Our Team

Agnes Kong

Agnes Kong

Agnes completed her primary and secondary education at Diocesan Girls' School. She achieved high distinctions at the HKCEE and HKAL exams (scoring 9As and 4As respectively) and was awarded the Hong Kong Sir Edward Youde Memorial Scholarship to study abroad. She attended Yale University and graduated summa cum laude and phi beta kappa in three years. She received her Master’s of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. Agnes has worked for prominent investment banks and private equity firms, including Goldman Sachs (New York), J.P. Morgan (Hong Kong), IFC World Bank (Washington, DC), and the Carlyle Group (Hong Kong).

Although Agnes’ professional experience has been focused on finance, she has always been passionate about education. With her local and Western educational background, she designed a curriculum combining the strengths of both systems. Her professional experience further enabled her to incorporate in her curriculum elements that will help students develop skill sets that are essential for a successful career. Her aspiration is to inspire and develop children and teenagers into global-minded, socially responsible, and happy individuals who are well equipped to succeed in whatever career they pursue when they grow up.

Being brought up in a traditional Chinese family, I was taught to persist and excel in whatever I do. This has led to academic success throughout my 13 years of school in Hong Kong, then at Yale and Harvard. Professionally I also excelled at what I did – having worked at some of the most prestigious companies in the finance industry. However I was constantly struggling to fulfill my inner desire to make real impact, to be happy, and to feel truly motivated and passionate about my job. Founding The Open Classroom was the turning point in my life when I realized I could bring a new dimension to teaching, leveraging my unique educational and professional experience and network. My aspiration is to inspire and develop children and teenagers into global-minded, socially responsible, and happy individuals who are well equipped to succeed in whatever career they pursue when they grow up.

Yvonne Chu

Yvonne Chu

Yvonne spent nine years at Diocesan Girls’ School and continued her high school education at Crofton House School, Canada. Yvonne completed her undergraduate studies in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering at Cornell University and received her Master’s Degree in Financial Engineering from Columbia University. Yvonne has accumulated work experience at Goldman Sachs New York, Sino Land and Asia Pacific Land Real Estate Fund.

Founding The Open Classroom is the fruition of her conviction to become an educator as well as an entrepreneur. With educational and work experiences in both North America and Asia, Yvonne possesses a solid understanding of and deep appreciation for Eastern and Western education systems alike. Fusing the strengths of both systems, Yvonne is committed to creating an educational program she wishes she had — a curriculum designed to broaden students’ horizons, promote academic excellence and cultivate a service mindset.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, I spent 12 years away from home to complete my education and enrich my professional experience. My academic training and career pursuits have taken me to Vancouver, New York, Singapore, different cities in China and ultimately back to my home in Hong Kong. Founding The Open Classroom has been one of my most rewarding and challenging experiences. As I mature as an educator, my conviction for teaching grows as I see the value and impact of supporting students’ development through curriculums that promote character development and cultivate a service mindset. 

Huijun Kong

Huijun Kong

Huijin works closely with The Open Classroom to develop the “Young Leaders of Tomorrow” Summer Leadership Program for high school students. She graduated from Wharton with a 4.0 GPA, and has an MBA degree (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School where she was classmate with Agnes. She then worked at Mckinsey & Company and SCMP Group before pursuing her passion in leadership development and entrepreneurship.

Life was a never-ending series of challenges to be defeated — from mastering English in a year and half, regaining my academic confidence in a Canadian high school, becoming the best among the best at Wharton, and proving my distinctiveness at McKinsey — until I realized I wanted meaningful life and work, and it was not the path I had been on. That led me to leave McKinsey, become a media executive, and now an entrepreneur devoted to realizing my calling of supporting people’s development as leaders.

