Our Teachers

All of our teachers are native French speakers. They come from diverse backgrounds and have years of expertise in teaching French all over the world. FIAF ensures that our teachers are up-to-date in the most recent methodologies and technologies through regular specialized training workshops led by experts in the field of French education.

View teacher bios below.


ACI, Luma

Bio coming soon.

FIAF Manhattan

Samira Ait-Jafour has been teaching at FIAF since 2001. She holds a degree in education from the Ecole Normale Superieure, and has extensive experience in teaching French as a second language. She has led teacher training sessions and pedagogical counseling at FIAF, and is an official examiner for the DELF and DALF certifications from the French Ministry of Education.

FIAF Manhattan

Ouarda Allamar Bonsignour move to New York in 2007 and joined FIAF in 2008. Previously she lived in Paris, where she was a publisher for ten years at two well-known French education publishing houses. Ouarda holds a bachelor’s degree in French spoken literature and a master’s degree in French literature and language from the University Paris XIII. Alongside her work as a teacher, Ouarda is a jazz singer.

FIAF Montclair

Claire Allistone was born and raised in Switzerland in a French and English-speaking household. She attended St. Lawrence College in England and later came to the U.S. on a scholarship to the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in Los Angeles. During her studies, Claire began teaching both French and English, leading to her current career as a language instructor. She enjoys teaching students of all ages, both privately and in a group setting.


BALI, Fatiha
FIAF Manhattan

Fatiha Bali grew up in the heart of Montmartre in Paris. She received her master’s in information and communication with a major in international affairs and media from the University of Paris VIII. She worked in journalism and PR before moving to New York in 2001. Fatiha taught French at Columbia University and worked as a freelance translator before joining FIAF in 2010. She has created curriculum in French media, arts, and literature, and is a French lecturer at both the New School and NYU.

FIAF Manhattan

N’Mah was born and raised in Paris, France. She obtained her Master’s degree in FLE from the University of Paris VIII in 2006. After working for different language schools in Paris and also in a French immersion school in Minnesota, she joined the Alliance Française of Paris in 2008, where she gained extensive experience teaching all levels of French to both general adult classes and private lessons. N’Mah also holds an ESL certification and taught English to adults in Paris. She moved to New York end of 2011 and joined FIAF in 2015.

BARNY, David
FIAF Manhattan

David Barny is from Orléans, France. He obtained a master’s degree in English with an emphasis in American civilization, and started his career as an ESL teacher in France. After spending a semester in the U.S. for an academic research project, David became interested in sharing his culture with non-native speakers and started a career in teaching French as a second language. He moved to New York in 2012 to teach at FIAF.

BEER, Muriel
FIAF Manhattan

Originally from Strasbourg, France, Muriel Beer has taught all levels of French to people of all ages. Her experience includes teaching at Fordham University and implementing a French program for young children at a Montessori school in NYC. She holds a degree in English from University Marc Bloch, where she also studied French as a foreign language. In addition to her background in education, Muriel studied English at the British European Center in Oxford, as well as acting at Le Studio Dramatique.

BELNEAU, Michelle
FIAF Manhattan

Michelle Belneau was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She joined FIAF in 2006 as a teacher for the à petis pas program, and soon began teaching students of all ages and levels. Before coming to FIAF, Michelle taught for the Instituto Anglo Americano de Idiomas in Mexico and led the department of French as a foreign language at the educational publishing company Hachette-Latinoamerica.

BERGER, Sylvie
FIAF Manhattan

Sylvie Berger was raised in Paris, where she received a degree in pastry. She worked as a pastry assistant at La Grande Epicerie as well as a consultant for Cuisine TV in Paris before moving to New York. She has developed culinary programs for kids of all ages in both English and French. Sylvie also leads adult workshops and private birthday parties, and is currently working on her first cookbook.

FIAF Manhattan

Madelia Bergeroo has been with FIAF since 2010, where she has taught students of all ages and levels. She is a French native who began teaching French as a foreign language in 2006, inspired by her love of languages and different cultures. Madelia received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Nantes, and her master’s in political communication from the University of Paris 12. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in education and bilingualism.

BIDAULT, Thierry
FIAF Manhattan

Thierry Bidault studied international politics and economy at the Université des Sciences Politiques in Paris, as well as literature at the Sorbonne and law at Paris-Assas. He worked as an instructor in D.C. for Discovery, the FCC, IMF, and World Bank before coming to New York in 2005 to teach at FIAF. In addition to his comprehensive experience tutoring in the banking and business sectors, Thierry is the author of books on French grammar, history, and wine, and is the editor-in-chief of a bilingual magazine.

