Meet the Teachers

Meet the Teachers

Meet the Teachers at Excel English Institute | Victor Arenas

Victor Arenas


Growing up near New York City exposed me to the intricacies of living in a melting pot of cultures and languages. As a child, I often helped my Latino immigrant parents navigate the new world whenever they didn’t understand English. I quickly learned to value my bilingual abilities and devoted myself to helping others in my Latino community.

My passion and patience for language learning emerged when I became an adult. I studied at Brigham Young University – Idaho, where I majored in International Studies with a minor in TESOL. During my time there, I studied Portuguese, French, German, Russian, and Mandarin Chinese – all to different levels. I even lived six months in Germany to take intensive language courses for 20 hours a week! I have tutored English and Spanish at my university for many years; I enjoy helping others learn. My most meaningful experience was when I interned at the International Rescue Committee as an English teacher to refugees.

I understand that learning another language can be a scary challenge. But I promise to be patient with you in order to help you understand complex ideas. If you work hard and believe in yourself, then your English will improve. I am eager to work with you!

Anoushe Blatz

Beginning English Teacher

My name is Anoushe’ Blatz and this is my 29th year in education. I received my Bachelor’s degree from UNT in 1991 and my Master’s degree in Education Administration. I have taught all grades; Kindergarten-8th grade in Dallas ISD, Oklahoma City ISD, Richardson ISD, and Plano ISD. I have also been an Adjunct Faculty at Dallas College teaching English/ESL. Currently, I am honored to be an instructor at Excel English Institute teaching ESL to adult students.

My husband is also an educator and we have three beautiful children. As a family, we love to travel and simply enjoy the beauty of life. Photography is my therapeutic hobby! Each day, I look forward to an amazing school experience. My goal is to inspire, encourage, and create an educational partnership with my students that will foster determination and passion for knowledge as life-long learners.

Meet the Teachers at Excel English Institute | Anoushe Blatz
Meet the Teachers at Excel English Institute | Sora Njamba

Sora Block

International Student Advisor

As a DSO and International Student Advisor, I am dedicated to helping students achieve their goals while providing excellent service to students. With a Bachelor’s degree in K-12 Spanish education and a TESL endorsement, I am passionate about forming meaningful and strong connections with people. I seek to help others feel comfortable to explore their interests and hone skills that they are able to apply to their field of interest.

Through my personal experiences and through schooling, I have had the opportunity to travel abroad quite a bit. From studying abroad in Nicaragua to visiting family for the summers in Japan, I am thankful to have traveled to various countries around the world. This has aided me in expanding my worldview and in learning so much about different cultures.

Teaching ESL is such a joy for me as I am able to see students get one step closer to their goals each and every day. It is my hope to make language learning challenging yet fun for each person that walks through my door. It’s such an honor to be a part of their language learning journey.

Josh Champney


I have taught English as a foreign language for over ten years. I started my career as a member of the United States Peace Corps, where I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to teach at a language school in Shumen, Bulgaria. I enjoy the social aspect of teaching, as well as the opportunity to constantly be introduced to non-American perspectives.

My advice to any language learner is to take it one step at a time. “Rome was not built in a day,” as the saying goes. Another important aspect of learning a language is to remember to have fun.

I have not worked at Excel English Institute for very long, but the staff and co-workers have been generous and welcoming. And of course, the school would be nothing without its fantastic students.

Meet the Teachers at Excel English Institute | Josh Champney
Meet The Teachers

Maria Donovan

TOEFL Teacher

I joined the Excel teaching staff in 2014 when I moved to Dallas. However, my life as an ESL instructor began when I ventured from Ireland to Brazil and found I enjoyed teaching English there even more than I enjoyed my work as a registered nurse. Many hours in the classroom and many courses through the University of Cambridge, England, followed, providing me with the knowledge and the skills to be an effective and engaging instructor. Upon moving to the US, I earned a Master’s Degree in Education, specializing in TESL, from Oral Robert’s University, Tulsa, OK.

What I love about being an ESL instructor is the opportunity to learn, first-hand, about the people and daily life in the amazing countries my students come from. I have to thank them for teaching me so much about their people and their cultures. Also, with my broad educational background and years of experience, I believe I can help my students improve their English so that they can reach their personal, academic or professional goals and live life to the fullest, be it here in the USA or in their own country.

Kitsie Ferrer

Advanced English Teacher

I have been teaching English for over 15 years. I majored in French and Art at Austin College where I spent my junior year abroad studying in France and living with a host family. That is where I got my true taste for travel and love for learning about new cultures. Upon graduating, I spent time traveling the US and abroad before deciding to get my Certification to Teach English as a Second Language. I taught ESL for 6 years in various places throughout Mexico such as Campeche, Guadalajara and San Luis Potosi. In 2009, I returned to the US and taught for 3 years at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio. Finally, I came back to Dallas to be closer to friends and family, and start my own family. I have been teaching at Excel English Institute since the Fall of 2015.

