Faculty & Staff

The Very Best ESL Instructors Is Our Policy and Our Practice

Our students can expect teachers who are both professional and experienced. All our ESL instructors are native speakers of English. Minimum requirement for teachers is 2-3 years teaching experience, relevant baccalaureate degree, and a TESOL certificate. However, the average number of years of teaching experience is much higher and the majority of our faculty members have advanced degrees.

Adding to our qualifications, teachers and staff regularly participate in AEI's professional development program. By having continuing education as a requirement, we aim to keep both staff and instructors abreast of the latest research and practices relevant to their field.

Within the framework of AEI's curriculum and standards, instructors have liberty to creatively develop lesson plans. They are encouraged to master their discipline and incorporate the latest implement technologies and methodologies in ways that best suit the courses and students.

Meet Our Faculty

ESL Instructors - Basarich

Dr. Joel Basarich, Ph.D

- Ph.D, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
- D.E.A. (first year of French Doctorate, Universite de Tours, France
- M.A. With Distinction, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
- B.A. With High Honors, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Previous Professional Experience
- 14 years of teaching and education experience
- Joined AEI ESL Instructors in 2011
- Teaching Assistant; Rutgers University Lecteur; Universite de Tours

- Vice President, International Operations; LL Global, Atlanta, GA
- Vice President and Managing Director, LOMA, Atlanta, GA
- Director, International Division, LOMA, Atlanta, GA
- Director, Education Division, LOMA, Atlanta, GA

Professional Certifications/Accomplishments
- Fellow, Life Management Institute

- ESL "Strategies for Success” (2011)

ESL Instructors - Blade

Mr. Gregg E. Blade

- B.A. University of South Florida: English

Previous Professional Experience
- 20 years professional experience
- Joined AEI ESL Instructors in 2004
- Taught English Skills to working professionals; Milan, Italy (2 years)
- Tutored General Electric Executives

Professional Certifications/Accomplishments

- Specialized Vocabulary and Detailed. Outlines for ESL Composition” (2011)

Ms. Kathy Ellis

-M.A., Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
-M.A., Special Education, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
-B.A., French, Morehead State University, KY
-Spanish and French Language studies, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee; Universite Laval, Quebec City, Canada; Universite Catholique de Quest, Angers, France; University of Wisconsin - Madison

Previous Professional Experience
-Teaching/Instructing since 1968
-Joined AEI in 2004
-ESL Teacher, Cobb County School District, Marietta GA
-Special Education Teacher; ESL Teacher; Spanish Teacher; Racine Unified School District, Racine, Wisconsin
-Special Education Teacher, Racine Co. Board of Handicapped Children, Union Grove, Wisconsin
-French, Latin and English Teacher, Fond du Lac Public Schools; Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
-French Teacher, LaCrosse Public Schools; LaCrosse, Wisconsin Certifications
-ESL Certification University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 1992

-"Relationship Building" (with Barbara Roberts, 2011)

Mr. Timothy MacDonnell

- M.A. Higher Music Education, New York University
- B.A. Fine Arts/Music, Fordham University

Previous Professional Experience
- 13 years teaching experience
- Joined AEI in 2009
- Georgia Perimeter College; Atlanta, GA
- Sylvan Learning Center; New Orleans and Atlanta

Professional Development
- ABC Conference for professional development, New Orleans (2007)
- Staff Development Workshops, Orleans Public Schools


- Teaching Listening Skills (2013)


Dr. Jennifer Hudgens, Ph.D

-Ph.D, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
-M.A., Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia
-B.A., Louisiana Scholars' College at Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana

Previous Professional Experience
-11 years of teaching and education experience
-Joined AEI TP Instructors in July 2017
-University of Kentucky, 6 years
-Clayton State University, 2 years
-Kennesaw State University, 1 year
-Georgia State University, 3 years

-Nominated for Outstanding Teaching Certificate, University of Kentucky, 2016
-“Teacher Who Made a Difference,” University of Kentucky, 2014

Professional Development
-Professional Development Seminar: Document Your Teaching, University of Kentucky 2016
-PDS: Teaching and Engaging a Large Lecture, University of Kentucky 2015
-Composition for Teachers, University of Kentucky 2015
-Proseminar in Teaching Methods, University of Kentucky 2011

-“Marx and Nietzsche on Asceticism,” University of Kentucky’s Whither Western Marxism? Conference (January 2013, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY).
-“A More Severe Morality: Nietzsche’s Critique of Kant,” at the 1st International Conference on Nietzsche and the Philosophical Tradition, Nietzsche and the Kantian Tradition (October 2012, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil).
-“Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals,” Guest Lecture for Frank Schicketanz and Holly Stave’s SCTT 282, Texts and Traditions III (December 2004, Louisiana Scholar’s College, Natchitoches, LA).

