Chinese Immersion School at De Avila

Meet the Staff

Wendy Cheong - Principal

Greetings everyone! As the new principal, I am very honored and enthusiastic in joining the CIS family to continue developing a relationship based and student centered learning environment for all of our students.


A little bit about myself and journey as an educator.  I immigrated to San Francisco from Taiwan with my parents in the mid-70s. It is in this beloved city SF that I learned Cantonese in school as a student and through interactions with friends in the community.   I am a product of the SFUSD and attended the Chinese Education Center, Commodore Stockton Elementary School (Gordon J Lau), Starr King Elementary and Marina Middle School.  After working as a classroom teacher at Jefferson Elementary, I joined the Multilingual Pathways Department as a Mandarin and ELD specialist, followed by serving as assistant principal at Gordon J Lau and then principal at Starr King.  I am also a National Board Certified Teacher and a BCLAD certified bilingual teacher in Mandarin, Cantonese and Spanish.


My commitment to dual language programs is both personal and professional. As a child, I grew up fascinated listening to many different Chinese linguistics, in addition to English and other languages spoken around me. I loved the feeling of being able to communicate in the languages spoken and, more importantly, understand the cultural connotations that words convey.  Professionally, the ability to converse in Mandarin, Cantonese and other dialects have allowed me to serve a greater student family population and advocate for the promotion of language learning in our schools.  For our students living in a globally competitive world, multilingual and cultural competencies are critical to widen their perspectives, opportunities and build bridges across cultures.


When I am not working, I enjoy reading, listening to music, taking nature walks, seeing things in new and different ways and spending time with family and friends.


I am excited to collaborate with our team of passionate and capable teachers, staff, parents and community partners to creating a joyful and successful learning environment for all of our students.

Celia Yu - School Secretary

Dear Families and Guardians,


Hello! My name is Celia Yu and I’m going to be your new secretary at CIS. I have been hearing a lot of great things about the school, the staff and I’m so excited that I will be part of this amazing team.


I immigrated to the U.S when I was a teenager and I am able to speak and write fluently in both Cantonese and Mandarin. I have been working with children since my early college life, with experience in different school settings and children from different age groups, such as Chinese School, tutoring and babysitting. After completing my bachelor degree in Child & Adolescent Development and minor in Special Education, I worked as a preschool teacher for more than 10 years. It is exciting to meet some of my past students from preschool who are now studying in CIS. I always have a passion in working with children and their families. I enjoy seeing them grow day by day and it is the most precious thing in my life.


I look forward to working with the CIS team and to serve the students and their families. I can’t wait to meet everyone.  





您們好!我的名字叫Celia Yu,我將會是廣東話中文沉浸學校的新一任學校秘書。我一直以來都有聽到外界對這所學校和各教職員的種種讚賞,我深感興奮我將能夠成為其中一員。


我十多歲時與家人從香港移民到美國,所以我能夠流利的去讀寫廣東話及國語。我從大學開始就一直在不同的範疇裡從事有關不同年紀的幼教工作,例如在中文學校任教、補習導師及保姆的工作。我在大學裡完成主修幼兒及青少年發展及副修特殊教育的學位後,我一直在學前班任教十年多。 我很高興能在廣東話中文沉浸學校裡,重遇我從前的學生。一直以來我對於服務兒童及其家庭都有著濃厚的興趣及有一份使命感。我十分享受每天看著小朋友一天一天的成長,我相信這是我人生其中一件最珍貴的事。



Karen Tai - Nurse

I am very happy to be at Chinese Immersion School as the School Nurse.  I look forward in working with the staff, children and their families to promote health and wellness in the classrooms and school-wide events and activities.  I will share my time between this school and Hillcrest Elementary School during the week.

I believe it is a partnership of school and families to raise a child, so that our child will be physically, emotionally, socially and academically prepared to face the tasks ahead.  It really takes a village!  I remember besides my parents, my greatest mentors were my teachers.

Like some of the staff, I was also born in Hong Kong, immigrated first to Canada and later settling here with my family in the Bay Area.  I was mostly educated in Canada, received my first experience working in public health and urban city schools.  We moved to the Peninsula to be closer to our extended family members.  I have one daughter who is now a Junior, attending Menlo School.

My love has always been working with diverse community and children.  I have been working in the schools of SFUSD since 1996, focusing on prevention, early detection and management of health and behavior concerns.  I am excited to be part of this community to contribute to the overall well-being and educational success of your child.  If you have any question or concern, please feel free to leave me a message in my mailbox at the school or contact me through the district email.

