Faculty & Staff

Our teachers take a holistic approach to the development of young and talented students in our secondary school program. The rigorous study will meet students’ needs, interests, and abilities. Flexibility in course offerings permits those with outstanding ability in one or more academic areas to move forward at a pace that allows them to reach their fullest potential. In addition, Xian Yun’s faculty members provide a positive outlook on life for each student.



Sherry Zhang Dr. Sherry Zhang – Principal

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. She later worked as a consultant at a medical device company for 2 years. Dr. Zhang started her own company in the Silicon Valley in 2005. She has a passion for traditional arts and 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.

FengxuanCao_web Ms. Fengxuan Cao – Assistant PrincipalMs. 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.
Lona Lou Ms. Lona Lou, M.A. – Academic DirectorMs. 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.


Arts Faculty

Dance Faculty

Arnold Yu Mr. Arnold Yu – Dance InstructorMr. 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.
Sherry Hu Ms. Sherry Hu – Dance InstructorBorn in the United States, Ms. Hu grew up with a passion for dance, piano, and the arts. At 6 years old, she learned ballet and tap dance. Then at age 12, she encountered Chinese dance and felt it was the perfect way to connect to her Chinese roots. She performed in Tianjiao Performing Arts and NTDTV’s Chinese New Year productions from 2003 to 2006. She deepened her understanding of Classical Chinese Dance by attending Fei Tian Academy of the Arts New York. Later she joined Shen Yun Performing Arts as a principal dancer, touring globally from 2006 to 2008, showing thousands of people the beauty of traditional Chinese culture. Ms. Hu has been sharing her love of this artistic form by teaching Classical Chinese dance fundamentals and tumbling skills, as well as choreographing a variety of dances at Xian Yun CA since 2010. Several of her students have gone on to become performers in Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Xiya Li Ms. Xiya Li – Dance InstructorMs. 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 of the Arts New York 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.
Guang Li Mr. Guang Li – Dance InstructorMr. Li studied classical Chinese dance at Fei Tian New York. He then traveled and performed with Shen Yun from 2008 to 2010. After his time in Shen Yun, he began teaching classical Chinese dance to middle and high school students in Taiwan. He has taught at Xian Yun CA now for several years. In both Taiwan and at Xian Yun CA, he has choreographed award-winning dance pieces, including awards won by our students in the KAR dance competition.
 Selena Ren Ms. Selena Ren – Dance InstructorBorn in Anhui, China, Ms. Ren came to the United States at age 4. At age 14, she began studying Classical Chinese dance at Fei Tian Academy of the Arts in New York and graduated in 2012 with honors and an Excellent Achievement Award in classical Chinese dance. Ms. Ren toured and performed for 6 years as a talented dancer with Shen Yun Performing Arts in top theaters around the world. Ms. Ren received Honor Award at the 2010 and 2012 NTDTV International Classical Chinese Dance Competitions.Ms. Ren has built up extensive teaching experience by teaching all levels and age groups at Xian Yun CA and Fei Tian Taiwan.  She loves to encourage, interact and communicate with her students through dance.
Liu jie Mr. Jerry Liu – Dance InstructorMr. Liu graduated from New York Fei Tian College in 2015 with an honorary Bachelor’s degree in Chinese Classical Dance. He was a dancer with Shen Yun Performing Arts between 2007-2010. Mr Liu has taught Chinese Classical Dance to middle and high school students in Taiwan and is currently a dance teacher with Xian Yun Academy of the Arts California.


Visual Art Faculty

Qiu Yan Hao Ms. Qiu Yan Hao – Visual Arts InstructorMs. 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.”
Perry Uzunoglu Mr. Perry Uzunoglu, B.A. – Visual Arts Instructor, Operations DirectorMr. Uzunoglu graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Art degree in 2009. His studies included traditional western drawing and oil painting as well as graphic design, screen printing, and paper making. Mr. Uzunoglu wishes to provide solid training in the fundamentals of drawing, painting, and design while helping students realize and develop their own artistic purposes and to tell their stories through their art.


