INFLUENCER OF THE WEEK: Chifan Chang, Maxey Elementary

The program assistant has been at Maxey Elementary School for two years.

  • West Orange Times & Observer
  • News
  • Share

Chifan Chang has served as the program assistant at Maxey Elementary for the last two years. She establishes and nurtures positive relationships with diverse stakeholders, including district administrators, staff, students, parents, community agencies and the Orange County Citizens' Commission for Children. She assesses students' performance and progress, offering personalized guidance and reinforcement in both individual and group settings to support their development plans effectively. Furthermore, I provide valuable advice and support to educators and supervisors, promoting professional growth and fostering a culture of excellence in teaching practices.

“She continues to go above and beyond her duties to build relationships with the students, parents and co-workers of Maxey,” Assistant Principal Sarah Becker said. “Mrs. Chang works diligently to build relationships with the students. You will see her first thing in the morning assisting in the cafeteria. She ensures all of our Wildcats start the day with a hearty breakfast and a healthy conversation. Chifan is a person that is willing to support the enhancement of students’ success and achievement. This is evident in the various pull-out and push-in intervention groups (ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade) she works with daily. She works closely with the classroom teachers and instructional coaches to implement efficient strategies and create data driven instruction.

“Mrs. Chang is always a willing participant to assist with testing, volunteering for after-school events or anything asked of her,” Becker said. “Her upbeat personality, attention to detail and strong organizational skills are qualities that makes her an Influencer of the Week.

What brought you to your school?

I was drawn to my school by its community connections while doing volunteer work during pandemic. Their loving, caring and sharing are the key to open my heart with a supportive learning environment.

What do you love most about your school?

The sense of community and the dedication of the faculty and staff are what I love most about my school. It feels like a second home where everyone is valued and supported.      

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing students' growth and development, both academically and personally. Witnessing their successes and knowing that I've played a role in their journey is incredibly fulfilling; especially, their smiles shine my day.

What would you be if you weren’t in this profession?

If I weren't in this profession, I might pursue a career in project management, as I have a passion for planning and executing from beginning to end.

Who influences you?

Maria Montessori influences me greatly by respecting the child's natural development, fostering a prepared environment, and promoting a love for learning continues to shape educational theories and practices, emphasizing the importance of personalized, holistic approaches to education.

Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?

Dr. Asfour was my favorite teacher when I was in school because he was like a father to guide me in the right direction. His enthusiasm for his subject matter was infectious, and he genuinely cared about his students' success.

What is your favorite children’s book and why?

“Aesop's Fables,” my favorite book, is full of simple stories that teach important lessons through a moral attached to each one. They address universal themes such as honesty, perseverance and wisdom, making them timeless and applicable to various life situations.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, riding bike, listening to music, watching movies with my family. It helps me relax and recharge after a busy week.

If you could dine with any famous person, past or present, who would it be and why?

If I could dine with any famous person, it would be Barack Obama, whose journey from community organizer to president of the United States offers valuable lessons in leadership, perseverance and empathy, making the experience both enriching and inspiring.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I would choose the ability to teleport because it would allow me to travel instantly to any place in the world and experience different cultures and perspectives.

If you could only listen to three bands or artists, who would they be and why?

Backstreet Boys, The Beatles and Whitney Houston because of their diverse musical styles and timeless appeal. Their songs have the power to uplift, inspire and evoke a range of emotions.

What was your go-to lunch and favorite snack as an elementary student?

Curry rice was my go-to lunch, and my favorite snack was fruit snacks.

What is your favorite holiday and why?

My favorite holiday is Christmas because of the festive atmosphere, spending time with family. It's a time when cherished traditions bring loved ones together, creating lasting memories and fostering a sense of joy.

Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?

Janet was my best friend when I was in school because we always shared a similar sense of humor. Despite going our separate ways after graduation, we remain close and make an effort to stay in touch, supporting each other through life's ups and downs.

What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?

As a student, I participated in various extracurricular activities, including marching band, orchestra, science exhibition, recreational guidance association to help elementary students. I got second place for my science exhibition. These experiences taught me valuable lessons in teamwork, leadership, time management and communication.


Latest News