INTERLINK teachers are selected for their knowledge and competence in the field of ESL, their extensive cross-cultural experience, and their unqualified commitment to their students. They use a variety of methods and approaches to mold their classes in accordance with their personal pedagogical outlooks, the needs of the particular individuals in the class, and the fundamental principles and goals of INTERLINK.
Valley Peters, Program Director
Growing up in rural Nebraska and Montana, Valley Peters acquired wanderlust at a young age as she dreamt of far-flung places. A study abroad program in college to New Zealand ignited her plan to pursue a lifetime of traveling and learning about other cultures. A stint as an Americorps volunteer ESL instructor opened the door for combining travel and culture with her love for learning. Outside the classroom, you’ll find her dabbling in artistic pursuits, hiking, hanging out with her daughter, and listening to Tedtalks.Valley has taught in Japan, Mexico, and in the United States in a variety of settings. Her love for the outdoors led her to Jackson, Wyoming where she spent 10 years at a non-profit developing literacy programming for adults, training ESL tutors and teachers, and eventually acting as the executive director. Her professional interests include learning-to-learn strategies, reading development, reflective practice, learner efficacy, and intercultural competence. She has presented at conferences in Japan, Wyoming, and Washington on “constructive chaos” in the classroom, group discussion skills, reflective practice, participatory pedagogy, training ESL tutors, and advanced reading strategies.
Ana Valdivia, Admissions Director
Ana Valdivia is originally from Lima, Peru. She graduated with a degree in architecture before moving to Bozeman, Montana where she has lived for over 15 years. She is now used to the long and cold winters. Her interest in learning about different cultures began in 2000 when she began working on the Montana State University campus. Being herself a non-native English speaker, she felt she had found the perfect place to help foreign students in Bozeman. Over the years, Ana has taken different roles and assumed increasing responsibilities. As admissions director, she now oversees the student application process and provides academic advising, ensuring the INTERLINK student experience is smooth and fruitful from the point of application, through graduation, and into their academic and professional transitions. Ana enjoys meeting and assisting students from different countries and backgrounds, and seeing them succeed at INTERLINK.
Allison Kerr, Student Services Coordinator
Allison Kerr has been working in international education since 2015. As a student at St. Ambrose University, Allison worked in the Office of International Education assisting students and staff. She spent two years during and after college in AmeriCorps service with the local community, graduating from SAU in 2017. Allison joined the INTERLINK team in 2018 as a student services coordinator at the former INTERLINK Institute at SAU. She has since joined INTERLINK’s Home Office team as a project manager and was appointed the student services coordinator for the online programs. Allison values the opportunity to connect with people from different cultures and backgrounds at INTERLINK. She appreciates INTERLINK’s dedication to helping students achieve their goals through experiential learning. In her spare time, Allison enjoys traveling, spending time with friends, being outdoors, and watching documentaries.
Giovanna Alessio, Instructor
Giovanna Alessio taught English and German in Mexico and in California for five years before joining the INTERLINK teaching staff. Having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area, she counts herself as a California native but relocated to Greensboro to teach English at INTERLINK in 2013. She holds a B.A. in German Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz and a Masters in TESOL from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Kristina Allison, Instructor
Kristina has been working in the field of education for nearly 15 years in a variety of capacities. She has been in her current role as Instructor at INTERLINK (previously A.C.E. Language Institute) since 2012. She has also worked in learning and development in the business sector, developed educational materials for financial professionals, edited online learning modules, and served as the liaison between parents and schools. She has also lived and worked overseas in an international organization and loves everything about learning and teaching languages. Kristina obtained her CELTA certificate in 2011 in Bogota, Colombia. Her previous career was in social work (M.S.W.), where she worked for several years facilitating workshops for parents and educators in behavior-management techniques. She has also taught French to children. Kristina finds working at INTERLINK to be the nearly perfect blend between her love of languages and her desire to teach and help others. She sincerely enjoys the opportunity to develop relationships with students from around the world and loves having a job that is never boring. Outside of work, Kristina looks for chances to get outside: running, biking, skiing, snowboarding, dining alfresco – if it’s outside, she’ll happily do it! She also spends a good portion of her downtime trying to wear out two dogs while keeping up with two kids.
Lynn Bergschneider, Instructor
Lynn has enjoyed teaching in a variety of adult ESOL contexts since 1991. She began teaching English for Business in Japan, where she worked for several years with employees from various international corporations at the Language Institute of Japan, Sumitomo Metals and Procter & Gamble. She later taught Business English at the Higher College of Technology in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In the US, she has worked primarily in the higher education context, including INTERLINK at Indiana State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and with Graduate and PhD students in the Duke University EIS program. She earned her B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Masters in TESOL from The School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Geoffrey Butler, Instructor
Geoffrey Butler was born in Alexandria, Virginia and majored in Classical Studies at the University of Virginia. After receiving his BA, he began teaching with the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan in 2003. Since that time he has worked in Japan, Costa Rica, South Korea, and the USA. He holds an M.A. in TESOL from the SIT Graduate Institute. He has been teaching at INTERLINK since August of 2015.
Isaac Grose, Instructor
Isaac is originally from western North Carolina and has taught ESOL in Greensboro since 2014. Isaac obtained his M.A. in TESOL from Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2013 and plans to complete his M.A. in Intercultural Studies from SEBTS in 2020. He began teaching at INTERLINK in 2016 and greatly enjoys working with his outstanding colleagues to help students from diverse cultural backgrounds reach their academic and personal goals. Isaac has been married since 2017 to his wife Hannah, who was born and raised in northern Thailand. He has had opportunities in the past to travel abroad to fascinating places such as Thailand, Romania, Guatemala, Haiti, Argentina, and South Asia. In his free time, Isaac enjoys spending time with family, serving others through the local church, and following sports of all kinds.
Lara Kurth, Instructor
Lara Kurth majored in English and Spanish at the University of California Santa Barbara. After teaching Spanish and English, she obtained a M.A. in TESOL from the SIT Graduate Institute. Since then she has taught English in Costa Rica, Japan, South Korea, and the USA. She has been teaching at INTERLINK since August 2015.
Katheryn Van Laar, Instructor
Katheryn van Laar grew up in a very multicultural family in Canada and the U.S. Her love of cultures led her to study language acquisition. She attended the University of Ottawa, completing a B.A. in Second Language Teaching and M.Ed. in Second Language Education. Katheryn taught in Canada at the University of Ottawa, in Georgia at a local library, and in China at Shantou University. She has been at INTERLINK for one year and hopes to continue working with the great students here. She loves learning about new cultures and people and hopes to continue her education in that field.