Board Members

Yinghua Academy 2021-22 School Board

Nathan Bode –
Board Secretary
Nathan Bode is a Yinghua parent and a resident of Northeast Minneapolis and works as an IT Applications Manager at Cargill. He is interested in working with the School Board to evaluate and set long-term financial strategies for the school. His undergraduate degree in finance and accounting and his MBA are from the University of Minnesota. He also has served on the Eastside Meals on Wheels board as treasurer.

Cindy is a Yinghua parent and native Indonesian. She came to the U.S. in 1995 to pursue her education–a BA in Communication from the University of Minnesota and a Master of International Management from the University of St. Thomas. Ms. Bursell is a VP and Regional Credit Approval Officer for Commercial Real Estate group at U.S. Bank and a member of the bank’s Risk Management and Compliance Women Business Resource Group. Previously she worked in public finance at CPA firm Grant Thornton. She joined the Yinghua Finance Committee in 2017 and is parent to three Yinghua students.

Ye Cheng –
Cheng Laoshi was born and raised in Guangzhou, China, and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Master’s of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology – School Counseling K-12 in 2013. She has been with Yinghua for the past eight years. She taught second grade for the first four years. Currently, she is the 3C homeroom teacher and third-grade team lead. Since 2016, she has been involved in several leadership roles at Yinghua, including leading second and third-grade teams, mentoring new teachers and serving in the Academic Support Team. In 2018, she completed a Master’s of Education degree in Dual and Immersion Language Education K-6, again from the UMN. She is licensed to teach grades K-6 in Minnesota. As a licensed Chinese immersion teacher at Yinghua, she is at the YA School Board in order to be directly involved in strategic planning and in many important decisions that impact the interest of all students and the school community. Particularly, she is interested in working with the Board to develop a community of students who are kind and caring, whose learning potential is maximized, and who have an international perspective and a sense of responsibility to the school and local communities.

Eric Foster
Eric Foster is the parent of two Yinghua Academy students, and he serves on the school’s Finance Committee. His undergraduate degree is from Augsburg University and his law degree is from the University of St. Thomas. He has served as Senior Tax Consultant at a Big 4 accounting firm and has advised non‐profit organizations on issues of governance, compliance, and operations. He is a stay‐at‐home dad and part‐time homeschool teacher (thanks, Covid‐19!)

Paul Haller –
Chair, Governance Committee
When Yinghua parent Paul Haller was in high school, his mother served on the school board of their rural Minnesota community. Her enthusiasm for education propelled him to Moorhead State University where he earned a degree in psychology. Subsequently he graduated from the University Of Minnesota Medical School. He then began teaching medical students and residents while working in the emergency room at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. More recently, he has been practicing at community hospitals in Stillwater and Hudson, Wisconsin. Over the years, he has had the privilege of practicing medicine abroad at sites in New Zealand, Tanzania, Cameroon, and Haiti. He has served on the board of directors for the YMCA of Shoreview and on the Ramsey County public health advisory committee.

Chair, Academic Committee
Esra Kucukciftci (Koo-chook-chift-chee) – mother to Lillia a rising 2nd grader, grew up in Turkey on the border of Greece and Bulgaria. She completed her K-12 education in immersion schools in Turkey. She first came to the US as an exchange student with AFS Intercultural Programs where she spent a year in California. She continued volunteering with AFS Intercultural programs for 15 years during which she became the Vice Chair of the AFS-USA National Council and a trainer in Intercultural Communications. In her other volunteer capacity, Esra serves as a Board Member for an organization whose mission is to unsystem the child welfare system in the US and is actively involved with causes related to childhood trauma, anti-racism, and climate change. Esra has a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from the University of Minnesota. After working as an engineer for 7 years, Esra transitioned into product management roles formerly at Facebook, Amazon, and SAS Institute. She founded Pricing Innovations – a boutique product consulting company, in 2015 and now works as a strategy consultant for technology products and services. Esra lives with Lillia, in Northeast Minneapolis.

