About Us

At Manhattan Mandarin, we believe that strong communication skills are the basis of cross-cultural understanding. With the economic and political ties between The United States and China growing stronger each year, ensuring that both businesspeople and students have a deep cultural and linguistic understanding of China is crucial.

 

Our team has extensive mentoring and business experience in the Chinese market and an intimate understanding of mastering the Chinese language. MM is debunking the myth that Chinese is an impossibly difficult language to learn and we are eager to bring our extensive knowledge of the language and culture to you. With the right approach, Chinese is the logical choice for many students and professionals to allow them to expand not only their linguistic skills but also their reasoning capacities, confidence in learning, and professional abilities.

 

Manhattan Mandarin utilizes our experience and passion of China’s language and culture with the hopes of forging a stronger and more prosperous relationship between our two countries for future generations.

Meet the team

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Jamie Keyte

Founder & CEO

Manhattan - Hamptons - Remote

Jamie Keyte founded Manhattan Mandarin in 2012. ​A native New Yorker, Jamie attended The St. Bernard’s and Trinity Schools. He graduated from Kenyon College with a BA in Internationals Studies. In 2008, Jamie studied abroad where he completed an intensive Mandarin language program at CET in Shanghai.

Upon graduating, Jamie ran high school educational tours in both China and the United States. In 2010, Jamie decided to further enhance his Mandarin skills and completed a second intensive language program in Beijing. This led him to a job at Thomson Reuters, where he became the China Project Manager for a Thomson Reuters’ subsidiary. During this time, Jamie developed the concept for Manhattan Mandarin and co-founded IvyGate, a Beijing-based SAT tutoring and high school/college application company.

Jamie continues to run Manhattan Mandarin while teaching at Trinity high school. Additionally he has taught 3000+ hours of private Mandarin lessons. 

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Ivy Song

CEO - Ivy Gate

Beijing

Ivy Song is a UK Certified Accountant with an ACCA (Association of Charted Certified Accountants) Certificate. After graduating from university, she spent several years with Fidelity Beijing’s Venture Capital Office. With Fidelity, Ivy focused on TMT and traditional deal research, and she developed a passion for entrepreneurship.

 

She founded IvyGate Consulting in 2013, which specializes in educational and business consulting.

 

Ivy has also utilized her strong Chinese government connections to serve as a PR consultant for international companies within China. Ivy has an exhaustive understanding of how to launch marketing events in China, such as workshops and forums. She can also secure and maintain the continued participation of government leaders, market experts, and media staff in multinational ventures.

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Jay Jin

Mandarin Tutor

Shanghai - Remote

Jay is a native speaker who came all the way from Beijing to get his MBA from Fordham University. He has extensive tutoring experience and loves teaching students of all ages. He is very passionate about teaching his native language and sharing Chinese culture while establishing wonderful relationships with his students. 

 

Jay is a dog owner and loves New York City. He teaches several of our immersion classes as well as one on one lessons.

Jay is also the Founder and Boss of Cooper & Jin. In our humble opinion, the greatest socks ever!!

 

Cooperandjin.com 

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Celine Sun

Mandarin Tutor

Manhattan - Brooklyn - Remote

Dan (Celine) Sun was born and bred in Shanghai. She received her NYU TESOL and Foreign Language Education dual degree in 2017 and started her teaching career at a public school in Brooklyn. She believes that every language learner is unique, so the teacher has to teach in accordance to the student’s aptitude.

Celine is passionate about language teaching and learning. Majoring in French and
Francophone Studies in college, she is also fluent in French and is a lover of French culture.
 

Upon graduating, Celine worked for Shanghai New Oriental School where she taught an English translation class to students aged 10-18. She was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2013, along with other 14 teachers out of a total pool of about 500 teachers.

 

Celine wants to take advantage of every opportunity this amazing city could offer. She is excited to meet her students from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds and tries to offer an interesting and meaningful language learning journey to all of them.

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Rebecca Pu

Mandarin Tutor

Manhattan - Remote

With a cross-cultural background in China, Hong Kong and the United States, Rebecca is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and English.

 

Upon graduating from Hong Kong Baptist University in Sociology with honors, she worked as an Education Program Manager for an NGO where she advocated for at-risk immigrant children.

 

Her experiences in child development, immigrant reintegration, project management, and volunteer training earned her admissions to Columbia. Rebecca is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Rebecca plays Pipa and was once an active member in a professional Chinese orchestra.

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Leanne Luo

Mandarin Tutor

New York City - Remote

Leanne has a B.A. degree and has been teaching Mandarin for over nine years in New York City. She also attended TCSOL certificate program at Columbia University and graduated in 2019.

