Senait Petros Tekeste, Executive Director of Community Center Shanghai since July 2019

Senait has over 10 years’ experience running strategic and change management initiatives across diverse industries and environments.  Her passion for community service started very early on in her career where she run charity projects in Africa and, as her career grew, she continued to incorporate a connection with the community across the different roles she took on.  With her Business and Marketing bachelor’s degree and her master’s in development studies, she brings corporate perspective and mindset to public and community service. Senait is passionate about building community and hopes to continue to lead CCS to be that home away from home hub for internationals – connecting, enabling and supporting them to adapt and thrive in Shanghai.  Senait and her husband live in Shanghai with their two boys, Niccolò (5.5 yrs.) and Aylan (almost 4yrs) and enjoys every moment of their journey here in Shanghai.


Tess Robinson, Chair of the Board

It is the Fit the Counts! Tess Robinson is the Founder and Managing Partner of TEAM Education Consulting Company. Tess has been assisting students in preparing for and applying to boarding school, college and universities in the U.S since 1998. Due to the unique circumstances of college admissions for international students, Tess developed a family-based counseling practice in Shanghai in 2011. Student admissions since then include, Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, Amherst, Swarthmore, Pomona, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania and many others. Prior to TEAM Education, Tess worked professionally in the fields of finance, marketing and consulting. She has worked as a tutor and volunteered in schools in the US to help students achieve their personal bests since her college days. Tess is a graduate of Harvard Business School where she earned a M.B.A. and Stanford University where she earned an AB in International Relations. She has also earned her certificate in College Admissions Counseling at University of California, Los Angeles. Tess speaks English, French and Spanish and is conversant in Mandarin Chinese.

Tess has served as the Chairman of the Board for the Community Centre Shanghai for five years. She served as the president of the Yew Chung International School parent organization (POP) for 9 years. She is a member of both NACAC (National Association of College Admissions Counselors) and IECA (Independent Education Consultants of America). She has lived in Shanghai for over 13 years with her husband and three sons, who attend Pomona College, Stanford University and Yew Cheng International School, respectively.

Jon Brantingham, Executive Committee

Jon Brantingham was born and raised in Taiwan and is the fourth generation in his family to live and work in China. As CEO of Brantingham Manufacturing (China), he has developed a thriving business that exports to markets in three continents. He and his wife Judy, are parents of four active boys and one daughter. Jon plays basketball and golf when time allows. Jon serves on the board of Concordia International School Shanghai, and relates to prison ministry project in Taiwan that he helped to start and develop.

Jon has served on the CCS board since 2003. As the longest board member for CCS, he has assumed different roles, including chairman, Vice chairman, and Executive Committee.

Patrick Hopkins

Patrick Hopkins came to Shanghai nearly 20 years where he founded a health insurance service company with his wife.  It was a pioneer in the field in China.  The firm merged with a Paris based MSH International in 2009 and became MSH China.  Patrick continues to serve MSH as a Senior Advisor.

Patrick might be best described by the moniker of the “Old Asia Hand”.  He studied in the early1970’s in Tokyo at Sophia University where he received both his Bachelor and Masters degrees in East Asian Studies.  He has been in Asia ever since.  First with an NGO in Indonesia and later Pakistan doing economic development and refugee work.  In the late 1980’s a career change landed him in the financial services industry where he earned the CFP designation while base in Manila.

Patrick is an active Rotarian.  He was a Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Shanghai and was a Past President of the Rotary Club of Pudong Lujiazui where he is a Board Member.  The Rotary International motto of “Service Above Self” is his guiding principle. Patrick’s wife Céline and 13 year old son are with him in Shanghai.  His 2 older children are studying at Universities in the United States.  Patrick has been on the board of Community Center Shanghai since 2016.

Emily Sargent-Beasley

Emily Sargent-Beasley serves as the Shanghai American School, Pudong Head of Campus. Her professional life here in Shanghai brings her great joy as she engages in a community that is passionate about learning. Her international career includes serving as the Assistant Superintendent at the Walworth Barbour American International School in Israel and as the Curriculum Coordinator at the American International School Chennai, India. Prior to her international move, Emily served on the faculty of James Madison University in Virginia. And, like many educational leaders, began her career in the coveted role of classroom teacher.

Living internationally is not new to Emily. In the early 1970s, her teacher-parents decided to move from Massachusetts to Beirut, Lebanon to begin an international adventure that has now lasted decades. From Beirut, her family moved to a small town in Iran to help establish a school that served an international copper mining community. After returning to the US, they then moved to Saudi Arabia. Emily graduated from high school at the American Embassy School, New Delhi, India.

Emily is passionate about developing a sense of and spirit for community that connects people and families. It is for this reason that she is particularly grateful for the opportunity to support the Community Center Shanghai’s mission by serving on the board.