Academics Faculty

Cornelia Ritter Ms. Cornelia Ritter – Math InstructorMs. 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.
LeeRandazzo_web Mr. Lee Randazzo, M.A. – English and History InstructorMr. 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 15 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.
Caroline Lo Ms. Caroline Loh – English InstructorMs. Loh earned her BA in English through the University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg and her Master’s in English Education through the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. She gained eight years of experience teaching middle and high school English prior to her arrival at Xian Yun. She also has experience leading and facilitating teamwork as an ultimate frisbee captain and head basketball coach. Ms. Loh now teaches English at Xian Yun.
IMG_9663 copy_web Mr. David Carpenter – History InstructorMr. Carpenter earned his BA in History and Journalism from Sacramento State University, and his Master’s in History from San Jose State University. Before coming to Xian Yun CA, he worked as a substitute teacher for grades K through 12, gaining experience with both public charter schools and at-risk youth. He is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, an honor society for history majors.

Mr. Matthew White – Science Instructor Mr. White has an Honors B.S. degree in Biochemistry with Distinction, and a minor in Spanish Language and Literature, May 2013, from the University of Delaware, Newark, DE, where he was on the Dean’s List every semester. From 2011 – 2013 he was an HHMI Research Scholar with C.G. Riordan Group. After graduating from U.D. he became a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the Graduate Program in Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. He gained experience teaching through being a Graduate Instructor at U.C. Berkeley, and before that a teaching assistant and a tutor-facilitator at the University of Delaware. He is a Phi Βeta Κappa Member and Clift Award Winner and has also earned the Elizabeth Dyer Award for Excellence in Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Frank Collins Award in Biochemistry, the Kevin Scott Beall Memorial Award in Chemistry, and the AAUP Student Award, U.D. Chapter

IMG_9630 copy_web Mr. Qining Cai – Chinese Instructor 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.
Beth Lambert Ms. Beth Lambert Jen, MLIS, M.A. – ESL, English Instructor; LibrarianMs. Beth Lambert Jen holds masters degrees in Library and Information Science and in Applied French Language from San Jose State University and l’Universite Paris IV – La Sorbonne respectively. Her masters at the Sorbonne focused on second language acquisition. As an MLIS student, she interned at the library at the San Diego Zoo, which holds an extensive inventory of research books and journals. She is a member of CLA (California Library Association) and BAYA (Bay Area Young Adult Librarians).
Adele Wang Ms. Adele Wang – After-School Program DirectorMs. Wang came to Xian Yun with 16 years of teaching experience and two college degrees, one in education and the other in early childhood development. In her teaching she helps young children understand, speak and write the Mandarin language, bringing in stories for the class to read together and working with the students to recognize and write the characters. As you watch her you will see the careful balance she maintains between praising the students for what they are doing and encouraging them to increase their abilities. She often uses the characters’ etymology to help students remember their meaning.
Min Zang Ms. Min Zang – Chinese InstructorMs. 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.
Vega Ms. Vega Nilau, After-School Program and Piano TeacherMs. Nilau began studying ballet at the age of 6 and piano at the age of 8 in Poland. She migrated to Australia at the age of 9 where she furthered her dance and piano studies under virtuoso pianist, Natasha Ivanovsky Perkins, and Shen Yun Performing Arts Conductor, Yuan Gao. She was a dancer in the Sydney 2000 Olympics Closing Ceremony and won an award for High Recommendation at the Ryde City Eisteddford.Ms Nilau received her graduation diploma with honors from Fei Tian New York in 2010. She toured with Shen Yun Performing Arts from 2007 to 2012 as the Principal Percussionist. In 2012, she was accepted into Fei Tian College in NY under full scholarship, where she was intensively trained in piano, percussion, solfège, both Western and Chinese music theory and history, as well as vocal studies. Ms Nilau came to Xian Yun CA in 2014 and teaches in our after-school program, as well as piano and choir.
IMG_0213 copy_web Ms. Anne Sohn, After-School Program TeacherBorn 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 CA in 2010. After finding great interest in early childhood education, Ms. Sohn joined Xian Yun CA’s After-School program in 2015 and is currently pursuing a degree in education.