Meet with the Executive Committee and Helpers

Debbie West


Debbie West Debbie West, UC Berkeley grad, brought up in a military family, has done almost everything from teaching French to being International Student Advisor in the United States to now teaching English to all levels and ages here in France. An educator at heart she sees education as broader than in a classroom and is definitely not very traditional in her methods. With a love for developing programs and an ever-present bank of ideas, there never seems to be enough time, energy and money to do everything. Being single helps and sometimes doesn't. Here in France she is an independent (after all the accountants were just "trying to help") and teach English and do a bit of translation. Debbie is a Representative for the International Business Program at UC Berkeley Extension, and is trying to develop a Total Summer Immersion English Program (in August). She tries to do her part in developing people's English skills. She can be reached using her website:

Jane Ryder


Jane RyderJane Ryder is the TESOL France Strasbourg Coordinator has been working for over ten years in EFL in the Alsace. For five years she was the pedagogic coordinator for Greta Nord Alsace, the continuing education branch of Education Nationale. In November 2010 she set up ESOL Strasbourg, in partnership with the Pole Formation of the CCI Strasbourg, to offer the CELTA & DELTA teaching qualifications. Jane is committed to changing the status of EFL teachers in France and, with TESOL France, intends to shake things up in Alsace. She is a published writer (incl. ELT Journal) and holds an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from Leicester University. Previously she was a TV documentary maker, an ethologist and, in her words, sometimes failed revolutionary.

Bethany Cagnol

Immediate Past President

Bethany Cagnol American, Bethany Cagnol met her French-American husband in a car wash while completing her BA at the University of Virginia, USA, in 1999. In 2002 she moved with him to Paris where she discovered the joys of teaching English to adults. The year 2006 was a busy one in which she received her MA in Teaching Second and Foreign Languages at the University of London Institute in Paris, founded her own freelance teaching business, International Customer, and joined the TESOL France Executive Committee. Thanks to the contacts she's made through the association she has spoken at IATEFL, IATEFL BESIG, IATEFL Poland, and the American University of Paris Conferences. She recently began writing for the publisher Cornelsen. Her professional interests include Business English, Testing and Assessment, Teacher Development, English for Specific Purposes, English as an International Language, and Materials Design.

James Beneson

Tech Advisor

Colleen Brown

Administrative Coordinator

Colleen BrownA Francophile since childhood, Colleen Brown decided to try her luck in Paris after graduating from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English Literature and French. Thus began her 13-year career as an EFL teacher and trainer. Along the way, she earned a Licence in French literature (La Sorbonne, Paris 4) and a Maîtrise in French Language Teaching and Didactics (La Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3). Since 2007, she has been running her own freelance teaching and translating business. Her teaching interests include learner motivation, literacy, cultural studies and using technology humanely in the EFL classroom. She is also deeply concerned about working conditions and standards for EFL teachers in France and addressed these issues in a recent workshop on Sustainable Teaching for TESOL-France in Strasbourg. She enjoys writing for the The Teaching Times and creatively, for herself.

Françoise Brown

Events Helper

Françoise is French, but has a Scottish father, hence the bilingual name. She studied English at Paris IV-Sorbonne, where she got her Doctorate (British "civilization") in 1986. Françoise taught in French secondary schools in France (Mouy, Oise: 1980-1983) and Tunisia (Lycée Français de la Marsa : 1998-2001). She also taught English for Specific Purposes in a Tunisian Faculty of Sciences (Monastir: 1985-1998). She has been teaching speaking and translation at the Faculté des Langues of the Université de Picardie in Amiens since 2001. She is the coordinator of the Department of Applied Languages (Langues Etrangères Appliquées) there.

Hal D'Arpini

Advertising, Events Team

Hal D'ArpiniHal D'Arpini has only been an English teacher for a short time but has already become heavily involved in TESOL France, first working with Vice President Jane Ryder to organize great events for TESOL France - Strasbourg, writing book reviews for Teaching Times, and now as a member of TESOL France's Executive Committee. Hal is from the Detroit area and moved to Strasbourg two years ago with his French wife, Brigitte, who herself is a teacher. He teaches legal, business, aviation, nursing, and general English for the Pole formation CCI de Strasbourg/Bas Rhin, for the Ecole de Chimie at the Université de Strasbourg, and privately. His current projects include creating a Moodle site for his university class. Hal is also active on the board of Americans In Alsace, a social organization for North Americans living in the Alsace region, where he serves as Membership Coordinator.

