Our Team

Meet the teachers at our language school in Bethesda.

Marian Zapata – Owner, CEO

Marian is a native from Granada, Spain. Marian and her husband moved to Maryland in the year 2000 and have two wonderful bilingual boys. After living in Bethesda for 6 years, and searching for language education, she realized there was a lack of effective language programs in the area. With her studies and teaching experience, she decided to create a school that would provide students with the best language education. That is how International School of Languages was born. Marian loves seeing the progress of all the students at the school and learning about their trips and experiences. In her free time, Marian enjoys playing and reading with her kids, family bike rides, camping, outdoors, yoga,  and traveling  (especially to Spain to see her family).


May Seo – School Administrator

May was born in Korea. She first studied in Korea, but moved to London where she extended her studies. From London, her love for traveling brought her to  Sydney, where she worked for the Australian university helping Korean students. . She moved back to Seoul, Korea, to be with her family and while there, she owned and operated a language school. After some time, she finally moved to the United States where she currently resides. Her curiosity and love for new cultures and for meeting diverse people have made her travel every chance she gets. She has faith in the power of education and she tries to support children in need wherever she travels to. In her free time, she enjoys photography, trying new foods, art, and bowling.

Valeria Tronci – Italian Instructor 

Valeria is a native of Italy. She has a Ph.D. in Pharmacology. She moved to the United States in 2010. Besides her scientific profession, she decided to dedicate herself to teaching Italian language. Valeria is passionate about Italian history and culture. She loves art, music and she enjoys spending time with her family. Valeria is fluent in English and Spanish language. She dances flamenco and she performs in Baltimore and DC area.


Hasnae El Mehdi – Arabic Instructor

Hasnae was born in Morocco where she graduated with a bachelors in Economics and a Masters in Finance. In Morocco, she worked in the field of Public Administration. She moved to Washington DC in 2013 and has been teaching Arabic since then. It is her passion to share her language and culture with her students. She is very professional and has a great sense of humor.

Asami Saito Paine – Japanese Instructor

I love teaching as it is amazing to see the students improve their Japanese languages abilities and be able to communicate in Japanese. I am looking forward to seeing you at the school!


Maria Elisa Covarrubias – Spanish Instructor

Maria Elisa is a native Spanish speaker from Mexico. She lived in Mexico City most of her life and moved to the United States a few years ago. She enjoys teaching Spanish because she loves the language and the culture associated with it. In her free time, she loves art, music, nature and spending time with friends and family.

Johannes Nziengui – French and English Instructor

Whether teaching English or my native French, nothing gives me more pleasure professionally than to help my students not only build language skills, but actually begin to use the language to express themselves and make improvements with growing confidence.

Virginia Zegarra – Spanish Instructor

Virginia is a native from Bolivia.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Science Education and a Masters degree in Special Education.  One of her passions is to teach.  After she moved to the USA back in 2010, she found a new opportunity to continue doing what she loves, teaching. She began teaching Spanish and has been doing it since then. A combination of her knowledge in education, her social skills, and the ability to connect with her students has provided her with the skills to a successful teaching method. Virginia loves talking about Latin American culture, and in her free time enjoys painting, cooking and spending time with her friends.

Victoria Zeballos-Woods – Spanish Instructor

Victoria is a native of Lima, Peru. She went to college in Lima and studied Psychology. She received a Masters in Psychology of Education.

When she moved to the United States, she decided to continue her studies and obtained a Bachelor’s in Psychology. Victoria is also a community interpreter and a Community Health Worker. During the years living here,  she has also dedicated herself to teaching the Spanish language. She has experience with all the ages and levels of knowledge. She loves and enjoys working with the students as they learn a foreign language, making it fun and entertaining so they enjoy the process. Her hobbies are reading, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.

Christina Mockel – German Instructor

Christina studied Drama/Movie, History of Art and German Literature in Bochum, Germany and Zurich, Switzerland.  Before she moved from Berlin to the US in 2012, she worked as Head of Public Relations at Stadttheater Gießen and Aalto-Musiktheater Essen and later as a consultant for opera houses, theaters, orchestras and ballet companies. She has been teaching German for five years and is happy to be working at ISL and seeing the progress that her students make every day.  Besides teaching, Christina enjoys spending time with her four kids, hiking, boxing and cooking.

