Laney College

Meet Your ESOL Teachers

Meet Your ESOL Teachers

Anne Agard
Anne Agard I’ve been teaching ESL and EFL for a very long time (I don’t even want to tell you how long)! I’ve been here at Laney for about 15 years. Long ago, I lived and taught in Morocco and later in Japan. I worked for many years in adult school ESL and family literacy programs.I love helping college-bound students develop the skills they will need to succeed. In my free time, I love going to the theater and the opera, reading and visiting with friends.
Deborah Brooks
voicemail/text:  (510) 986-4876‬
Deborah Brooks I’ve been teaching ESL at Laney College since 2002.  Grammar is my favorite subject, and I also help people with technology (computer) skills.  I’ve lived in Costa Rica and worked with refugee services there and in California before becoming a teacher. I’ve taught basic literacy at adult schools and university composition.  We all have something to learn!  I’m always taking classes in something including many languages.  I love hearing my students’ stories and perspectives. I learn so much from my students!  When I’m not at school, I work in my garden and host parties/groups for my friends.
Eun Kyung “Amy” Choi
Amy Choi
I came to the US from South Korea after earning my BA in English, and I attended graduate school at CSUEB. Upon completion of my MA TESOL in 2005, I began teaching English at the American Language Program at CSUEB. Later I came to Laney College to expand my teaching experience, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I love working with and helping my Laney students who may face the same challenges I once experienced as a student learning English. This is what I often tell my students. “If I can do it, you can do it, too.”
Chelsea Cohen
Twitter handle: @chelmcohen
Chelsea Cohen Hello! My name is Chelsea Cohen. My preferred pronouns are she and her. I am a tenured instructor of English for Speakers of Other Languages at Laney College and also have served as the Distance Education Coordinator since 2017. Prior, I really didn’t know what online education was all about. Since then, I have become passionate about figuring out creative ways to adapt our face-to-face practices to the online environment. It’s been a joy working with my  Laney colleagues and watching as their online courses come to life.Recently, I completed my second certificate in online teaching through @ONE, and now I’m a facilitator for them! I also serve as a Lead Course Reviewer for the Online Education Initiative. One of the most meaningful projects I have been a part of is the Peralta Equity Rubric training which focuses on infusing equity-minded practices in our online courses. Now that all our classes are online, this work feel especially crucial.  I hope we will be able to offer this training on an ongoing basis here at Peralta.When I’m not teaching or DE coordinating, I enjoy hiking with my Golden Doodle, Eddy, cooking and practicing yoga :).
Sean Connolly
A native San Franciscan, my love with languages began with Italian in high school and living at La Casa Italiana while a student at Cal.  After I lived in Europe for a year, my mom introduced me to the TEFL/TESL program at SFSU where I learned to teach.  I lived and taught at different universities in China for three years, so I can relate to “living in a new language.”  I worked at “intensive” English programs in SF and Hayward for a decade, and now I have taught at both Laney and Chabot Colleges for 15 years. I have three children, still in school, who are bilingual in Mandarin and English. My hobbies include playing the snare drum with two Bay Area bagpipe bands, as well as baking and cooking. I look forward to getting to know more about my wonderful students each semester.
Laura Espino
Christina Gifford
Voicemail/text: 510-457-1112
Christina Gifford Christina has been teaching ESL since 2010. She was born in Seattle, WA, but she moved to CA in 2009 to attend graduate school. In her free time, she enjoys cats, hiking, biking and reading. She has previously taught at Solano College, UC Davis, and College of Alameda.
Javelin Hall
I have been teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) and English Reading and Writing for over 20 years. Current Basileus of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc, Alpha Rho Chapter, Berekely California. Graduate of California State University, Chico with a master’s degree in Teaching International Languages. *Stand Up Comedian
*Semi-Professional Physique Bodybuilding Competitor
Nancy Hunt
Nancy Hunt
My ESOL story probably began when my family moved from the U.S. to Buenos Aires, Argentina when I was still in school. Since graduating there from high school, I have continued to explore different worlds and cultures, studying for one year in Madrid, Spain during college and living and working as both a musician and a professor of ESOL and Flute at The University of Puebla in Puebla, Mexico for 12 years. There I met my husband, a violinist, married, and had a son. We moved to the Bay Area when our son was two,. Our second son was born here in Oakland, and I have been teaching at Laney College and the University of California, Berkeley ever since.
Lisa Ikeda
Lisa Ikeda
Lisa Ikeda has been a preschool teacher, a waitress, a cashier, a jewelry engraver, a tour guide, a journalist, and then for many years, an ESOL teacher. She’s a proud graduate of the University of Texas located in the beautiful city of Austin and since then she has thoroughly enjoyed her experiences teaching English in Barcelona, New York, and the Bay Area. When she’s not traveling, or dreaming about traveling, she likes to read, watch PBS, and play her ukulele.

