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English Now!

A Special Place To Learn English

Experience and Excellence

Our approach starts with world-class staff and instructors. We are educators who care deeply about excellence in language education and the relationships formed through service of our students. Our school attracts the finest English language instructors in the Washington, D.C. metro area, and we do everything that we can to support them in their efforts. Our staff is deeply experienced and will offer you advice about which programs might make sense for you, and our instructors are all certified or have been teaching the English language to international students for many years.

We do not have significant hiring needs, but we always want to meet people with a great English language teaching and international service background and do have needs to add people from time to time. For more information regarding what we look for and requirements for our staff, see here. We look forward to meeting you soon!

We look forward to meeting you soon!

Staff Biographies

Paul Boesen is the Managing Director of English Now! Paul’s background in education includes experience in international program development and administration, as well as university admissions and enrollment management. Prior to his career in education, Paul worked in investment banking and private equity for the Goldman Sachs Group in New York, Frankfurt, and Singapore; and for the World Economic Forum in Geneva and Beijing. Paul’s academic background is in economics, Asian studies, and law, and he is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Harvard Law School. In addition to his work at English Now!, Paul also serves as Senior Advisor to the GreenPoint Group, a Washington, D.C. and Beijing-based strategic advisory firm that connects people and resources between the United States and China. Paul was also the first Executive Director of (and still serves as a Special Advisor to) the US-China Education Trust, a Washington-based non-profit organization whose mission is to promote US-China relations through education and exchange for China’s next-generation leaders. He serves on the Steering Committee of the Million Strong Initiative, a Presidential Initiative to promote Chinese language education in American K-12 schools. Paul resides in Falls Church, Virginia, with his wife, Elizabeth, and their three children.

Kirstie Boyette served as English Now!'s Center Manager from 2014-2017 and continues to support some school administration. Kirstie was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States when she was six years old. She grew up in Gainesville, Florida, attended the University of Florida, and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Agricultural Economics. After graduating from college, Kirstie served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. In her 27 months in Thailand, Kirstie's service focused on gender and development, income generation, theater, and teaching basic English to primary school students. Kirstie moved to Washington, D.C., in 2014 and plans a career in international youth development. In her free time, Kirstie enjoys cooking and baking, traveling, spending time with family and friends, and watching college football.

Anna Green serves as an English Language Instructor and Student Services Manager at English Now!. Anna has a longstanding interest in education and youth development. She has served as a guide at Historic St. Mary's City in Southern Maryland and later as a volunteer in youth development in the Peace Corps. Anna's work at English Now! has included teaching youth as well as adult students. She has taught in our Intensive English Program, other group classes, and in tutorials with both adults and youth students of all levels. Anna is a graduate of Washington College. While at university, she also studied abroad at University College Cork. Outside of English Now!, Anna is a proud new parent!

Jennifer Kagan serves as Director of Program Development and leads the development of our Intensive English Program as well as other programs. Jennifer enjoys working with English language learners of all backgrounds. She is an active parent volunteer in Montgomery County Public Schools, organizing events of interest to new and international families. Jennifer began teaching English as a Second Language while working as an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles through Teach For America. In addition to her teaching experience, she has worked for education-focused businesses, developing teacher support materials and leading teacher workshops. Jennifer is a native of Boston and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in American History. She is conversant in Spanish and has studied Japanese. When she’s not teaching English, Jennifer enjoys biking, playing Scrabble, and spending time with her family.

Jennifer Kent serves as Student Activities Manager and leads weekly excursions and student activities around the metro area to engage students in the broader DC community and promote an experiential understanding of American culture. Jennifer grew up in Florida and earned her BA in Chinese Language and Literature from the University of Virginia. Jennifer became involved in English language teaching in college, where she worked and volunteered in a number of ESL programs both at home and abroad in China. Before moving to DC, Jennifer worked at a Chinese IT consulting firm as a Project Coordinator managing projects with colleagues across the globe. Jennifer loves to travel, study languages, experience different cultures and listen to stories. When not at English Now, Jennifer is out exploring the DC area, running, reading children’s literature, painting or dreaming about the cat she will get one day.

