Bob Brewer was born and raised near Chicago. He has a B.A. in English and Modern European History from Benedictine University, Lisle, Illinois, an M.A. in Counseling from Northern Illinois University, and an M.A. in Learning Science from the University of Connecticut. He also studied video game design at Michigan State University. Before coming to Academia Language School, Bob taught in a number of university settings, including Northern Illinois University, Montana State University, the University of Connecticut, Michigan State University, and Jilin University in Chungchun, China. Bob has also taught in Germany and Lebanon. In 2014, Bob received an appointment as a Summer Fellow at Manchester College, Oxford University. His co-authored paper presentations include “Collaborative Language Learning in 3D Virtual Environments” (presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York City, NY, 2008); “Language Learning in Multi-User Game-Based Environments” (presented at the annual conference of Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, May 2007); and “Negotiation of Culture and Language: An Ecological Psychological Description of Language Pick-up” (presented at the American Association for Applied Linguistics, Costa Mesa, CA, 2007). Bob has a working knowledge of German and Chinese. His hobbies include hiking and playing tennis.
Elizabeth Manly is originally from Hawaii, but she has also lived six years in North Carolina, two years in South Korea, and eight years in New York City. She has a B.A. in Theatre Studies, from Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina, a Certificate in Documentary Film Production from CUNY Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York, and a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) through Cambridge English Language Assessment. She taught English as a Second Language for ten years prior to joining the faculty of Academia Language School. In addition to her work as an ESL instructor, Elizabeth has also worked on some low budget films in New York City and done some video editing on the side. Elizabeth has a basic knowledge of French and Spanish and is currently tackling Albanian so that she can speak the native language of her husband. Among her many hobbies are hiking, going to the beach, seeing new theatre productions, traveling, shooting and editing video, reading, and writing.
Jeff Otto was born and raised in South Dakota. He earned a B.A. in Music with a minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Prior to coming to Academia Language School, Jeff taught English in Japan for ten years. During that time, he also worked as an English radio announcer for NHK World Radio Japan. Jeff knows Japanese and can play guitar, bass, piano, cello, and ukulele. His hobbies include composing music, cycling, and getting lost in the world of video games.
John was born in Carnegie, Pennsylvania. He earned a B. A. in English, and an M. A. Certificate in TESOL from George Mason University in Virginia, as well as an M.A. in English from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has taught ESL for over 20 years. After teaching in Japan for six years, he relocated to Hawaii, where he has taught at various institutions. John has a working knowledge of German, and is fluent in Japanese. He has also worked for Japanese companies in Hawaii in the construction, publishing, real estate, and tourism industries. In his free time, he enjoys reading, sports, and music.
Jose Chavez was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. At the age of 18 he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed in Kaneohe Bay. From there, he deployed to various locations around the world. Jose left the Marines in 1998 and lived in San Diego and New York City for a time before returning to Hawaii, where he attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa and majored in English and minored in economics. After graduating with a B.A., Jose taught English as a Second Language in Spain and Japan for several years. Jose is fluent in Spanish and has a working knowledge of spoken Japanese. His hobbies include surfing, watching movies, reading, and traveling.
Lester Hael was born in Manila, Philippines and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He has a B.A. in Filipino Language and Literature from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and also studied at the De La Salle University, Manila in 2004 as a Fulbright-Hays scholar. In 2006, he edited and published Voices from Hawaii – A Katipunan Literary Journal, Volume III in commemoration of the 100th centennial anniversary of Filipino emigration to Hawaii. Lester began teaching at the University of Hawaii at Manoa as a lecturer in 2008 and joined the faculty of Academia Language School in 2011 as a Tagalog instructor. Since the spring of 2016 he has been teaching in Academia’s ESL program. Lester is currently pursuing an M.A. in Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He speaks three Philippine languages as well as conversational Spanish. Lester is an avid reader—especially of historical fiction and novel series. Whenever he gets a chance, Lester flies to the mainland to visit his family.
Sean Flannagan was born and raised in Kansas. He has a B.G.S. in Theatre and Film Studies from the University of Kansas. Additionally, he has International TEFL TESOL (ITT) certification. A talented writer, Sean was a Screenwriters’ Showcase Awards finalist and a semi-finalist in the Annual Writers Network Screenplay and Fiction Competition. Sean taught English for four years in Japan before coming to Academia Language School and has a working knowledge of Japanese. His hobbies include hiking and playing tennis.
