Meet Our Team

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At Explore English, you will find our English teachers are supportive and culturally sensitive. Many of them have travelled the world and therefore have the knowledge of really making our students feel safe while they learn English in Melbourne. Our operations staff are dedicated to positive learning outcomes and love what they do. Please read the below profiles to learn more about us!

ANDREW HOOPER

ACADEMIC MANAGER

Andrew joins Explore English after successfully managing a handful of ELICOS schools across Melbourne and Adelaide. He has also come to us after starting-up and running an English school in Japan where he called his home for 2-years. Andrew has taught overseas as well as travelled through majority of North America, South-East Asia and Europe, giving him the exposure to people and their cultures from all over the world.   

He holds a Bachelor’s degree, a CELTA, an International Diploma of Language Teaching Management and a Certificate IV in Frontline Management making him the perfect fit for this new role. Andrew has over 10 years of Educational Management experience and has not only managed and taught in other schools, but also lived abroad. Andrew’s main goal is to help students achieve their educational goals and understand their individual requirements and is a strong believer in the “open-door policy.”

Our Office Team

RYAN PEARSON

ACADEMIC LEADER

Though born and raised in Australia, Ryan has travelled extensively throughout North America, the Caribbean, Europe and the South Pacific additionally living abroad in the French-Canadian city of Montreal. He offers a unique take on Australian life and culture, compared with his knowledge of other languages, customs and cultures. Ryan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and a Certificate IV in TESOL, further allowing him to teach his native tongue to all walks of life. Moreover, he has taught all levels of General English, IELTS and Academic English courses, has learned French as a second language and personally sat the IELTS. With this experience he is able to provide personalised tips on studying, given he can relate to and fully appreciate the challenges his students are going through in learning English as a second language.

GEMMA PIGOTT

EXPLORE CAFE MANAGER

Working in the coffee industry has helped Gemma develop strong communication skills and cultivate an effective ability to lead, mentor and educate others. She is always striving to bring 100% to her work and this passion infused with her love of coffee, lead her to opening Explore Coffee in May 2017. Explore English and MCIE brought Gemma on board to help teach their students how to make coffee in a safe, funky environment with an overall goal of helping the students gain jobs in the Melbourne hospitality workforce.

LAURA SEPULVEDA

REGIONAL BUSINESS EXECUTIVE

Laura came to Australia for the first time in 2016. Originally from Colombia, she started off as an international student at La Trobe University, where she completed a Masters Degree in Business. As a previous student herself, she understands the challenges of moving to a new country, learning a new language and adapting to the culture. Because of this, she is able to connect well with students and is always happy to help them have a great, educational experience.

She absolutely loves the multicultural environment of Melbourne and hopes to continue developing her career further and learning more about the education industry.

CHIRLANE LIMA

REGIONAL BUSINESS EXECUTIVE

Chirlane came to Australia in 2016 from Brazil to study English. She chose Melbourne because of its multicultural environment!   Chirlane has experience in International Hotels & Resorts and has worked in International education previously in her home country. As she was an International Student before, she finds it easy to connect to our students and understands some of the difficulties they experience. She is a very energetic, positive and easy going person, with a strong sense of responsibility. She loves to work and learn from people of different nationalities.

One of her hobbies is wine tasting. In fact, she believes that choosing the right school is like choosing what wine to drink. You have to taste it first and if you like it, you will invest!

MIO KUNIZAKI-ORTEGA

STUDENT SUPPORT

Our new Front of House and Student Support is Japanese. Mio graduated University in New York City, having studied Studio Art as a major and Comparative Literature as a sub major. She worked as an Illustrator and a Graphic Designer for the fashion industry for several years, creating visuals and branding for a fast-paced industry. Mio came to Australia in 2013 with her family and started to work as an education consultant at a Japanese agency in the CBD and through that job is how she happened to find Explore English! Now, Mio is here to help out all of our EE students!