Mark Akpaninyie serves as a Student Activities Manager and leads weekly excursions and student activities around the DC Metro area to engage students in the broader DC community and promote an experiential understanding of American culture. Mark grew up in Columbia, Missouri and Columbus, Georgia before attending Duke University and graduating with a B.A. in Public Policy Studies. He has spent over three years in multiple parts of China. He became involved in English language teaching in China, where he served as a Fellow with Teach For China, focusing on education access in rural Chinese villages, followed by a year as an instructor at Baoshan University in Baoshan, Yunnan. In previous capacities, Mark has researched with The China Program at The Carter Center and worked in two congressional offices. In addition to his work at English Now!, Mark also researches economic and political developments for the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Mark resides in Kensington, Maryland and enjoys visiting Smithsonian Museums in his free time.

Linda La Pierre serves as Director of Student Engagement and leads the development of our conversation class curriculum and instruction model as well as our student volunteer/community service effort. Linda is an educator and artist with more than 14 years of experience teaching English to adults from all over the world. She has worked in a variety of educational settings both here and abroad, including college-level Intensive English Programs, a community ESL program for adult immigrants, and a private language school where she taught ESL to the spouses of foreign diplomats. She has also created individualized ESL classes as a private tutor for international visiting professionals. Linda studied Community Service Education and Applied Linguistics at the graduate level at Cornell University, and completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish at Emmanuel College in Boston. In addition to Spanish, she has studied Français, Polish, Serbo-Croatian, and Portuguese; she has lived and worked in France, Serbia, Poland, and Spain. Previous work experience has also included positions in the fields of media production and community outreach. As a painter, Linda has worked in dry pastel, watercolor, and acrylic. She is currently experimenting with stop-action animation using a digital camera and personal computer. Linda lives with her family in Northern Virginia.

Instructor Biographies

Ellen Alderton has more than twenty years of rich and varied experience in the field of education. She has worked in informal education outreach with the M.I.T. Museum in Massachusetts, directed training programs for the United Nations in Austria, and executive produced national behavioral change communications campaigns targeting U.S. Latino immigrants for Hispanic Radio Network in Washington, D.C. She has also taught English at the university level for Marymount University in Virginia and for the M.I.T. Graduate Writing Department in Massachusetts. Ellen particularly honed her skills in English as a Second Language instruction in Vienna, Austria and Bologna, Italy. Besides working for English Now!, Ellen also oversees worldwide marketing for the Peace Corps’ university partnerships, a network of more than 120 American graduate schools. Ellen lived overseas for 13 years and has worked and studied in six foreign languages. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology with honors from Wellesley College and her master’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University SAIS.

Andrea Barron is an English Language Instructor for English Now! and has a background as a life-long civic activist. Andrea worked at The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars for 12 years, where she conceived and managed projects on Immigrant Rights, Domestic Violence, Torture Abolition, Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Global Women’s Rights, Homelessness and other issues. Previously she also served as the director of English Language Programs at Northern Virginia Family Service and Youth Education La Alianza Hispana in Boston, Mass. Andrea is also an Interfaith leader who established the nation’s only annual Jewish-Muslim Passover Seder held in a major mosque, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, VA. Andrea has been an Adjunct Professor of History at George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia since 1999. She has taught English at all levels—from Central American construction workers to highly-educated professionals including diplomats and World Bank officials. Andrea is fluent in Spanish and is always trying to improve her Arabic.

Margaret Whitman Blair ("Peggy") has been a journalist as well as an author, and she has taught English as a foreign language in Japan and with the Peace Corps in Thailand. Her novels include a series of Civil War time-travel books: Brothers at War, House of Spies, and The Sand Castle. She also writes history books for The National Geographic including The Roaring 20: The First Cross-Country Air Race for Women which received the 2007 Peace Corps Writers Award for Best Children's Writing. Currently in the works are a black history book and a novel set in colonial Williamsburg. For the past decade, she has taught a workshop in Writing the Historical Novel at The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and has lectured on the subject for Smithsonian Associates. She is active in The Children's Book Guild of Washington, DC. Peggy received both her B.A. and her M.A. from American University. For more information about Peggy, see her interview on ENcompass.

