Saturday, January 21, 2017

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The Language Academy of the Carolinas

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Meet Our Staff

Craig Snyder - Owner & President

Craig Snyder

The Language Academy of the Carolinas is locally owned and operated in Charlotte, NC by Craig Snyder. Craig has a Master's Degree in Spanish from UNC-Chapel Hill and has lived in both Spain and Mexico. He has authored numerous textbooks designed to teach small groups of adults to converse in Spanish and has designed an exciting curriculum for The Language Academy. His work is being used throughout the Triangle and Charlotte Metro areas and has been adapted to fit a variety of workplace environments. He has taught hundreds of people to successfully communicate in Spanish and has many loyal students at the Language Academy.

Rodrigo Rión - Vice President

Rodrigo Rión

Rodrigo Rión is of both Spanish and Mexican descent. His mother's side of the family is from Spain and his father's side is Mexican. He graduated from UNC – Charlotte in 2007 with a major in International Business and minors in both German and French. He joined the Language Academy in August of 2008 as an instructor and now handles the day to day operations of the office along with his regular teaching duties. His love of languages and wealth of knowledge have made him one of our most requested instructors.

Kimberly Gough - Business Manager

Kimberly Gough

Kimberly Gough joined the team at The Language Academy of the Carolinas in July 2011. She graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting and a Master of Taxation degree. She has lived in Charlotte over 13 years and enjoys sewing, crocheting, and spending time with her family.

Chayree Santiago Thomas - Spanish Instructor

Chayree Santiago Thomas

Chayree Santiago Thomas is a native of Colombia and comes from a family of teachers. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering and started her professional career as Engineer, for Gelatins of Colombia. Later she worked for ten years with Chevron-Texaco in Colombia in Industrial Sale & Marketing. She started working in education in 2006 and she earned a Master's deggree in Latin American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) in 2012. She has worked as Spanish Instructor for Berlitz, UNCC, Rowan Cabarrus Community College (RCCC), Houston Community College (HCC), Lone Star College System (LCS), Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), and The Language Academy of the Carolinas. Additionally, she has been a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and the Latina American Chamber of Commerce.

Maria Fernanda Monroy - Spanish Instructor

Maria Fernanda (“Mafe”) Monroy

Maria Fernanda (“Mafe”) Monroy was born in Bogota, Colombia and moved to the United States in 2005. She is Journalist but also studied Marketing and Publicity. Mafe lived in Miami for the first two years after arriving in the U.S. and then moved to North Carolina with her family. She joined The Language Academy in 2009 and has quickly become one of the most popular instructors for both adults and Children. In addition to her work at the Language Academy she also writes for regional Latino newspapers and magazines.

Stella Bobadilla - Spanish Instructor

Stella Bobadilla

Stella Bobadilla was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia and moved to Charlotte in 2002. She has a Law Degree from Los Andes University in Bogotá, and is Specialist in Public Management, Labor Laws and Industrial Relationships. She studied and learned to speak English, as an adult, when she moved to Charlotte. Having experienced the process of learning a new language has made teaching her native language one of the most rewarding experiences in her life. Stella loves reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.

John Altamirano - Spanish Instructor

John Altamirano

John Altamirano is a native Spanish speaker from Colombia. He moved to United States in 2010 with VIF (Visiting International Faculty). He has a Bachelor's in Foreign Languages and a Master's in Educational Technology. John has experience as an ESL and Spanish instructor in the North Carolina Public School System, where he has enjoyed several significant accomplishments, such as being selected as a semifinalist for teacher of the year in Johnston county. He recently joined the team at The Language Academy and loves seeing his students realize their full potential.

Myrna Guatemala - Spanish Instructor

Myrna Guatemala

Myrna Guatemala was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador. She studied at Francisco Gavidia University and has a Bachelor’s degree in Special education. She also earned a scholarship to study at the University of South Florida. She moved to Charlotte in 2006 and she currently works with Special Needs children for Charlotte Mecklengburg Schools. She likes to travel and loves to spend time with her two sons, Rene Mauricio and Jonathan. Myrna has been working with The Language Academy since September 2008 and currently teaches After-School Spanish classes and summer camps.

