Global, Creative and Entrepreneurial: Scholar and Author Dr. Yong Zhao to Speak in Aptos

Dr. Yong Zhao, an internationally known scholar, author and speaker, will be the featured presenter at an upcoming public lecture in Aptos. Dr. Zhao, author of more than 100 articles and 20 books, including Catching Up or Leading the Way ; American Education in the Age of Globalization and World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students will be addressing an audience of parents, educators and others interested in the topic of education trends and innovations.

This lecture, planned for February 20 at 7:00pm, is co-presented by Gateway, Mount Madonna and York schools, and Cabrillo College. This event is the third in a “Speaker Series on Education,” which Gateway School initiated two years ago. The first speaker in the series was Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and author of the New York Times bestseller Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School . Last year, Dr. Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, and Development and the Co-Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center, was invited to speak about brain research in education.

“The purpose of the speaker series”, explains Dr. Percy L. Abram, Head of Gateway School, “is to bring together parents, educators, and civic leaders from throughout Santa Cruz County to learn from leading scholars and researchers about best practices in teaching and learning. We invited Dr. Zhao to speak this year because it is important to be part of the discussion of what schools of the future will look like, how our students will access new information and build critical skills, and how our teachers can create learning environments to meet our students’ needs. Dr. Zhao writes eloquently and persuasively about these issues, and his insights are helping to shape the debate both for public and independent school educators.”

Dr. Zhao is currently a professor and Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education at the University of Oregon’s College of Education, where he is also the Weinman Professor of Technology and Professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership. At present his work focuses on designing 21st century schools in the context of globalization and the digital revolution. 

The presentation will focus on Zhao’s book, World Class Learners , where he proposes that the current measures of education quality through standardized testing are misleading, and that the so-called high performing education systems do not actually produce the kind of creative and entrepreneurial talents that society needs.

“Dr. Zhao clearly illustrates the pathway to educating today’s students in a way that preserves and grows creativity, divergent thinking, collaboration and other 21st century skills,” affirms Mary Supriya McDonald, Head of the Lower School at Mount Madonna. “His compilation of international research highlights the limits of standardized measurements, and the dangers inherent in uniform curriculum being applied without respect to individual interests, gifts and talents. Engaged learning requires that teachers truly know their students, ask questions that help develop critical thinking skills, and design projects to challenge and motivate students’ creativity.”

Zhao will address a full house at Cabrillo’s Crocker Theatre: Seating is FREE but limited; reserve your seat at

Until December, 2010, Zhao was University Distinguished Professor at the College of Education, Michigan State University, where he also served as the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Technology, executive director of the Confucius Institute, as well as the U.S.-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence.

Zhao was born in China’s Sichuan Province. He received his B.A. in English Language Education from the Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages in Chongqing in 1986. He taught English in China for six years before coming to Oregon’s Linfield College as a visiting scholar in 1992. Zhao completed his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, earning an AM in Education in 1994, and a Ph.D. in 1996. For more information about Dr. Zhao, visit his website at

“To meet the complex challenges of the future, we must prepare our students to communicate efficiently, to be creative in the arts, to invent scientific breakthroughs and to participate in global economies,” avows Chuck Harmon, Head of York School. “Dr. Zhao believes, as we do, that our emphasis should be on problem solving, creativity, and leadership, to go beyond success on tests and draw meaningful connections between ideas.”


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, Media & Public Relations,

Nestled among the redwoods on 355 mountaintop acres, Mount Madonna is a safe and nurturing college-preparatory school that supports students in becoming caring, self-aware and articulate critical thinkers, who are prepared to meet challenges with perseverance, creativity and integrity. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville.

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