Program Director at Whispering Wind Academy

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Ruth Jay - World Language Teacher/Mandarin Program Director at Whispering Wind Academy

My name is Ruth Jay.  I have been teaching Mandarin as an enrichment subject to kindergarten to 6th-grade students since 2009. I teach each class 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes.  Interestingly, I started my teaching career in 2006 as a regular 2nd-grade teacher at Whispering Wind Academy.  I have been at Whispering Wind Academy since 2006 and have loved being here.  My role as a teacher has evolved over the years from being the first Mandarin teacher at Paradise Valley Unified School District to helping implement the dual language immersion program at Whispering Wind Academy.  I am happy and proud to be part of the Whispering Wind faculty.  

I have a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia and a Masters in Elementary Education from the Northern Arizona University.  I am currently pursuing my doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Arizona.  I love mountain biking during the weekends and cannot wait to go skiing with my two children, Russell and Stephanie during the winter months.

Mandarin DLI Teacher BIOs

DLI Kindergarden

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 My name is Fang Zheng. I'm from Kaifeng, Henan, China. I got my master's  degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland  and started to work as a 1st grade teacher in the Dual Language  Immersion Program in Casper, Wyoming. After two years' teaching in  Wyoming, I moved to Phoenix and began to teach Kindergarten at  Whispering Wind Academy. As a teacher, I love to see my students grow  both academically and socially in a 100% foreign language environment.  Besides teaching, I enjoy traveling, movies, and time with family and  friends. fzheng@pvschools.net

DLI 1st Grade

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I am from Shenzhen China. I got my M. Ed at University of Maryland. I interned in China as a primary school English teacher before, and as a TOEFL and IELTS teacher in an institution. I interned in DC International School and Baltimore International Academy in Maryland when I was in graduate school. I like sharing Chinese Cultures to others, and I like all kinds of languages! I love eating and traveling! I am open to all kinds of advice and wants to be a better teacher. :)  Mali Liao mliao@pvschools.net (1st grade) 


DLI 2nd Grade

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My name is Niya Ma.  I come from Chengdu, China, which is the hometown of pandas. I graduated from the University of Georgia with my Master's degree of Educational Administration and Policy. I worked as an English teacher in China, and I taught in both Elementary school and Middle school. When I was in Atlanta after graduation, I worked as a kindergarten teacher and taught Chinese in a private preschool. I'm very passionate about getting every student involved in my classroom. In my free time I enjoy walking my dog, watching movies, Llstening to music, and working out.

Niya Ma

nma@pvschools.net

DLI 3rd Grade

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My Name is Jing Nie. I come from Chengdu, Sichuan, China. I got my undergraduate degree in Sichuan Normal University, majoring in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Language. I taught college students Chinese language art when I was in school and also English speaking/listening on TOEFL test. Then I came to the U.S. and got my master degree from University of Maryland, majoring in Curriculum and Instruction. During my full-time student teaching, I taught 3rd grade in a full immersion Chinese class. I was a kindergarten teacher in my first year teaching and now I am a 3rd/4th Chinese immersion teacher in Whispering Wind Academy. I enjoy Reading, movies, and swimming. 

Jing Nie

 jnie@pvlearners.net 

DLI 4th / 5th Grade

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My name is Shuang Gou or gòu lǎo shī, and I am originally from Sichuan, China. In 2010, I graduated from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California with a Master's  degree in Foreign Language Education. I have been teaching both ESL and Mandarin Chinese for the past few years. I have worked with students of different ages and backgrounds, ranging from college to elementary level. I have taught in Chengdu, China, Cleveland, OH, Twin Cities, MN, Pomona, CA, Seattle, WA, and most recently in Oakland, CA. I am excited to join the WWA DLI program. And I look forward to building exciting curriculum that will help our students excel in Mandarin and become creative thinkers that will help make our world a better place. 

 sgou@pvlearners.net 

DLI 6th Grade

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My name is Qiong Xia. I am originally from Wuhan, China. I came to  the States in 2007 for my Master's Degree in Applied Linguistics at the  University of Northern Iowa after teaching five years in China. I  obtained the Doctoral Degree (PhD) in Curriculum and Instruction,  specialized in Second Language Education and Culture, from the  University of Maryland in 2016. I have taught Mandarin Chinese to  elementary and college students and have provided workshops and  trainings for Mandarin teachers in the States. I moved to AZ to reunite  with my husband, and we have three children, two boys and one girl! I  enjoy spending my time with my family, cooking, and traveling!  

Qiong Xia: qxia@pvlearners.net  

English DLI Teacher BIOs

DLI Kindergarden

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Ms. Brown - kindergarten 

jibrown@pvlearners.net

DLI 1st Grade

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 Sarah Platten, 1st grade teacher


Educational Background: Master's degree, 

Elementary Education, Arizona State University.  Taught for four years in a private school. Taught two years in a charter school. Has been teaching at WWA since 2016


Teaching styles:Nurture students' love for reading by allowing them to grow at their own pace. Hands-on is Minds-on.

  

splatten@pvlearners.net

DLI 2nd Grade

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My name is  K. Elisabeth Milich.  I have known I have wanted to be a teacher since I was 5 year old. I grew up in Tucson, Arizona. However,  I attended Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois for college.  I was able to pursue a teaching degree while attending school on a soccer scholarship.  I graduated in 1998 with a bachelors in elementary education.  I taught for one year in Illinois, then had my first baby, and was blessed to be able to stay home and raise my kiddos.   I have 3 kids, my oldest is 18, my middle child is 15 and my youngest is 11.  In January I will have been married for 20 years. I have been back teaching for the past 5 years.  I started as a long term substitute teacher, then finally obtained an Arizona teaching certificate and have officially taught for 2 years. I can not imagine doing anything else as a career.  I am passionate about teaching kids to love reading! I am thankful to be working at the best school.  

DLI 3rd Grade

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My name is Kelly Van Steenhuyse and I am a 3rd Grade English Mandarin Immersion Teacher at Whispering Wind Academy.  This will be my 5 year at WWA!
I previously taught for 5 years in the Cartwright School District teaching 5 & 6th grades.  I am originally from Chicago, Illinois where I taught 2nd through 5th grades.  This will my 17 year of teaching.  I received by Elementary Education degree from St. Ambrose University  in Davenport, Ia.  in 2001.  I love my job as a teacher and I wouldn't change it for the world. 

Parents can feel free to email me @ kvansteenhuyse@pvlearners.net

 or call me at (602) 449-7300. 

DLI 4th / 5th Grade

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  My name is Mrs. Wilson.  I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but have lived in Phoenix, Arizona most of my life.  I am married and have two boys.  I graduated from Arizona State University West in 2002 earning an Elementary Education degree with an E.S.L. endorsement.   I also have an endorsement as a Reading Specialist.  My teaching background is mostly in the upper elementary grades (4th and 5th), but I have taught middle and high school students as well.  Before coming to Whispering Wind Academy, I taught at Echo Mountain Intermediate School, Brightmont Academy Private School, and Sunnyslope Elementary School.   When I am not teaching, I enjoy traveling, reading, DIY projects, and playing games with my family. 

 swilson@pvlearners.net 

DLI 6th Grade

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 BIO Under Construction