Academy Resource Center
English as a Second Language (ESL)
Meet the Faculty
Camille has an MA in Linguistics and a Master's Credential in TESOL. She has taught English and academic writing at universities in the Bay Area for over nine years. When she's not working, she likes to paint and do new media arts. Camille has exhibited her photography in the Bay Area for over a decade.
Adam AvRuskin has his Masters of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the School for International Training, in Brattleboro Vermont. He has taught ESL in Canada (which is his home), the US, Japan, China, and Turkey. In the School of Photography, Adam teaches Photoshop, Lightroom and Printing. In his spare time Adam plays ultimate frisbee, and spends time with his family. He enjoys traveling, learning new languages, and talking to strangers.
Joy has extensive experience in the fashion industry including, but not limited to Lord & Taylor, NYC Asst. Buyer, Studio J, Inc., Wash., DC. Owner, Designer, Partner, Administrator (10 years): one of a kind custom clothing, exclusive designs for: Henri Bendel, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, NYC. Joy Designs, (6 Years) NYC Owner, Designer: One of a kind beaded, hand painted jewelry for exclusive boutiques. Promotion, Marketing: Washington Fashion Group: Event Planning: Smithsonian Institute, Kennedy Center, Museum African Art, various embassies. She was employed by Harry N. Abrams: Abbeville Press, NYC, publishers fine art books, coordinated events with book publication: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, Whitney Museum, NYC Joy was also employed by Unified School District, San Francisco teaching art according to curriculum. She was employed by Academy of Art University, 2002. Wrote, taught: Introduction to the Fashion Business, Merchandising Promotional Strategies online (14 semesters), Market Research, Writing A Business Plan, Wrap Up (for your final thesis) MFA students, one-on-one, degrees in Fashion Merchandising, New Product Development. Joy taught Art Experience Fashion Merchandising programs: high school students, Advocate with the Student Affairs department for 2 years, and tutored individual students through ARC. Joy now works as an ESL support teacher, primarily in Industrial Design with graduate students. From Spring 2012 she was the ESL/IDS Liaison for graduate students in the Industrial Design department & continues working one-on-one with ID Grad students. Her education includes Pratt Institute, F.I.T., School Visual Arts NYC —Graphic Design (2 Years, Milton Glaser)
Jill Ballard, Major-specific Curriculum Coordinator & Graduate Graphic Design Liaison
Jill Ballard has her MA in English (TESOL concentration) from SFSU, and has been teaching at the AAU since September 2007. She has her BFA in fine arts and worked as a print graphic designer and art director for over 10 years. As a teacher, she has worked in different capacities, both in the public schools and in corporate and private settings. She has traveled widely through Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and Polynesia, and discovered her love for learning and teaching language while attending a French program in France. When she isn't teaching, Jill enjoys being a toddler's mom, and occasionally finding a moment for all those other nearly forgotten "pre-mom" interests such as alternative film and flamenco.
Monica received her Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from San Francisco State University and her BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley. A native New Yorker, she has lived in San Francisco since 1992, and has been teaching English as a Second Language in the City by the Bay since 2007. She also has a background teaching in San Francisco public schools. Monica has danced professionally since the early 1990s and has been teaching ongoing classes in Egyptian, Arabic and North African folkloric dances since 2001. She also co-runs an active San Francisco screen printing shop with her partner. Monica is passionate about adult education, and along with dance, she enjoys yoga, traveling, continued Arabic language study, singing and drumming with several local Middle Eastern musical ensembles, wandering around the Bay Area and beyond, and keeping her public library card very well used.
Chris has an MATESOL from San Francisco State University, and a BS in English Education from the University of Georgia. His teaching experience has included middle school English teaching in Atlanta, teaching ESL in France, South Korea, and Japan, and literacy training for Literacy Volunteers of America. In addition to his work with the Academy, he currently teaches at St. Mary's College in Moraga. He loves good food, good books, good friends, and fast motorcycles.
