About Us

Founded in 1986 as a non-profit language school and center for cultural exchange, Penobscot Bay Language School has served over 6,000 locals and over 500 international students of all ages through language classes and cultural programming. Over three decades later we continue to promote our mission: To develop and provide opportunities for the people of Midcoast Maine and around the World to explore our shared experience on Earth through the study and celebration of language and culture.

Amy Ferlauto

Board President

Amy grew up in Santa Barbara, California, and San Juan, Puerto Rico and has lived in MidCoast Maine off and on since 1984, finally settling in Thomaston in 2002.  She has also lived in Mexico, Costa Rica and the Czech Republic, and has travelled throughout Europe, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.  She attended the University of California, Santa Cruz and has a BA in Community Studies.  She has worked at Camden Hills Regional High School as a Spanish Teacher since 2007.  Prior to teaching at CHRHS, Amy was a social worker, working with immigrant families and gang affiliated youth in Santa Barbara, and homeless youth in Rockland.  She is continuing to study Italian, and has also studied Portuguese.  She is passionate about language learning, teaching and introducing the world to her students.

Amy has a daughter, Isabel, who is a 2019 graduate of Oceanside High School.  During the 2015-2016 school year Amy took a leave of absence from her job to live in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico with Isabel, who is half Mexican.  Amy wanted to give Isabel the opportunity to learn about Mexican culture and to get to know her heritage and her Mexican side of the family.  While her daughter attended the local high school as a ninth grader, Amy taught at a language school, Cornerstone Idiomas, giving Spanish lessons to foreigners living in Barra.  Additionally, she gave English lessons to locals, and ran a group for teenagers called, “Todos somos americanos” (We Are All Americans).

Amy has been connected to the Penobscot School since 1992 when she first took an Italian class.  She has been the coordinator of two weekend Spanish Immersions at the school, and has volunteered with many other Spanish Immersions as well, including “Español en el bosque” at Tanglewood.  She is excited to be a new board member and to contribute to a school that has been such an integral part of our community for so many years.

    Dámaris Mayans

    Dámaris Mayans grew up in Alicante, a touristic Mediterranean city, and the southernmost Catalan-Spanish bilingual area in the eastern coast of Spain. Growing up bilingual and in contact with many other European and northern African languages and cultures instilled in her a profound interest to study languages. She started studying German at an early age and later became interest in learning English. English, being a lingua franca for international communication, sparked her interest and she decided to move to Ireland where she lived for a year in order to improve her communication skills in English. Once she returned to Spain, she pursued a B.A in English Philology at the University of Alicante, Spain, spending her last year as an exchange student at Wilfried Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada. In 2009, Dámaris was accepted at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois,  in the Master´s Degree program where she taught Spanish for 2 years and earned her M.A. in Spanish Linguistics along with a Certificate in Translation Studies. In 2011, she moved to Gainesville, Florida, where she completed her Ph. D in Spanish Linguistics and taught Spanish language and content courses as well as Linguistics courses for 7 years. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Colby College where she has taught Spanish language courses, a pronunciation lab, Spanish for medical purposes and Spanish for heritage speakers. Her research interests are heritage speakers of Spanish, bilingual acquisition, language contact and language processing. Her personal interests are travelling, cycling, water sports and anything outdoors far away from her computer.

      Laura Small-VanScoten

      Laura grew up in Maine completing K-8 in Aroostook County near the Canadian border, and attended Mount View High School in Thorndike where she discovered the German language, and her life-long love affair with language and culture began. Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wheaton College (Norton, MA) with a double-major in German and International Relations, and spent her junior year abroad studying at Marburg University in Germany. While in Europe she had the opportunity to travel to various cities in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Denmark.
      After working in a couple of different jobs she discovered the Localization industry in 2007 where she has built a solid career in supporting clients with their translation and localization needs. Currently, she is a Senior Account Manager for a global company with headquarters in Krakow, Poland.
      Laura recently moved home to midcoast Maine settling in the lovely village of Damariscotta after spending 18 years in sunny Colorado. While she misses the sun, she's very happy to be closer to family and the water. When not working Laura chases after her very active toddler, spends time with family and friends, and daydreams about her next international adventure. She also loves to be at the beach, read, cook, and cuddle with her cat.
        Laura Shaw

        Laura Shaw

        Laura grew up in Southern Maine and attended Gorham schools.  After high school, she completed her undergraduate degree at Fordham University in NYC with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.  During this time, she studied abroad for a year in Mendoza, Argentina, where she learned Spanish and discovered her love of learning about new languages and cultures.  In Argentina, she directly enrolled in and took classes at an Argentine university and lived with a host family, which allowed her to completely immerse herself in the local community.  After receiving her undergraduate degree, she attended the University of Maine School of Law and received her J.D., graduating summa cum laude.  During law school, Laura focused a great deal of her attention on immigration law, where she worked with several non-profits.  Currently, Laura is a partner at Camden Law LLP located in Camden, ME.  She has a diverse law practice and takes on cases in the areas of criminal law, general civil litigation, immigration law, appellate law, and family law.  In her free time, Laura enjoys running, yoga, reading, and traveling.