Vera Dickman

Telecom ParisTech Helper

Federico Espinosa

TESOL France Bordeaux Coordinator

Federico EspinosaFederico Espinosa is an American with a B.A. in Chemistry from Reed College. He started his career in 2008 working as a Chemistry and Physics Teacher in with the U.S. Peace Corps in Guinea, West Africa. The administrators at his rural college convinced him to teach English as well, and he quickly realized how much more fun and interactive it is to teach languages. Post-Peace Corps life brought Federico to France as an assistant in Besançon, then a lecteur in Bordeaux. In early 2012 he set up TESOL France Bordeaux, and has big plans for this new regional Branch. Personally he plans on pursuing an M.A. in TESOL to continue growing professionally within the French higher education system.

Gillian Evans

General Secretary, Publishing and Secretarial Team

Gillian Evans My working life and professional career began not as a teacher, but as a production assistant in the Latin American Service of the BBC. As both my parents were teachers, I thought there were enough in the family, so decided to use my language degree in other ways. From working in Latin America Embassies and in companies as a translator in both England and France, I gained an insight into the business world and the life of a company. I never regretted my decision to study for a teaching diploma and for the past twelve years have been teaching business English in a variety of large companies, and designing programs for students of English in all fields of industry. I have given evening classes at the Mairie de Paris and organized programs for the unemployed. I am now very happy to help on the TESOL ExCom team. The teaching world is my world.

Nazha Essakkaki

Télécom ParisTech

Eric Halvorsen

The Teaching Times Contributor and Events Team

Eric Halvorsen Originally from Connecticut, my interest in languages and English teaching has led me to spend the last ten years of my life abroad. After finishing my B.A. at McGill University in Montreal I began my ELT career in northern France with middle school students. From there I moved on to Mexico City where I was both a Business English trainer and a Spanish language student. In Mexico, I discovered I had a special interest in teaching adults in business contexts and decided to continue in this field of ELT when I moved to Paris in 2006. I also started my distance learning M.A. in TESOL with the University of Birmingham in 2006. I am currently completing my Masters dissertation on Task-Based Language Teaching for one-to-one Business English learners. My work as Head of the English Department and Business English trainer at a small language school in Paris and the work I have done for my M.A. have allowed me to learn more about and develop my skills in my specific areas of interest. Those areas are ELT methodology and TBLT, learner autonomy and the use of new technologies in the classroom. A member of TESOL France since 2008 and new to the Executive Committee, I will be actively involved with the Teaching Times, events planning/coordination and, in the future, developing a TESOL France blog.


Kate Kleinworth

TESOL France Toulouse Coordinator

Kate Kleinworth has been teaching English in France for over ten years, and in Toulouse since 2006. She's originally from Texas, and received her MA in Foreign Language Education at the University of Texas in 2006. Although she's worked with learners of all ages, Kate has been working primarily with adults and university students. Her interests include motivation, learner autonomy, and getting students to use 'actually' correctly. In addition to presenting at past TESOL France colloquia, she is proud to be a founding member of TESOL France Toulouse. Kate is looking forward to working with her amazing local team to help the Toulouse branch grow, and to help English teachers come together and share their ideas.

Colin Mackenzie

TESOL France Nantes Coordinator

Colin Mackenzie I started teaching English in 1991 and have since worked in Slovenia, Italy, the UK and, for the past 14 years or so, France. Originally from Yorkshire, I now very much see myself as Nantais. I think it is vital that we keep questioning and evolving as teachers throughout our careers and as a result have been heavily involved in teaching associations for many years; for me, this is the best way to do this. Becoming TESOL France Nantes Coordinator is my second stint volunteering for TESOL France, having been Electronic Communications Chair from around 2000-2005. I have also been Teacher Development SIG Coordinator for, and on the board of, IATEFL. I am particularly interested in teacher development and, in the classroom, motivation, both student and teacher; and building rapport and feedback, which I see as all intimately linked.

Christine Mintcheva

TESOL France Lyon Coordinator

Christine Mintcheva Christine Mintcheva graduated from the Institute of Education London with a degree in teaching. Christine moved to France in 2007 and works in higher education institutions EM Lyon, ENTPE. Christine owns her own freelance company 'Speak' and provides English lessons and recruitment services. Christine is currently the TESOL FRANCE, Lyon regional Coordinator. Christine is passionate about all related to teaching, learning and pedagogy and enjoys sharing teaching methods with other practitioners.