Angela Jimenez Velayos
Angela VelayosI started teaching ESOL in Spain (my home country!) and the UK in 2016. My first semester here at Laney was fall 2018. I am passionate about teaching, and I try to transmit this passion to my students to help them achieve their goals. I believe that everybody is capable of improving their language skills with the right motivation and encouragement. In my free time, I enjoy exercising, traveling, painting, and trying new food in the Bay.
Candace Khanna
Candace Khanna I’ve been a teacher at Laney since 1999.  I love helping students learn English, and every semester, I learn new things about my own language and my students’ cultures.  I’m a native Californian who married someone from India, so my family is diverse and now lives in three countries.  I have grandkids, a cat, and many interests and hobbies including cooking, gardening, needlework, and reading.  And I’m a big believer in lifelong learning!
Rosemary Loughman
Danitza Lopez
Danitza Lopez
Voicemail/text: (510) 480-0577‬
I am a proud Latina living in the Bay Area. My preferred pronouns are “she” and “her.” I teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) because I am an English-learner myself – I began learning English at 8 years old when my family moved to the U.S.A.. I have been an ESOL instructor at several community colleges and one university in California, but I also taught English as a Foreign Language in South Korea from 2012 to 2014. I used to live and teach in Southern California, but my husband and I moved to the Bay Area in 2016. One year later, 2017, I began working at Laney College and fell in love with Oakland.  I just recently became a full-time ESOL instructor at Laney College, so I plan to stay in the area and this college for a long time!
David Mitchell
David Mitchell
I’ve worked at Laney College since 2005, but I’ve been an ESOL instructor since 1990 . Before working at Laney, I taught at UC Berkeley Extension for eleven years and in Spain for three. I love working with the interesting and diverse student population we have in the ESOL Department at Laney. In my free time, I enjoy swimming and reading good books.
Honora Mitchell,”Nora”
Teaching ESOL is my third career.  After careers in high-tech marketing and non-profit management, I went back to school to become an ESOL teacher. I’ve been teaching in the Peralta Colleges since 2017. I also teach at UC Berkeley’s SELS program. When teaching, I draw from my prior professional experiences both overseas and in the U.S. I love helping students prepare for the working world by helping them improve their business English, job search, and customer service skills.
Jill Neely
Jill Neely

I have taught ESOL since 1990; 20 years at Merritt College and at Laney since 2010.  I have traveled to many parts of the world and I taught in Mexico and Spain as well.  I learn so much from my students and love to hear their stories and sharing our cultures. When I am not teaching, I enjoy my grown kids when they are in town.  I also love to travel, read, watch movies, dance and so much more.  Welcome to Laney, and I hope to meet you all soon.

Annlee McGurk
Annlee McGurk Annlee McGurk has been teaching ESOL since 1994 and she has been a part-time instructor at Laney College since 2008.   She enjoys getting to know her students through their writing and conversations during and after class.  Annlee is a California native who enjoys all outdoor activities including hiking, biking and pickleball.   Something she does every day is read, and she encourages her students to do the same.
Karyn Panitch
Voicemail/text: 415-484-9422
 I have been an ESL instructor at Laney since 2000, and an ESL teacher since 1995. I have lived and traveled in many different countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and Australia. I live in San Francisco with my husband and two sons. I love teaching ESL and helping my students succeed. I learn so much too!
Pat Reed
Rick Robinson
Rick Robinson Rick Robinson has worked for the Peralta Community College District since 1979. In addition to more than 30 years as a full-time ESL instructor at Laney College, his other service included directing the Peralta Colleges Refugee and Immigrant Program from 1982 to 1989, teaching at Merritt College 1990-1991, and directing the Office of Grants Development and Management at the Peralta District Office from 1989 to 1990.

