Meet the Team 2017-11-22T06:33:04+00:00

The English Teacher Training College Team

Board of Directors

Keith Sealund
Keith SealundPresident

A former United States Marine Corps Captain, business owner, Chief Operating Officer of several different manufacturing and service companies, Keith brings to ABCi a unique breadth and depth of leadership and business experience. Keith has lived in Japan, Thailand, Egypt, and since 2011…beautiful Austria. He is also the Head Coach of the American Football team Traun Steelsharks and in his limited spare time enjoys golf, exercise, writing, and gardening. Among Keith’s many goals is to marry ABCi’s state of the art educational expertise with business best practices, and in so doing, create a peerless organization that is professional, fun, rewarding, and focused on excellence and the success of our many stakeholders.

Ursula Burghardt
Ursula BurghardtVice President
Claud Fourie
Claud FouriePersonnel Director

Originally from South Africa Claud emigrated to Austria in 2006 where he worked for two large Corporations as HR Manager . He studied Human Resource Management at the University of South Africa and also holds a Master of Business Administration in General Management. After spending over a decade working in the HR Field he still believes that the employees are the most important asset of any Organisation. His expertise includes organizational development, training and development and leadership and management coaching. In his free time he coaches Tennis at his local tennis club and is also self proclaimed “BBQ World Champion”

Sereya is originally from The Netherlands but spent a long time living in the U.S. She lived in San Diego, Arizona, Colorado and New York stating that she enjoyed her time in Crested Butte, Colorado the most. Sereya studied Dutch law at university and gained vital sales experience and personal development at Anthony Robbins. She is a certified yoga teacher and enjoys practising yoga in her spare time.

Sereya Talirz
Sereya TalirzMarketing, Fundraising, Sales and Promotions Director
Dave King
Dave KingDirector of Studies

Dave was born, raised and educated in Australia. After travelling around Central America learning about different agricultural systems he made his first steps into English teaching by running English–language gardening workshops with Guatemalan school children. He has also worked as an EFL teacher in Vietnam and taught practical English to newly arrived immigrants in Melbourne. In between travels Dave has completed a Bachelor of Social Science at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, the Trinity DipTESOL and post–graduate study in International Development.

Robert began his career in Education in 2001 working with boys with behavioral and specific educational learning difficulties in East Leeds. He then spent 2 years working in a variety of secondary schools across Cheshire, focusing his work in pupil referral units and isolation units within mainstream education. After moving into Further Education in London in 2003, Robert developed his expertise as a teacher trainer, specializing in developing newly qualified teachers in the areas of pastoral support and classroom management. Progressing into the role of an advanced skills practitioner, Robert spent 9 years working as Lead Tutor for the Arts at London’s leading college.

His most recent role was working for one of the largest and most successful language schools in the world, where he was the Academic Service Manager for 3 schools across the Liguria region of Italy. His primary responsibilities included teacher training and staff development, student retention and recruitment, and the day to day operations of each school. As well as teaching, Robert has a passion for music and sports. He worked in London as a professional musician, specializing in piano, bass, guitar and vocals arranging. Robert also spent a period of time in Asia training and competing in a number martial arts including Sanda and Muay Thai and Western boxing.

He has a professional background as a performer and songwriter, and has been fortunate enough to work with and develop many musicians who have gone on to work with artists including Adele, Ella Eyre, JLS, Tinie Tempah, Status Quo and Emeli Sande.

