Faculty & Staff

The people who teach and work at HELP come from a wide background of language use and experience. Our close affiliation with the renowned Department of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi makes us a solid choice for ESL/EFL learning, but it is our teachers and staff members that truly make us a unique institution. We simply think we have the best of the best!

Joel Weaver – Director

I was born and grew up in Kinshasa, Congo in central Africa. I came to Hawaii in 1986 to get my Master’s degree in teaching English, and have taught English at all levels in Africa, Micronesia, California, and Hawaii. I have been a teacher trainer, materials developer and language school administrator as well. Here at HELP, I am honored to lead a wonderful team of teachers and administrators who pour their hearts and minds into providing an absolutely incredible experience for all who come here to study. In my free time, I like spending time with my family and enjoying the ocean and other natural wonders of Hawaii. Come join us here in paradise–the most remote and most beautiful islands in the world. My staff and I are eager to give you the chance of a lifetime to learn English and store up golden memories to carry home!

Christine Guro – Assistant Director

I’m originally from Chicago, Illinois, but I’ve been living in Hawaii for more than 30 years so it’s definitely my home. During my years here, however, I spent time in Japan to teach English. When I returned, I got a Masters Degree in ESL from UHM. I enjoy all aspects of ESL as an instructor, teacher trainer and administrator. In my spare time, I like to read mystery novels, watch CSI on TV, and go to the movies (almost) every weekend. I hope you will come to Hawai‘i and discover a wonderful place that is different from anywhere on earth. The warm sun, the friendly people, and the unique nature make Oahu an island paradise. Of course, HELP is the best place to learn English with its great staff, talented teachers, energetic students, and a friendly atmosphere. Aloha!

Kimberly Imamura – Registrar & Front Office Manager

Aloha! I was born and raised here in sunny Hawaii on the Leeward side of Oahu. I graduated with a BBA in Human Resource Management from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a minor in Japanese. For three years, I was a participant on the JET program in snowy Nagano, Japan, where I taught English to Elementary and Jr. High school students. Upon returning to Hawaii, I received my Masters of Education in Educational Administration for Higher Education. Here in Hawaii, I love hiking, shopping, and karaoke. Where there’s snow, I love snowboarding, and at HELP, I love helping out students! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to drop by the Front Office and we will do our best to “HELP” you out.

Chris Folan – Housing Coordinator

Coming soon!

Sandra Iwamura – Service Learning Coordinator & Instructor

I was born and raised in Honolulu, HI. I graduated from the University of Hawaii and have a Bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies and TESL. After graduating from UH, I got a chance to work in Japan for 3 years, specifically in Saga Prefecture. It was a great experience to work in a foreign country! I’ve had many jobs in my life, but teaching English is the most rewarding because of all the great friendships I’ve made throughout the years! Sports is my passion, but I also enjoy doing yard work and eating! Running and soccer are my favorite things to do on the weekend! I’m proud to call Hawaii my home and would love to share it with you someday at HELP!

Carrie Bach – Instructor

I was born in Seattle, Washington, the land of Starbucks and rain. I still love both of those things, although I’m trying to drink less coffee. I got my undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in Linguistics and Psychology. Aside from Seattle, I’ve lived in New Jersey (next to New York City) and Tennessee (in the middle of the US), as well as briefly in Germany, Canada, and South Korea. I’m happy to be in Hawaii now, where I’m pursuing my master’s in Second Language Studies. I have a Teaching English as a Second Language certificate from a university in Seattle, but have spent most of the past 10 years teaching and tutoring standardized tests, English, and even math! In my free time, I’m studying Korean, learning yoga, and trying to explore Hawaii.

Julie Betz-Cabrera – Instructor

I was born and raised in New Jersey – where you can find the best pizza in America (in my opinion)! I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Montclair State University and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Connecticut. I began teaching at HELP after completing the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) program here. I’ve had the pleasure of serving college students for 10 years, in a variety of roles (my favorites being advisor and instructor). I’ve been inspired to work with international students since traveling to China during college. I was especially drawn to English teaching after living in Okinawa, Japan and traveling throughout Southeast Asia. Besides teaching, I love traveling, being outside (hiking or doing beach activities), reading, practicing yoga and learning about other cultures. Hawai’i is a beautiful place to live and HELP is a wonderful place to learn! You will definitely have a memorable experience here and I look forward to sharing part of your journey with you.

Grace Choi – Instructor

I am originally from Korea, and I have lived in Hawaii for 10 years. I got my MA in Second Language Studies with a specialization in second language acquisition in 2005 and the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Second Language Studies (AGC) in 2006 from UH. I have taught English at HELP since 2004, and I really feel blessed to be a part of this wonderful program. In my free time, I like to spend time with my family and go to different places of Hawaii. Hawaii is a perfect place to live and HELP is in the center of Hawaii. Please come join us and become a part of our HELP family.

Michael Bischoff – Instructor

Aloha! My hometown is Chicago, which is the third-largest city in the United States. It’s well-known for its extreme climate; the winters are very cold and the summers are very hot. Hawaii, on the other hand, is warm and pleasant all year! I enjoy travel, eating good food, enjoying the beautiful nature of Hawaii, and most of all I like to exercise and be fit. My favorite sport is triathlon, so you may see me swimming, bicycling, or running around the island! I came here in 2006 to the University of Hawaii at Manoa to get my bachelor’s degree, and after graduating in 2009 I moved to Japan for a one year to teach English. Teaching there was a wonderful experience, so I decided that I wanted to learn more about how to become a better teacher, and I got my master’s degree in second language studies. As a teacher at HELP, I love seeing my students succeed and reach their dreams. The rest of our teachers and staff are amazing and helpful people, so I hope that you will come join our wonderful ohana!

Mike Brown – Instructor

I started teaching at HELP in the summer of 2014. I have taught grammar, listening and speaking, TOEFL reading, and am now teaching American Culture classes. I am originally from a small town in northern Michigan. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Miami University (in Oxford, Ohio), a Master of Arts in TESOL from the University of Southern California (USC), and I am completing my second year working toward a Doctorate of Education from USC. Also, I have just started writing my dissertation, and I am enjoying the research! I am a veteran of the U.S. Navy. I have lived in Europe and Asia and have traveled to more than 30 countries. I love learning languages, and teaching international students. My advice for students is to challenge yourselves and to have fun! By reading English materials, and noticing grammar structures while also learning new vocabulary words, as well as practicing speaking English, students will improve their basic communicative and academic English skills – that is how you will improve!

Bella Lee – Instructor

Aloha! I’m originally from Taiwan where many high mountains, friendly people and delicious food reside. I have a master degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language (TESOL) from Hawaii Pacific University. I came to Hawaii to work for a summer in 2008 and fell in love with this beautiful land and active lifestyle. I decided to come back in 2009 to pursue my MA TESOL degree to help students even more effectively. I have been teaching more than 10 years, and I am also a published author in English Learning Books. I assure you, learning English can be so much fun! Traveling is my passion, I have been to several countries, including most countries in Europe, Costa Rica, Colombia, Canada and I have lived in several cities in the U.S. Here in Hawaii, I enjoy doing yoga, camping, hiking, fishing and just being outdoors. If you don’t mind getting a little bit tanned, come knock on my door, and we can brainstorm some fun activities together!

Front Office Staff

Jumpei Narasaki / Lexi Gilman / Lindsay Oki