Meet our Instructors in the English Language Learner Department


    Patricia earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies and an M.A. in Education from Cal State University, Fresno. She grew up in a rural farming community in the San Joaquin Valley. Dance was her favorite extra-curricular activity in her youth. She spent many of her childhood summers living with relatives in Mexico. Before relocating to the Bay Area, she enjoyed her position as a community college guidance counselor. Her hobbies include sailing, sewing, and dancing. Teaching adults the English language is a very fulfilling part of her life, so she considers herself fortunate to have the opportunity to work with English Language Learners.


    Kathy is a native of the Bay Area, born and raised in Berkeley and has lived in Oakland for the past 47 years. She has two sons and two teenage grandchildren, both of whom are fluent in Mandarin. Kathy has had careers in banking, non-profit work, and now teaching ELL for the past 15 years. This work combines her love of meeting and helping people from all over the world. Kathy loves to travel and is eager to know her students and learn more about their home countries.


    Dr. Elinor "Ellie" Fisher has taught ELL at every level from Low Beginning to Advanced for more than 25 years and U.S. Citizenship for more than 20 years at Acalanes Adult Education. Raised in New York City, a ballerina with George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet (now American Ballet Theater) and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Ellie earned her B.F.A. and Master of Education at Boston University and later her Ph.D. at the Wright Institute. She retired as Chief Psychologist of Contra Costa Medical Center in 1992, changing careers and completing her certification students in ELL at U.C. Berkeley before joining the Acalanes Adult Education staff. She has been honored with the "Excellence in Teaching" and "Teacher of the Year" awards by the California Council for Adult Education.



    I began learning English in pre-school and went to an International American High School in Iran. I came to the United States for university and received a BS in Business Administration and a Master's in Urban Planning from Boston University. After a few years, I settled in California and worked in real estate for awhile. I later earned an MS in Architecture from UC Berkeley. Needless to say, I love learning. I began volunteer teaching at different schools while my son was growing up and started teaching English to Afghani Elders in Fremont about 12 years ago, as well as to adult students at Next Step Learning Center in Oakland a few years after that. About seven years ago, I began teaching IEC and that is when I decided to go back to school again and earned a TESOL certificate in teaching English from UC Berkeley. I joined Diablo Valley College in September, 2017 as a supplemental instructor. I love working with adult international students, enjoy seeing their progress, and love learning from all their unique backgrounds and experiences. In my spare time, I exercise, meditate, and travel. I look forward to meeting my English Language Learners and having a fun and fruitful class experience.

  • C.K. LEUNG

    CK is a Chinese-American and has been an English teacher for more than fourteen years. He is a state-certified instructor in English as a Second Language. He received his bachelor's degree in Political Economy at UC Berkeley.


    Teaching English is CK's second career after he retired from Bank of America many years ago. CK and his family came to the United States in 1991 and he understands how challenging it is to be an immigrant in the country. He is passionate about helping the students and is very grateful to have the opportunity to share his work and life experience with everyone in his classroom.


    For the past twelve years, Kathy has taught ELL at Acalanes Adult Education at the beginning and intermediate levels. After studying Russian, Italian, French, and Spanish at the University of Washington and receiving her degree, she joined the airline industry. Having traveled to nearly 100 countries and with a career as an international marketing and sales manager for Thai Airways, Air India, Icelandic, and Mexicana, she has also translated and written content for foreign hotel groups, travel books, and tour operators. She has written and taught training courses for the airline and tourism industries, her passion for languages, teaching, and worldwide cultures have all contributed to her enthusiasm for teaching ELL. She understands the trepidation that having to learn a second language can cause when having to survive and work in another country.


    I love being in school, learning different things, teaching adults, and teaching English! I have a B.A. in English, TESL certification, and an M.A. in TESL. I started teaching high school English but transitioned to teaching adult ELLs about 12 years ago. I live in Orinda with mom, my middle sister and her husband, and our dog Olive (a Yorkshire Terrier). I enjoy watching British TV shows, international detective series, The Amazing Race, and most everything on PBS. In my free time, I like to read, travel, and surf the internet. I look forward to working with all of you and helping you improve your English!


    Aase (pronounced OC) Schoen grew up on a farm in Denmark. The village had 1 teacher and 40 students, where Aase attended school every second day for 7 years. School ended for everyone when they were 14 years old. Aase begged her father to let her continue school in the big city and her father eventually agreed. Aase loved studying sciences, but her English teacher told her, "You will never learn English."


    Aase started traveling to nearby countries and today, she has lived in or visited 86 countries. After she became a teacher in Denmark, she immigrated to America. She studied Sociology at UC Berkeley, taught math and science at Berkeley and Acalanes High Schools. The last 14 years, she has taught ELL at Acalanes Adult Education. She has enjoyed teaching all these years, but never has she enjoyed the students as much as right here at Acalanes Adult Education.