Our team of faculty is comprised of experienced professionals holding Master’s degrees in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Linguistics, or a closely related field. Each instructor has at least ten years of experience teaching English to international students in the United States and in educational organizations overseas. The majority of ELAC faculty speak two or more languages. Collectively, we have taught or trained students and teachers from over 75 countries. Instructors are selected not only for their teaching skills but also for their ability to work effectively with a diverse group of students, to understand the challenges international students face, and to foster students’ skill in addressing academic and cultural obstacles. Please click on the name of the instructors listed below to learn more about their education, background, and interests.
Dr. Leyah Bergman-Lanier brings more than 20 years of ESL teaching and administrative experience to her position as Director of Spring International Language Center at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Her teaching spans all ages from kindergarten through adult levels. She served as Director of the Program in ESL at the University of California at Irvine, Assistant Director of ESL at Pitzer College, and Program Coordinator of Adult Education and K-12 Programs in Claremont, California; Dr. Bergman-Lanier also directed the Spring Institute for International Studies at the University of Northern Colorado. She speaks fluent Japanese and taught in Japan for four years. She has also taught and conducted research in the People’s Republic of China. Her undergraduate degree comes from the University of California at Berkeley, and she completed her M.A. (Education and Reading) and Ph.D. (Education and Sociolinguistics) at Claremont Graduate School. Dr. Bergman-Lanier has traveled extensively in Asia, Europe and Latin America. Her home town is in West Los Angeles. In her spare time, she enjoys weaving, reading and exploring the outdoors.
Cindy began teaching ESL so that she could travel the world and her first teaching job took her to Oporto, Portugal in 1997. She has also lived in Chile, France and southeastern Europe, where she worked as a lecturer at the University of Montenegro, a teacher trainer for the Ministry of Education and Science of Montenegro, and a teacher trainer as the University of Rijeka in Croatia. Cindy is currently serving as Coordinator of English Language and Cultural Studies, a program which she helped develop. In addition, she teaches part-time in the teacher training program at Spring International Language Center. In another life, she taught Spanish as a foreign language to elementary school children. Cindy earned her BA in Latin American and Iberian Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and MA in TESOL from the University of Washington, Seattle. She is proficient in Spanish and Croatian. She spends much of her free time drumming and dancing to West African rhythms.
Wendy McBride came to Spring International with many years of teaching experience in adult education, job readiness training, GED preparation, community college English courses and English as a Second Language programs in Illinois and Japan. She earned a B.A. in English and Psychology with a journalism focus from Augustana College and an M.S. in TESOL and Bilingual Education from Northern Illinois University. Wendy reads and writes avidly and has a published novel and nonfiction book to her credit. Under the name Wendy L. Yegoiants, she published The Fishing Widow (a novel) and The American Amusement Park, a historical and pictorial overview. Since joining the faculty at Spring International, she has presented at several TESOL conventions and continues to read and write both in the field of second language acquisition and fiction.
Gavin is a native Arkansan. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and relocated to Seattle, Washington where she could make use of her creative writing and marketing skills for a hospitality management company. Years later, she set off to pursue a career in TESOL by returning to Arkansas to earn an M.A. in Second Languages from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she also received a graduate assistantship to teach in the university’s Intensive English Language Program. After graduation, Gavin traveled to Norway to participate in a Group Study Exchange, a position awarded her by Rotary International. Upon returning to the U.S., she accepted a teaching position at the Intensive English Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Opportunity then led her to teach at Spring International Language Center (SILC) in Denver, Colorado for over six years until Arkansas called her home again in 2012. She coordinates the academics and logistics for special programs and teaches pre and in-service domestic and international EFL teachers for SILC. Besides coordinating special programs, Gavin loves traveling, hiking, kayaking, and overall, spending as much time in nature as possible.