Conversation Circle Leaders


Christine Jutres

Christine Jutres

Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

After growing up in the Boston area, I came to Amherst as an undergraduate and made this Valley my home. That was many, many years ago! I’ve been an early childhood educator all of my professional life, mostly as a principal of a local elementary school and a trainer of teachers (now retired from both). I love to travel and interact with people and their cultures. I’ve been excited to become a volunteer with the Jones Library ESL program as a way to meet people from other places right here in the Amherst area! I enjoy helping others to understand the English language and American culture and as a result have had so many wonderful conversations and learned so much from them along the way. I live in Sunderland where I like to garden, take walks and bike rides, go to the movies, and kayak. You can find me in the Alto section of the Rock Voices chorus.


Mara Rockliff

Mara Rockliff
Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

I just moved to Massachusetts recently and I'm enjoying getting to know the Pioneer Valley and its people. My work is writing books for children, many of which can be found on the shelves of the Jones Library. (The books, not the children!) I love hiking, biking, paddling – anything that gets me outside in this beautiful area. I'm also a fluent speaker of Esperanto, an international language that dates back to 1887 and is currently spoken by perhaps half a million enthusiasts around the globe. I've traveled to lots of interesting places, including Nicaragua, Thailand, Serbia, Qatar, and Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the pandemic I haven't gone very far, but thanks to the ESL program, the world is now coming to me!

Devorah Jacobson

Devorah Jacobson

Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Devorah lives with her spouse in Hadley and works as a healthcare chaplain and rabbi in Longmeadow. She has a son who is currently living in Israel. She enjoys traveling to various parts of the world, hiking, biking and learning about cultures different from her own. She loves teaching and is excited to be working with students who want to improve their conversational English.


Bonnie Vigeland

Bonnie Vigeland

Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

I love to work with people who are learning this crazy English language! I’ve lived and worked in Amherst for a very long time and I have also been trying to learn French for many years!

Updated October 28, 2022