Verónica Arriaga-Orts

Verónica was born and raised in México, and moved 13 years ago to Pennsylvania with her family. She discovered the love of teaching her language in this country, so decided to pursuit a second career. She has been teaching Spanish for 9 years. Right now she teaches Spanish 1 and 2 to 9th graders.

James Ayres

James has taught Spanish at McKinney Boyd High School for the past 14 years. He learned Spanish while living in Uruguay from 1997-99. He has developed a passion for learning about how language is acquired and tried to incorporate that into his language classroom. When not teaching James is busy with his wife Amber raising five boys. Any other extra time is spent running ultra marathons on the trails. James is very excited and to be a part of the MAFLT program and looks forward to the experience this will provide!

Betty Brown

Betty has taught Japanese at the Arkansas School of Mathematics Sciences and the Arts (ASMSA) since 2017. She has a degree in Japanese Education from Ball State University (chirp, chirp!) where she also studied German and ESL. Before moving to Arkansas, she taught English in Germany through the Fulbright program. In her free time, Betty enjoys knitting, hiking, and spending time with her cats.

Andrew Burke

Born in San Diego, California, Andrew Burke earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Hispanic Studies from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. With a minor in Latin American History, he completed his studies abroad in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with a program focusing on Dominican-Haitian relations. Since graduating in 2009, Andrew has taught English in Spain, Chile, and most recently in Colombia with the Peace Corps. In the fall of 2020, Andrew began his first year teaching Spanish at a public school district in San Diego, CA and is excited to join the MAFLT community at MSU.

Christy Cheezum

Christy teaches French 1-3 and Spanish 1 at a public high school in rural Maryland. She received her BA in French with minors in Spanish and history from Salisbury University (Maryland). Christy studied publication design at the University of Baltimore and currently serves as co-adviser of the school yearbook club. Outside of school, she enjoys jogging, baking, and reading historical mysteries.

Laura Cordova

Laura graduated from college with a degree in Microbiology & Spanish. After working in the science field for six years and earning a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences, she decided she wanted to teach Spanish. She taught 6, 7. 8 grade Spanish at a Middle School, earned a Master’s in Humanities with a concentration in Spanish literature, and now she teaches introductory and intermediate Spanish at a community college. In her free time she likes to watch movies, read, and go on walks with her greyhound.
Becca Diaz

Rebecca Diaz

Rebecca Diaz currently teaches high school Spanish in Northwest Ohio. She lives with her husband and 3 dogs in a very small town also in Northwest Ohio and likes to read and be outdoors when she is not teaching or studying. She is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and has lived in Chile and Spain. She enjoys using what she learns in the MAFLT program directly in the classes she teaches and hopes to improve her teaching skills to be a more effective instructor.

Wendy Farabaugh

Salut! Wendy Farabaugh is a French teacher in Mentor, Ohio. She is in her second semester in the MAFLT program, and her fifth year as a teacher. She teaches French one (grades 8-12), and AP French (11th grade). She is currently a moderator of the online twitter chat for language teachers, #langchat. She’s been married to her husband for four and half years, though they met when they were both five years old.

Amanda Ferris

Amanda Ferris teaches Spanish at Coloma Junior High School in Michigan. She graduated from Central Michigan University in 2016 and is excited to start the MAFLT program at MSU spring of 2021. She enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. She is eager to learn more about languages and use the knowledge she gains in the classroom.

Mikaela Filson

Mikaela is so excited to be part of the MAFLT program at MSU! She is a High School Spanish teacher in the Denver Metro area with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and Spanish, and is certified to teach Spanish in both New York and Colorado. She has a passion for languages, and strongly believe that learning another language opens so many opportunities to meet new people, explore new places, and experience new cultures in a meaningful way! She loves to travel, hike with her dog, and read mystery/suspense novels in her free time. She’s also recently developed an interest in making her home more eco-friendly, sharing tips with family, and saving the planet by doing small things everyday.

Shyann Gilkey

Shyann Gilkey is a Spanish Teacher from Lansing Michigan, currently residing in Atlanta Georgia. She is an Alumna of Michigan State University, where she earned her B.A. in Spanish, and a minor in TESOL. She first volunteered to teach in Peru, before deciding to become a High School Teacher in Atlanta, where she has taught the past 8 years. She currently teaches Spanish II, III, and IV, but has taught all levels, including AP. Shyann is most excited to explore the relationship between socio-economic factors and SLA. Outside of education, Shyann loves to sing, write music, and travel.