BOOTH, Andrea

Bio coming soon.


Bio coming soon.


FIAF Manhattan

Peggy Cambier-Weinstein has been teaching at FIAF since 2004, specializing in private tutoring. Before moving to the U.S., she worked as a translator and interpreter in Paris. She received a degree in translation and interpretation from the Institut Supérieur d’Interprétation et Traduction and a degree in English literature from the Sorbonne. A New Yorker and Parisian at heart, Peggy lives on the Upper West Side with her American husband and their three bilingual children.

CASSEUS, Marie-Thérèse
FIAF Manhattan

Marie-Thérèse Casséus is a native French speaker who has been teaching at FIAF since 2000. She holds a degree in education and a masters in French and romance philology from Columbia University. Marie-Thérèse has extensive experience teaching French literature and French as a foreign language, including at Columbia University and the City University of New York. Her other areas of interest include sociology, art, and culture.

FIAF Manhattan

Selma Chibane was born in Algiers and grew up in a bilingual household. Before becoming a teacher, she studied math at the Lycée Hassiba Ben Bouali and received a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Ecole Nationale Veterinaire in Algiers. She moved to New York in 1996 and began teaching at FIAF in 2002. She has taught French as a second language to both children and adults, and has been active in FIAF’s summer camp program for more than a decade.


DAWSON, Christine

Bio coming soon.


Bio coming soon.

DOUIOU, Fatima
FIAF Manhattan

Fatima Douiou has been a teacher at FIAF since 2002 and has more than two decades of teaching experience. She studied education and French at the Ecole Normale de l’Enseignement Supérieur. Before joining FIAF, she was a high school teacher and guidance counselor for international students at the New Immigrants Program of the New York YMC. In addition to teaching, she tutors students for the SAT and AP tests, and is an active jury member for the TEF and TefaQ exams.


EGAN, Louise

Bio coming soon.

ETIENNE, Jean-Marie
FIAF Manhattan

Jean-Marie Etienne has been with FIAF since 2015. His previous experience includes working at the French Alliance in Mexico City for 4 years, and organizing slam workshops for students at the Lycée Franco-Mexicain. He is a lover of literature, and enjoys incorporating this interest into his classes whenever he can. Jean-Marie received his master’s in French as a foreign language from the University of Grenoble, holds a DAPEFLE certification, and studied linguistics at the Faculty of Applied Linguistics in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. He is originally from Les Irois, Haiti, and speaks Creole and Spanish in addition to French and English.


FIAF Manhattan

Anne is a pure product of the French education system. Born and raised in France, she always had an eye to being an elementary school teacher. She received her teaching qualification in Paris at the Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maitres and has worked in elementary schools in Paris, Normandy and Lille for over 20 years. She has taught English to French children and the last six years she has specialized in teaching the youngest French children to read and write. Married to an Englishman, she is bi-lingual and has spent the last 12 years of her life between London and the north of France. She moved to New York City in 2016 and joined FIAF in 2017.

FORST, Sophie
FIAF Manhattan

Sophie Forst is a Paris native and lived in Switzerland and Algeria before moving to the United States. She has been teaching French since 1996. In addition to teaching, she works as a cross-cultural consultant and a translator specializing in art, law, and finance.

FOUCHER, Philippe
FIAF Manhattan

Philippe Foucher is from Tours, a city known for having the best spoken French in France. Philippe has a B.A. in English and a master’s in French as a foreign language from the University François in Tours. From 1982 to 1985, he was a teaching assistant at Harvard University. He also spent 10 years in London teaching at the University of North London and the Alliance Française. He joined FIAF in 1999. In addition to teaching, Philippe enjoys riding his bike, swing dancing, and sailing.


FIAF Manhattan

Aurélie Gabriele was born and raised in Lyon. Before teaching, she worked as an optician and a French tour operator in Egypt, Greece, and Sicily. She moved to New York in 2011 to work as an au pair, and soon became interested in teaching French to children. She has been teaching FIAF’s à petit pas classes for toddlers since 2014.

GARREL, Oliver
FIAF Manhattan

Olivier Garrel is a career teacher and lover of languages. He taught in the French public school system for 19 years before moving to New York in 2013. He studied English at the University of Paris 10, and French as a foreign language at the University of Paris 3. Olivier also received his master’s in plurilingual pedagogy at the University of Maine in France. In addition to French and English, Oliver speaks Italian, Spanish, Greek, and French Creole.

