Language Learning Innovators

Team

Frith Ann Maier
Founder

Frith’s immersion language learning experiences inspired the NEI method, using web technology to create a program proven to help learners of English achieve their goals faster. She studied French in high school, then learned to speak Japanese during two years living in Japan, before becoming fluent in Russian as a college student. A successful serial entrepreneur, Frith created the Russia & Central Asia travel program for REI Adventures, and subsequently founded and built a software company, Sesame Communications. Master’s in International Studies (University of Washington), TESL-certified, Internet innovator. 

Read bio
Daniel Lester
Education Director

Danny has been teaching English since 2011 after completing a BA in Spanish, along with a minor in Applied Linguistics and TESOL certificate from Portland State University. He realized that his interest in Spanish was a love of linguistics and turned his focus towards teaching. He will soon complete an MA in TESOL also from Portland State. Danny has taught English in South Korea, and Portland, Oregon to wide variety of age groups and classroom settings. In his free time, he is an avid NBA fan – especially of his home team, the Portland Trail Blazers – and a life-long video game player.

Read bio
Chris
Education Director

Chris has worked as an educator for nearly 20 years and currently teaches English at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. Chris studied philosophy and classics in the Great Books program at St. John’s College. He has earned an MA , Ed.M., and is currently a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University with a focus on the philosophy of arts education. Although Chris speaks some French and is developing his Thai and Mandarin Chinese, his favorite second “language” has always been music. Chris won an Emmy Award for his original scores for National Geographic in 2002. He was also recognized as the New York State Teacher of the Year, first runner-up in 2015.  

Read bio
Michael
Education Team Associate

Michael’s love of language, culture, and teaching led him to move to the Middle East to work with refugees in 2013. Since then, he has taught English in a variety of contexts while living in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. His efforts to learn foreign languages, including Arabic and Turkish, have made him sensitive to the needs of English learners. Michael holds CELTA certification that he earned in Izmir, Turkey. In his free time, he enjoys biking, kayaking, lifting weights, and reading.

Read bio
Nancy Watt
Teaching Methodology Lead

Nancy graduated from Stanford University with a degree in human biology and went on to complete a Master’s degree in city planning at the University of California, Berkeley in 1981.  She worked in the field of city planning for 10 years before raising her family.   She has been teaching English in the Spanish-speaking community in Seattle since 2009.

Read bio
Jacek
Engineering Manager

Jacek studied IT at university, and he is excited about functional programming and  blockchain technology. He specializes in creating mobile applications and seizes every opportunity to learn new technologies. Jacek has built dozens of applications which impact thousands of people around the world. He joined the NEI team to build new experiences for students and teachers worldwide. He loves to travel and taste new cultures, and he finished his first Ironman in the Canary Islands.. 

Read bio
Jason
Education Team Associate

Jason began tutoring foreign exchange, university students in 2005 in his hometown of San Diego, California. He graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in humanities, history and philosophy.  After teaching in the States for 5 years and receiving his TESOL certificate, he moved to Thailand where he continued teaching students of various nationalities.  Still residing in Thailand, Jason enjoys spending time with his daughter, taking her to the sea as much as possible. He enjoys water sports, such as surfing, sailing, swimming, scuba diving, windsurfing, paddle boarding, and kayaking. He is passionate about teaching and helping students reach their individual goals to be the best English speakers they can be.

Read bio
Grzegorz T.
Front-End Developer

Grzegorz graduated from the University of Technology in Rzeszów. From his early school years, he has been interested in computer technologies. He ultimately decided to become a front-end developer because it gives him the most joy. Grzegorz's best  patience and quick adaptation to the new team and situation. Grzegorz is patient, quick to adapt, and a great problem solver. He loves big challenges. He spends his free time on mathematics and cars.

Read bio
Karen Thode
Subscriber Relations Lead

Karen earned a B.A. in Social Science Teaching and subsequently taught World Literature and English to teenagers at a public school in Boulder, Colorado. Her TESL certification was motivated by Karen’s desire to work with English language learners of all ages in diverse educational settings.

Read bio
Grzegorz W.
Back-End Developer

At age 16, Grzegorz began to live and breathe programming. As a senior developer, he specializes in database design and management, and has designed several systems entirely from scratch. .He likes sports and traveling.

Read bio

Advisors

Marek Tuchalski
Engineering Consultant

Marek studied physics in university and loves science and science fiction. Long before that he was fascinated by computers and spent every free moment with them. Channeling his fascination with how the universe works into pioneering technology platforms, he has headed up the software development teams in multiple companies.  To Marek, the perfect world will be one free of ignorance and autocrats. He is helping NEI to shape that world by delivering training solutions that unlock human potential.

