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We are currently offering in-person and on-line language courses. We'd love to learn more about your language-learning goals.


Kim Andersen

Founder, Director, Spanish and English Instructor

In 2003, Kim took a “brief” hiatus from teaching public school. While staying home to raise her young children, she started a Spanish language program in Ballston Spa called, Las Mariposas. What began with one adult and one children’s class per week, quickly grew to several group and private Spanish classes. Before too long, more instructors joined the team, additional languages were being offered, the school’s name changed twice, finally settling on Capital Region Language Center (CRLC), and a second location opened in Colonie. That “brief” hiatus was 19 years ago. In addition to serving as the school’s director, Kim loves to travel, garden, spend time with family and friends, walk the dog, raise chickens, read, and do yoga. She hopes that you will consider joining the CRLC family either as an instructor or a student.

Founded CRLC in 2003

Michael Delfino

Administrative Assistant

Michael Delfino grew up in New York and graduated with a degree in East Asian Studies from the University at Albany. His area of focus is in Korean and Japanese literature and cultures. Michael also studied abroad in Seoul, South Korea as well as independently studied in South Korea and Japan post-graduation. He comes from an Italian household and has tutored the Italian language to second language learners. Michael has traveled extensively in East Asia, Europe, and Central America and believes bridging cultures leads to a better tomorrow. 

Team Member since 2021

Rebecca Antonucci

German Instructor

Rebecca is an avid language learner and teacher, a Certified Medical Interpreter and Translator, whose passion is traveling, interpreting and pretty much using languages every day of her life. She loves encouraging others to take on the challenge of learning new language and culture skills and focuses on taking what you learn and getting to put it to active use. She interprets, translates and teaches French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Haitian Creole, and has experience teaching those languages as well as German, Polish, Russian, American Sign Language and Arabic. Rebecca hopes to further her own knowledge in new languages and cultures, and hopes to motivate others to dive into a new language themselves and feel confident enough to speak with native speakers.

Team member since 2020

Gloria Batista

Spanish Instructor / Spanish Storytime

Gloria Batista was raised in New York City in a Spanish-speaking household and is bilingual. Her roots are Puerto Rican and Spanish. She received a B.S. from the University at Albany in political science with a Minor in Spanish and previously worked with the New York State Department of Labor where she translated and interpreted for Spanish speaking applicants. She loves teaching the preschool and elementary Spanish classes with Capital Region Language Center and makes her classes come alive with boundless energy.

Team member since 2006

Claudia Carlos

English, French, and Spanish Instructor

As the daughter of foreign language instructors, Claudia spent parts of her childhood in both Mexico and France, and was trilingual by the time she was 12.  Later on as an adult, she also studied in Paris and in Salamanca, Spain.  Although Claudia began her teaching career as a rhetoric and writing professor specializing in early modern French rhetoric, in 2012, she decided to change the focus of her teaching to English as a Second Language.  Her professional experience since that time has included teaching intensive English courses in the Capital Region. Claudia has an M.S. in TESOL from the University at Albany (2014) as well as a Ph.D. in Rhetorical Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2005).

Team member since 2021

JH Cho

Korean Instructor

JH Cho came from South Korea with her family in 2013 for her husband’s job. It was her first time living in another country and she didn’t yet speak much English. She first found Capital Region Language Center and Empire State English as a student and took English as a Second Language classes with ESE. Now, she can communicate with friends in the U.S. and from other countries and she continues to learn English and about American culture. JH has discovered that she loves to learn and loves to teach.

Team member since 2015

Bernadette Johnson

American Sign Language Instructor

Bernadette is a child of deaf adults (CODA) and began signing with her parents before she was able to speak.  As the oldest of two children, Bernadette was often engaged in the role of an interpreter while growing up.  Bernadette has a degree in education from SUNY Geneseo and has been teaching ASL in both the community and the post-secondary education arenas. Bernadette has also worked as an ASL interpreter in the education, court, and medical systems.  Bernadette has a love for ASL and is excited to share her first language with you.

