ESL Program Instructors & Staff

ESL Program instructors are trained in ESL teaching methods, holding degrees in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), linguistics, or related fields. Our instructors bring a wealth of experience to their classes, taking the time to get to know each student individually. When asked what is most memorable about their time with the ESL Program, former students invariably answer "my teachers," citing their instructors' kindness, quality of instruction, and attention to detail.

 Ginny Bondeson

Bondeson Ginny IMG_1428.jpg

Ginny Bondeson is the Coordinator of the ESL Program. She taught her first class in the ESL program in 1986, and has enjoyed the opportunity to meet students from around the world and help them achieve their dreams. She has traveled and taught in China and Vietnam. As Coordinator, she works with both students and staff and her door is always open!

Ginny grew up in the southern part of the US, but has learned to love the Midwest as her adopted home. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Duke University in North Carolina and her master’s degree from Colombia International University in South Carolina. Outside of the university, she enjoys reading, music, walks with friends, and family time with her children and grandchildren.


 Cherie Hadra

Yang Jenni IMG_1434.jpgCherie Hadra is the Program Assistant for the UWSP ESL Program. She enjoys interacting with the students, helping them with the various challenges that they face at this time of change in their lives. She helps to make the office a welcoming place for both students and staff. Cherie is from Maryland. She and her husband have been in the Stevens Point area since 2010. When she is not working, Cherie enjoys gardening, photography, bird watching, and spending time with family and friends.


 Lara Olson

Olson, Lara.jpgLara Olson is an instructor in the ESL program at UW-Stevens Point. Born and raised in Germany, she received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education in English as a Second Language and Music at the University of Hannover, Germany. After finishing her Master's, she moved to the US and began teaching English as a Second Language at Winona State University in 2012. Through her profession she has met people from all corners of the world and therefore has learned so much about other cultures, an aspect she loves about her job. Not being from the US herself she can relate to her students' difficulties and she strives to help them in their academic and personal endeavors as much as she can. In her free time, Lara writes and performs music with her band, does yoga, and loves to cook and eat good food.​​​


 Gene Hahn

Hahn Gene IMG_1400 xs.jpgGene Hahn is one of the instructors on the ESL staff. He helps students from non-English speaking countries develop the English skills necessary to be successful at American universities. Gene is originally from the Stevens Point area, growing up in Pittsville, Wisconsin. Pittsville is famous for handsome men, beautiful women, and intelligent children. Gene received his degree from UW-Stevens Point and then spent the next ten years in China and Taiwan teaching English, learning Chinese, traveling, and studying. While there, he developed an understanding of how difficult it is to live and work in a different culture. Since returning in 1996, he has been teaching English to International students at UWSP. Gene loves meeting students from other countries, learning about their lives, and helping them realize their futures. In his spare time, Gene loves to cook vegan cuisine, read Robert Parker novels, travel the state of Wisconsin, and help his wife raise their three children.


 Tim Thompson

Thompson Tim 2 IMG_1422.jpgTim Thompson is a lecturer in the ESL program. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and earned his Master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. He taught in the intensive English program at the Ohio State University before moving to South Korea, which was his home for more than ten years. In Korea he taught in the public schools and at Samsung, where he trained professionals and later directed their English program. In 2012 Tim returned to the United States and settled down with his family in Stevens Point. He and his family are enjoying the friendly people and all the opportunities of this university town.


 Sara Williams

Williams Sarah IMG_1823_pp.jpgSara Williams is a lecturer in the ESL Program at UW-Stevens Point. She grew up in Stevens Point, but attended university at UW-Madison where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a Master’s degree in Linguistics. She started teaching in 1982 when she taught ESL and French in the Madison Metropolitan School District. In 1985 she moved with her husband to France, where she got a degree in African Linguistics from the Sorbonne-Paris III. They then spent 20 years in Senegal, West Africa where she helped to analyze unwritten languages and taught others how to do the same. Sara began teaching ESL at UWSP in 2008. She actually thinks grammar is interesting and in her free time she loves learning new languages, being outside hiking and cross-country skiing, reading, and spending time with her family.