The Instructors

Boni LaValley
Kim LaValley 

The Directors of Lake Tahoe Institute of English, Boni and Kim LaValley, are the primary instructors.

 The LaValleys are uniquely qualified as instructors in this type of personalized, total immersion program designed for adults, especially executives or professionals. Friendly, outgoing people, the LaValleys have traveled to 40 countries outside of the United States, and have participated in language immersion programs themselves. They both have TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certifications and special Certifications in Teaching Business English. They also have numerous university and professional degrees.

boniBoni and Kim both have a wide variety of business and educational experiences and outside interests that gives them a diversity of experience and knowledge that enhances their ability to provide a total immersion program designed to meet your exact needs and interests.

Boni has her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She has minor degrees in French and History. She also has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Systems Engineering, with an emphasis in cross-cultural issues, from California State University Humboldt. She has a teaching credential, and is certified to teach grades kindergarten to 12 in English, History, Spanish and Social Sciences. She also has a degree in Fashion Design and additional studies in Alternative Dispute Resolution and Business and Project Management. In addition, Boni has taught elementary school in Puerto Rico, and has taught at all age levels, from young children to older adults. Boni has also served on the boards of many local community organizations, including CASA, Adoption Horizons, Council on Adoptable Children, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and The Children’s Cabinet.

kimKim has his Bachelor’s Degrees in International Relations and Comparative Religious Studies from the University of the Pacific. He has his Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He has practiced law for 31 years, with specialties in labor law, human resources, family law and criminal defense law. He has additional studies in Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Business and Project Management. Kim has also served on local and national boards for Campfire, USA, TOCCATA, and has participated in Rotary International. He also served on the Board of Directors and as a 2-year President of a National Association of franchise restaurant owners (The Papa Murphy’s Franchisee Association).

Boni and Kim together owned a chain of six restaurants for 13 years, which they operated together, Boni as the Chief Executive Officer, Kim as the Chief Operations Officer. In the more distant past, Boni also owned and operated a high fashion handbag manufacturing company, SidePocket, Inc., in San Francisco, California. Kim owned and operated a legal data base management service. 

The LaValleys travel frequently, and have interests in history, politics, civic affairs, environmental issues, business management, the world economy, literature, and music. They have been involved in a very wide range of informal studies. They also have many hobbies, which they would love to share with you. They love to ski, hike, bike, kayak, swim, relax at the beach, entertain at their home, cook, scuba dive and snorkel, snowshoe, design jewelry, read, sew, dance, and make new friends!

“We guarantee that every client will increase their proficiency in English by many levels, and that they will have one of the most enjoyable times of their lives while learning! Come join us for a week or more to explore beautiful Lake Tahoe and the nearby sights and cities that make the Western United States one of the best tourist destinations in the world. We see ourselves as very friendly and hospitable, and anticipate becoming friends with all our clients.” 

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Amy Guinan
Program Director

Amy Guinan, a native of Reno, Nevada, has recently returned home to the Tahoe area after living 7 years in Colorado. An instructor at Lake Tahoe Institute of English since the summer of 2012, Amy brings much energy and a sense of adventure to our clients. 

amyPhotoFluent in Spanish, and speaking passable Korean, Amy has a love of languages and people from different cultures. She received her TEFL certificate from TEFL Prague in 2001, and began teaching English as a Second Language to adult learners upon her return to the United States. She currently is an instructor at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada, as well as at Tahoe English. At the college she teaches adults from all different backgrounds and from many different countries.

Working with adults who wish to develop second language skills is a passion of Amy’s. She recognizes the commitment, dedication, and reward of being both the instructor and the learner. She is thrilled to help facilitate language acquisition and development for anyone who is interested in learning to speak English. 

An avid adventurer and lover of extreme sports, when not teaching Amy enjoys spending time skiing (fast), mountain biking (difficult terrain), hiking (up high mountains), and finding wildflowers (in remote places) in the beautiful Lake Tahoe Basin. Bring it on, boys!


Patrick McConaghy

Patrick McConaghy has been a part of the Lake Tahoe Institute of English team since March 2013. He is able to quickly determine student needs and provide them with the tools they need for success. Patrick is a part time actor with experience in filmmaking, and is known for his fun, innovative and dramatic style of teaching. patrick

Patrick has a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a TOEFL certificate from the University of Cambridge in England. From building a kindergarten in China to recruiting high school students in New York City to directing ESL programs in California, Patrick has the experience needed to reach every level of learner.

In addition to working at the Lake Tahoe Institute of English, Patrick is a professor at Sierra Nevada College right here in Tahoe. He works with a variety of students helping them to acclimate to life on campus and enjoy “American” culture.  

When he’s not in the classroom Patrick is instructing students on the trails around Lake Tahoe, at the local coffee shops or in his kitchen surrounded by ingredients from afar. He can also be found snowboarding, playing with his dog at the beach and reading about places to travel next.


Nancy Weyhe

Nancy Weyhe is a recent transplant from the Akron, Ohio area where she taught ESL to 22 adult students from 6 different countries. In Akron Nancy had also completed her 3rd year of a Masters Degree in Curriculum & Instruction and English at the University of Akron. nancy

This is Nancy’s second career. Her love of language and different cultures led her to a three decade long career with American Airlines. She worked as a Customer Service Supervisor, Training & Development Specialist, Emergency and Disaster Drills Coordinator, Government Liaison, and eventually finished her career working with the VP of Customer Service handling oversight and compliance for safety and security at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Nancy worked in eight different cities around the country during her career with American Airlines and has traveled extensively overseas.