James Goetschius

James is currently teaching Italian 1, 2-3, 4 and AP at Lenape High School in Mount Laurel, NJ, a suburb of Philadelphia. He received his BS in International Business and Minor in Italian from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). He became a certified Italian teacher through New Jersey’s Alternate Route program in 2016. When he is not teaching Italian or travelling to Italy, James is passionate about cycling, meteorology, rooting for the Nets and Yankees, and spending time with his family and friends. He is excited to start his first semester in the MAFLT program.

Toni Stillman Greer

Fall 2020, Toni enrolled in her 5th MAFLT course. She is a graduate of Rhodes College, Memphis, TN, 1998. She majored in International Studies, with a minor in Japanese Language. Upon completing a study-abroad program at Kansai Gaidai, Osaka, Japan in 1997, she returned to a successful career in the private sector. Now, at age 60 years, Toni is excited about her new career path to becoming a foreign language teaching. She is married to Alfred William Stillman, Jr. and resides in Saucier, Mississippi (Gulfcoast) and Hawaiian Gardens, CA. As a volunteer, she teaches Japanese to cohorts throughout the year and attends language schools during summer. Her free time includes nature walks, playing the piano, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Kelsey Hasso

Kelsey lives in Lansing, Michigan. She has two beautiful children and teaches Spanish, levels 1 through 4 at Alma High School. She has been enrolled in the MAFLT program for quite some time, and will be the first to tell you how challenging the program is as a mother with a full time job. Kelsey’s goal this year is meeting and connecting with some new people from the MAFLT community!

Teryn Henderson

Teryn is a high school Spanish teacher in Holt, Michigan and is in her third year of teaching through continuous learning. Teryn is in her second course in the MAFLT program and is excited to continue her education! Teryn is also certified to teach English to speakers of other languages and overall has a passion for languages and language-learning. Teryn completed her undergraduate degree at Michigan State University and is thrilled to be a Spartan again. Teryn is also one of the cheerleading coaches at her school and cheered for the all-girl team at Michigan State University during her undergrad.
man in fatigues next to woman in a floral dress

Mahlon Kester

Mahlon has gone through one semester of the MAFLT program already and he loves it!  He very recently got married to his beautiful wife and he also just graduated from Basic Training for the Air Force.  It was a great experience, but he is extremely happy to be back at it learning more about foreign language teaching.  He can’t wait to learn about the technological aspect of it since a lot of today’s world uses technology now.  There are definitely many opportunities to be explored!

Grace Kim

Grace majored in Applied Linguistics at UCLA. Right after graduation, she moved to Bogotá, Colombia to teach English at a private university while also learning Spanish. Currently, she lives in South Korea, teaching English to middle and high school students. Other than teaching, she has done a lot of interpreting and translation work with English, Korean, and Spanish.

Jenna LaVecchia

Jenna grew up in New Jersey and got her bachelor’s in Spanish and Secondary Education from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, where she was able to travel abroad to Spain. She lives in Milford, Connecticut and loves to travel. She traveled all Spain last summer! She’s in her 5th year of teaching Spanish in an urban pre-k-8 school. She’s taught Kindergarten and grades 3-5, but grades 6-8 are by far her favorite, and what she’s currently teaching. She not only loves teaching the language, but also teaching music and culture!

Laura Lopez

Laura has taught Spanish to PK3 through 8th grade for the past 7 years in WI and IL. She went to Dartmouth College for her undergrad where she majored in Linguistics and minored in Latin American Literature. She has studied in Mexico, worked in the Dominican Republic, and has family in Puerto Rico. She loves being with her family, hiking, camping, cooking and eating chocolate! She is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the MAFLT community (since Spring 2021) and to continue to grow as a language teacher.

Agnieszka Makles

Agnieszka was born in Poland where she received an MA in pedagogy and was trained to be a teacher. Currently she lives in New York. She teaches Polish and is involved in learning Russian. She is a co-founder of the Texas Polish Dialect Project at the University of Texas at Austin, that is focused on researching Polish language spoken in Texas and documenting it. Fall 2019 is her first semester in the MAFLT program. In her free time she enjoys hiking, yoga and reading.

Anna Rose Moore

Anna has taught Chinese Immersion in a public elementary school in Utah since 2013. She began studying Chinese in high school and went on to earn a degree in Chinese at Brigham Young University. She loves teaching children with games and stories. Her top bucket list item is to visit every province and administrative region in China; twelve down, twenty-two to go!