Elizabeth Boesen consults with students on Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessments. Elizabeth is a career coach focusing on International Government & Policy, Diplomacy, Intelligence, and International Development, at The George Washington University. She has taught ESOL at Phillips Academy Andover and is a self-described "grammar geek." She is a certified (Interchange Institute) cross-cultural trainer, and also a certified (Myers & Briggs Foundation) Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) trainer. She has lived, studied and worked on three continents and in five countries, and is fascinated by language, cultural differences/similarities, and human development. Elizabeth has a background in international development, having worked as Regional Director-Asia for the International Youth Foundation, and as a member of the U.S. grantmaking team at Ashoka. Elizabeth has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago and an M.A. in International Relations from the Institut d'Hautes Etudes Internationales of the University of Geneva in Switzerland. She resides in Falls Church, Virginia, with her husband and three children.

Matt Bruneel is an English teacher who loves all aspects of the field— literature, grammar, English as a foreign language, writing, even etymology! His love for languages began in elementary school, where he was enrolled in a Spanish immersion program. He later majored in English and Spanish at the University of Maryland, then earned his Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University. Matt has been an English teacher at Walt Whitman High School since 2008, but for the last two years, he and his wife served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Cambodia where his work as an English teacher was drastically different from what it was before. Now, he is excited to continue working in the field of English as a Foreign Language, bringing the same enthusiasm to helping his students learn English as he brings to learning new languages himself.

Loretta Collins grew up in nearby Silver Spring, Maryland and has always had very diverse interests. Her interest in people (and what makes them "tick") led to a B.A. in psychology and a two-year stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama, where she made friends with farmers and learned to make hats. Her desire to make a difference in the world led her to an M.A in education from The George Washington University and an ESOL teaching job in Montgomery County Public Schools. After a few years of full-time teaching, Loretta became a student again and obtained an M.S. in Soil and Watershed Science from the University of Maryland. Now she can tell you more than you ever wanted to know about soil! Currently she works for the University of Maryland on issues related to agriculture and water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In her free time Loretta enjoys running, reading, listening to music, and taking on cumbersome projects that most people would leave to someone else.

Kathy Philpott Costa is enthusiastic about teaching English to students of all levels and backgrounds. A Colorado native, outdoor enthusiast and former international business lawyer, she returned to her passion for language learning after spending years studying and working in Europe, Brazil, and the U.S. and actively volunteering in her children’s schools. She received a B.A. in Français from Colgate University, a J.D. from William & Mary Law School, an LL.M. from the University of London, and more recently, a TEFL Certificate from Georgetown University. Kathy has always sought opportunities to tutor adults in English and to continue her own process of learning Portuguese, Français, and Spanish. Having experienced the challenge of learning second languages in other countries, she has a deep appreciation of people from different cultures and linguistic backgrounds and identifies keenly with adults learning the language and culture of the U.S. Kathy teaches in English Now!'s Conversation Course program as well as in tutorial lessons with adult students. Kathy is married to a Brazilian, and her family speaks both English and Portuguese at home.

Michael David teaches ESOL chiefly to students at the high intermediate and advanced levels. He is English Now!'s lead instructor in Business English and focuses on Business English and sales as well as TOEFL preparation. His work experience in the business context enables him to understand the English language and cultural requirements of international residents of the area, in a U.S. business environment. He has helped many adult professional students and TOEFL prep students achieve their goals in ESOL. A graduate of Hobart & Wm Smith Colleges, Michael first served in the US Air Force and then had a successful career in business-to-business sales. Following several decades of working in business, Michael decided to pursue a career teaching ESOL. He then earned a certificate from Lado International College in teaching English as a foreign language. Michael lives in Takoma Park, Maryland. Outside of his teaching, Michael enjoys antique automobiles, vintage western swing and country music, cooking, reading, and politics.

