Home About Staff

Staff

Native French Speakers, World Class Instructors

The French Institute’s dynamic team is committed to helping each and every client achieve his or her language goals through our service driven approach.

It’s wonderful to learn from native French speakers, and to be with fellow lovers of French language and culture.
- Harriet M., Wilmette
Maria Kurt

Maria Kurt

Founder and Executive Director, French Institute of the North Shore and French School
In 1998, Maria used her knowledge and expertise to establish the French Institute of the North Shore. She earned a master’s degree in French Language, Literature and Civilization from Middlebury College where she specialized in the teaching of French. Maria was determined to understand how one acquires a second language and develop the most effective way to teach French. Additionally, she holds a master’s degree in Education. Having lived in Paris for two years during her studies, and frequently traveling to France, Maria appreciates cross-cultural nuances and brings an abundance of travel and cultural insights to the school.

Maria and her husband live in Winnetka with their two daughters and a French Bichon Frisé. Maria and her husband enjoy ballroom dancing, as well as water sports on the French Riviera.

More
Heather Meindl

Heather Meindl

Director, French Institute of the North Shore
Heather’s studies and work afforded her the opportunity to live abroad in France, Québec, Senegal and Switzerland, giving the French Institute a more global Francophone perspective. Her master’s degree in French language education brought her back to her hometown of Chicago. Heather’s energy and charm help guide and inspire our adult language learners. Outside of work, Heather enjoys exploring Chicago’s foodie culture, traveling the globe, and tending to her menagerie of animals.
More
Ashlee Cummings

Ashlee Cummings

Director, French School
Ashlee has been working in education for 13 years, having taught at the elementary, middle, high school, and university levels. She has worked in both administrative and instructional capacities at the French Institute and the French School over the past five years. Ashlee holds a master’s degree in French Language and Literature and a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Language Education. Ashlee has been fortunate to study and work abroad in Paris and Dijon and travel extensively throughout France. She particularly looks forward to her frequent trips to her favorite French town, Annecy. Ashlee enjoys reading, going to the ballet, and exploring the viticulture of our great land.
More
Laura

Laura

Instructor
A native of Picardy in northern France, Laura is very passionate about French language and literature. Laura has ample positive energy and a calming presence that will inspire her students to speak with confidence and ease. Because Laura loves traveling and discovering new cultures, she has lived in both Australia and Canada, and is thrilled to be here in the United States!
More
Adeline

Adeline

Instructor
Originally from Nîmes in the south of France, Adeline grew up with a love for literature, fine arts, and Les Camargues (the natural wetlands near the Rhône Delta), which in turn, are some of her favorite topics for discussion! Adeline is motivated by la francophonie, and is equally excited to teach about French culture, as she is to teach about cultures from other French speaking countries.
More
Kathryn Kurt

Kathryn Kurt

Evening Manager
Brennan Regnier

Brennan Regnier

Evening Receptionist