Robert Kennedy
Robert Kennedy Academic Director
Jakob Gfrerer
Jakob GfrererChancellor

Jakob is a retired English professor from the Teacher Training College in Salzburg (Pädagogische Hochschule Salzburg) and the former mayor of a small town near Salzburg, Puch bei Hallein. Originally from the rural alps of St. Michael im Lungau,  he later studied at the teacher training college in Salzburg. After a year abroad spent teaching at an American high school, Jakob began studying for a teaching degree at the University of Salzburg. His first teaching post was at the Werkschulheim Felbertal just outside of Salzburg and he later taught at the Bundesgymnasium III in Salzburg. Jakob eventually settled with his family of five to Puch bei Hallein, where he served as mayor from 1989 to 1999. Besides teaching and politics, Jakob has devoted himself to improving teacher training for English teachers at the Pädagogische Hochschule in Salzburg, where he worked training secondary school teachers for English. It was there that he recognized the importance of practical experience for students studying to become teachers and it is this understanding that he brings to the team at the English Teacher Training College.

One of the college’s co-founders, Frank is an American from New York with decades of experience teaching English for various government and private organizations in Germany and Austria. Before coming to Europe, he succeeded in being one of few students in the 225–year history of Rutgers University to simultaneously graduate with four different majors in 2003. Frank taught English at the Pädagogische Hochschule Salzburg from 2004 until 2007 and in his spare time he played American football for the Salzburg Red Bulls. He later received his master’s degree from Oxford University in 2010. More recently, Frank developed an English summer program for German children in which more than 1,000 participants take part every year and he also serves as a judge for the Austrian national language contest (Sprachencontests für berufsbildende Schulen) in Burgenland and Upper Austria. He currently lives in a village outside of the Vorchdorf campus with his wife and children, where his hobbies include cooking, gardening and poker.

Frank Carle
Frank CarleHonorary President
Ben Stone
Ben Stone Honorary Vice President

One of the college’s co-founders, Ben is an Australian from near Canberra with more than a decade of teaching experience in the EFL world. In 2006, He graduated from the University of Wollongong, Australia with a Bachelor of Education. Ben has worked as an English teacher for one of the biggest language schools in Europe whilst living in Germany. Prior to moving to Germany, he taught at an Australian secondary school, as well as an upper school in England. He also assisted in the teacher training and mentoring of new English teachers for a summer program in Germany. After completing his studies in Australia, Ben taught with a youth adventure organisation. He has also worked as a cowboy on a 66,000 acre cattle ranch! In his spare time, Ben has a great passion for climbing, hiking and mountain biking. He currently lives in a village near Salzburg with his wife and child.

Dr. Sebastian Stein has received his education in England, Spain, France and Germany. He volunteered at a Christian kindergarten outside of Munich and worked as tutor for a variety of summer schools teaching Social sciences, Philosophy and English. Having served as a Dean of St. Hugh’s College and received a D.Phil. from Oxford University in 2012, Sebastian has since been working as university lecturer and researcher. Now based at the University of Heidelberg, he has published several academic articles on matters relating to the philosophy of German Idealism and is currently working on a book concerned with the metaphysics of freedom. Dr. Stein serves the college’s independent Ombudsmann and all complaints and/or appeals are escalated to him.

Sebastian Stein
Sebastian Stein Ombudsmann

Academic Staff

Frederick Ball
Frederick BallSenior Teacher

Frederick was born in Hounslow, West London, though most of his childhood was spent in a small town in the United Kingdom’s National Forest. Even before moving to Sheffield to earn his BA in Germanic Studies, Frederick had an interest in education and a passion for working with young learners, volunteering at his school’s extracurricular program for primary school learners for over three years. During his year abroad with the British Council he added to this experience by working at a Hauptschule in Germany’s Lower Saxony, assisting with and sometimes leading the English lessons of several classes of young adults. Having decided on a career in education, and motivated by his own love for linguistics and the English language, Frederick spent half a year volunteering with the special educational needs department of a local school in England before earning his CELTA qualification with the University of Sheffield’s ELTC. His next move took him to Austria to join ABCi as an intermediate-level student teacher and the experience was such a beneficial and enjoyable one that he has now returned to the company as an Senior Teacher. In his spare time Frederick enjoys books, film and cooking.

