“Helping the World Communicate”

For over 30 years, The School of Teaching ESL was focused on providing the best TESOL instruction and training in the Puget Sound Region. In collaboration with Seattle University (1985-2013) and Seattle Pacific University (2013 – 2017), S-TESL offered a range of programs, courses, and study formats leading to recognized teaching credentials, such as TESOL Certificates, WA State ELL and Bilingual Endorsements, and a graduate track credit option for those considering a graduate program in TESOL and/or Education. This unique relationship with an accredited university set S-TESL apart from other TESOL training programs.


stesl-ballardS-TESL was founded in 1985 by Dr. Nancy Butler and was housed in this building in Ballard from June 1991 – September 2004. In 2004, the school moved to the Licton Springs neighborhood of Seattle where it remained until December 2017.

History of S-TESL

Dr. Nancy Butler approached Seattle University School of Education in the fall of 1984 regarding the need for affordable and accessible initial and continuing education for ESL/EFL teachers. The School of Teaching ESL was incorporated as a nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) on May 31, 1984. In 1985, Seattle University School of Education’s Office of Professional Development approved experimentally offering an off-campus evening course titled “Teaching English as a Second Language: Theory and Application”. Over the next years, over a dozen other courses were added and the school also added an ESOL class for training purposes. In the mid-1990s, the S-TESL courses were the foundation of Seattle University’s newly formed MA TESOL program. In 2004, the school moved again under the leadership of the new director, Bernice Ege-Zavala. Due to internal policy changes at Seattle University, the partnership with S-TESL ended on June 30, 2013. At that time, the School of Teaching ESL began a new cooperative agreement with Seattle Pacific University and continued to offer its programs. As Bernice Ege-Zavala prepared for retirement, George Rowe was hired by the board as the new director in 2015.