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Steven Rainey, Director

Steven Rainey is director of the ELC. Steve has taught ESL/EFL for over 30 years,served as the director of an intensive English language program in Korea, and oversaw a pilot intensive ESL program for Mexican students at BSU. Mr. Rainey has worked with refugees in Boise for over 20 years. He has a background in linguistics with a focus in language acquisition. He has served on the Intermountain TESOL board and the Refugee Concerns Interest Section board of the international TESOL organization.

Ruth Merrill, ESL Instructor

Ruth has taught English to English language learners since 1997.  After graduating with a Master of Arts in Bilingual and English as a Second Language, Ruth began teaching for Boise State University, later the College of Western Idaho absorbed the adult education department.  Besides the ESL teaching and course development for BSU and CWI, Ruth taught Vocational English for Create Common Good.  However, Ruth is most excited to join the educational team at the English Language Center where she teaches a very beginning class and an advanced class. She was awarded an Idaho Refugee Recognition Award for an Adult Educator at the Idaho Conference for Refugees 2011.  Her work history includes jobs as a wrangler, zoo keeper, wild land fire fighter, hotel maid, waitress and librarian but teaching is her passion. In her free time, Ruth enjoys gardening, spending time with her family and being in the mountains; skiing, biking and camping.

Anna Tovar,  ESL Instructor

Anna started volunteering at the ELC in 2010 as a service-learning student at Boise State University while working to complete her BA in English- emphasis in Linguistics. After graduating, Anna began to substitute at the ELC.Then in January 2014, Anna joined the ELC staff, facilitating the Cultural Orientations for newly arrived students and the School Impact Grant Orientations, connecting refugee parents of school-age children to the public school.

Anna has returned to BSU and is currently studying for a Masters in Education - Literacy. Her work history includes childcare, waitressing, Membership Manager for the Girl Scouts of Silver Sage Council, Manager of a painting company, and Psycho-social Rehabilitation Specialist for multiple mental health agencies. Anna's passion for teaching began in high school when she volunteered teaching Sunday school classes at her church. Her interest in languages and multi-ethnic backgrounds was also fostered in high school where she began studying Spanish and set a goal to become fluent in five languages in her lifetime. After working for the Girl Scouts in college, Anna became a volunteer Troop Leader of a bilingual troop of 16 girls, ages 5-13 years old. She enjoys practicing bilingual education and literacy instruction techniques with her troop. In college she met her future husband who took her to visit his home in Mexico multiple times and whose family has helped her to achieve fluency in Spanish. She has studied ASL and German, and looks forward to acquiring those languages as well. Anna enjoys spending her free time cooking, baking, reading, gardening, running, biking, camping, skate boarding and spending time with her family. Her professional interests include language acquisition and bilingual education, critical literacy, reproductive health awareness and community activism.

Estefany Giehm, Services to Older Refugees Coordinator

Estefany became interested in teaching English when she became the assistant coordinator of Project SHINE (Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders) at City College of San Francisco through the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) Program. She received her MA in TESOL at San Francisco State University in 2010. During her graduate studies, she was the coordinator of Project SHINE at SFSU. She also volunteered, tutored, and assisted instructors in a variety of ESL courses at City College of San Francisco and SFSU. After receiving her diploma, Estefany taught reading, writing, grammar, speaking/listening, and pronunciation courses at a number of community colleges in San Diego and Chicago before moving to Boise where she taught at the Intensive English Program at Boise State University. As the SOR coordinator, Estefany is excited about collaborating with BSU Project SHINE to continue to bring service learners to the ELC who will help refugee elders improve their English to gain citizenship. Estefany is a fluent Spanish speaker and is currently studying Korean. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, hiking, learning to cook, reading, playing board games, and walking her dog.