Rachel has a BA in Language, Literacy and Communication, from the University of Manchester, England which explored the way language develops and the underpinning syntactic and phonetic structures.  In 2011 she completed a Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) which specified in teaching children aged 4-11, at the University of Leeds, England.
Following this initial degree and prior to embarking on the PGCE she worked as a teaching assistant at Western Primary School in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. During this time her main experience involved working in the Foundation stage, which supported her later role, teaching in a year one setting, after completing the PGCE. After this Rachel moved to Austria and worked in an international school, in Innsbruck for two years, as head of English. During her time in Austria she also taught evening classes to adults and worked at a summer camp teaching teenagers. From this breadth of experience she has become skilled at differentiating the planning for different ability levels and planning and teaching a creative curriculum.
Rachel Louise Beale
Rachel Louise BealeCourse Tutor
Joanna Bingham
Joanna BinghamAcademic Manager

Joanna has recently returned to the college after spending two years living and working in Philadelphia. She graduated from Cambridge university in 2013 and became a student teacher on the course attaining her CertTESOL and TEFL-YL qualification.  This is the ninth country she has resided in and has taught students from all over the world in her career as an English teacher. One of her passions is travelling. She loves visiting Europe via train and aspires to visit more European countries while in Austria.

Andy grew up in Reading, England, but was born in Canada to an English father and a Scottish mother, who first met skiing in Austria. During his studies of Modern Languages (French, German and Spanish) at the University of Southampton, Andy spent a year living in Bregenz working as a Teaching Assistant in two Austrian schools through the British Council. After graduating, he was eager to return to Austria, and spent a year and a half in the same role, this time in Graz. He now joins ABCi as the Sales and Promotions Teacher for the Bregenz area, and looks forward to returning to the region he fell in love with as well as exploring more of Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. In his spare time Andy enjoys getting outside and taking advantage of Austria’s natural landscape by skiing, cycling, hiking, swimming and travelling, especially when rewarded with a Schnitzel or any other Austrian dish.

Andrew Boylin
Andrew BoylinSales & Promotions Teacher Graz/Bregenz
Kerry Carruthers
Kerry CarruthersCourse Tutor

Driven by a passion for learning, coupled with an appreciation of languages and culture, Kerry has lived and worked on four continents, gaining a wealth of experience in ‘English Language Teaching’, ‘Teacher Training’ as well as ‘Curriculum Design & Development’. Before coming to Austria, she worked as a teacher trainer in Malaysian Borneo, and prior to that was Director of Studies at a private language school in Edinburgh, Scotland. Kerry relishes the challenge of creating learning opportunities others and supporting them to achieve their potential. She believes that as teachers we should inspire students to continue learning and provide them with the tools to do so

Mark comes from the north-west of England and has taught English to adults and children of all ages for well over a decade in a number of countries around the world, including Egypt, Colombia and Saudi Arabia. He has worked for the British Council and International House, as well as for several years at Regent´s University, London, and completed a DELTA and an MA in ELT and Applied Linguistics at King´s College. As well as teaching, Mark has been a local tutor for teachers taking their DELTA, and worked with teachers on a wide range of training topics, from classroom dynamics to syllabus design and a lot in between. After taking a short holiday in Vienna, Mark decided to make the move to Austria permanent. Having lived in the capital for several months, he has moved out to Upper Austria and is really looking forward to exploring the beautiful countryside and working with all the teachers and students here.

Mark Dickinson
Mark DickinsonCourse Tutor
Emmet Higgins
Emmet HigginsSenior Teacher

Emmet, who comes from the west coast of Ireland has been living in Austria since September 2015. Having studied Engineering in Ireland through DIT and in Switzerland with Hochschule Luzern, he obtained two Bachelor degrees in Mechanical Engineering and then in Manufacturing and Design. He then decided to follow a dream of becoming a teacher and completed the CertTESOL course with the English Teacher Training College. On completion he decided to stay with the organisation and took up a position as a Senior Teacher in Pressbaum. In his free time he enjoys reading, hiking, travelling and enjoying the Austrian way of life.

