Why Jonathan Mellen Believes so Strongly in Our ‘Transformative’ Community
In this month’s ‘Meet YCIS’ series, we speak with Mr Jonathan Mellen, IB Co-ordinator and Career & University Guidance Counsellor at Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing).
With a strong belief in the ‘Mission, Principles and Practices’ of the international school, Mr Mellen moved his family to Beijing to take up his post in August 2008. “I joined because the values of the organisation were in line with what I valued,” he says. “[YCIS Beijing] is a fantastic place for families, and it is a caring community. I have devoted my life to the school.”
Having grown up in Colorado Springs in the United States, Mr Mellen has two Bachelor of Arts Degrees in History and Political Science from the University of California – Los Angeles. He was also awarded a Post Baccalaureate Teaching Degree, is a qualified teacher in Humanities and History, and holds a Master's Degree in Education in Teaching and Curriculum.
During his time at YCIS Beijing, Mr Mellen has accumulated extensive experience in a range of secondary school areas. For his first eight years at YCIS Beijing, he taught International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) History, Years 7-9 Humanities, and Global Perspectives. He has since taught Life Skills and Character Education, was a homeroom tutor for many years, in addition to Head of Humanities and Teaching Staff Co-ordinator for the whole school.
He has also headed up the Model United Nations Programme for 10 years, has coached basketball and has been on around 13 different Experiencing China trips over the years. He even had the opportunity to join a World Classroom trip to Barcelona, Spain.
Holding a University Guidance Counselling Certificate, he has been a University Guidance Counsellor for three years and IB Co-ordinator since last year. “It's been such an honour and privilege to serve at this school,” he says. He is proud to have three generations involved in YCIS: his father works for Yew Chung College of Early Childhood Education (YCCECE) in Hong Kong, his wife works at YCIS Beijing and his sons both attend YCIS Beijing.
He sees YCIS as a caring community that transforms lives. He has greatly enjoyed his interactions with people at the school, students, staff, visitors and parents. An interesting acronym he coined here is ‘FACT’ that spells out ‘facing adversity and challenges together’. It sums up the school’s mission. He believes that when we connect and engage with each other, we form an enduring bond. And when we face challenges head-on, we grow together and witness genuine transformation. This is why the best thing about the school in his eyes is the community and the people he works with every day.
Mr Mellen advises his students to work hard, set high goals and take steps to pursue their passions. “Don't try to become what other people want you to become. Just be you.”
He is also of the opinion that students should do their best to find a university that is the right fit for them rather than being pressured into going to an elite campus that does not interest them.
When not at work, he can be found playing the guitar, writing poems, songs and rap music, or cooking.
YCIS Beijing offers a strong, academically challenging IB Diploma Programme, headed up by Mr Mellen. Students awarded the IB Diploma have the opportunity to go to prestigious universities worldwide, with graduates attending Oxbridge and Ivy League Colleges in the US. For further information on this programme, please click here.