Rencontrer les enseignants

Danielle Diab Karaky
It’s a privilege to introduce myself as the Director of the French Academy this summer! I am a native Lebanese francophone. I grew up speaking both French and Arabic in a full immersion setting and I acquired the love of learning languages at a young age. In Lebanon, I studied Agriculture Engineering, and I completed my graduate studies in Montpellier-France. I worked for the United Nations Program and the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture as a Senior Consultant preparing and implementing development projects. When I moved to the United States, I had the opportunity to teach college level French classes at Purdue University. I loved the experience tremendously. I decided to switch careers and pursue a teaching career in French. I earned a master’s degree in French Literature and Education from Purdue while teaching on campus at the same time. I’ve been enjoying teaching for 23 years. Currently, I am teaching at Washington-Liberty HS in Arlington, and I have been the world languages department chair for 13 years. I love working with my colleagues, serving our students and the whole community. I joined the French Academy two years ago as a French and Arabic teacher and I am extremely excited this year for my new role as director. I am looking forward to welcoming our Francophone scholars and embarking with them upon an unforgettable journey.
Delphine NgoKattal
Passionate about languages, reading and writing, I have taught both nationally and internationally. I am currently working in a district in Virginia as a didactician of foreign languages (Spanish & French). With my pen, I want to write, describe and rewrite – with academics of course – the tasty substance of the French language during the summer of 2023.
Mary Lynch Conner
Bonjour! Je suis ravie (and honored) d’être parmi vous for my fourth year as a teacher at the Governor’s French Academy. My name is Mary Lynch Conner and I am presently completing my sixth year as a Spanish teacher at Louisa County High School. Before returning to the United States, I lived in France for more than half of my life. Over the span of these 27 years, my teaching career in English, French and Spanish has been rich and diverse with students of all ages and backgrounds. Paralleling this teaching career, my artistic endeavors have always been essential to me. I was fortunate to have been able to show my 3-dimensional painting and silversmith jewelry in shows and galleries in and around Paris. Prior to my time abroad in Paris, I spent two years as an exchange student in Colombia from which my passion for this culture, Spanish, and the learning of other languages originated. I earned a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from VCU and a MAT from UVA in Spanish and teaching.
Catherine Guilaine Mbolong
Born and raised in a Francophone environment, I hold a Bachelor’s degree in French language, a Master’s Degree in International Relations with a major in ‘Peacekeeping.’ Now, I am a “Database Administrator”. My Semantics course focuses on “The said and the unsaid of a speech.” Passionate for traveling, reading and social interactions, I intend to dive into these pools as I contribute to the development of academicians and the success of this 2023 session!!!!
Rachel Thayer
I was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Virginia in 2013 to teach French. I am thrilled to be joining the team at the French Academy this summer! I have been speaking French since my childhood, and becoming a teacher was the natural choice for me to be able to share with young people my passion for the language and its speakers. I have my undergraduate degree in French from Grove City College, and my Masters degree in French is from Middlebury College Language Schools, where I specialized in Linguistics and Pedagogy. I have studied abroad three times, twice in Paris (L’Institute Catholique de Paris and Le Centre Madeleine) and once in China. My biggest passions in French include history and linguistics.
Mathilde Wilson-Bahun
Naturally passionate, I like helping others and sharing my knowledge. I decided to change careers from Project Study to teaching to help young people who want to learn the French language and explore French culture. Born and raised in Togo, I continued my university studies in France, at the Université Lumière Lyon II, with a Diploma of Specialized Higher Studies (DESS). I am very patient and creative. I love doing photography and videography to preserve unforgettable moments. I can’t wait to tour the Francophonie with the academicians this summer.

Rencontrer les moniteurs

Neville Permel
I learned to speak French when I was 14. From then on, I loved languages. I studied foreign languages at VCU in Richmond. I taught French, Spanish, and English. I am currently teaching English as a second language in Petersburg. The French Academy is phenomenal, and I’m so happy to be back this year!
Henry Shifflett
Bonjour tout le monde! My name is Henry Shifflett–I am from Richmond, Virginia, where I have lived my whole life. This fall I will start my fourth and final year at the University of Virginia where I major in both French and Political Philosophy, Policy, and Law. I was fortunate to attend the academy myself in high school, and this will be my third summer working as a mono. My time at the academy has helped to prepare me for a semester abroad in Lyon, where I am currently studying. I can’t wait to meet you all and spend three unforgettable weeks together immersed in the French language and culture. À très bientôt!
Mariama Bâ
Hello! My name is Mariama Bâ. I am originally from Senegal. I have been passionate about the French language since I was a kid. Born in a French-speaking country, I have always had to speak and study this language. In 2020 I obtained a bachelor’s degree in English and I did a year of Master’s in English too. I am currently a TA in French at Washington & Lee. I look forward to meeting the academicians and having an amazing time with them.
Meghann O Sayles
Despite my position as a French teacher for the past four years, I still consider myself a student of francophone language and culture. I love to learn new things about the world around me. During my studies at the University of Mary Washington, I spent time in the South of France where I learned so much about the rich history of the region and its geography. I am so excited to spend these few weeks at the Academy with students who share the same love of learning and language.
Lydie Kipawa
My name is Lydie Buradi Kipawa, and I’m from the Democratic Republic of Congo. My entire education was in French, and I have been learning English since June of 2021. I’m a rising junior, and I am majoring in accounting at Washington and Lee. During my free time, I enjoy reading, listening to music, dancing, and spending time with my friends. I am honored to be a mentor for the French Academy this year, and I cannot wait to meet everyone soon.