BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kelly Chu, President
In 1999, Kelly Chu transitioned from the broadcasting world to the education sector by establishing and directing a scholastic enhancement and college preparatory enterprise, PA College Prep in Irvine. Now, Ms. Chu is seasoned in the intricacies of the Irvine School District and in the complexities of the college selection and application process. She expanded her presence in the field of education by co-funding Pacific Academy in Encinitas and Pacific Academy in Irvine, private college preparatory schools that cater to local and international students in grades 7-12. In working with the exceptionally talented and committed students at Pacific Academy, Ms. Chu determined that, while students’ academic needs were fulfilled, their families struggled to meet the expense of their extracurricular pursuits. As a result, the PA Foundation was created in 2016, ensuring that students will have increased opportunities to develop their unique brilliance. When Ms. Chu takes time away from the field of education, her true passion, she enjoys reading, music, and travel.
Hans Chi, Vice President
Dr. Hans Chi received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the National Tsing Hua University. After completing his postdoctoral research at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, he conducted research for the Human Genome Project at UC Irvine. Dr. Chi transitioned to industry as a program manager for Beckman Coulter, Inc. He has achieved prominence in the scientific and academic worlds over the past twenty years. From his studies with genomics to his experiences as an educator, Dr. Chi has perpetually championed the importance of education, career exploration, and youth talent development. At Pacific Academy, which he co-founded, Dr. Chi oversees strategic planning, business development, and magnet programs. In his spare time, Dr. Chi enjoys travel, singing, and playing the saxophone.
Umi Garrett, Co-founder/Board Member
18 year old Umi’s has performed in a solo charity concert at Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin, Germany in summer of 2016 to collaborate with the IPPNW, the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War; a concert tour with the Symphonia Boca Raton in Florida in early 2016; a debut concert at the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, California; a debut with the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra lead by Maestro Kazuyoshi Akiyama in Hiroshima, Japan; a solo-recital concert tour in Japan and a return engagement with the Missouri Symphony Orchestra. Past engagements include a concert with Nicholas McGegan with the Pasadena Symphony and Pops, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Alexander Mickelthwate. She made an appearance at the TEDxOC conference and the TEDxHarkerSchool. A devout student of the piano, Umi is currently at the Juilliard School.
Ilenia Chen, Secretary/ Board Member
Ilenia Chen received a Masters in International Relations from New York University, and a B.A. in Diplomacy and Political Science from National Chengchi University in Taiwan and Seoul National University. Before moving to the west coast, she worked at the United Nations Headquarters as a diplomat stationed in a Permanent Mission in New York. There she participated in national policy decision-making and drafting resolutions for crises. She also previously worked with the British Council, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan, and Supervisor Campaign Office for San Bernardino County. Aside from government work, Ilenia has experience in both international and domestic non-profit organizations prior to joining Pacific Academy Foundation. She has also volunteered at a youth care foundation in Taiwan for almost a decade to assist students in need to complete secondary to undergraduate educations. Ilenia is ecstatic to be the latest member of the Pacific Academy family and to continue her passion and dedication to service.
Teresa Tseng, Board Member
Teresa Tseng received her M.S. in education from California State University, Fullerton in 2004. For the past thirteen years, she has served in multiple positions: from teacher to school administrator, utilizing her knowledge and passion in education. As the former assistant director of PA College Prep, she has established and implemented effective and engaging courses. She is currently the human resources manager and K-6 Chinese Immersion Program Director of Pacific Academy. Ms. Tseng enjoys her daily collaboration with teachers and students. In her leisure time, she loves gardening, exploring natures, and learning about new technology.
Tim Cheng, Board Member
Tim Cheng is a professional IT project management consultant. During the past fifteen years, Mr. Cheng has actively contributed his skills and volunteer efforts to different educational, cultural, and non-profit organizations throughout Southern California. He served as the City of Irvine’s community services commissioner (2004-2012) and Los Angeles-Taiwan Academy’s executive consultant (2010-2013), assisting in the planning and promotion of numerous large-scale cultural events. In his leisure time, Mr. Cheng enjoys sports, music, and playing bridge.
Ching Liu, Board Member
Ms. Ching Liu has over 20 years of experience in global private equity investments. She is an expert in asset-based financing and asset management for both private investors and institutions. Prior to founding Solarmax Technology Inc. (“SolarMax”), she served as the Vice-President of Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch, Pierce Fenner & Smith.
SolarMax is a full-service photovoltaic solar energy systems integrator that designs, sells, leases, installs and finances solar energy systems for commercial and residential customers nationwide. Ms. Liu presently serves as Executive Vice President of SolarMax.
Ms. Liu has been an active community leader and volunteer. She is the President of Diamond Bar High School PTA. SolarMax has been a long-term sponsor for UC Riverside, and STEM program in multiple school districts.
Brandon Pae, Board Member
Brandon Pae is deeply committed to service. He is a Congressional Award Gold Medalist. During the 2016-18 summer seasons, Brandon performed as a concert soloist in Germany, Austria, and Italy. In 2019, as the Founder and President, he led the Pacific Academy Model United Nations Team to compete at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York. His team won the distinguished Award of Merit out of 3000 delegates from 75 countries. Through the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Debate Series, Brandon has also won a scholarship and internship opportunities to the White House, Congress, and the Pentagon. Furthermore, he was chosen as the Committee Rapporteur of the Council of Arab Economic Affairs at UC Berkeley. He is a seasoned triathlete and has completed several full and half-marathons. Brandon hopes to attend the United States Military Academy and plans to pursue a career in public policy and international finance. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies and spending time with friends and family.
Allison To, Board Member
Graduated from Pacific Academy in 2019, Allison is Allison is currently a double degree freshman student in college learning from the world-class musicians. Being a professional prominent pianist, Allison received numerous honors and has been invited for soloist performances nationwide. WQXR Radio Station and New York Concert Review call her “one of the most refined and artistic player for her age and perhaps any age.” She was recently named the 2018-2023 MTAC Young Artist Guild member, which is the highest honor awarded to Certificate of Merit students in California. She previously studied at Opus 119 under the tutelage of Ethan Dong. Her mentors include Van Cliburn Gold Medalist, Stanislav Ioudenitch, William Nabore of the Lake Como International Piano Academy, and Mary Ann Cummins from the Crossroads School. She has also worked with Russell Sherman and Wha-Kyung Byun from New England Conservatory, Menahem Pressler from Indiana University, and Ann Schein from Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Allison was the 2019 Pacific Academy Foundation Scholarship recipient. As a Board of Director of PA Foundation, she is dedicated to contributing her time to supporting the foundation to help talented students who have financial needs.
The Pacific Academy Foundation is a non-profit organization, which was established to help committed and talented students develop their abilities and academic skills. The foundation provides students with unique opportunities to hone their talents (such as competitions, performances, and master classes) and college preparation resources, while addressing their financial needs. The foundation's goal is talent search and development for underserved youth from the ages of 6 to 20.