The Chinese Language Academy provides effective and engaging Chinese Mandarin programs to children and teenagers. We collaborate with charter schools and private academies to bring high quality Chinese Mandarin programs to their students. CLA also offers afterschool and weekend classes, private tutoring and summer programs to individual young students.
All of our Chinese language teachers have Master’s degrees and possess a genuine passion in educating young learners. With years of academic and professional training as well as classroom teaching experience, our Mandarin instructors are accomplished in guiding students to successfully acquire a new language. CLA uses ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners as our standard and we specialize in making our classes interactive, interesting and inspiring.
Our academic team designs our curriculum based on extensive research and years of practice in teaching children of different ages and backgrounds. The most advanced and effective methods and techniques are used in our classroom to ensure that the students have a fun experience and solid progress in their Mandarin Chinese studies.
Director of Academic Affairs
Ysabella Chen is the Director of Academic Affairs at the Chinese Language Academy of Los Angeles.
Ysabella has worked at Huazhong Normal University as a Mandarin Chinese instructor to international students where she taught students from North America, Europe and Asia, and developed a unique teaching methodology to help students learn Mandarin in an efficient and joyful way. Ysabella has also taught Mandarin at the Upward Bound Program of The U.S. Department of Education. Many of her students are now working for the US government or international companies. As a linguist, Ysabella has provided interpretation services for more than 200 CEOs and government officials including congressmen and members of the President's Cabinet.
Before joining the Chinese Language Academy of Los Angeles, Ysabella worked as a Program Officer at the Chinese Language Flagship Program at American Councils for International Education. Her linguist background and program management experience were utilized to support U.S. college students to learn Mandarin and reach a superior level of proficiency critical to U.S. competitiveness and security.
Ysabella received her Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese Linguistics from Huazhong Normal University and her Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland. She holds a Level 1 Certificate of Chinese National Mandarin Test.
Director of Operations
Justin Saka is the Director of Operations at the Chinese Language Academy of Los Angeles.
Justin has gained operational management experience from his time at public accounting firm Deloitte & Touche and entertainment industry giant The Walt Disney Company. In both positions, he was involved in training and managing teams with specific goals and objectives.
His passion for advancing Asian culture and awareness led Justin to take on a leadership role in the UCLA Asian Pacific Alumni Association as Vice President of Programming. As VP, Justin is responsible for organizing and managing a team of alumni to create and execute events that align with the key initiatives of the UCLA Alumni Association.
Justin also held the position of Director of Operations at one of the largest and most successful Asian American events companies in Los Angeles. Managing a staff of more than 20 highly motivated individuals, the company has promoted and operated events throughout LA. Under his leadership, the company has been able to lead the industry for the past 10 years because of its commitment to a quality experience for both the client and the attendee.
Justin holds a Bachelors of Arts in Business Economics with a minor in Accounting from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
Si Chen is an enthusiastic and creative Chinese teacher with years of hands-on experience as a language teacher for both adults and young children. Her experience of incorporating new technology and interesting resources into the class ensures that her students are always engaged. Ms. Chen has taught over 200 students in the U.S. and China.
Ms. Chen’s academic training in education makes it possible for her to apply sociocultural and social cognitive theories in her teaching and develop different curricula based on class size and student proficiency levels. Building a good rapport with students is one of her strengths; with a genuine passion for teaching, Ms. Chen always fosters an encouraging and fun learning environment and promotes interactions between the students and the teacher, and among students themselves. Ms. Chen is also experienced in planning creative lessons. Her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Media offers her creative thinking capabilities.
Before joining the Chinese Language Academy of Los Angeles, Ms. Chen worked as an English instructor to VIP students at the New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc, the second largest educational company in China. Her linguist background and teaching skills helped hundreds of students achieve their goals in acquiring a foreign language.
Ms. Chen received her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Media from Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology and her Master’s Degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the University of Southern California (USC).
Doris Gao is a well experienced Mandarin language teacher who has taught in China, New Zealand and the United States. She has completed four years of professional academic education in teaching Chinese to speakers of other languages and she has been in the Teaching Chinese as a Second Language field for more than 6 years.
Ms. Gao has taught students from different age groups, nationalities, occupations and proficiency levels. She has worked at an international college in China teaching Mandarin to students from North America, Asia and Australia. In New Zealand, she has offered private Chinese lessons to adults, and in the U.S., she has taught elementary school. Her education background and experience teaching in different countries helped her to understand the backgrounds of different students so that she can develop different teaching plans to meet the demand of certain groups or individuals, and support them to reach their learning goals. Her distinctive teaching style makes her class joyful, motivating, and effective.
