Language Learning Innovators

Team

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 by enrolling in the  MA TESOL program 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. He currently lives in Kobe, Japan.

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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. 

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.. 

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Ai Isono
Marketing Director

Ai is a veteran of advertising giant Dentsu. After moving to Seattle with her husband, she earned her MBA at the University of Washington. She competes in tennis in the USTA league, and is going to the U.S. National Championships in Arizona and California, which has been her dream. Also, Ai loves friends, beer, and outdoor adventures.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Alexa
Education Team Associate

Alexa has a Masters in Art Policy and Management from Birkbeck University, London, as well as a BFA in Painting. While learning Spanish, she discovered that she loves teaching English. She has taught English to all age groups and in a variety of classroom settings. In her free time, she enjoys reading, creating art, and going to the beach. She was raised in Seattle and now lives in Barcelona. 

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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.

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Allen Miner
Board Director
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Max Bovykin
Advisor - Technology
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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.


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Jeremy

Jeremy is from Upstate New York and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. For the past 10 years, he has enjoyed working abroad in Japan, Hong Kong, and now Thailand. In addition to his work as an English teacher, he is a certified and internationally recognized ice hockey game official supervisor and coach. In his spare time, he enjoys road trips, golf, and yoga.

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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.

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Chandler

Chandler is a veteran of the marketing and publicity world where he worked in corporate communications for Disney, Sony, Toshiba and Weber Shandwick Worldwide. He graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Music Business and attended New York University for a two-year program in Business Communications. Chandler earned a TESOL certificate in New York and has been teaching English since 2018. He will soon complete an MA in English Education. In his free time he enjoys playing the piano and traveling.


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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.

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Anne

Anne graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in English. Her career in broadcasting took her all over the world producing and directing TV travel shows and documentary films. Now settled in the U.K., she lived in Paris for ten years and speaks fluent French.   

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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. 

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Clay

Clay is originally from Colorado, where he received a BA in Sociology from Colorado University, and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Denver.  His career has included social work and healthcare. He is an outdoors enthusiast and a certified SCUBA diver. He is also an avid sailor who holds a United States Coast Guard captain's license with sailboat endorsement. He currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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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.


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Kristie

Kristie obtained a PhD in veterinary medicine and an MS in Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is TESOL-certified and loves helping English Language Learners in the sciences. She is also a Registered Yoga Teacher and is learning to chant in Sanskrit! She lives in Greenfield, Wisconsin.

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Kelsey

Kelsey Hurst graduated from Portland State University in Oregon with her Master's in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She enjoys learning languages (Japanese!) and traveling, and plans to teach around the world. Her hobbies include reading, drawing, walking her cat, and playing Dungeons & Dragons. 

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Mike

Mike graduated from Bristol University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and he earned his TEFL certification in Bangkok, Thailand. His hobbies include graphic design and electronic dance music(EDM). He is an EDM producer and musician with credits on the Thai Public Broadcasting Station and songs ranked in the Top 100 on major global music websites. He has been teaching students all over the world for more than 15 years.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Asad

Asad earned his BA in International Affairs from the University of Georgia. After spending a year in South Korea as a Fulbright grantee, he went on to teach English in Vietnam and Taiwan before returning to the United States for his MA in TESOL at Portland State University. Asad has formal training in French, Arabic, Korean, and Vietnamese.

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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.  

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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.   

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