Skip to content



Our faculty are the best there are. All speak languages other than English, have taught in countries outside the U.S., and have degrees from the best programs in the world. In addition, many write textbooks, speak at conferences, and have worked as consultants to government and business about learning English.

Zuleica Acker


Zuleica Acker gained her first teaching credential in London in 1986. After teaching in Spain, Ecuador and Oxford, she came to San Francisco and became a teacher trainer for the Cambridge CELTA. Working for various language schools, she taught both teachers and ESL students for 12 years. In 2007, she gained a distinction in her TESOL Masters at Oxford Brookes. Most recently she has been enjoying teaching immigrants at Laney College in Oakland and City College of San Francisco. In her free time she is an oil painter and an arts/ language student.

Jambul Akkaziev

Akkaziev photo

Jambul Akkaziev began teaching English as a Foreign Language at Saint Petersburg University in Russia, where he received his MA degree in Linguistics and a BA in TEFL. Since arriving in the US in 2006, Jambul has taught Academic Writing and Reading to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as visiting scholars, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has also tutored students in the Russian Flagship program at UW-Madison, where he received his second MA degree in History and a Graduate Certificate in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies. So far, Jambul has taught English in Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and the United States. More recently, he has taught ESL at Santa Rosa Junior College and UC-Berkeley, as well as coordinated the ESL program at a local non-profit, Alexander Valley Adult ESL School, located in Healdsburg, CA.

Michelle Baptiste


Michelle Baptiste earned a B.A. in English with a minor in Education from Carleton College and an M.A. in English as a Second Language (ESL) from University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She had taught English writing and literacy for over ten years — in Minnesota, St. Lucia, Oklahoma, Hawai’i, Japan, and on the Navajo (Dine) Nation before coming to Berkeley in 2001/2002 and joining College Writing Programs as a multilingual student writing specialist.  She is also a teacher consultant for the Bay Area Writing Project and loves working with diverse groups of students.

Matthew Barclay


With a Master’s degree in English: TESL/TEFL from Central Washington University, Matthew Barclay brings a strong background in Linguistics to his teaching. Matt began his career as an ESL instructor at Mordovian State University in Saransk, Russia as a Peace Corps volunteer.  Later, as a Soros Professional English Language Teacher, he trained language teachers at World Languages University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where he also developed ESL textbooks. In the U.S., Matthew created ESL courses focuing on academic reading and writing at Diablo Valley, Los Medanos and Contra Costa Community College; while at California State University, East Bay, he taught a four-skill course in their intensive ESL program as well as electives courses in computer science.

Cathy Beck

Beck photo

Cathy is the Legal English coordinator and instructor for international LL.M. students at the IU Robert McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, Indiana.  She created the Legal English program in 2003 and has presented on various aspects of Legal English pedagogy at numerous conferences, most recently at the Liberal Arts International Conference 2017 in Doha, Qatar and at the Global Legal Skills XII Conference in Monterrey, Mexico. Cathy has received numerous teaching awards, including the 2017 Global Legal Skills Award for her support of global legal skills education.

Elizabeth Boner


Liz Boner earned her PhD at UC Berkeley in Education in the Language, Literacy, Society, and Culture program. She has taught ESL to adults for over fifteen years,  both in the U.S. (Bay Area) and in Tanzania. Currently she teaches sociolinguistics in the English Program at San Francisco State University.

Lori Bruns

Bruns photo

Lori Bruns was born and raised in central Indiana. She holds a BA and MA in English with a concentration in TESOL from Indiana University.  With a focus on academic writing, she has been teaching ESL learners in various English courses, and in the Writing Center, at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis for over ten years. In addition, she teaches gateway composition courses to native-speaking students at Indiana University Kokomo and is currently helping to establish an ESL support program there.​

Jennifer Burton


Since 1986, Jennifer Burton, M.A. linguistics/TEFL, has taught a wide range of English courses in France, Spain, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and the United States. She created an intensive teacher-training program designed especially for low-level non-native English teachers. As an editor and translator, Jennifer has specialized in language, education, travel, healthcare, and culture. As a technical writer, she has developed online documentation, help applications, and video tutorials for international end-users for companies such as Evidera, Archimedes, One Kings Lane,, ChemConnect, and NBCi. 