Meet The Teachers
Meet The Teachers

Don Gleason

Intermediate English Teacher

My name is Donald Gleason, but the students call me Mr. Don. I have been a teacher since 1974. When I was in college, one of my professors told me that you did not have to be a famous rock singer, politician or movie star to make a difference in the world; you could do it by being a teacher. That’s what I have been trying to do for more than 30 years. My grandparents were immigrants, and I work with immigrants. Believing that I am helping them to have better lives makes it all worthwhile.

I have taught in a number of schools, but Excel English Institute is the best by far. The facility is beautiful, modern and functional. My colleagues are top-notch, and the students are wonderful. Just wonderful. I am very fortunate to be here.

Miguel Guzman

Beginning English Teacher

I specialize in teaching beginning levels due to my desire to help the students build confidence in themselves while providing them with the basic building blocks of language skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing.

I grew up in Los Angeles, which is a cosmopolitan city. While living there, I constantly found myself helping people from other countries. That is how I discovered my knack for languages.

In my opinion, the most difficult part about learning a language is “losing your fear to speak [which] is hard for many introverted students.” However, I always advise any new students interested in coming to Excel to learn English to come aboard and do your best. “You can do it!”

Meet The Teachers
Meet The Teachers

Janice Hinokuchi

Beginning English Teacher

“Inspire Boldly to Aspire Boldly”
First and foremost, my passion to teach English surges from the depths of care for students yearning for a better chance in life. I find myself training students to have unswerving confidence that can be the sail which will take them far and beyond in their English language learning. I make streams of encouragement and exhortation for a positive mindset; a mind and heart that can focus clear goals and organize accordingly with reminding tips on good study habits to aspire a desired target outcome; exerting daily praise and attentive motivational feedback are the sparks that keep students pedaling on the track of success. I predominantly have been a foundational link in the chain of success for students in the lower levels, thus I feel it truly has been my calling to be an instructor who “inspires” to face the new untrodden road ahead with confidence, stamina and patience.

It’s awesomely fulfilling for me to see measurable improvement in speaking that comes alive from the rock bottom. It’s my heartfelt aim to wait for the revealing moment when students witness themselves declaring, “I can be more than a conqueror!”

William Joyner

Advanced English Teacher

My name is William Joyner, and I have been teaching English as a Second Language for over 20 years. I have a Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics and a Master’s Degree in English and Creative Writing.

While studying at British Study Centres, I earned a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) in Oxford, England. I have spent many years teaching English in Saudi Arabia and experienced Arabic and other diverse cultures there. I taught college students in various English Preparatory Programs in Saudi Arabia. I was an IELTS examiner for Speaking and Writing and a TOEFL teacher preparing students for study in English-speaking countries.

I moved back to Dallas, Texas, in 2022 and was ready for a new chapter in my life. That chapter began with Excel English Institute. Since returning, I have been teaching Advanced English with Excel and thoroughly enjoy the experience. I believe in the communicative approach to teaching, so students must use each other and all resources around them to improve their English language skills. I like to get students talking and have them figure things out while I act as a guide and resource for them along their English learning path. We have lots of fun in my classes, and everyone gets a chance to express themselves.

What are you waiting for? Come on and join in on the fun! Sign up with Excel English Institute today!

Meet the Teachers at Excel English Institute | William Joyner
Meet the Teachers - Pearl Lee

Pearl Lee


I first discovered my love of teaching English and working in multicultural environments in Xinjiang, China in 2003. Since then I have taught in various university and college settings in the US, including teaching immigrants basic reading skills all the way to helping international graduate student instructors with accent reduction. I enjoy interacting with students from all over the world on a daily basis.

My background is diverse because I love to learn. I have a BA in History from the University of Michigan, an MA in Intercultural Studies & Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Wheaton College, and a second MA in Christian Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Currently, I am working on my dissertation focusing on literacy in pursuit of a PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies.

At Excel English Institute, students are able to learn English in an academically challenging, as well as, safe and caring environment. I am proud to be part of a language school that is centered on the needs of its students.

Aaron Long


Hello! I’m Aaron and I’ve been teaching at Excel since I moved to Dallas in August 2022. My journey to being an ESL teacher began when I did an internship at a German high school during a study abroad program. There, I learned the joys of teaching, especially teaching cross-culturally and saw a career path in front of me. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, I headed to Japan to teach English at a Japanese high school as a member of the JET Programme. After two years, I wanted to put my skills and experiences into practice back home. Now that I’m back in the U.S., I’m excited to have the opportunity at Excel to teach students of so many cultural backgrounds and histories!