 

She has helped learners with their Chinese language progress, created a friendly and communicative study atmosphere, and has developed teaching plans that fit most students when they started to learn the language. She is good at making connections between language learning and students’ real life situations to inspire voluntary learning. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and watching movies.

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Zishan Syvlia Liang

Mandarin Tutor

Irvine, CA - Remote

Ms. Sylvia was born and raised in Guangdong, China. She earned a BA in Educational Foundations with a minor in Special Education from the University of Oregon. During college
life, Ms. Sylvia has worked in various settings and age-group classrooms but still seeking her path. After graduated from school, Ms. Sylvia worked in a toddler classroom for one year and discovered her passion for working with young children. Growing up as a bilingual speaker and working in a multicultural classroom spark Ms. Sylvia's interest in language teaching for young children. She pursued a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) while working as a full-time teacher. After this working experience, Ms. Sylvia decided to expand her knowledge in the field of Early Childhood and language teaching. She later went back to school and gained a MA in Early Childhoods Education in Teacher Colleges, Columbia University, with a certificate in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (TCSOL).

 

Ms. Sylvia believes that each child is unique and has great potential to be discovered. Now, she is here and ready to create an inclusive and language-rich environment for your children!

 

Currently, she is a preschool/PreK Chinese lead teacher in Irvine, California.

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Maggie Varland

Mandarin Tutor

Richmond, VA - Remote

Maggie Laoshi was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, where she fell in love with foreign languages at an early age. She studied French and Spanish until joining an after school Mandarin program in her senior year as teacher assistant. From those early days of painstakingly tracing 你好, 再见, 我爱你 all over her high school textbooks, Chinese language and culture held a fatal attraction for her.

 

Maggie Laoshi majored in Chinese at the University of Virginia, first going to China in 2009 and returning every year until 2012 when she finally bought a one-way ticket! She taught social studies at an international high school, then completed a Master of International Business degree at Hult International School's Shanghai campus. 

 

After business school, Maggie Laoshi oversaw marketing and business development of 9 Chinese sales offices for one study abroad company sending thousands of Chinese students to the US annually. She then served as Chief Learning Officer for a Shanghai-based online tutoring business where she developed the complete ESL curriculum and recruited and trained hundreds of online tutors. 

 

Maggie Laoshi loves working in international education and bringing people of different cultures together. Since becoming a mother to two daughters she has worked more closely with individual students and families as a college counselor and language tutor. In her spare time she enjoys Chinese kungfu training with her daughter Abby and husband Jianhu and looks forward to baby Elinor joining the family fun!

Harry Keyte

Head of Tutoring

Manhattan - RI - Remote

Harry Keyte grew up in New York City and attended St. Bernard’s and Trinity School.

 

While attending Occidental College, Harry spent a semester abroad at Shanghai's Donghua University to study Mandarin through CET’s intensive language program. 

 

Harry joined Manhattan Mandarin in 2015 as a private tutor and after-school teacher, and helped lead curriculum development.

 

More recently, Harry completed CET's business-Mandarin program in Beijing; after four months of no English, he returned to NYC excited to get teaching and tutoring again.


Harry now has over 5,000 hours of private tutoring experience. He has run the after school Mandarin programs and substituted at St. Bernard's, Buckley, Chapin, Spence, Allen-Stevenson and many other schools. He's worked with students of all ages (from toddlers to retired adults!)

Harry is especially eager to work with high schoolers, college students, and those seeking Mandarin lessons for business or travel purposes.

David Cheng

CO-Founder MM Real Estate

Manhattan

David is a co-founder of Manhattan Mandarin Real Estate. He has over 13 years of principal investing and managing real estate assets experience. In 2009, he founded Minuit Partners, a boutique investment company that focused on multi-family and mixed-use assets in the New York City area. The firm’s portfolio included 30 properties with over 500 residential units under management.
 

Prior to founding Minuit Partners, David was the co-head of acquisitions at Madison Capital, overseeing the entire investment team. David's previous experience includes years with Stonewater Partners (an equity partner with Fortress Investment Group) and Morgan Stanley (Real Estate Group).
 

David received a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering and Economics from Tufts University and a Master’s degree in Real Estate Finance from New York University.  He is a licensed broker in New York.

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Valerie Evering

Mandarin Tutor

Fairfield, Ct - Remote

Valerie, a native New Yorker, received her undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University.  She received a Masters Certificate in Chinese Studies from the Johns Hopkins  SAIS Nanjing Program. 

 

With over 15 years of experience living working and studying in China, Valerie has worked as a cultural and language consultant in film production and in education leading educational tours to China for New York private schools and teaching Chinese.

Valerie was one of our first tutors and is an after school wizard and a favorite of all of our students. 

