To read our bios, click on our names or scroll through the page.

Tristan CameronTenley Harrison, Shoko Kita, Mayu Kondo, Yutian Luo, Irma Peinado, Noemí Pérez, Amanda Simons, Hayley SullivanAdam Reid, Stephanie Trujillo, Sonya Worthy, Yi Xia, Owen Yonehara, Dion Zizak


Tristan Cameron

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 10.56.38 AMTristan’s interest in teaching English began while volunteering in the SF public school system, which she soon looked forward to far more than her day job. After more than ten years writing marketing collateral for various companies, she decided there were better ways to utilize her English degree. In a fabulously disquieting career move, she gave up ugly cubicles for the inspiring (and occasionally terrifying) world of teaching. She is currently applying all she has learned during her graduate studies as an instructor at the American Language Institute and hopes that she will continue to learn and grow as a teacher even after she leaves the M.A. TESOL program.

Tenley Harrison

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 11.26.49 AMTenley started her teaching career in Japan, where she fell in love with the country as well as the profession. After teaching ESL in high schools in Japan and the US, doing educational research, and working in many capacities at Refugee Transitions (a local non-profit working with refugees and immigrants), Tenley finally decided it was time to engage in formal study of TESOL pedagogy and entered SFSU. Three kids, several jobs, and many years later, she is excited to finally graduate. She is grateful to all her students over the years, for their resilience, determination, and smiles.

Shoko Kita

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 11.23.21 AMShoko’s interest in teaching began from the age of three, growing up with her parents and grandfather working as teachers. Her love for teaching and communicating with people from the world led her to the MATESOL program at SFSU to equip her with current SLA theories and practical teaching experience. Having taught English at the American Language Institute, Shoko is now excited to maximize her future Japanese students’ opportunities experiencing the joy of English communication and cross-cultural experience by adapting her ESL teaching methods and her cultural knowledge gained from a diverse student group to the Japanese EFL context.

Mayu Kondo

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 11.21.09 AMMayu’s interest in teaching began when she was an undergraduate student in Japan. While serving as a student teacher at a middle school, she became passionate about teaching, and opened her eyes to the immense responsibilities English educators hold in Japan. This experience led her to enroll in the MA TESOL program at SFSU. She is excited to bring back home a variety of teaching methods she acquired during her study in San Francisco. In addition to implementing these new acquired skills within her class, she is especially interested in integrating pragmatics into the English classroom while focusing on cross-cultural pragmatics.

Yutian Luo

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 4.47.35 PMYutian began wanted to be a teacher at the age of seven, inspired by her passionate Chinese teacher at that time because she thought it was cool to tell others what they do not know. She forgot about this dream she had as she grew up. However, Yutian decided to enter the M.A. TESOL program in San Francisco State University to become an English teacher because of her interests in cross-culture communication and language education; because she believes that language education is one of the most fundamental ways for cross-culture communication. After graduation, Yutian plans to go back to her home country, China, to apply and practice the theories and knowledge that she has learned in the U.S. to contribute to English education there.

Irma Peinado

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 10.54.19 AMIrma was born and raised in the East Bay. Growing up bilingual and of Mexican descent, she became aware of the struggles people face when there is a language and culture barrier. For the last thirteen years she has been a bilingual elementary school teacher in San Francisco. This has allowed her to work and be part of a community similar to the one she grew up in. It has made her desire to work with adult ESL students even greater. MATESOL has made her career as a teacher stronger by opening doors to not just helping children, but also their parents.

Noemí Pérez

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 10.50.53 AMNoemí’s strong interest in literature, language, and adult learning influenced her decision to leave public K-12 education and seek her MA Degree in English TESOL. She currently teaches college level Advanced Academic ESL in Reading & Oral Communications in Santa Clara, where she integrates American literature with her ESL curriculum to help expand her students’ knowledge and usage of English. She is also the coordinator of staff and teacher training at her campus. Following graduation, Noemí will be seeking a 2nd MA degree in Italian to fulfill a Ph.D. third language requirement at Stanford University. It is her goal to teach Literature and language at all levels; from ESL to graduate. On a personal note, Noemí has a fondness for 1920s-40s fashion, film, and culture with a large collection of vintage clothing and home decor. Her free time is spent watching classic films at Stanford Theatre, reading detective novels, shopping antique fairs, swing dancing, surfing, hiking and gardening.