Dr. Mary Scott

Dr. Mary Scott is the Head of School at Concordia International School Shanghai. Mary, her husband Dan, and daughter Anna moved from Irvine, California to Shanghai in 2016. Previously Mary served at Concordia University Irvine. During her career in education Dr. Scott has taught courses in exercise and sport science, education, health and leadership. She has mentored student teachers and built university academic programs in athletics, leadership and international studies. Mary held several administrative positions in Irvine including Athletic Director, Vice President of Administration and Executive Vice President of the University. Dr. Scott holds a Bachelor’s degree from Concordia University Chicago, a Master’s degree from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York and an Ed.D from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She has written chapters in several books on higher education and women’s leadership. Mary has a passion for learning. She loves working in a school and finds conversations with colleagues and students invigorating. When she’s not in school, Mary can be found with her family. They love to travel, read, play games, and watch movies together. Mary and her husband enjoy golfing and scuba diving together.

Daniel Eschtruth

Daniel Eschtruth has dedicated his professional career to supporting students from every walk of life learn, grow, and achieve to the best of their abilities. He became Director of Schools at Shanghai Community International School (SCIS) in July 2016. Since taking over as Director, Daniel has launched numerous initiatives and efforts, all designed to better align school practices with the needs and expectations of the community. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University he entered the classroom as a teacher in his home state of Michigan (USA) before moving on to California and ultimately pursuing his passion for teaching overseas. He then completed a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University to support his expanding role within the leadership team at SCIS. Prior to his role as Director of Schools he served as a Principal, Director of Development, and Head of School giving him a broad range of experiences through which he gained an even stronger understanding of the vital role community has within the success of a school. In support of further establishing and cultivating relationships within the Shanghai international community, Daniel joined the Board of the Community Center Shanghai (CCS) in 2016. With a focus on supporting CCS’ ongoing efforts to meet the needs of the ever-evolving international community in Shanghai he gladly serves and supports the CCS mission.

Stella Si

Stella Si served as the Executive Director of CCS from July 2011 to December 2015. She graduated from Fudan University in Shanghai with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, and received a Master’s Degree in Communications from Penn State University. She has worked in New York for over 18 years in the fashion, PR and merchandising. Stella returned to Shanghai with her husband’s expat assignment in 2005, and worked for CCS as the Marketing Director from 2007-2009. She initiated the CCS Gala, Spelling Bee, and the Bazaar. Stella then became the General Manager of E&A Shanghai Branch, a Fashion PR Agency that serves luxury brands in China, with clients such as Calvin Klein, Dsquared, Dolce Gabbanna, DKNY, and Armani Exchange.

Ms. Si is married to Dr. John Hu and they have two children.

Zhen Zeng-Liao


Zhen served as the Executive Director of CCS from January 2016 to July 2019. Zhen is passionate about connecting the community regardless of people’s ethnic background, language, life experience and or professional career. Zhen was born and grew up in China. She graduated from The University of Michigan with a Master’s Degree in Materials Science and Engineering in U.S. After graduation, she worked at GE Plastics, The Dow Chemical Company, and Dow Corning.  Since 1995, Zhen has served in many volunteer management roles, including Overseas Chinese Association, Stepping Stones China, and Co-Head of National Museum of Singapore Docent Team. Zhen brings years of experience in corporate business management and volunteerism.

Zhen is a mother of 3 children, she believes the best education is to inspire children to learn and take action to better our society.  Zhen also has a special compassion to improve the lives of underprivileged children and inspire them to thrive.

Emeritus Board Members

Dean Larson

Dean Larson is a multinational senior executive with over 25+ year’s international experience concentrated in the finance and strategic leadership areas. He is currently Group CEO of Modern Chemical Group in Bangkok, Thailand after previously serving as President and Co-Founder of a global executive management consulting firm and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) across multiple organizations, industries, and geographies. Dean, an avid Huskies fan, received a BA from the U. of Washington and an MBA from The Wharton School at U. of Pennsylvania. He and his wife of over 30 years have raised 3 global daughters who reside in the U.S. A principle-centered leader, Dean’s focus is on teaching and mentoring others while expanding the gospel of Jesus at every opportunity.

Dr. Nathan D. Showalter

Nate is an American who has lived half of his adult life in Asia (Hong Kong, Taipei, and Shanghai). Previously, Nate has worked in community and leadership development roles in Africa, Asia and North America, and has worked and traveled in more than 50 countries and six continents. He enjoys biking, reading, writing, learning about the history and culture of China, and traveling to new places with family and friends. Nate and Chris are parents of Eli who graduated from Concordia International School Shanghai in 2007. Nate served as Executive Director of Community Center Shanghai from 2003 – 2009 and later served on the board until 2017. He now lives in Hong Kong.

Dr. Christina Showalter

Chris and her husband Nate moved to Shanghai in 2003 and served as co-Executive Directors of Community Center Shanghai until 2009. During these years they grew the Center beyond Pudong, and expanded its reach into counseling, charity projects, newcomer orientation, and various fundraising initiatives. Chris served on the Community Center Board from 2003 to 2009. Earlier Chris worked for World Vision in Asia and the US and after moving to Hong Kong with Nate in 1988, she pioneered World Vision’s first development projects in China. After leaving World Vision, she developed a private practice in training, consulting and executive coaching. She holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in the US. Chris currently continues her leadership development work in China and Asia from the Showalter home in Hong Kong.

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