Marian DeAngelo is originally from Bethesda, Maryland. She teaches in English Now!'s Conversation Course program and teaches adults as well as K-12 students, including in classes taught at area private schools. Marian earned her B.A. degree in Psychology from Syracuse University and her M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Xavier University. After moving, with her husband, from the D.C. area to San Diego, Marian continued her education and earned her teaching certification. She then taught multiple subjects at the elementary school level in both San Diego and Denver, until moving to Deutschey where Marian began teaching English at the corporate and high school levels. Marian feels great reward in seeing her students progress and become confident in speaking aloud. In her free time, Marian enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, horseback riding, fitness and continuing education classes, traveling, bird watching, movies, music, cooking and getting together with friends. For more information about Marian, see her interview on ENcompass.

Margareta Feller came to English Now! after retiring from a 30-year career in the Federal Government. She teaches in English Now!'s Conversation Course program and works with students in private lessons. A major part of her work with the government was as a foreign language teacher teaching Swedish and English. Margareta first came to the United States from Sweden as a college student after having studied English since middle school. She obtained her B.A. majoring in Français at Wheaton College in Massachusetts and later earned an M.A. in linguistics at American University. Language teaching has always been Margareta's passion. Now that she is retired she would like to help students who want to learn English or improve their English proficiency to feel more at home in American culture.

Anna Green serves as an English Language Instructor and Student Services Manager at English Now!. Anna has a longstanding interest in education and youth development. She has served as a guide at Historic St. Mary's City in Southern Maryland and later as a volunteer in youth development in the Peace Corps. Anna's work at English Now! has included teaching youth as well as adult students. She has taught in our Intensive English Program, other group classes, and in tutorials with both adults and youth students of all levels. Anna is a graduate of Washington College. While at university, she also studied abroad at University College Cork. Outside of English Now!, Anna is a proud new parent!

Alisa Harris is a native Washingtonian who grew up in suburban Maryland. She received her B.A. from the University of Virginia and worked in business for several years in New York City and in Washington D.C. before pursuing her love of teaching. Alisa earned her Master's degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Trinity University of Washington and then worked for almost ten years as a teacher with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in Maryland. She later returned to Trinity and earned a second Master's degree in Counseling, while continuing to work part-time as a regular ESOL substitute teacher with MCPS and as an English Instructor to children, teenagers and adults at English Now! Alisa currently teaches early childhood grades at an independent private school in Bethesda, Maryland and continues to teach English to students of all ages at English Now! Alisa resides in Silver Spring, Maryland. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, playing word games and spending time with family and friends.

Jessica Hoffman-Schmitz is originally from Boston, Massachusetts. Jessica’s path to language education is a fascinating one. She attained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Brandeis University in Spanish Language and Literature and minored in Elementary Education. After spending semesters and summers studying Spanish abroad, including time spent in homestays in Mexico and in Spain, she spent her final summer semester teaching English and Hebrew at a bilingual K-8 School in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Then she decided that once she knew enough Spanish, she would go on to learn Portuguese! So after graduation, she earned a TEFL certificate from Bridge Linguatech in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she spent a year teaching Business English and met her Brazilian husband! After returning to the U.S., Jessica earned a Master of Arts degree from The University of Minnesota in Adult and Human Resource Education. She holds a teaching license in Adult Basic Education and spent an intern year working as an ESL teacher for refugees from Somalia and Sudan in an adult learning Center. After moving to Virginia, Jessica taught Adult Basic, Adult Secondary and GED curriculum for the Norfolk, Virginia, Public Schools. She worked with students on educational goals ranging from basic literacy, beginning, intermediate, secondary, all the way to GED level. In Norfolk, Jessica participated in many trainings and workshops through VALRC (Virginia Adult Learning and Resource Center) and Virginia Commonwealth University. Jessica is a recent transplant to Bethesda, Maryland, where her husband is stationed at Walter Reed Naval Medical Center through the U.S. Navy. She teaches group classes, TOEFL preparation, and private lessons for both adult and youth students.

Jennifer Kagan is excited to be working with English language learners of all backgrounds. She is an active parent volunteer in Montgomery County Public Schools, organizing events of interest to new and international families. Jennifer began teaching English as a Second Language while working as an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles through Teach For America. In addition to her teaching experience, she has worked for education-focused businesses, developing teacher support materials and leading teacher workshops. Jennifer is a native of Boston and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in American History. She is conversant in Spanish and has studied Japanese. When she’s not teaching English, Jennifer enjoys biking, playing Scrabble, and spending time with her family. In addition to her work teaching in our Intensive English Program, Jennifer serves as our Director of Program Development, working with staff and instructors to develop new and refine existing programs to better serve our students.