Ms. Gao holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages from Qufu Normal University and her Master’s Degree in Second Language Teaching form Waikato Institute of Technology in New Zealand. She obtained her Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language Certificate from National Vocational Qualification, United Kingdom.
Sarah Liu is a patient and professional Chinese teacher with experience in teaching students from a variety of backgrounds. Having taught in Thailand, China, and the United States, Sarah is familiar with the challenges and rewards of teaching students in multiple contexts.
Based on her academic training in language education, Sarah is especially experienced in utilizing visual and audio techniques during her teaching, with the aid of various media such as video clips, pictures, and graph books. She also has experience in helping advanced speakers with their critical thinking in Chinese ways to comprehend Chinese social issues and culture. She has helped many students pass the HSK (Chinese language proficiency test) and achieve top scores in AP Chinese courses. Her strategy of relating the knowledge to the student's prior experience has also encouraged them to be confident to speak their target language (Mandarin). The safe and friendly environment that she provides enables them to use the language more freely.
Sarah received her Bachelor’s Degree in English from Wuhan University with a Minor in Psychology and her Master’s Degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the University of Southern California (USC). Her fluency in both English and Mandarin Chinese makes it easier to communicate with English speaking students.
Before joining the Chinese Language Academy of Los Angeles, Sarah worked as a Mandarin Chinese instructor at a language center in Pasadena CA. Her educational background and teaching skills have helped hundreds of students to achieve their goals of acquiring a foreign language.
Dan Luo is a passionate and innovative Chinese instructor who has taught in the United States since 2010. She has instructed students in various classroom settings, including college lectures, group classes for professionals, afterschool classes, and heritage student weekend classes. She is also familiar with drill practice and target-oriented teaching in one-on-one lessons. Benefited from her profound Classical Chinese study and the training of foreign language pedagogy in the U.S., she is capable at comparing and connecting Chinese culture with the students’ own cultures, and she applies her knowledge of foreign language pedagogy in real life practice to make the learning effective. Her performance in these classes was well-received.
Ms. Luo has created curriculum design for both adults and children. She is familiar with the National 5C Standards in Foreign language pedagogy in U.S. and applies it very well in her classrooms. Effective and successful communication is an important teaching goal for her so she puts her focus on building a student-oriented and task-based learning environment. Ms Luo is also excellent at business Chinese terminology attributing to her Master’s Degree in Business Management and years of working experiences in Sunshine Insurance, a well known national insurance company in China.
Ms. Luo holds her M.A. Degree in Chinese from San Francisco State University and M.S. Degree in Business Management from Jiangsu University. She holds the certificate of the highest level of Mandarin Proficiency issued by the National Language Committee of China. She is also a member of Phi Sigma Iota, which is the highest academic honor in the field of foreign language and literature.
Ning Kang is enthusiastic instructor with four years of professional academic training in teaching Mandarin Chinese as a second language and seven years of teaching experience. Ms. Kang has taught students of various backgrounds and most of her students described her class as a fun, challenging, and enriching experience. Ms. Kang speaks four languages (Chinese, English, Korean and Japanese), and she brings her profound understanding of the process of language acquisition into her class.
Before joining the Chinese Language Academy of Los Angeles, Ms. Kang has worked at The Chinese School of South Jersey, Cherry Hill as a Chinese instructor and also at Temple University in Philadelphia as an ESL instructor. Ms. Kang emphasizes interaction in her teaching and she uses effective methods and technologies to motivate each student to achieve the desired learning goal.
Ning received her Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language from Yantai University and her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Shuxiang Li is a proficient and eager Chinese teacher who has taught both in China and the United States for 13 years. In China she was a professional Chinese teacher in the Chinese Language and Literature Department of Zhaoqing University. The subjects she taught varied from Chinese language to Chinese culture. In addition, she was the Director of Cadet Teachers for 3 years and in charge of the Chinese Language specialty classes for 6 years. Ms. Li has been a Chinese instructor in the Wisconsin Youth Company for 2 years. Until now she has taught more than 3,000 students at all levels and diverse backgrounds. She is excellent at making teaching plans to meet the needs of individual students.
In the early years of her teaching career she won first place in the Young Teacher Teaching Competition due to her excellent performance in Chinese Language teaching. She has done enormous research on language learning procedures and published a monograph on language studying by a Chinese leading professional publishing house as well as 12 volumes of children’s illustrated books.
Ms. Li holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese Language Education from Hebei Normal University and her Master’s Degree from Shandong Normal University.