Bay State Education Staff
Our team consists of educators who have worked in some of the leading public and private educational institutions both in the United States and in China. Each student is paired with a counselor that is the best fit in terms of the student's academic goals during their studies here in the US. Our staff consists of current and former teachers, administrators, school counselors, and English language specialists.
Alan Chang, M.A.
Director of College Counseling
Alan is a graduate of Colby College and earned his Master's in Counseling Psychology at Lesley University. A former School Guidance Counselor at Newton South High School and Head of School Counseling at Massachusetts International Academy, Alan has extensive experience and knowledge in the college application process. He approaches college advising with an empathic and personal understanding of how complicated and anxiety-provoking this process is for first-generation American college students.
Alan is licensed and certified in school counseling (grades 5-12) by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). He is also a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), International Consultants for Education and Fairs (ICEF), Independent Education Consultants Association (IECA), Massachusetts School Counseling Association (MASCA), and the Greater Boston School Counseling Association (GBSCA).
Alan also counsels student-athletes hoping to continue playing sports at the collegiate level. Alan was a distinguished, all-scholastic athlete who was recruited by colleges in all three sports he played (Football, Wrestling, Lacrosse). He ultimately chose to play football at Colby College where he was a part of the winningest class in Colby history.
Rena Mirkin, M.A., M.Ed.
Chief Consultant; Secondary & Post-Secondary Education
Rena Mirkin has spent over 45 years as an educator and has 35 years of experience working as a top administrator and principal at some of the highest-achieving schools in both the United States and China. Earning her Master's in Counseling Psychology from Boston College and later a Master's in Education Administration, Rena served as the Principal of Massachusetts International Academy (MAIA), an international residential school located in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. Prior to MAIA, Rena was the Principal of the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB) for 6 years, Principal of Wellesley High School for 11 years, and Principal of Reading Memorial High School for 8.
At WAB, Rena was head of one of the most prestigious international secondary schools in China. Overseeing 70 faculty members and over 500 international high school students from over 40 countries, Rena was instrumental in establishing WAB as one of two foremost college preparatory high schools in Beijing. She helped successfully lead WAB's re-accreditation to the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), while simultaneously achieving new accreditations from the Commission on Independent Schools (CIS), International Baccalaureate (IB), and the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).
At Wellesley High School, one of the consistently top-20 ranked high schools in Massachusetts, she oversaw 130 faculty members in charge of more than 1200 students. in 2006, Wellesley High School achieved the top SAT scores in the state of Massachusetts. In 2007, it was named one of Newsweek's Top-100 Best High Schools in America. Rena, as head of Wellesley HS during that decade, personally hired 85% of the 130 faculty members that Wellesley currently attributes its consistently strong academic outcomes, year after year.
Rena is part of the International Accreditation Team for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), as well as a having been involved with Babson College as a trustee and in numerous other positions since 1997. Rena is on numerous committees and holds leadership positions on many educational boards. A partial sampling of Rena's educational affiliations includes professional memberships in: the East Asia Region of Overseas Schools (EARCOS), the Asia Pacific Activities Conference (APAC), Association of China and Mongolia International Schools (ACAMIS), the Headmasters Association (whose members include over 100 heads of private and public schools), Massachusetts Secondary School Administration Association Committee for Curriculum and Instruction, and also served as the President of the Bay State Principals Association.
Franklin earned his Master’s in Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education with a concentration in Learning and Teaching. As a former English teacher for New Oriental School and Vice-Principal at Massachusetts International Academy, Franklin has a deep understanding of the education space both in China and in the US.
Franklin has a diversified professional education portfolio with experience ranging from teaching English Language Learners to Higher Education Administration. Having been an English Language teacher, a teaching fellow at Harvard, and a school administrator at an international residential school, Franklin has developed his skills over the years in helping students transition from one culture to another, and to succeed in a new academic, social, and cultural environment. His fields of expertise include international education, student wellness, academic and career advising, as well as multi-cultural exchange.
Firmly convinced in the power of acculturation in maximizing student learning outcomes and career opportunities, Franklin works extensively with students by helping them navigate their academic and social lives. He has created spaces for international students to discover their identities and finding their voices through different forums, workshops, and podcasts.
Franklin Chen, M.Ed.
Post-Graduate Admissions Specialist
Jelly Xiong, M.S.
Jelly earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a master's degree in Project Management from Boston University. Prior to joining Bay State Education, Jelly worked at a college consulting company where she advised international students and their families on post-secondary education opportunities.
A native of China, Jelly was an international student herself, choosing to attend college in the US after high school. Having studied here abroad for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees, Jelly understands and can relate to all of the challenges that international students face while pursuing their education. Jelly is a firm believer in the power of global interconnectedness in education and strives to mentor students to become future global leaders.