Amanda Simons

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 11.25.26 AMAmanda’s choice to pursue an MA in TESOL was sparked by a passion for language, the roots of which can be traced back to 6th grade grammar lessons, a semester of high school study abroad in Paris, and studying linguistics at UCSD. Amanda is grateful for the opportunities she has had at SFSU which have given her practical experiences in the classroom as well as chances to explore classroom research, collaboration as a student and as a teacher, and scholarly development. After graduation, Amanda hopes to continue teaching at the ALI before finding an international adventure.

Hayley Sullivan

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 11.30.58 AMHayley’s interest in intercultural communication, which sprouted during her undergraduate study at UCSB, led her to into the field of TESOL.  In 2010, she went abroad for a memorable year as a guest English teacher at two girls’ middle schools in South Korea.  As a native to the Bay Area, she was thrilled to return home and begin studying in the MA TESOL program at SFSU.  Throughout her program, she has been working at an IEP in downtown San Francisco where she has been able to apply and reflect on all she has learned.  She enjoys teaching both academic and general English, but she is especially excited about teaching oral communication skills and cross cultural pragmatics.

Adam Reid

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 4.29.24 PMAfter working for several years in the legal profession, Adam left the adversarial system of law for the collaborative culture of the classroom. He taught EFL in Guanajuato, Mexico and tutored literacy skills in Seattle, Washington before deciding to advance his teaching skill set and understanding of second language acquisition by enrolling in SFSU’s MA TESOL program. Currently, Adam is teaching American short stories and high-intermediate oral communication skills and listening at the American Language Institute. In his free time, Adam enjoys trail running and cycling around San Francisco and Marin.

Stephanie Trujillo

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.31.35 PMDuring her kindergarten graduation ceremony in front of family and friends, Stephanie announced that she someday wanted to be a teacher. And a week later, she changed her mind. After a bit of maturing and a lot of exploring, she returned to the teaching idea and entered the MA TESOL program two years ago. She is inspired by the professional, creative, and reflective teaching practices that come together in the classes and community of the MA TESOL  graduate program at SF State. Stephanie plans to continue working at the American Language Institute while developing her skills to teach this wild and wonderful English language.

Sonya Worthy

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 4.30.24 PMSonya has taught ESL/EFL in Korea, Russia, Peru, and here in the lovely city of San Francisco.  Currently she is teaching at the American Language Institute.  One of her interests is in how corpora – large bodies of electronic text – can be mined for high frequency expressions to help language learners improve their written and oral comprehension, as well as edit their own second-language writing.  When Sonya is not teaching she enjoys good books, long urban walks and Netflix.  She has also been known to document and photograph people reading books in public places.

Yi Xia

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 11.18.33 AMBorn and raised in China, Yi Xia obtained her B.A. in English Education and taught English in a public high school in Beijing, China for two years before she came to the U.S. In order to improve herself as a better English educator, she entered the M.A. TESOL program at San Francisco State University. After graduation, she plans to apply the new knowledge and techniques into her classroom practice and make her teaching more productive.

Owen Yonehara

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 4.39.34 PMOwen’s interest in education and language took root when he ditched a less than fulfilling law degree path at the University of Oregon. Luckily, he wandered into teaching through his love of traveling in South America. Since then, he has taught EFL/ESL in Perú and the Bay Area for the last five years. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Owen is looking forward to the next adventure either here in the Bay Area or beyond. When he can find the time, Owen enjoys a good book, a run or hike, Vipassana meditation, judo and wrestling, and pretending to be a food critic.

Dion Zizak

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 10.47.47 AMDion began her teaching career at a small, community-oriented charter elementary school in Tucson, Arizona.  Her experiences there gave her a close look at the struggles faced by immigrant and refugee families, as well as the impact that parental involvement, security, and empowerment can have on the success of every child.  She realized that her skills as a literacy educator could be used to help equip immigrant and refugee parents with essential tools they need to create the best possible life for their children.  She moved to San Francisco to pursue an MA in TESOL and is currently teaching and developing curriculum materials for Refugee Transitions, a local non-profit serving the greater Bay Area.


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