Dr. Maggie Jackson, Ed.D

- Ed.D Instructional Leadership, Argosy University
- M.A. Adult Education, Central Michigan University, Atlanta, GA
- B.A. Psychology, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL

Previous Professional Experience
- More than 10 years of teaching and education experience
- Joined AEI in 2012
- Interactive Technology College & Learning Systems, Morrow, GA, Adjunct Professor
- Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta, GA, Teacher Assistant
- Berlitz International Inc, Atlanta, GA, Instructor
- University of Phoenix, Alpharetta, GA, Enrollment Counselor
- Dekalb County School System, Decatur, GA, Educator
- Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta, GA, Educator


- Promoting Student Engagement (2013)

Correll AEI ESL Instructors

Mr. John Correll

- M.A. (Honors) Literature, Georgia State University
- B.A. English

Previous Professional Experience
- 20 years professional experience
- Joined AEI ESL Instructors in 2013
- Atlanta Technical College, 9 years
- Georgia Public High Schools, 11 years

- Assoc. Editor, Institute of Paper Science and Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology

Ms. Christina Krauss

- M.A. in TEFL, Columbia International Unversity, Columbia, South Carolina
- B.S. in Cross-Cultural Studies, Toccoa Falls, College

Previous Professional Experience
- Nine years of teaching and education experience
- Joined AEI ESL Instructors in January 2016
- Oral English Professor, Lanzhou Jiaotong University, Lanzhou, Gansu, China
- Volunteer ESL Teacher at Perimeter Church, Johns Creek, GA
- Taught Chinese English teachers, English Language Institute China (ELIC) Beijing, Xian, and Hohhot, China

Other Professional Experience
- Staff Sergeant USAF Reserves
- Office Manager, Service First HVAC, Flowery Branch, GA

Professional Certifications/Accomplishments
- Taught TESOL grammar to other instructors

Ms. Barbara J. Roberts

Professional Licenses
- Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) 1994

- M.S. Counseling/Psychology, Georgia State University, GA
- Post graduate study, Linguistics/Urban Education
- B.A. Spanish/English/Education, St Peter's College, New Jersey

Previous Professional Experience
- 36 years professional experience (combined education/psychotherapy)
- AEI since 2009
- Amnesty International ESL Program, GA; Coordinator/Instructor
- Denville College, NJ; TOEFL Test Preparation Instructor
- Budd Lake Board of Education ESL Program, NJ; Coordinator/Curriculum Developer/Instructor
- Parsippanny Board of Education, NJ; ESL teacher trainer
- Parsippany Board of Education, NJ; Adult ESL Program Instructor
- Jersey City Board of Education, NJ; Adult ESL Program Instructor
- Title I, NJ; ESL Instructor K-12

- National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) 1991
- English as a Second Language (ESL) Certification 1972

Mr. Kenneth Rothacker

- ABD, Linguistics at CUNY Graduate Center, NYC
- MA, Linguistics at Hunter College, NYC
- BA, French at St. John's University, NYC

Previous Professional Experience
- 2005-2017 Taught ESL comp. and literature at Life University, Marietta
- 2004-2005 Taught English and culinary languages at Le Cordon Bleu, Tucker
- 2000-2004 Taught English grammar and composition at Bauder College, Atlanta
- 1990-1995 Method Director for Berlitz International, Atlanta
- From 1974-1984 Assistant Professor of ESL at SUNY Farmingdale, NY

- Several articles/reviews of linguistics works and topics published in scholarly journals.

Mr. Paul Spitzer

- M.A. Applied Linguistics, Georgia State University
- B.A. Russian Language Studies, Georgetown University

Previous Professional Experience
- 25 years teaching experience
- Joined AEI in September 2017
- Georgia State University
- Latin American Association
- Gwinnett County Public Schools
- ESL Language Centers overseas in Russia, Mexico, Finland  and the Republic of Georgia

Professional Affiliations
- GATESOL Member

- Proficiency in Translation (Russian-English), Georgetown University
- Russian for Foreigners, Leningrad State University, USSR (1977)

- Action Research (slated for Nov. 2017), AEI

Dr. Aris Winger, Ph.D

- Ph.D. Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, PA
- M.S. Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, PA
- B.S. Mathematical Sciences, Howard University, Washington, DC

Previous Professional Experience
- 6 years teaching experience
- Joined AEI in 2013
- Georgia Gwinett College
- Emory and Henry College

- ESL Certification University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, 1992
- Honorable Mention for the Carnegie Mellon University Graduate -Student Teaching Award, 2002

Meet Our Oversight Committee

AEI's oversight committee reviews budgets and provides feedback on major administrative plans and projects. The committee is composed of the Directors of each of AEI's major departments.

Ms. Julie Ressler

School Director

Ms. Ressler is the founder, current School Director, and PDSO (Primary Designated School Official, SEVP, USCIS) of the Atlanta English Institute (AEI). Founded in 1993, AEI is the oldest private language school in Atlanta, Georgia, accredited by both AdvancED (SACS CASI) and CEA (Commission on English Language Program Accreditation). AEI has a reputation for providing superior English instruction to international students from all over the world. Julie has also served as instructor, Dean of Students, Admissions Officer, and Operations Director. She provides high-quality counseling and guidance to non-native English speaking students. As an administrator, she is considered to be both caring and detail oriented. In addition to her administrative work, Julie has also inspired the immigrant community to press into their best future by learning English and has also contributed to the academic advancement of the profession. For example, Julie presented her work, 'A Holistic Approach to English Grammar', at the Southeast TESOL Conference in Nashville, Tennessee in 2004. In her most recent work, she has served on the AdvancED External Review Team.

