About Us

Founded in 1986 as a non-profit language school and center for international exchange, Penobscot Language School is a unique community international school. Over the years, over six thousand locals and over 500 foreigners have advanced their foreign language skills at Penobscot Language School and have learned more about the world in the process.


President
Robert Falciani
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Bob is a mechanical engineer with degrees in engineering and business administration from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Northeastern University. He has been the project manager for several facilities located worldwide. Bob currently serves as Assistant Professor at the Wentworth Institute of Technology where he instructs students in the fields of business, building mechanical and electrical systems and statistics.

Bob was born in Boston and raised in Quincy. He has two adult children living with their families in Massachusetts and Los Angeles. He lives with his wife, Diana, in Northport. Aside from work, Bob studies Italian and finds that learning the language of other countries helps him to better understand various cultures and peoples.


Executive Director
Joan LeMole
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Joan grew up in Orono, Maine and earned her B.A. in Modern Languages (Spanish and German) after studying at Brandeis University and the University of Maine. She then earned her M.A. in French at Miami of Ohio. During this time, she taught French to undergraduate students and focused her own studies on literary theory. After earning a second masters in Counselor Education, Joan spent nineteen years as a mental health clinician.

During high school Joan was an American Field Service (AFS) exchange student to Patagonia, Argentina. During her undergraduate and graduate work, she lived in Dijon, France.  She has traveled extensively in parts of Europe and the Middle East. Joan has organized and led several student exchange programs.

Joan lives in Rockland, Maine with her husband and two sons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, swimming, puzzles of all sorts, travel, learning to play the violin, and attending her children’s activities. Joan currently serves as Penobscot Language School’s Executive Director, is a graduate of the Midcoast Leadership Academy and participates in Rotary. She is thrilled to return to her interest in languages, literature and culture.

Amanda AustinAmanda Austin
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Amanda Roberson Austin is an Architect and co-owner (with her husband, Bryan Austin) of 2A Architects in Rockport. Born in Michigan, she received her Bachelor’s degree at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI. Following her degree and the start of her professional career in Michigan, she continued her professional experience in the Seattle region and also received her Master of Architecture degree with a focus in Historic Preservation at University of Washington. She and Bryan enjoyed eight years of life in the beautiful Seattle region prior to finally pursuing their long-held dream of a life in Maine in 2009. Outside of her professional pursuits, Amanda’s main passions in life are cultural and creative – the enjoyment of music, art, crafting, food, and travel. With cultural understanding and enjoyment as its focus, she is proud to serve on the Penobscot Language School board. Amanda and Bryan live in Rockport, enjoying all the Midcoast has to offer with their Golden Retriever, Watson.


Penny Dunning
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Penny has a long history of international and intercultural exchange. This began in high school when her family hosted a young lady from Tehran, Iran, at a time when little was known geographically or culturally of that country. Years later, Penny and her teenage daughter hosted a young woman from northern Lebanon and later a boy from Brazil.

Penny adopted her daughter from Ecuador and, in an effort to assure that her daughter would know the language and culture of her origins, later moved to Ecuador for 18 months. After returning, Penny and her daughter moved to Rockport, Maine, and began hosting Penobscot School summer English Immersion students. They have since hosted over 20 adult students from Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Japan, Mongolia, Mali, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.

As an offshoot of her own appreciation for international connections, Penny initiated and implemented a ten-day service trip for twenty Camden Hills High School students. Together the group formed lasting international relationships while developing Ecuador’s first high school in the rainforest. She has since reconnected with several of the Ecuadorean English Immersion students who so eagerly welcomed her and who generously shared their hospitality.

Penny has traveled to Europe, Central America, South America and Thailand for both business and pleasure. She has been an active member of Rotary Youth Exchange Committee by counseling incoming and outgoing students and by interacting with local host families. Penny has maintained continued support of the education and entrepreneurial development in Ecuador.

Penny has such gratitude for the opportunities to connect with the world through the many offerings of Penobscot School. She has served on the school’s board for several years.



Leslie Fillnow
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Leslie Fillnow’s career has taken her all over the world, including Latin America, Europe, Asia, and India. After graduating from Elmira College with a degree in Chemistry and Mathematics she worked as a research and development engineer and received five patents in the area of lighting phosphor chemistry. She rose to be a marketing manager, a manufacturing superintendent and a plant manager with the Sylvania Company, including the Osram Sylvania Plant in Waldoboro. Leslie then earned a Master in Business Administration from SUNY in Binghamton NY and for the reminder of her career worked in business management holding leadership positions in many areas of lighting, including LED and specialty lighting for medical, aviation and entertainment applications. Leslie’s outstanding service to the Midcoast community includes being president of the Penobscot School, where she also studies and teaches Italian, a board member of Meals on Wheels and a member of the Camden Garden Club, Camden Rotary and the Camden Conference Development Committee. Leslie and her husband, Bob, have been long time attendees of the Camden Conference and enjoy traveling internationally and visiting their children in the US. Their goal is to see all of Maine with their chocolate lab.


