The Literacy Guild Teachers

Dr. Tina Tsai, Ph.D
Founder/Lead Instructor
Dr. Tina Tsai is the founder of The Literacy Guild (TLG) and manages curriculum and instruction for the program. She has a Ph.D. in Education from USC, an M.A. in Education from Claremont Graduate University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Claremont McKenna College. Along with 20 years of professional teaching experience at all grade levels including as a graduate school professor, she obtained a California Multiple Subjects Clear Credential with BCLAD (bilingual) in 2000. She also writes and publishes in educational research, print and online publications, and original novels. Her goal in life is to change the face of education so that all students have rich and truly productive educational experiences they can value and draw upon for life.

Lisa Lu, M.S., LMFT, PPSC
Program Manager
Lisa Lu is currently the Program Manager for The Literacy Guild (TLG) and oversees scheduling, enrollment and program communications. She has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and also has a Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) for academic school counseling. She received her B.A. in English Literature from UC Berkeley and has experience teaching English to middle and high school students. She speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and some Spanish. Besides working at TLG, Lisa also provides college counseling to help students succeed academically and prepare for college. She enjoys working with students of various ages and believes that all students, with the right motivation and tools, have the ability to reach their highest potential.

Cynthia Martinez, B.A
Cynthia Martinez has a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Cal Poly Pomona. During her senior year of high school, she became interested in pursuing a career in education when she began volunteering at the after-school program THINK Together at her former elementary school. She then became a mentor at the After School Education and Safety Program at Student Success Institute. Cynthia is currently planning on attending graduate school to receive her Master’s Degree in Education and teaching credentials in the coming year. She enjoys reading fiction novels, indulging in movie marathons, and attending concerts with her brothers. She hopes to one day become a passionate teacher that can create a thriving and effective learning environment for all students.

Esther Chen, B.A.
Esther has over ten years of experience working with children of all reading levels and of all ranges of personalities. She enjoys the challenge of shaping her teaching to best navigate each student on their learning journey and firmly believes that personality quirks are a positive thing. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Thomas Edison State University and is TESOL certified. In addition to English, she also speaks Mandarin and some Spanish. She is an avid writer and reader, having read more sci-fi and fantasy books than she would care to admit. Outside of TLG, Esther also offers her services as a freelance editor and a private tutor for students who are looking to sharpen their skills in English.

Elizabeth Frausto, B.A.
Elizabeth graduated from UC Riverside with a degree in English. She has experience working with all grade levels and is certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). She enjoys reading, writing, stand-up comedy, traveling, and spending time with her family. In addition to teaching at TLG, Elizabeth is also an Instructional Assistant at Santiago Canyon College and plans on pursuing graduate studies in English. She strives to help her students acquire the tools needed for success as lifelong learners.

Vivian Chang, B.A.
Vivian graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Linguistics. She plans to pursue her master degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). She has always been interested in teaching English, especially to ESL students. She has experience tutoring elementary students. Besides English, she also speaks Mandarin and Taiwanese. She enjoys reading, writing, and watching environmental documentaries. She is an animal lover and an environmentalist!

Heeba Kaleem, B.A.
Heeba graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in English and a minor in Education. She is excited to guide students on their journey to reach their fullest potentials and is continually inspired by how education can enrich and empower students. Heeba plans to pursue graduate studies in education and improve her own skills on providing the best guidance for her students. Additionally, she also enjoys trying new food, watching movies, and traveling the world. She knows how to speak Hindi/Urdu and conversational Spanish and hopes to add to that list.

Marissa Ayala, B.A.
Marissa Ayala graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in English. She has been a bookworm all her life, and her reading interests range in genre and form, from historical fiction to science fiction, from poetry to playwrights. A small sample of her current favorite authors include Ursula Le Guin, Haruki Murakami, and Octavia Butler. While at UC Berkeley, she enjoyed attending poetry readings and author signings, and you could often find her volunteering hours at either the student radio or the student organic garden. She has been involved with student reading groups for over ten years–in high school she was a passionate member of Book Buddies, and in college she mentored local high school, middle school, and elementary school students in literacy development. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis, hiking and camping in the California mountains, listening to records, and practicing her most recent hobby: roller skating. She is a firm believer that all academic success is intensified and made possible through a love for reading. She credits a strong vocabulary and a knack for reading and writing for her own academic success.

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