PRESENTER BIOS

Get to meet our presenters

Blaine Ray
Blaine is the inventor of TPRS and author of several TPRS materials. Blaine developed and refined TPRS while teaching high school for over 20 years in Ontario, OR and Bakersfield, CA. During a 4-year period while teaching in CA, more of Blaine’s students passed the AP Spanish test than 13 other high schools in the district combined. Blaine is an experienced presenter and has given TPRS presentations in all 50 states and in many foreign countries in various settings. He currently resides with his family in Woods Cross, UT, where he continues to teach Spanish as a volunteer at a local high school on a regular basis.
Von Ray
Von is Blaine’s son. Von learned TPRS from his father. He taught middle school and high school Spanish for several years in CA. The middle school where he taught had a placement exam. Those that passed the exam were placed in level 2 high school Spanish. While teaching with TPRS over a 5-year span, Von and his colleague saw the pass rate increase from 30% the first year to over 90% the last year. Von is a seasoned presenter and has given TPRS presentations in 35 states and three foreign countries in various settings. He currently resides in Chandler, AZ near Phoenix with his family. He currently works full-time for his father’s business and teaches his elementary aged children using TPRS.
Donna Tatum-Johns
Donna is a gifted French teacher with over 25 years experience. She works as a teacher/administrator at Kentucky Country Day School in Louisville. After her first year of using TPRS, seven of her students placed nationally on the National French Contest. The following year, 100% of the students in her French 4 class passed the AP test as juniors and went on to take AP French Literature as seniors. Also a gifted presenter, Donna has been giving TPRS presentations for several years. She leads teacher training workshops for various institutions across the country and serves as an editor/translator for various publishers. Donna currently resides in Louisville with her family.
Katya Paukova
Katya is a highly-sought TPRS presenter and editor. She has adapted/translated various TPRS materials into Russian and is a key presenter for NTPRS. A gifted teacher, Katya has taught Russian and French for middle/high schools, the United Nations, and the International Monetary Fund. Katya currently teaches Russian for the Defense Language Institute. The administration at the Institute is amazed at her results! She currently resides in Monterey, CA with her family.
Alina Filipescu
Alina, originally from Romania, has taught Spanish and ELD at Kraemer Middle School, located in Placentia (Anaheim), CA, for 16 years. She discovered TPRS in 2011, and has been teaching with TPRS ever since. Alina started giving TPRS Workshops in 2015 and is phenomenal! She also has presented as the Advanced Track trainer at the NTPRS Conference. Alina currently resides in Yorba Linda with her family.
Michael Coxon
Michael has taught language classes from grades 1-12 in public and private schools. His graduate work is in Spanish Literature where he studied in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. Using TPRS, Michael has taught language classes as small as 4 students to as many as 120. Through years of implementing TPRS the learning results of his students have been undeniably successful and positive. Originally from a suburb of Chicago, Michael and his wife both live and teach in Tempe, Arizona.
Craig Sheehy
Craig, a former high school student of Blaine’s, has been teaching in the Nampa School District in Nampa, Idaho since 2005. Craig has a Bachelor's Degree in Spanish with a Business Minor and a Master's in Education: Curriculum and Instruction from Boise State University. He has taught all levels of Spanish and has taught as an adjunct professor in the Modern Languages and Literatures Department at Boise State University since 2003 and the College of Western Idaho since 2009. Craig learned TPRS as a student teacher and has been using it with his students ever since. Craig started presenting TPRS Workshops in 2011 and has presented at the National TPRS Conference since 2014. Craig has also served as President of both IATLC (Idaho Association of Teachers of Languages and Cultures) and PNCFL (Pacific Northwest Council for Languages). Craig currently resides in Nampa with his wife and five children.
Inga Paterson-Zuniga
Inga teaches Spanish at West Essex High School in North Caldwell, NJ. Inga discovered TPRS in the late 1990’s. Since adopting the TPRS approach in her classroom, she has dedicated her career to fine-tuning her skills. Her students say her classes feel like a playful conversation, and their impressive growth in fluency and grammatical sophistication is a product of this labor of love, passion and just plain fun! Inga has been giving TPRS Workshops for years to diverse audiences. She is also contributing author for McDougal Littel’s Avancemos TPR Storytelling supplement. She currently resides in Montclair, NJ, with her family.
Eric Richards
Eric teaches all levels of German at Fort Zumwalt North High School, a suburban St. Louis high school. Pre-TPRS, the total enrollment in the German program was less than 90. After implementing TPRS, the German program, now second only to Spanish in enrollment, has grown tremendously and the student retention rate is very high. His level 2 German classes alone have had as many as 40+ students in two separate classes. He has been impressed with his students’ overall competency and fluency. Eric began presenting TPRS Workshops a couple of years ago and has received rave reviews. He currently resides in St Louis with his family.
Scott Benedict
Scott Benedict has been teaching Spanish with TPRS since 2001 at both the high-school and middle-school levels. He currently teaches grades 6-8 at W.T. Eich Middle School in Roseville. Pre-TPRS, Scott taught with traditional methods and was disappointed both at the lack of engagement and overall abilities of his students. That all changed once he discovered TPRS and started implementing it with his students. Scott is a seasoned presenter of TPRS, standards-based assessment, assessment strategies, and other comprehensible-input based method and strategies. He has presented in several different settings, including SWCLT, NTPRS, and iFLT. He has been giving TPRS Workshops for several years. He currently resides in Sacramento, CA.

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