Meet the Principal

By Lynn Yen 2023-07-25 13:44:44

Get to know Shanghai Soong Ching Ling School's Principal of Middle and High School International Division and Director of College Counseling, Dr Yan Zhang.

After studies in Germany and the US at Princeton and a career in higher education at Michigan State, what brought you to Shanghai Soong Ching Ling School (SCLS) and why?

Moving from cutting-edge scientific research to applied entrepreneurship, I always continued to challenge and make breakthroughs across multiple fields and roles until I reached my biggest challenge yet — becoming a mother. After the birth of my daughter, I chose to return to academia, taking a role as the Associate Director of the Social Science Data Analytics Initiative that allowed me to teach, conduct research, and take on administrative duties at Michigan State University. I joined SCLS, a team striving to “Give Children the Most Valuable Things” when our family returned to China in 2021, choosing to devote myself fully to K-12 education.


At SCLS, in what ways do you achieve your education philosophy?
Shanghai Soong Ching Ling School belongs to the children. We are fully committed to Madame Soong Ching Ling’s mission to “Give Children the Most Valuable Things,” growing a school and planting memories that students will nurture all throughout their lives. Under this guideline and my education philosophy, we have always aimed to create the optimal environment for learning: loving, encouraging, challenging, and rigorous. In our division, the student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1, allowing us to know our students extremely well. The constant interaction in homerooms, classrooms, and hallways ensures that students feel cared for and recognized. For adolescents, this nurturing environment is a safe place to try something new and to grow.

What is your experience integrating Western and Eastern culture?
The biggest takeaway I have learned from living abroad for over 20 years is the ability to appreciate different cultures and embrace different perspectives. The skill to step into others’ shoes helps broaden the way I think about issues and how I approach problems. With the country reopening again, our primary goal remains to continuously enhance our international influence and promote the high-quality development of Shanghai Soong Ching Ling School.


What are your expectations for students academically? What kind of students do SCLS Middle and High School prefer?

Our Middle and High School International Division at Shanghai Soong Ching Ling School is a warm, friendly, and vibrant place that is built on a belief that every child will go on to be successful academically, personally, and a lifelong contributor to the wider world. We pride ourselves in offering a rigorous yet balanced curriculum. While many schools seek to specialize students, our curriculum focuses on a holistic view of student growth. From core academics to artistic development, students can explore their own interests as they embark on a path of college readiness. They are offered countless opportunities to achieve through our academic and extracurricular programs, and we are equally proud of success in both arenas. We do not have specific preferences, because we believe that every child is unique, constantly learning, and resilient. We are inclusive of everyone in our community, believing that everyone deserves to be loved and cared for.



Shanghai Soong Ching Ling

Address: 2 Yehui Road, Zhaoxiang, Qingpu District

Tel: 021 6975 6301 ext. 8002