TEFL TRAINERS & STAFF

ROBERT DAVIS, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROGRAMS
Robert graduated from The Boston Language Institute’s TEFL Certificate Program in March, 2005, and has been a trainer in the program since 2007.  After graduating, he taught at various ESL schools in Boston and Brazil before settling in at the Institute as an ESL instructor.  In addition to the TEFL Certificate Program, he is the lead instructor for the English for Foreign-Born Professionals Program and co-lead instructor of the Institute’s MBA Preparation Program for International Students, a pre-requisite at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.  He also provides private instruction and curriculum development to companies, business executives, doctors, university professors and graduate students.  Robert was born in Boston and graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Mass.  Prior to teaching English, he owned a photography business, which served an international clientele in the profit and nonprofit sectors for 24 years.  Robert has lived in London and traveled extensively throughout Europe and South America. When not in the classroom, he enjoys working out, cooking, travel and photography.

SUSAN BIPPUS, SENIOR TRAINER
Upon completing her BA in English Literature at Rutgers University, Susan traveled to the Czech Republic to get her Trinity College TESOL Certificate. After four years in Prague teaching Business English, General English, and Cambridge test preparation at the Caledonian School, she received a Trinity College LTCL Diploma in TESOL. A TEFL trainer at the Institute since fall 2006, Sue hails from the small Massachusetts town of Swansea. She is appreciated by TEFL grads for her warmth and insight.

KATJA DAVIDOFF, TRAINER
A TEFL trainer at the Institute since 2008, Katja grew up in New York and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She received a B.A. in Applied Psychology and a B.S. in Developmental Psychology from Eastern Washington University. She also holds 2 master’s degrees, one in Spanish and Education, the other in ESL/EFL Education from The School for International Training in Vermont. She currently works as a Spanish teacher and ESL teacher, as well as the ESL coordinator at Brimmer and May Academy in Chestnut Hill, MA. She has lived and taught in Oman, Denmark, Spain and Italy at different points in her life. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys photography, knitting, and jewelry design.

CHARLIE DISILVA, TRAINER
Charlie grew up in Winchester, Massachusetts and Brattleboro, Vermont. After graduating from UMASS-Amherst with a degree in History, he worked in the restaurant/customer service business, making friends with his coworkers from all over the world. Looking for a new challenge, Charlie earned his TEFL Certificate at the Institute in 2008.  At the Institute, Charlie divides his time between teaching ESL and training in the TEFL Certificate Program.  In his free time, Charlie enjoys playing guitar, hiking the White Mountains, practicing karate, reading dry, boring history books and anything related to Boston sports.

CAROLE FREEMAN, TRAINER
Carole received her TEFL Certificate from The Boston Language Institute and has taught ESL for over 7 years. She is currently a TEFL trainer and an ESL teacher at the Institute. Carole also teaches adult education classes at Assabet Adult Education in Marlborough, Mass. She is the co-owner and marketing director for a small, local business. She enjoys teaching business English, as her experience is extensive in the corporate world. Having managed the Creative Services Department for Boston University, she can relate well to business oriented individuals from other countries. She works with a culturally diverse community doing private tutoring and has a passion for discovering the differences among cultures. She lives with her daughter and their very needy cat Polka Dot.

ALEXIS GIANNOPOULOS, OBSERVER
Alexis grew up in central Massachusetts.  After graduating from Hofstra University in Long Island, New York with a degree in Psychology she returned to her beloved city of Boston.  After realizing Psychology was not the path she wished to take, she enrolled in the TEFL Certificate Program at The Boston Language Institute in April 2008.  Since graduating from the program, she has taught both in Boston and Tokyo.  Alexis loves travel, music, language and culture, delicious food and autumn in New England. 

PAUL PANZA, TRAINER
Since 2006, Paul has taught English in Boston and Tokyo to students of all ages. He has traveled throughout Asia and lived in Australia and Japan. He studied Japanese immersion-style in Tokyo, so he knows first-hand how challenging and rewarding language programs can be. In winter 2008, Paul earned his TEFL Certificate at The Boston Language Institute and began teaching there after graduating. He recently earned a Master of Education with a TESOL Focus from Northeastern University.

