Janice Rodriguez

Janice Rodriguez

Executive Director

Dr. Janice Snow Rodríguez is the Executive Director of the TN Language Center (formerly the TN Foreign Language Institute). She holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration and M.A. in Spanish Literature. Dr. Rodríguez has been employed by TLC (formerly TFLI) since 1999, and is credited with researching and recommending a certification program for court interpreters for the State of Tennessee, adopted by the TN Administrative Office of the Courts. She is the Title VI Coordinator for the Institute, works on the TN Supreme Court‘s Access to Justice Committee for Interpreter Issues, and is a board member for the Metro Nashville Police Department’s El Protector Program, and recently completed a six-year commitment as a Commissioner and Chair for the Metro Nashville Human Relations Commission.

Holding a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University and certified as a Cross-Cultural Health Care Program Trainer, she has conducted numerous cultural awareness and diversity seminars for social services, medical and law enforcement agencies. She also serves as adjunct faculty for Tennessee State University‘s (TSU) College of Public Service and Urban Affairs, teaching Human Resources, Organization Theory & Assessment, and Employment Law. She serves on TSU’s advisory committee for International Education.

She is member of or professionally affiliated with a variety of organizations and associations including Sister Cities Nashville, the Japan-America Society of Tennessee, TN Latin American Chamber, Nashville Hispanic Chamber, Global Nashville Project, the Global Chamber of Nashville, Williamson County Chamber and the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

Previous professional experience includes serving as an Information Specialist with the Voice of America’s Radio Marti Program in Washington, DC; Information Services Director with an intellectual property law firm in Alexandria, VA; software support for a legal business software company in Brentwood, TN, and adjunct Spanish faculty for Lipscomb University.

A native Nashvillian, she has two children, Javier and Claudia, and resides in North Nashville. She enjoys traveling, gardening, pottery classes, singing, and listening to live music. She speaks Spanish and Portuguese and has studied Italian and Arabic.

Eric Amos

Eric Amos

Project Manager

Eric serves as a Project Manager for Interpretations at TLC. His role of project manager began in 2018. Eric has both bachelor‘s and master’s degrees in Intercultural Studies and loves to interact with and explore different cultures and languages. Eric lived in China for almost three years and has had many opportunities to travel throughout the world.

Brenda Bess

Brenda Bess

Financial Assistant

Brenda has worked at TLC since 2009. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Africa, and is conversational in Afrikaans, German, and Czech.

Brian Barnett

Brian Barnett

Director of World Languages

Brian comes to TLC from the University of Minnesota, where he served as a senior lecturer in French and as the director of language instruction in French.

Brian has a bachelor’s in French and Spanish from Kansas State University, a master’s in French from Indiana University and a doctorate in education from Indiana University.

Maya Campbell

Maya Campbell

Spanish Instructor

Maya was born and raised in Bulgaria, a country where knowing languages is a must, especially now that it is a member of the European Union. She holds a bachelor’s degree in pedagogy of the teaching of Bulgarian and English as a foreign language and a master’s degree in educational management from the University of Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria. Maya received an academic scholarship via the European Union’s Erasmus Mundus Programme to study in Spain at the University of Granada, Spain. The years she studied and lived in Spain as a student marked her life in a way that now she loves the Spanish peoples, cultures, and language as much as she loves her own.

In her home country of Bulgaria, Maya taught Spanish and English to adults and children at a private language institute and performed a great deal of translation and interpretation work, some of which was for the Educational Department of the Spanish Embassy in Sofia.

She has always loved her job as a teacher, and after moving to Nashville in 2007 to get married, her biggest hope was to continue to teach Spanish. Maya is happy to have been a Spanish instructor with the Tennessee Language Center (TLC) since then and to personally confirm what she had heard about the students and the teachers – they are the best! She looks forward to becoming part of your Spanish language learning journey, and she is excited about every single step of it!

Marlan Crawford

Marlan Crawford

Fiscal Director
Erin Edmiston

Erin Edmiston

Accounting Specialist

Erin Edmiston received a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Administration from Christian Brothers University and has over 20 years of accounting experience in several areas including administrative, government, customer service and real estate leasing. Her previous work experience includes positions with CBRE, NovaTech(formerly NovaCopy Inc), and Shelby County Government where she held a number of positions of increasing responsibility.

Angie Gonzalez

Angie Gonzalez

Bilingual Front Officer Coordinator
Tyler Harding

Tyler Harding

Project Manager, Interpretation and Translation

Tyler joined TLC in July 2018 as Bilingual Translation Project Manager. A Nashville native, he graduated with a BA in Linguistics and Languages from the University of New Mexico. Prior to joining TLC, Tyler worked as volunteer coordinator and trainer for a program with Metro Nashville Public Schools for struggling readers. Proficient in Spanish and Portuguese, he enjoys the opportunity to serve Tennesseans of all backgrounds and nationalities. He is currently pursuing an MA in Translation and Interpretation from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Irma Hernandez

Irma Hernandez

English Programs Bilingual Administrative Coordinator

Irma administers placement exams to determine a student’s level in English and register new/current students for their ESL classes. She also creates the courses on the matrix website and communicate regularly with instructors on their availability.