Kristin Mose

Kristin began the MAFLT in 2021. Since 2008, she has been teaching at her alma mater, a private high school in central WI. Kristin teaches Spanish 1, German 1,2,3, and 4 and also runs the international student program. She is the varsity head coach of the cheer and stunt team. In her free time, she teaches aerial yoga and also owns a small business and an etsy shop. She and her husband Matt also have a small hobby farm with focus on maple syrup, pumpkins and lavender.

Mike Nunley

Mike Nunley graduated from Ball State University in 2017 and is currently teaching in Decatur, Georgia, right outside of Atlanta. He is currently in his fourth year of teaching Spanish 1 and second year of teaching Spanish 4. His passion for language developed when he realized how it can make positive connections with so many people. When he is not teaching, he enjoys cooking, cycling, and watching TV and movies with his girlfriend and two cats.

Cassidy Taylor Ott

Graduated from Mount Union with University Spanish and Education degrees, Cassidy is a 4th year high school Spanish teacher. She stays busy while teaching all four levels and coaching year-round. She’s in her 3rd semester of the MAFLT program and is excited to continue learning about the field of second language teaching. Aside from work, Cassidy enjoys spending time with her fiancé and family, running, traveling, and rooting for Cleveland sports.

Drew Peterson

Drew is originally from Franklin, Tennessee in US, but has been living with his wife and two cats in Lima, Peru since 2016. He teaches ESL at the primary and secondary level in Lima, and Peruvian Spanish online. He is especially interested in using comprehensible input methods in the classroom and furthering his knowledge in second language acquisition. When he isn’t teaching, he loves to travel with his wife, learn German, practice jiu jitsu, and try many of the great restaurants in Lima.

Megan Leigh Peterson

Megan was born and raised in Northern California where she has also been working as a high school Spanish teacher for the past five years. She graduated from the University of California, Davis with degrees in English and Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Having taught at both the middle and high school levels, she’s excited to jump into MAFLT and continue to grow teaching second languages to her students. In her spare time, she coaches volleyball and loves to spend time with family and friends.

Shanna Robinson

Shanna is a twenty-year educator who currently resides in China. She is a graduate of Hampton University (1999); Fayetteville State University’s Teacher Certification Program (2004), and a very recent Master of Arts in Teaching and Curriculum from Michigan State University (May 2021). She would eventually like to pursue a Ph.D. in either Social Studies Education with an international focus or International Comparative Education. She began the MAFLT program in summer of 2021 with a focus in teaching English to Bilingual Learners. She enjoys traveling, has been to all six inhabitable continents, and is planning a trip to Antarctica.

man and woman holding children

David Sceggel

David grew up in Peoria, IL and got his BA from Illinois State University. He taught one year in London, England, four years in Normal, IL, he spent two years in Sonora, Mexico as a ‘houseparent’ in an orphanage, and he has worked the last nine years in a rural school outside of Peoria, IL teaching TPRS/CI Spanish as the only world language teacher in the district. He married his wife in 2009 and they have two kids under the age of 5. He likes playing musical instruments, hiking, reading, and traveling.

Amy Scott

Amy is a high school Spanish teacher in Hartland, Michigan. She earned her bachelors in Spanish from MSU in 2007, with minors in history and math and a focus in Secondary Education. After taking a few years off from teaching to be home with her three young kids, Amy is very excited to be back in the classroom and pursing a Masters in Teaching Languages! In her spare time, Amy enjoys spending time with her family, exercising and reading.

Kari Seymour

Kari is a middle school Spanish teacher in Dayton, Ohio. In 2018, she graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in Spanish Education. During her time at Ohio Wesleyan, Kari traveled to Salamanca, Spain where she completed her study abroad experience at la Universidad de Salamanca where she loved to explore the city, especially the croissant shop. Kari looks forward to developing as an educator and connecting with other language teachers through the MAFLT Program. In her free time, Kari enjoys spending time with her family and dog, baking, and swimming.

Kaitlyn Spires

Kaitlyn graduated Clemson University with a BA in Spanish and International Trade. During college, she moved to Córdoba, Argentina to immerse herself in the Spanish language and culture. She is currently teaching at her alma mater, York Comprehensive High School. When she is not teaching, she can be found at 36,000 feet, working as a flight attendant.

Edward Stanko

Edward is a San Diego native, and has been a Spanish teacher in San Diego for more than 10 years, mostly with San Diego Unified School District. Having grown up around the Spanish language, and surrounded by his family’s rich Mexican culture, Edward had many years of language input before formally starting his Spanish studies as a freshman in high school. He is committed to proficiency-based teaching methods and pedagogy. When not teaching, Edward enjoys browsing in used bookstores and enjoying new coffee houses throughout San Diego.

