Full Time Team
Founder and Managing Director
Before setting up the company, Marcus studied French and Spanish BAHons at Newcastle University and then spent eight years working in finance, journalism and retail. From January-June 2006, Marcus spent time living with a Chinese family in Shanghai in order to learn the language. On his return, he established the company to enable schools to start learning Mandarin Chinese. Whilst running the business, Marcus spent three years teaching at primary and secondary level which has enabled him to appreciate the challenges related to the teaching of Mandarin but also to compile a series of textbooks which appeal to a young, western audience. Within a three to four year period, Marcus has transformed Dragons in Europe into a UK and European-focused one-stop solution (recruiting, teaching, training and publishing) for those wanting to learn Mandarin Chinese.
Julian, who joined us in December 2011, is a key member of our management team. He is the CEO of the Alpha Plus Group, a UK-based group of leading prep schools and colleges. Julian’s current/previous roles also include being the CEO of Cengage Learning (EMEA) and CEO of Macmillan Education; his industry contacts and experience in the education sector have proved invaluable in terms of encouraging key companies to partner with Dragons in Europe in order to promote Mandarin Chinese in the UK and beyond.
David is an experienced executive with a general management, consulting, investment and technology background. As an Associate Partner with Elix-IRR, he advises senior management on the disruption caused by digital technologies and how to create digital platforms which will enable them to compete. He is a Business Angel and investor in start up businesses. He acts as business coach to senior executives in Europe and Africa, where he has particular interests, including acting as Chairman of a significant charity. A linguist, he has strong interests in the scope and potential for technology to disrupt and improve education at all levels, including in the learning of foreign languages, especially Mandarin.
Head of Teaching
Elliot is a passionate linguist originally from Taiwan. Having graduated with a Master’s Degree in Applied Translation from London Metropolitan University, he decided to train professionally and become a language teacher specialising in Mandarin. Since he obtained his Qualified Teaching Status in the UK, he has been an enthusiastic teacher introducing Chinese language and culture in various types of schools, from primary to secondary, enrichment to GCSE/A-levels, aged 6 to 18! He strongly believes that learning Mandarin is not only very useful but also a unique pathway to enable everyone to experience one of the world’s richest cultures.
Schools’ Relationships Manager
Andy has extensive experience in education services and products, having worked for a prominent educational software company in the past and having taught Chinese and English to non-native students. He has spent a total of 4 years living in China, where he taught English in a variety of different schools and also began his studies in Mandarin. A recent graduate from London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies with a degree in Chinese, Andy is well suited to a role which includes ensuring the quality of services delivered by Dragons in Europe, promoting their innovative curriculum and resources, as well as continuing with some Chinese teaching. Andy is passionate about making Mandarin accessible to increasing numbers of pupils in the UK, and wants to be active in dispelling the myth that Mandarin is too difficult for young learners. Andy is heavily involved in Dragons in Europe study trips to China and is also leading the development of the new learning cartoon, Kung Fu Kingdom: The Lost Scroll.
With over 7 years of overseas teaching experience, Serena is an exciting addition to the Dragons in Europe team. Serena, who is from Xi’an, studied Chinese language and literature at Beijing Normal University; she also has a Master’s degree (Teaching and Learning Chinese) from The University of Hong Kong. Serena comes to us with strong creative teaching skills and a strong passion for language teaching; she currently focuses on teacher training and secondary school teaching. She is mad about all things yoga and loves outdoor fitness.
Teacher & Teacher Training Coordinator
Valentina graduated in 2011 with a degree in Psychology from the University of Birmingham. She started working in the educational field beginning in psycholinguistics before moving to China. Living in Beijing she studied Chinese Language at Beijing Language and Cultural University, in addition to practising Chinese Calligraphy. She has spent the last 4 years teaching Mandarin and English to primary students in both Beijing and London. Her interests include travel, ballet and contemporary dance.
Varun is central to Dragons in Europe’s IT programme and strategy. His expertise, details and perfectionism meet in perfect harmony with our continuous plans for the diversification of offerings on our e-learning portals. Varun is a lively member of the team and is passionate about all things cricket and Sachin Tendulkar (even though is retired)!