Scott Rackliff

Scott Rackliff
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Scott is a software developer and technology expert who currently serves as co-founder and chief technology officer at Owls Head Solutions in South Thomaston, Maine. He earned degrees in psychology and sociology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

A frequent traveler to Japan, Scott is a student of Japanese at Penobscot School. He and his wife, Kate, have spent extended time in Japan and have consequently developed a deep appreciation for Japanese culture and cuisine. Scott volunteers for Rock Coast Rollers Roller Derby and enjoys gardening. Although not a native of Maine, Scott’s family association with Maine goes back over 200 years.


David Robichaud
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David was born and raised in Michigan and summered in Maine from age four until locating here in 1984. He opened 51 Bayview Street in Camden, a shop with fine gifts, home furnishings, nautical accessories and florals. Event and wedding planning, interior design, and combining new and antique furnishings eventually became areas of interest as David began orchestrating lavish events for both private and corporate entities. This love of design led him to travel in France, Italy, England, Holland and Belgium.

In turn, travels increased David’s appetite for language learning and food. He therefore launched Summersport Mercantile, an antiques and design consulting business. Here David established and created wedding formats, menus and services for Point Lookout Resort before moving on to managing, and ultimately owning, Cappys Chowder House. His efforts to rebrand and expand the restaurant, and to refine the menu with a focus on local, farmed-raised products, contributed to Cappy’s becoming a respected establishment in Camden, Maine.

David resides in Appleton where he is surrounded by gardens, woods and meadows. He enjoys antiques, animals and friends.


Frank Toole
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Frank is a retired attorney having practiced estate and trust, real estate and business law in Pennsylvania for 40 years. Since moving to Camden from Pennsylvania 15 years ago, he has been active in his new community, serving a number of non-profit and municipal service groups. Frank has been studying Italian at the School for the past 5 years. He enjoys the challenge of learning a new language and the friendship of his classmates. He and his wife, Nancy, have traveled extensively. While preparing for their travels, they enjoy learning the history, literature and culture of the places they visit. They continue to communicate with friends whom they`ve met in Germany, Ireland and Spain. Frank and Nancy relocated to Maine to be near their daughter and grandchildren who live in Bangor.

Christiana Adams

Christiana Adams has years of experience directing and conducting instruction in business communications and executive skills. She has facilitated workshops on effective meetings, presentations, interviewing and human resource management. She has recruited, lead and managed English language instructors for Airbus in both Nantes and St. Nazaire, France. Ms. Adams is a certified teacher of English as a Foreign Language.

    Clovis Anjard

    Clovis Anjard is a native of Normandy, France and grew up on the French island of Reunion, near Madagascar. He loves sharing his experience of French multiculturalism through personal anecdotes as well as regional customs and recipes. In addition to instructing at Penobscot Language School in the past, Clovis has taught French in middle school, high school, and at the University of Georgia.  Clovis and his family enjoy the outdoors.

      João Bentes

      João Bentes is from Setúbal, Portugal. He studied architecture in Lisbon and later earned his masters degree. João has since worked and lived in Italy, The Netherlands and Germany. He served as a bike messenger, radio broadcaster, and editor and reporter. He speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian and a bit of French and is pursuing his love of boats while residing in Maine.

        Silvia Carrier

        Born and raised in Germany, Silvia received her college degree in architecture in Dortmund, Germany and practiced architecture both in Germany and the United States before pursuing and receiving a teaching certification in German and Art. Silvia has taught various levels of German to students and adults. She travels to Germany and Italy regularly to visit family.

          Sachiko Clough

          Sachiko Clough is originally from Osaka. B.A. German, Kyoto University of Foreign Language Studies. She is a certified Japanese language teacher and also holds licenses in Ikebana and Japanese tea ceremony.  In addition to her work at Penobscot Language School, Sachiko currently teachers in RSU 2.

            Leslie Fillnow

            Leslie’s love for Italy started in the kitchen where her Italian grandmother rolled meatballs and made soppressatta (dried sausage). Grapes were harvested in the family wine cellar while a separate cellar housed hanging cheeses and cured meats. Leslie travels annually to Italy. She continues her studies at Penobscot Language School, has hosted English Immersion students, and teaches Italian Cooking and Conversation.

