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Our Mission

At TEFC, our core purpose and commitment are to bring cultural understanding to people across international borders. We believe that the best way to achieve that is by nurturing dedicated educators, teachers, tutors, and cultural advocates; and supporting them to the fullest extent at every step of their journey, whether their journey leads them to teach abroad or tutor at home. 

About Us

TEFC is an educator training institution, tutoring company, and intercultural communication center located in Koreatown, Los Angeles. Our team, combining years of experience in teaching and tutoring (both in the classroom and online), consulting, and business, strives to provide a range of educational services unified by a strong commitment to our mission of promoting intercultural dialog.


As official partners of, an internationally recognized, fully accredited English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher certification agency, we are the only educator training center in Los Angeles to offer 20 hours of in-class TEFL preparation.


Additionally, due to the restrictions caused by Covid-19, we now offer virtual classroom training as well as online tutoring options. 


We make sure that the teachers we certify are believers in student-centered learning and true educators at heart.


Through CEEC, our on-site Cultural Exchange and Enrichment Center, we offer a unique opportunity for prospective language teachers, teacher aids, tutors, online tutors, and cultural advocates to learn more about foreign countries and their cultures, as well as receive role-appropriate training. And, for the right individuals, we guarantee excellent job placement abroad.


What’s more, TEFC provides a variety of customized educational services, including private online tutors as well as and in-person tutors (Covid-19 compliant) and educational consulting­--just to make sure our clients are on the right path toward reaching their academic goals.

Our Team

Dr. Joan C. Pagnotta,

Director of Studies, Head Instructor

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Mr. Jong (“Jon”) Joo,

Owner, Consultant


Born in South Korea, I first arrived in America in 1996 and currently call both San Diego and Los Angeles, California my home. I have worked in the education business since 2005, when I first began to bring international English language students to San Diego.  In 2015, I co-founded my own school, the “U and Me” Academy in San Diego. I have earned several business certificates, including a certificate in E-commerce and financial advising. Moreover, I am proud to say that I earned my TEFL certification in 2019.

As a result of all my successful endeavors, I have gained extensive knowledge and experience in helping people navigate through the difficult maze of applications for American visas, including F-1 and J-1. I believe in helping others to learn how to help themselves, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with you.  

(Dr. Joni, Teacher with the RAINBOW hair)

Dedicated to Teaching and Consulting with Purpose

In more then twenty years of my career as an educator, I have taught English as a Second/Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) in every imaginable capacity, from Pre-K to University-level Business English, at home and abroad, in-class and online, teacher and tutor. Presently, I am focusing my passion for teaching on preparing new educators to share my student-centered approach with their own students both in person and online. All of our teachers who go abroad and all of our online tutors are personally trained by me 

Studies have shown that when people have fun while they are learning, they learn quicker, remember longer, and have good recall for spontaneous conversation. Therefore, my teaching motto is: Let's make learning FUN!


  • EdD Doctorate in Educational Leadership from George Fox University in Portland, Oregon.

  • MBA (Finance and Accounting) from Regis University in Denver, Colorado.

  • BA in Human Development (Education) from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California.


  • Published and Presented, PKETA  Annual International Conference, October, 2013 Daegu, S. Korea

  • Contributor, YBM Textbook, High School Advanced English Conversation, Revised, 2014  

  • Books Reviews: Maristella Botticini and Zvi Eckstein. (2012). The Chosen Few.  Princeton, New Jersey. Journal of Education and Christian Belief.


  • Director, Annual KOTESOL Drama Competition, 2011, 2012

  • Organizer, director, producer V-Day 2010 North Hollywood, CA., V-day 2012 Jeonju, S Korea to help end violence against women and girls

  • Co-produced and performed in V-Day 2009 – Jeonju, South Korea.

  • Certificate of Achievement, Essentials of Business Development, Regis University, School of Professional Studies MBA Program

  • Recipient of Broward Peace Tournament Interpretive Speech Award, 2005 hosted by Los Angeles Community College.

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