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Diana Angelova

Board Member


Diana is originally from Bulgaria, where her interest in business management started already in high school. She earned a BA in Social Activities (2004), an MA in International Management (2015), and a verified certificate of achievement from MITx in \"Business and Impact Planning for Social Enterprises\" (2020). Her work experience includes project development and operations management. Diana moved with her family to Eindhoven in 2015, where she has been involved in numerous social initiatives having to do with integration, social cohesion, and support for multilingualism. As chair, she oversees the the board and its activities, as well as helps to form partnerships between HLE Network and other stakeholders. Diana also manages the International Children's Book Collection project in partnership with Eindhoven Library.

Geert Simons

Board Member

Vice Chair

Geert has a BA in Education from KHLim (Belgium) and a MA in International Management from the University of Liverpool. He has work experience as an expert consultant on local integration policy and as both, teacher and manager, in international education and in heritage language programs (in Nigeria and in the Middle East). Recently he was the founding head of SALTO International School in Eindhoven (NL) and he is currently the Director-CEO of the Proominent Foundation, a group of 11 schools in Ede (NL).

Philippe Soulard

Board Member


Philippe has been active for more than ten years in the non-profit sector. He uses his technical knowledge to assist with accounting, and he also helps with organizing events and trainings, and securing funding and grants. He is a member of the board of several associations all having a close relationship either with the French language or multilingualism, namely, Francofilous (French HL program for French-speaking primary school students), l’Entente des Associations Francophones aux Pays-Bas, and Be-Rise.

Anne van Buul

Board Member


Anne was born and raised in Eindhoven. She holds a Master's degree in Dutch Language and Literature (2006, Nijmegen), a Master's degree in Literary studies (2008, Nijmegen) and a PhD degree in Dutch literary history (2013,  Groningen). She worked for six years in Eindhoven as a curriculum developer helping Dutch, internationally mobile families maintain their mother tongue. Currently, she holds a position as teacher trainer at Hogeschool de Kempel in Helmond. In this position, she teaches current and future teachers how to improve their reading education and how to welcome, accept, and make use of the heritage languages of multilingual students in their classrooms.

Gisi Cannizzaro


Managing Director

Gisi is from New Orleans, Louisiana, in the U.S. and speaks English as her mother tongue. She holds a Bachelor's degree in German Studies from Loyola University (2004, New Orleans), an Erasmus Mundus European Master's degree in Theoretical Clinical Linguistics (2007, Groningen, Joensuu, and Potsdam), and a PhD degree in Child Language Acquisition (2012, Groningen). She worked for six years in Eindhoven as an educational consultant helping multilingual, internationally mobile families with children. In 2018 she initiated two projects: one to organize Italian lessons for Italian-speaking children and one to organize a network of heritage language programs in Eindhoven. As a part of these projects, she has helped add 500 Italian children’s books to the Eindhoven Library. Together with her Italian husband, Gisi is raising trilingual children (English, Italian, and Dutch).

Chikako Nishiyama



Chikako has a Master of Arts in Linguistics (2020, Sophia University, Tokyo). She has worked as a certified speech, language, and hearing therapist in Japan and has over 12 years of experience working in medical institutes. Chikako is very active in stimulating the language development of Japanese heritage language learners in Brabant: she serves on the board of the Japanese School of Tilburg, helps run a monthly class for Japanese 4- to 6-year-olds in Eindhoven, and helps run a monthly reading activity in Japanese at Eindhoven Library. Chikako helped organize the Japanese section of the International Children's Book Collection at Eindhoven Library and was featured on Studio 040 for the Japanese contribution to the event series organized for the Nationale Voorleesdagen voor meertalige kinderen. Chikako supports HLE Network in its organization of activities that strengthen the sense of community between HL programs in the region.

Zoe Kang



Zoe is originally from South Korea, where she majored in Material Science & Engineering. Later she moves to the UK and earned a BA in Contemporary Acting(2009) at Newcastle College (a joint diploma issued by Leeds Metropolitan University), then an MA in Physical Theatre & Performance(2010) at Royal Holloway University of London. She moved back to Korea in 2010 and became qualified with Drama TESOL. She worked as a performer and a creative director of Centre d’Arte sans Frontieres while running various drama/drama English classes in all age groups from toddlers to seniors. She moved to the Netherlands with her family in 2015 and has been working for Korean School Eindhoven since the first school year(2019). She is teaching middle/high school students with PLB(project based learning) and drama. Also she is an creative director of Korean School Eindhoven and in charge of all events management.



