Dr. Sherry Zhang holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Oregon State University. Dr. Zhang worked for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a post-doctoral chemist conducting research on Lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles. Dr. Zhang has a passion for education and traditional arts. She has helped Xian Yun Academy of the Arts California to open its door in San Francisco in 2010. Dr. Zhang served on the board of directors until she became the principal for Xian Yun Academy of the Arts California in 2015.
Faculty & Staff
Our teachers take a holistic approach to the development of young and talented students in our secondary school program. Our teachers with strong and diversified backgrounds are dedicated to inspiring students, supporting them in their endeavors, stimulating their intellectual curiosity, and helping them develop their own understandings and critical thinking. Over sixty percent of the Xian Yun academic staff hold a Master’s Degree or higher.
Ms. Cao is a performing artist experienced in dance choreography and teaching. She graduated from Beijing Dance Academy, the leading dance college in China, in 1997. She became a performer in the Chinese Coal Mining Art Troupe and later on became a teacher at the Chinese Coal Mining Art School. Before she was nominated as principal of Xian Yun CA, she was a choreographer with the Shen Yun Performing Arts Company located in New York from 2008 to 2010.
Ms. Lona Lou received an M.A. in Finance Management from the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. Before leaving China, she was a division Chief and Senior Economist for the International Department Research Division at China Development Bank in Beijing, and taught Finance and Investment at Henan University of Finance and Economics. Ms. Lou worked in several non-profit organizations in the Bay Area before joining Xian Yun Academy of the Arts California.
Ms. Ritter has a Master’s degree in Physics from the University of Bern, Switzerland, in 1994, with a minor in math. She obtained the teaching credentials for secondary schools in 1997 for mathematics and physics. She has more than 17 years of teaching experience. She left Switzerland in 2006, lived in Greece, India, and Malaysia, and came to the United States in 2010.
Mr. Randazzo has an M.A. in ESL teaching for all ages and is certified in general education elementary school teaching (for all subjects K-6). He is a licensed teacher with over 20 years of teaching experience in public and private schools. Mr. Randazzo also served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia as a teacher trainer. He trained and certified international faculty for the teaching profession. Mr. Randazzo has extensive experience in school residential programs.
Mr. John Elliott received a B.A., Hons., in English Literature from Gonzaga University, then he earned an Ed.M in Administration, Planning, Social Policy from Harvard University, and finally, a Ph.D. in English Literature from St. Andrews University (U.K.). He has been teaching, researching, and providing academic services in North America, Europe, and Asia from 1990 to the present. His responsibilities have ranged from a full professorship at Nagoya University of Commerce and Business in Japan to helping East Asian students wishing to attend US institutions of higher education. He has taught classes from 17th century British Literature up to modern American literature, as well as academic writing and criticism.
Mr. Cai was a professor of Chinese in China, teaching the Chinese language to foreign students since 1984. He also taught media production. He has an extensive knowledge in Chinese literature and culture. With his dignified manner he seems to exemplify the expression of traditional Chinese culture. And then as we look beyond his reserved demeanor we see his caring for his students expressed in the time and energy he puts in to work with them and help them deeply understand the lessons, shaping his teaching to fit the needs of each student.
Dr. Hongyu Zhao received his Master’s Degree in Biochemistry from Oregon State University, and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Oregon Health & Science University in 2012. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Zhao’s research interests are in ion channels activated by mechanical force, sensory transduction in the inner ear, and the proteins associated with them in a mechanotransduction complex. He also has a particular interest in protein engineering and has designed novel bispecific proteins as a way of drug targeting. Dr. Zhao has more than 10 research publications and holds 2 patents. Dr. Zhao gained experience teaching through being a teaching assistant at Oregon State University, and he finds teaching rewarding as it contributes to the benefit of society in a totally different way from research.
Ms. Min Zang graduated from the Department of Chinese Teachers College and has many years of teaching experience. She currently teaches Chinese at Xian Yun Academy of the Arts CA.
Mr. Ray Chen received a Master of Science degree from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He brings decades of work experience from global enterprises like Apple and Oracle, as well as years of experience from teaching previously at Xian Yun Academy and at other private schools. His passion for education and art lead him to join us now as a science teacher.
Ms. Li was born in and grew up in Germany. She started dancing when she was 5 years old, with ballet, and began learning classical Chinese dance at age 9 from a teacher from Shen Yun. In 2007, she won Honorable Mention in a competition in New York and then proceeded to study at Fei Tian Academy for dance. She performed in the Holiday Wonders, and for seven years, she toured the world as a principal dancer for Shen Yun. At Xian Yun California, Ms. Li teaches dance and also helps choreograph the dances.