Donna Dager, ARC Website Coordinator
Donna is the Coordinator for the ARC website, and is an online support instructor as well as an ESL Support instructor. She has an M.A. in Communications Arts from Vermont College and a B.S. in Education from S.U.N.Y. at Cortland, NY. Donna specializes in computer and video technologies and has been working with ESL students at the Academy in these areas for many years. Previously she worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in teacher training in Montego Bay, Jamaica, then moved to California from her hometown in upstate New York. She likes to read mystery novels, sing, and swim with giant sea turtles in Maui.
Bev has a B.A. in History, an M.A. in Russian Regional Studies and an M.A. in ESL. She has traveled through Europe, Japan, Hong Kong and Korea and has taught in France and Japan. She has studied in Russia and Japan. Bev's other interests include hiking, bird watching, going to the gym, and shopping in boutiques (she doesn't like department stores!)
Jane has a B.A. in Italian and Latin American Studies from U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in English, from San Francisco State University. She has lived in France and Italy as an exchange student, so she has a lot of empathy for the kinds of challenges our ESL students face when they arrive in the U.S. She loves to travel and is fascinated by foreign languages and other cultures. She has traveled widely throughout Europe and has visited many countries in South and Central America in addition to Mexico and Canada. A goal that she has is to travel around the world before she's sixty! Jane loves to garden. She's passionate about flowers. She reads in her spare time and enjoys hiking, biking, swimming - even rollerblading with the family dog, Blue. Most of all, she loves spending time with her daughter, Amanda, who is a constant source of wonder and joy!
Marianne is both an ESL instructor and support teacher. Before teaching ESL, she taught children and teenagers science, math and reading, including one year of volunteering for AmeriCorps. She has experience teaching ESL to adult immigrants, international students and working adults. She has an MA in English/TESOL and her BA is in Spanish and Latin American Studies. She has lived and traveled throughout Europe and South America and these experiences have been a great 'teacher' to her about the challenges and joys people encounter while away from home. Her other passion is nature where you might just find her with her camera.
Helen has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology (from Portland State University in Oregon) and a Master's Degree in Education from San Francisco State University. Her emphasis was in Adult Education and ESL. She continues to update her ESL teaching skills by taking TESL courses at UC Berkeley Extension, (where she sometimes teaches part time.) Helen has traveled all over Eastern Asia and Western Europe, and she grew up in British Columbia, Canada. Besides traveling, Helen loves to practice yoga - she also teaches it!, bicycle - she rides hers to work everyday!, hike and camp, and for more around-the-house activities, she enjoys knitting and beading.
Margaret Isabelle Fuller
Margaret grew up in Westchester, NY with a French mother and American father and attended public school before taking off for Brunswick, Maine, to spend her college years keeping warm under L.L. Bean blankets at Bowdoin College. She double majored in English and French, and spent her junior year abroad in Paris. While at Bowdoin she played squash, worked as a tour guide, and sang a cappella and choral music. After an 18-month stint studying theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, Margaret decided to attend Columbia Teachers College for a master's degree in English Education. Following graduation, she traveled to Durban, South Africa and volunteered teaching English to Xhosas, Zulus, and Congolese refugees. Margaret currently lives in the Inner Sunset and has been teaching EAP 1 since Fall 2010. She added French (Beginning and Intermediate) and Freshman Composition to her repertoire in Fall 2011.
Janine has an M.A. in TESOL, a B.A. in French, and has been at Academy of Art University since 1993. She has lived and worked in Mexico, Taiwan, Portugal, and Spain, and visited many other countries. Janine's interests include cooking, working on the house, gardening, hiking and combing thrift stores for little treasures. She especially loves to spend time watching movies and snuggling with her little dogs.
