COSSI Instructor Biographies
Laurie Clarcq is originally from Rochester, N.Y. and has traveled the globe as a teacher and a learner. Her classrooms have always reflected her love for language, learning and laughter. The students are, by far, her favorite part of teaching, but she has a special passion for exploring ways to connect students with the curriculum, and teachers with their students.
Laurie is a graduate of the State University of New York at Cortland, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in both Spanish and Early Childhood/ Elementary Education, and a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in Reading and Curriculum Development. She has over 36 years of teaching experience in Spanish and English as a Second Language and has enjoyed working with students at many levels from preschool through university, adult education and professional development. She has twice received the President's Award by the New York State Foreign Language Teachers' Association for her contributions to the profession.'
Laurie has been a presenter, consultant and trainer on a local, state, national and international level. Her recent work in Australia, France and Canada has successfully introduced the skills of Comprehensible Input-based teaching to teachers in other areas of the world. In 2008, She and Michele Whaley of Anchorage, Alaska began to implement an approach to reading that they titled Embedded Reading. It has been successfully and joyfully shared with and utilized by teachers internationally. A long-time blogger and contributor to written publications on and off-line, her work can be found on her two websites (www.heartsforteaching.com and www.embeddedreading.com).
Most important to Laurie is the message that we are human beings teaching other human beings. It is the heart, imagination and spirit that we honor in the classroom, and in life. It is our ability to develop confidence, curiosity and insight in our students that will change the world. It is our ability to appreciate what we each offer our students and each other that will strengthen and honor the profession. Whatever the topic, Laurie loves having the chance to interact with other teachers and connect with other kindred spirits!!
Skip Crosby, MS, BSED, BS
Skip Crosby has been teaching Spanish in Maine public high schools for 28.5 years. Skip gained proficiency in the Spanish language during a two-year stay in Colombia after college. While in Columbia, he earned a Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera from the Javeriana University in Bogotá, Colombia in 1989. In 1998, he earned a Masters Degree in Spanish from Middlebury College in Vermont. He has taught as an adjunct at the college level for a total of nine years. He also teaches high school Spanish online.
In 2014, Skip was named Maine Foreign Language Teacher of the year, Northeast Conference on the teaching of Foreign Language Teacher of the Year Finalist, Androscoggin County Teacher of the year and the 2015 was the Maine Teacher of the Year, Finalist. Skip earned National Board Certification (NBCT) in 2018. For the past six years, Skip has taken groups of students to Guatemala City to work with Safe Passage, an organization dedicated to helping the families working in the Guatemala City dump with education, food and medical care. Skip lives in Poland, Maine with Beth, his wife of 27 years, his 18-year old son, Gabe, and Lexi, the 9.25 pound Mini Dachshund.
Janet Gesme is a musician, translator, teacher, wife and mother of two. She earned her Bachelors in Viola Performance from the University of Missouri in 1995 and a Masters in German from Portland State University in 2013. She has played in orchestras across the United States and now makes her home in Bend, Oregon. German, Russian, Spanish, French, Hungarian and Korean are among the languages that she enjoys speaking, reading and translating. She feels blessed to have had the opportunity to translate Christopher Schacht's "Around the World on 50 Bucks" and Martin Schleske's "The Sound of Life's Unspeakable Beauty.
Michele Whaley has taught languages in Alaska for more than thirty years. She has mentored teachers for the last fifteen, sharing methodology techniques locally, nationally and internationally at language conferences and workshops. A recent focus is on preserving indigenous languages. Michele believes that languages open our eyes to new ways of thinking and communicating, and she works to find and share the most effective techniques for language acquisition. Michele was the 2016 Pacific Northwest Language teacher of the year and she was a national finalist in 2017. She teaches Russian at the University of Alaska and kindergarten through fifth-grade Spanish at Pacific Northern Academy in Anchorage. She has been part of COSSI since its inception.