French Classes for Children and their Parents on Saturday Mornings

Our Staff


Jacques Whettnall - Operations/Publicity
Denise Ciobanu - Operations/Treasurer

Volunteer Parent Board:
 - Marketing, Social Chairmen, and IT/Tech Support

Ashley Mattei

Rebecca Trotsky 

Virginia LaFar - Directeur Honorifique
With a Master's degree in French, Virginia has been with the school since it originated in 2004. She continues to help the school with administration, social engagements, and publicity. Virginia's children, Emily (12) and Taylor (10), have been learning French since birth with Virginia. In fact, with EDS's help and Virginia's persistence, Emily was reading in French before she was reading in English!



Our faculty includes seasoned teachers educated in France, the U.S. and other francophone countries.


Anne-Karine Melius
Born in Carcassonne in the south of France and raised in Toulon, Anne-Karine Melius brings a world-view to her classroom. As the daughter of an airline pilot, she and her family have lived all over the world, including 13 years in Africa. Madame Anne-Karine has been teaching the Maternelles class at l' Ecole du Samedi since its inception and has been a guiding force in the school's growth. What she loves most about teaching is working with children and seeing the French culture come alive in them. She has two children of her own, as well as a little Jack Russel. In her free time, she enjoys gardening and is a member at the Stowe Botanical Garden.

Jacques Whettnall
Monsiour Whettnall was born and raised in Paris. With a license de philosophie/psychologie from the University of Vincennes/Sorbonne, he participated in the foundations of Recherché and Application Pedagogic JDK alternative school. He realized his affinity and interest for the subject of personal development and studied creative, innovative and proven methods of learning and understanding. He came to the US attracted by the practicality of the pioneer spirit, discovering a language, which at best, is geared toward directness and doing, but he emphasizes that listening may be the hardest and most beneficial of the communication skills. He moved from the West coast two years ago, where he was teaching at the Alliance Francaise of the Riveria California, Berlitz in LA. He also taught in Japan and presently at the Language Academy. Jacques considers the privilege of teaching as an honor and that you have to trust the student's own capabilities to foster the rediscovery of their talents and calmness. Self respect is due and paramount to flourish in all things. He learned from a dear friend that, "patience is that thing which takes place when you run out of it." It is his great pleasure to give confidence to the children, learning a language as a means to learn about yourself. Jacques recognizes the situational approach and the authentic French approach to one's interest and enjoyment. He is very pleased to join the total immersion program that EDS proposes. Monsieur Whettnall, along with his wife, Delia, and their two genius cats, enjoys Charlotte, which he finds as a compromise between Fontainebleau and the South of France.

Denise Ciobanu
Madame Ciobanu was born in Bucharest, Romania and went to the University of Bucharest. She taught French, Romanian and Latin in middle school for 8 years before winning a Green Card to the United States. Madame Ciobanu has 11 years of experience teaching French. Currently she teaches grades 6 through 8 at Dutchman Creek Middle School in Rock Hill, S.C. Denise loves books, movies, live theater, music, flowers, traveling, photography, cooking... and chocolate! "I love teaching at l' Ecole du Samedi because it reminds me of Romania, and I love the dedication and the candor of my little students."

Pamela Shembo
Madame Shembo was born in Belgium. She teaches fifth grade French immersion at Waddell Academy of International Language and has been teaching in the CMS school system for 20 years. Madame Shembo's daughter attended EDS years ago and they loved the program. With a bachelor of Philology from the University of Louvain, she taught at the International School of Brussels. She moved to the US with her husband in 1994 and has two children, Naomie and Jonathan. Madame Shembo strongly believes in oral communication when learning a language and that the students should feel free to discuss, to ask questions, and to make mistakes, all while respecting one another and having fun; grammar will be learned at a later stage. Teachers should have high expectations for the learners, explain clearly, and set rules and consequences. She thinks teaching is the best profession in the world, although quite challenging, but she simply cannot imagine doing anything else!

Alex Vigo - Adultes 1 & 2
Alex was born and raised in Troyes, the capital of the Champaign region-on the border of Burgundy and 100 miles southeast of Paris. His mother and brother still live there. Lacoste and the Templar Order were founded in Troyes, France! Alex spent 10 years in Paris and began law school there. He moved to Boston, completed law school, and then made his final move to Charlotte in 2003, becoming a US Citizen in 2008. Alex enjoys teaching French and is passionate about French culture. His interests include: politics, history (19-20th century, WWII), 19th Century French Literature, French and American Cinema (30s-70s), and running (10k-half marathon).

Arlette Dupont - Substitute
Madame Dupont was born in Bergerac and grew up in Bordeaux. Her childhood was enchanted by the many wonderful narratives of her father's long stay in Sénégal, which gave her the desire to travel and to discover other cultures. Arlette is fluent in French, English, Spanish and German. She has lived in France, Germany and Québec as well as many different states in the US to finally settle in Concord, NC. Madame Dupont worked in the medical field as a nurse where she has used her knowledge of languages to help Non-English speaking patients. She enjoys reading, writing, conversing with friends, gardening and walking. She renews with her vitality through her contact with young children!

Sigui Amegadje-Substitute

Sandrine Perichon-Substitute

Grace Hill- Volontaire