Our Teachers

Teachers are the core of all good programs. The faculty at IEC has years of experience teaching in United States, South America, Europe, and Asia.

Faculty Bios

Ali Tubio

Ali graduated from California Polytechnic State University with a BA in Modern Languages and Literatures (Spanish and German) and received her MA TESOL from San Francisco State University. Ali lived in southern Spain for one year to study Spanish, and from 2004-2005 she taught English in Austria with the Fulbright Program. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, dancing salsa, reading and travelling. Ali is thrilled to be teaching ESL in the Bay Area, and has been teaching at IEC since 2007.

Anrisa Fannin

AnrisaAnrisa Fannin graduated from UC Berkeley and then decided to see the world. After 16 years living and working in Munich, she came back to the Bay Area to get her MA TESOL from San Francisco State University. She has been working for IEC since 2002 and has been teaching ESL at DVC since 2007. She even taught an IEC session in China. In her free time, Anrisa reads....and reads....and reads some more. She has been known to put down a book to spend time with her family or take an occasional yoga class.

Carolyn Peipher

At San Francisco State University, Carolyn earned a B.S. in Health Education and focused on community-based public health. While working in healthcare, she became more interested in teaching English and went back to school to complete her master's degree in TESOL. At IEC, she is excited by her students' enthusiasm for learning and sharing ideas in the classroom. In addition to teaching, she works with her husband, who grows tree fruit, wine grapes, blueberries and blackberries for Bay Area farmers' markets. In her free time she likes to cheer for her favorite baseball team: the San Francisco Giants!

Carrie Simkin England

CarrieCarrie graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a BA in Spanish Literature and received her MA in English Education from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez. She earned her California Professional Clear Single Subject Teaching Credential in Spanish and English, California Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and Clear Bilingual Cross-Cultural, Language and Academic Development Certificate from California State University, Hayward. Carrie previously taught bilingual kindergarten in Oakland, California, then Advanced Placement Spanish at Miramonte High School in Orinda, California. Carrie’s true love is teaching ESL which she has experienced abroad in Costa Rica, Spain, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, and she spent a summer studying in Chile on a Fulbright Scholarship for teachers. In addition, she has taught ESL locally at various community colleges including Merritt College, Laney College, and Diablo Valley College. She started teaching at IEC in 2015 and couldn’t be happier. In her free time, Carrie enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, cooking, gardening, and traveling.

Debbie Weinstein

Debbie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in Counseling from San Francisco State University. After many years in the social services field Debbie began teaching English to new immigrants at a Family Literacy Program in Oakland and found that she loved teaching English as a Second Language. She received her TESOL certificate from the Berkeley LTC SIT Certificate program. She also taught English to high school students in Israel, at Canal Alliance in San Rafael, and Oakland International High School. Debbie started teaching at IEC in the Fall of 2016 and enjoys working with the motivated students and dedicated teachers. She spends her free time with her family, friends, and dog. She loves hiking, yoga, reading, making things, and traveling.

Flor Esquivel

FlorFlor is a former Americorps volunteer who received her B.A. in English from Sacramento State University and her M.A. in Linguistics with a focus on TESOL from Fresno State University. She began her English teaching career at the American English Institute in Fresno where she taught students from all over the world. In addition to working with international students,
Flor worked as an ESL instructor at a middle school in Dallas, TX for three years and also worked as an ESL instructor at an English school for adults in Arlington, TX. She enjoys teaching at IEC because she has a passion for helping others build their language skills, no matter what background they come from. During her spare time, Flor enjoys going on walks with her husband and her poodle mix, Estrellita, cooking different types of food, and short-story writing. One of her hidden talents include playing the piano.

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Jeff Puccini

JeffJeff graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in English Literature. He received his TESOL Certificate and Master of Arts in TESOL from the SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont. Prior to starting at IEC in 2009, he taught English abroad in Venezuela and South Korea. In addition, he is a licensed teacher-trainer and has trained in El Salvador, Korea, Chicago, and Berkeley. Current interests in the classroom include the lexical approach and the role of reflection for learners and teachers. When not teaching or training, he enjoys hiking, biking, and camping. He lives with his wife and two feral cats in Oakland. Read more

Jennifer Ross

JeffJennifer graduated from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland with a degree in English Literature and Linguistics, and received her Master’s in Forensic Speech Science from the University of York, England. She obtained her CELTA teaching certificate in York, England and then moved to Istanbul, Turkey. There, she taught English to both young learners and adults for four years and was also the Education Coordinator of the language school for three years. In 2016 Jennifer moved to the US and is thrilled to be working at the IEC. In her free time, Jennifer loves swimming, yoga, movies, and enjoying her husband’s delicious cooking. 