Carolyn Carr


Carolyn Carr initially began teaching ESL in Mainland China and then Japan before relocating to the San Francisco Bay to work with an immigrant and refugee population at JVS and AnewAmerica, two non-profit organizations. She has maintained her interest and passion in the field of education working as a VSO volunteer, reader/editor, activist and educator. Carolyn holds an MA degree and has taught at tertiary level most recently at Stanford University, California and the University of Livingstonia, Malawi.  Currently she enjoys coaching, training and coordinating eight teachers, at two prison sites, in Malawi as an Organizational Development consultant.

Janet Christensen


After receiving her MA in TESOL from San Francisco State University, Janet taught ESL and English Composition at several Bay Area universities and language centers including University of San Francisco, ECIW at Mills College, and CSU East Bay, as well as in Japan, Kazakhstan, and Brazil, and began teaching in the UC Berkeley SELS program in 2009. In addition to her private editing practice, Janet currently teaches English language learners at San Domenico high school in San Anselmo, California.

Michael Clark


Michael Clark has taught at UC Berkeley since 1991, for College Writing Programs and for the Language Proficiency Program in the Graduate Division. He has also taught university courses in Malaysia and Japan and was a volunteer teacher in the U.S. Peace Corps, serving in Central Africa. Michael lives in Berkeley with his family and occasionally writes travel guides about faraway places for Lonely Planet Publications.

Chisako Cole


Chisako Cole received an M.A. in TESOL from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.M. in Voice Performance from Boston University.  She has taught English as a second language to both immigrants and international students at New York University, The City University of New York and UC Berkeley.  Currently she teaches Rhetoric and Composition at the University of San Francisco and ESL at Academy of Art University. She has translated a Japanese cookbook for iPad and has also assisted with other Japanese to English translations, including concert program notes and artist bios.

Teri Crisp


Teri Crisp received a B.A. in literature, an M.A. in International Studies, and TEFL certification before doing doctoral coursework at UC Berkeley. She has also enjoyed training EFL teachers in Prague, Hong Kong, and San Francisco. During the year she teaches analytic writing in the College Writing Programs, pursuing themes that include international social policy, ecology, and art.

Robert Downey


Robert Downey teaches Legal Research and Writing to JD students at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Professor Downey joined the faculty at Maurer after working as an associate attorney at a large law firm in Chicago. Directly after graduating law school, he clerked for Judge Hamilton at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and also worked as a summer law clerk for Justice Theodore Boehm at the Indiana Supreme Court. Before law school, Professor Downey developed an undergraduate computer literacy program at South East European University, an international tri-lingual university in the Republic of Macedonia.

Shelley Dykstra

Shelley Dykstra is originally from the Bay Area, so she’s happy to be serving her multilingual students so close to home. She holds an M.A. and B.A. in linguistics, from the University of Barcelona and University of California San Diego, respectively. A multilingual student herself, Shelley completed her M.A. coursework entirely in Spanish, along with undergraduate study-abroad programs in Morelia, Mexico and Barcelona. Her experience teaching English as a Second Language spans tens years, two continents, and a variety of ages and topics. Her special interests are student success and equity, learning communities such as Puente, and coaching women’s water polo.

Jeff Ellenbird


Jeff has taught ESL in San Francisco, Bolivia, Ecuador, Bulgaria and now Boston where he teaches ESL full-time at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He earned his Masters in TESOL at San Francisco State University and continues to explore his research interests of participatory teaching and incorporating learner voices and leadership into the curriculum and classroom.

Amanda Fox


Amanda Fox began her teaching career after graduating from Yale University in 2003 with a degree in anthropology. She taught abroad in France and Brazil, and then moved to California to earn an M.A. in TESOL from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Since graduating, she has taught English to both immigrants and international students studying at various schools in California. She loves learning languages as well as teaching them, speaks French and Portuguese, and is currently studying Spanish.

