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.
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.
A native of Fayetteville, Kevin graduated from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock with an MA in English: Technical and Expository Writing. He has worked in the field of English studies in a variety of situations and settings—as a researcher, a writer, an editor, and a teacher. He worked as a development associate , tech writer, and editorial consultant in San Francisco for eight years. After that, he taught university English at Ming Chuan University in Taipei, Taiwan and Burapha University in Bangsaen, Thailand. Kevin enjoys traveling, and he has traveled throughout Asia and the Middle East. He also enjoys canoeing, hiking, reading great books, and watching great films.
Gavin is a native Arkansan. She grew up in Hot Springs Arkansas and moved to Fayetteville to attend the University of Arkansas. She received her B.A. in English and relocated to Seattle, Washington. There she was the marketing manager for a hospitality company that managed conference centers, the World Trade Center Seattle, and boutique inns and resorts in the San Juan Islands. Gavin returned to Arkansas to earn an M.A. in Second Languages from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. During her studies, she received a graduate assistantship to teach with the Intensive English Language Program on campus. 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., Gavin 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 on the Auraria campus. She taught there for six years until Arkansas called her home. Now she happily teaches for SILC Arkansas and has since 2012. Besides teaching, Gavin loves spending time with friends and family, gardening, mountain biking, and kayaking.
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.
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. Additionally, she spent a semester as a foreign exchange student in the former USSR. She earned a B.A. in English and Psychology with a journalism focus from Augustana College (IL) and an M.S. in TESOL and Bilingual Education from Northern Illinois University. McBride presented at Bridges to Success: SETESOL 2014; Crossing Borders, Building Bridges. 2015 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo; and Reflecting Forward: 1966-2016. 2016 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo. She wrote “Guided Research: Great Questions Inspire More Than Answers” for the February 2017 issue of TESOL Connections. Wendy gardens as well as reads and writes avidly and has a published novel and nonfiction book to her credit.
Triny Yates-Knepp received her Master’s in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the University of Texas in her home state. She made her decision to become an English language teacher because she wanted to live and experience other languages and cultures from the inside. She had no idea that teaching international students would be so challenging and so much fun. She has spent 25 years of her adult life working and living in other countries including Japan, Indonesia, Mexico, Azerbaijan, and the United Arab Emirates. Although most of her work has been in preparing students for university studies, she has also worked in the areas of English for medical students, engineers, and businessmen and for private international corporations and foreign governments. Despite all this teaching, she still enjoys working to help people achieve their goals using English as a tool. If she has any spare time after grading student papers, she loves to cook, learn new things, and be out in nature and travel.