About Us

Founded in 1986 as a non-profit language school and center for international exchange, Penobscot School is a unique community international school. Over the years, hundreds of people from the U.S. and from around the world have advanced their foreign language skills at Penobscot School and have learned more about the world in the process. You are invited to be a part of this experiment in language learning in the context of the exchange of ideas and knowledge.


Dennis Healy
Mac Deford
Executive Director
Joan LeMole


Penny Dunning
Julie Hoffman

Dana Strout


Chinese Instructors

Jenny Tung. A native mandarin speaker, Ms. Tung also speaks dialect Cantonese and Taiwanese and can read and write with both traditional and simplified Chinese characters. She earned a masters in law in Chicago and then worked there for the Consular Affairs Taipei Office for five years. She is studying now how to create on-line multimedia Chinese lessons. Ms. Tung began teaching Chinese at Midcoast Christian Academy in 2012 and at Riley School in 2013 She has taught Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan, at the Chinese Culture Education Association Chinese Language School at Skokie, IL, and most recently at Mid-Coast Christian Academy in Thomaston. She lives in Thomaston, where she enjoys gardening and participating as percussionist with the Mid-Coast Community Band. She plays also a traditional Chinese stringed instrument called pipa.

Nanfei Wang earned her Master's Degree in Art from the University of North Texas in 2004. She has taught at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts and has exhibited at several art shows including The University of Colorado Museum of Art and Dowling Walsh in Rockland. Fully trained in all aspects of teaching, Nanfei is ready to bring out the best in her students.

French Instructors

Margot Stiassni-Sieracki, B.A. French, Williams College, M.A. Univ. Illinois, M.A. Stanford. She frequently visits France and has taught French and Spanish, K-12, in Vermont and Maine since 1989. Margot has twice co-presented Methods Matter, Penobscot School's summer foreign language methodology seminar. She often uses music and the arts in her teaching of adults and children. At Penobscot School, her work has included teaching Intermediate French since 2009 and facilitating activities at French and Spanish immersion workshops.

Alain Ollier Alain has recently relocated from Paris to Mid-Coast Maine. He has traveled extensively and is now ready to share his knowledge of French culture and language: "la langue de Molière", so dear to him.

German Instructor

Renate Tower is a native of the Rhineland in Germany. She attended the Paedagogishce Fachschule in Ludwigshafen. She has taught at Penobscot School and Adult Ed in Rockland, Camden and Belfast, as well as privately. She also was the owner of the Hansel and Gretel Gaststube, an intimate German eatery. She loves to garden, cook with home-raised foods and research her German heritage.

Italian Instructor

Danielle Tognato is a native of Padova, Italy. She has taught Italian in the United States for several years. Other interests include teaching Tai chi and Qi gong. With a keen sense of humor and a gentle, encouraging style, Ms. Tognato is sure to create a relaxed atmosphere in class.

Japanese Instructors

Sachiko Clough B.A. German, Kyoto University of Foreign Language Studies. Sachiko is originally from Osaka, Japan where she taught English to children. She is a certified Japanese language teacher and also has licenses in Ikebana and Japanese tea ceremony, and she is a great cook. She currently teaches Japanese at Hall-Dale Middle School in Farmingdale. Sachiko is teaching Speaking Japanese, a Continuing course designed to provide opportunities to learn new vocabulary and structure in a conversational format.

Toshie Ichiyanagi Tesler, a native of Kobe, Japan, lives with her artist husband in Rockland, Maine. Toshie is a graduate of both Boston University and Bentley College and is a certified public accountant. She is well schooled in Japanese art and culture with certificates in Tea Ceremony and Ikebana. Her two children are also in the area, both currently serving in the United States Coast Guard.

Russian Instructors

Eva (Taran) Campbell is a native of Tallinn, Estonia, and grew up there in a bilingual environment (Russian and Estonian.) At university, she studied the Estonian language and literature for 3 and a half years, and then switched to Economics. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics in 1998 and moved to Maine in 2006.

Spanish Instructors

Billy Smith : B.A., M.A., R.N., DELE. 2006, studied English Literature, music and Romance Language at the University of Notre Dame, then earned a Masters in English Literature at the University of Toronto. He serves as a nurse interpreter, and received his Diploma en Español como Lengua Extranjera from the Spanish Ministry of Education in 2006.

Nohora Estes, Nohora Estes, who is a native Colombian, has been associated with Penobscot School for 20+ years, leading children's courses and assisting in the immersions. She established the Spanish program at The Riley School in 1998, where she teaches K-8th grades. She has twice led student trips to Costa Rica. Nohora also teaches private Spanish lessons; she enjoys reading, walking and dancing SALSA!

Jean Araujo, came to the U.S. from Sao Paulo, Brazil as part of his love for learning about new ways of life and different ways of thinking. He enjoys teaching Portuguese and all that has to do with his mother country.

Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy as to Students
The (name) school admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs. We do not discriminate on the basis of sex or sexual orientation