After working in Seattle, WA as a graphic designer Lawton returned to the Midwest. Graduating Summa Cum Laud from Minnesota State University, Mankato he began his teaching career at a project-based learning charter school. Lawton’s 21 years as an art educator has been almost entirely at charter schools. Recently Lawton obtained a Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership with a focus on Arts in Education and Project-Based Learning. Lawton brings a passion for student-centered learning and entrepreneurial thinking.

Cindy Moeller –
Chair, Personnel Committee
Yinghua community member Cindy Moeller is now retired after a varied and interesting career. After earning a BA from Northwestern and an MSW from Western Michigan University, she served for four years as as school social worker in Battle Creek, MI. She then pursued an MBA at Northwestern followed by 20 years of work in various human resource leadership positions, including more than eleven years at General Mills. Her work at General Mills included serving as the Director of Human Resource Development and as an Innovation Leader. In 2003 she pursued her long-time interest in having an impact in public education. After participating in the year-long New Leaders for New Schools program in Chicago, she returned to Minnesota to direct a new charter school. Though that school was not able to attract enough students to open, she had the opportunity to take what those school founders had achieved (a charter, an authorizer, and a federal grant) to create Yinghua Academy. She served as Yinghua board chair for the first five years of the school’s existence and has helped in various ways over the years.

Evan Owens –
Chair, Development Committee
Evan Owens is the parent of two Yinghua students and reports that watching them learn Chinese has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life. His goal as a member of the board is to contribute to Yinghua’s mission and success—for the benefit of the school, all children, teachers, parents, and the community. Early in his career he served as a middle-school teacher, and his work left him with enduring respect and gratitude for the work that teachers and school administrators do every day. Over twenty-two years, Evan has served in a variety of roles at 3M Company, including operations, product development, project management, sourcing (purchasing), and advanced analytics solution development. He has worked closely with 3M’s global vendors, including many Asia-based and Chinese companies. Evan holds an MBA from the Carlson School at the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in finance and strategy and a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).

Suzanne Reider –
Board Treasurer
Born in Taiwan, Yinghua parent and Northeast resident Suzanne Reider has spent about half her life in Asia and half in the U.S. She received her BA in Economics from Carleton College. She speaks Chinese, Taiwanese, and English and has  studied French and Japanese. Suzanne served as registrar on the Yinghua staff for several years. Prior to working at Yinghua, she served on the Yinghua Academy School Board and finance committee. She currently works Digi International as Manager of Planning.

Charles Robinson –
Yinghua parent Charlie Robinson has lived within five miles of the University of Minnesota since receiving his Civil Engineering degree there. He has been a Structural Engineer at BKV Group in Minneapolis for most of his career, working on multi-family housing projects in Minneapolis and St. Paul. In the summertime, you can find him either bass fishing or boating at the cabin, with non-summer months packed full of ice fishing with the family and attending Gopher activities.

Amanda Schneider –
Board Chair
Yinghua parent Amanda Schneider has more than 18 years experience working in the financial services industry and is currently the Chief of Staff for the CFO of Ameriprise Financial. She also leads the Financial Leadership Development Program at Ameriprise Financial for recent college graduates, has oversight of summer interns, and manages the Ameriprise work study program in partnership with Cristo Rey High School in Minneapolis. Amanda has an MBA from Carlson School of Management as well as a Master of Arts degree from Concordia University. She joined the Finance committee in 2015 and has served as a Classroom Coordinator.

Yinglu Zeglin –
Yinglu Zeglin earned an M.A. majoring in education administration and minoring in teaching second language and cultures, from the University of Minnesota in 2011. Yinglu has been teaching Chinese in an immersion setting since 2010 at multiple different schools. She also has been leading a middle school Chinese immersion program since 2014. In the Summer, Yinglu has been the dean of Sēn Lín Hú, a Concordia Language Village Summer Camp, serving in this role since 2016. Starting the 2021 academic year, she serves as Associate Principal and Teacher-On-Special-Assignment for the Hopkins Online Royal Academy. Yinglu is passionate about inclusion and equity. She is committed to helping Yinghua Academy to be a welcoming school for everyone to feel that they belong.

You may contact all board members by emailing