Faculty and Staff

Berta Hodges

Program Director, Instructor
BA International Studies - University of California at Berkeley
MA Education, TESL Certificate - Sonoma State University

Berta started teaching at SSALI in 1989, specializing in grammar and communication. In 2000, she took on the roles of Academic Coordinator and Student Advisor, and in May, 2013, she became the director of the SSALI program.  Berta has studied French, German, and Modern Greek and has lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia. For her Master's thesis, she did extensive research on the education systems of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

Debra Crow

International Student Coordinator

BA - English, Secondary Education - University of Wisconsin
JD - Loyola Law School
MA, TESOL - San Francisco State University

Debra has been teaching at SSALI since 2004. Prior to obtaining her Master's Degree, she was a lawyer for 20 years, but she thinks that teaching English as a second language is the best job she has ever had. She has studied Japanese and Indonesian and is currently studying Spanish. Debra loves to travel, and has traveled all over the world. In her free time, she reads, quilts, exercises, and walks her dogs.  


Daniela Kingwill

Academic Coordinator, Instructor
BA, Language Studies - University of California, Santa Cruz
Teaching Credentials - Sonoma State University
MA, English with TESOL emphasis - San Francisco State University

Daniela has been teaching at SSALI since 2004. Previously, she taught bilingual elementary school in Santa Rosa, as well as EFL in Italy. She was fortunate to learn German and English growing up, from her German mother and American father. She also speaks Spanish, Italian, and French. She has lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe. Daniela loves to swim and do water aerobics. She lives in Sonoma County with her husband and their dog. She loves teaching at SSALI because she can interact with and learn from people of diverse cultural backgrounds.

Jeff Cady

BA Philosophy - Brown University
MA Education with ESL specialization - Temple University

Jeff is from upstate New York, just a few miles from Niagara Falls and only about 100 yards from Canada. He earned his master's degree from Temple University's Tokyo campus in Japan, where he lived and taught for many years. Jeff has visited or lived in more than 45 countries, and is co-author of Business Venture I and II and Target Listening. When Jeff returned from Japan in 1998, he began teaching at SSALI. Now he lives with his wife near San Francisco and loves computer games and hiking in the local hills.

Miriam Hutchins

BS Education, BA History - Wayne State University
MA Education, TESL Certificate - Sonoma State University

Since 1992, Miriam has been teaching communication, reading, and composition classes at SSALI. She is also the director of a program for public school teachers in International Studies. She has received 2 Fulbright grants to study and travel with teachers in Brazil. She loves to have big dancing parties for SSALI students.

John Lowe

BA, English and French - SUNY at Buffalo, NY

MA, TESOL/Applied Linguistics - 
University of Leicester, UK

Born and raised in Long Island, New York, John has lived in three states (California, Hawaii, and New York) and three foreign countries (England, Germany, and France). As a one-year exchange student at the University of Paris (La Sorbonne), he not only discovered a hidden talent for languages (he has now achieved native-like fluency in both French and German), but also a keen interest in other cultures. John has considerable experience both as a teacher and in the business sector, though teaching ESL/EFL remains his favorite activity, largely because of his love of cultural diversity and interpersonal communication. In addition to his "pet" subjects of world history, geography, and meteorology, he also loves animals, hiking, water sports, and travel, both within and beyond US borders.

Damon Vettori

BS Business - Georgetown University
MA Education/TESOL - University of Tasmania, Australia

Born and raised in Maryland, Damon is one of the newest members of SSALI. He began teaching EFL in South Korea in 1998, and in 2004, he returned to the United States and settled in Sonoma County with his wife. Damon is conversant in Korean, and his love for travel and interest in cultural diversity are what have driven him to be an ESL/EFL instructor. In his free time, Damon loves hiking, swimming, and reading.

Audrey Schell

BA Community Studies - University of California, Santa Cruz
MA TESOL - University San Francisco

Audrey began her SSALI career in 1997. She enjoys teaching grammar, reading, and composition at all levels. She has worked in Central America and traveled in Europe. Audrey really loves having students to her wonderful home set deep in the redwood forest of Sonoma County.


Siobhan McGregor

BA Management - Sonoma State University
MA TESOL - San Francisco State University

Siobhan is a new and enthusiastic SSALI instructor.  Previously, she worked at San Francisco State University's American Language Institute where she taught a variety of English language skills. Siobhan is thrilled to now be teaching students who live, study, and play in the same community as she does. In her free time, she knits, walks her dog, spends time with family and friends, and pursues her new hobby--scuba diving.

Trudy Powers

BA Medical Technology
TESL Certificate,  MA Education and Technology - Sonoma State University
EdD Education and Media Studies - Fielding Graduate University (in progress - ABD)

Trudy has taught English, and multimedia and technology skills with SSALI students for several years.  She loves finding and teaching new ways for students to interactively share their work with others--both here and around the world.  In SSU Excel summer programs, she teaches multimedia movie-making with Korean high school students, as well as a variety of tech skills with young students.  Trudy volunteered in Vietnam for two years, working in a variety of projects.  She especially enjoyed teaching English and computer skills with children, university students, and teachers.  She created computer labs and learning centers at Hue Medical School, and at an orphanage in Danang.  Trudy has taught classes in movie-making with iMovie, digital photography, Photoshop, using Multimedia in classrooms, PowerPoint, Website design, and creating electronic portfolios, with students of all ages.  She loves to read, watch foreign films, hike, swim, work in her garden, and learn new things from everyone she meets.

