Meet the Team 2018-02-20T06:41:54+00:00

The English Teacher Training College Team

Board of Directors

Keith Sealund
Keith SealundPresident / Managing Director

Teaching is the most noble and unselfish of professions. I am honored to bring to bear my considerable experience as a business leader and military officer in assisting our great teachers in making our world a better place. We know the ability to communicate, exchange ideas and goals, creates empathy. Empathy leads to peace and peace leads to prosperity for all. A profound concept worthy of great effort.

Here at the College we understand great people make great organizations. We are building an organization without peers. One that is progressive, open, rewarding, and focused on customer service and continuous improvement.
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 TalirzSales & Marketing 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

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 has worked at ABCi as the Sales and Promotions Teacher since February 2017. 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.

Andy Boylin
Andy BoylinSales & Promotions Teacher
Kerry Carruthers
Kerry CarruthersCourse Director

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 Director
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
 Beth Lavery
Beth Lavery Senior Teacher

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.

Damian Morris
Damian MorrisCourse Tutor
Ryan O'Neill
Ryan O'NeillCourse Tutor
Jonathon Onians
Jonathon OniansSenior Teacher
John Owens
John OwensCourse Tutor
Adam Sturgeon
Adam SturgeonSenior 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

Office Staff

Nika Antolič
Nika AntoličOperations & Logistics Assistant

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.

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.

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. She is also a passionate film photographer and owns an extensive collection of vintage cameras.

Citing the English language as a portal to a new world that was opened for her, Katharina is happy to be part of the ABCi team and help empower young learners. She also believes in the supreme importance of good teachers and the impact they can have on a person’s life.

Katharina Grabner
Katharina GrabnerMarketing 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.

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!

Harry Ruffell
Harry RuffellAdmissions Officer
Claudia Weithaler
Claudia WeithalerFundraising Officer

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.