David Frasca


David Frasca received his M.A. TESL from CUNY Hunter College in New York and has been teaching ESL at various university centers since 1985 [City University of New York, La Guardia, University of New Mexico, Los Alamos, Santa Fe Community College, Hudson County Community College, City College of San Francisco, University of California, Berkeley]. He has taught Business English in both Spain and Italy and is fluent in both Spanish and Italian. He is also a Certified Massage Therapist practicing in California.

Gabrielle Goodwin


Gabrielle Goodwin teaches Legal Discourse & Writing and the Graduate Practicum course to international graduate students at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. She holds a JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law and a graduate degree in Linguistics from the University of Utah. Before law school, Professor Goodwin was a lecturer of English as a foreign language at universities in the United States and abroad, including two years in the Republic of Macedonia, where she founded and administered the language center, trained English teachers, and taught English language courses. Her research and teaching interests focus on legal writing, discourse analysis, and cultural heritage law.

Katie Ha


Katie Ha graduated with a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish from the Croft Institute at the University of Mississippi. She has worked in education in different capacities, including teaching Spanish and ESL and volunteering as a translator/interpreter to new Spanish-speaking immigrants at an elementary school in Mississippi. She received a M.A. in English Language Learning from Western Governors University. Katie loves traveling, studying languages and cultures and has studied abroad in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and Costa Rica.

Nancy Hunt


Nancy Hunt taught at the UC Berkeley Extension’s English Language Program, Laney College, Holy Names University, and in the College Writing Program’s Summer English Language Studies program at UC Berkeley. Her path to Berkeley and English as a Second Language teaching has included high school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a year of university in Madrid, Spain, and ten years as an English and music professor at the University of Puebla in Mexico.

Jennifer Johnson


Jennifer Johnson is currently a PhD Candidate in the Language, Literacy and Culture Program in the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley. She has a Masters in Education with a focus on second language acquisition, and has taught courses at Cal in the disciplines of Sociology, Linguistics and Applied Linguistics. She began teaching ESL as an undergrad at the University of Maryland where she helped coordinate a program for visiting scholars and families. She spent 7 years teaching English in Japan at the high school and college levels. In her last 4 years in Japan, Jennifer co-founded an English school and translation company. Jennifer loves traveling and learning languages and she spent two years sailing around the Pacific Ocean visiting island countries. She currently lives on her 27 ft sailboat, Nepenthe, in the Berkeley Marina.

Candace Khanna


Candace Khanna graduated with a B.A. in English from UC Berkeley, worked in a variety of non-teaching jobs that included business writing and editing, and then returned to college at San Francisco State University, graduating with a M.A. in TESOL and a Certificate in Teaching Composition. Since then, she’s enjoyed teaching all levels of ESL and composition in several Bay Area programs, primarily at Laney College in Oakland and The Summer English Language Studies program in the summers. A California native, she’s also had a long connection with India, traveled and worked there, and studied Hindi.

Rachel Kotok


Rachel Kotok has taught English language, literature, and literacy for the past sixteen years. She earned an M.A. in TESOL and ESL Public School K-12 Licensure at the School for International Training, and a B.A. in World Religion from Smith College. She currently teaches Business English online to European clients and works as an editor in K-12 ESL publishing. She has taught English and EFL/ESL to university students at various Bay Area colleges and in Perú, newcomer elementary and middle public school learners in Boston, and refugee adults in Maine and San Francisco. Rachel has worked abroad in Israel/Palestine, Chile, Perú, Guatemala, and México.

Lawrence Metzger  


Larry Metzger was a visiting professor teaching academic writing in the ELI at George Fox University this past year. Before returning to the US, he had taught for 8 years in Middle Eastern national universities within Oman, UAE and Qatar developing problem-based course materials which integrated conflict resolution, critical thinking and research methodology. While there, he wrote a US State Department grant for Qatar University and authored a chapter on conflict resolution and personality dynamics for TESOL Arabia’s ELT management handbook. Larry taught in Japan for 8 years at different universities including Kwansei Gakuin University, where he developed two genre-based writing course books. He is a former Fulbright scholar on Church-State relations in Poland during the Solidarity movement and former coordinator of the Fulbright program in Ukraine in the early ’90’s. His academic background includes a BA and MA in Russian Language, Literature & East European Studies from the University of Kansas and MA TESOL from Columbia University Teachers College.

