ISABELLE KELMAN / EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Isabelle Kelman was born and raised in Paris, France. She moved to Irvine, California in 2001 with her three children and husband. She was first introduced to the Alliance Française in New York in 1995, where she trained to become a French literature teacher. She began at the Alliance in Newport Beach in 2005 as a professor. Isabelle moved up in management at the Alliance Française in 2007, when she became director of the Newport Beach location. She is currently continuing to teach French literature and is attending Cal State Long Beach to obtain her Masters in French literature to further her education. She is focusing her teaching in 19th century literature. She enjoys skiing and hiking with her family.
Isabelle is a certified TCF/DELF/DALF examiner and she is currently teaching every level of French.
PATRICIA D. / TEACHER
I was originally born in Le Havre in Normandie, but spent my childhood in the North of France and in the Loire Vallée Area. I met my husband in the Loire Vallée area as well and had both my children there.
In 2003, we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico because of my husband’s work as an expat. He was asked to stay in Albuquerque for 3 years, and after that we proceeded to obtain our green cards. We have now become official American citizens.
We moved to Irvine in July 2018 because my husband got a new job. I now work a the Alliance in Newport Beach because of my experience with the Alliance Francaise d’AlbuquerqueI for 9 years. Prior to my experience with the Alliance Francaise, I worked as a business and communication high school teacher in France.
I love sharing my French culture, hiking and crocheting.
Patricia is a certified TCF/DELF examiner and she is currently teaching every level of French.
ELENA R. / TEACHER
Elena Rolland has been teaching French at the Alliance Française for over a year. She also works with the International School of Los Angeles and is the Instructor in charge of the program “Mommy and Moi” at the Campus of Orange. Passionate about the interface between first and second language acquisition, Elena advocates for bilinguisme and its memory benefits.
She is a mother of three children and moved to Irvine with her family in 2014. Previously, she has lived in Bordeaux for over twenty years and is very fond of the regional south-western cuisine. Her favorite: the Canelés de Bordeaux!
Elena is currently attending the Irvine Valley College and is taking classes in College English Writing.She is involved in the Friendly Visitor Program with the Council on Aging Southern California as a volunteer.
In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, baking, hiking and reading.
Elena is a certified DELF examiner and she is currently teaching every level of French.
PASCALE C. / TEACHER
I moved to the US 20 years ago with my hubby and my two year old baby. After adapting to the “American way of life” I took the opportunity to have another baby, who is the “real American” of the family!
I taught French for adults and students in Long Beach during a couple of years and during 10 years I was a High school French teacher in a famous and extremely demanding Charter School in Tucson, Arizona. I love to teach French and its fabulous culture. Specifically, I have a strong experience in teaching AP French.
The dark side of my life (because everyone has one!) is a passion to make “entremets”. I really enjoy the difficulty of baking these cakes and I always find a good excuse to create a new one when I am not teaching! I also enjoy having a drink once in a while (un petit apéritif!) with my friends and family like people do in the South of France, where I grew up.
Finally, I have a (big!) cat named Zizou, like the nick name of the famous French soccer player Zinedine Zidane, and because I have 3 fans of soccer at home!
Pascale is a certified DELF examiner and she is currently teaching every level of French.
KARINE G. / TEACHER
Karine was born and raised in Nantes, France and moved to the US in 1994 to attend graduate school in North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. With a M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering, she went on working first as a scientist and then moved to Research & Development Management and Project Management. Five years ago, she left California for Cambridge, England where her family was relocated for 4 years due to her husband work.
Karine has always embraced multiple cultures and languages thanks to her many travels and moves but also as she has a very international family herself: her husband is from India and her kids are Californian. However, even after so many years away from France, Karine still loves the French language and culture and looks forward to teaching those to the Alliance Française students.
In her spare time, Karine loves reading, cooking, hiking and skiing.
ADELINE O. / TEACHER
I was born and grew up in the Paris suburban area called Val d‘Oise.
I started my nursing career in Pediatric Oncology, followed by Pediatric Psychiatry focused on teenagers.
My husband got a job in Santa Monica in 2013 so we decided to leave and took with us our 2 lovely cats.
After a few years we got our Green Cards and most importantly our little girl Clémentine.
I have always enjoyed tutoring, and I am very happy to be able to do it now with French language as well as French culture.
I find it important when teaching a new language to focus more on achievements than errors, and to provide a safe environment where language skills are promoted in all kind of situations.
During my spare time, I love cooking especially desserts, reading, traveling and spending time with friends and family.
VICTOR M. / TEACHER
Victor moved to Southern California with his wife in 2018. He spent the first six months in Los Angeles, where he worked as an Assistant to the Cultural Attaché at the General Consulate of France. After this experience, he moved down to Orange County and began to work remotely on a doctorate degree in Epistemology and History of Science with the University of Strasbourg. Eager to contribute to the cultural life of his new home, he volunteered as a docent at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana for a few months before interning for both the Senior Director of Education and the Director of Collections.