Read bio
Allen Miner
Board Director
Read bio
Max Bovykin
Advisor - Technology
Read bio
Stepan Braginskiy
Advisor - Finance
Read bio

Teachers

Read about the talented contractors who teach using the NEI method.
•TESL-certified
•native speakers of North American English
•university graduates

Mishel

Mishel graduated from Portland State University with dual degrees in Japanese and Russian.  After graduating in 2014, she moved to a small town in northern Hokkaido and taught ESL to children and adults for five wonderful years. When not in the classroom, Mishel enjoys reading, playing video games, and traveling. 

Read bio
Jeffrey

Jeffrey earned his Bachelor’s degree in German and minored in Russian and Speech Communication. After graduating, he began his career in teaching English in numerous countries around the world. In 2014 he earned his Master’s degree in TESOL from Portland State University. He continued his teaching career in Qatar and the United States, and is currently living in Sweden. In his free time, Jeffrey enjoys learning languages, traveling, reading, and cooking. 

Read bio
Avernell

Avernell graduated from the Russian Academy of Music with a degree in Performing Arts. While obtaining her degree in Moscow Russia, she discovered a passion for teaching English as a Second language. Her love for language and culture allowed her to teach people all over the world both online and in the classroom. She is  TEFL certified and currently resides in the Caribbean as Music Director and  English Teacher.

Read bio
Estelle

Estelle has a B.A. in German Studies and English Literature from Pacific University. She has been teaching English since 2006. Upon graduation, she spent a year in Austria as a Fulbright teaching assistant. After returning to the U.S., she received her Master’s in TESOL from Portland State University and has taught in community, academic, and individual tutoring contexts. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling, and has visited nearly 35 countries.

Read bio
Katie

Katie's love of language and culture was cultivated in Costa Rica where she began teaching in a small village in 2015. As she perfected her Spanish, she was able to better develop English teaching methods and earn her TEFL Certification. Later, she moved to Argentina to complete a Fulbright English teaching assistantship, and her passion for Latin American culture and language acquisition grew even more. She now resides in Ecuador where she leads yoga and meditation workshops.


Read bio
Ashten

Ashten combines passion for teaching with her knowledge of linguistics (her major is  Applied Linguistics), and she has experience teaching students from Japan and China.  She enjoys studying Spanish, German, Greek, and Latin (her favorite). She likes to hike in the Pacific Northwest with her sister, go to the movies, roller skate, read, and garden. She also enjoys fencing.


Read bio
Susan

Susan earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Japanese Studies at Guilford College, in North Carolina, and lived and worked in Japan for three years, during and after her university studies. She received her M.Ed. in TESOL in 2010 from Seattle University, in Seattle, WA. While working at City University of Seattle she spent 11 weeks in Hanoi, Vietnam, teaching Academic English through a partner program with the Banking Academy of Vietnam. In 2016, she moved to Madrid, Spain to complete her M.A. in Visual and Digital Media at Instituto Empresa (IE), staying on for another year to study Spanish. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, hiking, travel, and photography.

Read bio
Darian

Darian earned his Master's degree in International Law and International Relations from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. While living in Scotland and Ireland, he worked in the legal sector and as an online ESL teacher. In addition to being a TEFL-certified teacher, Darian is passionate about teaching English and learning new languages. As a French and Spanish speaker, he is looking forward to learning more languages and experiencing different cultures. Darian also played collegiate baseball during his undergraduate studies. In his free time, he enjoys cooking recipes from around the globe, watching Philly sports teams, and doing DIY projects.

Read bio
Margot

Margot has worked in English Language Learning  for nearly thirty years. She has taught in Japan, and most recently served as an English Language Fellow in both Algiers, Algeria and Rabat, Morocco. Prior to her work in North Africa, Margot chaired the department of English to Speakers of Other Languages at a Baltimore City high school. She also taught TESOL Assessment and Methods at the University of Notre Dame of Maryland. When she is not teaching, Margot can be found reading, hiking, or riding her bicycle. She has visited much of Asia and Europe and finds contentment in her meditation practice.

Read bio
Aimie

Aimie first became involved in TESOL in 2016 as an online English language tutor for Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese students while pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida (UCF). After earning her BS in Interdisciplinary Studies and an undergraduate certificate in TEFL in 2019, she became an online English instructor teaching students from Brazil, Mexico, Italy, and China. She enrolled in graduate TESOL courses and worked as a TESOL research assistant at UCF before becoming a part of NEI. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, playing computer games, watching TV, and going on road trips across the United States.   

