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SOUTH China Area Information

South China Country Director:
Elisabeth Montgomery
Senoir Advisor on Internalization
Nanshan District Education Bureau

November Country report

Reporting from South China for the APCDA, over the past few months, we were planning, implementing career programs, proposal writing, and coordinating school-based development for careers in Chinese public schools, primarily in Shenzhen's Nanshan District. We also made connections with two other Shenzhen city districts – BaoAn and Futien, to compare career programs.

We submitted a funding proposal to the Nanshan District Education Bureau to host a South China Middle School Career Symposium in June 2020.

In December, we are working on programs with Chinese parents, administrators, and business industry groups to design school-based Job Data Banks for job shadows and internships aimed at middle school students grades 7-9. These activities include research components to present at the APCDA India conference in March.

September Country report
Prepared by Elisabeth Montgomery


1. Planning and Implementation of a South China Regional Conference on best practices in Chinese Public School Career Programs Grades 8-12.

Initial discussions held in late July 2019 yielded a keen interest from the Nanshan District Education Bureau to hold a regional conference on best practices for career guidance professionals and teachers in the southern China region. The project proposal is underway for a 2020 gathering designed to inspire new ideas in schools. The conference can also spur more interest in the APCDA.

2. Chinese Parents as a Catalyst for Career Education Programs in K-12 public schools.

Building on the success of our Spring 2019 career initiatives, the South China University of Science and Technology Experimental Elementary schools (SUSTECH) will design and hold training programs for parents in K-9 schools to further develop active participation in career-related school programs. These activities will begin on October 7, 2019, and continue each month until the end of the semester in 2020.

Regional and Provincial

The 1st Chinese Teenagers’ Career Education Summit Forum Held in Zhengzhou, China (Highlights: Profesor Jin Shuren attended the forum held in a regional middle school and was the keynote speaker.)

The 2019 Spring Career Development Summit Forum Held in Beijing (Highlights: The forum focused on helping employees to develop their careers.)

Shenzhen District Education Bureau Announced the First Group of Selected Career Education Experimental Primary Schools (Highlights: On the list were Dr. Montgomery's programs in the South China University of Science and Tech Experimental Schools #1 & 2 where she is Foreign Vice-Principal)

All the High Schools in Shenzhen Will Have Career Exploration Courses to Support the New College Entrance Examination (Highlights: This is the first official Career Exploration course in Shenzhen public High Schools)  

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Meet APCDA Lifetime Member - Elisabeth P. Montgomery, Ph.D.

Dr. Elisabeth P. Montgomery is a renowned Educational Innovator in Shenzhen, China and one of three Designers of YuCai High School, International Department, ( For nearly two decades Dr. Montgomery has lived and worked in Shenzhen, China, just over the mainland border with Hong Kong. Her current position is Senior Advisor on Internationalization for the Nanshan District Education Bureau, public school Inspector, and Foreign Vice Principal at the South China University of Science and Technology (SUSTECH) Education Group in Shenzhen. She also is International advisor in China and Latin America.

Dr. Montgomery's SPECIALIZATIONS include:

  • Supervision & Training of Career Service Providers
  • Foreign Career Placement Services
  • International Collaboration
  • Job Development Skills - Internships, Job Shadowing & Targeted Industry Training
  • Early Career Awareness (Children), Exploration (Teens) and Development
  • Youth and Adult Social Entrepreneurship
  • Career Theories, Creativity & Cultural Innovation

Dr. Montgomery's APCDA Lifetime Membership is based on her desire to fully develop the indigenous career and innovation theories with practical applications in China with a focus on businesses, teachers, students, and parents (grade 1 through 12). For Montgomery, happenstance or career opportunity and the foundation of relationships can create a "happy accident" known in China as the cause and effect or yuan fen. Yuen Fen, as a career concept developed by Dr. Jin Shu Ren among many other colleagues in Asia, recently had a profound influence on Dr. Montgomery.

APCDA 2019 Conference Presentation:
Designing for Change in Shenzhen's Nanshan: Parents Take the Lead on Career Exploration in Chinese Elementary Schools. Parents, Teachers, and Students Working Towards A Prolific Industry 4.0 Model

Dr. Montgomery is the first foreigner to hold high-level public-school district posts and positions in China. Currently she is charged with training one thousand English teachers in the Great Books Shared Inquiry methodology to increase higher order thinking and activities in the language classrooms. To develop "teachers as leaders" she established a progressive annual Dragon & Eagle Dialogues - a day of relevant conversations between local Chinese and international school students grade 1-12, which teachers lead as part of their Great Books practicum.

For six years, Dr. Montgomery served as the first foreign Principal in China running an experimental Great Books/Shared Inquiry Academy founded as an international department within a Chinese public school. Montgomery and her team also designed high school career practices and techniques including job shadowing programs and job internships for Chinese students before college placement in international universities. She also developed the first Nanshan grades 1-12 career education curricula in the Nanshan school district and has since trained the public-school career counselors and teachers.

Additionally, in 1999 and the early 2000s, Dr. Montgomery conducted cross-cultural training classes for Chinese government officials at Shenzhen Manager Training College for business and education leaders headed to America to study our professional customs and philosophies in universities. In 2009, one of Montgomery's former students, Liu Gen Ping, became the Director of the Shenzhen Yucai Education Group. Liu later became head of the Nanshan Education Bureau and requested Montgomery's assistance to change the classroom stance of teachers from teacher centered to a student-oriented environment.

Building on Past Experiences - Career Counseling through Job Creation
Prior to arriving in Shenzhen, Dr. Montgomery had worked for 18 years in the field of youth employment, career counseling, and social entrepreneurship. Her essential work in careers and job creation started at Jane Addams Center (JAC) Hull House in Chicago. While at JAC, Dr. Montgomery established not only youth employment services but also enterprise development programs based on social entrepreneurship; she put disenfranchised young people, including serious youth offenders, to work.

Social Entrepreneurship: JAC's Youth Department did more than offer jobs. They set up a non-profit business incubator, the Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC), as an umbrella for their for-profit companies. The JARC used targeted industry training programs to supply local hospitals, mechanics and tool-and-die manufacturers with qualified workers.


  • Ph.D., Human Organizational Systems - Fielding Graduate University, 2006
  • M.A., Human Organizational Development - Fielding Graduate University, 2003
  • M.A., Human Services Management and Business - DePaul University, 1985
  • B.A., American Studies and Spanish - Kent State University, 1977

Publications: Wang, Y. and R. Prem (2010) Thirty Years of China's Economic Reform, Chapter Four: Contemporary Entrepreneurs in South China - A discussion of their individual values. R. Littrell and E. P. Montgomery, Nova Science Publishers.

Associations: Systems Dynamics Society, The Long Now Foundation, Roots & Shoots International (Jane Goodall), NCDA and APCDA.

Awards: In addition to numerous local and district awards for education and training. Dr. Montgomery is the recipient of the . . .

  • Honorary Nanshan District Elite Manager Award
  • Elisabeth Montgomery Primary School Career Day Award (annual November event)
  • Shenzhen Peacock Award

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