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English Language Institute

Meet the Staff

New York City and Westchester Campuses

James Stakenburg Executive Director of the English Language InstituteJames Stakenburg
Executive Director of the English Language Institute
Email: jstakenburg@pace.edu

James has over 20 years of experience in English language education and education management. He originally worked as an accountant, before leaving his native Australia to embark on his world travels. He has since visited almost 80 countries and began his teaching career in Japan, where he lived and taught English for 3 years. He has also worked as an Assistant Director of Studies, a Teacher Trainer, a Trainer of Trainers and Head of Teacher Training. He has presented at TESOL International, English USA, NYS TESOL, and IATEFL conferences. James has a B. Commerce degree from the University of Queensland and an MA TESOL from the University of New South Wales in Australia. In addition to traveling, he enjoys running, swimming, reading, cooking and eating food from around the world.


Lisa Kraft Director of Academics and Custom ProgramsLisa Kraft
Director of Academics and Custom Programs
Email: lkraft@pace.edu

Lisa manages academic development and recruitment efforts for the New York City and Westchester campuses. She holds a Master of Arts in TESOL from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University at Albany-SUNY. Lisa has served on several professional boards including NAFSA Region X, EnglishUSA, and NYSTESOL and has presented at TESOL, EnglishUSA, NYSTESOL, NAFSA Region X and AIRC conferences. Her 25 years in the field has taken her to teaching positions in South Korea, Turkey, and the United States. She loves to travel, read and enjoy time with family.


Daniel A. Lenkowsky Director of Enrollment ManagementDaniel A. Lenkowsky
Director of Enrollment Management
Email: dlenkowsky@pace.edu

Daniel is one of the first ELI staff members that students meet when joining our New York City program. He has been working with adult and international students at Pace University since 2004. A Pace University alumnus himself, Daniel spent time during his undergraduate studies overseas conducting research in Peru and Poland on access to mental health care in prisons. He oversees the Admissions process to the ELI, is the main contact for F-1 Student visa holders, and runs the Student Life activities program which includes a volunteer English Conversation Partner program. He holds dual B.A. degrees in Psychology & Criminal Justice from Pace University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. Daniel loves volunteering, scary movies, and traveling.


Rebeca Checo Admissions CoordinatorRebeca Checo
Admissions Coordinator
Email: rcheco@pace.edu

Rebeca is the first face that students, ELI staff and instructors see when visiting the office, and she always has a smile on her face. She assists students with their application process and any other questions they might have about living in New York City. Rebeca holds a B.A in Communications from Barry University in Miami, Florida. As she traveled during her undergraduate studies, Rebeca found her love of learning about different cultures and trying different cuisines. During her free time, she enjoys attending concerts, reading, painting, drawing and laughing. She also speaks Spanish.


Meet The Staff – New York City

Jeff McIlvennaJeff McIlvenna
Associate Director of Academics
Email: mcilvenna@pace.edu

Jeff McIlvenna manages the day to day academics of the ELI in New York City and ensures students have the best academic experience they can find in New York. Jeff holds a Master of Arts in Education and Innovation from Webster University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Missouri.  He has spent 15 years in the TESOL field in Georgia, Iraq, Paraguay, Angola, and the United States.  Jeff enjoys practice-based professional development endeavors and has presented at TESOL International and related conferences and workshops in ten countries.  His educational interests include blended learning environments, education technology for engagement, drama and playwriting in the classroom, and multimodal writing techniques.  In his free time, he travels extensively, enjoys cooking, and loves learning foreign languages including Spanish, Georgian, and Arabic.


Patrick RussellPatrick Russell
Staff Instructor
Email: prussell@pace.edu

Patrick began his teaching career in Taipei, Taiwan where he taught English as a Foreign Language after graduating with a BFA from the University of Kansas. After Taiwan, he moved to New York City, obtained an MA in TESOL from the New School and has continued to teach English as a Second Language to people from around the globe. He is passionate about providing students with lessons centered around language-learning strategies that incorporate real-world material (videos, reading texts, photos, corpus websites, etc.). He has given numerous presentations on this topic at various TESOL and teacher training conferences. Patrick works full-time at Pace as an ESL instructor and academic advisor while also helping to develop ELI’s curricula and assessments. Outside of work, Patrick loves riding his bike around NYC, taking photographs, going to concerts, seeing art and eating pizza.


