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.
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 Camden. Aside from work, Bob studies Italian and finds that learning the language of other countries helps him to better understand various cultures and peoples.
Scott Rackliff, Treasurer
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.
Sophie Romana, President & Acting Executive Director
Sophie Marie Romana joined the Board in November 2018. A native of France she shares the school’s passion for foreign languages, culture, cooking, travelling and reading. She is a graduate of the Sorbonne in Paris (with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in international and public law) as well as from Columbia Business School (MBA, 2008) Her career in international development and non-profit management has taken her to many countries, where she always tries to pick up a few words. She dreams of a day when we are all born with all the languages already “uploaded” in our brains – in the meantime, we’ll have to learn the hard way, sitting in class! Sophie was born and raised in Paris, France in a multicultural family as her mother called Cincinnati home, while her father was French. Sophie and her husband James moved to the mid-Coast in 2017, in Camden, to sail more, make new friends, enjoy the incredible beauty of their new adoptive state. She comes often to school with her chocolate Labrador, Castine who, like her, enjoys nothing more than making new friends.
Amanda Robertson 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 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.