Sara Hazaveh – Farsi Instructor

Growing up with Persian parents and being able to travel to Iran numerous times in the past few years has allowed me to become a native Persian speaker, all while living in the US. My traveling ventures strengthened the general Persian knowledge I had from home, by diversifying it and giving me a concrete understanding of this beautiful language. I really enjoy teaching and to me, sharing my knowledge with others is a rewarding experience because I love to see improvement in others. Likewise, I love connecting with people as it allows me to learn something new every day. As an aspiring Physician, I cherish the ability to be multilingual. To me, giving someone the gift of language is hands-down the most satisfying teaching experience.

Beatriz Díaz García – Spanish Instructor

I am a native in Spain and a Spanish language teacher with over ten years of teaching experience. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education specialized in Foreign Language teaching from Universidad Autonoma (Madrid) as well as a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Universidad Pontificia de Comillas (Madrid). I have taught Spanish and English as a foreign language to a wide range of students in the United States, England, Spain and the Dominican Republic. I love being able to help students learn and cannot wait to meet you!

Amy W. Hasberger – French and English Instructor

For 20 years, in the Chicagoland area, Amy worked with students of all ages, sharing a love of both French language and ESL development TOEFL, speaking skills and cross-cultural training.  Now residing in Bethesda, Maryland, Amy retains her commitment to linguistic proficiency with students in both French and American English. Amy has worked at ISL for three years and truly enjoys seeing how her students evolve and improve their language skills every day!

Rosangela Corte – Portuguese Instructor

My name is Rosangela Corte, but most people call me Rose. I am from Brazil and have lived in Maryland for the past 11 years. I have more than 25 years of experience teaching Portuguese to children and adults, initially in my hometown of Porto Alegre, located in the south of Brazil, and since 2008, here in the US. When I am not teaching or taking care of my family I love to do arts and crafts and make quilts, as well as travel abroad.

Mayra A. Cantor – Spanish Instructor

Mayra is originally from Colombia, and grew up in a city called Cali where people are very cheerful and kind and love dancing salsa. She has lived in the US for the past eight years. She
has an educational psychology background. In Colombia, she taught English as a second language. Now she teaches Spanish and really enjoys sharing her language and culture with others. In her free time, she loves reading, watching movies, learning new languages and meeting people from different cultures.

Natalya Tomasova, Russian Instructor 

Natalya was born in Novorossiysk, Russia. She studied Russian Philology at the Kuban State University in Krasnodar, Russia, as well as her MBA. She has been teaching Russian for 25 years and really loves to learn about her students and assisting them with their goals of developing their language skills and cultural awareness. When she is not teaching, she enjoys reading, hiking, swimming, and cooking!

Evelina Todoranova, French Instructor

Originally from Bulgaria, I have over 13 years of professional experience in education. I have been teaching French and English at all levels for children and adults, and I worked for the International Baccalaureate Organisation. I have a Master’s in International Education and Bilingualism, a Bachelor in French Studies, and different teaching certifications. I am passionate about education and enjoy teaching language and culture to children and professionals of all levels. I am married to a Spanish and lived in France, Spain, UK, Netherlands and now enjoying life in the USA. In my spare time, I love to expand my culinary skills and to share food and joy with friends.

Abderrahmane Boussoufa, French and Arabic Instructor

Abdou is from Algiers, Algeria and graduated from the Institute of Translation from the University of Algiers, majoring in Arabic, French, and English. He has been teaching languages and translation for fifteen years in the University of Algiers and different language schools in the United States. Through his teaching experience, he enjoys helping learners acquire knowledge and seeing how the challenge of every step taken becomes a pleasure. Being a teacher offers him the privilege to witness his students’ growing interests, not only in the language but in the different aspects that are behind every word they learn. When Abdou is not teaching, he enjoys sports, reading, traveling, movies, music, and world history.

Andreia Matias, Portuguese Instructor

I was Born in Lisbon, Portugal; lived in London for five years and I’ve been in Washington for eight years. I study Languages and Literature in Lisbon and did an IELTS course while living in London. I’ve been teaching Portuguese to children and adults since 2010, both private or group classes. Teaching is a way of living and sharing knowledge. Seeing a student accomplish and understand the language gives me much joy!

In my free time, I like to travel, visit new cities, museums and cultural places, write on my blog, read, watch movies, listen to music, dance, cook, hike and walk with my kids, and spend quality time with my family!

Pamela Li, Chinese Instructor

Pamela was born in Beijing, China. She studied in Beining International Chinese University to obtain a degree as a teacher of Chinese as a second language to foreign students. She has been teaching in Chinese for over 30 years and in the United States since 2017. Pamela enjoys watching her students grow and progress as they learn Chinese. In her free time, she enjoys visiting museums and art.