After graduating from university, Francis decided to travel abroad to earn his TESOL qualification with the English Teacher Training College. He enjoyed it so much that he decided to stay with them in his current role of senior teacher.  ​In his spare time, Francis enjoys playing his guitar.
Francis Hitchcot
Francis HitchcotSenior Teacher
Meg Kyffin
Meg KyffinSenior Teacher

Meg is from the north east of the U.K. and has been teaching outdoor education for the last 10 years in Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A and the U.K. Her passions include all water sports and football she is a huge Newcastle United fan. Meg would really like to one day visit French Polynesia as it is picturesque.

Beth comes from the north of England and has a BA in History from Northumbria University.  She is passionate about education and equality and has spent a total of four years volunteering in this sector. One of her main hobbies is rock climbing and she is looking forward to the ski season and the opportunity to hit the slopes.

 Beth Lavery
Beth Lavery Senior Teacher
Chris Towle
Chris TowleSenior Teacher

Toby originally comes from Stratford upon Avon, in the United Kingdom and holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing. After graduating from university in 2015, he began his adventure into the world of EFL studying on the beginner course with the ETTC in January 2016. He fell in love with Austria’s natural beauty, its food and of course, teaching. After a short time away in Poland, he returns as a Senior Teacher. He looks forward to learning recipes of traditional Austrian cuisine and finally learning to ski.

Toby Wall
Toby WallSenior Teacher
Kristen Wolf
Kristen WolfCourse Administrative Officer (ON MATERNITY LEAVE)

A native Texan, Ms. Wolf fell in love with languages in high school while spending a year abroad in Austria. She went on to receive her Bachelors in German at Texas Tech University’s Honors College in 2006 and was a recipient of the Fulbright Commission and Austrian American Education Council’s Teaching Assistantships. While teaching English in various Austrian high schools, she found her calling as a teacher. Ms. Wolf is CELTA certified has taught various English courses in both Austria and the US for both children and adults, including legal English, IT English, English for executives, English summer camps, and English for specific job purposes. Ms. Wolf moved back to Austria after two years living in Texas with her family at the end of 2015 and is excited to see how much ABCi has grown since she worked for them in 2013.

Office Staff

Nika is a graduate of Communication and Interpretation, which she studied in Maribor at the Faculty of Arts. She was born and raised in Slovenia and moved to Austria in 2016. She fell in love with languages already as a child while travelling the world with her parents. When she grew up she continued to do so alone, firstly with school projects and later on as part of a theatre group to performances all over Europe. Her interest has always been language in connection with culture and the people within the environment. In her free time she likes to play piano, perform in theatre pieces and do voluntary work and projects. She started to work the College because she always thought English plays an extremely meaningful role in society and everyone should have the possibility to learn it and therefore have more options in life, and she wants to be a part of the process.

Nika Nikolaja Antolič
Nika Nikolaja AntoličProject Assistant
Patricia Avornic
Patricia AvornicProject Assistant

Patricia was born in Chișinău, Republic of Moldova. She has studied Tourism and completed her
Master’s in Marketing Management. During the first university course, she has spent a semester
studying Management & Law at MCI Management Centre Innsbruck University. This period spent in
Tyrol influenced her decision to come back to Austria. After some experience in Tourism in her home
country, Patricia moved to Vienna, and eventually became a part of the ABCi English Training College
team. In her free time she enjoys playing the piano, hiking, travelling, painting and doing embroidery work.

James was born in Manchester, England. He came to Austria as a student teacher and after seeing all that Austria had to offer, he decided to stay here and look after the welfare for future student teachers. James has a passion for learning languages, studying Japanese for the past few years, he hopes to one day teach in rural Japan.

