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.

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 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 RackliffScott Rackliff, Treasurer
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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.

Sophie Romana, President & Acting Executive Director
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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 AustinAmanda Austin
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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 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.

Alain Balseiro

Alain Balseiro

Alain Balseiro was born in France, and received his education there, obtaining a Ph.D in Information Science and Communication Science at the University of Paris XIII, Sorbonne Paris Cité.  He also has roots in Portuguese culture (Lisbon). So, he’s a native speaker of both French and Portuguese. He loves teaching both and sharing the wonderful and rich cultures he grew up with. Since he is based in Boston where he runs a tech company, he will be teaching remotely via Skype!

    Sara Boi

    My name is Sara and I am from Rome, Italy. For the last 4 years I have been teaching Italian language to students in a top 3 Pontifical University in Rome, Italy. I was born in Rome, Italy and graduated with honors from the University of Rome, La Sapienza, with a degree in Asian Studies and Cultures. I hold a Master in Teaching Italian Language: Didactic Methods and Techniques. I also have Ditals II, Teaching Italian as a Foreign language Certification. After a teacher training at Dilit International House, in 2015, in Rome, I started to adopt a fully communicative approach to the teaching of Italian, and the approach is being up-dated all the time. During my class language is never presented out of context; and grammar, phonology, lexis and all other features of actual language use in everyday situations are analyzed. I’m an enthusiastic Italian teacher dedicated to creating an enjoyable, inviting and dynamic learning atmosphere. Implements traditional and innovative methods to motivate students to learn the Italian language and understand Italian culture. I love travelling and my love for other countries lead me to Japan where I lived for almost one-year teaching Italian to Japanese adults by videoconference. The experience was fascinated and it widened my own horizon allowing me to improve the relationship between people of diverse cultures, languages and backgrounds. I spent almost one year in the United States, mastering the knowledge of English language studying at the University of Arkansas. It was a great experience that gave me the chance to work for Study Tours Company, as Educational Tour Leader in Dublin. I’m a food and art lover.

      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.

          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.

            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

              Experienced Instructor, Owen Page, who grew up in Brittany, France. After studying engineering in Montreal, Owen came to Maine to dive into wooden boat-building and sailing. He is excited to share his love of the French language and culture at all levels!

                Evalina Santaguida

                Evalina Santaguida has her own Italian Language School in Orvieto (in the beautiful region of Umbria) where she has developed an innovative and creative method to teach Italian to foreign students of all levels. Students are guided along a path that leads them to learn Italian by using teaching aids such as video clips, oral understanding, role play, games related to some specific themes in Italian culture: cuisine, cinema, music, art. The atmosphere is always warm and relaxed as student enjoyment is her priority in the learning process. So not only will students acquire solid grammar and language concepts with her method but they will also develop a strong link between theory and practice to learn the language in the best possible way.

                  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.

                    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.

                      Nanfei Wang

                      Born in the Tonghua City, Jilin Province, People's Republic of China, Nanfei is a trained artist with a fine arts degree from Northeast Normal University, Changchun, Jilin, and a MFA in painting, drawing and sculpture from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Nanfei has taught at Penosbcot Language School for several years and was recently an instructor at the school's Culture Camp for Kids.