Mr. Arnold Yu was a lead dancer with Shen Yun Performing Arts from 2006 to 2008. He has performed in over 60 cities, and in over 200 shows around the world. Mr. Yu made it to the final round in the Global Chinese Classical Dance Competition sponsored by NTDTV in 2007. He won a prize for excellent performance the following year at the 2008 competition.
Sherene Melania uses her passion for dance to encourage not only an appreciation for the arts and artistic excellence, but also the value of developing "complete artists" who utilize academic and dance education, as a tool for promoting cultural awareness and understanding, leading to a deep compassion for humanity. Sherene is Artistic Director of Presidio Dance Theatre, a multi-generational dance company for the past 12 years. She is an accomplished Performing Artist, Choreographer and Dance Scholar. She holds a Master of Arts in Education from Harvard University, a Ballet Direction Specialty and Choreography diploma from the St. Petersburg State Conservatory, Russia, and a B.A. in Performing Arts and Social Justice from the University of San Francisco.
Ms. O’Malley is a professional dancer and teacher. She studied dance at the Kirov Academy of Ballet, then went on to dance with the Boston Ballet, the Dutch National Ballet, and the Stuttgart Ballet, where she was a soloist for seven years. Recently, she has danced with SF Danceworks and Alonzo King Lines Ballet.
Laura O’Malley has many years of teaching experience, including at the San Francisco Ballet and the Alonzo King Lines Ballet. Her specialties include classes on ballet technique, pointe, and repertoire.
In eighteen years of dancing ballet professionally, some of her career highlights include the title roles in Giselle and Lulu, Lena in Leonce and Lena, Olda in Onegin, and Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew. She also played The Sylph in La Sylphide, Olympia in Lady of the Camelias, and Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty.
Graduated from Fei Tian Academy of the Arts in New York. Graduated from Fei Tian College with a degree in Dance Pedagogy. Performed with Shen Yun for 4 years. Taught Classical Chinese Dance at the high school level in Taiwan for 4 years. Has taught numerous students whom have won many awards including local and national prizes. Has taught two students who have both won Bronze in NTDTV's dance competition in 2014 and 2016.
Ms. Puleo is a professional dancer and teacher. She studied the Vaganova Ballet Method under Hanna Karacic through childhood, then attended the University of Oregon, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Dance. Along with modern, contemporary ballet and African Dance, she studied kinesiology and somatic practice.
Alyssa Puleo has over ten years of teaching experience. She specializes in Pre-school Preparatory dance and technique coaching. Now residing in San Francisco, Ms. Puleo loves to share her love of dance and strives to inspire an undying support for the arts. In her years as a dancer, she has worked with renowned artists such as Katie Scherman, Robin Bryant, and Holly Johnston. Ms. Puleo was the featured dancer in Disney's Beauty and the Beast in Las Vegas in 2016. In January 2018, she premiered Assez with Katie Scherman at the Women in Dance Conference in New York.
Visual Arts Teachers
Ms. Hao has loved painting since childhood. She received three years of professional art training at an arts high school. In 1991, she studied art at the Fine Arts Department of Hebei University of Science and Technology. After graduation, she began to study and practice Western classical painting, traditional Chinese painting, graphic design and sculpture. Many of her works are customized and collected privately. In 2014, she participated in the “World Realistic Portrait Painting Contest” and won “Outstanding Humanities Award.”
Yue Wang was born in Da Qing, China. She is a creative artist with professional skills and great enthusiasm for illustrating and creating artworks. She started learning to draw and paint when she was around 10 years old. After middle school, Yue Wang decided to be a professional artist, so she kept studying art during her three years in high school, getting a solid foundation in art skills. For pursuing her artistic dream, Yue Wang then went to the Ukraine to study Western oil painting in 2008. During her college years, she had several paintings that were chosen as excellent student’s artworks to show in the academy and they were kept as part of the collection of the academy. In 2013, Yue Wang received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Arts. In 2015, Yue Wang came to San Francisco and studied at the Academy of the Arts for her master degree. She expanded her horizon to Digital Painting, the Graphic Novel for Comic Book, Perspective for Illustrators, and etc. As a teacher, she hopes that she can help students to build a solid foundation of drawing and develop students’ hand-drawing skills so that students have the ability to create their own work independently with solid drawing technique.
Born into a family of artists, Ms. Anne Sohn has had a passion for the arts from a young age. At the age of six, she started learning traditional Korean dance. In 2006, she was accepted to Fei Tian Academy of the Arts New York where she received training in Classical Chinese dance. She toured with Shen Yun Performing Arts for two years and then went to study abroad. Upon returning to the United States, she began teaching Chinese dance at Xian Yun Academy in 2010. After finding great interest in early childhood education, Ms. Sohn joined Xian Yun’s Extended Education program in 2015 and is currently pursuing a degree in education.