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New England Educational Leadership Institute

Bridging Cultures
Teacher Training
Enhancing Experience

Our Mission

NEELI (the New England Educational Leadership Institute) provides ongoing professional development and coaching for learner-centered instruction for U.S. and Chinese educators.
Instructional Pedagogy

We provide training and ongoing coaching for teachers that reinforce 21st century learning skills. The methodology we present focuses on learner-centered teaching that results in student outcomes measurable by performance-based assessment.

Leadership Training

School administrators, department chairs and principals are provided training and coaching to support and supervise learner-centered teaching environments, including curriculum development and program evaluations.

International Opportunities

Teachers, university faculty and administrators have the opportunity to come to the U.S. to receive professional training, inclusive of school observation, while immersing themselves in U.S. culture. Students and teachers in the U.S. can study language and culture in China.


  • Gengdan Institute of Beijing University of Technology


The New England Educational Leadership Institute (NEELI) is an entity continued from a prior organization, the New England Chinese Language Teachers Network (NECLTN). Led by Dr. Yu-Lan Lin and Dr. Wanli Hu, NEELI establishes a “home base” for pedagogical training for teachers from both the U.S. and China and provides professional development programs to meet various pedagogical demands of teachers from both countries.

From 2001 to 2019, the former NECLTN ran semi-annual workshops, seminars, and conferences serving over 800 teachers, which taught highly effective instructional methodology and provided resources in teaching Mandarin, familiarized Chinese language teachers with American school settings, helped establish sister-school relationships between the U.S. and China, and promoted Chinese language programs in K-12 schools in New England.

In 2019, the New England Chinese Language Teachers Network became the New England Educational Leadership Institute (NEELI). The mission and objectives set by NECLTN live on; the new organization aims to add new layers of professional development programs, expand the service in both countries, and collaborate with its new partner in China, the Beijing University of Technology Gengdan Institute.



Learner-centered Instruction

Coupling highly efficient core practices with curriculum-backward design and performance-based assessments, teachers and administrators are coached in current learner-centered instruction methodologies that engage students’ learning.



One-and two-day workshops that help teachers and administrators increase their understanding of most current practices and apply those skills in their educational environments. Additionally, participants benefit from professional networking as well as knowledge and resource sharing.


Language Program Evaluation

Evaluation of world language programs to ensure programs meet 21st century standards for language learning. Measurement of students’ proficiency outcomes.


Non-Educational Opportunities

Creating opportunities for teachers and students to participate in internationally collaborative projects.

Our Board

Yulan Lin
Yu-Lan Lin

Dr. Yu-Lan Lin, a teacher and administrator for 40 years, retired from her position as the Senior Program Director of World Languages of the Boston Public Schools in 2013 and from serving as the Executive Director of the Chinese Language Association of Secondary--Elementary Schools (CLASS) in 2018. Dr. Lin has been a national consultant and served on numerous Chinese AP Committee for the College Board. She has also served as the Board of Directors for MaFLA, NECTFL, and ACTFL. Her published work includes co-authorship of the CLASS Professional Standards for K-12 Chinese Teachers, ACTFL’s Language Learning for the 21st Century, Chinese Standards section, and Asia Society’s publication on Chinese Immersion programs. Dr. Lin received the Distinguished Service Award from MaFLA in 2004 and is the 2010 recipient of the NECTFL’s Nelson H. Brooks Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Profession, as well as the 2010 recipient of the ACTFL’s Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in K-12 Foreign Language Education. Her recent work involves training future leaders for K-12 Chinese language field.

Wanli Hu
Program Director

Hu Wanli is the former Director of the Chinese Program Center at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He received his diploma of American Studies in American History from Smith College, Northampton, MA, and his Ph.D. in Sino- American Relations from UMASS Amherst. Dr. Hu currently is a faculty member at Gengdan Institute of Beijing University of Technology.

Susan Cook Thanas
Board Member

Susan Cook Thanas, retired English teacher from Duxbury, Massachusetts, helped co-found the Sino-American Bridge for Education and Health, Inc. (SABEH) in 2004 and was later chairman for 10 years. Earlier she taught as an AFS teacher in Stavropol, Russia, and directed four choral exchanges in Russia/the USSR. Particularly interested in helping people of differing cultures learn about one another, she has hosted and mentored several people, including AFS teachers from Chongqing, China, and Bangkok, Thailand; AFS students from Thailand and Switzerland; and two students from Korea. She taught at Jin Cai High School in Shanghai, 2005-2006, at Anhui University in Hefei, 2012-2013, and for SABEH in Beijing, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Nanjing, and Hangzhou over several summers. Susan now enjoys sharing her love of Chinese culture and history by teaching Lifelong Learning courses at local Senior Centers.

Kevin Freeley
Technology Director

Kevin Freeley is a former Boston Public School teacher of over 30 years. He was a BPS exchange teacher to Beijing in the 05/06 school year. During that time he was able to volunteer one day a week at the Dandelion School in the first year of its existence. Since retirement he has been teaching English to immigrants in Boston. He is a lifelong Boston resident and both his children attended Boston Public Schools from kindergarten through high school.

Yixing Lew
Board Member

Star Yixing Lew currently teaches Mandarin at Newton North High School, where Mandarin is a full- fledged comprehensive program. Star was a recipient of the 2013 UMass Boston Fulbright-Hays Group Study Abroad Program. She has been a principal instructor at UMass Boston’s STARTALK Program, and a presenter at numerous workshops and conferences. Currently, she is also an academic coach for New England Chinese Teacher Leadership Institute at Tufts University. Star serves on the Board of NECLTA and NEELI.

Contact Us

For information about NEELI, email us at