Kate Blanas

Kate Blanas

ESL Lecturer
Kate Blanas has served in a variety of roles in education for over 40 years. She has been a teacher of French, German, Spanish, ESL, geography, health and English in classrooms with Kindergarten through adult students. She has also been the world language coordinator in the Adams 12 Five Star Schools, north of Denver and in Douglas County Schools, south of Denver. She has experience in Human Resources, curriculum development...
Steve Copley

Steve Copley

ESL Lecturer
​Steve Copley received his B.S. from Georgetown University and his M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction, Teaching English as a Second Language from George Mason University in Virginia. For more than 30 years he has enjoyed working with ESL learners, as well as undergraduate and graduate students, and teachers from around the globe. He has presented at many conferences, written for Voice of America radio, developed an ESL TV series, lived...
Jean Daugherty

Jean Daugherty

ELL Associate Director
I was born and raised in Northern California. I received my B.A. in History with a Minor in Spanish from Brigham Young University in Utah. I also had the opportunity during that time to live in the Canary Islands. This experience allowed me begin my acquisition of a foreign language, and it was also my first time living abroad which was very exciting. After receiving my degree, I decided to...
JR Gilness

James "JR" Gilness

ESL Instructor
From the time I was a freshman in college, I tutored other students in English and Math, and I proofread friends’ essays in exchange for free beverages. By my senior year I was tutoring refugees in Adult Basic Education. Since then, I have taught English at various schools in Colorado, Missouri, Poland, and my home state of Minnesota. I have a master's degree in English (TESL) from St. Cloud State...
Julia Hedges

Julia Hedges

ESL Instructor
Julia received her Master of Education in TESOL from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon and a Bachelor of Arts in both English and Spanish from the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. She has taught English as a Second/Foreign Language in both the United States and throughout the Middle East to adolescents and adults. She has worked as an instructor for Intensive English Programs (IEPs) in both Colorado and Texas...
Ali Nassiri

Ali Nassiri

ESL Instructor
Born and raised in Tehran, Iran; Ali started learning English as a second language from the age of 10. At the age of 22, he left Iran for the Philippines, where he earned his Bachelor`s Degree in Broadcast Communication from the University of the East Manila in 2013. Having been a University President Scholarship recipient, allowed him to start his Master`s program at Far Eastern University in Manila in June...
Jasmine Newell

Jasmine Newell

ESL Lecturer
Jasmine Newell received her B.A. in English at Metropolitan State University of Denver and her M.A. in English with an emphasis on Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing from the University of Colorado at Denver. She is a Colorado native with a passion for teaching and writing. Jasmine has been teaching composition courses for four years and has been a part of the ESL Academy team for one year. She...
Kerry Ninneman

Kerry Ninneman

ESL Lecturer
Kerry has been with the ESL Academy since the summer of 2019 and loves UC-Denver and the professional staff and teachers. She has stated, “I’ve never been so privileged to be a teacher with the finest in the world.” Since this is her “last rodeo,” she is giving it her all every day! Kerry comes from Wisconsin, by way of Denver, Europe and back to Denver in her teaching of...
Danielle Sheehan

Danielle Sheehan

ESL Lecturer
Dani Sheehan received her B.S. from CU Denver and is currently pursuing her M.A. in English with an emphasis on Rhetorical Communication and a certificate in Teaching English Language Learners. She has been instructing and tutoring ELL and undergraduate students for the last 4 years, and loves learning about new languages. One of her many interests is environmental sustainability, and after finishing her master's degree, she hopes to teach Environmental...