IELP Faculty

Spokane Falls Community College Campus

Beth Ankcorn, Program Coordinator and ESL Instructor (“Core” integrated skills classes)
M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language, Gonzaga University, 2012; M.A. in English with a Certificate in the Teaching of Composition, Eastern Washington University, 2004; B.A. of International Studies, Gonzaga University, 1999

I grew up in a town with no traffic lights and only 600 residents. I loved that small place, but growing up there made me hungry to learn about the world. Since then, I’ve traveled to approximately 25 countries, and I have lived in Japan and Italy—each for about a year. I have taught ESL for 13 years, and I am grateful for every day that I get to step into a classroom to teach international students.
Allison Blizzard, Program Coordinator and ESL Instructor (“Core” integrated skills classes)
Ph.D. in American Language and Literature, University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany), 2003; M.A. in American Language and Literature with minors in Philosophy and German Literature, University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany), 1999; A.A. from Spokane Falls Community College, 1991

The dedication to English language learners that characterizes my 20 years of teaching stems from my own life-long passion for language acquisition. Living in Europe for 3 years as a child led me to pursue the study of German, French, and English throughout my education in the US. As an adult, I returned to Germany, where I lived, studied, and taught at the university for 14 years, an experience that enabled me to gain a unique and, in some senses, intensified perspective on American language and culture from an external frame of reference. Since returning “home” to Spokane in 2006, I have had the great pleasure and honor of teaching ESL to students from all over the world while also coordinating the Intensive English Language Program (IELP) at SFCC.
Eva Miller, ESL Instructor (“Core” integrated skills classes)
M.A. in English, emphasis in Native American and Latin American Literature from California State University - Sacramento, 1994

I have been teaching English as a Second Language for eighteen years, and I have thoroughly enjoyed each opportunity to interact with all the wonderful students from different countries. It has been a pleasure to observe students come from many different countries, learn English, and continue on to pursue their careers in various areas of study. I appreciate all that students have taught me about their cultures throughout the years, and it is wonderful to hear of their successes as they pursue their goals.
Ana Poliakova, ESL Instructor (“Core” integrated skills classes)
M.A. in English Language and Literature with Certification in TESL and Intercultural Studies and with minors in Public Relations and Political Science, Moscow State Linguistic University (Russia), 1996

I am a determined dreamer, living one day at a time with a fresh baked cookie. Being a mother and teaching are my two biggest passions, so I don’t feel like I’ve worked a day in my life! I spent my childhood in Africa, lived and studied in Russia, and settled in America 16 years ago. Having been a teacher for many years, I am addicted to the exchange of energy in my classroom; I teach from my heart, promote creativity, passion, and debate. There is no such thing as “I can’t” in my vocabulary: I set the bar high for both myself and my students, truly believe in success, and celebrate achievements.
Sylva Lamb, ESL Instructor (Grammar)
B.A. in Education with a minor in English, University of Alaska, Anchorage, 1989
Since arriving here from Saigon, South Vietnam in 1968, I have taken every opportunity to travel and explore this great country. So far I have traveled, worked, and lived in forty-five out of fifty of these United States. I started teaching English as a Second Language for the Community Colleges of Spokane in 1991. I have also worked as a medical and legal interpreter that put me in more doctors and lawyers offices, hospitals and courthouses than most people would like to admit. Besides languages, I love gardening and my grandchildren.
Nadia Nsir, ESL Instructor (Grammar)
ABD in Language, Literacy and Technology at WSU; M.A. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Tripoli University (Libya), 2005; B.A. in English Language, Tripoli University (Libya), 1996; B.S. in Pharmacy, Tripoli University (Libya), 1990

I have taught ESL for more than 16 years, and I am fond of teaching English and exploring more on this journey. I was born and lived all my life in Libya, but I have traveled to many African, Asian, and European countries besides my stay in the US for the last 5 years.
Laurie Sylla, ESL Instructor (Grammar)
M.A. in TESL and Intercultural Studies, Wheaton College, 2003; B.A. in Cross-Cultural Studies, Northwestern College, 1998

I was born in chilly Minnesota but grew up in mountainous Colorado. I consider myself adventurous and, after graduating from college, decided to volunteer in Bangkok, Thailand for 1 year. That was the start of my career overseas, during which I returned to Thailand to teach for another 2 ½ years, taught in northern China for 1 year and trained teachers in rural Malaysia for 1 year. I love working with international students!

Spokane Community College Campus
Sheri Decker, Program Coordinator and ESL instructor
M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language, University of Idaho, 1993; B.A in Anthropology, Western Washington University, 1981

My passion in life is preparing English language learners for success in community college classes. My reward is standing proudly as my former ESL students graduate with their degrees and transfer to universities. I lived and taught in the United Arab Emirates and in the Kingdom of Nepal, and I have traveled in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. I have always been curious about the languages and cultures of the world, so I am happiest when I learn something new from my students. Welcome to the IELP! I look forward to meeting you.  
Alyona Ryan, Program Coordinator and ESL Instructor
M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language, Gonzaga University, 2011; B.A in Teaching English and German Languages with a Major in Philology, Kamchatskiy State Pedagogical University, 2002

I was born in Siberia and lived most of my life in Kamchatka, Russia. While receiving my BA, I was working as an English teacher teaching mainly academic English to college-bound students. I was also working as an English-Russian interpreter for hunting and fishing camps. In 2003, I immigrated to the United States. While I was completing the MATESL program at Gonzaga University, I was also employed there as an ESL instructor. I have taught ESL now for about 6 years and can say without exaggeration that being in the classroom with my students is truly the most rewarding experience for me.
Cheryl Corrigan, ESL Instructor
M.A. in Education, Pacific Lutheran University 1988; B.A. in Education, Whitworth University, 1983; B.A. in Special Education, Whitworth University, 1983


I decided to become a teacher at 8 years old and immediately began saving up for college. My love for languages and cultures began in elementary school when I began tutoring ESL classmates, exchange students and international students. I continued to tutor throughout my high school and university years. As a member of International Clubs in both High School and University, I never dreamed that my favorite pastime would one day be my career! Since then, I have hosted exchange students from Mexico and visited them in their country. Teaching international students is a joy and privilege that I’m very grateful for.
Cynthia Geraghty , ESL Instructor
M.A. in Bilingual Education, CSU Sacramento, 1976; TESOL Certificate, USC, 1974; B.A. in History, CSU Long Beach, 1972

I'm from the Los Angeles area, so I've always enjoyed people from other cultures, languages and countries. I’ve traveled throughout Europe and Mexico, where I learned to speak Spanish. I taught in grades K-8th and was an administrator for students in grades K-12 for 38 years in California. I worked with educators and parents from many cultures. I loved it! Teaching ESL was one of my favorite things, so when I retired to Spokane in 2009, I wanted to do that! I’m thrilled to be part of the team of the IELP, first at SFCC and now, at SCC.

Stela Wasson, ESL Instructor
TESOL Certificate, Gonzaga University, 2013; M.A. in Technical Translations, Plovdiv University, 2010; B.A. in Applied Linguistics in English and German, Shumen University, 2009

I come from a city on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, which is visited by many international tourists. These encounters with different cultures and languages sparked my interest and lead me to travel to many European countries. My love of languages also helped me choose my profession.I enjoy teaching English as a second language, and I learn a lot about the world from my students. Since 2009, I have taught at public and private schools in Bulgaria, as well as in America at Gonzaga University and, here, at Spokane Community College.