          Penny Dunning

          Penny has a long history of international and intercultural exchange. As a senior in high school her family hosted an exchange student, a young lady from Tehran, Iran, when little was known geographically or culturally of that country. Years later, Penny and her teenage daughter hosted exchange students from northern Lebanon and Brazil. She continues to be in contact with these
          "family" members

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

          In her own appreciation for international connections, Penny initiated and implemented a ten-day service trip for twenty Camden Hills High School students. The group formed lasting international relationships and contributed efforts in building Ecuador’s first high school in the rainforest. She reconnected with several of the Ecuadorean English Immersion students who welcomed and generously shared their hospitality with the student group.

          Penny has traveled to England, Scotland, Europe, Mexico, Ecuador and Thailand for both business and pleasure. An active member of her local Rotary Youth Exchange Committee, she has counseled incoming and outgoing students, and local host families. Penny continues to support education and entrepreneurial development in Ecuador through the Yachana Foundation.
          Penny is grateful for the opportunities to connect with people and cultures of the world through the many offerings of Penobscot School. She has served on the school’s board for several years.

          Leslie Chavez

          Leslie has been part of a transborder lifestyle since childhood. She was born in San Diego, California but raised between the San Diego, California and the Tijuana, Mexico border. She has focused on the Romance Languages of Italian, Spanish, and French independently and trans-culturally for a total of 8 years at Cal State University, Long Beach, Campus L’Infinito found in Recanati, Italy and Scuola Leonardo da Vinci’s Rome location. She holds a Masters of Arts in Italian Studies and a double Bachelor of Arts in French & Francophone Studies and Italian Studies. She taught Italian and Spanish at CSULB as a Teacher Associate and has recently begun involving herself more in tutoring, translation and interpreting projects. Therefore, learning languages, connecting languages and applying different teaching methodologies are not only a part of a career path, but a bucket of hobbies. When tending to her mental and physical health, she practices yoga, explores coffee shops, galleries, landmarks, abandoned cultural marks, hikes, journals, travels and spends time with her loved ones. Exploring serves her curiosity of discovering what is beyond a routinely comfort zone. While traveling allows her to emerge herself in any given country’s language and culture, and has broadened her perspective on the importance of placing others' norms and customs in consideration during any given time, place, or situation.

            Carlos Guerra

            Carlos is from Colombia, South America. He moved to the US five years ago and currently lives in Myrtle Beach, SC. He is very passionate about teaching, especially when he can be instrumental in helping someone master the art of speaking a new language. After earning a college degree, Carlos started teaching ESL in high school and at a University in Barranquilla, Colombia. He became a Language and Culture Facilitator for the Peace Corps where he was responsible for improving Spanish for the volunteers, and at the same time enriched their experience by exposing them to Colombian culture. After four years of working with the Peace Corps, he decided to come to the USA to work as a High School Spanish teacher. Most recently, he has created content for a Youtube Channel with the goals of helping a wider range of students improve their Spanish. His personal interests include fitness and nutrition, and he is a Certified Zumba Instructor. Carlos loves being at the beach and has two cats.

              Camille Socarras

              Camille earned her BA and MA from the University of Iowa, focusing her studies on French and Francophone language, literature, and culture. She was raised bilingually speaking Spanish and English and was drawn to all things French from a young age. She has taught a wide range of ages and levels - young elementary school through early graduate-level - and was as surprised as anyone at how much she loves to teach. Camille is currently pursuing a PhD from Florida International University in Global and Sociocultural Studies which allows her to explore the intersections of her many interests.

                Jackie Sorci

                Jackie is from Central New York and currently lives in a small town outside of Syracuse, NY with her family. She is of Italian descent and because of her family’s heritage, she has a passion for the Italian language and culture. She studied Spanish and French in high school but had to study Italian on her own as it was not offered in school. Once a student at Syracuse University she began her Italian studies, graduating with a dual major in Italian Language and Literature and Religion. During her undergraduate career, she was offered a job by her mentor/professor to teach Italian in the SU Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Department where she has been for over 20 years. She has a Master’s Degree in Romance Studies (Italian / Spanish Language and Literature), and studied at Middlebury College Language Schools pursuing a Doctorate in Modern Languages (Italian and Spanish). Jackie is fluent in English, Italian, and Spanish and has traveled extensively throughout Europe, lived and studied abroad in Florence, Italy, and travels to Italy often to see friends and family. She has a passion for learning as well as teaching and loves passing that excitement on to her students. Jackie teaches all levels of Italian from beginner to advanced at Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College, and currently serves as Vice President of ITACNY (Italian Teachers of Central New York).