Elizabeth Bennett


BA English--California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
MA Education--Claremont Graduate University, Claremont
MS Marriage and Family Therapy--University of La Verne, La Verne

Elizabeth taught international students at Oregon State University before moving to Sonoma County in 2010.  Her passions include writing and reading, which she enjoys sharing with her students.  She finds teaching international students a wonderful adventure because she learns so much from them.  In her spare time, she likes to (you guessed it) write and read, but also do yoga, dance of any kind, play accordion, discover new walking trails in beautiful Sonoma County with her dog, and be with her family and friends. 

Suzanna Luttrell

BS French and Linguistics - UCLA

MS Education -Freed-Hardeman University

Ed.D Teacher Leadership: Specialization in English Language Learning - Walden University

Suzanna is a language educator of 20 years. She is a native of Northern California, and has lived in Los Angeles and the state of Tennessee. She has traveled via educational tours and student exchanges to western Europe, Canada, and Mexico throughout her career. Suzanna has known about her love for language since she was very young. She is fluent in French and has studied German and Spanish. As a public school teacher, she realized her passion for teaching second language learners and enjoys teaching at SSALI while continuing to learn about languages and cultures from the students. Suzanna also enjoys dancing, the outdoors, and taking "field trips" with her son, niece and nephew..

Jennifer Cantacuzene

BA Spanish - Sonoma State University
MA in TESOL - San Francisco State University

Jennifer is one of the newest members of the SSALI faculty. After obtaining her B.A. in Spanish from Sonoma State University, she continued on to San Francisco State for her master's degree in TESOL. Jennifer has a passion for traveling and meeting people from different cultures. She regularly visits family in both Germany and France. Teaching English as a second language has allowed Jennifer to interact with students from all over the world. She has studied Spanish, French and Japanese and hopes to learn more languages in the future. Jennifer is so excited to be a part of the SSALI faculty!

Carolyn Gibbons

BA Linguistics - University of California, Berkeley
MA English with TESL emphasis - University of Montana, Missoula

Carolyn has recently returned to her native state of California after teaching English in Asia for over five years where she was a TESOL teacher-trainer in Seoul and a university lecturer in Tokyo. While raising her family, she enjoyed working with international students in Missoula. Carolyn is fascinated by language and culture. In fact, her master's thesis is a translation of a folk tale from the endangered American indigenous language, Coeur d'Alene. She is conversant in Japanese and German, and has studied Spanish, Serbo-Croatian, Russian, and Korean. Carolyn enjoys traveling, horseback riding, yoga, Balkan folk dance, as well as playing the violin and viola.

Flannery Norton

BA Latin American Studies and Spanish Literature - UC San Diego
MA Education - San Francisco State University

Flannery, a native San Franciscan, has been teaching ESL around the world and in the Bay Area for over 14 years. She has taught and lived in Mexico City, Santiago de Chile and Munich, Germany. She enjoys teaching all English language skills, but really likes teaching grammar! She loves interacting with students and creating a community in the classroom with games and communicative activities. Flannery lives in Petaluma with her husband and daughter, loves going for walks, biking, watching movies and reading.

Gayle Theiss

B.S. Industrial Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
M.A. TESOL, Azusa Pacific University

Gayle's first experience in a English as Second Language class was as a volunteer in an ESL Program at a church in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles. Gayle lived in L.A. for fourteen years where she was part of a community that included international students from USC and immigrants from Central America. These friendships fueled her desire to change careers and become an ESL teacher. She loves teaching and is excited to be part of SSALI where she can continue to interact with students from throughout the world.

Julie Texeira

BA English - UC Davis
MA English - Sonoma State University

Julie is a graduate from the University of California-Davis with a B.A. in English. While finishing up her Master's in English at Sonoma State University, she worked as an ESL literacy tutor and decided to pursue an MA in TESOL. She grew up in a bilingual household, learning Portuguese and English, and has also studied Spanish and French. Julie loves spending time with her friends and family, traveling, baking, and hiking with her dog Rosalee. 

Dae-Sung Kim

Student Assistant
AA Business Administration & Social and Behavioral Sciences - Santa Rosa Junior College
BS Business Administration - Sonoma State University, Expected Dec 2014

Dae-Sung is a student assistant at SSALI. Born and raised in Gyeongju, a small coastal city in the far southeastern corner of South Korea, Dae-Sung always dreamed about studying in the United States. When he was eleven years old, his passion about studying overseas grew even stronger when he visited his uncle in Marin County near San Francisco. He fell in love with the culture and the people. He moved to California and currently, he is pursuing his academic goals at Sonoma State University, majoring in Accounting and Financing. He is very open to learn new cultures and he likes to help international students, because he loves meeting new people and becoming friends with them. He also enjoys driving and traveling to new places with his friends.