Tina Winter was born and raised in Hawaii. She also lived in southern California for ten years. She has a B.A. in English with a minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from California State University, Northridge. Prior to coming to Academia Language School, Tina tutored students in the Los Angeles Unified School District through a program connected to the No Child Left Behind Act. Tina has basic conversational fluency in Spanish. Her hobbies include cooking, hiking, travel, and yoga.
William Gleason was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He has a B.A. in History from the University of Pittsburgh and a certificate in Communicative Teaching from Temple University, Tokyo Campus. He has taught English, Business English, and TOEIC, TOEFL, and Cambridge Test preparation in Japan, Korea, and the United States. His hobbies include composing music, writing fiction, and reading about history, politics, economics, and society.
Administration and Office Staff
A native of Pennsylvania, Ryan Bailey is the Director and Owner of Academia. He loves his job and strongly believes in Academia’s mission of providing the highest-quality language training at the best value in order to contribute to the improvement of cross-cultural communication and understanding. Prior to joining Academia, Ryan worked in the fields of finance and management advisory. In various capacities, he has helped guide high-growth companies from start up through IPO. Ryan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business with a B.S. in Economics and also has a B.S. in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering. He is conversant in Spanish, is learning Japanese, and always appreciates informal lessons in all world languages from Academia students and teachers.
Director of Language Programs
For several years Larry Rhodes was a reporter on international affairs for Shin’etsu Broadcasting Company in Japan, where he also hosted his own television series. He came to Honolulu to study at the University of Hawaii at Manoa but took leave to join the Economics Department of Shinshu University in order to conduct research on youth employment for a Ph.D. in Political Science. There, he was granted an audience with Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan to discuss the results of his research, which was subsequently published. His publications include “Homeroom Teachers in Japan,” National Forum: Phi Kappa Phi Journal, Winter 1994, and “From School to Work in Japan,” Compare, October 1996. More recently, he has published works on the usefulness of sentence diagramming in ESL instruction in Hawaii TESOL’s journal, The Word. Having been thoroughly immersed in the language and culture of another country, Larry is sensitive to the difficulties that students face while living in America and learning English. As the Director of Language Programs at Academia, he strives to continue developing courses that meet the varied interests of the school’s diverse student body.
Director of Operations
Karen L. was born and raised in Hawaii. She has a B.A. in International Business and Finance from the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she also minored in Political Science. She studied abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea to increase her knowledge of international business. Karen loves traveling, reading, watching sports, and listening to music in her free time.
Assistant Director of Language Programs
Kimberly L. was born in Saginaw, Michigan. She has a B.B.A. in Marketing from Western Michigan University. Having worked at the school since 1995, Kimberly is Academia Language School’s longest tenured employee. Before taking on her current administrative position, Kimberly taught ESL for many years at the school. While not claiming to be proficient in any particular language, she is familiar with several languages. Her interests include reading, baking, and raising her two sons.
Front Office Assistant/Housing Coordinator
Brent Noborikawa was born and raised on Oahu. He has a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. During his years in college, he was an avid member of Circle K International, a collegiate volunteer organization. During his free time, he likes to hike, play video games, watch TV, or find good places to eat.
Front Office Assistant
Yuko Peltier grew up in Fukuoka, Japan. She has a B.A. degree in Psychology from University of Massachusetts Amherst. When she was a student, she enjoyed traveling. She has visited Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Korea, Macau, Shanghai, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia. Before joining Academia, she worked as an international exchange consultant at Fukuoka International Association. She was a cat person before she met her husband’s dog Shingo. She enjoys reading, watching movies and video chatting with her family.
Government Programs Staffing Manager
Keith Payan was born in Los Angeles and raised in Chatsworth, California. He has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. Keith served for five years in the U.S. Army as a Chinese linguist. He has both a reading and listening knowledge of Mandarin-Chinese and is fluent in Spanish. His hobbies include hiking, reading, playing football and baseball, and participating in the local craft beer scene.