Team member since 2021

Jill Dugan

Spanish Instructor

Jill Dugan grew up in New York and graduated with a degree in Secondary Education and Spanish from SUNY at Cortland. She spent a year studying in Salamanca, Spain, and began teaching Spanish in 1978. Jill received a Master’s in Secondary Education from Albany University in 2004. While much of her experience lies in teaching middle schoolers and high school students, Jill also teaches elementary students and adults. Jill has led student trips to Mexico and Spain, has spent several summers in Argentina, and enjoys dancing, hiking, and sharing her passion for cultures with others.

Team member since 2017

Evelin Falciano

German Instructor

Evelin Falciano is a German native who relocated to the Capital Region in 2016. She is a trained German, ESL, and Philosophy teacher from the Dresden University of Technology. For 10 years she has been working with learners from all age groups and different kinds of language institutions. She loves meeting language students from all over the world, learn about their cultural background and help them to dive into new opportunities by teaching them German and English.

Team member since 2016

Nina Fleishman

English Instructor

Nina Fleishman has taught English as a Second Language in a variety of settings for more than 35 years. Prior to earning her M.S. in TESOL from SUNY Albany in 1983, she majored in French and Russian at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Nina has studied and traveled in Europe, Asia, and South America, and is fascinated by the relationship between language and culture. As an ESL teacher, she enjoys helping learners gain proficiency in English as well as an understanding of U.S. culture.

Team member since 2018

Nassra Hamid

Arabic Instructor

Nassra Hamid was born in Palestine and grew up in Jordan. She is a native Arabic speaker who has taught both children and adults in Amman and Kuwait. Her passion for teaching her mother tongue shows in her teaching. Nassra offers classes in Modern Standard Arabic and Levantine, her dialect.  She will customize her lessons to meet your needs. 

Team member since 2009

Rita Hausman

Latin and English Instructor

Rita Hausman is a NYS certified public school teacher of English with Masters degrees in Reading and English. She spends her days immersed in teaching English in fun and inspiring ways. Her love of reading and writing has helped her create engaging ESL lessons for children. A thematic, organized approach to teaching writing helps students from other countries produce papers and essays for a US audience. Rita’s commitment to the study of Latin stems from her love of the language’s powerful advantage in building grammatical and linguistic concepts. Rita understands and appreciates the importance of Latin to the English language as well as the Romance languages. In deeply enhancing the language learner in both grammar and rich vocabulary practice, Latin study offers a keen sharpening of the mind by building logical thinking skills.

Team member since 2010

Kayani Ilse

American Sign Language Instructor

Kayani Ilse’s inspiration and passion for American Sign Language began when her family adopted a deaf child. The joy she experienced learning and communicating in ASL blossomed into a deep love and respect for sign language and the deaf community. Kayani has earned both a Bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language Interpreting and a Master’s degree in Teacher Preparation with a concentration in Deaf Education. She has more than ten years of professional experience as an educational ASL interpreter. She is a credentialed K-12 teacher of the deaf. She believes learning should be fun, engaging, and authentic to each individual. Kayani is looking forward to sharing her love of ASL and deaf culture with you.

Team member since 2011

Sonya Kim

Korean Instructor

Sonya was born in the United States but raised in South Korea until she came back to the States for her graduate school. She holds a BA in History and English language & literature from Korea, and earned her MA in TESOL from the University of Pennsylvania. She volunteered teaching English, especially for adult immigrants, in a variety of settings while she was in Philadelphia. She also developed TOEFL prep books when she went back to Korea after she finished her studies in Philadelphia.  Sonya also works at Empire State English, CRLC’s sister school, as the Student Services Coordinator and a Designated School Official. 

Team member since 2019

Xuehan Liu

Growing up in an educator’s family in China, Xuehan developed her passion for teaching when she was young. She came to the United States to pursue graduate study and earned her doctorate in Language Education from Boston University in 2013. She also completed certification training in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages ( TCSOL) at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2010. Xuehan has had ten years of extensive Chinese teaching experience to learners at different levels, and in various settings including universities, language institutes, and elementary schools. She applies a learner-centered communicative approach to her teaching, creating a relaxing and cooperative environment in her classroom to make Chinese learning interesting and meaningful. Xuehan loves to share the intriguing beauty of Chinese language and culture with her students. In addition to spending time with her family, Xuehan enjoys reading, jogging, and Zumba.

