" Appleberry was a head elementary school teacher at Maple Leaf International School, a bilingual Mandarin/English school in Tianjin. While there, she received recognition for her work in teaching and in curriculum design. Christy received her Bachelor’s degree at Tianjin Normal University, and is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Teaching at Concordia University here in Portland. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and jogging. She is looking forward to learning more about American culture from her students, and in turn helping them to open their minds to the rest of the world.


Angela Whitebirch
5th Grade Teacher

  • From Zhejiang, China
  • Bachelor of Arts, with Honors, from Pass College of Chongqing Technology and Business University
  • Pursuing Master's degree of Education at Portland State University
  • Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
  • Teachers Qualification Certificate from Department of Education of China
  • Trained in Psychology and Education Putonghua Grading Test: Grade A of Level Two (Chinese Language Teacher)
  • Teaching at TIS since 2016

I've wanted to be a teacher since I was young. I started my teaching career immediately after graduating from college. Prior to moving to America, I've taught children from ages 3-15 and have also worked as the manager in a language school in Hangzhou.  I love to combine engaging games and activities in my class to get students interested in learning. I like my students to explore the knowledge and have fun at the same time.  After I volunteered in Yu Min's class at The International School two years ago, I fell in love with the school PYP curriculum and teaching philosophy. I am amazed at how fluent TIS students speak Chinese and how they are such independent thinkers.  This school and community is very special, and I am very excited to be a part of TIS community!


Susan Wang
Assistant Teacher

  • From Qingdao, China
  • Graduated from the Teachers’ Education College in Yantan, China
  • Teaching since 1972, teaching at TIS since 2007

I love working with children. Kids are so happy and it makes me happy to be around them all day. I think it’s fascinating to watch kids grow and develop from one day to the next.

At The International School, I love seeing the children progress with their language skills.  Of course I’m happy that the students are learning Chinese and about my native culture, but I’m also glad to be a part of such a culturally diverse environment where the kids are learning one of three different languages! I’m also happy to be at a school that is teaching the IB Primary Years Program.  It really teaches kids to go further with their search of knowledge, to explore a subject more deeply.  I think it’s a really wonderful way to learn.

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Jing Jing Song
Assistant Teacher

  • From Shanghai, China
  • BA Degree from Shanghai East China Science & Technology University
  • Putonghua Grading Test certificate
  • Teacher’s License from Department of Education of Shanghai.China.
  • Teaching at TIS Summer Camp since 2007; teaching at TIS since 2011

I come from a family of teachers. My mother is a teacher at TIS and both my grandfather and great-grandfather were teachers. I feel like it’s in my blood! I love to work with kids and watch them grow up happy and healthy.I am so happy to be part of a school where I get to share my language and culture with the children every day. It’s fascinating to watch the children’s language skills develop. They are fast learners! As students in the Chinese Track, they are learning not only the language but the culture too. It’s great when a parent tells me something that they’ve learned from their child about Chinese culture. I love that the whole family is learning together!


Yi Guan
Assistant Teacher

  • From Guangzhou, China
  • Bachelor’s degree in Chinese Language and literature from South China Normal University
  • Teaching at TIS since 2007

I feel very happy when I see children learning another language and culture. It is a rewarding opportunity for me to work with the wonderful children at TIS.

I believe TIS has created a positive environment for children to learn a new language in a natural and fun way. Not only do the children learn the language, they learn about the culture as well. This gives the children a positive attitude and builds a strong foundation for their bright futures ahead.

In my free time, I enjoy writing, calligraphy, gardening, traveling, reading, singing, and music.