Before moving into administration, as a highly experienced English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor, she has successfully taught beginner through advanced levels of grammar with a holistic approach. Her earlier accomplishments include teaching ESL overseas and in the U.S., highlighted by three years on Atlanta Radio Korea, a daily live morning show. Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature and Linguistics from HoNam University in S. Korea.

Ms. Barbara Roberts

Dean of Students

As Dean of Students at AEI, Barbara Roberts brings more than forty years of experience as an English as a Second Language educator, trainer and Licensed Professional Therapist (LPC). Her combined knowledge allows her to address cultural adjustment issues and ESL program management in order to best serve students.

She began her career teaching ESL in New Jersey where her professional work included ESL curriculum development and instruction for multi-level classes. She conducted programs for corporate and multi-lingual senior citizen communities. Barbara taught test preparation courses for college students taking the TOEFL test. She developed and conducted ESL teacher training programs for the Parsippany Board of Education in New Jersey. Additionally, she developed curriculum and supervised teachers for Amnesty International. Her ESL work includes private tutoring.

Barbaras work in the field of psychotherapy spans community outreach to private practice, with a focus on adult individual, couple, and family therapy. She has expertise in counseling multi-cultural clients, and group therapy. She has conducted seminars for various communities on child abuse awareness and prevention and various other topics. She has been a supervisor for therapists preparing for the licensing exam. Barbara has been a Fellow of the American Psychotherapy Association (APA) and a member of the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) since 1991.

Barbara served as Assistant Director to the Office of Family Concerns, at the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta. There she recruited and managed teams of volunteers and professionals. She developed, implemented, and supervised programs for marriage preparation and enrichment. Barbara offered psycho-educational workshops, for pastors and deacons, covering a variety of mental health issues. Additionally she facilitated administration and interpretation of bi-lingual, personality assessment tools.

She received her ESL teaching certification while doing post-graduate work in linguistics and holds an MS in Counseling/Psychology.

Dr. Maggie Jackson, Ed.D

As Academic Affairs Team Leader at AEI, Maggie Jackson, Ed. D brings more than 20 years of experience in the field of education. Her experience includes certified teacher in public education, adjunct professor, language instructor, enrollment counselor, instructional support, administrative assistant, trainer, director of education and a presenter on various educational topics. These experiences reflect her many years of service in the public, private and business sectors. Furthermore, her background allows her to provide instructional leadership, language training and program development that best serve international ESL students.

Her career began in Tallahassee, Florida working with international students and scholars in the Office of Technology Transfer & International Programs (FAMU). This experience allowed her to serve, coordinate and plan international conferences that met the needs of both global students and faculty. Dr. Jackson continued her career in education by working with the students and faculty in public education, collegiate and private arenas. She would further her career endeavors in Hollywood, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia as an educator in public education. She has taught various levels in Intensive English Program(s) and Test Preparation courses (TOEFL) for college-bound students. She has serve as an enrollment counselor at the university-level, educational consultant. Providing language instruction & leadership in both the business and private sector is also her forte.

Maggie serves as the Director of Education at her local church. There she recruits and trains volunteers to work with the youth, teen and adult population. She works with youth workers and Christian education leaders to address the needs of the “total” person.

Her passion continues to foster an environment where both students and faculty can thrive. She embraces the philosophy that “Knowledge is Power” and “Shared Knowledge is Learning that Leads to Effective Change”.

Besides her earned Doctorate in Education (Instructional Leadership), she holds a Global TESOL Certificate. She is a member of Georgia Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (GATESOL) and American Association for Adult & Continuing Education (AAACE).

Dr. Irene Okech Hufton, Ph.D

Dr. Irene Hufton brings to Atlanta English Institute (AEI) over 10 years of exceptional leadership in operation management. Previously she has served as Director of Operations of a leading healthcare management organization in South East Georgia, and of a global non-profit organization based in Atlanta and Kenya. She holds a PhD and MBA.

An avid scholar, Dr. Hufton has authored several publications in academia and health policy, led panel discussions, and served on various local and international leadership committees. Dr. Hufton’s contribution to AEI spans years, from when she headed the curriculum development for private study for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Her expertise in policy conception, integration and application is an asset to the leadership of the institution. Currently, her role in Operations serves to augment competence in the running of the oldest private language institution in Georgia, AEI.

Mr. Syed Ahsan Raza

Senior Accountant

Mr. Raza has more than thirty years of “Auditing and Accounting” experience. His expertise allows him to address auditing, accounting and budgeting matters for AEI. He holds three Master’s degrees in the fields of Economics, Business Administration and History. He also has numerous other professional certificates.

He began his career as “Senior Auditor” in a Pakistan Audit Department. He served the Audit Department as Accountant, Audit Officer, and officer in charge of several Audit and Inspection teams. His expertise includes budgeting, bookkeeping, tax consultancy and auditing. He has audited a large number of government, semi-government, private and autonomous entities in Pakistan.

He is currently working as the 'Head of Accounting and Finance Department' of AEI.