Before his move to the Golden State, Victor studied Philosophy, History, Literature, Latin, English and Art History for three years at Lycée Condorcet in Paris. Received at the entrance exam of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, he then earned master’s degrees in both Philosophy and Art History from Panthéon-Sorbonne University. His first stay in the United States, between Fall 2016 and Spring 2017, turned his life around: he spent ten wonderful months teaching French at Duke University, and met his better half.
JULIETTE L. / INTERN
I was born and raised in the region of Paris, in the department of Essonne. I lived in the 15th arrondissement of the capital for 4 years. After graduating in economics and management at the University of Paris Dauphine, I pursued my training in a Social Sciences Master’s degree. Besides my studies, I am a volunteer coach in an association to help political refugees to integrate themselves in the French system.
Currently, I am a student in my gap year, that's why I decided to come to California for 6 months, to discover the “American Way of Life”, while doing an internship at the Alliance Française.
I love traveling and discovering new cultures but also sharing my French culture. I previously lived 3 years in Romania with my family and 1 year in Argentina where I was a sociology student, and then, a CSR's intern in a French company in Buenos Aires. I am a great traveler in love with South America. I had the opportunity to travel to Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Colombia.
This is my first time in California but not my first time in the United-States, as I have already been to New York City a couple of times. It is for me a new experience, which I hope will be full of discoveries, encounters and travels.
LUCAS V. / GRAPHIC DESIGNER
I first explored my passion for Graphic design and other types of arts as a grew up in France, I am self taught and I spent a lot of time by myself exploring and expanding my skills over the years.
As I migrated to the United States of America, I entered my first actual Graphic Design class at University High, Irvine, California. It was here that I discovered my proficiency and love for Graphic design, these classes gave me more time and resources which allowed my skills to grow and bloom.
I regard this experience as one of the turning points of my life, and I will continue this route until I find another passion that will change my life once again.
EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS
GABRIEL FRISBY / PRESIDENT
Gabriel Frisby, CPA is co-owner of a small public accounting firm located in the City of Orange. Born in Anaheim, raised in Trabuco Canyon, and educated at California State University Fullerton, Gabriel is a true OC native. Gabriel lives in the City of Orange with his wife and daughter. However, his interests extend beyond the orange curtain. He enjoys traveling and experiencing new cultures. In 2006, after his second trip to France, he committed to learning the French language and joined the Alliance Francaise Orange County. Recently, thanks to the tutoring of the Alliance Francaise Orange County team, he was awarded a DELF Level B2 diploma from the French Ministry of Education. When time permits, Gabriel enjoys surfing, rock climbing, and cycling.
Hieu Nguyen / VICE PRESIDENT
Hieu Nguyen is a tenured associate professor of marketing at California State University Long Beach where he has been since August 2007 after completing his Doctorate in marketing at University of Texas at Arlington. At CSULB he teaches marketing principles and marketing management at both undergraduate and graduate levels. His research focuses on emotional attachment to brands, consumer transformation, anti-consumption and has been published in academic journals as well as covered by the popular press. Hieu’s father went to a French school in Hue, Vietnam, and was fluent in French and instilled in him a keen interest in all things French. After a three-month sabbatical in Paris in the fall of 2014, Hieu fell in love with the City of Light and decided he needed to learn French to be able to speak the language when in France, not English. Hieu has been taking French classes at Alliance Française in Newport Beach since August 2017. In his free time Hieu enjoys traveling, visiting museums, going to the beach and playing sports.
ANTOINE KELMAN / TREASURER & WEB MASTER
Antoine Kelman has lived in Orange County since 2001. He has a Masters in Science/Engineering from Ecole Centrale de Paris, France; a Ph.D in Computer Science from Paris VI University, France; and he attended the Executive Program at UCLA Anderson School of Management. He is currently the Chief Technology Officer - North American Payment at Idemia. He has been involved at the Alliance since 2005 where he has served as treasurer and Webmaster. He enjoys playing tennis, hiking and skiing.
HUGUETTE SCHAER / SECRETARY
Huguette was born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland and landed on the US shore over 20 years ago. She has a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Temple University in Philadelphia and is presently working at Turtle Rock Elementary School in the computer lab helping students K through 6. She enjoys walking, skiing, yoga, and discovering new places.
LESLIE TERPIn / BOARD MEMBER
Leslie Terpin grew up in Oregon. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Oregon State University and spent her career in the insurance industry. She has lived in Southern California since 1987 and began taking French classes at the Alliance in 2002 following her first trip to France in late 2001. She continues as a student today in the literature class. She has been involved with the Alliance in various capacities since that time, serving as a committee chair or board member. She is an avid baseball fan, loves to read and enjoys traveling.