Irma was born and raised in Middle Tennessee (Maury County). Her parents are from Mexico and a good majority of her family still live there. She has a 4 year-old-son, Mateo and a 9-year-old little dachshund, Jasmine. She is the first in her family to receive a high school and college education, and she graduated with a B.A. in Spanish with a minor in Communications from MTSU in December 2020.

 Erin Keafer

Erin Keafer

Assistant Director of English Programs

After graduating from Auburn University and working several years as a legal assistant, a recommendation that she begin volunteering at World Relief as a mentor for a newly resettled family began her love of working with refugees.

In an effort to expand her teaching experience in hopes of working professionally as a refugee English teacher, she served as an Education and Community Development Specialist for the Peace Corps in the country of Georgia. There she worked at a public school, partnering with Georgian co-teachers to develop curriculum and teach K-12 English students. She also taught an advanced level English class for professional adults and a discussion course for government employees. She also worked with fellow Peace Corps volunteers to develop and implement a summer camp in a community of internally displaced survivors of war.

After returning to Nashville, she worked as an Education and Resettlement Intern at the Nashville International Center for Empowerment while earning her Teaching English as a Second Language Certificate from the Tennessee Language Center (formerly the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute.) Upon graduating with her TESL certificate, she began working as an English as a Second Language teacher for the ESL to Go program at TLC as well as the Center for Refugees & Immigrants of Tennessee.

After developing her teaching skills, she was offered a job as the Curriculum Coordinator of ESL to Go and has since been promoted to the Assistant Director of English Programs at TLC. She is currently also serving as a workgroup co-leader for GOAL Collective, a group of adult education providers working together to improve adult education access within Nashville. Erin also enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, and exploring nature.

Cesar Muedas

Cesar Muedas

Director, Interpretation and Translation Services

Cesar Muedas serves as Program Director for interpretation and translation services at the Tennessee Language Center. His role of supervisor began in 2014; his start as a professional translator and interpreter dates back to 1992. Cesar graduated from Yale University with a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1991 and from Vanderbilt University with an M.B.A in 1998. Before his tenure in language service organizations, Cesar engaged in research and commercial work in Chemistry, business consulting, marketing, and sales. A native of Peru, he became a U.S. citizen in 2004.

Missy Pankake

Missy Pankake

Director of Marketing and Communications

Missy has more than 25 years of marketing and communications experience, and leads marketing and communication initiatives for the Tennessee Language Center including advertising, public relations, brand identity, and community relations to support TLC’s strategic goals at the local and state level.

Previously, she served as Communications Director at the nonprofit Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, where she supported fundraising and operations through marketing and communications for programs that served homeless children and families. She also worked for Vanderbilt University’s Public Affairs Department where she coordinated communications for the university’s multi-year greenhouse gas study as well as helping to develop the myVU intranet for employees.

She is a magna cum laude graduate of Maryville College and is pursuing a master’s in strategic communications from the University of Tennessee.

Percy Person

Director, Operations & IT
Richard Ponce de Leon

Richard Ponce de Leon

Project Manager, Interpretation and Translation

Richard originally hails from Lima, Peru, where he obtained a B.A. degree in Linguistics. In 2015, he came to the United States and now calls Nashville, Tennessee home.

He boasts 5-plus years of foreign trade and project management experience, and recently became a court-registered Spanish interpreter. Richard has been working for the University of Tennessee Language Center since 2019 as an Interpretation Project Manager and is pursuing a master’s in Higher Education Administration at UT.

In his free time, Richard can be found taking pictures and developing film, or travelling around the state.

Jenny Rish

Jenny Rish

Director of English Programs

Jenny was raised in Tennessee and felt deeply connected to the people around her and the need to help people within our community. She went to MTSU and received a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in Spanish. but felt drawn toward the immigrant and refugee population. Jenny began volunteering at a local Spanish community center and Nashville International Center for Empowerment, where she then heard about a position for Youth Education Coordinator. She grew her skills and understanding working for the immigrant and refugee population. Then she took the 150-hour Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) course and moved to the coordinator position at Tennessee Foreign Language Institute (TFLI). As other job positions opened, she applied for them and has become the director of English Programs overseeing the ESL and TESL programs.

 Apryl Ruiz

Apryl Ruiz

Operations & HR Assistant
Katie Smith

Katie Smith

IT Assistant
Jack Willey

Jack Willey

Program Coordinator, World Languages

Jack Willey is the Coordinator of World Languages for the Tennessee Language Center (TLC). As an adult learner of Spanish and Portuguese, as well as a former Spanish teacher, he is passionate about supporting others across the state in their language and culture learning endeavors.

Prior to joining TLC, Jack founded the nonprofit Workers’ Dignity, where he supervised personnel across multiple languages, managed grant portfolios, and facilitated strategic development. A native of Flint, Michigan, Jack earned his bachelor‘s in Romance Languages at Wayne State University and master’s in Spanish at Vanderbilt University.

Ramona Wilson

Ramona Wilson

Evening Program Coordinator

Originally from Oak Ridge, Ramona has been the evening coordinator at TLC since 2018. She also works at the YMCA of Middle Tennessee as a fitness instructor for yoga, Pilates, and spin, and she is the weekend coordinator in the Y’s membership department. She has a bachelor’s in Human Ecology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and when she’s not working can often be found playing tennis or riding her bicycle.