about edconnect

Learning through conversation

If you want to learn grammar and conjugate verbs, our classes are NOT for you! (However, if that’s your bag, sign up for one-on-one and we’ll do it!) Our classes focus on learning the most frequently-used vocabulary and grammatical structures in order to communicate. The philosophy is called “Comprehensible Input” (developed by linguist Stephen Krashen). We use the key structures in context in order to build proficiency and fluency. You will be understanding and speaking in no time…and we promise you will have fun doing it!

Many options for many styles of learning

EdConnect Language Academy currently offers a variety of services to learn and practice Spanish: adult classes, private lessons, tutoring, conversation groups, and on-site workplace instruction. We also offer partnerships with immersion schools, providing language and cultural opportunities for students, parents, and families. We are continually growing to meet your needs, so please contact us for inquiries regarding other languages. We are based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but are currently offering many classes on Zoom. Just reach out!

Amanda Cisneros

Owner/Spanish Instructor

“Hola, me llamo Amanda. I started EdConnect in 2019 in order to connect people through language and culture. I have taught preschool through adult Spanish and English for over 20 years (mostly high school). I LOVE teaching, languages, and just getting to know people. I have a master’s degree in Spanish and a current K-12 teaching certificate from the state of Michigan. I have traveled to Mexico, Spain, Cuba, El Salvador, and Ecuador, both for pleasure and leading student trips. I lived in Spain for two years where I met my husband (who is actually from Mexico). We speak “mucho español” at home with our two young daughters.”

Andie Merkison

Spanish Instructor

“¡Hola a todos! I’m Andrea (Andie) and I’m a K-12 certified Spanish teacher with the state of Michigan. When I’m not teaching for EdConnect, I teach MS and HS in Holland, Michigan. I have nine years of experience teaching K-12, college level and adult learners. I love teaching Spanish using compelling comprehensible input through stories, reading, videos, culture, and fun! I have a master’s degree in Spanish and have lived in Spain, Mexico and Chile. I have traveled quite a bit and have led Spanish immersion student groups to countries like Spain, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico. In my free time I like to camp, travel, play volleyball, read and spend time with my two little girls.”

Jane VanderBeek

Spanish Instructor

“¡Hola! I’m Jane and I love helping students develop their confidence and skills in Spanish. I have been a high school Spanish teacher for over 25 years. After getting my secondary education degree in Spanish and English from Calvin University, I studied for three summers in Morelia, Mexico and received my Masters of Arts in Teaching Languages from the University of Southern Mississippi, I met my Canadian husband in Mérida, Mexico and we share a love for traveling and other cultures. I am thankful that my husband and three children are fluent in Spanish. This has allowed us to live and volunteer in Latin America: for a year in Morelia, Mexico and another year in Quepos, Costa Rica. These two experiences have had a profound impact on me personally and professionally. In addition to traveling, I love camping, cooking/baking, and playing and watching sports.”

Jill Busscher

ASL Instructor, Spanish Tutor

“Hi, my name is Jill. I am so excited to be teaching American Sign Language (ASL) and tutoring in Spanish for EdConnect. I love languages and, of course, teaching them. Most of my experience teaching is with Spanish, which I taught for eight years. However, I have also assisted in teaching Biblical Hebrew and recently completed my Masters of Education with a field placement at the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf in Jamaica. I earned both my Master’s and B.A. in Spanish, K-12 Education at North Park University in Chicago. Whether teaching Spanish, Hebrew, or ASL, I am a firm believer in the philosophy of Comprehensible Input; providing my students with plenty of input at their level so that they begin to communicate from Day 1 with the most-used words in the language. When I am not teaching, I am traveling – I have visited over 30 states and 15 countries, including a semester of study in Argentina. When I’m not traveling, I am adventuring locally on my bike, cross-country skis, or through a good book!”

Sommer Cain

Spanish Instructor

¡Saludos! Me llamo Sommer and I love sharing my passion for the Spanish language and various cultures with my students. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Education and my Master’s degree in Spanish Linguistics and Literature from Western Michigan University. During my years of study, I lived in Spain and Mexico for several years and I’ve also traveled to Costa Rica, Bolivia, as well as various countries in Europe. I’ve also had the opportunity to teach ESL classes to teens and adults here in the U.S. and Mexico. I am a high school Spanish teacher of both traditional students and Spanish immersion students and I have 8 years of teaching experience in a classroom. I dedicate much of my free time to Latin dancing and spending time with my loved ones. I’m excited to meet you and guide you on your journey to becoming multilingual! 

Sandra Cueva

teacher

¡Hola, I am Sandra  from Lima, Perú.  I live in Grand Haven, Michigan and travel back to Perú regularly. My degree is in English and Spanish Education and I love teaching languages! I have been teaching for 25 years – in schools, language centers and universities in both Perú and the USA. In 2003, I was awarded the Fulbright School Teacher Exchange Scholarship. I also have a Superior Proficiency Spanish Certification from ACTFL. When I’m not teaching for EdConnect, I teach Spanish and conduct conversation sessions at Muskegon Community College. I also work as an interpreter for medical and governmental interviews. In my leisure time I love traveling, experiencing different cultures and trying new foods. I have visited Mexico, Panama, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Canada and Switzerland. I enjoy the beach, nature walks, swimming and riding my bicycle with my family.”