Our Instructors

Catherine Pearson


After getting her TESL certificate from the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute (TFLI) in 2004, Catherine taught English in Japan through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. She then earned her master’s degree from the Missouri School of Journalism and has written for publications and nonprofit organizations around the world about topics such as refugee resettlement, Habitat for Humanity’s work in Mozambique and opportunities to volunteer abroad. In 2012 she returned to Nashville and began teaching with ESL to Go. Catherine also teaches for the Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee and the Nashville Adult Literacy Council.






Daniel_Spires_2Daniel Spires

Daniel comes to us from a broad background in international relations. After college, Daniel pursued opportunities to travel through Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. After his travel throughout Eastern Europe, Daniel became focused on the complex needs of refugees. Daniel decided to change career paths and obtain his TESL certificate from TFLI. As an ESL to Go instructor, he now works directly with the diverse ethnic communities in Nashville. His goal is to empower the local refugee community. Daniel also teaches for the Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee, World Relief and Belmont International English.








Lisa Zhito

Lisa received her Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) certification from TFLI in 2013 and has been teaching ESL there ever since. In May 2014 she joined the ESL To Go program, fulfilling a longtime goal of working with Nashville’s diverse refugee community.

A native of Los Angeles, Lisa has lived in Nashville for nearly 30 years, working as a writer, editor, photographer and PR/communications specialist. During this time she volunteered as a teacher for organizations working with Nashville’s homeless and at the Tennessee Prison for Women where, among other activities, she helped lead a book club for inmates. Her community service includes chair of the Outreach Committee at Second Presbyterian Church, founding board member of ROOFTOP, and board member of the Green Hills Neighborhood Assn.

Lisa has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Pitzer College in Claremont, California. She also studied at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Her Danish is extremely rusty.