DECHEN MORISCO

STUDENT WELFARE CO-ORDINATOR

Dechen is an Italian who was born and grew up in the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, moving to Australia in 1999. Having lived in a few different countries, she is able to draw from her personal and professional experience in working in multicultural settings. Dechen has four years experience working as a teacher in an Islamic school, and four additional years in social work, mental health, and counseling. Dechen’s demeanor immediately puts people at ease, in welcoming new students and supporting them to achieve their personal and academic goals. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Psychology, a Graduate Diploma of Education, and a Masters of Mental Health specializing in Art Therapy. She is very passionate about our student’s welfare and advocacy.

Our English Teachers

LEENA GIFFORD

LEAD TEACHER

After Leena graduated from University in America, she moved straight to South Korea to begin her ESL teaching career. Spending two years there, she craved more knowledge of language from other cultures, which landed her teaching in New Zealand for a year. Shortly after, Australia was calling out to Leena with open arms and she couldn’t be happier to teach English in such a diverse environment!

 With about 4 years of ESL experience and 8 years of teaching experience total, she is knowledgeable to teach students of all ages, backgrounds and levels. When Leena isn’t teaching, she is exploring, learning and most likely dancing.

DANIEL MCEVOY

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHER

Daniel is a qualified teacher of English as a Second Language. His two Bachelor degrees has also qualified him to teach art and design. His approach to teaching English to international students involves connectivity and interaction.  Daniel loves to use a digital platform in the classroom so don’t be surprised if the first thing he says when you walk in his room is “switch on your smart device”. Using the technology of tomorrow to connect with his students is something that is prominent in Daniel’s classroom. Students receive traditional communicative teaching methodologies but also test and practice English using ipads, mobile phones and other technology. In his free time, Daniel likes to paint portraits and dabble with an array of graphic design projects.

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DANIEL ARNOLD

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHER

Daniel is an experienced Canadian English teacher with extensive training. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics with a minor in Anthropology from the University of Ottawa. He also has two graduate certificates, one in Teachers’ of English as a Second/Foreign Language (TESFL) and Technical Writing also from Algonquin College in Ottawa. He has taught English in France, Canada and China. He speaks English, French and Mandarin Chinese. Through teaching in a variety of countries Daniel understands how different people learn and understand differently.

He comes from a small village of 100 people and knows the culture shock of living in a big city for the first time. When he can, Daniel loves exploring new cultures and has an insatiable curiosity for learning new things. His favourite thing to do is to explore the hidden gems in a culture. He also tries to impart a little bit of English language culture to all his students.

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KAREEM KABEEL

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHER

Kareem is a qualified English teacher with global experience. He has a Bachelor and a Master’s degree (Education Management Leadership) and loves to connect to people of all backgrounds.  As he is a non-native English speaker himself, (he speaks 3 languages), he really connects to his students and understands the best methods of improving their confidence in English.

He brings teaching energy and passion to classroom and students enjoy every minute they spend with him. Kareem says that when students finally grasp the concept of the English language and have a smile on their face, that is when he knows he has really connected. Kareem has taught General English, and English as an Additional language.  To his credit, Kareem also had the privilege of teaching a small local tribe in Egypt, which he says gave him that extra understanding of how people learn a new language.

Kareem’s lessons are full of life, energy and very interactive.

DIANA STEPCZUK

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHER

Diana is a Canadian university graduate and holds teaching qualifications in English as a second and foreign language. Her background as a teacher ranges from adults and to children of various ages.  She has worked in Sydney, Busan and Korea and brings a wealth of experience to Explore English.  Diana also spent time studying in L’viv, Ukraine and has gained valuable knowledge of international cultures.  Through her extensive travels, Diana has gained an understanding of the challenges our students might face when living and working in a foreign country.

In the classroom, Diana advocates a learner centred and communicative approach to teaching.  She designs learning activities that require students to be active in class and strives to make textbook content more personally meaningful for her students.

ALBIE DE SOUSA

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHER

Albie is a qualified English teacher who grew up in Australia and lived in Japan and Papua New Guinea. His first experience of teaching was as a volunteer English tutor for children from Africa and South-East Asia. Albie found it so enjoyable that he decided to become a teacher. He not only graduated with the Cambridge CELTA but also has a Bachelor of Arts, from the University of Melbourne, where he majored in English and History and a Diploma of Languages in French language and culture.