              Lee Humphreys

              Lee Humphreys studied English as a Second Language at the Boston Language Institute. She holds degrees in Music and Environmental Policy. Lee previously taught English at the Center for Language and Ecotours of Patzcuaro in Mexico.  She has worked as an environmental educator, taught flute and chamber music, and served as a member of orchestras worldwide. She enjoys hiking, music, reading and meeting foreigners.

                Kathy Klug

                Kathy has 16+over teaching experience in elementary and middle school. She holds a Bachelors in Education/ Biology and earned her English as a Second Language certification at Rider University. Kathy currently teaches ESL in Princeton, NJ and serves as an independent ESL contractor.  Kathy believes in building confidence in her students.  When not teaching, she enjoys cooking, traveling and keeping fit at the gym.

                  Nadia Margolis

                  Nadia Margolis was born in France, raised in the US and educated in the US and in France during college (B. A. at U of NH, U of Dijon) and graduate school (Ph.D. at Stanford, U. of Paris). She traveled to France for research and to give lectures/ papers on medieval French literature and on Joan of Arc. Nadia has taught all levels and centuries of French language and literature and cultural history, and is retired from Mount Holyoke.

                    Eleonora Mella

                    Eleonora Mella taught all levels of Italian at Penobscot Language School in 2012-13 and has recently taught at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. She studied foreign languages at the University of Padova and can speak English, German and basic Spanish and Norwegian.

                      Elizabeth Mendoza

                      A native of Mexico City, Elizabeth Mendoza lived in several parts of her country prior to moving to the United States. While in Mexico, she earned her degree in Business Administration and went on to teach Spanish in grades K-4, English to preschoolers and Spanish, History and Math to high school students. Elizabeth believes in learning by doing and is pleased to bring her creative energy to her work with children.

                        Antonella Mineo

                        Antonella Mineo

                        Antonella was a student at the Paolo Borsellino Culinary Institute in Palermo, Italy.  She and her family recently moved to Belfast.  Antonella is excited to share her love of Italian cooking and culture with interested others.

                          Erika Nessi

                          Erika Nessi

                          Erika joins us from Lecco in Northern Italy. She brings with her experience in teaching Italian as a second language, and her knowledge of English language, translation and literature. Erika earned both her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees at Ca' Foscari University in Venice with a focus on European, American and Postcolonial languages and literature.  She enjoys motivating student learning through the use of drama.

                            Alain Ollier

                            Alain Ollier has recently relocated from Paris to Midcoast Maine. His interests include physical therapy, organic gardening and hockey. Alain has traveled extensively and is excited to share the language and culture of his homeland.

                              Owen Page

                              Owen is originally from Normandy, France and moved to the Washington D.C. area at the age of twelve where he attended a French school. He then attended McGill University in Montreal where he served as a teaching assistant and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Owen is currently at the Apprenticeshop in Rockland and looks forward to teaching the language of his native country.

                                Adrián Arias Palomo

                                Adrián was born and grew up in Cuenca, Spain. He studied Law and Business in Madrid and then worked there as an auditor and budget manager before moving to the US. He lived in Boston for three years, where he taught Spanish to adults and teenagers. He now lives in Veazie, Maine with his wife and their three sons, where he enjoys the outdoors and painting.

                                  Joellenne Silver

                                  Joellenne was born and raised in the Caribbean on the island of Puerto Rico. Later, she moved to Spain where she earned a master’s degree in Film Direction. She currently resides in Maine, which has proven to be a quiet but compelling place to write and develop personal projects. She has taught film and photo workshops in Barcelona and worked at the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport.

                                    William Smith

                                    Billy Smith's family goes back to the Spanish explorer, Cabeza de Vaca.  He travels to República Dominicana each year to visit with relatives.  Billy considers being bilingual a practice that is continually evolving. He holds the Diploma en Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE) from the Ministry of Education of Spain. In his teaching, Billy assists students to become clear and accurate speakers.

                                      Margot Stiassni-Sieracki

                                      Margot Stiassni-Sieracki holds degrees in French from Williams College and Stanford University. Her 20+ years of teaching of French to adults and children include using music, dramatic role play and immersion techniques. Margot strives to help her students actively experience French and Francophone cultures. She brings fresh ideas back from her recent summer travels in France and Quebec. (Not teaching Fall, 2017)

                                        Ewa Stinton

                                        Ewa Swinton

                                        Ewa Swinton graduated from the University of Cracow with specializations in cartography and land surveying. She holds an advanced degree in engineering. Ewa is fluent in English and has studied French, German and Russian as well. She now resides locally and works in the accounting field.