Beatrice “Tris” Roost

I have been teaching ESOL at Laney for about 15 years. Before that I was teaching French and anthropology at Berkeley High School. I have a BA in French from UCB, an MA in anthropology from Cal State East Bay, and a PhD in education from UCSB. I grew up in a family that spoke both English and French because I was born in Canada and my father’s native language was French. I love to travel and have lived in Switzerland and India. I am single with an adopted daughter from China and an eight-year-old grandson.   I can be reached through the inbox in canvas as well as through

Suzan Tiemroth-Zavala

I have been teaching in the ESOL Department at Laney since 2005.  About 4 years ago, we began offering hybrid courses to our students as an option for students who might not be able to attend class on campus regularly due to heavy work schedules or emergency visits to their native countries.  I had been taking courses in teaching online at @ONE for a while, mostly because I wanted to learn about it and I wanted to see if ESOL students could thrive in a hybrid environment. I found that I really enjoyed teaching online and the creativity of developing interesting and useful assignments.  I also really wanted to be an advocate for students as they learned about technology and online course work. Our students needed to be technologically literate for future employment opportunities. It has been a great journey watching students grow and feel proud of all they were learning. Although our current circumstances are very different and online teaching is now the only way to reach our students, it can still be a great learning experience for ourselves and our students.

I have 3 grown children and this has given me an opportunity to travel which I love.  I also enjoy hiking/walking and will walk 12 miles a day while exploring a new city or countryside.  It’s the only way to see everything. I am a photographer and love to take photos during my travels. When I am not traveling, I am teaching, taking courses, and creating.  I love working in my garden, knitting, and hanging out with my cats. I also spend a lot of time with my children, enjoying being with the amazing adults they have become.
Sean Trunk
Beth Wadell
Beth Wadell I have taught English to Speakers of Other Languages in Mexico and around the Bay Area. I have been at Laney since 2018 and love working with Laney students.
Patti Weissman
Patti Weissman I have been teaching English to speakers of other languages since 1971 and I love it.  Before teaching here at Laney, where I began in 2004, I taught at Berkeley Adult School, UC Berkeley’s English Language Program, UC Berkeley summer programs, and Berkeley City College. In addition, I worked for the state of California teaching ESL teachers to teach English as well for UC Berkeley Extension, where I taught grammar to teachers for 28 years.  I have a passion for teaching and a great respect and admiration for my students from all of the world.
Kathleen Witt
I have been teaching at Laney College in the English Speakers of Other Languages Department since 2001. Before that, I taught family literacy and civics to parents of bilingual children at Richmond Adult School. I originally came to the Bay Area from Indiana because I wanted to live in a place with cultural and ethnic diversity. I love getting to know my students and helping them reach their goals. Swimming is my favorite exercise. I also enjoy going to museums, painting, doodling, and reading.
Judy Wong
Hello Everyone! My name is Judy Wong. I’ve been teaching ESL at Laney College since 2004. I’ve also taught at many community colleges, UC Davis, and tech firms throughout the Bay Area and Sacramento. My first teaching job was in Japan. I was born and raised in San Jose, CA to a Chinese father and a Japanese-American mother.  Now I live in Walnut Creek with my family. We enjoy discovering delicious food and exploring new places through travel.  I like to keep very active through exercise, yoga, dance, and attending theater and live performances of my favorite musical acts.
Barbara Yasue
510 464-3370

Barbara H. Yasue has been a full-time tenured instructor at Laney College since 2003. In addition to teaching immigrant students, she has taught in teacher training programs in Portugal under  a Fulbright grant and for the UC Berkeley TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate program. Ms. Yasue has also taught in Korea and Japan and in Gabon for the Peace Corps. She received her MA in Teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language from San Francisco State University. She is also the author of Transitions: Stories of Immigrant Students. Barbara Yasue’s passion to work with immigrants and bring to light their concerns and gifts comes from her own experience growing up in an immigrant family.

Steven Zetlan (Mr. Z)
Steven Zetlan Steven Zetlan has been teaching at Laney College since 2006.  In 2012 he became a tenured professor in the ESL department.  He has previously taught at City College of San Francisco, the University of San Francisco, Canada College, and Contra Costa College.


Marie Trinh

Instructional Assistant: English / Writing Support

Marie Trinh is a UC Berkeley graduate with a degree in English. Her research interests are in 19th century American Literature, Asian American Literature, linguistics, language learning, and poetry. She is also a writer and cat lover.
office: Building A, Room 105