Who we are

The School of Teaching ESL has been focused on providing the best TESOL instruction and training in the Puget Sound Region for over 30 years. In collaboration with Seattle Pacific University, We offer a range of programs, courses, and study formats leading to recognized teaching credentials, such as TESOL Certificates (entry-level and advanced), ELL and Bilingual Endorsements (must be a licensed WA State teacher), and a graduate track credit option for those wishing to complete MA-TESOL and MA Teaching degrees at SPU. This unique relationship with an accredited university is really what sets S-TESL apart from other TESOL training programs. Where else can you get so much from one program?

History of S-TESL

stesl-ballardS-TESL was founded in 1985 by Dr. Nancy Butler and was housed in Ballard Hall from June 1991 – September 2004.

Over 30 years in Seattle

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 Spring Quarter 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”, which Dr. Butler taught. Other course titles were soon added as training needs were perceived and Seattle University School of Education’s Program in Teaching ESL was born.

These off-campus evening courses had very favorable response and continued to grow in both size and number. In August 1988, intensive daytime courses were added.

In June 1991, the school moved to Ballard, a cozy neighborhood north of downtown. In October 1992, S-TESL added a new component — an evening ESOL class. This ESOL class has the dual purpose of serving the community by providing English language training to local non-native speakers and at the same time serving as a practicum for S-TESL teachers and students where methods and techniques can be researched and applied.

In 1993 and 1994 S-TESL acted as adviser to Seattle University in the formation of the new Master’s in TESOL program.

In 2000, the online component of the School of Teaching ESL was created.

In the Fall 2004, the School of Teaching ESL said a fond goodbye to its cozy home in Ballard, and moved to its current location in the Licton Springs neighborhood, about five miles north of downtown.

At the same time, Dr. Butler became Director Emeritus, and Bernice Ege-Zavala, formerly instructor and Academic Director, became the Director of the School of Teaching ESL.

In 2012 Seattle University announced that due to internal policy changes it would end its cooperative agreement with The School of Teaching ESL. The partnership officially ended June 30, 2013.

In Spring Quarter 2013, The School of Teaching ESL began a new cooperative agreement with Seattle Pacific University. Through this university partnership S-TESL and Seattle Pacific University offer post-bachelors certificates in TESOL, the WA State ELL and Bilingual endorsements, and graduate credit options that may be applied towards degrees in the Seattle Pacific University College of Arts & Science and Seattle Pacific University School of Education.

The School of Teaching ESL has proven that, time and time again over a period of nearly thirty years, it can respond to challenges, growth, and changes and continue to offer excellent training programs in teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Five Statements that changed the course of S-TESL

A powerpoint presentation on the history of S-TESL, by founder, Dr. Nancy Butler:

Dr. Nancy Butler

Founder of S-TESL; Ph.D. in Russian History, University of Washington; Post-Master’s Certificate in TESOL, Seattle University. She has taught English, Social Studies and Russian at the middle school level, history classes at the University of Washington, and spent one year doing post-doctoral studies in Moscow, Russia. She was the Director of Courses at ELS Language Center, Seattle, from 1977 until 1988, served as President of WAESOL from 1984 to 1986, and taught adult ESL at North Seattle Community College. ┬áIn cooperation with Seattle University College of Education, she laid the groundwork starting in 1985 for what would become S-TESL in 1990. She has made numerous presentations at state and international professional conferences. Nancy stepped down from her administrative role in 2004 but continued to teach online classes until March, 2015.

Personal Statement:

“I expect all of the teacher educators at the School of TESL to model our teaching philosophy. I want our teacher education classrooms to represent much of what our students’ ESOL classrooms will be.”