Martha Anderson Ortiz is an Educational Administrator who is focused on innovative language learning. She understands the unique needs of an “entrepreneurial” school environment, having been involved in the founding of several language immersion schools in China. She has served as the Director of the Secondary Division (grades 6-12) at Tsinghua International School, Beijing; as International Principal at Wahaha Bilingual School, Hangzhou; and as Founding Principal of Wahaha International School, Hangzhou. She is committed to fostering safe, progressive, and student-centered learning environments—those that stimulate student potential and growth while supporting academic excellence. Martha has learned Mandarin through immersion, and understands both the challenges and joys of the process.
At Wellesley College (Mass.), Martha discovered the richness of China and of the Chinese language. She spent twelve years studying and working in China, using Chinese on a daily basis. She is a lifelong learner, and delights in picking up new skills in Chinese in unexpected situations.
Martha is an “interculturalist”—one who facilitates interaction across cultures. She has pursued
opportunities to support study abroad with AFS Intercultural Programs, Inc., the China Institute
in America, both in New York, and with Elite Scholars of China, Beijing. She has designed courses in Intercultural Communication for Chinese university students and studied Intercultural Communication by focusing on communication among individuals, within and across organizations, and between governments. As a New York City native, Martha grew up valuing the diversity within herself and in those around her, and brings that appreciation wherever she goes.
Martha earned a BA in Chinese Language and Literature at Wellesley College and received an MA in International Educational Development from Columbia University’s Teachers College, with a focus on the policies and management of multicultural learning environments. She studied professional-level Mandarin and comparative educational systems at the Inter-University Program (IUP) at Tsinghua University, Beijing.
Martha and her husband both speak Mandarin. They have a young daughter, who they hope will become bilingual in Mandarin and English. Martha has been coming to Oregon to visit family since she was a baby, and moved to Oregon from China in 2016. She is very excited to join the growing NWCA community in July 2018.
Director of Operations and Finance
Anita DeHaan joined the Administrative Team at Northwest Chinese Academy in July of 2015. Anita is a native Oregonian and has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Western Oregon State University located in Monmouth, Oregon. She has worked the last 12 years in the Childcare Industry as a Center Director, Assistant Director and Infant Teacher. Her work experience includes substitute teaching in public and private schools, Worker’s Compensation Medical Adjuster, training customer service reps on company specific software and developing and managing a small certified child care center. Her passion is to have a positive influence on the lives of children.
Donna Huang has been a member of the NWCA teaching staff since 2008 and has been the anchor of the early childhood Chinese immersion program. Donna Laoshi attended college in Shenzhen, China. She has obtained certificates from Soochow University, China, and the Confucius Institute in both Portland and China. Her past work experiences have also included working in special education as well as first grade teacher. Donna Laoshi strives to provide a classroom where students are supported by loving care, patience, fairness, discipline, and understanding. She is excited about her students’ desire to learn Chinese and says, “The best moments are those where the children speak to me in Chinese.”
Yuan (Emily) Gao joined NWCA in February 2014. Gao Laoshi grew up in eastern China and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She has received a certificate of Worldwide Montessori Teacher Training. Emily has several years experience teaching in Mandarin Chinese programs in greater Portland. Prior to coming NWCA, she experienced teaching in public and private school settings. According to Gao Laoshi, education should be learner-centered. She says,” I believe the most important thing a teacher can do is get to know their students. When you truly know what they enjoy and how they learn, you can develop a safe and enriching environment where everyone can be successful.” As an international educator, Emily feels that integrating both social and academic skills is important to the learning process. By teaching Chinese language and culture, Emily says she’s building a bridge between China and America and educating global citizens for the whole world. While in China, she worked in Human Resources and Administration departments in foreign capital enterprises.
Limei Huang joined the teaching staff at NWCA in the fall of 2015. She has taught both preschool and kindergarten at our school. She will return this year to work with our kindergarten students. An educator for the past 16 years, her goal is to make a positive difference in children’s lives as some of her own teachers did. She has played various roles during these years: she earned a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education; she has taught in classrooms (infant/toddler and preschool settings, after-school and Saturday Chinese programs); she has been a site director at a child development center; she has monitored education services for Head Start and Early Head Start programs; she has conducted trainings and assessments for infant/toddler and preschool programs. She also operated a language immersion family childcare. With all her wealth of knowledge and experience, she strongly believes in language immersion and remains excited about being part of the NWCA community.
