Teachers and Staff

Jonathan Arouca (Teacher, High Intermediate Level)
Jonathan Arouca was raised on the South Shore of Massachusetts. He attended Berklee College Of Music in the city of Boston, Massachusetts where he studied performance and songwriting in the musical styles of blues, rock and jazz. Upon graduation from Berklee Jonathan began teaching private music lessons in the Boston area. Jonathan’s work in music and education eventually led him to become involved in ESL instruction. “It was a very natural progression” says Jonathan, “English and Music are both languages so there is a lot of crossover in the methodologies involved in teaching both subjects.” Jonathan currently continues to teach both ESL and music. In his spare time he enjoys performing in local music venues and participating in recording and composing sessions. Additionally he is an outdoors enthusiast and enjoys exploring the many wilderness areas of New England.

Matt Axten (Teacher, Beginner Level)
I began working in the field of ESL last year as a volunteer at the Gardner Pilot Academy.  My experience quickly confirmed my desire to teach on a more permanent basis, as it provided an outlet for my love of language and the classroom—my background is in English Literature—and an opportunity to apply that in the form of a meaningful community service.  I currently divide my time between teaching at GPA and Approach International and pursuing a career in music.

Debbi Barrios (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. Debbi 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! Debbi enjoys working with the childcare and creating activities to help expand children’s creativity.

Jennifer Barrios (Administrative Assistant)

Marian Barrios (Child Care Provider)

David Carter (Substitute Teacher and BEST Plus Administrator)
David has been teaching English to young adults, adults, international business executives and students from around the world since 2004. He has also taught in Montréal, Québec and in France. David has been a substitute teacher at the GPA for several years and is now a classroom and teacher coach, collaborating with the teachers to solve classroom problems and to help make the classes highly effective for both the learners and the teachers.

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.

Phoebe Erb Gallagher (Teacher, Basic Beginner Level)
After graduating with a degree in English and secondary education I went off to Borneo and taught English as a Peace Corps volunteer. Upon returning to the US I decided not to continue teaching English. Instead I became a printed fabric designer for the textile industry. For years I worked as a designer until technology dramatically changed the way designs were created, bought and sold. I had to find something else to do!  I still work as an artist creating handmade books and collage works but, as it turns out, twelve years ago I returned to being an English teacher, teaching English to adult immigrants from around the world.

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.

Cara Marchese (Basic Beginner ESOL Teacher)
In 2008 I realized I loved helping others and traveling so I went to Costa Rica and received my TEFL certification for teaching English in any country that would have me. Since 2009 I was lucky enough to find Gardner Pilot Academy and have been working in various capacities with their Adult Education Program ever since. I have also taught English with other adult programs in the Boston area. Currently, I am the Community Outreach Liaison for Waltham Public Schools. Teaching still continues to touch my soul. It’s an incredible feeling to pass on a skill that enriches the lives of others. The contemporary program here at Gardner and the dedicated students make teaching a wonderful experience.

Marie Manna (Teacher, Basic Beginner 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, after an ESOL certification course and a brief stint as a volunteer. She has worked in the ESOL field with adult immigrants and refugees for the past 5 years, after graduating university with a degree in cultural anthropology and Spanish. She currently teaches the Advanced Level 5. With a background in job skills and readiness, she enjoys working with GPA students because of their motivation, work ethic (both academic and professional!) and drive.

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.

Ericka Scott (Teacher, Low Intermediate Level)
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.