Peter Yu Jia Wu, Ph.D. - Mandarin Chinese Instructor

Peter Wu

Peter Wu was born and raised in Xi’An, China, home of the famous Terracotta Warriors of China’s legendary first emperor. He received a B.S. in Plant Physiology from Northwestern University in Xi’An, and went on to receive a Ph.D. in Botany with a concentration in Molecular Biology from Washington State University. He has taught Mandarin Chinese and Chinese culture to a wide range of students in the United States for over 20 years, and joined The Language Academy in February of 2013. Currently, he is a senior scientist working at the Federal Seed Lab in the greater Charlotte area.

Elizabeth Bertrand - French Instructor

Liz Bertrand

Elizabeth Bertrand grew up in Colorado but fell in love with the French language early in her life. Her parents, both avid francophiles, would speak French when they didn't want the children to understand. As a result, she and her siblings all studied French with abandon. She holds a degree in European history from Brown University. Career highlights include working for a Broadway theater company in New York, teaching English in the South of France, and working as a freelance writer. In addition to teaching French for the The Language Academy, she currently teaches English online to foreign students. She and her French-born husband live in Charlotte with their son.

Robert Vanderford - German Instructor

Robert Vanderford

Robert Vanderford was born in Charlotte, NC. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelor's degree in German and from the University of Georgia in Athens, GA with a Master’s degree in German. He also studied linguistics and German at the Pädagogische Hochschule Ludwigsburg in Southern Germany. Presently, Robert teaches German at Rowan Cabarrus Community College and tutors German at the high school level when time allows. He also translates documents from German into English. He enjoys spending time with his wife and Siegfried, their dachshund. He also enjoys running, reading, and listening to detective novels ("Krimis") in German.

Derya Elijah-El - German Instructor

Derya Elijah-El

Derya Elijah-El was born in Turkey and was raised in Germany, where she grew up bilingual. She later completed her formal education there with a degree in linguistics. While living in Germany she had a chance to experience the many different aspects of European culture during her travels. After meeting her husband she moved to the U.S. in 1998. Languages have always been her passion and talent. She has worked for the Public Library System in Mecklenburg County where she taught German before she joined the Language Academy in 2013. In addition to her work at the Language Academy she is also a registered Turkish and German interpreter/translator with the courts in Mecklenburg County and with other agencies in the greater Charlotte Area. When she's not teaching German, Derya enjoys music & movies, knitting & crocheting, baking, hiking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Nadia De Martino-Reel - Italian Instructor

Nadia Reel

Nadia De Martino was born and raised in Capri, an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula of Italy. Growing up in Capri, she learned English and French and lived in Rome before coming to the States in 1996. During her first years in Charlotte she enjoyed volunteering at the International House for the Italian conversation hour and tutoring students at Davidson College. She joined the Language Academy in the fall of 2012. When she’s not teaching Italian, Nadia enjoys cooking, reading, taking pictures, zumba, yoga, Pilates, and going for walks. She also loves swimming and spending time with her two daughters, Shani and Naomi.

Eliana Moltz - Portuguese Instructor

Diana Marcela Toro

Eliana Moltz was born and raised in the South of Brazil and Graduated in 2001 from the Universidade de Santa Cruz do Sul – UNISC. In 2004 she earned her Master’s degree in Business Administration. Eliana is of German descent and German was the first language she spoke before starting school.  In addition to her work at the Language Academy she is also the CEO of Forest Honey Organic Foods, established on October 2005 in Charlotte, NC.   She has been working with The Language Academy since 2010 and it has being an amazing experience to teach, exchange experiences and to see how fascinated the students are about the Brazil and the Portuguese language. One of her students is actually living in Brazil now.




The Language Academy of the Carolinas, Inc.
2110 Ben Craig Drive, Suite 200
Charlotte, NC 28262

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