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Discovering Resilience and Courage: Lessons from Jie Zhang's Narrative, A Reflection by Naaz Talwar

Jie Zhang, a female Asian leader, has shown what it means to contain remarkable

resilience and determination in her life in the face of challenges, such as the lack of formal

education during the Cultural Revolution in China. Despite facing competition from students

with higher academic levels, Jie’s motivation to be a top performer allowed her to succeed by being part of 6% of the 6 million students passing the college entrance exams.


Jie claims that her perfectionist mindset allowed her to develop a lifelong passion for music, specifically the accordion, and helped her dedicate 28 years of service in the New York Public System after obtaining a degree in Electrical Engineering. She knew that she always wanted to help others when she was older, which eventually led her to pursue teaching once she realized she didn’t see herself as a good engineer or researcher. Jie has held numerous positions in the education system and attended school to earn a degree in administration through which she is . the principal of two international schools in China and is working as a consultant for Sino-American Educational Research Association (S-AERA). Before this, she held numerous positions when she worked in New York’s public education system as a math teacher, assistant principal, principal, and network leader.


Jie’s success did not come without its set of challenges. She told us how she used to worry about her English and the way she spoke, but instead of worrying about it she used it as

a learning opportunity as a fundamental belief of hers is that learning never ends. She used her cultural background and childhood to her advantage to integrate and shape her ability to adapt to unique situations. Jie Zhang is truly an inspirational woman who has something each of us can learn from.

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