                  Guillaume Hospod

                  Guillaume grew up in Paris, France and moved to the US after graduating with a MBA from a French business school and the University of Vermont.
                  He gained experience as a language teacher at the Mt. Mansfield Winter Academy in Stowe, VT but also with retired individuals looking to improve their vocabulary and speaking skills.
                  In France he taught English to college students and professionals preparing for technical certifications. He previously worked as journalist in Copenhagen, international PR account executive in Paris and more recently as a procurement manager in the Midcoast. In his spare time Guillaume enjoys hiking and reading about ancient history and geopolitics.

                    Irene A. Marchenay

                    Irene is a native French speaker, born and raised in Paris until the age of 12, her family settled later in Savoie, where she discovered her love of nature. Lycée in Chambéry and University in Lyon. She came to the USA as a young adult to further her studies. She received a Bachelor of Science in Education and French from Elmira College and a Masters in Literature from Cornell University. She has taught French at Cornell University before moving to Maine where she taught at the University of Southern Maine until she switched gears and started to teach at the high school level. She is a past president of the American Association of Teacher of French, past president of the Foreign Language Association of Maine, and a National Board Certified teacher. She loves to share her passion for travelling with young students as well as adults and has taken groups to Quebec, Martinique and of course France. 20 trips to date! Irene is now retired after 40 years of teaching full time but is not done yet sharing her love of the French language. She has two very athletique grown children, two adorable grand-children and lives in Edgecomb, Maine with her husband and a cat.

                      Clovis Anjard

                      Clovis Anjard is from Normandy, France and moved to the French island of Reunion when he was 10 years old. He earned a B.A. in English and a Master's degree in intercultural studies with a focus on English and American studies, then participated in a teach abroad program that led him to Penobscot Language School 10 years ago.  Clovis was an instructor at the University of Georgia for two years, and has since moved back to the midcoast. Outside of the classroom and work, he enjoys hiking, camping, and cooking foods from all horizons.

                        Nayara Carrilho

                        Nayara is a journalist, actress, TV & Cinema producer, mother, and is passionate about teaching the Portuguese language. Born in the state of Rio de Janeiro where she studied journalism and performing arts, she also worked as a reporter for some newscasts in Rio. She worked as a Marketing Analyst at a German company, where she had the opportunity to live in Hong Kong for 4 months, and travel to Thailand, Italy, Colombia and other countries with the purpose of assisting her co-workers in communicating English to Portuguese and vice versa. Nayara lives with her family in California, in the United States for 6 years. She is excited to join the team at Penobscot Language School to teach Portuguese language and Brazilian culture!

                          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.

                              Stephanie De La Hoz

                              Stephanie De La Hoz was born in the Philippines and fluently speaks English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Tagalog. Stephanie earned a Bachelor’s Degree at Florida International University with a Major in Spanish Education and a Minor in Italian. She studied abroad in Italy and upon graduation she became a high school teacher for both languages (Spanish/Italian). Later on she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia where she trained English teachers in methodology and best practices. She possesses a professional teaching certificate in Spanish, Italian, and ESOL and currently lives in Tampa with her husband and daughter.

                                Anna Mordik

                                Anna was born and raised in Russia where she studied the English and Korean languages at the Kazan Federal University. Anna has traveled to almost all of Europe, Eastern Asia and Ukraine. During college she spent a semester in Korea studying a diverse culture and language. Anna been in the United States since early 2019 where she fell in love and got married. She has been immersed into American culture and is looking forward to learn more about it. She a happy outgoing person who loves to help others and teach.

                                  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.

                                    Silvia Senosk

                                    Silvia Senosk is a French and Spanish instructor and interpreter. A venturesome spirit, originally from Mexico City, she has traveled extensively throughout Mexico, the US, and numerous other countries, honing her linguistic skills and eventually settling in Burgundy (France) in 2017 for work and studies. She holds a bachelor's degree in Translation & Interpreting at Universidad Tecnologica Americana in Mexico City and a DELF (Diplôme d'études en langue française) certificate. When she is not working with students at Penobscot Language School she enjoys dancing salsa, doing yoga, watching horror movies, going to museums and attending concerts and events. She has been living in Maine since 2019.

                                      Nadia Smith

                                      Despite being a Maine native, Nadia Smith has been speaking French with near fluency from a young age.  Her two younger brothers and father are from Caen, France, and having to communicate only in French with her monolingual brothers has shaped her precise pronunciation. She has furthered her fluency in French by spending summers in Caen with her family for several years, working as an au pair for children in Tours, France, and regularly visiting family in Normandie for holidays.  She previously taught English as an ESL teacher in Tours, France, where she was able to develop her teaching skills. Nadia also speaks fluent German and studied at Goethe Intitut auf München in Munich, Germany.

                                        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.

                                          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.

                                            Jared McCannell – Executive Director

                                            Jared McCannell, CVA is a career nonprofit professional who brings expertise in both Volunteer Management and Fundraising to the board of Penobscot Language School. He studied language and culture in college and completed a BA degree in Spanish at San Diego State University. Jared first developed an interest in intercultural exchange participating in a host family program at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, Maine where he attended high school and met lifelong friends from all over the world and across the US. Jared has traveled, worked and studied extensively in Spain and aspires to complete the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage someday.