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Gwen Merrill

Mandarin Tutor / Advisor

Manhattan

Gwen has been teaching Mandarin for over 25 years, working with students of all ages and backgrounds. She founded and led the Mandarin language program at the Trinity School in New York for fourteen years, and also taught Mandarin at the American School in Singapore, where she and her family lived for seven years. Gwen has several years of experience as a
private Mandarin tutor as well, serving the New York area.


Gwen began her professional involvement with China early on, helping to launch the first US-China scholarly exchange program while working at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. She advanced her undergraduate study of Mandarin at Yale University and the Oriental Institute at Oxford, followed by graduate language training at the
Monterey Institute of International Studies, Georgetown School of Foreign Service, Taibei Normal University in Taiwan, and the American University in Washington, D.C, from which she holds a Master’s degree in Mandarin and International Relations.

 

As a non-native learner of Mandarin, Gwen has a special appreciation of what it takes for other non-native speakers to gain proficiency in spoken as well as written aspects of the language, which reflect China’s rich culture and history. Her aim is not only to teach, but to inspire her
students and to make learning Mandarin fun!


Gwen lives with her husband in Manhattan, and continues to enjoy all that New York has to
offer.

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Tiffany Zhang

Mandarin Tutor

Manhattan - Remote

Tingxuan (Tiffany) Zhang is an instructional designer and language researcher at QTALK World Language Publishing. She holds a Master's Degree in Cognitive Science in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University (2017). She is passionate about visual learning and applying cognitive and neurological theories to language teaching methodology. 

 

Tiffany has also been a member of Psi Chi (ΨΧ), the International Honor Society in Psychology, since 2015 and published a research article on the visual learning method in the Journal of Research on Chinese Language Teaching in 2018.

 

Aside from the lab, Tiffany enjoys every moment of working with students and watching their growth. 

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Harrison Barker

Mandarin Tutor

New York City - Remote

Harrison graduated Magna Cum Laude from Union College, where he double majored in Mandarin and Economics. His thesis on Clean Energy in China earned him a publication and high honors.

 

Harrison took his Chinese to the next level during his studies at Fudan University in Shanghai - where he also consulted for Clean Energy Associates. Harrison went on to work at General Electric in the prestigious Financial Management Program and today works as a Project Manager for Estée Lauder in Manhattan. Harrison has 3 years of experience tutoring students of all ages in Mandarin.

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Serena Smith

Mandarin Tutor

Boston - Remote

Serena is currently a Master’s of Arts candidate in Chinese Pedagogy at Middlebury College, specializing in translation and teaching Chinese as a foreign language. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Hamilton College where she majored in Chinese and minored in Public Policy. 

 

Serena has a passion for working with students of all ages and has had a wealth of experience teaching and mentoring students both online and in person in subjects including: English, Reading & Writing, Public Speaking, and Debate, Literature, and her personal favorite, Mandarin Chinese. 

 

As a Chinese adoptee who grew up in the United States, but later studied and worked in Beijing for several years as a young professional, she has unique cultural and linguistic insights on what it takes to learn Chinese successfully. Above all, Serena loves inspiring her students wherever they are in their Mandarin learning journey.  

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Shuwen Wang

Mandarin Tutor

DC - Remote

Shuwen is a native speaker from China and is currently studying at George Washington University for a Master of International Education with TESOL/ Teaching Mandarin certification.

Shuwen is passionate about working with children and her nonprofit work. 

In her free time she loves painting and traveling. She often bring her painting and calligraphy skills into her Mandarin lessons!

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Michelle Tomizawa

COO

Manhattan

Michelle was born In Beijing, China. She is a native Mandarin speaker and is frequent in English and Japanese languages. Since five years old, she was trained professionally on Vocal and Piano in Beijing. Later, she has received her B.S. in Accounting from Kean University and Rutgers University, New Jersey, U.S. Then, she has moved to Tokyo, Japan with her family and studied Japanese language at Takusoyoko University, Tokyo.

 

Learning multiple languages has become a meaningful and skillful process for her.  It has allowed her to become more efficient and expand intellectually.  Languages themselves go way beyond than just being tools of communication.  It is the beauty and learning the culture behind them, that enables one to develop a profound respect and understanding of all the diversity around the world.  It is these experiences that Michelle has and is excited to share with young children.

 

Currently Michelle is studying at Columbia Teacher’s collage , and with her family and her trilingual daughter are living in Manhattan.

Christine Kaplan

Head of MM59th Studio

Mandarin Tutor

Manhattan - Remote

​Christine is a native Mandarin speaker from Malaysia. She received her BA in Business Mathematics and then spent three years working as a professional recruiter in Hong Kong and Malaysia, where she also taught Mandarin to local students.

 

While at her university, Christine set up Mandarin-learning events for exchange students and organized a number of programs to foster greater cultural exchange.