Barbara (Bobbie) McClain


Barbara (Bobbie) McClain, M.A. Teaching, has taught Rhetoric and Writing at San Diego State University and ESL/EFL in California, Japan, and Vietnam. She is an award winning writer (Family Guide to the Exhibition, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, “Splendors of Imperial China”), and has written numerous articles and features for the San Francisco Chronicle Newspapers in Education program. She was a founding member of The New York Times College Program.

John McClain


John McClain, BA in Philosophy (UC Berkeley) and MA in Comparative Literature (SFSU), has taught TESOL and English (composition, reading, and literature) since the mid-1980’s. He lived and taught in Japan for eight and a half years. In California, he has been a teacher at Cañada College, in downtown San Francisco, and at Imperial Valley College. He currently teaches at College of the Desert. Long active in publishing and teachers’ professional organizations, Mr. McClain chaired a regional ESL conference for CATESOL, and he has presented on techniques in grammar instruction statewide, writing reviews of Japanese literature (in translation). Other interests include world travel and theories of scientific and critical thinking.


Tom McNichol


Tom McNichol, M.A. TEFL, has been teaching ESL in the Bay Area since 1981. He teaches full-time at San Francisco City College and is also the assistant basketball coach. Tom played college basketball at Bucknell University and went on to play in Madrid, Spain. Tom also taught at UC Berkeley Extension’s English Language Program from 1988 to 2004. He has been with the Summer English Language Studies program since 2004.

Melody Noll


Born and raised in Berkeley, California, Melody Noll studied French, Italian, and Linguistics at U.C. Berkeley and earned her M.A.T. at The School for International Training. She began her EFL/ESL career in Zurich, Switzerland and now has over 25 years’ experience teaching everyone from small children and the elderly to scholars and business professionals. In addition, she has trained instructors on three continents, contributed to several pronunciation and listening/speaking texts, and delivered on-site North American pronunciation trainings at many Bay Area companies.

Linda O’Roke


Linda O’Roke was born and raised in San Francisco. She completed her undergraduate work at Humboldt State University and her graduate work at San Francisco State University. Over the past seventeen years, Linda has taught English in the US, Japan, and Italy. She also taught Business English for many years at Hewlett-Packard in Silicon Valley Currently, Linda is teaching ESL at San Francisco City College and the University of California, Berkeley. She is also an editor of many popular ESL/EFL textbooks.

Michele Rajotte


Michele Rajotte has a B.S. in Journalism and a M.A.T. in Teaching English as a Second Language. She was an English Teaching Fellow at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, and has spent summers in England and the U.S. teaching Italian and Japanese students. Michele currently teaches adult immigrants and refugees in Providence, Rhode Island. Her focus is computer assisted language learning.

Kyle Ridley





Kyle earned his M.S.Ed. in TESOL in 2013 and has since taught in high school and university programs in New York, Boston, Phoenix, and the Bay Area. He has instructed a range of courses at UC Berkeley, namely City and Community, Medical English, Business English, Business Speaking, Business Vocabulary, Academic Reading & Writing, Creative Writing, and University Admissions and Expectations.

Paula Runnals

Paula Runnals holds a BA in Spanish from UC Berkeley and an MA in Education from Stanford University.  She has taught Spanish as a foreign language in California middle and high schools, and has taught English as a Second language and test preparation courses in Spain, New Zealand and Australia.  She currently lives in Sydney, Australia and teaches Academic English at the University of New South Wales. In her free time she likes to scuba dive and is also a dive instructor. Another of her interests is traveling and to date she has lived in 7 countries and has visited an additional 20.