Denny Packard

Jobs List

Denny Packard Denny Packard is an American who has lived and taught English in France since 1977, where he has taught slow learners in a largely immigrant middle school, companies, and Grandes Ecoles, all but two years of it in part-time positions. In addition, he worked for two years helping to train teachers for the Académie de Nancy-Metz. He has also done volunteer teaching to French prison inmates and drug addicts in a rehabilitation program. Managing the TESOL-France jobs list come rather naturally to him since he started working at the age of 11. He is a charter member of TESOL-France.

Sophie Pietrucci

Swap Shop Helper

Sophie PietrucciI am a French native speaker and I lived in The United States as a teenager and in the UK as a child and later as a French teacher. I first studied English at university in France and got my master’s degree specialised in American cinema. I also have a master’s degree in FLE (French as a foreign language), as well as in Sciences de l’Education (specialised in sociology and psychology).
As I have always been interested in languages, I studied Spanish, German and French sign language. I’ve travelled around the world (especially in Asia) to discover different cultures, languages and ways to communicate with people.
Thanks to TESOL, I have had the opportunity to meet other teachers and share fruitful ideas, and acquire more knowledge on teacher development which I could use right away in my teaching practice. I therefore never have the feeling that my job is in anyway repetitive. Belonging to this association really keeps me moving.
I am currently working in several different Engineering Schools, Business Schools and Grandes Ecoles.

Csilla Jaray-Benn

TESOL France Grenoble Coordinator

Csilla Jaray-Benn Holding MA's in English language and literature obtained at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, in French language and literature and in Theatre arts obtained at the University of Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, Csilla has taught English for over fifteen years in Hungary and France. She is specialised in business communication skills training and teaches master's degree courses at a graduate business school in Grenoble, provides business English training courses in companies, runs an English program for teen learners and has introduced an English learning program at a primary school. She founded and owns a professional language training organisation Business English Services. Her main pedagogical interests lye in developing learner autonomy, introducing creativity through collaborative techniques and building motivation in language learners. She regularly gives talks at TESOL and IATEFL events and edits two blogs, BesEnglish and TeensEnglish TeensEnglish as collaborative learning platforms. Beside TESOL France, she is an active member of IATEFL, IATEFL BESIG, IATEFL LASIG and IATEFL Hungary.

Laurence Whiteside

Treasurer and Electronic Communications

Laurence Whiteside I started out teaching English in Spain in 1993, and have stayed in the profession continuously since then. I worked in the private and public sectors in England and ran a modern languages department in a further education college in Cambridge for 4 years. I was also active in my union both in my workplace and in the East Anglia region.
I moved to Paris in 2005 to join my partner (now wife) and take up a lecteur post, and I joined the TESOL France ExCom as Membership Secretary in 2006. I passed the CAPES exams in 2007, and I currently teach Business English in the UFR d'Economie et Gestion of the University of Cergy-Pontoise.

Ros Wright

Past President, currently TESOL France Regional Coordinator and Editor of The Teaching Times

Ros Wright I would describe my 16-year career in ELT as fairly rounded, having worked not only in teaching, teacher training and professional development, but also in publishing and more recently as a freelance materials writer. A career that has taken me to Japan, France and the UK, and one that spans most branches of the field; from general and business English, through ESP and EAP, to e-learning and exam preparation – including the USMLE oral component (equivalency exam for qualified foreign doctors wishing to practice in the US). Having earned an MA in Materials Development for Language Learners from Leeds Metropolitan University under the guidance of Brian Tomlinson in 2003, I have since co-authored Good Practice: Communication skills for practitioners (CUP), as well as online materials for nurses ( and an ESAP Medical English title for Garnet Education. Good Practice was short listed for the British Council 'Award for Innovation 2008' and has just received the first IATEFL BESIG/Macmillan 'David Riley Award for Innovation in Business and ESP'. I am an active member of TESOL France and having already completed a stint as Vice President, I am now in my second year as President. I have also recently been elected to the IATEFL Conference Proposals Committee. My fields of interest lie in ESP and the use of spoken corpora and audio-visuals in the training of effective communications skills.

Phil Wade

Helper Teaching Times