Read bio
Jessica

Jessica earned her BA in Social Sciences, with a minor in Geography, at Chico State. After graduation, she moved to New Mexico where she began teaching English language learners from Mexico and Japan. She later earned her Master's in TESOL at Portland State, lived in Peru and Japan (twice!) where she taught English to learners of all ages. Her love of travel and connecting with people from around the globe inspires Jessica to share experiences and continue learning.

Read bio
Christopher

Christopher hails from the United States. Christopher has worked in a variety of settings in the field of international development. His career includes service as a Peace Corps volunteer, and employment with Peace Corps Headquarters and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the areas of information systems development and administration. Learning and training have been important aspects of Christopher’s work, whether it was teaching biology in a government high school in Cameroon (West Africa), managing computer training at Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, DC (USA) or providing information systems training for FAO staff in Europe or Asia. Christopher is very familiar with the challenges facing adult language learners, having studied Spanish in junior high and high school, as well as French, Italian and Thai as an adult. When not teaching for NEI Christopher volunteers his time teaching English to students from disadvantaged families in Northern Thailand. 

Read bio
Rachel

Rachel has been working as a teacher of English since 2006. Her experiences include K-12 and higher education, including working as an ESL instructor at Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, she has worked as a coach of business professionals. Rachel earned her M.Ed. in TESL and Teacher Leadership from Rowan University; she has also dedicated time to studying French and Arabic. Her travels have taken her to more than 15 countries, and through these experiences, she has enjoyed learning about and expanding her knowledge of different languages and cultures. 

Read bio
Charlotte

Charlotte began her career in foreign language instruction while attending the University of Puget Sound. She began by teaching both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, which cemented her love for intercultural communication. After graduating, she spent a year teaching in Taiwan while completing a Fulbright English Teaching grant. In addition to being TEFL certified, she is also specially trained in CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), as well as student-centered learning. In her free time, Charlotte loves learning new languages, running marathons, and cooking new recipes.

Read bio
Paul

Paul is a native Californian.  He graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor's in Public Relations, and then went on to Golden Gate University in San Francisco for his Master's, also in PR. He enjoyed a long and successful career in pharmaceutical sales and marketing, launching many new products, working in California, Hawaii and Idaho. He retired from the pharmaceutical industry and pursued his life-long dream of adventure and travel.  He went to Guadalajara, Mexico where he obtained his certificate to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).  In Mexico, he taught English to Spanish-speaking students, as well as teaching English online to Chinese students in Beijing and Shanghai. He left Mexico, traveling to Eastern Europe, and taught English to Russian-speaking students in Eastern Ukraine. He now lives in Turkey, teaching English to Turkish university students and business professionals. 


Read bio
Elsa

Elsa earned her BA in Psychology and Spanish at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After graduating, she completed her TESL certification, taught English in South Korea for one year, and then taught English to elementary school students in Portland, Oregon. Through these experiences, Elsa discovered her passion for teaching and went on to pursue her Master’s in TESOL at Portland State University in Oregon. Elsa speaks Spanish and Korean, but would like to learn many other languages! She loves to travel, play video games, go hiking, and listen to music.  

Read bio
Amnah

Amnah is bilingual in English and Arabic. She has lived in different parts of the world throughout her life and experienced many different cultures. She earned her BA in Translation at the University of Benghazi, after which she worked as an international relations manager for over ten years. Her passion for teaching language led her to further her studies at Portland State University in Oregon, where she earned a Master’s degree in TESOL. Other than teaching, she enjoys cooking, hiking, and listening to music.

Read bio
Benjamin

Benjamin earned his BA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL certificate at Portland State University.  He enjoys both teaching and learning languages. He studied abroad in Tokyo, Japan and minored in Japanese.  He has sought numerous opportunities to teach, tutor, and practice English both abroad and at home. He loves getting into detail about language and helping students overcome challenges.  He likes to play basketball and video games, as well as cook.  

Read bio
Esther

Esther discovered her interest in languages as a teenager studying Latin and Spanish. After high school, she taught and earned her BA in Uganda. She learned Luganda and Kinyarwanda while formally studying Kiswahili and Koine Greek. She completed her M.A. TESOL and Intercultural Studies at Wheaton College. She is passionate about empowering refugees and immigrants through education. She enjoys reading, knitting, and spending time in nature.

Read bio
Kristie

Kristie obtained a PhD in veterinary medicine and an MS in Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She obtained a TESOL certificate from BridgeTEFL in March 2021 where she learned the principles of teaching English to speakers of other languages. She has an interest in pronunciation and loves helping English Language Learners in the sciences. She completed an Introduction to ESL Pronunciation class through Wheaton College in June 2021. She is also a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and is learning to chant in Sanskrit! She lives in Greenfield, WI, USA.

Read bio