Elina C. Chen
After over 14+ years of marketing communications and digital media strategy that contribute to the success of Fortune 100 organizations, Elina decide to transition into making her childhood dream and passion come true― working with young children in the early childhood education field. This bold career move gave her more freedom to focus on her family, devote to love of learning, and support children of all diverse backgrounds in her community.
She has traded-in her high-heels in the corporate world, and stepped into the Montessori school campuses with her favorite Puma sneakers, as a certified teacher from the American Montessori Society (AMS) and Yoga Alliance - Kids Yoga (RCYT) since early 2016. She specialize in Administration Management, Integrated Curriculum Design/ Planning, and Kids Yoga for Montessori classrooms of mixed-ages, ranging from 3 to 6 years old. Being fluent in dual-language (Chinese-Mandarin and English) instructions, she brings a new research-based perspective on how to introduce language immersion to young children in early childhood education. Take a look into her life journey on the NIMS Blog.
Marianna has earned her teaching credentials at City College of San Francisco in the area of General and Special Education, with emphasis on Early Intervention Focus, and certification as Health Care Interpreter who is fluent in Chinese - Mandarin, Cantonese, and English. She is a firm believer in introducing young children positive dual-language experiences through whole-child approach with fun, engaging activities, and purposeful educational games.
While being an active ballroom dancer with great passion in Chinese Calligraphy, Chinese Brush Painting and gourmet cooking, Marianna ultimately loved spending time around young children and immerse herself with their charismatic aura everyday. She has been extensively working in early childhood education and extended care programs between ages of infant to 5 years old since 2002. Not only her broad experiences expand beyond teaching in classrooms for infant/ toddlers and Pre-K children; but also advocate in educating healthy habits on good nutrition, oral hygiene, early detection of vision/ hearing challenges, and most importantly in nurturing happy memories that boost positive physiological psychology experiences within their learning environment.
As a Family Support Specialist during Marianna's career in early years, she contribute her expertise in bilingual translations for families and children of all ages with special needs. She dedicates her time outside of the classroom in working at San Carlos Elm (an assisted senior living community) to support services for residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s diseases. Her tirelessly efforts awarded as Employee of the Month by early 2008.
Xinye has earned her AMS early childhood Montessori Certificate from Montessori Teacher Education Center. She earned her B.A. in English Language and Literature in Zhejiang University and holds a master’s in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Xinye worked in a Montessori preschool for two years in the Bay Area. Now she is working on her Ph.D. degree in Linguistics in the University of California, Davis. Xinye focuses on bilingual acquisition, child language development, and sociolinguistics and has conducted several field studies on multilingual practices in classrooms, interventions for cross-cultural language learners, and the acquisition of language variation in heritage languages. Learn more about Xinye’s academic work at https://linguistics.ucdavis.edu/people/xinyez. Working with multilingual speakers and young language learners for more than 6 years, Xinye always finds joy in supporting her students in language learning. She especially loves to read stories with children and enjoy the time they can spend together in the fantastic world. In her spare time, Xinye likes watching movies, working on calligraphy and handicrafts, cooking, and doing yoga.
NUTRITION ADVISOR & TEACHER
Robin Wilner is a San Francisco based holistic nutritionist and certified yoga instructor with a passion for moving mindfully and eating consciously. She specializes in working with people who are ready to step into a life of empowerment, human connection, conscious living and wellness and draws from a myriad of experience in the performing arts, coaching and mentorship, yoga and nutrition, and public speaking.
It was during her six years performing with the cast of Broadway’s “WICKED” that Robin began to pursue a Masters of Science in Holistic Nutrition, determined to stay healthy, fit and energized in the long-term without going to extremes. Much of her life had been spent with disordered eating patterns and viewing food as an enemy. While experimenting with more mindful eating, Robin soon discovered a severe gluten intolerance that completely changed her relationship with food. The holistic approach helped her to see herself as a whole being with a unique composition, rather than as just a body in the mirror trying to look like everyone else. The more she learned about food as medicine, the better she began to feel. And now she compassionately shares that knowledge with anyone who decides to work with her.
Since 2014, Robin has been fusing together her love of creative movement, meditation, breath work, and food as medicine, always striving to guide her clients towards a fuller and more vital sense of self and overall well-being. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Communications & Media Studies and completed her Masters in Holistic Nutrition from Hawthorn University.
ACADEMIC ADVISOR & LEAD TEACHER
As a Primary Teacher from both AMI (Montessori Institute of San Diego) and AMS (Montessori Teachers Education Center, Taiwan) certifications, Gloria has been guiding early childhood children in classrooms from China to U.S. over 18 years. After extensive experience with Montessori classroom management, she pursue in opening her own Montessori preschool from 2014 to 2019. She loves to teach, design, and develop curriculum materials in Chinese language. She also specialize in training the language system to other Montessori teachers for more than 5 years. Her vision is helping more young children around world to learn and grow. Gloria firmly believes that Dr. Maria Montessori has "let us always remind ourselves, let us follow the footsteps of children, explore the mind of children... Everything we do to a child will bear fruit and not only affect his life, but also determine his life.”
Pianist Candice Choi is excited to bring her exceptionally unique East Coast musical training back to her hometown, San Francisco. Her imaginative and festive performance of Richard Danielpour’s Enchanted Garden crowned her the winner of New Jersey Music Teacher’s Association (NJTMA) Young Musicians Competition and her fervent interpretation of Saint Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 awarded her the honorable 2009 Concerto Competition winner at University of the Pacific. Committed to giving back to her community, Candice Choi has presented solo and collaborative recitals for educational outreach, academic scholarship fundraising, world-wide mission trips, and for the elderly at a variety of retirement homes throughout the United States.
Ms. Choi earned her M.M. in Piano Pedagogy and Performance with distinction from Westminster Choir College of Rider University and her B.M. in Piano Performance from University of the Pacific’s Conservatory of Music.
Passionate about educating tomorrow’s world, Ms. Choi finds joy in cultivating a love and appreciation of music in her piano students! She is the owner and director of Musicians in the Making in Daly City, CA. She has held former faculty positions at The New School for Music Study in Kingston, NJ, Westminster Conservatory in Princeton, NJ, Amabile School of Music in San Francisco, CA and Toones Academic Music in Foster City, CA. Since 2014, Ms. Choi has served as a Board of Directors of Music Teachers’ Association of California, San Francisco Branch. Learn more about Ms. Choi at: www.musiciansinthemaking.com.
Joni Liu is a passionate, enthusiastic Montessori-certified teacher who strives to ensure the success of every student she meets. She hopes to inspire and spread the joy of learning to anyone she can!
Joni received her Master of Education in America. While as an intern, she expanded her teaching experience in public schools, including special education students.
During her time in California, she received her AMI Primary Diploma (3-6yrs) from MISD, studied teaching with Silvia C. Dubovoy and Cristina Andrea De Leon Medina, and embraced the opportunity to observe multiple Montessori schools. Joni began her teaching journey in 2019 and has shared her love of Montessori education ever since. Playing the ukulele is her new hobby. She is excited to start her next chapter with Neo Immersion Montessori School!