Jordan Ruyle


With an MA in French and a certificate in TESOL, Jordan Ruyle brings a rich background of study and teaching experience to the classroom. Jordan began teaching English while studying French in Paris. His experiences teaching at the Lycée Henri Bergson inspired further study of French and a desire to teach English. For the past five years he has been working in Golden Gate University’s PLUS (Preparation in Language and University Studies) program, helping prepare graduate students from abroad for their degree programs in the US.

Alice Savage


Alice Savage holds an MA in English language teaching from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. She has multiple interests in English language teaching and learning, including teaching English, teacher training, and materials writing. She has authored or coauthored course books for Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Pearson and Wayzgoose Press. When not in Berkeley, she works at Lone Star College System in Houston, Texas. Currently, she is exploring pragmatics as an important but under-appreciated thread in the fabric of human interaction.   

Jim Seger


Jim Seger was born in the Bay Area, went to college here–Stanford and UC Berkeley–and has taught at schools around the Bay–UC Berkeley, Mills College, and College of Marin. He has also taught in the Ivory Coast with the Peace Corps, in France at the National Center for Scientific Research, and as part of a sister-city exchange in Russia. He enjoys teaching all aspects of English, both the language and the cultures where it is spoken.

Will Seng


Will Seng currently teaches at UC Merced, and has taught Technical Communication—writing and oral presentation skills—primarily to ESL students in the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley. Prior to this, he taught academic, scientific and professional writing and oral presentation skills to graduate economics students at CERGE-EI, Charles University in Prague as well as conversation and TOEIC and TOEFL preparation to university students in Kyoto, Japan. His teaching career began in the community colleges in the Bay Area, where he taught all levels of composition to native, immigrant and international students.

David Skolnick


David Skolnick has taught ESL and writing to students ranging in age from seven to seventy in public and private schools for over twenty years in the U.S., Taiwan, and India.  He has taught in the U.C. Berkeley SELS program since 2005, currently teaches at the Academy of Art University, and has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he was also the ESL Coordinator and tutor trainer.  He has also taught at U.C. Berkeley, Contra Costa Community College, the San Francisco Unified School District, and several other Intensive English Programs.  After receiving his B.A. in history at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an ESL teaching certificate at George Mason University, he went to Taiwan and many other parts of Asia where he lived, learned, taught, and traveled for about three and a half years.  David then returned to the U.S. and received a M.A. in TESOL and Certificate in Teaching Composition at San Francisco State University.

Brandon Spars


Brandon lives with his wife and children in the North Bay, where he teaches humanities and coaches speech and debate at Sonoma Academy. He is currently working on the manuscript for a book about ancient storytelling, and how stories were transformed by the evolution of agriculture and metallurgy. His passion is storytelling and he gives live performances of the stories about his life and travels in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Beth Wadell


Beth Wadell has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and an MA in TESOL from San Francisco State University. She has taught English as a Second Language in Puebla, Mexico and to college and university students around the Bay Area.

Ana Wu

Born and raised in Brazil, Ana Wu has given workshops on teaching using technology, tips for pronunciation teachers, and Non-Native English Speaking Teachers (NNEST) issues. She also served as the chair of the NNEST Interest Section of TESOL and as the community manager for the Nonnative Language Educators’ Issues Interest Group of CATESOL. Most recently, she was one of the guest editors for the CATESOL Journal on the special theme “Pronunciation—Research Into Practice and Practice Into Research.”

 David Wiese, Associate Director


David Wiese teaches first and second year writing at UC Berkeley. He also creates textbooks and online learning materials for English language learners and works as the Submissions Editor for The CATESOL Journal. He holds a Master’s Degree in TESOL from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the University of California Santa Barbara. A California native, he previously taught English in Barcelona Spain and New York City.

Margi Wald, Director


Margi Wald, M.A. in Applied Linguistics, is a lecturer in the College Writing Programs at UC Berkeley, an author of a vocabulary/grammar textbook, and editor of several professional publications. She has taught in ESL programs and English departments in Texas, Tennessee, Illinois, and California and has given numerous presentations on working with multilingual student writers. Her areas of specialization include general academic preparation and instruction in editing and vocabulary.