Meet Our Staff

The teachers and staff at Speak Our Language have an unbridled passion for language and culture. Our energy, enthusiasm, encouragement, and sense of humor foster a learning environment where you not only enjoy being there, but you actually speak the language in the very first minutes of your very first class experience! 

Taught by licensed teachers, SOL classes provide language instruction in grammatically correct global languages that go beyond basic phrases and vocabulary, providing you with the know-how to converse in unscripted situations. The benefit of having a trained teacher working with you face-to-face ensures that you're able to learn from your mistakes and grow your abilities with the guiding hand of a qualified, experienced, and patient linguist.

Tonya Tiggett

Tonya

Home State/Country: Ohio

Title: CEO and Programs Director, Adult Spanish Class Teacher for all levels

Spanish Countries visited: Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala

Favorite Word in Spanish:  Panqueques.  Pancakes! It always makes my students laugh and is just fun to say.

Tonya has worked for over 20 years in all levels of education from elementary up to corporate.  She earned her B.S. and M.A. from The Ohio State University where she majored in Spanish education and Spanish Peninsular Literature. Tonya taught hundreds of undergraduate students during her seven year tenure at OSU and also led their undergraduate study abroad program for Ohio State in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

It was while in Cuernavaca living and working for three months that she dreamed of a starting a school where students could be immersed in the language and also interact with the local Hispanic community. Thus, years later, Speak Our Language was born with just one class in a rented church space and 5 students.  Fast forward ten years later and SOL has earned an A+ rating with the BBB of Central Ohio and has helped hundreds of students learn the fine art of Spanish conversation, in addition to introducing them in person to Mexico and Guatemala through our study abroad trips.

"I love helping people find their voice in another language and to connect with people here and abroad.  It is so awesome to see how it truly changes their view of the world and the way they can now better interact with others in it."

Tonya was a NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) Visionary Award finalist in 2011 for the visionary nature of SOL programs as well as the mentorship and coaching Tonya does within the Columbus community for women in business.  In 2013 she was asked to join the Fisher College of Business MBA program where she leads professional development courses on effective communication and leadership.  

Annie

Annie

Home State/Country: Ohio

Title: Adult Spanish Class Teacher (Beginner and Intermediate Level)

Spanish Countries visited: 12 (Includes All of Central America plus Spain and other western European countries)

Favorite Word in Spanish:  Chisme or gossip.  Chisme was such an important and interesting part of life in Nicaragua.

Annie loves "interacting with her adult learners at Speak Our Language."  She joined SOL in the fall of 2012 and works with our Beginner and Intermediate level courses.  Annie's interest in Spanish began in high school and led her to venture to Seville, Spain where she studied abroad.  The wanderlust for the language and cultural immersion next took her to Nicaragua for over two years where she worked as a Peace Corp volunteer.

When not teaching Annie runs and is setting a goal of completing a marathon. This does not mean that she does not indulge occasionally in her favorite:  red velvet cupcakes! Annie's advice for Spanish learners is, "Stick with it! The more you practice, the more you learn.  Also do not worry about speaking perfectly, but do speak a lot!"

 

Carlos

Carlos

Title: Adult Spanish Class Teacher (Advanced Level)

Surprising Fact: Carlos is a finanacial advisor and his guilt pleasure is sleeping.

Favorite Word in Spanish:  Gracias.  Gracias because it shows politeness and positivity. 

Home State/County: Mexico

Contagious laughter, amusement with the American culture and English language, and always smiling is what you should know about our Advanced level teacher Carlos.

Carlos has a tremendous (and we emphasize that word!) passion for his native language and for second language acquisition in general.  Carlos hails from Mexico and relocated recently to Ohio because of his wife’s buckeye state roots.  While pursuing his dream of becoming a university professor of Spanish, he will head up our advanced level classes, thus providing the native-speaking touch our students need at this level.

While residing in Mexico, Carlos successfully ran several small businesses, including a Spanish and English language school for international students wishing to acquire conversational command in either language.  His only challenge as a student of English prior to moving to the U.S. was the pronunciation of the word “fact,” which his English teacher made him practice over and over so his version of the word did not accidentally offend anyone!

Carlos shares the same passion and goals as Speak Our Language and wishes to share with the world the beauty and the advantage of learning Spanish.

Home State/Country:  Mexico

Title: Adult Spanish Class Teacher (Advanced Level)

Favorite Word in Spanish: Gracias because it shows politeness and positivity.

Surprising Fact:  Carlos is a financial advisor and his guilty pleasure is sleeping.

 

Cori

Cori

Home State/Country: Ohio

Title: Adult Spanish Class Teacher (Beginner Level)

Favorite word in Spanish:Mostaza (mustard - "I don't even like mustard but it's fun to say in Spanish!")

Spanish-speaking countries visited: Ten!

