Steven Yang

Founder and CEO

Steven Yang is the founder and CEO of Opal Education. He came to the UK for education at GCSE when he was 15 and later studied Statistics, Economics and Finance at University College London. He then joined KPMG in London as a Management Consultant, where he participated in a number of large scale projects in education, retail, health, insurance and banking. After leaving KPMG, he founded Opal Education with a core team who have similar backgrounds.

Steven is an inspirational leader who cares deeply about the quality of the education offering in China. His network and industry understanding are first class. Having spent over 10 years being educated and living in the UK, and being native Chinese, he is able to utilise excellent skills in managing international project teams worldwide.

Harold Zhang

Director of Operations

Harold came from an Engineering background having studied Electronic and Electric Engineering from the University of Strathclyde. He then went on to study management and was awarded two Master’s degrees from University College London and King’s College London.

After returning to China, Harold worked for a well-known branding firm and led the education business team. He helped with the branding of many international schools in Shanghai, including Shanghai HD Bilingual School, Western International School of Shanghai (WISS) and Yew Chong International School (YCIS Shanghai), just to mention a few. Harold has also led the delivery of Lucton Kindergarten in Shanghai and is currently leading the delivery of Lucton International School in Pudong.

Paddy Armstrong

Chief Educational Advisor

Paddy is a highly experienced educationist with a very broad understanding of the international market in education. He completed his degree in Physics and gained his PGCE qualification from Durham University, after which he went into teaching A-Level Physics and Mathematics. During his career, Paddy has taken various senior roles as Deputy Head Academic, Senior Housemaster and Bursar at HMC schools in South West England. He has also set up a school in Mombasa.

Upon leaving his teaching career, Paddy took the UK Director role at CJR Education for 5 years. In addition to being the Chief Educational Advisor at Opal Education, Paddy provides consultancy for Cardiff Sixth Form College, whose A-Level results has ranked as No.1 in the UK for the last 7 years. He is also a consultant for Suzanne Rowse, the founder of British Boarding Schools Workshop and Connected (BBSW).

Lara Lightbody

Chief Legal Advisor

Lara Lightbody is a UK-qualified lawyer based in Shanghai and Hong Kong, with over 12 years experience in both private practice and as an in-house counsel for various multinationals. She was previously the Head of Legal for North East Asia for British Telecom (BT) and led the legal team covering key Asian markets including mainland China, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Lara trained at London law firm Mishcon de Reya, who notably led the recent legal challenge to Brexit in England’s Supreme Court. She completed her undergraduate degree in Law and Russian at University of Sussex and her postgraduate at St Catherine’s College, Oxford University with a specialism in Intellectual Property.

Shary Wang

Project Director

Shary started her career as an SAP project manager at Siemens Hangzhou. She was later promoted as the General Manager Assistant and helped to manage LEAN projects and compliance across the company. She was the youngest person ever to win the Siemens Compliance Award in China.

After leaving Siemens, she studied her Master’s degree at King’s College London. Upon graduation, Shary worked as a marketing project manager for ETX Capital, one of the UK's top spread betting & CFD providers. Shary was responsible for the China digital marketing function. She later moved to Addition+, a well-established digital marketing agency in London, to lead the China business unit. She has extensive experience in various digital marketing channels, including the most widely used tools across Search, Display and Social Media. She adds valuable marketing insights and project management expertise for our clients.

Rachel Qi

Project Director

Rachel was one of the founding members at Opal Education and she initially ran summer school projects which took around 100 students to the UK each year. This project has led to a wide network in the education space as well as valuable project management experience for Rachel.

Prior to joining Opal, Rachel has an academic background in Construction Management and had a variety of experience in construction project management, supply chain optimisation and budgetary control. She left Opal Education in 2013 to study for her Master’s degree in Engineering with Management at King’s College London, where she was awarded a Distinction. After graduation, Rachel took the role as project manager at Red Star Commercial Group (now named “Aegean Commercial Group”), the 2nd largest commercial real estate developer in China. Rachel re-joined Opal at 2017. With her extensive network and rounded understanding in education, she is now directly responsible for the implementation of few projects across China.

Dr. Hao Dong

Project Director (Isca)

Joined Opal in early 2018, Hao has been leading the ISCA project team devoting to 5 key pillars of development, which include international teacher recruitment, cross-border university collaborations, and forest school programmes.

In possession of thorough understandings of academia and British higher education system, Hao obtained his PhD degree as well as a Master’s with Distinction in Management at the University of Exeter Business School. He is also accountancy trained, having completed his ACCA accredited Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance at the same institution.

In his professional career, Hao worked as an Assistant Accountant at Mingsheng Bank Corp. Ltd., the first privately-owned banking enterprise in Mainland China. During his Doctoral training, he was recruited as a Research Assistant at University of Exeter where he gained wide experience in not only academic collaborations, but also managing international conferences with first-class academic institutions, such as China Academy of Social Sciences, Zhejiang University (China) and Universidad de los Andes (Columbia). In 2017, he became in charge of co-organising the 4th BNV Annual International Conference. Hao is an enthusiastic academic with a genuine passion in supporting the progress of more and better internationalised education for children in China.

Serena Yuan

Project Supervisor

Having completed a degree in English from Jiangsu University in 2013, Serena wanted to become a teacher. She decided to study for a Master’s degree in Education at the University of Glasgow. During her time in Glasgow, she took the role as a part time English teacher.

Upon completing her Master’s degree, Serena worked for EIC Education, which is one of the Top 10 agents in China specialising in university applications, as an applications consultant. At one time, she was responsible for managing applications for over 80 students. In just over 2 years, she was able to help over 100 students to gain offers from the Top 100 universities worldwide.

After leaving EIC, Serena joined Opal Education and her wealth of knowledge in education from a B2C perspective adds an additional angle to our projects.

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