Meet our Team

“At CCLS Houston, we have a team of highly qualified educators who love working with language learners. Our teachers are all native speakers with many years of teaching experience and certified by CCLS Corporation.”

  • Valentina

    Valentina

    Valentina is originally from Venezuela and has lived in the Houston area for about 45 years. She studied at the University of Houston, where she received a Bachelor’s in Spanish and French Linguistics and Literature and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. While in college, she taught Spanish at the Berlitz School of Languages. Later on, Valentina was a bilingual teacher at Houston Independent School District and an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston – Downtown. More recently, in her capacity of Educational Consultant, Valentina has trained pre-service and in-service teachers in the areas of Spanish as a Foreign/Second Language and for Bilingual/English as a Second Language Programs. She has traveled extensively to various continents around the world and holds travel as her most important interest.

    Giannella

    Giannella

    Giannella is a native Spanish speaker from Lima, Peru. She graduated as an architect at Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal, where she also taught design subjects as an assistant teacher. Upon arriving in California, 20 years ago, she practiced as an architectural designer and later moved to Texas where she is raising her family. She studied pedagogy to teach Spanish as a second language and started working as a language instructor, first teaching to her A&E colleagues, then to adult students from other professions.

    During her 15 years of teaching experience, she has taught all levels of proficiency, as well as every age group (school age children, college students, adults and seniors) focusing the last 6 years on guiding adult learners through the process of learning Spanish. She teaches in a traditional classroom setting, at their own location and through virtual sessions with the confidence that she can provide relevant content instruction while maintaining her students engaged and interested in the class.

    She enjoys sharing her beautiful language and the Hispanic culture by relating to the student from her journey as a second language learner herself (English and Italian), knowing firsthand the effort involved and steps needed to acquire the ability to communicate in meaningful and appropriate ways in a second language.

    Alisha

    Alisha

    Alisha instructs Accent Reduction, English as a Second Language and Spanish as a Second Language for CCLS Houston. Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, she received her B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies from New Mexico State University, her M.A. in Mexican History from TCU. In 2021, Ph.D. in Spanish Socio-linguistics with minor fields in Phonetics/Phonology and Heritage Speaker Pedagogy from the University of Houston. She also participated in study abroad programs at Universidad de Las Americas in Puebla, México and Universidad de Salamanca, in Salamanca, Spain. Her Ph.D. research focused on formality in love letters of 19th and 20th century Mexico. Alisha has principally taught Spanish and U.S and Latin American history for over 20 years. She is married, with two teenage boys and two large labradors.

    Claudia

    Claudia

    Claudia is a native Spanish speaker with 15+ years of experience in didactic strategies and more recently on teaching Spanish as a second language, both online and in-classroom. She was born in Monterrey, Mexico where she received a bachelor’s in mass communication and later a master’s degree in Higher Education. She worked at ITESM as a Spanish literature and grammar high school teacher, pedagogical advisor, and teaching assistant in the Education program at the Virtual University. Claudia moved to the Chicago area where she has enjoyed teaching at Lewis University since 2018. Recently, she obtained a master’s degree in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language from the International University of La Rioja, an online university from Spain. She loves working with students to spark their curiosity and go beyond the language and into the culture.

    Lucia

    Lucia

    Lucia is passionate about people, culture and languages. She loves teaching others her native language, Spanish. She has acquired extensive knowledge during her academic preparation to be able to teach others to the best of her abilities. Lucía is originally from Uruguay. She moved to México in 2004, lived there for six years, then moved to Texas in 2010. Once in Texas, she started to study English at the University of Texas Language Institute. In 2016 got a bachelor in Psychology at UTRGV, and in 2019 received the masters in the Spanish Language, focusing on linguistics at the same university. She has been accepted to the Doctoral program in Curriculum and instruction at UTRGV. At the moment, she works as a Spanish professor at The Department of Writing and Language Studies at UTRGV. She teaches basic Spanish classes and advanced courses as well. She teaches courses to non-native speakers and linguistic courses to Spanish speakers students. Her philosophy of teaching is simple: free of stress classroom “I think in my classroom as a safe environment, a community where students are free of anxiety, that allows them to become more successful learners..” Lucía likes reading, listening to music, practising yoga and meditation. She is also a language student; she is studying Portuguese and thinking about visiting Europe. She wants to spend the summer in Italy, learning the language while experiencing the culture.

    Ainara

    Ainara

    Ainara is a native Spanish speaker from Spain. She has a Law degree and a master's degree in human resources. She has traveled and lived in South America, which has given her a broader knowledge of Spanish. Back in Spain, she was a teacher for law students who wanted to pass a state exam, and she has also taught Spanish to immigrants. Now she lives in Houston, where she wants to continue training with passion and enthusiasm for this wonderful language.