Michele was born in New York, and went to Tufts University / Boston Museum School where she received a BFA in painting. Since then, she's done many different things. She has worked in the field of psychology, worked at a winery, and for many years designed and sold baskets. Eventually she returned to school to get her ESL teaching credential. She has taught ESL in many different places, but her most unusual job was teaching English to Japanese students in a French-speaking village in Switzerland! She likes to garden, travel, cook, see movies (especially foreign films), and make art.
Sheila has an M.A. in TESOL from the University of Nevada-Reno and an M.A. in East/West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Her B.A. is in English Literature. Sheila has been teaching ESL since 1988 and has worked in university, community college, and language schools; she has been at the Academy since 2003. She lived in England, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates and has traveled in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Her hobbies are writing, reading, watching films (especially depressing ones), and cooking.
Alex Hosmer, Manager–Multimedia Language Labs
Alex graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor's degree in English Language Studies and a Master's degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. He has volunteered with Refugee Transitions, an organization that offers ESL tutoring to recent immigrants in San Francisco. He has taught ESL at the Academy of Art University since 1999 and has been the coordinator for the on-site and online language labs since 2007. He has traveled to China with his wife on two separate occasions in order to adopt two beautiful baby girls. His daughters are now attending public elementary school and are lucky enough to be enrolled in a Mandarin Immersion program. They will be fluent in both Mandarin and English by 5th grade. He enjoys dancing with his wife and daughters, and especially likes doing Salsa Rueda.
Richard La Rose
Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Jeremy has always had a passion for languages.He began studying French at a very young age, and he later studied German, Arabic, Japanese and Hindi. He started his teaching career in college by volunteering his time as an English tutor for international students. After graduating from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette with a B.A. in Anthropology, he moved to India to pursue post-graduate studies in Hindi and Applied Linguistics. Later, he moved to Nagoya, Japan, where he taught ESL for one year. In January 2008 he moved to San Francisco and has been teaching English to students of all levels and backgrounds since then. Some of Jeremy’s interests include traveling, reading, and live music. He has lived, studied, and worked in several countries, including France, India, Japan, and Nepal. In his free time he enjoys playing guitar, singing and composing songs. In January 2010 he released his first solo album, and he has since become an active musician in the Bay Area.
Richard received his MA in Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language from the University of San Francisco where he also taught for 4 years and served as a teacher trainer in their English Through Drama program. His BA was in Speech and Drama Education and he worked in the theatre as an actor and stage manager for over 10 years. He lived in Barcelona, Spain from 1985 to 2003 where he taught EFL, did teacher training and served as the International Student Advisor at ESADE, a private, international business university. From 2003 to 2006 he owned and operated a country Bed & Breakfast in the province of Girona in northeastern Spain. During his time abroad he travelled extensively in Europe and North Africa. He joined the faculty of the Academy of Art University in 2006.
Sherise Lee, Speaking Lab Coordinator
Sherise brings her love for both teaching and art into her role at the Academy. She graduated from the University of California at Davis (Go Ags!) with degrees in Art History and Sociology. She later completed a masters degree in second language education. Her experiences range from working in event marketing to teaching elementary school in China. When she's not traveling, Sherise enjoys running and pursuing her design interests. You can also find her on the hunt for good eats in the city.
Shalle Leeming, Associate Director, EAP Courses
Shalle Leeming is an instructor of English and writing at the Academy for 10 years and has previously taught university students both in the United States (Stanford, SFSU) and abroad (Turkey, Argentina, Japan). Shalle holds an M.A. in teaching English as a second language from San Francisco State University and a B.A. in radio/television/film (emphasis in film), minor in art, from San Jose State University. She is the co-author of the ESL textbook, Lecture Ready 3, for Oxford University Press (2006).
John McConnel's background is in theater and music. He received his BA in theater from the University of Vermont. After a long career as a stagehand in Vermont and New York City, John returned to school and pursued a Master's degree in linguistics, studying at Columbia University and Queens College in New York City. For the first seven years of John's teaching career, he taught ESL at the American Language Institute of NYU and at the American Language Program of Columbia University. John relocated to the Bay Area in 2011, and is very happy to be part of the excellent EAP program here at the Academy of Art University.
