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Meet our teachers

Bluedata teachers are native speakers who are highly qualified with rich teaching experience and are licensed by the New York State Education Department. All have at least a bachelor's degree.

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Akhtar Safi

Akhtar Safi has dedicated four years to teaching ESL, with a focus on assisting students from Central and South Asia. In his role as a writing instructor and tutor at his university's writing center, Akhtar has developed a comprehensive understanding of language acquisition, writing pedagogy, and research methodologies, while empowering students to achieve academic success. His tenure as a Teaching Assistant at the Open Society University Network further enhanced his research and analytical skills through collaborative projects with students across all OSUN-affiliated universities. Akhtar's independent research explores the intricate relationship between International Law and religious laws, underscoring his commitment to scholarly exploration. In addition to his contributions to Bluedata, he is currently pursuing an MA at Bard College's Center for Human Rights and the Arts, where he continues to build upon his expertise in human rights issues.

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Ben Wilson

Dr. Ben Wilson is a distinguished educator with more than a decade of expertise in the field of English language teaching. Holding both a Master's and a Doctorate in Education, he has a profound commitment to advancing the pedagogical skills of fellow educators. Currently, he is actively leading educational seminars for teachers across North America under the auspices of the ABS. His international teaching career spans Europe and the U.S., where he has not only imparted knowledge but also embraced diverse teaching environments and methodologies. Apart from his teaching endeavors, Dr. Wilson is an accomplished author, with a portfolio that includes seminal works on research methodologies and teaching strategies, aimed at empowering researchers and educators alike.

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Bernardo Torres

Bernardo Torres received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Queens College. He is currently working on his MA in Language and Literacy at City College. He has taught children with Autism from Pre-K to the middle school level in the New York City Department of Education. He has also taught college-level English reading and writing within a diverse and international community of students at the City University of New York at LaGuardia Community College. He enjoys travelling, photography, reading, and dancing. One of his other passions besides teaching English is doing commercial and industrial voiceovers. In addition to English, he also teaches beginner to advanced  Spanish and loves learning other languages such as French, Chinese, Korean and Japanese including their cultural histories. Join him for a journey that transcends traditional learning, paralleled with free-flow immersion, embracing creativity and linguistic diversity.

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Carlton Johnson


Hi, my name is Carlton, but call me Carl for short. I’ve been teaching at Blue Data since mid-2018 primarily in Advance Writing and Critical Thinking.

Similar to Blue Data, I have taught ESL at a language school in Boston to young adults for a few years, focusing on beginning to intermediate skill levels covering basic grammar, conversation, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Before teaching in Boston, I’ve taught within the elementary school system in South Korea for four years and the grade levels ranged from Kindergarten to sixth grades (K-6). These were some of the best experiences I’ve ever had as a foreigner myself.

Before teaching at all, I hold a Bachelor’s degree from Drexel University (Philadelphia PA) and have worked within the construction industry as an architectural/interior drafter/designer as a consultant for various firms throughout NYC and Boston and decided to teach starting in 2009 as a tutor to elementary students and the interests grew from there.  I enjoy traveling, exploring various cultures, photography, listening to jazz music and design/architecture.

Here at Blue Data, I welcome the opportunity to meet and help improve your English skills and while learning from you would be a great and ongoing benefit. 

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Elena Shlychkov

Elena Shlychkov, equipped with an MA in Education and a BA in Marketing, is a dedicated ESL teacher with a rich teaching history spanning over a decade in New York City. Her educational journey encompasses guiding a wide array of students, notably including diverse communities from Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Belorussian backgrounds. This experience has allowed her to create a classroom atmosphere that celebrates cultural diversity and fosters mutual appreciation among her students.

With proficiency in languages such as Russian, Italian, and German, Elena bridges communication gaps and enhances the educational experience by incorporating a global perspective. Her students, many aiming for higher education in the USA, frequently acknowledge her significant impact on their academic and personal growth.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Elena engages in creative outlets like music, writing for online magazines, and producing digital content. She also cherishes exploring the city, baking chocolate cakes, and hosting gatherings, bringing friends and family together to share life's joys.


Gunel Ipeksu Durmaz

Ipek, originally from Izmir, Turkey, is an accomplished educator who graduated from the State University of New York at Cortland with a bachelor’s degree in English as a Second Language in 2018. With four years of experience in teaching both English and Turkish, she has developed a robust methodology in language instruction. Currently, she is enhancing her expertise by pursuing a master's degree in Media Psychology, expanding her understanding of the interplay between media, mind, and behaviour. Apart from her academic and teaching pursuits, Ipek is also deeply engaged in astrology, where she writes content and offers consulting and workshops, blending her educational skills with her passion for the stars. In her limited free time, she indulges in practicing yoga, exploring the art of film photography, and cherishing the moments spent with her friends. Her multidimensional interests and ongoing commitment to education and personal growth highlight her as a dynamic and innovative educator, who brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to her teaching.


Klodian Lleshi


Klodian Lleshi, with a distinguished career beginning at Tomorr Sinani High School and advancing to New York, brings over 15 years of enriching experience as an AP English teacher. Holding a degree from Alexander Giovani University in Albania, he is renowned for his innovative teaching methods and commitment to fostering a love for learning. Klodian's philosophy centers on personalized instruction and empowering students to excel academically and socially. His dedication is evident through his continuous professional development and contributions to ELTA. Embracing the motto 'Work hard, be nice, and always try to bring out the best in people,' he strives to inspire and be inspired, making every classroom moment a step towards excellence.

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Victoria Solonikova

Meet Victoria Solonikova, our distinguished ESL educator with a specialized focus on Public Speaking, Pronunciation, and Academic Writing. Hailing from Russia, Victoria brings a profound expertise in linguistics to her teaching, holding a Master’s Degree with a concentration in language interpretation and translation. Her academic prowess is further bolstered by a TEFL/TESOL certification, attesting to her comprehensive training in English language teaching.
Victoria’s unique teaching methodology is enriched by her background as a former radio host at RUSA Radio, where she mastered the art of voice-over. This experience allows her to imbue her classes with unparalleled clarity, allure, and confidence, helping students not only learn but also love the language. Her innovative integration of voice-over techniques ensures that her students excel in every nuance of English communication.
Deeply inspired by the belief that "Beauty will save the world," Victoria weaves this philosophy into her teaching, promising a transformative learning experience. Her classes are more than just language lessons—they are an invitation to embrace the beauty of communication and the power it holds. Embark on a journey of linguistic discovery with Victoria, where language learning is not just educational but also enchanting.

Ian Kreisberg

Born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx and White Plains, Ian is a native New Yorker. His favorite thing about English is etymology — the stories behind words — and he loves to teach vocabulary. He has written a novella and several short stories. He likes to have conversations about the arts. Ian has tutored at LaGuardia Community College, and has taught in South Korea. He likes the food in both places. His favorite building in New York is Grand Central Terminal. For fun, Ian plays ukulele, juggles, and practices calligraphy. He also likes to cook.

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