Teachers and Staff

Rahi Ghazimorad

Administration and Services Director

Rahi has been in international education for more than 20 years. He has traveled to more than 30 countries and enjoys learning about different cultures from his students.

Erica Fulton

Academic Director

Erica has a Master of Arts degree in TESOL and over ten years of teaching experience. Additionally, she has managed English language programs in San Diego, Minneapolis, and Portland. In her free time, Erica enjoys reading, hiking, and camping.

Brandon Kurtz

Academic Coordinator

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

Kelley Ofoni

Admissions and Student Services Manager

Kelley has a Master of Arts degree in Central and Eastern European studies and worked for six years with human rights organizations in Kosovo. Kelley enjoys traveling and has visited over 25 countries.

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

English Teacher

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 teaching ESL since. Azumi lives in a peaceful town outside of Portland with her husband, daughter, and dog. She enjoys yoga, hiking, and road trips.

Barney Lindsley

English Teacher

Barney has been an English teacher at PIA for fifteen years. 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.

Danny Rauda

English Teacher

Danny lives for three F’s: faith, family, and friends. First and foremost, he is Catholic and enjoys spending his Sundays at his local church, St. Francis Catholic Church in Sherwood. He also spends time with his family. There are nine of them all living in one house, and he loves it! They speak Spanish at home and love eating delicious Salvadoran and Mexican food. His friends are also very important to him. They meet weekly to support each other, share laughs, and just have a good time.

Kelly Bryan

English Teacher

Kelly has a Master’s of Education from Framingham State University. She has taught English for a decade in Cambodia, Japan, and South Korea. In Korea, she worked in the Buddhism department at Dongguk University teaching monks and nuns English and social media skills. Outside of work, she has a great fondness for film, foreign language and French pastries.

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 teenagers. She and her family enjoy visiting beautiful places in Oregon and camping at national parks in the US.

Jenna Roberts

English Teacher

Jenna has a double Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and film. She has lived abroad in three countries, traveled to 27, and loves studying world cultures and their cinema.

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.

Michael Bess

English Teacher

A native Oregonian, Michael has taught English for over 25 years. He has a Master of Arts degree in TESOL. He and his wife lived in Japan for seven years and taught English at a university there. Michael enjoys volunteer work, reading, camping and hiking, gardening, carpentry, and good conversation.

Verena Sutherland

English Teacher

Originally hailing from Germany, Verena has been living in Portland for 8 years now. She has a master’s degree in Education with a TESOL focus from Concordia University and has been teaching English language learners at all levels and ages both in Germany and the US for more than 13 years. In her free time, she enjoys riding horses, playing music with her bands, snuggling her cats, and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

AR Sutton

Activity Coordinator

AR has a Master of Arts degree in education. He has visited seven countries several times and enjoys sports, art, science fiction, and electronic dance music.

Bridget Wells

Program Coordinator

Bridget handles all short-term programs at PIA, manages the Conversation Partners program, and assists with various student services such as homestays and activities. She graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Tulane University, where she played Division I volleyball. Having spent two years as a Youth Development Volunteer for the Peace Corps in Cameroon, she travels when she can, and has visited Kenya and Croatia. Bridget enjoys a good film or series, attending festivals and shows, and exploring new places – especially in the outdoors – whenever possible!

Satoko Kawai

Student Support Assistant

Satoko has a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and will take Master’s courses in Education in the fall. She has experience organizing intercultural events with over 40 countries in Tokyo and overseas tours for children in England and the U.S. She is a nature lover and enjoys exploring the beautiful nature in Oregon.

Erik Thorin

Housing Coordinator

Erik has a Bachelor of Arts degree in international affairs. He has visited six countries and enjoys traveling, cooking, and shopping for hidden treasures.

Haley Murphy

Office Assistant

Haley is currently a student at Portland State University who is majoring in international development. She has visited two countries, loves to dance, and enjoys meeting new people.