  • Soha

    Soha

    Soha has a master's degree in TESOL with more than twenty years of experience in teaching English as a university professor in her home country and more than five years experience as an ESL instructor in Houston, Texas. During this long time, she has always tried to present the subject in an interesting way to facilitate learning. Soha is highly motivated to help students change for the better. She has taught a variety of TESOL major courses including advanced technical writing, academic writing, general linguistics, English language testing, English teaching methodology, as well as TOFEL and IELTS courses. Her special interest is in English phonology and pronunciation. She has extensive experience working with ESL students.Soha creates a classroom environment that accommodates the needs of her individual students. Ever since she started teaching, she has been passionate in her genuine commitment to three things: maximizing individual student performance, inspiring students’ interest in learning, and creating a lively atmosphere to make students more active and motivated. Most of her students believe they have learned a lot in her class without feeling tired or confused. Having been an educational supervisor for years, she is aware of students' needs. Soha truly enjoys spending time with students and finding their excitement when they finally get a tough concept. Her teaching style is to guide students as opposed to just telling them the answers so that they can develop independent thinking and problem solving.

    Byron

    Byron

    Byron is an instructor of over 16 years’ experience in adult-education, more than half of that time spent as an ESL and college English teacher. He has helped hundreds of students — especially international businessmen and women in oil & gas-related enterprises — achieve their language goals, in addition to drafting and editing business correspondence, reports, and presentations. Originally from Los Angeles, California, he has visited Mexico, Brazil, and the Caribbean, and has made his home in Houston for many years.

    “Having taught at another international ESL school, I really like that CCLS uses practical, conversation-based lessons that are based on years of learning-psychology research, which suits my academic side. But instead of lots of reading, CCLS focuses on listen-and-say exercises as grammar is learned. It gets people speaking the target language right away — and I know the value of that kind of immersion.”

    In his personal time, Byron conceived and operated a well-received jazz club & salon in Houston, and is a long-time songwriter and music producer. In addition to teaching certification through CCLS, he holds degrees from Houston’s University of St. Thomas and Houston Baptist University.

    Carol

    Carol

    Carol is originally from Madison, Wisconsin. She earned her Master of Education with a concentration in English as a Second Language (ESL) and Instructional Design from the University of Saskatchewan-Saskatoon, Canada. Ms. Pianzola also has 30 graduate hours in Applied Linguistics from the University of Texas-El Paso, and she holds Lifetime Texas Teacher Certifications in ESL and Spanish. Ms. Pianzola has enjoyed teaching ESL in a variety of educational settings, including public school, university, adult continuing education, and corporate.

    Margaret

    Margaret

    Margaret is a Corporate Cross-Cultural Trainer and English teacher, originally from the U.S.A. Her specialization is facilitating cross-cultural teams on strategies to accomplish their business objectives effectively. She graduated from Tulane University with a degree in Latin American Studies, Economics, and Spanish. She has a decade of experience training and coaching adults in a corporate setting and working with senior leadership teams on developing their global leadership skills to work across multiple cultures effectively. Most recently, her focus has been on delivering Intercultural Management programs on the growth markets in Mexico, Argentina, and the U.S.A. Margaret has worked extensively across multiple industries, including high tech, pharmaceutical, financial, medical, and manufacturing. Her previous work experience was primarily in financial services, business news, where she edited submissions from various countries. She is fluent in Spanish, having lived in Mexico, Argentina, and Venezuela, and has extensive travel experience worldwide. Margaret also resided in Indonesia, France, Azerbaijan, and Kuwait, spending twelve years internationally.

    After studying Spanish in Mexico, Russian in Azerbaijan, French in France, and Arabic in Kuwait, she understands the difficulty of learning a new language and its importance to success in a foreign country. She looks forward to helping all students at CCLS Houston improve their English.

    Greg

    Greg

    Greg is a native speaker with a master's degree in Education. He taught in the U.S. for over 30 years then retired. In 2000, Greg went to Taiwan and taught English at the Chinese Cultural University in Taipei. He worked with the government of Taiwan to screen candidates for their English skills in order to work in Embassy and consulates throughout the world. In Taipei, he taught English teaching majors, Conversation, Vocabulary, Teaching methods, and composition.

    In 2004, Greg moved to Indonesia and taught in IKIP, UGAM, and UNIKA universities, primarily teaching conversational English as well as reaching out to several businesses to help with international business communications. However, at UGAM University, he worked with Engineering Ph.D.'s to help with new teaching methods. In the other Indonesian universities, he taught English majors' conversation and pronunciation of English words.