Meet The Staff – Westchester

Sarah BrubakerSarah Brubaker
Associate Director of Academics
Email: sbrubaker@pace.edu

Sarah Brubaker oversees the daily academics of the ELI on the White Plains campus and works to ensure the quality of students’ experiences learning English in general and learning English in the ELI in particular. Sarah holds a Master of Arts in Teaching English as Foreign Language and Intercultural Studies. She also holds a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership with a specialization in Transformational Education; her research specialization is in diversity-focused teacher education. Sarah has been an ESL professional for more than 10 years both in teaching and administrative roles. Sarah enjoys curriculum evaluation and design and loves learning. Her professional and educational interests are in critical pedagogy, teacher education, anti-racist teacher education, and multimodal educational methods. In her spare time, Sarah loves working out, watching sports, and spending time with her friends and family


Meet The Instructors – New York City

Joyce Bloom InstructorJoyce Bloom
Instructor
Email: jbloom@pace.edu

Joyce has taught at the Pace University ELI for the last 15 years and has also taught communication skills, negotiating, group dynamics, general business, interviewing skills and conflict solving at NYU, Berkeley College, and Rennert International among others. She holds a B. A. in Liberal Arts from Brooklyn College and an M.A. in TESOL from NYU. Over the course of her careers in International Shipping and TESOL, she has been a public speaker on a variety of subjects and provided a host of private corporate, government and non-profit programs. With Mary Carpenter, she co-authored, Beyond the Academic Box: TESOL Outside the Classroom which was published in IDIOM. She is the author of the fable, All I Can See, published in 2006 by Remez Press.

 


Dan BullockDan Bullock
Instructor
Email: dbullock@pace.edu

Dan Bullock is an instructor and corporate trainer teaching multiple language and business communication courses within academic and professional programming at Pace University. He also serves as a language and communications specialist/trainer at the United Nations Secretariat training diplomats and global UN staff. Dan previously held the role of Director of Corporate Communications for a leading NYC Public Relations firm and has managed multi-platform media communication strategies for a diverse roster of local, national, and international corporate clients. He is a co-contributor to HuffPost and Business.com and a regular presenter at various regional, national, and international conferences where he shares pedagogical strategies regarding the intersection of global business communications, intercultural communication, and professional development.


Nicole Gunn InstructorNicole Gunn
Instructor
Email: ncgunn@pace.edu

Nicole received a B.A in Political Science from Rutgers University and an M.A in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Teachers College, Columbia University. She tutors and teaches English as a Second Language courses in speaking, listening, reading, vocabulary and business writing at Pace University. In addition, she gives workshops and tutors students individually in the Tools for Clear Speech Program at Baruch College. Prior to becoming a teacher, Nicole worked as a senior human resource professional for more than a decade, and she enjoys incorporating her business experience into her teaching when working with students to help them succeed.


Alyssa KronlundAlyssa Kronlund
Instructor
Email: akronlund@pace.edu

Alyssa Kronlund is an English language professional in NYC.  She has a Masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from The New School. She is an adjunct instructor, curriculum developer, and teacher trainer.  Alyssa has traveled to over 30 countries and has 5 years experience working in the tourism industry in Wisconsin and Breckenridge ski resort.


Stephanie Moses Instructor

Stephanie Moses
Instructor
Email: smoses@pace.edu

Stephanie Moses has taught ESL for about 20 years and has been an instructor at Pace since 2008. She received her B.A. in International Studies and Russian from Miami University of Ohio, an M.A. in Russian Linguistics from Ohio State, and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts in Boston. Stephanie loves learning languages and has studied Spanish, Russian, German, Polish and Chinese. Her hobbies include cooking, traveling, hiking, music, and film. One of her favorite courses to teach at Pace is the American Culture through Film course, which allows her to share her love for movies and indulge in one of her favorite pastimes.


Rebecca Olerich Instructor

Rebecca Olerich
Instructor
Email: rolerich@pace.edu

Rebecca has been an ESL educator for over 20 years, first having taught in Poland as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and then later in Mexico, Sweden, and the United States. She holds a B.A. in English and Latin from Iowa State University, an M.E d. in Curriculum Development and an M.S. in Labor Relations--both from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a recent M.A. in Liberal Studies with a focus on the history of Chinese and European science from the CUNY Graduate Center. Rebecca likes Renaissance literature, modern fiction, traveling, urban hiking, and biking. She speaks some Russian and Polish and reads Latin. She currently has begun studying Mandarin at the Confucian Institute at Pace.


