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Our people

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Erin Thompson

Center Director

Erin is the Center Director at our pathways program at Rider University in New Jersey. She has ten years of experience working as an instructor and administrator in Mexico and the U.S.

"As an International Relations major at Boston University, I knew I wanted to work in a multicultural environment, but I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do. I had an amazing experience studying abroad in Spain, and after I graduated I decided to travel more. I took a trip to Mexico with the intention of teaching English for six months. Three years later I returned to the U.S. with a clear direction and a career in English education. I obtained my Master's degree in TESOL and have been working with international students ever since.

During my travels in Spain and Mexico, I was incredibly fortunate to meet so many people who helped me through the highs and lows of living in an unfamiliar culture and learning a new language. This assistance was instrumental in my ability to succeed in my studies and my work. Kings offers international students in the US exactly this type of support so that they too can succeed. This is what makes my role at Kings so gratifying - just as I was helped throughout my journey, I can now help a new generation of international students with theirs."

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Chihae Lee

Campus Support Coordinator

Chihae works with students throughout their learning experience at Kings New Jersey. She gives new student orientation, and conducts programs and events both on and off campus. 

"I was born in Queens, New York but have lived most of my life in New Jersey and studied here. At an early age, I travelled a lot to South Korea and Japan, where my parents were born.

Before coming to Kings, I worked as an English teacher in the US and in Barcelona, Spain, as well as in the Residence Life Department of a small private college in New Jersey working on programming for on-campus international students. Most recently, I was a special education teacher for elementary and middle school students. As much as I love teaching, I enjoy the aspect of really helping and learning from international students. I’m excited to take on new projects and learn from my fellow ‘Kingsmen’ and ‘Kingswomen.’ My goal is for students at Kings New Jersey to be well prepared for their future as English speakers while also having a great experience living and studying abroad.

Outside of work I like being outdoors. I adopted my dog, Lexi, about one year ago, so I enjoy going on hikes with her. Ithaca, NY is one of my favorite places to go hiking, swimming, and boating.  I also love to travel — road trips are fun because I enjoy driving. My most recent road trip was to South Carolina and Georgia and I hope one to drive cross-country as well as visit all 50 states! I also like cooking as well as listening to live music."

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Jennifer Goula

Academic Affairs Manager

Jennifer Goula is the Academic Affairs Manager at Kings New Jersey. She is responsible for the management of the English programs, which includes its students, staff, and resources.

“Prior to working at Kings as the Academic Affairs Manager, I was an ESL teacher at an English school in Philadelphia. I loved being an ESL teacher. I know I was the teacher in the classroom, but my students gave ME lessons every day, too. They taught me about tolerance, acceptance, and integrity. I love the idea of bringing students, young and old, from around the world together, in one room, to learn, grow, and experience new things, opinions, and cultures.

My teaching experience proved to be one of the most important parts of my life. It gave me a perspective that shapes my world view today. As the Academic Affairs Manager, I use this viewpoint to establish an environment that provides the best possible educational outcomes for our students while delivering superior service. This guarantees that our students will leave with an unforgettable experience that will help them accomplish their goals in future university studies.

In my spare time, I love to hang out with my husband, stepdaughter, and dog. We like to be outdoors as much as we can. We especially love the beach in the summer time. Being so close to the beach in New Jersey is one of the best aspects of living here.”

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Judy Braune

Progression Advisor and Teacher

Judy is an ESL Instructor and Progression Advisor for our Pathway students. She has experience teaching in Germany and Taiwan and worked closely with international students during college.

“My parents emigrated to this country from Germany when I was little. I was actually an ESL student myself in 3rd grade! Growing up in New Jersey surrounded by people from all over the world, I was always curious about other languages and cultures. On a volunteer trip to Nicaragua, I realized I needed to make a change in the world – starting with education. After graduating with a law degree, I searched for an opportunity to help fulfill this vision. I jumped at the chance to volunteer as an English tutor at a school in Taiwan. These very rewarding months changed my life. I realized that each step a student takes in their education influences their future.

I have been fortunate enough to travel to many countries and get a wide perspective of other cultures and customs. Along the way, I met many wonderful people who have shaped the way I see the world today. My goal is to help our students broaden their horizons during their time here at Kings and to guide them through their University journey.

Outside of work, I like to spend time with my family and dog. Yoga and kickboxing help me relax. I also love traveling and exploring new destinations every year.”

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Iwona Ionescu

Teacher

"I was born and grew up in Poland. As a teenager, I loved studying English; it was always something special for me. Every time I listened to English dialogues (recorded with sound effects!), it felt like I was taking a trip to another world! I especially liked to learn grammar, which helped me not only figure out English, but also understand my native language better. I received my Master’s degree in English Philology in Warsaw. After graduation, I came to the US. I worked on a literacy project in New Orleans, where I also obtained my Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, focusing on teaching ESL.

I have now taught English in Poland and the US for almost 20 years. I love witnessing students’ discovery of another language, because it is a constant reminder of the joy I experienced discovering English.

Apart from teaching and working with our students and teachers, I love spending time with my family, reading short stories, learning French, and dancing Argentine tango."