    Alisha

    Alisha

    Alisha instructs Accent Reduction, English as a Second Language and Spanish as a Second Language for CCLS Houston. Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, she received her B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies from New Mexico State University, her M.A. in Mexican History from TCU. In 2021, Ph.D. in Spanish Socio-linguistics with minor fields in Phonetics/Phonology and Heritage Speaker Pedagogy from the University of Houston. She also participated in study abroad programs at Universidad de Las Americas in Puebla, México and Universidad de Salamanca, in Salamanca, Spain. Her Ph.D. research focused on formality in love letters of 19th and 20th century Mexico. Alisha has principally taught Spanish and U.S and Latin American history for over 20 years. She is married, with two teenage boys and two large labradors.

    Jodi

    Jodi

    Jodi is a highly qualified, professionally recognized and internationally accredited Corporate Training Instructor with a degree in Psychology, formal qualifications in business and education and a 15 year successful track record teaching and delivering training and coaching programs in the USA, Canada, the Middle East and Asia.

    Utilizing a highly versatile, interactive teaching methodology, Jodi presents with confidence, enthusiasm, conviction and naturalness and has the ability to connect to and capture any audience. She compels a powerful, effective and lively rapport with all course participants no matter what their background. Her priority with any group or individual is to always maintain a positive, collaborative atmosphere and ensure all training sessions are successful as well as pleasurable.

    Her philosophy is that training, no matter what the topic, should be motivational, enjoyable, cost effective and most of all beneficial. She believes an enthusiastic, positive approach inspires people to learn and her lively personality and unique programs have proven successful to individuals and organizations in many different cultures and countries around the world.

    ”Let’s not do it your way or my way; let’s do it the best way” (Greg Anderson)

    Jodi looks forward to any opportunity to use her experience, skills and expertise to guide, innovate, encourage, enhance and support the professional development objectives and training needs of any individual, company or corporation.

  • Cecilia

    Cecilia

    Cecilia is a proud Brazilian who has recently moved to Houston. After studying international relations and foreign affairs at a leading institution in Brazil, Cecilia devoted the next decade of her life toward helping others attain the Business-critical skill of attaining a second language. She was successful in helping several students achieving a proficiency Portuguese language level throughout the years.

    Looking for new challenges, she engaged in different projects such as filmmaking and organizing events. Currently, she is pursuing her master’s degree at Harvard University in International Relations as she continues her work in language teaching as a Portuguese instructor in CCLS Houston.

    She is also interested in watching independent movies, tv series, and reading books. Her favorite kinds of story are sci-fi and detective stories. She enjoys practicing Taebo, Yoga, and Aerial silks. Acquiring and developing language skills are part of her life, in this sense, she studies French and works towards developing her Spanish.

    Ingrid

    Ingrid

    Ingrid is a Brazilian journalist and spent over five years as a writer in a major newspaper in Brazil covering city, cop and political matters. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil and English as a second language from The University of Houston, where she was honored twice by University of Houston as both Graduation Speaker and Outstanding Student. She also speaks Spanish, English and is progressing in French.

    She moved to Houston in 2009 and has been working as a market reporter covering news and prices assessments for the petrochemical and natural gas markets. Besides communication, Ingrid has extensive experience in teaching Portuguese in the Houston area to executives in the Oil and Gas industry, corporate groups and private classes. She lives with her husband and her two kids in the greater Houston area.

    Rita

    Rita

    Rita is a native speaker of Portuguese from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Language Pathology.

    Rita has extensive experience in teaching the Portuguese language in the Houston area to executives in the Oil and Gas industry, Corporate Groups and lessons with children.

    Rita has developed individualized programs for students that that teach according to their level of language proficiency and deliver the best of the Brazilian culture.

    Patricia

    Patricia

    Patricia is a fun and dedicated Brazilian Portuguese teacher. She is native from Brazil and has been living in the United States since 2011. She has bachelor’s degrees in both Business Administration and Education, she has also earned a master’s degree in English Methodology and Translation. She has obtained several certifications for her English proficiency including the TOEFL.

    Patricia has taught English and Portuguese in several well renowned language schools in Brazil for over 20 years and has seen her students improve and succeed in their careers and language skills throughout the years. In the US she has taught Portuguese in different Oil and Gas companies, Language Schools, and for individuals interested in learning and/or improving their Portuguese proficiency.

    Patricia loves to teach, she has taught groups and private lessons where she adjusts her material and methodology according to the needs of her students. She believes that with persistence, encouragement, a light and upbeat environment, hard work, and the right support system anyone can learn and be confident in speaking the language that they dedicate themselves to. Patricia enjoys outdoor movies on nice weather days, she enjoys the good company of her family and friends, trying new restaurants, cultural events, workouts at the gym, and cooking Brazilian dishes.