Meet Our Staff: Lac du Bois and Les Voyageurs


Lac du Bois - Bemidji

Katherine Chantal Dutko

Katherine Chantal Dutko is the dean at Lac du Bois-Bemidji (second half).  Chantal was a villager herself at Waldsee and Les Voyageurs and has been on staff for 13 summers in multiple positions. In addition to Lac du Bois, she has worked at Les Voyageurs and El Lago del Bosque-Bemidji.

Chantal holds a master’s degree in International Development from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She has a B.A. in French studies with a minor in linguistics from Dartmouth College, where she was a Rassias method instructor in French. She also led five-day hiking and canoeing trips for incoming students as part of the Dartmouth Outing Club.  Chantal has studied at the Universitat de Barcelona, Spain, taught English in Montpellier, France and was the assistant teacher in a French pre-K class at the International School of Brooklyn. She worked for two years in Guatemala as a teacher trainer and youth leadership programs coordinator, and is currently on an international development fellowship in Niger. Chantal speaks French, Spanish and German and is studying Hausa. Her travels include several months in India and South America.

Cliff Benôit Schwartz

Cliff Benoît Schwartz is the Dean of Lac du Bois - Bemidji (first half). He has worked in the summer program at Lac du Bois in multiple roles for 13 years. Cliff earned his bachelor's degree in French Education and Theatre Education from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. He has studied at Université Rennes 2 in Rennes, Brittany, France and has studied abroad with the Indiana University Honor’s Program in Foreign Languages for High School Students in Brest, France. Cliff is a French teacher at Edina High School in Edina, MN teaching French courses in both the traditional and immersion programs and has travelled with students to Quebec several times.

Lac du Bois - Hackensack

Kathryn Katy Droske

Kathryn Katy Droske is the dean of Lac du Bois - Hackensack, the French Language Village at the beautiful Camp Holiday site. In her years with the Language Villages, Katy has served in multiple positions at Lac du Bois - Hackensack as well as the Les Voyageurs.

Katy earned her B.A. in French, English, and secondary education at the University of Minnesota, Morris and her M.A. in French from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. As an undergraduate she spent a semester abroad with the International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership at Universite Paul Valery in Montpellier, France. In the fall of 2011, she received a grant supporting three months of research in Québec, and spent a semester living in Montreal and studying the archives of French-Canadian author Gabrielle Roy.Katy has taught French at Morris Area High School, Willmar Senior High School and the University of Minnesota. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in French with a focus on 20th-century Québécois literature at the University of Minnesota.

Les Voyageurs

David Dahveed Benson

David Dahveed Benson is the French Les Voyageurs dean (first half). Dahveed has been on staff for 25 years and was a villager at Lac du Bois for seven. He led our high school study abroad program in Cameroon in 2008. He is fluent in French and has studied Hausa, Swahili, Fulfulde, Yemba, Malgassy and Pidgin.

Dahveed graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in French and history. He earned his master’s degree in African history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also attained competency in Hausa and Swahili, two sub-Saharan African languages. An avid lover of paddling and wilderness experiences, Dahveed has participated in and/or led canoeing and kayaking expeditions in Thailand, New Zealand, Samoa, South Africa, Namibia, Cameroon, Madagascar, Canada and throughout the United States.

Dahveed currently lives in Colorado Springs and teaches history and political science at an experiential learning-based high school, the Colorado Springs School. In 2010 Dahveed was a grant recipient of The Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Program. The TEA Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and facilitated by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). The grant included a 2 week teacher exchange program in Bulgaria, where Dahveed taught classes, and led teacher training workshops in the spring of 2011.

François Fouquerel

François Fouquerel is dean of the French Les Voyageurs program (second half). François has been on staff at Concordia Language Villages for 24 years. He is a native of France and grew up in Normandy. He is also the dean of the French Year-Round Programs. During the academic year, he leads adult and professional sessions. François has been consulting with several language revitalization efforts.

François earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Macalester College, St. Paul, Minn. He has a licence d’anglais from L’université de Toulouse II – le Mirail. He has taught French at Bemidji State University and English at Hibbing Community college. François has been teaching in an expeditionary learning school for 11 years.

Group Director

Jennifer Charlotte Speir-Hearn

Jennifer Speir-Hearn

Jennifer Charlotte Speir-Hearn is is a group director for French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish Language Communities with Concordia Language Villages. Charlotte has been on staff at Concordia Language Villages for 29 years, and prior to her current group director role was dean of Lac du Bois, the French Language Village.

She is fluent in French and has studied Spanish. Charlotte earned her bachelor’s degree in French, with a minor in music, from Middlebury College, Vermont.  She completed her master’s degree in teaching French at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and studied at the Université de Caen, in France. Charlotte has spent 20 years teaching French in elementary schools, as well as eight years in middle, high school, and college-level classes.