Team member since 2021

James Mesiti

Spanish Instructor

An Albany native, James not only teaches Spanish but also has always been a learner of the language himself. He lived in Spain for nearly four years where he completed a master in Spanish and another in International Relations. James loves to teach because it allows him to share his passion for both the language and Hispanic culture.

Team member since 2021

Annika Nerf

German Instructor

Annika Nerf grew up in Germany, speaking German at home. She laid the foundation for her foreign languages – English, Latin, French and Spanish – in German high school. Traveling and working in different European countries have allowed her to deepen her language skills. She has lived parts of her life in Scotland and the USA, where she now lives in a bilingual household. She is working towards her PhD in English and Creative Writing at SUNY Albany. She loves connecting with her students and teaching languages, particularly her native tongue German.

Team member since 2021

Tom Nygren

English Instructor

Tom Nygren has over ten years’ experience teaching ESL in a variety of colleges and universities, most recently at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to that, he spent three years teaching English at Sunway University in Malaysia. He worked with Afghan refugees in Pakistan for two years during the 1980s (he also spent part of his childhood in Pakistan). He loves meeting new people and learning about other cultures and has traveled extensively in Africa and Southeast Asia. Tom has a Master of Education in Teaching English as a Second Language from the College of New Jersey and a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University.

Team member since 2021

Ping Qiu

Chinese and Japanese Instructor

Ping Qiu teaches Chinese and Japanese at CRLC. She is from China. She has been in the U.S. for 6 years and had lived in Japan for 11 years prior to that. She is fluent in Japanese and scored the highest possible level on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Ping has taught Japanese and has a deep understanding of Japanese Culture. She has also been teaching Chinese, her mother tongue, for more than 8 years. She has taught Chinese to adults and elementary school-aged children. She has had a wide variety of teaching experience in 3 different countries and enjoys teaching one on one or small groups.

Team member since 2020

Miriam Rogers

Spanish Instructor

Miriam Rogers is a Spanish instructor at Capital Region Language Center. Miriam Rogers is originally from Peru where she was a college-level professor. She holds a certification in Teaching Spanish, a degree in Social Sciences and a Master’s degree in English Linguistics. She has been teaching for fifteen years. Her classes are fun and full of interaction. She feels that teaching is based on creating a welcoming environment where students feel comfortable and motivated to learn a new language.

Team member since 2019

Amy Smith

American Sign Language Instructor

Amy has a love and passion for teaching and working with the Deaf Community. She earned her Master’s Degree from Gallaudet University. She has worked as a Teacher of The Deaf for 6 years and has taught ASL to Middle and High School students for 5 years. She is a credentialed K-12 Teacher of the Deaf. Amy believes learning ASL is very exciting and enjoys sharing her love for the language with others. She looks forward to working in CRLC’s adult and children programs and sharing her passion of ASL with you.

Team member since 2020

Linda Wien

English Instructor

Linda Wien completed a CELTA degree through the University of Cambridge in 2006 and earned her MS TESOL degree from the University at Albany SUNY in 2013. In addition to teaching in the Capital region she has taught ESL in Honolulu, and as a volunteer in Guatemala and Nicaragua. She loves teaching people from a variety of cultures in diverse settings. Her passion for teaching ESL is evident in her abundant energy!

Team member since 2013

Sherry Sebesta

Spanish and French Instructor

Sherry Sebesta is a certified High School French and Spanish teacher, Fulbright-Hays Scholar, and creator of resources for students and teachers at World Language Café, her online business. She has taught both children and adults in public schools, private schools, at community centers, and out of her own home.  Raising her own kids bilingually has given her a unique perspective on how we naturally acquire language skills.  She looks forward to sharing her expertise to create engaging immersion experiences in class.

Rejoined the team in 2021