Michelle Duval (Program Director) Michelle has been working with adult ESOL learners since 1998, and has worked with schools in both Italy and the United States. She taught the Advanced level at GPA for four years until becoming the program’s Director in 2008. She feels privileged to work with such dedicated and enthusiastic students.
Deborah Goldberg McCarthy (Teacher Coach) Deb has been with the Gardner Adult Ed program since she first became a certified ESOL Instructor in 2005 and she loves this program and its students. Deb has taught many of the levels at GPA and has also been the Academic Coach and a substitute teacher here. She has taught ESL in both private and public schools and also works as a licensed social worker. She enjoys hiking, nature, and spending time with her husband and their six pets.
Deborah Bluestein (Teacher, English for Immigrant Entrepreneurs & Immigrant Voices Project Facilitator) Deborah became an ESOL certified teacher in 2013. Her first encounter with the Gardner program was as a volunteer in 2013, then as a teacher of the Basic Beginner class in 2014. She considers herself a “multi-preneur,” someone who has launched numerous small businesses, the longest running being Bluestein Associates and Juiceboxartists Press and Writing Workshops. She jumped at the opportunity to teach Gardner’s first English for Immigrant Entrepreneurs class in 2019/2020 and has been inspired by the grit, gumption, ambition, and courage of her students as they grow and expand their businesses. In her spare time she writes historical fiction under the name of Dorah Blume, practices yoga to keep her head on straight, and loves walking around Boston.
Wendy Castellana (Teacher, High Intermediate Level) This is Wendy’s first year working with ESOL learners. For the past 6 years, Wendy lived abroad in Switzerland and Singapore while raising her young children. Prior to moving abroad, Wendy was an Adjunct Math Professor at Dean College. She also spent a decade working as a teacher and private tutor for The Princeton Review. Wendy loves to see the joy on a student’s face when they have moments of success. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family, running, reading, and traveling.
Meghan Conlon (Teacher, Survival Literacy Level) In 2016, I was inspired to become a volunteer in an ESOL class because I wanted to be involved in Boston’s immigrant community with the intention of having a positive affect on people’s lives. I instantly fell in love with teaching and was lucky to be hired for the 2018 year teaching Survival Literacy. I love seeing people improve their language skills, and hopefully these skills improve student’s lives in turn. But really I love learning from each student as much as I love teaching. Teaching and volunteering in ESL classes it something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life.\
Sarah Lynn (Teacher, Basic Beginner) I started teaching in 1985 as a literacy volunteer in an ESOL program for refugees in New York City. Immediately I knew I had found my calling and enrolled in Master’s program in TESOL. Since then I have taught ESOL and literacy in Spain and the Boston area. Along with teaching I’ve written ESOL textbooks and trained teachers in the U.S. and Latin America. In recent years I’ve been collaborating with the Gardener Pilot Academy team on their “Learning and the Brain” initiative. Now, I am delighted to say, I am also teaching their Basic Beginning ESOL class.
Marie Manna (Teacher, Low Intermediate Level) In my work as a labor union organizer, my goal is to give people the tools and confidence to accomplish their goals. In 2011, I decided I wanted to explore other ways to do this and happily, I got my ESL certification and began teaching. I really enjoy working with students of all ages and backgrounds who have the motivation to take on the challenge of learning English. I taught students through the Local 26 Unite hotel workers union training programs for several years. I’m happy to have to the opportunity to be part of the GPA Program and continue working with students who want to grow and learn so they can accomplish their goals for themselves and their families.
Erica Peterson (Teacher, Advanced Level) Erica has been working with the Gardner Pilot Academy since 2011. She has worked in the ESOL field with adult immigrants and refugees for the past 9 years, after graduating university with a degree in cultural anthropology and Spanish. In addition to working with adult immigrants in the Boston area, she also works in youth engagement, college access and skill development for underserved and first generation middle- and high school students in the Framingham area. Erica is also currently pursuing certification as an American Sign Language interpreter. Her passion is serving communities and providing pathways and access to greater opportunities, whether that be language instruction, skill development or translation services. At the Gardner, she currently teaches the Advanced Level.
Dorrie Pizzella (Teacher, Low Intermediate Level) Dorrie Pizzella began working at GPA in September 2018 as a volunteer tutor through Boston Cares. “GPA is such a special place. I really enjoyed working with all the amazing students, teachers and staff. Tutoring also gave me an opportunity to honor my own Italian immigrant grandparents by helping a new generation of Bostonians learn English.” This year Dorrie joined the GPA as a full-time teacher. She currently teaches the Low Intermediate English Level. Dorrie enjoys cooking, running and gardening. She has a Masters degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and received her ESL certification in 2017.
Ericka Scott (Substitute Teacher) Ericka has been teaching since 2004. Her work has included working in a high school with refugees and immigrants in Vermont, working in an elementary school and university in Ethiopia, and working with adults in Cambridge. She loves working with international students, and feels privileged to be working with students from different parts of the world.
Debbi Barrios (Child Care Provider) Debbi Barrios, for the past 6 years has been a Child Care provider at GPA. She is very passionate about adult English learners bettering their self and therefore she makes sure that child care is a safe and fun environment for children to attend. She has a Masters degree in Social Work and is currently a School Based clinician from The Home for Little Wanderers at the Gardner Pilot Academy. As a GPA alumni, Debbi makes sure to give back to the community that has given so much to her and her family.
Sheyla Barrios (Child Care Provider) Sheyla Barrios is a senior in high school at Boston Green Academy. She is an alumni from GPA. This is Sheyla’s 2nd year as a Child Care Provider at the Adult Education Program and enjoys creating activities for children 1-13 years old. Her favorite hobby is baking. Sheyla loves giving back to the GPA community!
Mariana Martinelli Silva (Child Care Provider) I am from Brazil and I came to the United Stated to study English. After some years I decided to do my master in the education field (Early Childhood). My main motivation for becoming a teacher is the opportunity to help children to discover the world and to help them to learn. I want my peers to know that although I do not have much experience, I will do my best to help them and the kids. I want the students to know that they can trust me and I will do my best to help them. I would say that my hobby is watching series.
Marian Barrios (Substitute Child Care Provider) A GPA alumni who volunteered at ESOL classes many years ago and recently became one of the activity coordinators for children ages 1-12 years old who attend the program. Marian is also a proud daughter of Deni Barrios, who attended ESOL classes and saw the wonderful verbal communication between her father and other English speakers become a dream come true! Marian enjoys working with the childcare and creating activities to help expand children’s creativity.
Deborah Picard (Substitute Teacher and BEST Plus Administrator) Deborah is now in her second year of teaching ESOL at GPA. She has taught conversational English in the Boston area since 2008 and is currently teaching the Basic Beginner class at Gardner.
Lucero Price (Administrative Assistant) Lucero recently graduated from university with a B.S. in Environmental Science. Her mother Hermelinda, was previously enrolled in the GPA ESOL program and is now a volunteer. Lucero admired the mission of the program and saw first hand how it helped her mother feel more comfortable speaking English. Since joining the staff, Lucero has become increasingly interested in becoming a TESOL teacher.
Mauricio Rosas (Teacher, Beginner Class) Mauricio taught for ten years at the YMCA in Boston and this is his second year teaching at GPA! Mauricio grew up in Allston and wanted to give back to the community, he truly enjoys working with the students and staff! Mauricio works full time for the Boston Red Sox, and enjoys watching sports, and spending time with family.