About Us

Who We Are

Team Azar

Azar Associates—Sue Van Etten, Shelley Hartle, Stacy Hagen, Betty Azar

Azar Associates is based on Whidbey Island, Washington, home of author Betty Azar, who created the Azar Grammar Series. Working alongside Betty are editor Shelley Hartle and business manager Sue Van Etten. Working a few hours away on the Kitsap Peninsula is Betty’s co-author, Stacy Hagen. We developed AzarGrammar.com in partnership with Pearson Longman, publisher of the Azar Grammar Series.

Meet the AzarGrammar.com Team

Betty Azar

Betty Azar

Author, Azar Grammar Series

Betty Azar is author of the Azar Grammar Series, now the Azar-Hagen Grammar Series.

Fun fact: Betty is the model for the Talking Head character called English Grammar in Fundamentals of English Grammar Interactive. She enjoys kayaking, gardening, travel, classical music, opera, playing piano duets with her husband and training her new puppy.

Stacy Hagen

Stacy Hagen

Stacy Hagen is co-author of the Azar-Hagen Grammar Series. She's an experienced ESL teacher and administrator, as well as a published author of a number of ESL textbooks. Stacy wrote most of the new material in the third edition of Basic English Grammar and the fourth edition of Understanding and Using English Grammar. She brings a wealth of rich new content, new exercise types, an audio component and a fresh, updated feel to the revisions. She is currently working on the fourth edition of Fundamentals of English Grammar and creating her new EnglishwithStacy video lessons on understanding spoken English.

Fun fact: Stacy loves baking bread. She finds it so relaxing, she bakes it twice a week to go with her homemade soups. Mmmm!

Rachel Spack Koch

Rachel Spack Koch

Rachel Spack Koch is a former ESL teacher, prolific materials writer and long time member of the Azar team. She wrote the Vocabulary Worksheets for AzarGrammar.com and is one of the creative forces behind the Azar Multimedia Programs, overseeing all the material writing. She’s been the moderator of the Grammar Q&A forum on the Azar Grammar Exchange website since its inception, providing accurate and elegant responses to grammar and English usage questions for many years.

Fun fact: Well, there are so many. Rachel is the model for the Past Participle character in Fundamentals of English Grammar Interactive. She is also a tournament Scrabble player and a very snappy dresser.

Richard Firsten

Richard Firsten

Teacher Talk Blogger

RFirsten@aol.com

Richard Firsten is one of our favorite grammar wonks. Richard’s writing is clear, down to earth, and accessible. He makes grammar fun — which of course it is! You may know Richard from his former “The Grammar Guy” column in ESL Magazine or current “Grammatically Speaking” column online in the TESOL publication Essential Teacher. For over 20 years he taught English, employability skills, and Citizenship to adults at Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center, and has authored a number of grammar texts for teachers and students. Richard is retired now from Miami-Dade County Public Schools and works as

freelance writer/copy editor/proofreader.

Fun fact: Richard is quite well versed at writing ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Maria Spelleri

Maria Spelleri

Teacher Talk Blogger

Maria Spelleri is a member of our Teacher Talk Blog and author of the fun and imaginative Expansion Activities and many of the Song Lessons on this website. Maria also wrote much of the exercise material in Understanding and Using English Grammar Interactive and Fundamentals of English Grammar Interactive. She has been teaching and designing specialty curricula in the U.S. and abroad for over 18 years. Maria is currently a full-time English for Academic Purposes instructor in the Department of Language and Literature at ManateeCommunity College in Florida.

Fun fact: Maria has sailed all over the world on oil tankers, once spending four weeks on the open sea sailing around Africa from the United Arab Emirates to Texas.

Ela Newman

Ela Newman

Teacher Talk Blogger

Ela Newman is a full-time instructor at the University of Texas at Brownsville, where she has taught various writing courses for the Department of English as well as a range of ESL classes for the university’s Language Institute. She has taught Academic ESL in Washington State and high school-level EFL in Poland, her motherland. In her fifteen-year teaching career, she has also mentored several groups of student-teachers. Ela enjoys watching students discover the workings of the English language so she is particularly fond of creating discovery-based lessons, some of which she has shared on this website.

Fun fact: Ela’s favorite pets are fancy rats. She finds it entertaining to play “hide-and-seek” with them in her living room.

Tamara Jones

Tamara Jones

Teacher Talk Blogger

Tamara Jones has been an ESL/EFL instructor for twelve years. She has taught in Russia, Korea, England, the USA, and Belgium. She is currently an instructor at the British School of Brussles in Belgium. Tamara holds a PhD in Education from the University of Sheffield in England.  

