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.

Asel Villalva – Administrator

Asel is originally from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and grew up speaking Kyrgyz and Russian. Besides fluency in those languages and English, she has a basic knowledge of both Korean and Arabic.

Selene Smith – French and English Instructor

A lover of all things language, Selene was first introduced to French at the age of three. She went on to study Latin, Spanish, and Haitian Creole, in addition to writing. By the age of 24, she had spent extensive time abroad and received her Master’s degree in French literature. As a language teacher who has been working for many years, Selene has experience instructing students of all ages and levels. With a combination of immersive techniques and authentic sources, her approach to teaching is creative yet effective. Selene looks forward to her classes and enjoys sharing the gift of language with others. 

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. She used to be a university professor in her home country at San Francisco University, teaching education and psychology. One of her passions is to teach. Over the years she has developed the ability to create many resources to teach with excellent results. She is also the author of some publications related to the psychology of learning. 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.

Silvia Moraes-Whitaker – Portuguese Instructor

Silvia has taught foreign languages since she finished high-school. She taught English, French and Portuguese in many different levels of education and in a great variety of institutions, teaching from kindergarten to college, as her own education progressed. She has an extensive experience teaching both Portuguese and English. Her passion for languages come from having lived in Cambridge, England for four years in her childhood, and later in her teens when she also had the opportunity to live in France for two years, both as a consequence of her father’s professional studies. While in Europe, her family took numerous trips to different countries building in her the desire to know and interact with other people and their cultures. She has moved into the United States with her American husband a few years ago and is hoping to make of the US her permanent home, despite her multiple visits to Brazil and other lands.

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 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!