Jailene Vazquez

Jailene Vazquez

Born and raised in New Jersey, Jailene graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Comparative Studies and minors in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (formerly Women’s Studies) and Political Science. Her first transition from student to teacher was in high school, working as a Program Leader with the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey for two years, an opportunity that allowed her to teach middle school girls an array of core school subjects, current events and social issues, and give high school admissions guidance. She continued teaching in college, serving as a Teacher’s Assistant for a semester and spending her summer teaching and college consulting with the Larkin Street Youth Foundation in San Francisco, California in conjunction with DukeEngage, the Gates Foundation’s international civic engagement program.

Understanding the classroom from both a student and teacher’s perspective, she is excited to join The Open Classroom and have completed her TEFL Certification.

Mark Sun

Mark Sun

Mark was born in the U.S. and raised in Hong Kong, where he attended Hong Kong International School. He graduated from Wesleyan University with a Bachelor's degree from the College of Social Studies, an integrated study of the social sciences, humanities and history. There, he was awarded the Briggs Prize for intercollegiate debating.

Prior to The Open Classroom, Mark spent two years in rural Yunnan working for Teach for China, where he taught English at a government secondary school, developed curricular frameworks and objective-driven lessons to prepare students for public examinations, and ate copious amounts of rice noodles (mixian). Since returning to Hong Kong, he has worked as a Native English Teacher at local schools where he taught English to primary and secondary students. Subsequently, he worked for two years as a teaching assistant and research assistant in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Hong Kong Baptist University.

He is currently pursuing his Master's Degree in Literary and Cultural Studies at Hong Kong University.

Annabel  Lau

Annabel Lau

From a young age, pursuing a career in education has been Annabel’s long-term goal. Born and raised in the UK, she has spent almost twenty-two years of her life in England and graduated from Newcastle University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a focus on child development and the psychology of teaching and learning. During her final year, she worked as a teaching assistant in a local primary school. Annabel has work experience in university events for potential students, including campus tours and presentations regarding higher education in the UK. She later received her TEFL certification as well. Since then, her dream has been to teach in Hong Kong and reconnect with her roots as an adult.

A diligent and disciplined teacher, Annabel prides herself in building strong relationships with her students. At The Open Classroom, Annabel is dedicated to help her students achieve success in learning and is continuously looking for ways to improve herself as a teacher.

Creativity has always been a vital part of my own learning experience and I truly believe that it is essential to facilitate growth in students. The Open Classroom’s approach to teaching places an emphasis on this in order to not only assist them with their academic progress, but also their development as individuals and I am delighted to be a part of this team. I aim to be a teacher who will uphold TOC’s values with dedication and positivity and, through that, prepare students to achieve their own dreams.

Kerri Lu

Kerri Lu

Kerri attended Yale University and majored in English, securing her interests in Literature, the Humanities, and Social Sciences. During that time, she fell in love with the libraries, worked at the Yale Public Affairs office, was an avid volunteer in the New Haven community, interviewed Yale applicants for the Admissions office, and toured internationally with her musical groups.

After graduating college, Kerri taught at CUHK for two years as a Yale-China Teaching Fellow. Her courses spanned English, Social Sciences, and History. Since the fellowship ended, Kerri had worked as an editor and project manager at Education First, a tutor in English writing, and a consultant for US/UK boarding schools. Kerri has always been passionate about empowering others through education. Growing up, she loved living and learning in Canada’s multilingual environment: speaking French at school, Chinese with her family, and English with friends. Kerri is passionate about The Open Classroom’s mission and is thrilled to be a part of the team!

Christina Ma

Christina Ma

Born and raised in the U.S., Christina grew up with many friends who immigrated to America and spoke English as a Second Language, and over time she developed a love for helping them build confidence in their language skills.

While pursuing her Bachelor’s degree at Wellesley College, Christina took an interest in Linguistics, and took courses on phonetics and phonology. While tutoring primary and secondary school students, she found that her enhanced knowledge in linguistics allowed her to better help their verbal and written communication skills. Years of working as a private tutor in conversational English, reading, and writing brought her to the conviction that helping others build confidence in their communication skills was one of the most profound ways in which she could help them find empowerment.