Cori is our most tenured teacher with Speak Our Language, having started with SOL in 2005 when the company was just two years old and she was only two years into her high school teaching career at a local suburban district. Her enthusiasm, passion for teaching Spanish and her knowledge about SOL programs have only increased; other than owner Tonya Tiggett, Cori has taught the most number of years for SOL, the most number of programs and the most number of classes. ¡Óle!

Cori first learned Spanish when she traveled with her high school to Costa Rica and then later returned on a study abroad program through Ohio University. One of our most popular teachers, Cori is always adept at making her students laugh and feel at ease when learning Spanish, and that it is ok to make mistakes when learning to use it. Case in point: On her high school exchange program to Costa Rica she once told someone that she was embarazada, intending to say she was embarrassed, but instead saying she was pregnant!

She loves teaching her adult students with Speak Our Language and says they are "fun and the best to teach!" Her teaching mantra is to "be positive and keep trying," which we are glad that she does each and every time she leads a class for SOL.

Her wanderlust for travel makes her our most well-rounded Spanish teacher who has managed to jump across the pond to Spain and also trek to nine other Spanish-speaking countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America. Her goal is to visit even more and we look forward to her accomplishing this. ¡Ándale Cori! Go for it!

 

Jennifer C.

Jennifer 

Home State/Country: Ohio

Title: Adult Spanish Class Teacher (Beginner Level)

Adjectives to Describe Jennifer: Caring, Helpful and Knowledgeable

Countries visited:  Costa Rica

Congratulations to Jennifer C. on completing her Master’s in Education in 2012, and with it, earning her teaching licensure in Spanish – even though she has been speaking español for years.  Jennifer has a lengthy background in public school education in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) for grades k-6 prior to joining Speak Our Language in 2013 to work with our Beginner level programs. 

Although Jennifer was initially concerned that teaching adults was going to be a tremendous challenge, we assured her they are just kids in grown up bodies and professional clothes.  That’s the green light Jennifer wanted to incorporate her humor and winning smile to create an energetic and fun learning environment for her “big kids.” 

Jennifer loves teaching Spanish because the language is her passion and truly cares about the well-being of all her students.  We enjoy the laughter and learning that come from her lessons.

 

Jennifer Z.

Jennifer

Home State/Country: Ohio

Title: Adult Spanish Class Teacher (Beginner Level)

Surprising Fact: She grew up baling hay and learned how to drive with a John Deere farming tractor.

Countries visited:  3 (Spain, Mexico, Nicaragua and hopes to get to Puerto Rico soon)

Jennifer teaches our Beginner level.  She is energetic and loves to laugh, which means her students are always entertained! After teaching high school during the day, Jennifer really likes transitioning to her adult students in the evening with SOL because, "Adults see the benefit in the language usually, whereas I am still teaching those benefits to my younger students."  Jennifer has a passion for teaching Spanish becuase she has the ability to teach new and literally, foreign, ideas to her students.  "It is a fun and exciting adventure."

Jennifer's interest in Spanish goes back to high school where she enjoyed her classes and felt that she identified with the culture.  She would like to pursue her Master's Degree in Spanish Linguistics or Literature and hopes to add a few more Spanish country adventures, such as Puerto Rico and Argentina, to her repetoire. 

Jennifer and Annie must be on the same wavelength with their advice and favorite words in Spanish. Jennifer likes the sound of cuchichear, to whisper, and can use that when spilling some chisme (gossip) to Annie.  Like Annie's advice, Jennifer also suggests "Don't give up!" She also encourages her learners to "keep on trying and make mistakes!" 

 

Justin

Justin

Title: Adult Spanish Class Teacher (Beginner Level)

Surprising Fact: He wants to be a Lutheran Pastor and will be working with our programs at Trinity Lutheran Seminary.

Favorite Word in Spanish:  Café Café.  Café because it means really strong coffee in Castellano. I like the redundancy of it and the urgency of café café ahorita (right now!). 

Justin joined SOL in 2014 and learned Spanish as a Freshman in high school because he wanted to travel, meet people and teach and looked up to his Spanish teacher a role model for Justin's future career choice.  We are glad he did because Justin feels that people need to learn languages in an immersion context like Speak Our Language classes, with practical answers to "When will I ever use this?" He wants his students to be able to use their Spanish years down the road and profit from the time they invested in their study.

Justin has benefitted from his study of language to travel abroad to 15 countries, including his favorite three:  Spain, Portugal and Belgium.  His advice for students learning?  "Chunk your study a little each day, seek practice with native speakers and set manageable goals."

 

Lauren

Lauren

Home State/Country: Ohio

Title: Adult Spanish Class Teacher (Beginner and Intermediate Level)

Favorite word in Spanish: Aguacero (downpour - also the name of a song by Ricky Martin & LaMari)

Guilty pleasure: Chocolate and reality TV

Spanish-speaking countries visited: 4 (Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic)

When you talk about someone passionate about language, you must be thinking of our very own Lauren who first learned Spanish in high school and then ventured to live and work in Spain as a nanny so that she could live the language and culture. "I like to teach others the thing I love and have devoted my life to."