Susan Kay’s path to English language teaching began when she was an attorney for the Legal Aid Society in New York City for a largely immigrant population in need of representation and assistance navigating the complicated legal system. When she first moved to Washington, D.C., she worked as an attorney for the Federal Election Commission monitoring the public funding of Presidential campaigns, but later decided to focus again on helping people conquer language barriers. She volunteered at the Washington English Center where she taught students from countries all over the world who were trying to obtain U.S. citizenship. After returning to school and completing Georgetown University’s TEFL program, she taught students in a private language school and at the Arlington County Public Schools’ REEP program for adult immigrants. Susan has a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two sons.

Linda La Pierre is an educator and artist with more than ten years of experience teaching English to adults from all over the world. She has worked in a variety of educational settings both here and abroad, including college-level Intensive English Programs, a community ESL program for adult immigrants, and a private language school where she taught ESL to the spouses of foreign diplomats. She has also created individualized ESL classes as a private tutor for international visiting professionals. Linda studied Community Service Education and Applied Linguistics at the graduate level at Cornell University, and completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish at Emmanuel College in Boston. In addition to Spanish, she has studied Français, Polish, Serbo-Croatian, and Portuguese; she has lived and worked in France, Serbia, Poland, and Spain. Previous work experience has also included positions in the fields of media production and community outreach. As a painter, Linda has worked in dry pastel, watercolor, and acrylic. She is currently experimenting with stop-action animation using a digital camera and personal computer. Linda lives with her family in Northern Virginia. In addition to her work teaching in our Conversation Course program as well as private lessons, Linda serves as our Director of Student Engagement, leading initiatives to help English Now! serve our students better by helping them engage with other students and in society.

Elizabeth Larson grew up in Michigan and has recently relocated to Bethesda from Frankfurt, Germany, where she lived for 20 years. Elizabeth studied history, Russian Studies and English in Michigan and earned secondary education teaching certification there. She continued her education at Indiana University, where she earned an M.A. in History. She started teaching ESOL to adults in Germany and fell in love with the profession. She's taught all levels of English and especially loves watching students make tangible progress towards their goals. Elizabeth has traveled widely and has lived in Germany, the Republic of Moldova, and Canada. She lives in Bethesda with her German husband and three children.

Barbara Lewis has been teaching for over 40 years and is deeply experienced at the K-12, university, and adult education levels. Her joy of teaching is evident to all those who have the pleasure to meet her, and she is a gifted instructor and mentor to many at English Now! Barbara began teaching English as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years in an African village in the 1960s. Barbara completed her undergraduate studies with a B.A. from the University of Michigan, and she earned an M.A. in adult education from Cornell University. Barbara has also studied at Dartmouth College, Columbia University and SUNY Binghamton to become certified to teach ESOL and special education and has taught in Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States. Barbara has been teaching at English Now! for many years. Why? She says, "It is because I thoroughly enjoy all the interesting and wonderful students that I meet here!" For more information about Barbara, see her interview on ENcompass.

Katie Lootens is from Indianapolis, Indiana. Before moving to the Washington, D.C. area, she served as a 7th and 8th grade English teacher in Benin, West Africa with the Peace Corps, and she has also taught and/or worked in Uganda and Senegal. In addition to her students at school in Benin she taught and coordinated English classes for adult refugees living in Cotonou. Katie has a degree in International Relations and African/African-American Studies from Duke University and a Master of Management Studies from Duke's Fuqua School of Business. Most recently, she worked for a nonprofit promoting U.S. trade with Africa, helping health companies investing in the continent. Katie enjoys travel, books, running, and watching basketball.

