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Meet Our Staff

Mesquite’s Chinese Immersion Program features a team of professionals, brought together in collaboration with the Confucius Institute. Each one of them is a dedicated and effective educator.


Each immersion classroom has two teachers:


Kindergarten Team
Ruiyi Lan  and Tisha Lee

1st Grade Team
Shuang Luo and Elba Herd

2nd Grade Team
Shao Xiao w/ Yuan Zhu and Billie Buntin

3rd Grade Team
Jing Xiao and Faith Alva

4th Grade Team
Yuxi (Sharon) Rogers and Megan Perrin

5th Grade Team
Lufei Lin and Nicole Hoffmann


Faith Alva

Third Grade Immersion Teacher

My name is Faith Alva, this will be my 14th year in education. I was born and raised right here in Tucson, Arizona and grew up attending school in the Vail School District. I taught first grade at Sycamore Elementary for 3 years then I left the district to run and teach at a preschool program for eight years. This will be my third year teaching 3rd grade.

I have my bachelors degree in Elementary Education and a masters degree in Educational Leadership. I’ve been married for eleven years and have three children. My step-daughter Domonique is a sophomore at Pima Community College, my daughter Alana is in 4th grade, and my son Joseph is in second grade.

I am thrilled to be working with your child this year and helping him/her to accomplish great things! You are the most important person in your child’s life, and I know if we work together your child will have a phenomenal year. I strongly believe in the partnership between parents, students, and teachers. Together we can do amazing things!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have at any time. I can be reached at alvaf@vailschooldistrict.org or at 879-2126. I’m looking forward to a great year!

Billie Buntin

2nd Grade Immersion Teacher and Instructional Team Leader

Mrs. Buntin was born in Phoenix, raised in Arizona and California, and has lived in Tucson since 2000. She earned her Master of Education – Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University. She has taught First grade and is currently a Second Grade English Teacher in the Mesquite Chinese Immersion Program.

Mrs. Buntin says, “I am thrilled to teach in the Mesquite Chinese Immersion Program! It has been wonderful to witness and be a part of the students’ academic growth, to see them learning math and science in Chinese, and to hear them communicating in Chinese.”

Elba Herd

1st Grade Immersion Teacher and Instructional Team Leader

I was born in Silver City, New Mexico.  I attended New Mexico State University and received a Bachelors degree in Marketing Management.  I also attended Western New Mexico University and received a Masters degree in Elementary Education.  I have taught full day kindergarten, first, second, and third grade.  I am honored to be a part of the Chinese Immersion Program and first grade team at Mesquite.

Nicole Hoffmann

5th Grade Immersion Teacher

I was born in Tucson, Arizona and have lived in New Jersey and Pennsylvania at various points in my life. I graduated from The University of Arizona with a bachelors degree in Elementary Education in 2016. This is my third year teaching. My first year in 5th grade and I've previously taught 3rd grade. I am so excited to be welcomed in to the CIP family here at Mesquite Elementary School!! Having been at this school the last two years I have seen how much these children have grown and how far they have come. It is going to be a great year!

Ruiyi Lan

1st Grade Chinese Immersion Teacher

Originally raised in Zhuhai, China, Ruiyi spent 18 years in this beautiful coastal city until she went to University of International Business and Economics in Beijing China for her bachelor’s degree. After volunteering as a community school teacher in Jakarta Indonesia, she had growing interest in pursuing career in public interest. She finished her master's degree in Media Studies and Communication at Temple University, where she had experience in writing news about children and how media impact children’s lives. She loves teaching and teaching facilitates children to grow. She thinks everyone should have some sort of experience in learning from children and has the responsibility to help them grow into mature human beings.

Tisha Lee

Kindergarten Immersion Teacher

I was born in Rushville, Indiana.  I earned my Bachelor’s degree from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA.  I have lived in Tucson since 2013 and have been a CIP mom since the program began in 2014. I am excited to teach our Kindergartners!

Lufei Lin

5th Grade Chinese Immersion Teacher

Mr. Lin was born and raised in southeast China. He has a Bachelor degree in Chinese Language Art and a Masters degree in Modern Chinese Literature from Fujian Normal University. He earned his second Master of Arts in Teaching and California Multiple Subject credential from Chapman University. Mr. Lin has teaching experiences in second grade and fourth grade Mandarin Immersion Program classes. He is also an emerging scholar in elementary mathematics education. Driven by his commitment to building a student-centered educational environment for students, Mr. Lin focuses on studying cultural and linguistic awareness within mathematics education under bilingual settings. He has presented at the Orange County Mathematics Council Symposium on culturally responsive and inclusive mathematics pedagogies. He is also a member of National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Shuang Luo

1st Grade Chinese Immersion Teacher

Hello! My name is Shuang Luo. I will be teaching First Chinese Immersion at MES. I was born and raised in Wuhan, China. I obtained my Bachelor's Degree in Chinese Language/ Literature, and my first Master's Degree in World/Comparative Literature from Central China Normal University, and my second Master's Degree in English from Jackson State University. I have been teaching Chinese in both China and the U.S. for 10 years. I enjoy helping my student learn and encouraging them to be happy learners.

Megan Perrin

4th Grade Immersion Teacher

I am very excited to be a part of the Chinese Immersion Program this year! I graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelors in Family and Consumer Resources. After being a stay at home mom for 10 years, I decided to go back to work as a Substitute Teacher. I have been with the Vail School District as a Substitute Teacher for 11 years. I have had the honor of doing many long term jobs around the district, including many here at Mesquite. I love 4th grade and I am looking forward to a wonderful year!

Yuxi (Sharon) Rogers

4th Grade Chinese Immersion Teacher

I was born and raised in China. I attended China Agricultural University in Beijing and received a Bachelors Degree in Animal Science. I was then accepted into the University of Arizona for my Master's program and had received a Master of Science Degree in 2010. I've been a private tutor and an educational blogger for many years while raising my kids. Two of my boys are in the Chinese Immersion Program at Mesquite. I am super excited to be able to contribute to the Chinese Immersion Program this coming year!

Jing Xiao

3rd Grade Chinese Immersion Teacher

Hi, I’m Jing Xiao. I was born and raised in a beautiful east coast city in China. I have a Bachelors degree in English Literature from Soochow University and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Miami University. I have taught Chinese Language and Culture in a public high school in Ohio. I also served at an English language learning institute in China as an education supervisor. I’m honored to be part in Mesquite CIP family and I’m thrilled to be working with your child this year.

Shao Xiao

2nd Grade Chinese Immersion Teacher

My name is Shao Xiao (肖韶). I was born and raised in mainland China. I came to the U.S. for secondary education in 2009, and have been working on my degrees and career since then. I received my B.A. in English Literature from the University of Iowa, and recently graduated from Michigan State University with my M.A in Teacher Education. I’m now working on my M.A. in Educational Leadership with Northern Arizona University. This is my 4th year teaching, and I’m looking forward to a productive school year!

Yuan Zhu

2nd Grade Chinese Immersion Teacher

I am a native Chinese. I obtained my double Bachelor's Degree in Zhejiang University, majoring in Linguistics and E-commerce. Later, I pursued my Master's Degree in Zhejiang Normal University, taking Education as my major. I have been teaching for more than 15 years. It is my honor to have the chance to be part of the Chinese Immersion Program at Mesquite. I will try my best to cooperate with my team members and present the students with the best Chinese lessons.