Fun fact: Tamara is now addicted to Belgian chocolate and french fries with mayonnaise. 

Dorothy Zemach

Dorothy Zemach

Teacher Talk Blogger

Email: zemach at comcast dot net

Dorothy E. Zemach is an ESL materials writer, editor, and teacher trainer from Eugene, Oregon. She is a frequent plenary presenter at conferences, a columnist for TESOL's Essential Teacher magazine, and has written over 15 ESL textbooks. Current interests include the teaching of writing, EAP, business English, testing, and humor in ESL materials and the profession.

Fun fact: Dorothy enjoys horseback riding, choral singing, and playing the piano and harpsichord.

David Barker

David Barker

Teacher Talk Blogger

Email: david@btbpress.com

David Barker has been teaching English since leaving his job as a Liverpool police officer in 1992. He has taught in England, Singapore, New Zealand, and Japan. He has an MA in applied linguistics, and a PhD in english language teaching, and he has written several books for Japanese learners of English. He currently lives near Nagoya.

Fun fact: When pronounced in Japanese, his name sounds like the words for “fat” and “stupid.”

Patti Spinner

Patti Spinner

Patti Spinner is creator of our Song Lessons. She teaches English grammar at the University of Pittsburgh while completing her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics. She is a singer/songwriter with a deep love of music.

Fun fact: Patti leads an ESL choir at the university’s English Language Institute and has recently published an article on English-language choirs in ESL Magazine.

Kris Wiltse

Kris Wiltse (www.kriswiltse.com) created the colorful, whimsical art on our website banners. She is a versatile artist, good friend and fellow Whidbey Islander. When we built this site we thought it was looking too serious. We called in Kris to lighten it up with some warm and fun visuals to reflect our feelings about teachers, teaching grammar and community. Her art was the crowning touch. Kris also created the new swallow logo for the third edition of the Azar Grammar Series.

Fun fact: Kris manages to incorporate art and color into every aspect of her life — including her animals. She started raising chickens after moving to the island. Her girls are beautiful, colorful chickens who lay the most beautiful, colorful eggs you've ever seen.

Pearson Longman

Pearson Longman publishes the Azar Grammar Series and has enthusiastically supported the development of this website. They sponsored the development of our Vocabulary Worksheets, Expansion Activities and Song Lessons. They gave us permission to publish the Azar Interactives Talking Head animations and the full text of Fun with Grammar on AzarGrammar.com. Pearson Longman arranged for the videos of Betty's TESOL presentations that appear on the Author's Corner. They also provide the Test Generators that we offer as incentives for teachers’ website contributions. We couldn’t do it without them.

ESL/EFL Teachers Everywhere

You — the hardworking ESL/EFL teachers who have generously shared your own materials with fellow teachers in our Classroom Materials Section. Thank you to:

 

The teachers at Edmonds Community College

  • Cathy Costa
  • Jan Petersen
  • Kelly Roberts-Weibel

The teachers at Miami-Dade College

  • Linda Albert
  • Leslie Biaggi
  • Pattia Creelman
  • Dr. Kelly Anne Kennedy
  • Walter Kozloski
  • Myra M. Medina
  • Guillermina Raffo-Magnasco
  • Marta Menendez
  • Elizabeth Ramsey
  • Myra J. Redman

The teachers at Ivy Collegiate Academy

  • Michelle Cohen

 

 

 

The teachers at International Language School (Miami)

  • Jacqueline DuBosque
  • Darlene Quintana

 

The teachers at Gulliver Academy School

  • Alex Garrido

The teachers at University of Texas at Brownsville

  • Ela Newman

The teachers at Universidad Europea de Madrid

  • Jerry Kammer

The teachers at Colegio La Quinta del Puente  (Columbia)  

  • Keith Pluas                                 

 

The teachers at DuocUC (Chile)          

  • Jorge Salas Correa   

Our Mission and Vision

This website’s mission is to support teachers who incorporate a grammar component in their ESL/EFL teaching. Our vision is a global community of ESL/EFL teachers who share resources, learn from one another, and support one another in their work.

Website Goals

  • Provide teaching support to all ESL/EFL teachers who include a grammar component in their teaching, by offering ideas, information, and materials to help them succeed
  • Provide textbook support to Azar users
  • Facilitate community, sharing, dialogue, and mutual support among ESL/EFL teachers
  • Promote partnership between authors and teachers
  • Define a grammar-based approach and the pedagogical assumptions underlying the teaching of grammar and the Azar texts