Our Team

At the Alliance Française de Westchester, our French teachers are experienced professionals, offering classes in small groups. We cover current affairs and cultural themes, we emphasize speaking and listening at all levels. We build a strong grammatical foundation for language development and enrichment.


Rachel Villéger - Executive Director

Rachel Villéger is the Executive Director of AFW. Rachel has extensive language teaching experience, she has been teaching all ages and all levels since 2003. She has a host of relevant experiences in the AF network in Asia and the Middle-East. For instance, she led the teaching team of the French Institute in Qatar where she was in charge of creating French language programs for the Qatari Ministry of Education.

Bettina Duvernay - Operations Supervisor

Bettina is a native of Mâcon, a city in the Burgundy county. She worked as a project manager in various industries in Paris and in South of France for 22 years before moving to the US with her family in 2017.

She enjoys organizing and has interpersonal and communication skills. She has 2 children and is involved in PTA activities. She works as an Operations Supervisor to insure the smooth running of the AF.

Ursula Moscoso - Receptionist

Ursula studied Translation in her native city, Lima – Peru. She has always been interested in languages and cultures. The Alliance Française is always a special place wherever she is..

Melissa Payne - Culture and Communication Intern

Melissa Payne joined the team in September 2018 and works in the communication and cultural event planning department. She was born in Manhattan and lives in Scarsdale, New York. In 2014 she received a B.A. in English and French from Mount Holyoke College. In 2017 she completed her M.A. in Global Communications at the American University of Paris. She spent her junior year of high school with School Year Abroad, a language immersion program in Rennes, France where she acquired an advanced level of conversational French.


At AFW, our French teachers are experienced professionals, offering classes in small groups covering current affairs and cultural themes while emphasizing speaking and listening to all levels to build a strong grammatical foundation for language development.

Murielle Williams

Murielle is a native of Dauphiné, a former province in southeastern France. After her Design degree in Lyon, she worked for international companies in Europe and Parisian design offices before moving to Westchester with her family. At this point, her professional orientation changed towards non-profit organizations, promoting the French language and culture and has been teaching French for several years. She particularly enjoys working with students and seeing their accomplishments at all levels and through a wide variety of cultural activities.

Agnès Varjacques

Agnes, a native of France, holds an engineering degree in IT and applied math. She worked as a project manager at BNP Paribas in Paris for 10 years before moving to the US with her family in 1998. She has been teaching French since 2011 after she successfully completed the DAEFLE course of the Alliance Française. She especially enjoys preparing and teaching her conversation class based on current events using all media format (newspaper articles, video, radio podcast…).

Curious about the world, she loves to read and travel and exchange ideas with people from different cultures.

Violaine Lazecki

Violaine is native from Lorraine, a region in the East of France where she grew up with Polish parents. Therefore, coming to New York to experience the cultural diversity only seemed natural to her. Since her arrival, she has been working with Francophone families as well as students from diverse cultural backgrounds who are interested in improving their French skills, preparing their children to pass take standardized tests in french such as SAT, AP or DELF or to prepare their move to France. Violaine pursued her studies in psychology, education and linguistics in New York. She obtained a Master’s degree in psychology & education at Teachers College Columbia. When she isn’t sharing her passion for the French language, she volunteers for a food pantry, cooks for her friends, runs on the beach and enjoys “pousser la chansonnette” once in a while.

Claudine Lespes

Claudine is a native of Montreal, Canada. She studied at the University of Quebec, where she graduated with a Bachelor in Teaching Literature. After receiving her degree, she immigrated to the United States, where she pursued her studies at Manhattanville College and obtained two Master’s degrees; one in teaching French as a foreign language and the other in school administration. Claudine taught in several settings, such as the United Nations, NYU, Berkeley College, the New School for Social Research, and at the French Institute of Manhattan. She also taught at the Brearley School in Manhattan for twenty years. Now, she is semi-retired, teaching part-time for her personal enjoyment. She is pleased to be a faculty member of the Alliance Francaise in Westchester.

Hélène Oblin

Hélène was a passionate high-school English teacher for 17 years before she moved to Rockland County with her family in 2017. She has taught a wide variety of students including college students, which gave her the opportunity to teach translation techniques. She was once a French Language assistant in middle-school in the United Kingdom before she graduated and got her certification as an English teacher in Normandy. In the US she enjoys a lot teaching her mother-tongue again, preparing her classes especially with material from the news. She used to organize trips for her students every year and loves discovering new places, people and cultures. Now she is an active member of a French-speaking non-profit as co-webmaster and responsible for cultural outings. When she is not working, she likes cooking and baking for her family and friends.