Amy PuettAmy Puett
Instructor
Email: apuett@pace.edu

Amy Puett is an ESL teacher who has taught in South Korea, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China. She has experience teaching academic writing, TOEFL, conversation and listening as well as professional writing skills. She received her MA in TESOL from the School for International Training and also has bachelor degrees in Music and German from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Music from Texas State University. She loves teaching English, learning new languages and playing the oboe and has been known to combine these interests from time to time.


Ken Raphael InstructorKen Raphael
Instructor
Email: kraphael@pace.edu

Ken started his professional career as an attorney. He practiced law for more than 25 years before finding his true calling as an ESL professional. He has taught in Switzerland, England, Germany, and the United States. At Pace, Ken teaches courses in Academic Writing, Listening and Speaking, American Business Culture and English for Lawyers. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the State University of New York College at Oswego, a J.D. Degree from Brooklyn Law School, and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from the University of Leicester. Ken is also certified by Cambridge University as a qualified teacher of English as a Second Language. He has spoken about legal and Legal English matters at numerous seminars. In his spare time, Ken enjoys photography, traveling and watching baseball. He also speaks French.


Shelynn Riel OsorioShélynn Riel-Osorio
Instructor
Email: srielosorio@pace.edu

Shélynn Riel-Osorio holds a Master of Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Rhode Island College. In 2017, Shélynn served in Argentina as an English Language Fellow with the U.S. Department of State, facilitating teacher training and professional development of in-service teachers. Prior to her time abroad, Shélynn was the Coordinator of ESL Intensive Programming at Rhode Island College, and the Director of Education at the Refugee Dream Center in Providence, Rhode Island. She has taught learners of all ages and levels, hailing from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. At present, Shélynn teaches composition and advanced reading, and her research interests include Global Citizenship education, fostering Intercultural Competence among students and instructors, and reflective pedagogy.


Michael Roberts Instructor

Michael Roberts
Instructor
Email: mroberts3@pace.edu

Prior to joining the staff at Pace University, Michael had been teaching English abroad since 2006. He holds an M.A. in TESOL from Georgetown University, a CELTA, and a B.A. in English and Spanish from Hampden-Sydney College. He has taught in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East to learners from all over the world. His research interests include task-based language teaching, needs assessment, language testing, and program evaluation.


Curt Tomao Instructor

Curt Tomao
Instructor
Email: ctomao@pace.edu

Curt, a native New Yorker, graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, and then got a BA in Economics (minor in German) from NYU, followed by an MA in TESOL from Hunter College. A tutor since high school and an ESL teacher since 1989, Curt has taught preschool to adults in various parts of New York City as well as in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to main English skills, he has specialized in Pronunciation, Business English, Presentation Preparation, and Reports.


Tara Vassallo Instructor

Tara Vassallo
Instructor
Email: tvassallo@pace.edu

Tara has been an instructor at the English Language Institute at Pace University since 2009. She holds an MS in TESOL, Ed. & Sp. Ed. from Touro College, and a BA in Linguistics & Italian from the University of Wisconsin. Her primary instructional focus has been in Academic Writing and Research in both the Pre-Undergraduate and the Graduate programs. In addition, she is also passionate about Vocabulary and Grammar and enjoys teaching these elective courses. At Pace University, she has facilitated TESOL teacher training workshops to visiting international faculty. Training modules have included, building fluency, integrating skills, multiple intelligences, and creating a student-centered learning environment. Tara has worked as an ELA and ESL instruction and curriculum consultant for Brown University and the NYC Department of Education. Early in her career, she taught new arrivals at Liberty HS in New York City. She has also been a language trainer since 2007 for business professionals and their families relocating to the US. Tara has lived, studied, and taught in Italy, Brazil, and Africa.


Meet The Instructors – Westchester

Helen Tsoukanov InstructorHelen Tsoukanov
Instructor
Email: htsoukanov@pace.edu

Before joining the Pace team in 2016, Helen had been teaching a wide variety of academically focused classes at Manhattanville College ELI for 17 years. She has also been teaching graduate courses at the School of Education at Manhattanville College, where she received her MPS in TESOL. A passionate educator, Helen established a private language school in Westchester, Language Link Center, which she ran for 10 years. At Pace, she has developed a wide array of content-rich courses. Her professionalism, commitment to students, sense of humor, and extensive experience in the field of education make her a versatile, engaging, and effective teacher. Helen is a pop culture aficionado and an avid cook.