Staff & Faculty

Unparalleled quality attention to detail and safety.
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. WILLIAM ARTHUR WARD

At Abbey Road, we take great pride in our faculty and staff. Our full-time and summer staff directors, coordinators, instructors and resident advisors are experienced, dedicated and caring individuals carefully selected and screened to make sure our students get the best pre college summer programs experience. Our summer staff are outstanding high school teachers, university professors, college administrators and graduate students, as well as highly qualified college graduates. We maintain a minimum ratio of one staff member for every eight students, giving us unparalleled quality attention to detail and safety.

Dr. Arthur Kian

Managing Director & Founder

Arthur has been directing pre-college and summer programs in the U.S. and in Western Europe for nearly 20 years. His areas of expertise include foreign languages, European and Eastern history and culture, political science and international relations.
He is a former instructor with the Stanford Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) and an Academic Consultant with the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE), as well as a member of the National Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). Dr. Kian is a Senior Consultant with the Cypress Fund for nuclear non-proliferation, security and peace building and is fluent in French, Italian, Russian and Armenian. Arthur earned his Ph.D. and M.A. from Stanford University.


  • Derek Yarborough
    Co-Founder, Academic Advisory Board Member
    Derek Yarborough
    Derek received his M.A. and B.A. in Sociology from Stanford University. Throughout his years at Stanford, Derek developed and directed educational programs for high school and college students.
    Derek also worked with local NGO-s to provide educational opportunities to disadvantaged communities. One of the founders of Abbey Road, Derek has extensive experience in education, social sciences, management, foreign languages and overseas travel.
  • Heather Allen
    Academic Advisory Board member
    Heather Allen
    Heather is one of the most prominent young experts on study abroad and foreign language education.
    She holds an M.A. in French Literature from Louisiana State University (1998) and a Ph.D. in Educational Studies and French from Emory University (2002). Her research on motivation and language learning during study abroad has appeared in several journals, including Foreign Language Annals (2003 and 2010), the Journal of Studies in International Education (2010) and an edited volume entitled Identity and Second Language Learning (2007). Heather has been instrumental in conducting a special university-level study on the Abbey Road Educational Method, publishing her findings and presenting them at academic conferences around the world.
  • Marianna Veniaminova
    Admissions Director
    Marianna holds a Masters degree in Education and School Counseling and has over a decade of teaching experience working with language learners and gifted youth at the middle school and high school levels.
    As Abbey Road’s Admissions Director, Marianna coordinates informational events with schools, educators and families in US and Europe. She currently resides in California.
  • Fabien Tracco
    European Public Relations
    Fabien Tracco
    Fabien is a native of Antibes, France where he lives and works coordinating Abbey Road’s French Immersion programs in Nice, St-Laurent-du-Var and Aix-en-Provence.
    He received his M.A. from Nice University in 1996 and brings over 12 years of experience in European program development and high-school foreign language instruction in addition to his expertise in French culture through his work with St-Laurent’s Association de Gestion et d’Animation Soporative et Socio-Culturelle. Fabien works closely with Abbey Road’s French homestay families, fostering excellent relationships from which Abbey Road students benefit year after year. In addition to his native French, Fabien is also fluent in English, Italian and Indonesian.
  • Andrew Liebowitz
    East Coast Admissions Director
    Andrew has his Masters of Education degree from Hofstra University and has over 10 years of experience in the summer study abroad industry. As one of Abbey Road’s Admissions Directors, Andrew works with high school counselors, teachers and families to provide
    information regarding Abbey Road’s many programs and assistance
    with the application process.
    He grew up on Long Island, but currently lives in Boca Raton, FL. Andrew hosts many informational meetings with prospective families in New York and Florida during the year. Andrew can be reached directly at: 646-556-5953 or through email:
  • John Lansdowne
    Program Director, Western Civilization
    John Lansdowne
    John received his B.A. in Classical Studies and History with a minor in Art History from Boston College.
    He is currently earning his master’s in Archaeology from the University of Oxford. While an undergraduate, John participated in study abroad programs in Athens, Greece and Venice, Italy and also spent two summers working on excavations in Jordan. An AmeriCorps alumnus, John also holds an M.A. in Education from the City College of New York. He has extensive travel experience in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
  • Jeanne Scheppach
    Program Director, Modern Civilization
    Jeanne Scheppach
    Jeanne is currently in her fifth year teaching AP US History and college preparatory Modern World History in San Ramon, California.
    Jeanne received her B.A. from Loyola Marymount University in music and an M.A. in Florentine Renaissance music and early German symphonies from UC Santa Barbara. After completing her master’s, Jeanne began Ph.D. work in Italy and lived abroad for several years after. Jeanne has participated in many history and language-related professional development programs abroad, from the Goethe Institute’s Transatlantic Outreach Program in Germany to a Fulbright-Hayes Program last summer in China to learn about China’s ancient and contemporary capitals. Jeanne is fluent in Italian and German and conversationally fluent in Mandarin and French.
  • Karl Haloj
    Program Director, France
    Karl Haloj
    Karl is currently pursuing a doctorate in modern languages (D.M.L.) at Middlebury College’s prestigious language school.
    Prior to this, he taught French language at the University of Vermont while completing his Master of Arts in French at the same institution. His M.A. included the successful defense of a thesis examining nationalism in the literary works of Belle Époque author Louis Pergaud. Karl developed an interest in Pergaud’s unique writings while studying at the Université de Franche-Comté’s world renowned Centre de linguistique appliquée à Besançon (France). He also holds a B.A. in French language and literature from Stony Brook University. In addition, Karl is an expert in foreign language pedagogy. He has been developing and teaching language programs for nearly twenty years.