FIAF Manhattan

Martine Gauthier has had a lifelong passion for teaching languages. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Paris in French literature and Mandarin Chinese, with a focus on linguistics. She went to Beijing University for two years on a scholarship from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has worked as a trilingual interpreter for many years. She has been teaching French at FIAF to students of all levels since 2011.

GAUCHER, Ludovic

Ludovic Gaucher has been a passionate educator to students from around the world for more than a decade. Before joining FIAF, he taught at the prestigious CAVILAM Alliance Française in Vichy, France, where he taught students from over 100 different nationalities. Ludovic was also a teacher-coordinator in Salamanca, Spain, and a faculty advisor at the French Institute in Morocco. In Morocco, he actively participated in the training of teachers alongside his own teaching. In addition to his work as an educator, Ludovic is an author for the Maison des langues, an education publisher specializing in materials for teaching French.

GELAS, Marie
FIAF Manhattan

Marie Gelas is a native French speaker born in La Mayenne, France, with a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Lyon University. She taught Linguistics in Marseille and Lyon universities while studying African Languages. She lived in Dublin and London where she taught French to children ages 5 to 11 years old and moved to New York in 2016. She loves to create games and activities around the French language. She also loves to cook and has a cooking blog.

GIRARDO, Alexandra
FIAF Manhattan

Originally from France, Alexandra Girardo has a bachelor’s in modern foreign languages from the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis and a degree in French as a foreign language from the University Stendhal in Grenoble. Before joining FIAF, she taught at the Centre Culturel Français of Milan, IULM University of Languages and Communication, and the University of Milan. She has taught classes in business, translation, and general French, and is a certified examiner for the DELF/DALF exams.


HASSANI, Yasmine
FIAF Manhattan

Yasmine Hassani was born and raised in Bordeaux, France. Before joining FIAF in 2015, She worked for 5 years as an ESL and French literature teacher for the French Ministry of National Education. Yasmine attended Université Michel de Montaigne and IUFM in Bordeaux, later moving to Florence, Italy to pursue her career as a teacher and translator. In addition to tutoring for both children and adults, she has taught in public schools and given private lessons to clients at well-known fashion companies.

HUET, Sherline
FIAF Montclair

Bio coming soon.


FIAF Montclair

Soha Ibrahim has taught French to middle and high school students for 13 years and was the principal of a bilingual school before coming to FIAF. She has a bachelor’s degree in French from Alexandria University in Egypt and a teacher’s training certification from the University of Besançon in France. In 2015, she obtained her master’s in the educational sciences from the Université Catholique de l’Ouest in Angers, France. In Egypt, Soha led a committee that organized partnerships between schools in Alexandra and Marseille. In 2001, she was recognized for her efforts in promoting the French language by the Minister of French National Education.

FIAF Manhattan

Wassilya Imessaoudene has prolific experience working with both French and English-speaking students. She received her bachelor’s degree in foreign languages, civilization, and literature at Charles de Gaulle University in Lille, and went on to teach in England and France. After years in the French education system, Wassilya joined the private sector, teaching business classes at IFG Langues and tutoring for corporations at CDH Development. She joined FIAF in 2008 and has since taught French to all age groups, from toddlers to adults.


JIMENEZ, Charlotte
FIAF Manhattan

Charlotte Jimenez grew up in Lyon, France. She received her master’s degree in teaching French as a foreign language. After her studies, she moved to Spain to learn Spanish. During her time there she spent five years in Seville teaching French to both corporate clients and children. Upon moving to New York, she has continued teaching French to all ages.

FIAF Manhattan & FIAF Montclair

Frédérique Joseph-Lowery is a scholar, teacher, art critic and curator. Originally from Lille, France, she taught French literature in France for 8 years before moving to Atlanta. In Atlanta, she received her Ph.D. from Emory University and served as the coordinator of the French department at Clark University for 4 years. Frédérique moved to New Jersey in 2007, and since her relocation to the Tri-State Area has taught French to FBI executives, attorneys, and Columbia University students. In addition to her successful teaching career, she is a freelance curator, art critic and scholar, specializing in the work of Salvador Dali. She has published several books on Dali, organized exhibitions of his work in Europe and the United States, and is a frequent contributor to Art Press magazine.



LARKEM, Nasser
FIAF Manhattan

Nasser Larkem was born in Villeneuve d’Ascq in the north of France. He received a degree in applied foreign languages from the University of Charles-de-Gaulle in Lille, as well as a master’s in history from New Mexico State University. Before coming to FIAF, he taught at the Centre Franco-Saoudien in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and served as an interpreter of French, Spanish, and English for the French national soccer team during the World Cup championships.

