World Languages/Classics


The BFA World Language and Classics department welcomes you to join our ranks of enthusiastic language learners! We offer multiple levels of German, Latin, French and Spanish courses. During your time in our department, you will learn how to read, write, speak, and listen to the language(s) of your choice. Students will be exposed to multiple authentic instructional tools including textbooks, media, literature, music and film.


Learning a language is extremely valuable; it can help you improve your SAT scores, become a global citizen with enhanced communication skills to interface with the professional world, and achieve higher grades in your additional courses. Furthermore, many colleges and universities recommend or require several years of language study for admission. As a department, we value hard work, cultural exploration, and making learning fun! We look forward to having you in our classrooms.


World Languages / Classics Contact Information


Lydia Batten

Dept Chair / 802.527. 6560 /

I was born and raised in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, and after attending UVM in Burlington, got married, had three sons, and followed my husband and his career changes to Connecticut and Massachusetts, finally ending up back in Vermont in 2004. I came to the teaching profession when my sons were older, starting out as a long term sub and staying for 6 years. At this time I pursued my Master's Degree at UMASS Amherst. We finally returned to Vermont and I started working here at BFA in 2012. When I am not involved in the teaching world, I am immersed in art through my passion for calligraphy. I have a studio where I create, attend workshops and conferences, and often do wedding design and invitation work. My sons are all grown up and married, and my husband and I live in Jericho, Vermont and look forward to visiting (or being visited by) our three grandchildren who live in Vermont and Massachusetts.



Paula Johnson

Teacher / 802.527. 6562 /

Born and raised in St. Albans and graduated from BFA in '73. Lived one year in Delano, California where I went to kindergarten at a Catholic school. Attended Catholic schools all my educated life except for 4 years at BFA. Majored in French and Drama at Marymount College, received masters in Bilingual/Bicultural education from Boston University and my certificate of advanced graduate studies (education) from Southern New Hampshire University. My dad taught US History at BFA and my aunt (Ruth Mulvey for whom there is a business scholarship given in her name at graduation every year) taught in the business department and later a guidance counselor here. I have my administrators license and served as Title VII Director of FNESU. I have served as acting Principal of Highgate Elementary school and Milton High School and Elementary school. In my time at BFA I have been the Varsity girls tennis coach, advisor to Freshman, Sophomore and Senior Classes, led many trips to France, served on LSB and as its Chair, was advisor to Foreign Language Club, served on School Improvement Team and have been drama assistant. I have been in 3 of the 4 student musicals at BFA. I am retiring in June 2017 after 18 years at BFA.


Kristi Leet

Teacher / 802.527. 6563 /

Background I am originally from the small town of West Pawlet, VT, located 2 ½ hours south of here. (Coincidentally, some of your lockers may actually have been manufactured there.) I started learning French in 8th grade, and it quickly became my favorite class. It came easily to me and I loved learning it! I continued my study of French in college, along with English and Education, at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. At Harding I was involved in the French club, the Omega Lambda Chi social club, and Spring Sing, a music and dance showcase. Perhaps my most memorable semester was the one I spent abroad in London, England. I lived and studied in London for three months and traveled to many other parts of Britain and Europe. Living in France After graduation I spent seven months in France working as an English assistant in a high school. I lived in Lyon, the third-largest city in France, famous for its food and proximity to the Alps. This opportunity significantly improved both my mastery of the French language and my understanding of French culture. I actually lived in the high school where I taught, in a little hallway with small bedrooms for the assistants. They became my close friends, along with many of the other American assistants there that year, and even real Lyon residents whom I met at Church. I had the opportunity to travel to other French cities, including Arles, Avignon, Chamonix, Dijon, Marseille, and Paris. Near the end of my stay, my then-boyfriend came to visit. We took a trip to Paris, where he proposed to me under the Eiffel Tower! It sounds romantic, but I knew it was coming and actually was a bit disappointed that I wasn't surprised, haha. Teaching For the past seven years I have been back in my home state, working as a French teacher. This is my fourth year here at BFA. My goal as a teacher is to share the language with students in a way that is both academic and fun.


Olga Saldarriaga

Teacher / 802.527. 6559 /

I am a Spanish teacher with 11 years of experience, 6 of them working at BFA. I live in Saint Albans with my family. I was born and lived in Colombia for more than 30 years. I have a mastery of the Spanish context and culture and its applications in different life contexts. I lived and worked in Colombia, France, Japan, Nicaragua and Spain. I have visited 23 countries in the world including several European countries and other countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Perú and Cuba. I graduated in Communication Arts with a Major on Non Formal Education from the Externado of Colombia University in Bogota, Colombia. I attended the University of Paris VIII (Vincennes-Saint Denis) in Paris, France where I received a Master’s Diploma of Advanced Studies in Theater and Film. In 2005 I decided to take the journey of education in USA. I love to work at BFA where I am also the International Club Adviser and collaborate with the dance teacher on Latin dances.


James Thurber

Teacher / 802.527. 6560 /

My name is James Thurber, and this is my fourth year teaching Spanish at BFA. Before joining our school, I taught at Montpelier and Essex High School. I received my B.A. in Spanish from Saint Michael’s College and my M.A.T. from the University of Vermont. In addition, I have been lucky enough to live and study in Seville, Spain. Beyond the Spanish language, I am passionate about history and art history, with a particular interest in medieval Spain. Outside of class, I love to enjoy the outdoors, including hiking, running, and playing soccer. Finally, for those invested in Spain’s la liga, I support Real Madrid over Barcelona.
¡Vamos Madrid!