James Bailey
James BaileyWelfare Assistant
Tamala Clark
Tamala ClarkLogistics & Operations Officer

Tamala is originally from the USA but was raised abroad and has lived in 20 countries (and has travelled to over 40 countries). She holds dual citizenship (American and Irish) and has spent many fond years in Dublin where most of her family currently live. Whilst living in Dublin she worked in the independent music scene as a promoter. Since 2015 Tamala has been studying for a BSc(hons) in Social Psychology through distance learning with the Open University, Milton Keynes, UK. In addition, Tamala is also studying web development. Previously, she was a corporate English trainer in Austria for XXXLutz GmbH at their headquarters in Wels and is now enjoying an exciting career change. Tamala’s spare time is divided between making music, organising gigs and building websites – a strange and wonderful combination. She also likes yoga, meditation and enjoys quality time hanging out with friends.

Martina was born and raised in Upper Austria. After graduating from the HBLA in Wels she completed an apprenticeship to become a forwarding agent and was working for an international transportation company for more than ten years. The following years she spent living in Michigan, USA where she visited the Washtenaw Community College and started a family. Martina lives now in Ried im Traunkreis, a village near the Salzkammergut and in her spare time she is fond of gardening and spending time with her family.

Martina Dietachmair
Martina DietachmairProject Assistant
Katharina Grabner
Katharina GrabnerMarketing & Public Relations Officer

Born and raised in Austria, Katharina holds a master’s degree in English studies with an emphasis on literature and film analysis. Her love for the Northwest of England caused her to move to Liverpool in 2011, where she lived and worked for three years. Since her return to Austria, she has been dedicating herself to her beloved house and garden. Katharina is also a passionate film photographer and owns an extensive collection of vintage cameras.

Angelika is an Austrian member of staff. She graduated from Handelsakademie in Gmunden and then worked at a notary’s office for several years. After her maternity leave she worked for the town council of Gmunden in the citizens bureau and as a registrar. Alongside her work at the English Teacher Training College, she works as a body painter and as a semi-professional photographer. In her spare time she likes to walk her dog, ride her horse and spend time with her two children

Angelika Kochem
Angelika Kochem Administrative Officer
Alexandra Medves
Alexandra MedvesHR Assistant
Attracted by the beauty of Austria, Alexandra decided 2015 to leave Bucharest and start a new live in the Salzkammergut area. She studied Economics in Foreign Languages at the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest and, soon after, she completed her studies with a Master in Law degree. She has more than 10 years of financial leasing experience accumulated in one of the top banking groups. She loves languages, she is fluent in German, English, French and Italian apart from her mother tongue. In her spare time she enjoy spending time with her kids and she loves going skiing and swimming.

Lucian was born and raised in northern Romania. He studied Computer Science and has a significant background in Telecom Software development and IT Support. What interests him the most is the latest IT Technology like IoT (Internet of things), discoveries made to make life easier. Traveling a lot gave him the opportunity to get in touch with different cultures. He has been established with his family in Upper Austria for a few years now. He enjoys skiing and traveling he is always eager to find new places to visit. In his spare time he cooks and always wants to experiment with new flavors and new recipes.

Lucian Medves
Lucian MedvesIT Assistant
Harry Ruffell
Harry RuffellAdmissions Officer

Harry comes from Shrewsbury in the United Kingdom and has spent most of his professional career working with young people in various aspects. Harry was a student teacher on the Spring 2017 course, he cannot wait for winter to arrive so he can go skiing!

Claudia was born and raised in Wels (Upper Austria). She holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering & Economics and a PhD in Technical Science from Johannes Kepler University of Linz. While writing her thesis she worked as university assistant in the department of General and Inorganic Chemistry at the Institute of Chemistry. After her studies she worked for an engineering company in research and development, and as a product manager and international project manager of surface treatment plants for many years.

She lives in Vorchdorf with her partner and 7-year-old son. She loves spending her time with her family and enjoys gardening, playing the piano, travelling, skiing, doing needlework and flying an airplane.

Claudia Weithaler
Claudia WeithalerFundraising Officer