Bob McDonald, EAP Department Director
Bob studied American Literature at Boston U. and U.C. Santa Cruz as an undergraduate. While trying to figure out who he was, he attended The California Culinary Academy. Upon graduation, Bob never cooked professionally again. He then went on to receive an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from San Francisco State. Bob has traveled extensively through Asia, Europe and Latin America, with the most recent trips being to Cuba. He settled in Buenos Aires, Argentina for two years to teach English. Bob's hobbies include basketball, jogging, reading good novels, and playing poker.
Colleen McKee earned her dual BA in Literature and Languages, and Religious Studies (World Religions) from Webster University. She was a young American student in Vienna, Austria, and still remembers how frustrating and wonderful it is to be an international student. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she taught ESL for nine years before moving to the Bay Area to teach at the Academy. The author of three books, Colleen is all about communication: she loves reading, writing, and chatting, and wandering far and wide.
Laura has a B.A. in Social Ecology from U.C. Irvine, and an M.A. degree in TESOL from San Francisco State University, where she also taught ESL classes. Born in Argentina, Laura speaks Spanish. Her hobbies include reading, hiking, cooking, and traveling.
Stacy Nelson, EAP 604 Speaking & Listening Coordinator
Degrees: Whitworth University (BA-Music and Writing); San Francisco State University (MA-Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Stacy Nelson has an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from San Francisco State University, where she also earned a Certificate in Teaching Post-secondary Reading. As an undergraduate, she studied Writing and Music at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Stacy has taught ESL courses at all levels and has over two years of experience tutoring in academic writing labs.
Paget is delighted and honored to be working with students at the Academy. As someone who has spent time studying in Paris, working in Morocco, and traveling the world, she well understands the challenges international students face when living and studying in a different culture. In addition to her international experience, she is an avid reader, hiker, cook, and writer. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing, so she can empathize deeply with students around their own creative trials and tribulations and offer support when needed.
Amy Parker, Midpoint Review Lab & EAP 605W Coordinator
Amy has been an ESL teacher for almost 20 years with experience overseas and here in San Francisco. She started teaching as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco and received a master's in Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language from San Francisco State University when she came back home. She loves to travel and has been to Europe, Mexico and Japan so far. She loves meeting people, reading, watching movies, cooking, working out and hanging out with friends!
Born and raised in San Francisco, Alexa has been teaching at the Academy of Art since 2006. She earned her masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and a certificate in composition at San Francisco State University. Alexa taught composition for multi-lingual speakers at SFSU for two years before coming to the Academy. She also taught in Japan and Mexico. She enjoys working with students from all over the world, learning about different cultures and languages, and sharing ideas. Alexa has studied Japanese and Spanish. In her free time she enjoys traveling, camping, hiking and backpacking, reading, decorating, taking classes to further her education, and spending time with friends and family.
Alexandra Rollo has been teaching English around the world for more than seven years working in countries throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Since August 2010, she has been employed within Academy of Art University in San Francisco teaching English classes as well as supporting a number of art classes. In addition to classroom instruction and international travel, her passions lie in curriculum development and teacher training, two subjects she focused on while earning her MATESOL from Saint Mary’s College. She welcomes any opportunity to listen to others and wholeheartedly believes she will never be done learning. The more she teaches and travels, the more she realizes she has yet to experience.
Michael Schuller has B.S. and M.A. degrees in English Literature from the University of Nebraska and a certificate in Applied Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also taught ESL. He has also taught at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, Cañada College in Redwood City, CA, and for many years in the UC Berkeley Extension ESL Program in San Francisco. He has traveled widely in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific. In addition to travel, his interests include photography, movies, especially foreign cinema, and reading and cooking when he has the time.