Upon completing her Bachelor’s degree, Christina was nominated for the Fulbright U.S. Student Award as well as the Elisabeth Luce Moore ‘24 Wellesley-Yenching Graduate Fellowship at Chinese University of Hong Kong. After moving to Hong Kong, Christina received TEFL certification and taught multiple English writing courses at CUHK. Having had experience as a writing tutor for students ranging from primary school to university, Christina is excited to continue growing as a teacher at The Open Classroom!

Janice Chui

Janice Chui

Janice graduated from Hong Kong Univeristy with a major in Linguistics and minors in Spanish and Education, giving her professional knowledge on teaching methodologies and different languages. She discovered her passion for teaching when she started tutoring junior students in secondary school. Since then, She has been working privately and in multiple language centres including the British Council, acquiring extensive experience teaching a wide range of students from pre-nursery to senior secondary. 

With a passion for learning and bettering herself, she is in the process of completing her TEFL qualification (CELTA) offered by Cambridge University and is a candidate for the PGDE(Postgraduate Diploma in Education) programme in Primary English at HKU. Janice believes in interactive learning, motivation and the growth mindset. She believes that, by building a strong teacher-student relationship, students learn more effectively as they develop a love of learning.

 

Natalie Kwan

Natalie Kwan

Born and raised in Canada, Natalie moved to Hong Kong after middle school where she completed her secondary education at South Island School. She graduated from Hong Kong University with a double major degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice. Afterwards, she continued to complete a Masters Degree in Psychological Medicine at HKU.

Following graduation, she studied in New York for a professional diploma and worked as a merchandiser. A year later, she decided to pursue a career she is passionate about, which can also bring her great satisfaction. She spent a few years teaching phonics to toddlers and foundational literacy skills to young children. As she wanted to further challenge herself, she joined The Open Classroom in 2015 to teach older children through an engaging and comprehensive English curriculum. A dedicated and compassionate teacher, Natalie works hard to build her students' interest in writing and is motivated by their progress.

Cristina Pogorevici (Summer Intern)

Cristina Pogorevici (Summer Intern)

Cristina is a college student, entrepreneur and passionate traveler who values intelligence, courage, and freedom and dreams of founding a successful business with great social impact after graduating college.

She was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania where she attended a public high school but left her home country in order to pursue a Business degree from Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania.

Throughout high school, she co-founded an e-shop, Go-style, selling hand-painted Converse and Vans shoes, t-shirts, bags as well as a non-profit, Bucharest Youth League Association, educating the next generation of world leaders on international relations issues, through workshops and conferences.

Now, she is a member of Wharton Council (improving student life), Wharton Ambassadors and a part-time employee in the Alumni Relations department of her university.

I believe in the power of diversity. A library with 1 million books which are identical is not as interesting as a library with 1 million books that are one of a kind. I live my life based on this line of thinking. Even as a young girl I was never intellectually gratified by only what I learned in school. I am curious. Joining The OPEN Classroom means teaching other curious kids just like myself. I am excited to apply my European background and American education in Hong Kong, one of the global innovation hubs in the field of education.

Allison Zhang (Summer Intern)

Allison Zhang (Summer Intern)

Allison Zhang is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in computer scienceat the University of Pennsylvania. From New Jersey, she graduated from Lenape High School as a Presidential Scholar Candidate. She was part of her high school’s Science League, Chem Club, and Robotics Team. Her passion for STEM has led her to participate in many outreach programs at local elementary and middle schools and to tutor other students for the past six years.

While in high school, she was the drum major of her marching band and played played flute for the band and pit orchestra. She also studied kungfu outside of school where she competed in international tournaments and performed for cultural shows and fundraisers. Allison now is part of Pan-Asian Dance Troupe and continues to tutor local students in Philly. She is excited to join The Open Classroom and share her passion with the students!

You only need one mentor or teacher who can influence and change your outlook on life. I was lucky enough to meet this teacher in second grade when she gave me ice cream for learning my multiplication table. From then on, I viewed new topics as a fun challenge and developed a passion for learning. I hope to be that same mentor for even one person and affect their life in a positive way. It’s the only way to say thanks and I truly believe that everyone has the potential.