Cécile Hager

Cécile is a native French speaker who has lived in New Orleans and Los Angeles before coming to Westchester. She has many years of experience as a French instructor, and has worked with students of all ages and all levels, bringing to her classroom a love of learning and teaching.

Sonia Bernard

Sonia is native of Paris. After her degree in international trade in France, she worked in the perfume industry in Paris before following her husband to Mexico and then South Africa. She arrived in the Westchester in August after living 12 years in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is fluent in English. She lived 4 years in Mexico City. Sonia is also fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and she has the Alliance Française diploma DAEFLE to teach French as a foreign language. She used to be a private tutor, she taught French, Spanish and Portuguese to children and adults in South Africa and worked as a substitute teacher in the French school of Johannesburg (Lycée Français Jules Verne) in kindergarten and primary school.

She loves traveling and loves teaching languages. She enjoys also sharing her traveling experiences and life abroad with her students.

Catherine Charfi

Catherine Charfi is a native of Paris and has been working as a French teacher for more than 15 years. She studied at the University Paris X, where she graduated with a Bachelor degree in French Literature. After receiving her degree, she pursued hers studies in French Language at La Sorbonne where she obtained her CAPES accreditation and officially became a certified teacher in French Literature. She taught 3 years in middle school and high school in France, then she moved to Russia with her family. There, she completed a Master’s degree in Teaching French as a Foreign language (Master FLE) while also teaching at the French Cultural Center as well as at the French Lycée in Moscow. She arrived in New York in 2012 and since then has been teaching in several settings such as American middle school, French American School of New York (FASNY) and now Alliance Française of Westchester.

Catherine enjoys reading, cooking, making her own jewelry, painting, sculpting and traveling around the world. It’s always a pleasure for her to learn, share and discover new things!

Christine Anselmo

Christine was born and raised in Dordogne. After graduating with a degree in literature, she went to law school, then came to the US and obtained a paralegal Diploma.

Christine is the mother of two girls. While raising her family, she never stopped learning and teaching, for years she volunteered at New Canaan Public Schools and New Canaan Library.

She spent the last 15 years tutoring French to students from New Canaan, Wilton and Westport, CT. Her passion and knowledge for her native language had benefited many students.

For her to teach at the Alliance Française of Westchester was a great opportunity to continue to do what she loves deeply.

Sophie Sayaque

Sophie, native of Paris, is a former lawyer in French and Belgian law. She used to be a private tutor in law, and also taught French to children in England. She has lived in several countries after France, such as Luxembourg, Belgium, England, before coming to the US. Sophie can also speak German, some notions of Hebrew, and has successfully followed the program of the Cavilam to teach French as a foreign langage.

Sophie is also a jazz singer. Her eclectic experiences in many countries grants her an open-minded spirit valuable for a teacher. Sophie finds in the Alliance Française a great opportunity to share and promote her love of France and French culture

Juliette Ballière

Juliette, a native of Tours on the Loire Valley, holds a degree in Finance from Sciences-Po in Paris. She worked as a credit analyst and a project manager at BNP Paribas in Paris and in Beijing. She taught French during her 2 expatriations in China… and has always been teaching French curriculum to her 6 young kids! She especially enjoys sharing her love of the French culture to young minds. She is fond of kids and teens education, cooking, politics and classical literature.

Armelle Gloaguen

Armelle is a teacher, a songwriter and a musician. She has worked with children in the US, France and Guatemala for over 20 years. She created the Learn French/Spanish Through Music program in 1998. Using this program, she taught French and Spanish at her studio and at LinguaKids in Larchmont. Armelle has recorded three albums for teaching French and Spanish to children through song. She is a featured vocalist in three award-winning language learning videos. Armelle performs at schools, libraries and birthday parties. She gives benefit concerts. Busy as she is, she stillhas time to teach in our children’s programs.

Marie Hubert

Marie was born and raised in Brittany. She holds a Master’s degree in French as a foreign language and worked as an English and French instructor for 7 years in Paris before moving to New York. She has taught French and English in companies to office workers such as accountants, sales representatives, fashion designers, journalists, politicians, managers, TV and radio employees, musicians – and many more – who needed to learn the language (French and/or English) mainly for professional purposes. Marie enjoys listening to music, reading – she is a big Paul Auster fan which is nice when you live so close to Manhattan – and watching movies!

Lana Hamon

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Aida Kan Adams

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