Joseph Sung

JosephJoseph graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in English, and received his Master’s in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Joseph has taught English literature, composition, and ESL in New York City and Berlin, Germany. He also studied classical piano at the Manhattan School of Music, and has performed as a chamber musician and vocal accompanist. In his free time, Joseph loves spending time with his two nephews.

Joshua Kurzweil

JoshJosh began his teaching career in 1990. He has taught and trained in Japan, Spain, the Republic of Georgia, and the United States. He received his Master's degree in teaching from SIT, holds the Cambridge CELTA and DELTA, and a Master Practitioner Certificate in NLP. Josh has been involved in developing the curriculum for the SIT TESOL Certificate and is a trainer of trainers. In addition to working on the SIT course, Josh has been a trainer with the Peace Corps and does freelance consulting. His particular areas of interest include Experiential Learning and cross-cultural communication. Josh lives with his wife and son in Berkeley, California. Read more return to top

Marijke Tenge

MarijkeMarijke began learning English when she emigrated from the Netherlands when she was a young girl. Her experience as a second language learner inspired her to become an ESL teacher. She received her BA from the University of Northern Colorado in Education, and later earned her certificate for teaching English as a Second Language from University of California Berkeley and a Masters in Education specializing in TESOL from Holy Names College in Oakland. After receiving her M.Ed, she worked for City College of San Francisco teaching ESL and specializing in Reading and Writing skills. She taught at CCSF for 18 years. She joined IEC in October of 2014. She loves teaching at IEC because of the enthusiasm of the students and the professionalism of the faculty. She enjoys, in her free time, hiking and sheep herding with her two Border Collies, and she also loves to sing and cook healthy food.

Marjan Ladjevardi

Marjan began learning English in Iran in pre-school, and after attending school in the United States during 1st, 7-8 grades (at a boarding school in Long Island), and an International American High School in Iran, she came to the US for University. She received her BS in Business Administration and Masters in Urban Planning from Boston University.  She eventually settled in California and worked in Real Estate for a while. Later, she earned an MS in Architecture from UC Berkeley. Needless to say, she loves learning!

She began volunteer teaching at different schools while her son was growing up.  She started teaching English to Afghani elders at AEA in Fremont about 10 years ago, and to adult students at Next Step Learning Center in Oakland, during the past three years.  At that time, she decided to go back to school for a certificate in teaching English. In 2016, she enrolled at UC Berkeley for a certificate in TESOL, and will complete the practicum next semester. She has been helping teachers at the International Education Center (IEC) since September 2016.  She loves working with International students, and enjoys seeing their progress. She also loves the environment at IEC and learning from all the unique and qualified teachers. In her spare time, she takes Zumba classes and meditates.

Matty Varban

MattyMatty began teaching English in Germany, where she lived for eight years. After returning to the United States, she attended the University of Maryland and earned a Master’s in Education specializing in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Upon moving to California, she worked as an ESL instructor at the University of California, San Diego for thirteen years. In addition, she coordinated short-term programs. Once her family relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004, she started working at Contra Costa College in the ESL department. In the summer of 2006, she began teaching at IEC and became a full-time teacher in the fall of 2006.

Nawar Taleb-Agha

Nawar graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. degree in Linguistics. After she graduated, she moved to Syria where she first began to teach English. There, she taught English to young learners and adults. After three years of living in Syria, she came back to the Bay Area to pursue her Master’s degree in TESOL at San Francisco State University. Nawar has taught at various locations in the Bay Area and began teaching at IEC in 2015. When not in the classroom, Nawar enjoys spending time with her family, baking and learning new crafts.


Sally Shaffer

SallySally earned a Bachelor of Arts in Italian from San Francisco State University. During her studies in which all instruction and work was in Italian she experienced the difficult challenges of learning a language for academic purposes and became interested in  second language acquisition theory. She studied English at SFSU and received and MA in TESOL. She loves San Francisco, pit bulls, her family and the students and teachers at IEC.

Suzanne Stoddard

SuzanneSuzanne received her B.A. in English Literature from U.C. Berkeley and her M.A. in TESOL at San Francisco State University. She has taught in Russia and done Community ESL including Citizenship Preparation in a grant-funded program she helped design. She has worked for the Contra Costa Community College system since 1998, and when she's not teaching can be found protesting war, creating new recipes, writing poetry, mentoring young people or running almost anywhere. Read more about Suzanne

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