About CAIS

Faculty & Staff Directory

教职员
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Emily Applegate

Kindergarten – 1st Grade Learning Specialist

  • M.A. in Elementary Education, The George Washington University
  • B.A. in Human Development and Family Studies, Cornell University

Began at CAIS in 2012

Originally from upstate New York, Ms. Applegate moved to SF ten years ago to escape the winters! Her undergrad at Cornell University is in Human Development and Family Studies and her grad work at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. is in Elementary Education. She has taught many different grade levels in Virginia, New York and San Francisco. She enjoys singing alto in The San Francisco Choral Society (pre pandemic, of course!) She also loves working at the de Young and the Legion of Honor on the weekends and during the summer months. To keep busy, she adopted two crazy cats in 2019 who keep her up at night, but are very cute!

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James Armstrong

Tech Specialist

Began at CAIS 2024

James Armstrong recently graduated at Sacramento State with a Computer Science degree. His main hobbies are electric unicycles, piano, technology, and video games. He also has smaller hobbies in things such as 3D printing, bikes/ebikes, computer building, and mechanical keyboards. He used to work part-time at Visions in Education Charter School as IT Support for parents and students, so the environment will be quite familiar and he is glad to return to it!

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Brenda (Na) Bai

Fifth Grade Bilingual Teaching Associate

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Stephen Bajc

Director of Finance and Operations

Began at CAIS in 2017

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Nicholas Barella

Middle School Design Technology Teacher

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Amelia Bell

Second/Third Grade Green Lead English Teacher

  • ME through the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute
  • BA in Spanish Literature, Carleton College

Began at CAIS in 2018

Ms. Bell brings experience with differentiation to support students’ learning styles, and her ability to implement our Responsive Classroom and Social Thinking frameworks in the classroom supports students’ social-emotional learning. Ms. Bell holds a Bachelor’s in Spanish Literature from Carleton College and received her Master’s in Education through the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute (BATTI). A linguist herself, Ms. Bell has near-native fluency in Spanish.

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Jeffrey Bissell

Head of School

headofschool@cais.org

  • Ph.D. in Chinese Language and Literature, University of Wisconsin
  • MA in Chinese Language and Literature, University of Wisconsin
  • BA in History, Lawrence University

Began at CAIS in 2010

Head of School Jeff Bissell came to CAIS after 11 years as Director of School Year Abroad in Beijing, China. Prior to that he served as Adjunct Professor of Chinese Language at Marquette University and teacher at Shenyang University of Technology in Liaonin Province, China; Nicolet High School in Milwaukee, WI; and Waupun High School in Waupun, WI. Dr. Bissell currently serves on the boards of the California Teacher Development Collaborative; Keystone Academy in Beijing, China; Chinese Early Language Immersion Network at Asia Society (CELIN); and the 1990 Institute. Past board service includes The Mandarin Institute, Western Academy of Beijing and the JUMP! Foundation.

He was named to the task force for the 1 Million Strong initiative spearheaded by Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping to expand to 1 million the number of US K-12 students studying Mandarin by 2020.

HONORS AND AWARDS

THE ASIANWEEK FOUNDATION, ASIAN HERITAGE STREET CELEBRATION SCHOOL AWARD, 2012 For dedication, excellence and achievement in promoting cross cultural diversity
US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, BUREAU OF EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS, FULBRIGHT FELLOWSHIP, 1994-1995 For doctoral research in Taipei, Taiwan
US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, FOREIGN LANGUAGE AND AREA STUDIES (FLAS) FELLOWSHIP, 1993-1994 For doctoral research
US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, FLAS FELLOWSHIP, 1993 For graduate studies
US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION FLAS FELLOWSHIP, 1993 For intensive summer session Japanese study
COMMITTEE ON INTERCOLLEGIATE COOPERATION FELLOWSHIP 1992 For intensive summer session Japanese study
US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, FLAS FELLOWSHIP, 1991-1992 For graduate studies

ADDITIONAL EDUCATION

TSINGHUA UNIVERSITY 清华大学, Beijing China
Senior Scholar Program at Inter-University Program (IUP) for Chinese Language Studies, Summer 2014

LIAONING NORMAL UNIVERSITY 辽宁师范大学, Dalian, Liaoning Province, China Advanced Chinese language studies, 1989

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Cristina Calcagno

Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development (English)

Work Phone: 415-865-6078

  • M.A. and Teaching Certificate, Wayne State University
  • B.A.in Psychology and English/Creative Writing, Kalamazoo College
  • Cross-cultural Language and Academic Development Certificate, Stanford University
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Lalo Cervantes

Director of Facilities and Operations

Lalo is a passionate and accomplished Facilities and Social Enterprise Business leader with a Master’s Degree in Construction Management with a Facilities Concentration.  His previous experience includes both profit-centered business enterprise operations and cost-centered facility operations with the supervision of up to 110 employees.  As a facilities leader, Lalo has over 15 years expertise in all facets of integrated facilities management including capital projects, preventative maintenance programing, environmental services programing, and facilities operations programing.

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Amy Chang

Payroll and HR Supervisor

Location: 44 Page Street