 

She is very passionate about both cultural exchange and language study and is fluent in five languages: English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, and Malay.

Micca Cao Dan

Co-Founder MM-Miami

Miami

Micca graduated from Columbia University and has 5 years of experience working with children with a real enthusiasm for teaching.

 

She loves working with her students who are a constant source of inspiration. Through her students she has learned to cater her lessons to American children, making Mandarin more approachable and fun!

In August 2020, Micca moved down to Miami to launch our first branch in Florida. We are so proud of Micca for making the big move and can't wait to see what she will accomplish!

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Shiyao Liu

Mandarin Tutor

Manhattan - Brooklyn - Remote

Shiyao is a native of China but has quickly embraced becoming a true New Yorker. 

She graduated from NYU with an MA in TESOL/Teaching Mandarin and received an MA in Childhood Education and Special Education from Touro College. 

She currently teaches at PS 310 K (School for Future Leaders) in Brooklyn. 

Shiyao loves to travel and dance. Growing up she preformed traditional dances and continues to learn at studios across NYC. 

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Joseph Kleinhenz

Mandarin Tutor

Atlanta - Remote

Joseph was born in Macau and spent his early years in Shanghai. He began his formal Mandarin studies after graduating from high school - spending a year in Guangzhou, China teaching English in local middle schools and taking Chinese classes. He then spent one year studying Education at the University of Hong Kong, followed by three years at UNC Chapel Hill, where he double majored in Chinese and Linguistics with a minor in Education. While a college student, Joseph was one of the first teachers hired by VIPKID, an online English education platform for elementary students in China. He would later become a teacher mentor for VIPKID, helping to train teachers in the best virtual teaching practices. 

 

After earning his bachelor’s degree, Joseph then pursued a master’s degree in International Relations at Nankai University in Tianjin, China (with all coursework and thesis completed in Chinese). Most recently, Joseph worked as a consultant at a public affairs firm in Beijing, advising multinational companies on how to best operate in the Chinese market. He is currently the lead Chinese teacher at a private international school in Atlanta, where he teaches K-12. 


Joseph is looking forward to using second language learning approaches that energize students and give them as many opportunities to use Chinese in practical scenarios as possible.  He is excited to create an immersive and hands-on Chinese environment, and to share the many tips and tricks he picked up along his own Chinese learning path.

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Shantan Wang

Mandarin Tutor

New York City - Remote

Shantan is a Mandarin language teacher and a former ESL/EFL teacher with years of experience teaching various age groups and nationalities. She holds a Master’s Degree in TESOL and a certification in TCSOL, both from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her unique capability of teaching both English and Chinese allows for deep insights into both languages, helping students really connect with the cultural aspects as well as the subtle nuances of the languages. Adhering to student-centered teaching, she believes that the starting point of any given course should come from the goals and interests of each individual student.
 

Growing up in Taiwan and coming from a language educational background, she is committed to creating optimal learning conditions in the classroom or online, where students are provided with ample input, quality feedback, and interactive activities in which they are given plenty of opportunities to practice using the language. She is also adept at creating lessons catering to students’ preferred learning styles, incorporating textbooks, original materials, videos, songs, and more. Always friendly and encouraging, she is able to engage students in a safe learning environment where they can freely speak their minds while developing language fluency as well as accuracy.

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Lauren Wilmore

Mandarin Tutor

LA - NYC - Remote

Lauren Wilmore is currently a Master's candidate in Teaching a Foreign Language at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University with departmental honors in Chinese and French Comparative Literature. 


Lauren fell in love with the Chinese language in middle school and has been studying it ever since. While in undergrad, she spent a semester in Harbin under a strict Chinese language pledge with CET Academic Programs.

Lauren’s students describe her as enthusiastic, patient, and always excited to bring students’ interests and hobbies into the language classroom. She is passionate about languages, teaching, and the performing arts, and she loves incorporating music and theatre into her lessons. 

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Ben Frank

Mandarin Tutor

Shanghai - Remote

Ben Frank is an American who has been learning Chinese since 2008 and living in Shanghai full time since 2014.

 

His fluency in Mandarin has given him the opportunity to work for the NBA in China since 2015. Over the years, Ben has not only developed and managed NBA-themed Family Entertainment Centers across China, but he has also served as a bilingual host at official NBA events in China featuring past and present superstars like Kawhi Leonard, Paul Pierce, and Dominique Wilkins.

 

Ben has a wealth of experience honing his Chinese skills both in the classroom and the boardroom, where he has spearheaded negotiations with large Chinese corporations on behalf of the NBA.

 

In his spare time, Ben is an international touring stand-up comedian who has headlined comedy clubs across 10 different countries.