TAS Board of Directors nominates new chair Mr. Jay Cheng (‘97)


Mr. Cheng and the Board work closely with Dr. Dodge,

Starting July, Mr. Jay Cheng (‘97) was elected as the new board chair of Taipei American School (TAS), as Ms. Tina Koo stepped down as chairwoman after a nine year term. 

Prior to being elected as chair, Mr. Cheng’s contributions to the TAS community stemmed from his time as a student — Mr. Cheng was one of the first students to help wire TAS to the Internet. “[Back then,] no one knew what the Internet was,” Mr. Cheng said. “There was no club or class for that… There was a lot of student involvement in the initial creation of something that is so important to the backbone of education today.” 

Mr. Cheng’s passion for technology also extends back to his college days at the University of Southern California, where he started his first business, GigaFast, which manufactures computer networking products. 

In 2015, with three other TAS alumni, Mr. Cheng founded WeMo Scooter, one of the world’s largest shared electric scooter businesses providing green economic transportation in Taiwan. WeMo has transformed the urban landscape of Taipei, promoting environmentally-friendly, affordable electrified transportation. 

Carrying his entrepreneurial and service-oriented foresights, Mr. Cheng’s vision at the Board is to establish acquired skills for TAS graduates to make impactful, large-scale contributions to society. This is part of the Board’s Strategic Plan 2021-2026, which aims to “promote living a life of service,” cited in Strategic Area 2: Supporting Student Life. 

Head of School Dr. Grace Cheng Dodge, who works closely with Mr. Cheng and the TAS Board, said, “Mr. Cheng’s background as an entrepreneur gives him a fearless ability to think outside the box while recognizing that the world of education has been turned on its head during these pandemic times.” 

“He is open, transparent and accessible, and his leadership and guidance through our partnership will help me lead the school as best I can,” Dr. Dodge added. 

Following the previous Five Year Strategic Plan, which focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) education at TAS via the Solomon Wong Tech Cube, Mr. Cheng hopes to use his role as chair to advance the school’s wellness initiative, central to the Board’s Strategic Plan. 

Its objectives include focusing on learning results that consider the “whole child, including social-emotional, intellectual and physical wellbeing.” Mechanisms to achieve this include providing professional development to assist in the improvement of assessment practices, among other ways cited in Strategic Area 1: Focusing on Learning. 

Under Mr. Cheng’s leadership, the school has already accomplished several things under the Strategic Plan, including hiring a new director of inclusion and wellbeing as well as infusing social and emotional learning into the curriculum as early as lower school, according to Dr. Dodge. 

“One thing I learned from speaking to faculty is that they really want students to change the world [after TAS],” Mr. Cheng said. “It’s difficult for students to go out and do that when [they don’t have a robust support system].”

Additionally, Mr. Cheng’s new role as chair comes alongside five new appointed board members. “I actually celebrate the introduction of fresh ideas and people onto the board,” said Mr. TK Chiang, vice board chair. “I believe the current board is a very diverse group. However, I would emphasize that everyone’s interest is well-aligned to the long term strength of the school.”