Flora Chan - Music Teacher

I am very happy to be part of Chinese Immersion School to be the music teacher.  I was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Macau.  I immigrated to the United States with my family when I graduated high school.

I faced challenges to become a music teacher.  I was a business major in college when I first started college.  My parents and friends gave me a message that you can earn a lot of money in this field and you should go into this field.  I have been trying my very best for all my classes but, the more I study about business the more I realized that this is not what I wanted to be in some day.  Life is too short, I must do something that I enjoyed for the rest of my life but not doing something that others wanted you to be.  Then I auditioned to become a music student, majoring in Music Education during my third year in college.  I loved music a lot and wanted to share my love and passion of music to the next generation so that they have an opportunity to learn and appreciate music in their lives.

I attended many workshops and courses about general music focusing on the Orff, Kodály and Delcroze pedagogy and I loved to share all these to my students.  The Kodály pedagogy's primary goal was to instill a lifelong love of music in students and to create a fun, educational framework built on a solid grasp of basic music theory and music notation.  The Orff pedagogy focused on the student's innate abilities to engage in rudimentary forms of music, using basic rhythms and melodies. Orff considered the whole body a percussive instrument and students are led to develop their music abilities in a way that parallels the development of western music. The Delcroze pedagogy was about "rhythmic gymnastics", eurhythmics teaches concepts of rhythm, structure, and musical expression using movement. It focuses on allowing the student to gain physical awareness and experience of music through training that takes place through all of the senses, particularly kinesthetic Infused with those pedagogies.  Infused with these pedagogies, students learn about singing technique, music apprecaition, theory, playing instruments thought a lot of fun games and activities.  There are often laughter and happy faces in my music classes.

In my spare time, I enjoy playing the piano and flute, singing, attending music concerts, swimming, shopping, spending time with my friends and especially travelling.  Whenever places I go, I also find something, such as books, cultures, pictures, dolls, instruments and stories that I can bring back to my teaching.

Again, I am excited to teach and bring music to Chinese Immersion School.  I look forward to this wonderful school year.

Wendy Dere - Librarian

Greetings!  My name is Wendy Dere and I am the librarian here at the Chinese Immersion School.  This is my second year in the position of teacher-librarian, although I have been a teacher with SFUSD for over 15 years.  I am currently at CIS on Thursdays and work two other days at Jean Parker Elementary located in Chinatown.  I love my role as the librarian and thoroughly enjoy the time that I spend with the children.  It also enables me to be a resource and provide support for the classroom teachers.

I’m a native San Franciscan and a product of the public school system.  I’ve seen the City and the District make great strides towards improving the quality and the diversity of our schools.  I am a true supporter of dual language immersion programs, in any language, and have witnessed first hand, how beneficial such a program can be, both academically and socially. Being well versed in multiple languages not only provides additional global opportunities, but also encourages divergent thinking and widens a person’s perspective.  I only wish that I had had the opportunity to attend a language immersion program while growing up.

In addition to my work, I am a busy mom of four children, ages 11, 4, and 17 month-old twins.  My oldest attends Alice Fong Yu Alternative School, and the three younger ones will follow suit.  Naturally, much of my free time is spent volunteering at my children’s schools.  I love observing my kids in different environments and situations.  I try to spend as much time outdoors as possible, often taking long walks and hikes around all of the wonderful neighborhoods that the City has to offer.

If you should have any questions or comments, please feel free drop by the library on Thursdays or leave me a note in my mailbox.  I look forward to working with all of you and your children throughout the year.                  

Mei-Yi Yu - STEAM Teacher

I am very excited to be here at the Chinese Immersion School as I truly believe that all of our children should be given the opportunity to become bilingual and bi-literate.

The Chinese language and culture have played a very important part in my life, and it has been my passion to share my knowledge while I continue learning and enriching myself in this area. I was born and raised in Taiwan before my family immigrated to the United States during my high school years. I grew up speaking Mandarin and have acquired Cantonese after moving to San Francisco.  Professionally, I have had 13 years of teaching experience in both the Chinese (Cantonese) bilingual program as well as ELD classes. Besides teaching at the elementary school level, I have also collaborated with San Francisco State University and a team of excellent Chinese bilingual teachers to provide a series of workshops in the Chinese Bilingual Cross-Cultural Institute to train new teachers in the School District.

I know the road ahead of us is going to be challenging, but I am honored to be part of the team.  I look forward to working closely with all of our staff and families, and most importantly, to give our children my best.

Parents are welcome to contact me by calling the school. Unless it's an emergency, I prefer not to answer phone calls when I am teaching. Parents may leave a message with the secretary, and I'll call them back after school.  If parents prefer to email me, they may send their messages my district email