Project Specialist

Amanda, from Curitiba, Brazil, is a human rights advocate specialized in international law. With a Bachelor of Laws from the Federal University of Paraná, Brazil (2018, Curitiba), Amanda pursued the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in International Law of Global Security, Peace and Development (2023, Glasgow). Her academic journey took her through Poland, Scotland, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands. Having managed educational projects in Brazil and volunteered as a tutor in Brazil and the Czech Republic, Amanda brings to HLE Network a practical understanding of the intersection between human rights, culture, and education. Now residing in Eindhoven, she aims to apply her global experience to contribute to the local community.

Joni van Bruggen


Intern (2022)

Joni van Bruggen served as HLE Network's intern from February 2022 to July 2022. She completed havo at the Kennemer College (2013) before going on to earn a propedeuse in English language teaching at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (2018) after one year. In July 2021 she completed a three-year Bachelor's program in English Language and Culture at the University of Amsterdam, for which she wrote a thesis about metaphors in political speeches. In September 2021 Joni started a Masters program in General Linguistics at Radboud University Nijmegen. During her internship at HLE Network she will develop materials that can be used for public outreach surrounding the topic of reading in the heritage language.

Advisory Council

An Advisory Council is an external sounding board that gives non-binding advice to the Board and Managing Director of HLE Network. The Advisory Council is composed of internationally recognized experts in the fields of heritage language education, multilingualism, and non-profit governance. Members of the Advisory Council have no financial interest in the success of HLE Network and are not compensated by HLE Network.

Joy Kreeft Peyton

Joy Kreeft Peyton, PhD, is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) and President of the Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools. She has over 35 years of experience working in the field of languages, linguistics, and culture in education. She has been working on issues of heritage language and mother tongue education for many years. She was a founding member of the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages, hosted at CAL. She is co-editor of Heritage Languages in America: Preserving a National Resource and Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States: Research, Educational Practice, and Policy. She has worked in Ethiopia, Nepal, and The Gambia (on projects funded by USAID and the World Bank) to develop educational materials, including leveled readers, in children’s mother tongues, for individual and group reading. She is a Senior Advisor for the EU-SPEAK project (Newcastle University), whose mission is to enhance the knowledge and skills of teachers of adult immigrants who have limited education and literacy in their native language (LESLLA adults).

Ellen-Rose Kambel

Dr. Ellen-Rose Kambel is founder and director of the Rutu Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Amsterdam that promotes intercultural multilingual education. The Language Friendly School is a school label and global network founded by the Rutu Foundation that unites schools who welcome and value all the languages spoken by their students. Dr. Kambel is a human rights lawyer and an experienced trainer, public speaker and author of several articles and books on human rights, education and multilingualism. Her latest book, co-edited with Prof. Orhan Agirdag, Multilingualism and Education: Dutch Plus was voted second best educational book of the Netherlands in 2018. Dr. Kambel most recently joined the Supervisory Board of the National Museum of World Cultures in the Netherlands.

Ken Cruickshank

Ken Cruickshank is Professor of Education and Languages at Sydney University Australia. He was a teacher for many years and then was a teacher educator, training teachers of English. He has worked with community languages schools (i.e., heritage language schools) for over 30 years. As a member of the Community Languages schools Board he lobbied for recognition and funding for the schools. In 2017 he established the Sydney Institute for Community Languages Education (SICLE) which conducts research and provides professional learning and resources for community languages schools.

Frederike Groothof

Frederike Groothoff, PhD, is an expert on multilingualism. After years of teaching newly arrived migrant children she changed her activities to teaching teachers and advising pedagogical and educational organizations on the subject of multilingualism. After teacher college Frederike was a primary school teacher in Aruba and upon her return she studied language and culture studies in Utrecht and did a research master Language and Nijmegen. From 2014 until 2020 she carried out a PhD project about the Dutch language development of newly arrived migrant kindergarteners. Nowadays besides working for Utrecht University, she gives taks throughout the Netherlands with her own compagny LangWhich in which she encourages educational professionals to incorporate home languages into daily school practice. She also encourages teachers to advise parents to keep talking in their home languages and to stimulate children to attend heritage language programs. Frederike supports HLE Network since she sees it as a great opportunity for HL teachers to gather and share knowledge with each other. Her wish for HLE Network is that their organization will be used not only by HL teachers and parents, but that they will also reach and inspire mainstream school teachers to cherish heritage languages as well.

Sabine Little

Dr Sabine Little is a Senior Lecturer in Languages Education at the University of Sheffield, UK, where her work focuses on the links between multilingualism, identity, and belonging. She works holistically with families, heritage language schools, and mainstream schools to better understand the needs of multilingual children. Through this work, she aims to improve our understanding of how children growing up multilingually develop their identities, as well as the emotional and pragmatic links to their respective languages. When working with schools, she helps teachers to develop strategies for engaging children’s multiple languages meaningfully in the classroom, to develop their full linguistic repertoire. Some of this work is available on She also works on literacy development – her work in establishing a multilingual children’s library was awarded the International Brenda Eastwood Award for Diversity and Inclusion.
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