Nancy has her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Resource Management from Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio. Her emphasis was in Training & Development. She plans to finish her Masters at the University of Reno. Nancy has a passion for lifelong learning.  

She is an avid reader, passionate cook, enjoys hiking, and loves music and animals. Nancy and her husband and daughter live just over the “hill” in Reno.


Kate McMurtry

Kate McMurtry is originally from Columbus, Ohio, but has lived in Northern California for over 10 years. Living on the California side of Lake Tahoe, Kate wouldn’t think of living anywhere but at the Lake. Like so many others, she is captivated by the beauty and serenity of the environment, and the opportunity to appreciate nature throughout the four seasons. 

katePhotoKate has her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History, a Masters Degree in English, as well as a Secondary Teaching Credential in English. She taught secondary English for eight years, and currently trains other teachers for an online academy. Prior to teaching she worked as a broker on an advising team for Merrill Lynch and for E*Trade, as well.

Her interests beyond teaching are skiing, mountain biking, hiking and backpacking, yoga, and stand-up paddle boarding. Kate loves to have fun, and loves anything to do with the outdoors. She currently lives in Dollar Hill, a small community on Lake Tahoe, with her black dog, Hannah.  

Kate has been teaching at Lake Tahoe Institute of English since early 2013.



Mary Edwards

Mary Edwards has worked as an instructor at Lake Tahoe Institute of English almost since the beginning.  Mary has her Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin Superior, along with her Conversational and Business TOEFL Certificates from Oxford Seminars.

Mary EdwardsOne of the things that makes Mary such a popular instructor at Tahoe English is her personal understanding of the struggles of learning another language.  In addition to having traveled broadly all over the world, Mary has lived abroad on three separate occasions with her family, for a year in Florence, Italy, for a year in Budapest, Hungary, and for 6 months in Dubai.  In both Florence and Budapest, Mary diligently studied Italian and Hungarian.  Mary truly understands the difficulties our clients face. 

Mary has also managed to combine her love of travel with her love of teaching.  She has taught English to Spanish business professionals in Spain at Pueblo Ingles, and she has also spent 3 summers in China teaching English to Chinese graduate students and medical professionals.   Her latest overseas teaching assignment was in Dubai, at the American University.

Living at Lake Tahoe for over 20 years, Mary has been active in the Incline Village community, working in the schools, serving on several organizational committees, and is currently serving as president of one of the Incline Village Women’s Golf Clubs.

Mary continues to travel as much as she can and is always looking ahead to her next travel destination.   On her short list is Colombia, Argentina, and wherever else she can go in South America. Central America is of particular interest, too.  And, after having spent 3 summers in China, she would love to see more of Asia.  She has been an avid runner for the last 25 years and looks for any opportunity to combine her travel with a running adventure as well.   Running a marathon in Prague was her latest running adventure.

Along with Mary’s love for Lake Tahoe, she loves a good book and especially enjoys nothing more than sharing a good bottle of wine with good friends, old and new.


Lynn Berardo

Lynn Berardo has taught at Lake Tahoe Institute of English since the winter of 2010. Lynn brings a very diverse background, and wide ranging interests to our school.  Our clients find that she engages them in deep level conversations that have them speaking on topics and at levels that they never before thought would be possible.Lynn Berardo

A teacher by training, Lynn was born and raised in Great Britain, received her education in sociology with an emphasis in family and neighborhood studies, and taught Home Economics and Sociology in Britain.  From a very early age, Lynn has charted a course for living a “useful life”, feeling that contribution to her family, friends and community is what makes for a good and satisfying life.

While teaching, Lynn met the love of her life, Stevan, who is American.  They married, and she immigrated to the US in 1976.  Although she has lived in the US more than half her life, Lynn still flies the Union Jack flag proudly, and still insists on British spelling, and endures teasing about her “accent”. 

Lynn lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years, and while living there, as the mother of two pre-schoolers, she joined with other “mothers of invention”, and helped create a publishing company called Bay Area Publishing Group, Inc., which published a parenting magazine.  Bay Area Publishing Group became one of the largest, most profitable and successful regional parenting magazines in America.  BAPG held the distinction of having won more awards for excellence from the Medill School of Journalism than any other member of the influential trade organization, “Parenting Publications of America.”  After 17 years with her publication, Lynn’s magazine was purchased by United Advertising Publications.

After a six month retirement, Lynn joined ”Beyond Work “, a company focusing on providing life/work balance for professionals and others.  She has much to offer our professional clients in this arena.

Lynn and Stevan relocated to the Tahoe area in 2001, where she has lived ever since.  Retired from corporate life, Lynn has dedicated her time to contributing to her community in a variety of ways. She has served as Trustee on several important community organization boards, and has also served as Development Officer for Tahoe Parasol Community Foundation.   Lynn’s life passion is contribution, especially to families and communities.

In addition to her entrepreneurial achievements and volunteerism, Lynn has traveled widely all over the world, and enjoys almost nothing more than a good adventure.   Lynn also loves to study nutrition, loves to cook, and remodels houses in her spare time.  Still, she considers her greatest challenge and reward to be being a successful parent to her adult children, and with her husband, Stevan, to pursue deep and meaningful friendships with all three children.


Email: info@ tahoeenglish .com  |  Phone: 1+775 831 9648 | Skype: TahoeEnglish