LARUE, Sylvie
FIAF Manhattan

Sylvie Larue has comprehensive experience teaching all age groups, from toddlers to adults. She studied French as second language at the University of Rouen and German literature and Japanese at the University of Orleans, France. Before coming to FIAF in 2013, Sylvie worked as an instructor at the University of Osaka Gakuin in Japan and at the Alliance Française of Puebla in Mexico. Between 2014 and 2015 she was the director of FIAF Montclair. In addition to teaching, Sylvie is a freelance photographer and translator.

LÉGARÉ, Guillaume
FIAF Manhattan

Guillaume Légaré has extensive experience teaching students of all ages, from children to adults. He is the creator of FIAF’s photography workshop program for kids, and has developed a unique method of teaching French through art. Guillaume was born and raised in Québec City, Canada. Before joining FIAF, he studied visual arts at University Laval, Québec, Canada and completed his master’s in art at the University La Sorbonne in Paris, France. Guillaume lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.


MIKALA, Sosthene
FIAF Manhattan & FIAF Montclair

Sosthene Mikala is a bilingual interpreter and teacher with over 12 years of professional experience in legal and educational environments. He holds a bachelor’s degree in democracy and cultural pluralism from the New School University, as well as certificates in language proficiency and communication skills from New York University. Prior to coming to FIAF in 2009, Sosthene taught French and English at Columbia-Barnard College and French at Prep for Prep in Manhattan.

MINOR, Yvonne
FIAF Montclair

Yvonne Minor is originally from La Dordogne, France. She received her master’s degree in French and worked as an interpreter before becoming a teacher. She has extensive experience teaching French to diverse ages and levels, including AP courses in public and private high schools in New Jersey.

MORAND, Alexia

Bio coming soon.


FIAF Manhattan

Sonia Naeveke was born and raised in Paris. Before coming to the US in 2013, she lived and studied in France and Germany. She holds a PhD in Biophysics from the University Paris 6, leads a local Girls Scout group, and works as a French tutor for children and adults.

NGAL, Yuna
FIAF Manhattan & FIAF Brooklyn

Yuna Ngal was a French teacher at the Alliance Française de San Francisco for nearly 10 years before joining FIAF. In the Bay Area, Yuna also taught to a diverse audience from toddlers to adults and worked at Le Lycée Français de San Francisco and the French International School of San Francisco. Congolese born, Yuna Ngal grew up in Paris where she studied foreign languages (English and Spanish) from Paris IV La Sorbonne. In addition to her teaching career, Yuna is also a visual artist and studied communications design at Pratt Institute.

FIAF Manhattan

Paul Nitsche is an American who grew up in France and went to high school in Switzerland. He attended Tufts University in Boston and majored in Spanish, spending a year in Buenos Aires. Before teaching at FIAF, he worked in Hong Kong at a hedge fund, the Mission of Guatemala to the United Nations in New York, and helped build a farm in Italy. He has also tutored Spanish and holds a TEFL certificate.

NOIRE, Marie-France
FIAF Manhattan

Marie-France Noiré is from Nancy, France, and holds a master’s degree in French literature from the University of Nancy. She has extensive teaching experience in high schools and colleges in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. A devoted yogi, Marie-France is the co-founder of the Kripalu Yoga Teacher’s Training Program, and actively promotes yoga through teaching and writing. She is the co-author of two books on personal and spiritual growth, L’art de s’Ouvrir à la Vie and Vivre Consciemment au Quotidien.


FIAF Manhattan

Chantal Oldenburg holds a master’s degree in modern literature from the Université de Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle. She has taught French as a second language for more than 15 years, and has also given courses in business French and French literature. In addition to her courses at FIAF, Chantal teaches at the New York University School of Continuing Education and the New School.


FIAF Manhattan

Sanaz Partovi moved to New York from Paris in 2006. She is a dancer whose experience in the arts lends a unique perspective to her teaching style. Sanaz has toured with dance companies around the world and performed on renowned stages such as l’Olympia in Paris. Sanaz has taught French as a second language to children and adults for many years in Iran, France, and now New York. Alongside her teaching career, she works as a dance and Pilates instructor.

PONTUS, Nathan
FIAF Manhattan

Nathan Pontus is originally from northeast France. He received his bachelor’s degree in English from the Université de Nancy, and studied abroad in England and Wisconsin. He moved to the United States to get his master’s in French linguistics from Northern Illinois University, where he wrote his thesis on second language acquisition. While earning his graduate degree, he taught French at NIU and led the French group of the Foreign Language Residence Program on campus. Nathan joined FIAF in 2014.