Carol Madison has been curious about other countries and cultures since her 7th grade geography class in Billings, Montana. After studying German and completing a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University, Carol moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 1985. Carol still never tires of asking "What is your country of origin?" when encountering internationals in daily life. Mentoring young adults in their personal and spiritual lives has been an ongoing joy of Carol’s over the past two decades. For some fifteen years now, Carol has volunteered with the National Student Leadership Forum, engaging college students and young professionals on the questions of life purpose and servant leadership. She also maintains an active relationship with a mentoring program for Tibetan youth in northern India. Carol serves on the board of Loving Haiti, a non-profit focused on relief and development in the community of Pignon, Haiti, and has previously served on two local non-profit school boards. Carol and her husband, George, reside in Arlington, Virginia. They both love hiking and adventure travel… especially cycling trips. They have two grown children.

Alison McCaul developed a passion for teaching during three years on the JET Program serving as an English teacher in Nagasaki, Japan. She has taught ESL in Japan and India and has served as a volunteer ESL tutor in the Washington, D.C. area along with her teaching at English Now!. She has a B.A. in history from Radford University. Prior to teaching ESL, Alison worked as a Research Analyst at the International Monetary Fund. She traveled extensively to the African Indian Ocean countries for her work. While she enjoyed the challenge of work at the IMF, Alison decided teaching and interacting with ESL students was much more rewarding as a career. Alison enjoys the outdoors and spending time with her family. She has traveled extensively and has lived with her husband and three young children in Madagascar and India. They all share a love of travel, language, and adventure. They reside in Bethesda, Maryland. For more information about Alison, see her interview on ENcompass.

Cay Miller is a Bethesda native who began teaching at English Now! in 2005. Since 2009, she has been an ESOL teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools. She has a strong language education background, having earned a B.A. in linguistics from Haverford College in 2003, ESL teacher certification from Cambridge University (CELTA) in 2005, a M.A. in education from George Washington University in 2009, and National Board Professional Teaching Certification in 2013. She has experience teaching students of all levels in intensive, conversation, and private classes. In her free time, Cay enjoys coaching field hockey, traveling, and walking her dog Ozzy.

Deborah Ou-Yang has taught English in Japan, South Korea as a Fulbright English teaching assistant, and with the Peace Corps in Thailand. Her first class in Japan was with senior citizens, one of whom was from Hiroshima and had lived through World War II but was keen to learn the English language and about American culture. Through this group, she developed a passion for teaching and learning the stories and experiences her students have to share. She is excited to teach in the U.S. with English Now! Having grown up in a bilingual household (Chinese and English) with a family who loves to travel, Debi is looking forward to meeting and working with students from different backgrounds and cultures. Debi is a recent graduate of Georgetown University's Master of Science in Foreign Service Program and currently works as a communications associate at the World Bank. Debi is a native of Pennsylvania and graduated with a B.A. in English Literature and Asian Studies from Lehigh University.

Liz Paul began teaching ESL as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan, where she met and married her Русский husband. Liz taught college writing and English for over six years, working with students from Brazil, Uruguay, South Korea, Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Deutschey, and Russia as well as the U.S. At English Now!, she teaches in our Intensive English Program as well as the Conversation Course program, and she works with students in tutorial lessons, particularly those with interests and objectives related to writing. Prior to teaching, she created content for the Library of Congress’s educational website, The Learning Page, and was the administrative assistant of a group home for at-risk youth. Originally from a Chicago suburb, Liz has lived in Illinois, Washington, Oregon, Connecticut, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Her interests in travel, nature, art, and language have taken her to Mexico, East Africa, Western Europe, St. Petersburg, and Istanbul. She holds an MA in English from the University of Virginia and is earning an MFA in creative writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Harriet Peck has worked in education all her adult life, teaching students from preschool through adulthood. She was a Title I teacher specialist for the Montgomery County, Maryland Public Schools and a reading teacher at Montgomery College, mainly working with ESL students. As a Title One specialist, she was involved in both teacher training and educating parents to help their children with learning at home. Harriet is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She loves to travel, and her hobbies include international folk dancing and volunteering as an art museum docent.

