Staff & Faculty

Unparalleled quality attention to detail and safety.

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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. 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.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.


Directors -

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). Arthur has had the privilege of working with top security advisors to presidents Bush Sr., Clinton and Obama and is a Senior Consultant with the Cypress Fund for nuclear non-proliferation, security and peace building. Arthur earned his Ph.D. and M.A. from Stanford University. Arthur is fluent in French, Italian, Russian and Armenian.

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Derek Yarborough
Co-Founder, Academic Advisory Board Member

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.

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Heather Allen
Academic Advisory Board member

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.

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Ellen Spindel
Director of Admissions

Ellen completed her undergraduate studies at the State University of New York, where she specialized in Early Childhood Development.

Ellen brings over 20 years of admissions experience working for some of the nation’s most prestigious theatre, film and youth academies including the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. She has an immense appreciation and passion for the performing arts and has produced, edited and directed over 40 stage productions for children and teens in New York and Los Angeles. She is particularly passionate about her work with the Abbey Road alumni network, for which she provides mentoring and college guidance.

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Fabien Tracco
European Public Relations

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.

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Anastasia Valecce
Program Director, Florence

Anastasia was born and raised in Southern Italy and earned her undergraduate degree from Università l’Orientale in Naples in Foreign Language and Literature with a double major in Spanish and English and a minor in Portuguese.

Following her graduation, she moved to Siena to pursue a master’s in Literary Translation and Text Editing from Spanish into Italian. She also worked for a publishing house in Tuscany, where she has published several novels as translator and editor. In 2006 she collaborated with the Italian Department at Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia) teaching Italian culture and working as art director in a documentary film about Southern Italian dance cultures. Anastasia has worked as an instructor of Spanish and Italian both in the United States and in Europe. She is fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese and she is currently learning Arabic, Catalan and French. Currently, Anastasia is a Ph.D. candidate at Emory University in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

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Chris Bond
Program Director, Spain

Chris completed his M.A. in Latin American Studies at Cambridge University and holds a B.A. in Spanish from Penn State University.

Since completing his master’s degree in 2002, he has worked as a university instructor of Spanish language and literature at NYU, Fordham and USC. He loves traveling around the world and has spent a significant time in South America, Europe and Northern Africa. Chris is fluent in Spanish, Italian and French.

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John Lansdowne
Program Director, Western Civilization

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.

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Jeanne Scheppach
Program Director, Modern Civilization

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.

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Karl Haloj
Program Director, France

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.

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Patricia Monticello Kievlan
Program Director, College Prep

Patricia is an experienced classroom teacher and college counselor who specializes in college essay guidance and conducting a fit-centered college search.

She obtained her B.A. in Plan II Honors and English from the University of Texas at Austin, where she minored in French and Classics, and her Ed.M. in the Mind, Brain, and Education program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Patricia has used her expertise as an instructional designer and curriculum consultant for corporations and non-profits across the United States and was instrumental in the development of Abbey Road’s College Prep Program curriculum. Patricia currently lives and teaches in San Francisco. She is fluent in French and speaks conversational Russian and Spanish.

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Summer faculty +

Chris Gilbert
Western Civilization

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.

Lindsay Mapes
Florence Pre College

Lindsay received her B.F.A. from San Francisco Art Institute and a post-baccalaureate. Degree from Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy, as well as her M.F.A. in painting from the Slade School of Fine Arts University College London in London.

After completing her B.F.A., Lindsay moved to Europe where she has lived for the past seven years. She has a wide range of experience in the fields of art and design, including work for the MTV Music Awards and other events in the fashion world and teaching art workshops to inner-city youth in America and London. Currently she lives as an artist in London and exhibits internationally. Lindsay has worked for Abbey Road for 5 years as the head drawing teacher. She believes that it all begins with a pencil and paper! Lindsay enjoys studying Italian lifestyle, culture, food and the arts, while continuing with her own painting practice. She speaks Italian fluently.

William Binnie
Florence Pre College

William is a nationally exhibiting artist whose work, while ranging in style and subject matter, often explores themes of morality, mortality, and the dualism of craft versus concept.

His studio practice is focused primarily on painting and drawing, but he works across a wide variety of media, allowing ideas to take precedence over material. William obtained his B.A. in Studio Art and Art History from Pitzer College in 2008. Since graduating, William been showing his work in New York City, Los Angeles, and throughout the United States in a range of settings, from alternative art spaces, galleries, museums, and art fairs. William has worked for Abbey Road for four years, teaching drawing and Tuscan cuisine in Florence. Alongside his art practice, Willie is an avid cyclist, musician, foodie, and animal lover. He currently lives and works in Dallas with his fiancee and fellow artist, Tammy, their dog, Scout, and their two cats, Tex and Buck. You can see William’s artwork on his website,

Hannah L. Welch
Florence Pre College

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 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 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 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 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.

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 summer language immersion and pre-college programs in Spain, France, Italy, Greece and the U.S. for high school students. We continually screen candidates for all positions: Instructors, Program Directors, Program Coordinators and RAs.

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