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Meet the Staff

Audi Wilken

Audi is a native of Berlin, Germany. A bilingual child, speaking both German and Danish, her love for language began early. She studied German and English at the Copenhagen Business School and has worked as a translator for KPMG in Denmark. She has worked as a private German tutor for the past 10 years, and she established an early childhood music program called SongSeedsTN.

Emil Ayoub

Emil Ayoub was born in Jordan in the Middle East where he received two bachelor’s degrees in Agricultural Science and Theological Science, and later in 2014 he received a master’s degree in Biblical Studies. He has more than 30 years of experience teaching and training leaders, which includes his extensive work with The Program of Theological Education by Extension in Jordan. Emil’s experience in training tutors has given him the opportunity to travel and train in other countries in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. He also taught a vocational curriculum for one year for the Amman Baptist School in Jordan for grades 5-11. Emil moved to the USA in 2006 and has lived in Chattanooga since. For the past 8 years, he has taught Arabic at Covenant College. Emil also enjoys learning other languages, including French, Italian, NT Greek and Hebrew. Currently, he is learning the Syriac alphabets.

Ethan Pope

For more than 20 years, Ethan has been involved in sign language. During this time, he worked for the Deaf Division of the Family Service Agency of Chattanooga for over six years. Ethan’s experience in sign language has given him the opportunity to travel and work in other places like New York, California and even sunny St. Thomas. He has always taught sign language basics with other Chattanooga area groups. He is a 2000 graduate from Covenant College with a degree in Organizational Management.

Laurie Stevens

Chattanooga native but world traveler at heart, Laurie has a passion for culture and language. She has more than eight years of experience in the Spanish language and culture through teaching, studying, working and living abroad. She holds a B.A. in Communications with a minor in Spanish from Berry College and spent a summer in college attending the Universidad de Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain. After graduation, she moved to Costa Rica to attend a language school and immerse herself fully in the language and culture. It was this experience that inspired her to create the Chattanooga School of Language. To her, it’s a result of a belief and first hand experiences of the life-changing effects of language learning and cultural immersion. She currently serves as a member of the Chattanooga Breakfast Rotary Club and has served on the Board of Directors for the International Business Council of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.

Leslie Morrow

Leslie is a Chattanooga native who lived in Italy for twenty years. After obtaining a degree in elementary education from Middle Tennessee State University, she satisfied a longstanding wanderlust by moving to California, then taking an extended backpack trip to Europe, and finally ending up in Italy in 1983. She first taught English in a private language school and later began working as a translator and interpreter. Since her return to Chattanooga in 2003, she has continued her translation/interpreting work as well as teaching Italian. She was adjunct professor of Italian at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga from 2008 to 2015.

Pedro Pons

Pedro was born in Guatemala and immigrated to San Francisco in 1957. After obtaining citizenship, Pedro got a biology degree and went on to medical school. After practicing Podiatry for 26 years, he relocated to Chattanooga and worked as a medical consultant for Unum. He shared his language by teaching medical Spanish at Erlanger Hospital through Chattanooga State. He also spent three years teaching beginning Spanish to fellow Unum employees and volunteered at the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, teaching beginning Spanish as well as ESL.

Claire Vassort

A French native, Claire Vassort was born in Châteaudun, France in the mid-sixties. During her schooling in France, she always showed a strong interest in language and the arts. Her interest in foreign languages and cultures has led her to travel the world extensively. In 2001, she put her bags down in Chattanooga, TN.

A teacher by trade, Claire holds a teaching degree in the French school system and is fully bilingual (French and English). She has been working as a professional French translator for three years and as a French tutor ever since she set foot on the American continent in 1988.Claire has a strong interest in language, art and culture and plans on sharing all of these with her students. Her other passions include silk painting, hang gliding and gardening. She makes a special effort to stay in close contact with France by making a yearly trip to her home land where her entire family still resides.

Barbara Stauch

Barbara Stauch was born and raised in Germany. She had an early interest in languages, which led her to study French and Spanish at the University of Bochum. She learned Farsi as well. She holds a master’s degree in French and Education and earned a teaching certificate in German as a Foreign Language. She has more than 20 years of experience and has taught German at Goethe Institutes and at the universities in Bochum and Essen, Germany. In 2016 she moved to Sweetwater, TN, with her son, who is a senior in a high school in Knoxville. She loves to teach German and make her classes very interactive. She uses authentic materials as much as possible, like music and current magazines. By integrating specific vocabulary and resources into her lessons, she is able to meet the unique needs and interests of her students.

Liz Gibbons

Liz was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador. She graduated from the Evangelical University of El Salvador with a master’s degree in Business and Human Resources. After teaching as a professor at her alma mater, Liz entered the business world, eventually becoming director in Oceano Idiomas where she guided the teaching and administative staff.

A true lover of her culture and language, Liz continued her career in Chattanooga, teaching Spanish at Belvoir Christian Academy. Liz feels fortunate to have the opportunity to empower others through language learning.

Shelley Thomas

Shelley Thomas is from Memphis, TN, but has been living in Chattanooga for the past five years. She studied Spanish and French language and literature at UTC, graduating with a 4.0 GPA in Modern and Classical Languages and Literature: Spanish and French. Her passion for languages and cultures started with Spanish, but she quickly realized that she didn’t want to stop there, so she decided to begin learning French as well. She spent two summers abroad, one in Spain and one in France, and they are both experiences that she loves to share with other people.

Along with her own goals in learning about languages, she has the same passion for others. Due to this, she is very excited to teach with the Chattanooga School of Language and to have the opportunity to share her passion with others and hopefully allow them to see the greatness of learning other languages and cultures.

Ufuk Bozbey

Ufuk Bozbey is a native Turkish speaker who grew up in the Mediterranean coast of Turkey in Mersin. She studied English literature in Bilkent University in Turkey and started her teaching career in her hometown at Mersin University as a lecturer in the ESL department for eight years. After she got married, she spent time in the United Kingdom, northeast of England, Yorkshire for two years, volunteering to help young children ages 2-5 develop their language skills. In 2005 she returned to Turkey and started working in Çağ University as a lecturer for the ESL department and continued teaching until they moved to Chattanooga in 2007 due to her husband’s job as an expat family. After five years, they decided to make Chattanooga their home.

She enjoys being in Chattanooga with her two kids and husband. Her children are bilingual, and her daughter is learning German as a third language. She strongly believes in the importance of language learning and cultural awareness in children and people of all ages. She loves being hospitable and cooking for special cuisines for her friends and family.

Joohee Bae

Joohee is a native Korean speaker and has B.A. in English literature from Dan-Kook University in South Korea.

She recognized her passion for linguistics early on when she learned English for the first time while in middle school. She decided to become an English teacher ever since and was hired as English instructor for Sogang Language Institute in Seoul, South Korea, where she worked for 5 years. She married in 2006 and that led to relocation to Atlanta, where she received TESOL certification from Kennesaw University. In 2011, Joohee moved to Tennessee where she took up studies in Psychology at Middle Tennessee State University. Joohee retains her passions for cultural and language exchange, as she continues to help and teach English to Koreans, as well as teaching Korean to non-Korean speakers (including 2nd generation Korean-Americans). Joohee also works as a preschool teacher in Ooltewah and enjoys interacting and working with people. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and yoga.