Becca Rose (Summer Intern)

Becca Rose (Summer Intern)

Becca Rose is a rising Sophomore at Yale University, where she is considering majoring in sociology and applying to the competitive Education Studies’ Scholars program. Becca was born and raised in Chicago, where she attended Walter Payton College Preparatory, a selective enrollment school that is consistently ranked as one of the top ten public high schools in the U.S. While at Walter Payton she performed in school musicals, led the all-girl’s acapella group, and was A Crew and Captain of her schools sailing team for several years. At Yale, Becca is a varsity sailor on Yale’s nationally ranked team, the designated grant writer for a group promoting women’s secondary education in developing nations, and a member of various choral productions.

Becca has always been deeply passionate about education. She has tutored through the non-profits 826 Chicago and National Honors Society and is currently tutoring local high schoolers in the Connecticut area through Flyte. Becca is currently researching policy-based actions that can promote access and affordability of high-quality child care programs in the U.S. and is an avid activist for revitalization of the Chicago Public School system.

Benjamin Goldstein (Summer Intern)

Benjamin Goldstein (Summer Intern)

Benjamin Goldstein is studying History and Spanish at Columbia University, with just a dash of film thrown in. He grew up in a suburb near Baltimore, Maryland and is a proud product of Howard County Public Schools. In middle school, he developed a passion and aptitude for Spanish, which he self-studied to the point of fluency, and History, which he developed into a nationally recognized History Day project. He then attended Centennial High School, where he graduated from a four-year integrated and intensive Humanities Program. 

With regards to extracurriculars, he was co-captain of the mock trial team for two years, President of the History Honors Society and member of Varsity cross country. He also participated in and organized various social justice, travel and language-based activities. He is interested in exploring a wide variety of (usually international) historical themes, and aims to produce research that is meaningful, accessible and relevant to modern day audiences. To this end, he is currently continuing more traditional historical studies while exploring film as an alternative medium. He is a huge Hamilton fan, and enjoys experiencing all the intersections of art, history, literature and humanity itself that the Big Apple has to offer!

The idea of global heritage has fascinated Benjamin for his entire academic career; discovering how intertwined human lives have and continue to be is a linchpin of his research and passion. From studying patterns of global migration over centuries, to ethnoreligious tensions in Medieval Spain, to the Japanese diaspora in Brazil, his research and travels have led him to discover how connected our communal, global lives are.

Dean Dyus (Summer Intern)

Dean Dyus (Summer Intern)

Dean Dyus is a rising senior at the University of San Francisco where he is studying English with a concentration in creative writing. With a mother from Hong Kong and a father from South Africa, Dean has a unique multicultural perspective that has shaped his beliefs, his values, and has influenced his strong ability to communicate.

Born and raised in Hong Kong where he attended Chinese International School, Dean is a natural leader who takes from his experience as High School basketball captain as well as his extensive experience as a sports coach to enhance his abilities as an educator.

Dean’s passion for literature and deep understanding of writing comes from his grandfather, an accomplished Australian author, and Dean plans to use his knowledge to help his students become more effective writers and more thoughtful readers.

When he’s not at school, Dean spends his time as a junior editor at a press-company in San Francisco called Omnidawn where he edits independent poetry and short-story selections. In Hong Kong, his formal experience with corporate banking and his work on film productions has given him the opportunity to display a wide-range of skills, forming his distinctive work experience. 

As I begin to wrap up my life as a student and start looking at my future outside of school, I can say that I feel comfortable with the life that lies ahead of me. A lot of students getting ready to graduate usually feel a lot of doubt, anxiety and stress about what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but I feel secure knowing that I’ll be happy if I just follow my strengths and my passions. I’ve always been confident as a leader and I’ve loved writing (of all kinds!) since I was a kid, and to me, there is just so much purpose in helping others achieve success by discovering their full potential as writers, students, and most importantly as people. As a teacher, you have the opportunity to change someone’s life—and that alone is my motivation.