Meghan Turske

Meghan is currently going into her second year of teaching, and will be teaching German grades 6-9. She went to Michigan State University for her undergrad, where she studied German and TESOL. She is looking forward to seeing how her teaching will improve from what she learns over the course of the program.

Melanie Vander Ploeg

Melanie is a Second Grade Spanish Immersion Teacher in West Michigan. During her undergraduate years, she completed two semesters abroad: first, in Arequipa, Peru, where she absolutely loved the community and the Andes Mountains; and later, in Oviedo Spain, where she enjoyed volunteering in a second grade classroom. In her free time, Melanie enjoys running and windsurfing. She also likes to cook with her husband, Robert, who is the better cook. Melanie kicked off 2021 by starting her first semester in the MAFLT program at MSU!

Frank VanPelt

Frank lives in Grand Rapids Michigan. His first semester in the MAFLT Program was the Summer 2020 Methods course. He studied in Spain, Mexico, and Chile and loves to travel. He taught as an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University (his alma mater) and occasionally substitute teaches K-12. He is currently working full-time at an industrial bakery he refers to as the “United Nations of Bread Baking” while working on his graduate degree. His goal is to acquire the MAFLT degree and teach during the autumn of his life. Frank also enjoys gardening, camping, and participating in musical theater.

Kristi Waite

Kristi is a French teacher at a high school in Vermont. She grew up in Vermont, attended high school in New York, and went to college in Arkansas. After graduating from Harding University in 2008, she worked as an English language assistant at Lycée St. Just in Lyon, France. In 2009, she returned to her home state of Vermont and began a career sharing her passion for French language and culture with American students. She has taught French at several secondary schools around the state and has been at Bellows Free Academy since 2013. She enjoys listening to Québécois music and traveling to Montreal and Québec City.

Letitia Wang-Moore

Originally from Taiwan, Letitia currently lives in Virginia. She taught English to native Chinese speakers and Chinese to visitors to Taiwan while she was living there. She also worked at a language learning materials publishing and franchising company. The experience of working there made Letitia become even more interested in language teaching and learning. She has taught English and Chinese to learners of all ages for 20 years, and is currently a Mandarin instructor for Johns Hopkins University and a freelance translator. She enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.

Tracie Whiting Kipper

When Tracie was a college freshman she began teaching Japanese to high school students in 1989 on a television educational program through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She worked for the Japanese government for 10 years; first assigned to the Nagano Olympic Committee and then the Consulate General of Japan at Kansas City. In 2008 she became the Japanese Language & Culture Lecturer at the Kansas City Art Institute. She lives in a multi-lingual home with her husband, James, who grew up in Mexico, her two middle school daughters who love learning languages their parents don’t speak , and a strong rotation of exchange students. 


woman in blue shirt in front of palm trees

Patricia Wyza

Patricia Wyza is currently a Spanish teacher to grades 3-5 in Pontiac, Michigan. She is going on her third year teaching and she is in her second class in the MAFLT program. She completed her undergraduate degree in Spanish K-12 education, as well as a minor in ESL, and a Spanish translation certificate through Oakland University. She is excited to continue her education to become a better Spanish teacher. She likes to use authentic resources, and promote vocabulary acquisition through interactive games and activities. She also coaches the Color Guard and Winter Guard for her high school. She enjoys traveling, learning about new cultures, as well as attending sports games and hanging out with friends.

Makiko Yamamoto Border

Born and raised in Japan, Makiko moved to the U.S. as an adult. She went back to school wanting to contribute to her children’s education. While homeschooling, she majored in linguistics at UNC, where she found her passion of becoming a Japanese teacher. Having acquired English as an adult, Makiko understands how learning another language can profoundly enrich one’s life experiences. She wants to help others experience the joy of seeing a new world through language, and is excited to start the MAFLT program in Spring 2021. She believes the program will equip her with the skills and qualities to realize her dream.

Not Yet Pictured

If you are a Current Student and you would like to be pictured here, go to the MAFLT Community in D2L to submit your headshot and bio. If you would like to edit or update your bio or headshot, please send them to


Madeline Alford

Jason Berrey

Brittany Brenner

Mari Brito

Katherine Byrne

Miaomiao Cui

Jaime Danks

Carolina Diaz Palacio

Amy Driskell

Jessi Falcon


Yoshiko Himata

Yuriko Ishida

Matt Johnson

Petra Jones

Mireille Maalouf

Katelyn Maher

Izumi Olsen

Cassidy Ott

Kent Pendery

Amanda Rich

Pablo Rocha-Vazquez

Eriko Takahashi Best