FIONA KERR, TRAINER
Fiona comes from London, England but can force herself to use 'gotten' and 'wanna' when absolutely necessary.  Having graduated in theater studies from the Guildford Conservatoire, she spent ten years in the British theater as an actress, and then became a presenter, researcher and writer with Thames Television in London.  Since moving to the United States, she has taught English, Spanish and French at elementary schools in the Boston area.  Since earning her TEFL Certificate at the Institute in 2005, she has taught ESL at the Boston Center for Adult Education and The Boston Language Institute on a regular basis.  At the Institute, she is a member of the English for Foreign-Born Professionals teaching team as well as a TEFL trainer.  Her recreational passions are travel, theater, music, walking on the beach and keeping up with the exploits of her 23 and 20 year old daughters.

MARK MCNEILL, TRAINER
A graduate of the TEFL Certificate rogram in 2008, Mark grew up in Stoneham, MA and went to Berklee College of Music to earn a Bachelor of Music in Music Production and Engineering.  Mark also holds a master’s degree in Collaborative Piano from the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. Having been fascinated by language and communication for as long as he can remember, Mark speaks Spanish and has learned some Greek while studying abroad at a Conservatory in Greece. His teaching experience includes ESL courses at the Institute, private lessons in both piano and ESL, specialized classes in ESL for musicians, and diction coaching in German, Italian, and French. When not teaching or practicing piano, he enjoys reading, opera, crossword puzzles and gallivanting around Boston.

KERIANNE PANOS, TRAINER & CROSS CULTURAL CONSULTANT
After spending her childhood in a small town south of Boston, Kerianne moved to western Massachusetts to study at Smith College.  She decided to take up Japanese and Korean, and studied in Kyoto for her junior year abroad.  Once she graduated with a degree in East Asian Studies, she flew back to Japan and started working for the Japanese government.  She stayed in Japan for almost 8 years, managing an international education program and an international scientific program, with a year-long stint in London to study Development Studies at the School for Oriental and African Studies in between.  Since her return to the US, she has split her time between consulting for the Boston Red Sox teaching and translating French, Spanish, Korean and Japanese at the Institute, where is the principal cross-cutural trainer and co-lead instructor for the MBA Preparation Program for International students, a pre-requisite at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

RICH SHAH, TRAINER
After spending his childhood in Brockton and his teen years in Pepperell, Rich braved the long winters of Maine to receive his BA in modern languages from the University of Maine at Orono.  During his studies there, he studied Spanish, German, Latin, and Turkish with concentrations on French and Russian.  Immediately after his graduation in 2000, he flew over to South Korea where he spent 8 years in ESL, exploring exotic locations in Asia, and becoming fluent in the language.  Starting as a teacher, he eventually worked his way up to become a manager and teacher trainer when he decided that it was necessary to return to New England to further both his career and his education.   When not in class, he escapes the city to visit friends and family or just to get some quiet alone time.

KAI SCHWERTNER
Kai received her TEFL Certificate from The Boston Language Institute in the summer of 2008.  She then moved down to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she taught English to a class of first graders as well as private lessons to adults. When she wasn’t working, she traveled as much as possible and indulged in all of the cultural activities that Buenos Aires had to offer. Kai is from Providence, Rhode Island. She studied Communication and Spanish at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. Kai joined the Institute’s staff as the TEFL Certificate Program Coordinator in January 2011.

RYLAN VACHON, OBSERVER, ESL/SPANISH TEACHER
After two years studying Musical Theater and Spanish at Oklahoma City University, followed by a year in Madrid, Rylan received his TEFL Certificate from The Boston Language Institute in 2008.  He went back to Spain for a year to teach English in a secondary school outside of Granada.  In June, 2009, he returned to continue his undergraduate studies in Linguistics and French at Boston University and to teach ESL at The Institute before becoming Program Coordinator for English as a Second Language in August, 2010.  After a summer internship in Paris last summer, Rylan’s happy to be home and close his friends and family.