Our team
Meet your personal team of native speaker teachers
•trained in the Virtual Immersion™ Method
•graduates of prestigious U.S. universities
•working together to help you achieve success in English
Meet the teachers
Frith Ann Maier
Founding Director

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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Kristina Curtis Ekiz
Education Director

Kristina's interest in language learning has translated into being both a lifelong student of languages and an ESL teacher. After graduating with a B.A. in Russian Studies, she decided that using language to connect people and bridge cultures was her passion. She graduated with a Master's in TESL, and has taught English to learners of all ages from Moscow to Seattle, at public schools, private schools, and colleges and universities, including the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Washington. She is currently challenging herself with the study of Turkish. 

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Suzanne Tierney
Learning Experience Director

Suzanne has a BA in Languages and Spanish Studies, an MA in Applied Linguistics, and a DELE level C2 proficiency certificate in Spanish. She worked for 29 years in academia, primarily with the University of Delaware and the University of Washington, where she taught language classes in both Spanish and English, and designed Service Learning Curriculum. During that time she directed 18 study abroad immersion programs in 5 different countries. She is a Fulbright Scholar, and lived in Panama from 2008-9, where she implemented training programs for English teachers.  She also worked for 15 years as a rater of the TOEFL exam. In her free time, she enjoys SCUBA-diving, and has earned her PADI Divemaster license. When she retires, she dreams of opening a school on a beach in Latin America, where people can take Scuba and English classes.

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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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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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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.

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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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Before teaching English at NEI, Rebecca taught at Casa Latina and North Seattle College in Seattle, WA. Besides being an ESL teacher, she is also a novelist and a creative writing teacher. She loves to travel, climb mountains, read, and hang out with her pug, Sugar. Rebecca speaks Spanish and used to speak French, but has forgotten it all. 

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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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Paul Deaver 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. After that, he went to Turkey, where he lives now, teaching English to Turkish university students and business professionals. Paul specializes in Business English, conversational English and new vocabulary acquisition. 

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Erin has had an interest in languages and cultures for as long as she can remember which lead her to study almost a dozen languages. Over her life, she has lived in over 15 different countries on 4 continents, and has taught English in the US and South Korea, and business and English in Saudi Arabia. She obtained her MA in TESOL from Portland State University and is continuing her education toward her Doctorate of Education at University of Liverpool. In her free time, Erin enjoys reading Science Fiction and historical fiction, hiking, and having coffee with friends.

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