Cristina Rendueles-Stern was born in New York City and has had a rich and varied life. She lived as a young child in Manila, the Philippines; moved to Washington D.C., where she attended elementary school; and returned to New York City for high school and undergraduate studies at Marymount Manhattan College. Next was Madrid, Spain, where she taught English as a Foreign Language at the Casa Americana, before returning to the U.S. 11 years later to study at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving her M.A. in Education, Cristina settled in Washington D.C., where she taught ESOL in the D.C. Public School System. Soon after this she took a teaching position for Montgomery County Public Schools, where she taught ESOL for 20 years. Cristina retired from MCPS in 2011 and has taught English at the Rockville Senior Center, International Language Institute, Linkages to Learning, the Cambridge Institute, and now English Now! Cristina has been married for 20 years and lives with her husband, stepson, two dogs, and three cats in Montgomery Village.

Joann Robertson teaches conversational, business and legal English. She teaches international attorneys, journalists, diplomats, military officials, and clergy the skills of American public speaking, advocacy and negotiation. She enjoys meeting people from all over the world and is very happy to be joining the English Now! faculty. Joann is also an experienced trial attorney with an AV rating. She is a former Associate County Attorney with Montgomery County Attorney’s Office where she served as Chief of Litigation from 1986 - 2006. During this time she oversaw a staff of eight attorneys and tried over 35 jury trials and 100 bench trials and administrative hearings. She litigated serious personal injury, civil rights, employment discrimination and child welfare cases in Maryland and District of Columbia District and Circuit Courts, as well as the Federal District Courts of Maryland and the District of Columbia. She has also presented and argued briefs before the Maryland Court of Appeals, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. After retiring as Chief of Litigation, she was rehired by the County Attorney’s Office to litigate child welfare cases from 2006-2010. In 2009, Joann became certified to teach ESL by the Lado Institute TEFL program and was hired by Lado to teach English to foreign students. She has also been teaching group and individual ESL classes at the Brazilian Naval Commission, and the Embassies of Brazil and Peru. Since 2011, she has been training and coaching teacher trainees for the Lado TEFL teacher certification program. During 2012-2013, Joann was an Adjunct Professor at American University International Law School, teaching legal research and writing to international law school students.

Elizabeth Quillin is eager to foster a creative and student centered learning environment for her language learners. Her passion for teaching and intercultural communication has taken her to China and Switzerland. In Beijing, she developed and taught an English immersion curriculum to a first grade, in English, to local Chinese with no prior English exposure. A Virginia native, she spent time developing curriculum and lesson plans at a private school in Arlington as well as tailoring individualized activities for students with special needs. Elizabeth enjoys traveling, people, baking, hiking and the Swiss Alps. She earned her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Georgia, and is currently working towards a M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from American University.

Laurel Reiner has a profoundly international background and brings a lifetime of perspective to the classroom. Laurel was born in Paris, France, spent the first four years of her life there, and then lived in Santiago, Chile between ages five and nine. By the age of nine, she spoke Français and Spanish fluently, and she continued her international experience living in Costa Rica for two years in her early teens, then spent her junior year abroad in Israel where she studied Hebrew. Laurel has continued with Spanish and Français and used Spanish professionaly for over 30 years, as a community organizer working for the United Farm Workers' Union, organizing John Kerry's Congressional campaign as his Latino organizer registering people to vote in Lowell and Lawrence, Massachusetts, and later in both those communities as a CETA worker. Laurel's ESL career began in 1975 after graduating from college and has continued in Massachusetts, California and in the D.C. area. She has taught, run a community ESL program for adults, and taught locally at Montgomery College, the Fairfax County Adult Education program, the Embassy of Japan, and at Japanese-affiliated businesses. She has also created a Spanish immersion program for workers at the AFL-CIO as well as at three hospitals in D.C. and Virginia. As additional elements of her diverse background, Laurel has also worked in fundraising and in program development with AmeriCorps, and in a local school as a bilingual social worker. Laurel has a Master's in Social Work.

Ann Rust was born and raised in Puerto Rico and learned two languages, Spanish and English, as a native speaker. Ann graduated from William Smith College (Geneva, New York) with teaching certification and a B.A. in Spanish and Français. Later, she worked for USAID, taught in a kindergarten program, and worked as a physician’s assistant and lab technician. Ann has been teaching ESOL since 1995. She completed an ESL certificate at American University and has been teaching atEnglish Now! since 1998. Ann teaches many levels and types of classes, and has discovered, to her surprise, that she loves teaching grammar! Ann lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband and youngest daughter, and has two other children and a granddaughter in the area.