When Lauren in not leading the elementary Spanish programs for Dublin City Schools, she travels as much as possible and hopes someday to make it to Scandinavia. Exercise and spending time with friends and family also keep this former gymnast grounded (but watch out because she can do a back-flip) for the most part.

Lauren enjoys teaching for SOL because she likes "interacting with the adults who are lifelong learners."

 

Lindsay

Lindsay

Home State/Country: Ohio

Title: Adult Spanish Class Teacher (Beginner Level)

Favorite word in Spanish: Lagartijas (pushups)

Guilty pleasure: Reality TV

Don't mistake her for Sammi from the Jersey Shore reality show cast, as many of her students do; Lindsay is one class act, full of energy and passion for teaching Spanish. She is the newest addition to the Speak Our Language crew and was drawn to our company because of the immersion methodology we use, which she says "is the best way to learn."

"I like making a difference and seeing my students have fun while learning an essential language. I always learn something new too." She advises students studying a foreign language to not give up because we all make mistakes and don't know all the words in the English vocabulary either, even if you are a native-English speaker.

When not teaching adult Spanish classes for Speak Our Language, or for a local high school where she works full time, you will find this upbeat and enthusiastic young woman coaching cheerleading or sashaying to the beat of Zumba, which she also instructs.

Don't let her sunny personality fool you, Lindsay is one tough cookie. Many people would be surprised to know that she was a power lifter in high school and perhaps this is why she loves the word largatijas in Spanish. "I jokingly threaten my students with lagatijas in school!"

Packed with ambition, she is completing her M.A. in Spanish Literature by participating in a unique program that takes her every summer to countries such as Perú, Spain, and Guatemala, which also adds to her global knowledge of the diverse Spanish language and culture. This benefits her students in gaining a multi-cultural view of Spanish-speaking America and Europe.

 

Patty

Patty

Home State/Country: U.S.A

Title: Adult Spanish Class Teacher & Tutor (Advanced Level)

Surprising Fact: She owns over 100 cookbooks and uses them all.

Patty teaches our Advance level and like our other staff members- simply loves languages! She is also an amazing tutor and thoroughly enjoys working with individual instruction to ensure her clients grow and progress exactly as they envision it. Patty will leave no stone unturned in a student's language journey and has a true knack in working with middle school age children to fine tune their abilities and grades- all the way up to corporate big-wigs who must master the language for business purposes.


Patty brings an absolute wealth of teaching experience from ESL, translation, interpretation, visiting professorships and of course Spanish language instruction. Whew! We are impressed relaying all of this! You will always find Patty in a kitchen or garden when not teaching, or on a plane to visit one of her children.


Speak Our Language students greatly benefit from Patty's command of the Spanish language and culture, honed as a result of living in Spain and Costa Rica for years, and being married to a native-speaker from Cuba.

 

Roni

Roni

Home State/Country: Georgia, U.S.A

Title: Adult Spanish Class Teacher Beginner Levels

Favorite Word in Spanish:  Relámpago because it is fun to say (lightning).

Surprising Fact:  She enjoys working out.

Roni believes that languages are exciting and we agree! Besides language, Roni has a weakness for chocolate and stuffed grapes, which she balances with reading and dancing when not teaching Spanish for several organizations, in addition to Speak Our Language.

Roni enjoys working with our adult students and is able to draw upon her 10 year of teaching experience and from travels in such countries as Spain and Mexico. Her dream is to someday teach at the university level.

 

Sandra

Sandra

Home State/Country: Mexico

Title: ASE Lead Teacher, Tutor Specializing in Mexican Culture and Language

Favorite word in Spanish: Tronchatodo = Party Pooper!

Guilty pleasure: Norteño music

Sandra is always willing to say  to any of our programs that involves teaching children Spanish, working with teachers who need to role play situations with Spanish-speaking parents, or educating business professionals in our community on the Mexican culture and language. "I love to work with Speak Our Language because I have the opportunity to return to teaching and because it is a flexible program that helps you to learn in a fun and easy way. I feel satisfied when someone learns something new and achieves what he or she sets out to."

Sandra's specialty in education comes from having translated her love of working with children into a career as a kindergarten teacher in Mexico for several years before relocating with her family to Central Ohio. Her advice to students beginning to learn another language is to have "a lot of patience and practice every moment you can."

Sandra would like to learn to say  in another language too: Italian. She hopes someday to travel to Italy because she has always wanted to experience the language and the culture.

We are thrilled to have such an experienced and passionate elementary instructor for our After School Español (ASE) program and look forward to Sandra taking on more teaching assignments as our ASE program continues to grow.

 

If you are interested in joining our SOL teaching staff, click here for more information!

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