First Grade Teacher
Tianjiao (Annie) Lu joined the NWCA teaching staff in 2015 and will serve as our first grade teacher again this year. She has a Master’s Degree in Education. As a patient and detail-oriented person, she values perseverance and flexibility. Lu Laoshi believes that every child should have the chance to learn and experience the joy of learning. She creates and fosters a caring and safe environment where “each child is valued and encouraged to reach their source of inspiration, and guide them in their journey of life. Thus, I found that teaching is a meaningful, joyful and rewarding career.”
Second Grade Teacher
Chunxiao Lv joined NWCA in 2016, initially starting out as a preschool teacher. She then transitioned to second grade teaching in 2017 and has enjoyed that age-level. She originally graduated from Oregon State University in Human Development and Family Sciences, with a focus on Early Childhood Development. Xiaoxiao Laoshi believes that every child should be able to have a fullfilling childhood and experience their world through play and curiosity. With professionalism and enthusiasm, she aims to provide a safe, rigorous, and enjoyable classroom environment for her students.
Third Grade Teacher
Grace Yin started her career as a Chinese immersion teacher when her family moved to Oregon in 2009. She joined the NWCA teaching team in 2014, initially teaching the preschool class. She then transitioned to third grade teacher the following two years, before serving our Interim Principal for 2017-18. Yin Laoshi has a Bachelor of Arts in Education and English and has earned an advanced level teaching certificate and a certificate of Mandarin Proficiency while teaching in China. She has 14 years of experience working in the education field. While in Nanjing, China, she served as Director of Education. She then immigrated to the US and initially worked as a Chinese Linguist for Rosetta Stone. She is excited to continue her passion for teaching as the third grade teacher.
Fourth Grade Teacher
Dan Wang initially started at NWCA in 2011. She will return to teaching a dedicated fourth grade class, after teaching a combined fourth/fifth grade class in 2017-18. Wang Laoshi attended Shan’xi Normal University in China, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Language and Literature. After she came to US, she studied the Instructional Technology in Education at the University of Tennessee. Wang Laoshi says, “Teaching is a creative work that helps students learn from experience, and explore the wonder of the world. I found that teaching is a joyful and meaningful career.” She likes traveling, hiking, swimming, and camping. She looks forward to meeting her new students, and wishes to have a wonderful and productive school year with them.
Fifth Grade Teacher
Biyi Li joined the teaching staff at NWCA in 2014 and will serve as our fifth grade teacher. A graduate of the University of the Pacific in California, she received a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She studied Psychology at Shanghai Normal University Tianhua College, which she says helped her recognize the mental development and behaviors of students at different levels of maturity. There is a proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” Li Laoshi believes that a good teacher is one who strives to give students a fundamental key to education. In her class, students are the center of the learning process. She guides students to better understand themselves and find their own learning styles, based on their own personalities and interests. She says, “Being sensitive to student needs, passionate to inspire their minds, and patient to guide their learning” are her strengths.
Lower Grade English Teacher (Preschool to Second Grade)
Karen Tucker joined the NWCA teaching staff in 2016 and will continue teaching English to our Preschool-2nd grade students. She graduated with a BA in Child and Adolescent Development, a minor in Psychology, and a CA teaching credential with an ESOL endorsement from San Jose State. After graduation, Mrs. Tucker moved up to Portland and attended George Fox for her MEd in Elementary and Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction. She has taught preschool, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, after-school programs, and school-age summer camps for many years. She has worked with students from low-income backgrounds, English language learners, and in inclusive classrooms with students who have special needs. She has always wanted to work with children. Her grandmother was an English teacher and a school librarian who passed her love of teaching, learning, reading, and hands-on exploration on to Mrs. Tucker. She believes every child has the potential to learn and the key to unlocking that potential is meeting the learning needs of the individual child. As a teacher, her objective has always been to help guide her students educational experiences so they become strong critical thinkers, develop effective self-help skills, and cultivate a life-long love of learning.
Upper Grade English Teacher (Third Grade to Fifth Grade)
Casey Whitlatch (also known as Ms. W) was very excited to join the Northwest Chinese Academy as an English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher for 3rd-5th grade in 2017. She is currently finishing her Master of Arts in Teaching through Western Governors University. She completed her K-8 teaching license in February 2018. She previously completed her TEFL certification in the Czech Republic and spent several years teaching English as a Foreign Language to students of all ages in South Korea, China and Saudi Arabia. Ms. W has been back in Portland since 2017. She spends her free time reading, hiking, watching movies with her husband, and playing with her pets.