The Executive Committee is comprised of officers and chairs elected by the membership to review the progress of ETAS’ strategy and planned events, as well as to conduct the ongoing business of the association.
President and Independent Teachers Chair
Born in Missouri, Yuval lived in Israel for 33 years before coming to Switzerland in 2010. He has travelled extensively, having lectured in 17 of the 31 American states he has visited, and 12 of the 25 countries. He taught music for 22 years before becoming a music producer and finally spent eight years as the Jerusalem Bureau chief for an American radio network, doing daily news spots and videos, and occasionally appearing on television. He now has his own small language school for adult learners in Schaffhausen canton. He has had over 300 articles, poems, and songs published. He has been an ETAS member since 2015. He has a BA in music and education, an MA in journalism, and a PHD in education.
Sylvia Goetze Wake
Sylvia’s experience in language teaching and training in Switzerland has been intertwined with two decades of involvement with ETAS. A regular conference participant and presenter, her current role as Secretary to the executive committee involves planning meeting agendas with the president, taking minutes and supporting short-term projects of interest to the association. She joined the Committee in January 2022.
National Coordinator and Vice President
Sharon hails from Los Angeles. After completing a BA in French and a Masters in International Management, she switched gears from business to teaching. She taught high school French and Life Sciences in California before moving to Switzerland in 2001. Once here, teaching EFL was a logical transition. Beginning with a stint in various Yverdon-les-Bains secondary schools, Sharon moved on in 2006 to her current position at the University of Lausanne’s Language Center. She finished her MA TESOL from University of London in 2013. All in all, she’s been a teacher for 25 years, with over 15 years dedicated to EFL. Her teaching focuses are Academic skills, Business English, and TOEFL exam preparation, and special interests include CALL, writing skills, and classroom dynamics.
National Events Chair and Public Relations Chair
Rose earned her Bachelor’s of Music degree and French minor at Boston University. Her pre-teaching work includes but is not limited to being an administrative assistant in an advertising company, a music producer at a recording studio as well as working in the airline and telecom industries. This has given Rose a solid business background before becoming an ESL teacher in 1995. In 2000, she ventured out to start her school on her own from her living room and in company meeting rooms. By 2008, it had grown to become a company with a turnover of nearly CHF 200,000 with a staff of 10 part-time teachers working in various regions of Switzerland. Rose enjoys combining her family-influenced talent for teaching as well as her actual business experience to carve her own way. Now that her business has returned to being a one-woman show, she takes great pleasure in applying lessons learned in her business to help ETAS connect grow and thrive.
National Events Chair
Sonja Vigneswaren (pending)
Sonja Vigneswaren worked as a cytogeneticist for 9 years in the UK after completing her university degree. She was then an at-home mum for 17 years, during which time the family moved to Switzerland, where the easiest option for balancing home and work life was teaching English part-time. She obtained her Trinity TESOL qualification and has been teaching for 10 years. Although she briefly opened a family café in Sierre, she realized that it wasn’t the life for her, so she went back to teaching English! Sonja is a very organized person and very good at event planning which she has dabbled in over the years, mainly for family and friends. She feels that she would be a good fit for the role of National Events Chair and looks forward to joining the ETAS team.
Public Relations Chair
Rumana Yasin (pending)
Rumana Yasin has been living in Basel, Switzerland since 2014. She has diverse experience in Banking, Telecommunications, and Project Management and is passionate about learning and self-development. After completing CELTA, she has been working as a freelance Business English trainer. She is currently the online events organizer for ETAS and successfully organized many workshops in 2022. Having lived in Pakistan, Singapore, and now Switzerland, she has developed the ability to interact with people from various backgrounds and cultures. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, cooking and traveling. She is looking forward to joining the ETAS team as the Public Relations Chair.
Hannah’s love for languages and travel has allowed her to discover the exciting world of ELT in 6 countries so far. She lives in Zürich, where she teaches English to very young learners and is an active member of ETAS as Publications Chair, Resources Editor and Social Media assistant.
Carol Waites (pending)
Carol Waites’s career has mainly been in Geneva and Sydney, Australia. She is now recently retired with a busy consultancy business training people in writing skills. Carol has always been passionate about all types of reading materials, has written a PhD, edited others’ PhDs, and delivered writing courses with self-designed materials for United Nations civil servants in Geneva for over 20 years. This year, she was accredited as a proofreader and editor by the College of Media and Publications, UK. For the last few years, she has been volunteering in various capacities for the ETAS publications team, and has found them a dedicated, professional team producing a high quality Journal. She would be honoured and proud to accept the position of Publications Chair.
Annette Leimer was born in Connecticut (USA) and spent her childhood there. After moving to Switzerland with her parents and two younger sisters, she has lived in various places in the German speaking part of Switzerland. She got a degree as a translator while raising two children, and at the same time started teaching English by chance: the local VHS was looking for a substitute teacher. That was in 1998 and Annette hasn’t looked back since. For her, teaching has always been a golden opportunity to interact with people and not only with dry texts and computers.
After having served on the ExCo as National Coordinator from ca. 2015 to 2017, she feels the time has come to once again answer the call for volunteers.
After volunteer teaching English on the side led to a M.Ed. in LSLS. Eric moved to Switzerland in 2017 and began teaching English full-time.
David Riley (pending)
David Riley was born in 1959 in the UK and lived and studied there (BSc. In Mathematics and Statistical Mathematics, Exeter) until 1982 when he moved to live in Geneva. Whilst with PWC (1982 to 1987), he qualified as a certified accountant. He is now semi-retired, but during his career he worked in financial services for many international companies. He also has much experience with not-for-profit associations and has held the position of treasurer for several cultural (Orchestre des Nations) and sporting associations (Centre Sportif de Cologny). He is very keen on sport (squash, trekking, cycling, windsurfing, skiing etc.). David looks forward to being accepted as Treasurer of ETAS, an association that he knows well since he has held the position of external bookkeeper for a number of years.
The English Teachers Association Switzerland (ETAS) is an association as defined by articles 60ff of the Swiss Civil Code. As such, ETAS is governed by an elected Executive Committee of at least seven members. The positions include the President, the Treasurer, the Secretary, plus at least four other members. Executive Committee position terms are for three years, with the possibility of one additional year. All ETAS members in good standing are eligible to stand for election, which takes place each year during the AGM.
The Executive Committee meets whenever business so requires, but at least three times a year. No decisions can be taken unless a majority of the members are present. All matters which do not fall expressly within the competence of a GM shall be dealt with by the Executive Committee. Further information and details about the roles and governance can be found in the Statutes.
A number of the ETAS Executive Committee positions come open each year. An announcement of those openings is posted with a Nomination Form in the Summer Journal. Please feel free to contact the current Officer or Chair should you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you on the Executive Committee!
The ETAS National Council consists of several teams of volunteers dedicated to providing members with the best possible service.
The ETAS Administrator supports the association by maintaining membership renewals, conference visibility, bookkeeping and internal communication.
Send an email to Katie.