Meet Our Staff: Lac du Bois and Les Voyageurs | Concordia Language Villages

Meet Our Staff: Lac du Bois and Les Voyageurs


Lac du Bois-Bemidji

Cliff Benoît  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 since 2003, serving as dean since 2015. 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. Benoît is a French teacher at Edina High School in Edina, Minn., teaching French courses in both the traditional and immersion programs and has traveled with students to Quebec several times.

Marie Thérèse Penner-Hahn

Concordia Language Villages wishes to welcome Marie Thérèse Penner-Hahn in her new role as the Interim Dean of Lac du Bois second-half for summer 2023. Chantal will be taking a leave of absence to spend time with her growing family.

Thérèse currently serves as the Director of World Languages, Grades 6-12, for the Belmont Public Schools. Her career with the Villages began almost twenty years ago, working at both Lac du Bois Hackensack and Bemidji. Thérèse has been a counselor, two-week curriculum facilitator, credit facilitator, credit abroad facilitator, and assistant dean in her time with Concordia Language Villages. She holds a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from the University of Chicago, a master’s degree in education from Boston College, and a graduate certificate in educational leadership from Boston University.

Katherine Chantal Dutko

Katherine Chantal Dutko is the dean at Lac du Bois-Bemidji, the French Language Village (second half).Chantal was a villager at Waldsee and Les Voyageurs and has been on staff each summer since 2004, as counselor, waterfront  manager, leadership staff member and assistant dean. In addition to Lac du Bois, she has also worked at Les Voyageurs and El Lago del Bosque-Bemidji. This is Chantal's ninth year as dean.

Chantal holds a master’s degree in international development at 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 drill 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. Her travels include several months in India and South America. Chantal has worked in Guatemala as a teacher-trainer and youth leadership programs coordinator, held positions in international development in Niger and Mali, and is currently managing education programs for an INGO in Pakistan. Chantal speaks French, Spanish and German and has studied Hausa.


Les Voyageurs

David Dahveed Benson

David Dahveed Benson is the French Les Voyageurs dean. Dahveed has been on staff since 1989, serving as dean since 1994, and was a villager at Lac du Bois for seven years. He led our high school study abroad program in Cameroon in 2008. Dahveed 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, Colo., 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 two-week teacher exchange program in Bulgaria, where Dahveed taught classes, and led teacher training workshops in the spring of 2011.