My teaching philosophy involves encouraging the students to participate without fear of making mistakes. Learning another language is worthwhile and valuable, but is often challenging and discouraging. Being a learner of German and Japanese, I can engage the students with empathy and let them know they’re much better than they think and their hard work will definitely pay off. My classroom is usually loud and full of conversation and any student who dives in will certainly find something worthwhile to learn, from both me and their fellow students.

Meet the Teachers at Excel English Institute | Aaron Long
Meet The Teachers

Helene “Lani” Olsen

Business English Teacher

I have over 30 years of experience teaching English in middle school, high school and at the college level. I have a BA in German and English and a Master’s Degree in Humanities with a focus on teaching English as a Second Language.

I believe there is no better career than helping students improve their English to succeed personally and economically in the US or in their home countries. Excel English Institute has become a home for myself and hundreds of students.

Mani Shapiro

Intermediate & Advanced English Teacher

Teaching is not only my profession but my passion! I love teaching, and especially inspiring, guiding, and patiently supporting my students to learn how to learn since my most important tool and goal is to help them to become successful independent learners!

My diverse and extensive experience has helped me to learn how to help my students gain the patience, self-motivation, and perseverance needed to become successful learners. My students’ success energizes and motivates me to continue to strive to pave the way for them to learn how to learn and become independent learners so they can continue to grow as successful people and professionals.

Meet the Teachers at Excel English Institute | Mani Shapiro
Meet the Teachers at Excel English Institute | Shelby Turner

Shelby Turner


My name is Shelby Turner, and I have been an English as a Foreign Language teacher since the fall of 2015. I worked in Japan on the JET Programme teaching English to about 200 high school students every year. During that time, I earned my teaching certification. Then I moved back to the United States to go back to school to study linguistics. Now I am teaching at Excel English Institute. I teach the Advanced class, and all my students are wonderful, hard-working adults.

Maxx Wageman

Advanced English Teacher

My name is Magxina Guzman Wageman. I was born in Cuba, but grew up in Chicago. I have a Masters in English with an Emphasis on Applied Linguistics from Texas A&M University-Commerce. I have taught in colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad including China and South Korea.I have also created the language programs at Grayson College, Texas A&M University-Commerce, and Konkuk University.

I have been teaching English for 16 years in both academic and non-academic settings. Having taught in higher education, I understand the rigor required to be successful in undergraduate and graduate programs. Having worked in adult education programs, I understand the challenges students face when arriving in a new country and need to learn a language to communicate. My broad experiences, I hope, allow me to engage students where they are and to where they want to be in their language learning.

Meet the Teachers at Excel English Institute | Maxx Wageman
International Student Advisor at Excel English Institute | Peter Winnette

Peter Winnette

Student Advisor / Office Manager

I love to experience new cultures and enjoy meeting new people from all parts of the world. That is why working at Excel English Institute is such a great fit for me. My experiences living abroad, especially most recently in Argentina, help me relate to students who come to Excel seeking to improve their English skills. I love advising them and learning about them and what fuels their desire to study English. I also find great satisfaction from teaching elective classes at Excel because it allows me to interact with students on a more personal level. My ability to speak Spanish definitely helps in many cases. I look forward to meeting more amazing students and helping them acclimate to studying with us at Excel.

The Founders

Mallous Rohani & Cindy Gordon

We are both ESL certified veteran teachers with more than 35 years combined of experience teaching, writing curricula and working with students in college and independent schools in Dallas and abroad. As co-workers, we always thought we could provide a better education than what we were offering at our previous places of employment. We decided to embark on a journey in 2014 to open our own school, which would be a place to learn, make new friends and have an unforgettable experience.

After Excel earned its full accreditation in 2017, the school that started with only 8 students, has since grown to serve several hundreds in its short life. The thing that makes Excel different from any other school we have worked at is that we are teachers who wrote and taught the curricula. We know what works and what doesn’t, and we work closely with our teachers to provide them with the resources and training to make our vision of a top-notch English school become a reality.

Excel English Institute Mission Statement

Our mission at Excel English Institute is to provide non-native speakers with English language acquisition in well-crafted programs by fostering a total immersion learning environment. Excel’s programs combine language attainment benefits with vital cultural and interpersonal skills to prepare and empower students to successfully communicate and thrive in social, academic, and professional environments.

If you can dream it, you can do it!

If you can dream it, you can do it!

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