PUJA, Béatrice
FIAF Manhattan

Béatrice Puja studied math and biology before receiving her bachelor’s in philosophy and comparative religions at Loyola University. She went on to receive a master’s degree in linguistics from the London International School of Linguists, where she specialized in Spanish, French, Italian, and English. Before joining FIAF in 2003, she taught English, French, and Italian at the School of Tourism in Madrid, the Limerick School of Commerce in Ireland, and Tulane University in New Orleans.



Bio coming soon.


FIAF Manhattan

Resy Rayess has comprehensive experience teaching elementary-aged children. She brings dedication, motivation, and creativity to her classroom and strives to create an environment where the students are eager to discover, explore, and learn. Resy has a bachelor’s of education from the Lebanese University as well as a master’s of French education from Saint Joseph University in Lebanon. Before joining FIAF’s kids and teens program in 2015, she taught for 4 years in elementary schools in Lebanon.

REICH, Ginette
FIAF Manhattan

Ginette Reich is originally from Le Mans, France and has a master’s degree in English linguistics, literature, and civilization from the Université du Maine, France. She began her career as a French instructor at the University of Arkansas. She loved the experience so much that she decided to become a teacher. Before joining FIAF, she taught English at public high schools in France and Chile for a United Nations program.

FIAF Manhattan

Guitty Roustai has taught children of diverse ages for more than two decades. She launched FIAF’s à petits pas program for toddlers and helped found the FIAF Preschool. She left FIAF in 2013 to serve as the deputy director at the French American Academy of Jersey City. Before coming to FIAF, Guitty worked as a French teacher at several prestigious schools in New York, including the Dalton School, Fleming, Calhoun, and Lyceum Kennedy, and founded a language school for children. Guitty trained as a teacher in Paris, where she was certified in teaching French as a foreign language to adults and children. She was born in France and grew up in a bilingual home in Iran.



Bio coming soon.

SCHMITT, Jean-Philippe
FIAF Manhattan

Jean-Philippe Schmitt was born and raised in Nancy, France, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in English and French as a foreign language at the Université de Nancy 2. He moved to Chicago to pursue graduate studies in French linguistics with a specialization in phonetics. Jean-Philippe has taught English to high school students in France as well as French and ESL at Northern Illinois University. He was the head of the French Residential Program and assistant director of the Foreign Language Residence Program at NIU. He joined FIAF in 2011 and teaches both adult and children’s classes.

FIAF Manhattan

Hayet Sellami has a post graduate degree in international relations from the The Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris and a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has extensive experience in teaching French as a second language. Hayet has taught at various French alliances across Asia and the U.S. She is also a sociologist and researcher, and offers workshops and classes in sociology.


FIAF Manhattan

Kaoutar Taghzouti was born in Meknès, Morocco. She studied law and French at the University Moulay Ismail. After graduating, she became trained to teach French and taught at the French Institute of Meknès from 2008-2011. She joined FIAF in 2011 and teaches toddlers, kids, and teens.

FIAF Manhattan

Loïc Thommeret studied literature and French as a foreign language at the Sorbonne, and received his Ph.D. at the University of California Davis. He has nearly three decades of teaching experience at the collegiate level. His research in early modern French literature and civilization has been widely published in academic journals, and he has translated numerous books and articles on subjects ranging from French colonization to fascism. He joined FIAF in 2012.

FIAF Manhattan

Fleur Touchard is a native of Paris, France where she had been an Internet Marketer for more than 15 years, until she and her husband chose to move to New York with their three little girls. While organizing their move, she decided to become a French teacher and graduated from the Alliance Française in 2014. In France, Fleur taught to adults and kids, individually and in groups. Now settled in the Upper West Side, she continues to teach and joined FIAF in January 2017.




FIAF Manhattan

Paul Wimmer has been a tutor and private lessons instructor since 2006. He was born in Marignane, France, and has lived in New York for the past 20 years. Paul studied early modern French literature at Columbia University, where he obtained a master’s in French with a specialization in the Renaissance. Before coming to FIAF in 2015, he taught French language classes to undergraduate and graduate students at Columbia for 5 years.



FIAF Manhattan

Zarina Yonossi was born in Paris. She obtained a degree in French as a second language at the University Paul Valéry in Montpellier, and a master’s in modern literature. Subsequently, she received a Ph.D. in French literature at the Université de Nanterre. She has taught French at various language schools in France as well as to employees of international corporations. Zarina moved to New York in 1991 and has been teaching at FIAF ever since, covering subjects from general French to literature.