He was inspired by his own teachers at high school who taught him the importance of passing on their passion and knowledge to their students. From a young age, Albie was fascinated by the structure of language and the way that people use language to express meaning. He understands the process of learning foreign languages and how to help learners to overcome the challenges. Outside of the classroom, he enjoys football (soccer), reading and travelling.

JULIA ZANON

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHER

Julia is one of the newest additions to our 2019 teaching team! She originally comes from Canada where she obtained her Bachelor of Commerce degree with a specialization in Business Management at the University of Ottawa as well as her TESOL Certification. In 2016 she moved to Italy to pursue teaching English as a second language and even speaks English, French, and Italian.

Before moving to Melbourne she spent over 3 months backpacking in South-East Asia, exploring new countries, foods, religions and meeting all kinds of amazing people from around the world. Throughout her teaching experiences she has realized how important it is to build trust and embrace the unique qualities that each student brings to the classroom. She shares an immense joy knowing that at the end of the day, little or big, her students have taken a step forward on their individual learning paths and are starting to realize that the number of opportunities for them to be successful and accomplish great things in life are simply LIMITLESS!

NIKOLAI HALAY

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHER

Nikolai (Nick) grew up 2 hours west of Sydney in the Blue Mountains. Curious about the world outside his small little town, Nick convinced his parents to send him on an exchange programme to live in Chile, South America for a year during high school. This would trigger an ongoing decades-long love affair (and eventual marriage and kids) with this faraway land, leading to 4 years of teaching English in the city of Santiago.

Nick majored in Linguistics in the University of Sydney and gained a Graduate Diploma in TESOL from the University of Canberra.  He has worked in a variety of English language learning scenarios, teaching a large range of learners from a wide variety of backgrounds and language learning levels. Apart from working in Chile, Nick has also worked as an English Language teacher in Japan and in and around Melbourne for many years.

Nick has also delved deep into Buddhist meditation and has spent long study periods in India, Myanmar and Thailand. He is very passionate about teaching English and helping others to improve their learning skills.

ANDREW WADDELL

TESOL TEACHER TRAINER

Andrew has a Master in TESOL and Literacy, a Post Graduate Diploma in Education and a BA (20th Century History and Asian Politics. He has been teaching English for almost 20 years, working in High Schools, Universities and educational organisations around the world. Having lived and worked in China and Turkey he understands the challenges of living and working in a foreign country.

He is particularly interested in how the brain works and how people learn and builds these learning skills into all his lessons so that students can develop skills that enable them to develop important skills for life.

ERIC LADINO HERNANDEZ

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHER

Eric was born in Colombia during a time of upheaval and struggle in the country. Thankfully, his family moved to England when he was young, so he was able to swap a life of difficulties, for a life of English breakfast teas!   Growing up in London provided Eric with the ability to speak two languages, one at home and one in public. This is where his love and intrigue for language began, as he noticed how much it can shape or distinguish a person.

He earned his degree from Goldsmiths, University of London, in Media and Communications. During this time he directed documentaries discussing social issues and made a couple of short films. After his degree, Eric yearned to travel and work at the same. After spending many years teaching guitar and photography, he completed a TESOL course and began his journey as an ELICOS teacher. Eric is a massive Bruce Springsteen fan and a huge film buff. He has also met and hung out with a few famous rock bands in his time!

He has lived in Melbourne since February and so far, he is loving it. One day, Eric hopes to own a husky and live by the ocean.

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PHIL MANFRINATO

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHER

Originally from Brazil, Phil migrated to Australia in the pursuit of a new life in 2011.  His teaching journey commenced in 2014 when he was in his early 20’s when he worked as a history teacher.  He slowly shifted direction and began teaching English which has been his passion ever since. Phil says that teaching irradiates from the heart and maybe this is the reason why so many of his international students connect so well to his teaching style.

Phil is fond of introducing new digital learning ideas in his classroom, but he also loves to make students think outside of the box and be critical and creative. He tries to incorporate all these elements when designing his lessons to ensure class provides a different experience for his students. Phil has a welcoming demeanour and students absolutely love being part of his class.