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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.

David Hubbard

English Teacher

David was raised in northern Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie. He has been a teacher all his life, working in Japan, China, San Francisco, and Portland. He has master’s degrees in TESOL and International Business Management. He was Director of Studies at an adult English center in Shenzhen, and later a Regional Education Manager in Beijing. He loves music and songwriting, walking around outside, and hanging out with family and friends.

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.

Geeth Menon

Activities Coordinator

Geeth is in charge of the field trips the students will take part in. Geeth is an International Student from India, and she is a full-time student at Warner Pacific University as well. She has lived in many different countries, but for her home is Cairo, Egypt. She loves to meet new people, cook, and watch science fiction movies.

Jane Lightburn

English Teacher

Jane Lightburn has 25 years of experience teaching English as a Foreign Language in Japan, where she lived and worked until 2021. She has a Master’s Degree in Arabic. Her interests include yoga, tai chi, reading, hiking, and Eastern healing arts. She is a longtime fan of film director Hayao Miyazaki and enjoys the Harry Potter stories by JK Rowling. She enjoys exploring the trails with friends in Washington and Oregon.

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.

Kenneth MacLellan

English Teacher

Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Kenneth has lived and worked in Oregon since 2011. Along with a Master’s in Education, he has 17 years’ experience delivering skills-based and knowledge-based courses to English learners, teaching at public and private schools in South Korea and Thailand as well as at Southern Oregon University and Tokyo International University of America here in the US. He lives with his wife and daughter and enjoys reading, soccer, and live music.

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.