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.”

  • Deborah

    Deborah

    Deborah is passionate about coaching and building people’s capacity. Originally from Puerto Rico, she receives her B.A. in Teaching as a Second Language from La Universidad de Puerto Rico, and her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from St. Thomas University.

    Her 15+ years of services and professional trajectory in Houston include school district-level program management, school administration, dyslexia specialist, and bilingual teaching at the primary levels.

    Most recently, her focus has been on performance, project, and program management as well as job-embedded coaching, developing, and rolling out adult professional training, and providing systemic support to grow Houston-area district and campus administrators’ ability to build the capacity of the staff they manage.

    Deborah knows from firsthand experience that learning a second language requires individuals to stretch and challenge themselves. Her background as an adult English learner will help you to step out of your comfort zone while you enjoy growing your Spanish skills.

    She is looking forward to applying her strategies around change management, results coaching, and adult learning to help you reach those language goals you think are beyond your ability!

    Camila

    Camila

    Camila was born in Colombia and has lived in Argentina since 2012, where she studied Philosophy and Literature at the University of Buenos Aires. She also studied at the Instituto Superior de Letras Eduardo Mallea (Argentina) where she earned her degree in Teaching Spanish as a foreign language.

    She is an experienced Spanish, Greek, and Ancient Latin teacher with a great vocation and passion for the language.

    María José

    María José

    Maria Jose is a European instructor who has developed a solid passion for teaching in recent years. She is a stress-free teacher that portrays calmness in her class and inspires students to thrive with passion and compassion in their day-to-day challenging goals. Pouring out her knowledge, she feels, is a seed she drops to improve her student’s future and hers.

    She holds a BS degree in Biology, a M.D. in Environmental Engineering Management, and a Certificate of Pedagogical Aptitude which qualifies her as a High School Science teacher anywhere in Spain. While in her country, Spain, she worked supervising projects performance in compliance with Quality and Environmental regulations. She trained numerous employees and provided recurrent assistance to staff, auditors, and colleagues as needed. However, moving to Houston and learning another language reassured her drive to permanently dedicate herself to teaching and mentoring students in their Spanish needs.

    She is committed to improving her teaching skills and is currently enrolled in a Coaching Certification to be accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). However, her professional and linguistic competence have already been the key to her successful early teaching years!

    María Esther

    María Esther

    Over two decades as a professor have honed Maria Esther expertise, earning her the status of a model educator. Her B.A. degree in education and M.D. in Pedagogy keep allowing her to smoothly granulate her Spanish Native language in any given classes. Her early Math teaching years have let her sympathize with all her non-native Spanish learners and grounded her to always create supportive learning in order to meet and ensure their success.

    Being originally from The Soul of Mexico, Michoacan, she evokes feelings of courage, generosity, hospitality, and care inside her classrooms. She is also an active member of the community and keeps open to volunteering in requested society needs. Her exposition in front of large classes and participation in multiple Emotional Intelligence workshops allows her to have an effective time management in school and all public environments.

    Claudia

    Claudia

    Claudia is an educator committed to collaborative learning who started developing her teaching experience in several schools in Mexico. As a Native Spanish speaker, she easily engages students, colleagues, families, and friends into a Hispanic cultural atmosphere during and outside the classrooms.

    Her IT background becomes a great plus when it comes to teaching. She gets to find all possible ways to help students grasp ideas, concepts and idiomatic expressions ensuring no barrier stands up front during her students learning process.

    Claudia has dedicated herself to becoming a life-long educator and learner. In fact, she is currently enrolled in an Advance Italian program where she keeps analyzing ways to connect grammar with other Romance Languages. Best of all, this has happened to be a fresh fuel instilling a similar passion in all students she gets to have.

    In her downtime, she and her whole family enjoy walking outdoors; but mostly, rearing butterflies and moths at home! Their new butterfly-friendly garden, she says, depicts care for nature and hope for the world.

    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.

    Julio Cesar

    Julio Cesar

    Julio Cesar, a seasoned educator from Lima, Peru, brings over 19 years of expertise in language education, with a primary focus on Spanish instruction. Recognized for his proficiency as a Spanish Instructor and Tutor, Julio holds a degree in education.

    In 2003, Julio Cesar enrolled at EUDED College in Lima, Peru, to study education. Subsequently, he expanded his skill set by obtaining a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification, broadening his capacity in language instruction.

    Alongside his educational pursuits, Julio is an accomplished guitar player. Currently a member of CCLS Houston, he actively contributes to the language education field. Prior to this role, Julio excelled as a Spanish Instructor for an Online School since July 2020, delivering private and small-group online courses. His expertise encompasses enhancing reading, writing, conversational, and listening skills, as well as providing seamless support for technical challenges in the virtual realm.

    Before joining CCLS Houston, Julio dedicated himself to education as a Spanish Instructor in El Paso, TX, from September 2018 to June 2020. During this tenure, he curated comprehensive resources and fostered dynamic learning environments through energetic instructional strategies.

    Julio's impactful teaching journey includes significant chapters with Excel Language Center from 2004 to 2008 and at Maximo Nivel in Cusco, Peru, from May 2008 to July 2018. In roles such as a Spanish Instructor and English Tutor, Julio established an international rapport in Cusco. His students, spanning diverse regions, benefited not only from language proficiency but also an appreciation for cultural nuances. Julio's adeptness in online teaching further extends his reach, creating an inclusive and effective virtual learning experience for students worldwide.

    Beyond the realm of education, Julio has enriched his understanding of various cultures through extensive travels, having visited 12 countries.

    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.

    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.

  • 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.

    Diane

    Diane

    Diane is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a Master’s Degree in Education (English as a Second Language) and a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature. Originally from Michigan, upon graduation she moved to Venezuela and lived there for 40 years. She has recently returned to live in the U.S.

    Seeing the need for effective English Classes in Venezuela, she created a small successful business doing what she enjoyed most, teaching ESL to students of all ages, most of whom went on to study or further their careers abroad. She has extensive experience in all aspects of language acquisition and is especially skilled in accent reduction due to her background in Linguistics, studies of multiple languages, and achievement of bilingual fluency in Spanish.

    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.

    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.

  • 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.

    Luciana

    Luciana

    Luciana was born and raised in Brazil, she has always had a love for languages, and she is a self-taught English speaker.

    She has lived in the U.K. to become fluent in English and has lived in the U.S. since 2013.

    She has earned ESL, TESOL, and TOEFL certifications because of her great abilities to teach and because of her love of teaching.

    Luciana has been teaching Portuguese and English for over a decade and she is an expert in adjusting, applying, and creating innovative ways to aid students on their learning journeys.

    She understands the difficulties of learning a new language and because of her own journey and teaching experiences she is able and excited to help and guide her students to achieve perfect pronunciation and excellent grammar, reading, and writing skills.

    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 teach according to their level of language proficiency and deliver the best of the Brazilian culture.