Michael Shehane, EAP 3 Curriculum Coordinator
Michael Shehane earned his Master's Degree from San Francisco State University's Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Program. At the Academy of Art University he teaches courses in art education, liberal arts, and English as a Second Language (ESL). His personal theory of practice draws from theoretical, empirical, and experiential knowledge to foster learning environments where students actualize their dreams and rock their worlds. In his free time he reads, listens to the symphony, visits museums, does yoga, and takes photographs of the paint spilled on the streets of San Francisco.
Susannah Schoff, ARE Liaison
Susannah has been an instructor in the EAP and ARE departments since Fall 2009. She received her M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from San Francisco State University, and her B.A. in French and English Literature from the University of San Francisco. Susannah has taught ESL and trained teachers in the U.S., Thailand, and Indonesia and loves traveling, working with people from around the world, and learning languages. She also enjoys writing poetry and short stories, cooking and eating vegetarian food, dancing, reading, and hiking.
George has a Master of Arts degree in English from San Francisco State University. His teaching experiences have included being a substitute teacher in high school and elementary school, teaching disabled adults, and teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in Japan. Currently, George teaches ESL, tutors students in writing, and provides language support for students at the Academy of Art University. When he's not doing home improvement projects, he can be found wandering around the world with his camera, playing the guitar, or just sitting at a cafe people watching.
Amy Shipley, FT Faculty / Instructional Technology Curriculum Integration Coordinator / EAP Coordinator
Amy has an M.A. in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) from San Francisco State University. and a B.A. in Rhetoric and Communication from UC Davis. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and has taught overseas in Japan, India, and Peru. She has also taught at many private language schools and community colleges in the Bay Area. Amy coordinates and teaches EAP 603 as well as provides ESL support for students in their art classes. As the Instructional Technology Curriculum Coordinator, Amy is helping to bring technology into the classroom. In her leisure time, she helps to rescue wildlife. She also enjoys hiking, running, cycling, weight-lifting, and practicing Aikido.
Alexander Troy has been teaching ESL for 12 years. He began as an ESL tutor while studying German in Austria, when he realized how little most Americans know about their own grammar rules. He later taught ESL, as well as German, at Los Alamitos High School, in Southern California. Alexander is also a filmmaker and musician. He holds an MFA in Motion Picture Production.
Anita has a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts with a double major in English and Journalism, and an M.A. from San Francisco State University in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. She has travelled to Germany, England, France, Italy, Greece, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Canada, and Mexico. She taught ESL in both Mexico and Japan. In Japan she was a teacher trainer as well as an ESL teacher. Anita's hobbies include hiking, kayaking, and camping, and she is a triathlete. She is also an American Council on Exercise Certified Fitness Trainer.
Erika Weisbrich, EAP Lab Coordinator
Erika has enjoyed working at AAU since 2008. A native Californian and "global soul", she has traveled in twenty countries, lived in four and taught in three: Japan, Turkey, and the United States. These experiences have enabled her to understand the needs of international students. Here in the Bay Area, she has also managed and developed successful Business English and professional communications programs for a language school and biotech company and has taught writing for the extension program at San Francisco State University. She earned the M.A. in TESOL and the Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Composition at San Francisco State University and has a Cambridge RSA DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Speakers of Other Languages). In her free time, too, she enjoys language: poetry, creative writing, etymology, her husband's British English, and the sentences spoken by her children.
Steven Weiss was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He studied Philosophy and Sociology at Penn State University. He received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy at KUL in Leuven, Belgium. He began teaching English as a Second Language in Brussels, where he lived for 10 years. He’s been teaching ESL and Philosophy at the AAU since 2005.
Maw has been an instructor in the ESL program at the Academy of Art University since 1998. She has taught ESL, writing, and grammar at various schools in the Bay Area and Southern California. She lived in Japan for a year, and has traveled throughout many countries in Asia, Europe, and South America. In her free time, Maw enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with friends.
Margaret holds a Master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from San Francisco State University and a BA in Anthropology from the University of North Texas. She has been teaching ESL and TESL in the U.S., Mexico and Argentina since 1998.