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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!

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.

Miwako Murakami

Program Coordinator

Miwako was raised in Kumamoto, Japan. She has master’s degree in TESOL and has taught ESL classes. She has a passion for the field of international education and worked as the Assistant Director of the Office of International Students at The University of Texas at San Antonio before moving to Oregon in 2015. She loves reading, crocheting, and walking with her dog.

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.

Lily Cordaro

English Teacher

Lily has a Master of Arts in Linguistics from the University of Colorado Boulder. She grew up in Portland but lived in and traveled to many other places before moving back to Oregon in 2017. She is married and has three kids. Lily enjoys traveling, camping, and hiking with her family.

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.

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.

Sonya Thayer

English Teacher

Sonya has a Master of Arts degree in TESOL from Portland State University and has taught English in Thailand, Estonia, and the U.S. She enjoys exploring other cultures and languages. She likes to sing and is learning to play the cello. Twice a week she can be found paddling up and down the Willamette River with her dragon boat team.

Lauren Milton

English Teacher

Lauren is a lifelong Oregonian. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Portland State University and a Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification from Cambridge. She is passionate about encouraging students to take risks with English and cultivating a welcoming learning environment. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching live standup comedy, and spending time with family.

David Hoffman

English Teacher

I have taught English in many locations around Portland. On a personal note, I am originally from Oregon and have lived in just about every part of the state. I enjoy traveling but haven’t found anywhere I like as much as Portland. There are many things to do and many wonderful people here. Basketball is my favorite sport, and I am a loyal fan of our local team, the Trail Blazers. I am active in various sports. My beautiful wife and I are raising our twin children, a boy and a girl, which keeps us busy most of the time. I look forward to meeting you!