Summer faculty

  • Chris Gilbert
    Western Civilization
    Chris Gilbert
    Chris is currently writing his Ph.D. dissertation on Roman history at Harvard University, where he received his master’s degree in 2005.
    Most recently, he taught “Ancient Rome” at Northeastern University in Boston and is slated to be a teaching fellow for “Roman World” at Harvard in the Fall. Chris lived in Rome while pursuing his B.A. and lived in Paris while performing medieval manuscript research under his adviser for an upcoming edition of the Corpus Christianorum. He gives lectures on ancient art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, conserves cuneiform tablets at the Semitic Museum at Harvard University and recently received a fellowship from Harvard to design a multimedia museum exhibit focusing on Greek and Roman coins. Chris also acted as a Freshman Adviser at Harvard from 2010-2012. He has been faculty on two previous Western Civilization programs for Abbey Road. In addition to specializing in ancient history, art and archaeology Chris is also an avid coffee roaster and gelato connoisseur, skills which come in come in handy in Italy. When not teaching, he trains for ultramarathons and races for Harvard’s cycling team.
  • Hannah L. Welch
    Florence Pre College
    Hannah L. Welch
    Born and raised in Orlando, Florida, Hannah studied photography at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and earned a B.A in Art History from California State University.
    Hannah spent a significant amount of time in Florence, Italy living, working and using the city as inspiration in her artistic practice, something that greatly aids her in teaching experiential digital photography courses with Abbey Road. For the past two years, she has worked as a freelance photographer and photography assistant. Her passions are photography, Italy and soccer. Hannah is fluent in Italian.
  • Encarnación Cruz
    Cádiz Homestay
    Encarnación Cruz
    Encarnación received her B.A. and M.S. in English Language and Literature from the University of Seville.
    She is currently serving as a professor of Spanish at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also completed an M.S. in Spanish Literature in 2010. Encarnación loves the culture of Spain, particularly flamenco music, and has lead many workshops in Flamenco dance during her summers with Abbey Road. She is fluent in Spanish.
  • José A. Gregory
    Cádiz Homestay
    José A. Gregory
    José is originally from Puerto Rico, but he grew up in the U.S. He obtained his B.A. in Latin American and International Studies from Yale University and his M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
    José currently teaches at a magnet school for the Arts in Atlanta where he is also the school’s tennis coach. He has worked for Abbey Road for over five years, first as an instructor and then as a Program Director for several programs including Florence and Cádiz. His main interests are traveling, foreign languages and films, international foods, and tennis. In addition to his native fluency in Spanish, José also speaks Italian and Portuguese.
  • Ilene Squires
    Cádiz Homestay
    Ilene Squires
    Ilene was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She earned a dual B.A. in International Communications and Spanish from San Diego State University and a Master’s of Science and Teaching in Bilingual Education from Fordham University.
    Ilene has worked in various educational settings, most notably on the founding staff of a start-up charter school in Harlem, where she was later the Dean of Students, and through Teach for America. She is now a teaching artist in Manhattan, coaching adults and children through the intricacies of creating stellar images. In her spare time, she shoots events and portraits while running her own photography business. Ilene is fluent in Spanish.
  • Paul Cooley
    College Prep
    Paul Cooley
    Paul is a guidance counselor at the Academy of Urban Planning in Brooklyn, New York. He also works as the school’s co-director of fundraising efforts and as the assistant basketball coach.
    Paul obtained his B.A. from Tufts University and later went on to complete his M.A. in School Counseling from NYU. A native of Boston, Paul thoroughly enjoyed his work on the College Prep Program at Emerson College in 2010. A dynamic and enthusiastic academic with experience in the entertainment industry, Paul uses his diverse background and personal experience when working with students.
  • Matthew Bowser
    Modern Europe
    Matthew Bowser is a PhD Candidate in World History at Northeastern University in Boston MA, studying 20th century European history with a specific focus on the British Empire during the Great Depression. Matthew graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with the Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.), a degree with a thesis and a defense. He entered Northeastern University in 2015 to pursue his PhD in World History.
    Matthew served as an instructor for Abbey Road's 2018 Modern Europe and 2016 Western Civilization programs. Matthew’s interest in history grew out of a desire to fundamentally understand how human societies work by studying the big trends, movements, connections, networks, and revolutions of the global past.
  • Kyle Patterson
    Québec, Canada
    Kyle Patterson is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in the French department at the University of California, Davis, and have been teaching college students for two years. Kyle graduated from University of North Georgia with the Bachelor degree in French
    Kyle was also in a collegiate A Capella group for three years, an actor/thespian for another three years, and played the trumpet in band for nearly five years. In his free time, he enjoys watching French films, playing tennis, arranging A Capella songs, hiking, and traveling!
  • Jacob Hickey
    Nice, France
    Jacob studied French and Journalism at Ohio Northern University and worked in news production at CNN after college. Then switching gears to teach, Jacob completed his masters in Educational Leadership at Wright State University in Ohio.
    Jacob has been in education for 15 years and currently teaches French at Bozeman High School in Bozeman, Montana. Jacob loves traveling the world, and spending time hammocking in the mountains.
Join Our Team

Abbey Road is seeking highly qualified, energetic, dynamic and dedicated individuals to complete our summer staff and faculty. These teams will lead our language immersion programs in Spain, France, Italy, Greece and the Unites States. We continually screen candidates for all positions: Instructors, Program Directors, Program Coordinators and RAs. The candidates will be carefully selected to make sure the students experience the best pre college summer programs.

Find out more