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Teachers and Staff

Brandon Kurtz

Academic Manager

Brandon helps students and teachers with classes, books, testing, and grades. Brandon has Master of Arts degrees in history and education. He has visited eight countries, plays the piano, builds LEGO, and enjoys science fiction and fantasy!

Abigail Pecore

Service Learning and Volunteer Coordinator

Abigail is a teacher for the core English classes as well as for Service Learning. She has a Master of Arts degree in TESOL from Portland State University and enjoys speaking Spanish and a little Hebrew and Chinook Wawa. Abigail loves to learn new languages.

Azumi Stapp

Program Coordinator

Azumi was born and raised in Kumamoto, Japan and earned her undergraduate degree in Tokyo. After studying and working in the UK and Taiwan, Azumi moved to Portland in 2008. She received a Master of Arts degree in TESOL in 2011 and has been been involved with ESL since. Azumi lives in a peaceful town outside of Portland with her husband, daughter, and dogs. She enjoys yoga, hiking, and road trips.

Barney Lindsley

English Teacher

Barney has been an English teacher at PIA since 2000. Before joining PIA, Barney taught English in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. He is originally from New York City, but he has been living in Oregon since 1978. He has a Master of Arts degree in folklore and ethnic studies from the University of Oregon. Barney enjoys birdwatching and playing the tuba in his spare time.

Rita Tanios

Office & Activities Assistant

Rita is currently getting her degree for Applied Linguistics as well as her TESL certificate at Portland State University. She is originally from California but moved to Oregon in 2014. At work, Rita loves to meet many people from different countries and get to know them. She is bilingual and has a list of languages she wants to learn. She enjoys singing and collecting vinyls in her free time.

Lael Easton

English Teacher

Lael (rhymes with mail) has a Master of Arts Degree in TESOL from Portland State University. She lives in a very small house with her husband, her teenage son, a dog, and two cats. At work, Lael loves to meet people from other places and help them learn English. Outside of work, she enjoys skiing, reading, camping, and having parties.

Diane Murphy

English Teacher

Diane has a Master of Arts degree in linguistics with a specialization in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She has taught in West Africa, Michigan, and Colorado. She is married and has two children. She and her family enjoy visiting beautiful places in Oregon and camping at national parks in the US.

Sarah Shoemaker

English Teacher

A native of Portland, Oregon, Sarah Shoemaker has taught English and French for over 25 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in French, and a Magistère in French language, literature, and civilization from the Sorbonne in Paris. She has traveled extensively, usually for work or study. She has taught English in Switzerland and West Africa and French in US high schools and colleges. Her interests include playing the piano and singing in a university choir.

Steve Roberts

English Teacher

Steve has a Master of Arts degree in TESOL as well as a Bachelor of Arts in history. He lived for several years in Japan teaching English and greatly enjoys spending time with international students. Among his favorite activities are reading, travel, discussing ideas, and collecting good stories.