Katie Sciarini grew up in Springfield, VA and considers Washington, D.C. home these days. Katie earned her Bachelor of Social Work from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA in 2003 and has been on the move ever since. She was most recently in Sierra Leone serving on an Ebola Response team and prior to that spent three years in Thailand working on Burma issues with Burmese and international NGOs. Katie is fluent in Spanish, which she learned during her three years of Peace Corps service in Ecuador, and she enjoys practicing French as long as you don’t mind her accent! Katie’s background includes work in both grants management and programmatic roles, and she is a passionate advocate for immigrants and refugees. In addition, Katie has discovered a love of teaching, mentoring and writing over the course of her career which she is excited to share with students at English Now!. In her free time Katie enjoys yoga, cooking, salsa dancing and exploring the D.C. area by bike.

Julia Sivon Murillo is originally from Bethesda, Maryland but her second home is in Quito, Ecuador, where she spent more than five years living and working after college. While in Quito, Julia taught English as a Second Language to high school students, university students, and professionals and then used her experience to train other ESL teachers in Quito. In addition, Julia worked at a university in Quito designing and delivering short-term study abroad programs for international students. Her experience abroad fostered a passion for language learning and cross-cultural exchange. She loves working with students in a classroom to improve their English language skills as well as engaging in discussions of cultural influences and identity. She has a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish from Kenyon College and an M.A. from New York University in International Education.

Nancy Traver is a long-time journalist and college instructor. After growing up in Denver, she graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and English literature. She worked as a reporter for several small newspapers in Colorado before joining the Associated Press bureau in Denver. She then moved to New York, where she reported for Newsweek. In 1983, Nancy moved to Moscow, where she worked for the Associated Press and Time magazine for four years. Time transferred her to New York and then Washington, D.C., where she covered the White House, the State Department and Congress. She moved to Albuquerque in 1993, where she was an on-air reporter and assignment editor for a CBS affiliate and began teaching college journalism. Nancy moved to Chicago in 2000 and continued teaching and freelance writing. She has tallied 21 years of teaching college journalism and 25 years as a full-time journalist. Nancy currently lives in Silver Spring with her husband and two adult children.

Jane Turner joined English Now! in August 2012 as an English conversation teacher and has been part of the morning intensive teaching team since June 2013. Jane lives in Rockville, Maryland, with her husband of 31 years, Catholic Deacon and retired broadcast technician, Al Turner. She has a BA degree in Radio Communications from Howard University in Washington, DC. Her lifetime experiences include, before marriage, a radio news broadcasting career in Washington, as a news anchor, field reporter, and assignment editor. She took up home-making full-time for her widower husband and his five small children. They raised two sons and three daughters to adulthood. Alongside a host of volunteer and entrepreneurial pursuits, Jane re-entered the workforce about ten years ago, teaching religion and substitute teaching at several middle schools in the Archdiocese of Washington with her catechist certification. Jane earned her TEFL certificate from Lado International College, Washington, DC. When she can find the time, Jane enjoys such outdoor activities as gardening and walking. Family time is the catalyst for much of her travels these days to keep up with 15 grandchildren, octogenarian parents, and other relatives around the country. Her current projects: family ancestry research and finishing a quilt begun 80 years ago by her maternal grandmother. For more information about Jane, see her interview on ENcompass.

Heather Tzanninis teaches in a broad array of ESOL concentrations, mostly at the intermediate to advanced levels. She derives great satisfaction from preparing students for the TOEFL. Her approach to TOEFL prep includes building students’ facility with a set of strategies tailored to each of the exam’s four sections, with a special emphasis on writing. Prior to her ESOL teaching career, Heather spent 19 years at the International Monetary Fund. She holds a TEFL certificate, and a certificate in Teaching International English Exam Preparation (TIEEP), with a concentration on TOEFL, which she earned at the the Peruvian branch of Máximo Nivel, an internationally accredited executive language center. Heather also holds a B.A. in Radio and Television Communications from George Washington University. Heather is currently on leave from English Now!, teaching overseas, but we look forward to her return and to her rejoining our team!

For more information about English Now! and our unique approach to English language study, please visit the school or contact us.