About Us


Team Members:


Who We Are

The simple answer is this: California English Homestay is a company that offers intensive English language homestay programs to students from all over the world. But the real answer to “Who We Are” is far more complex.

International students enroll in our English language homestay programs to prepare for earning advanced degrees in business, management communications, law, science, medicine, and diplomacy, at many of the best schools in America.

So the way that we see it, our mission is to the help the world’s future business executives, doctors, lawyers, scientists, and diplomats prepare for their careers. We take that mission and that responsibility very seriously.

So to answer the question, “Who Are We?”, first and foremost, we are teachers and we are defined everyday by the students we teach.

And we welcome the privilege!

top ^

What We Do

We teach ESL to international students from all four corners of the globe and we’re exceptionally competent at what we do.

All our host teachers have university degrees, accredited ESL teaching credentials, and years of experience teaching English as a second language in U.S. schools and colleges.

The years of teaching experience have taught us a very important lesson—both teaching and learning English is a multicultural experience. We know students from South America face different English learning challenges compared to students from Asia or Europe, and vice versa. We also know the differences for each are found in their unique cultures and the rules of their own native language.

So when we develop a student’s personalized English lesson plan, we take into consideration each student’s country of origin and factor in all the cultural influences that could help or impede the English-learning process.

Our host teachers will open their homes and welcome you into their family circle. In most homes, you’ll interact daily with three generations of the host family — grandparents, parents and children — and every minute of everyday will be a new learning experience.

The sum total of “What We Do” is what our students expect from us: A superior English language and cultural homestay experience.

top ^

Meet the Executive Staff

Mary Makena

President and Founder

Mary Makena, president and founder of California English Homestay LLC, has more than 37 years of experience teaching English composition and ESL to immigrant students at the high school level. She also taught English composition and ESL courses in the evenings at the community college level to immigrant adults for more than 20 years.

In 1985, Mary began hosting international students from around the globe in her Southern California home for English-immersion homestay studies and that experience inspired her to establish California English Homestay in 2007.

Mary also was a board member of Universal Sports Accord, a non-profit organization that promotes goodwill through international exchanges at the high school, college and university levels. She also served one year on the Curriculum Committee for the “Pegasus Programs, Inc.”; a program for gifted and talented high school students at the University of California, Irvine.

Mary is also an avid dancer with a passion for all styles including ballroom dancing. But she admits the tango is special and has traveled many times to South American countries to experience the true tango culture. In her very active life, Mary also manages to find time to read books covering a broad spectrum of topics. She is also committed to community volunteering projects.

top ^


MaiKai Makena

Co-Founder and Field Agent

MaiKai is the son of Mary Makena and has been working together with her for over four years placing students in quality homestays, conducting check-up interviews, teaching surfing to international students and generally providing a spot of light and laughter to any situation.

MaiKai has always had an interest in helping others. He has worked in many fields that allow him to interact with the public and has great personal social skills.

MaiKai is the resident surf instructor for California English Homestay and has sent many students to their home countries with a new skill under their belts, the skill of surfing California’s beautiful Pacific coast.

Being a new father of a bouncing baby boy, MaiKai’s time is more precious now then it ever was, if you get the chance to interact with him then count yourself blessed. MaiKai is married to Kassy Makena.

MaiKai and his family reside in Costa Mesa, Ca.

top ^


Michael Janes

Administrative Assistant and Tech Guru

Michael Janes is the resident tech adviser and administrative assistant to Mary and MaiKai Makena. He works in-office to bring the company into the new age of digital media and to smooth out the day-to-day operations.

Michael has been involved in technology since the early 1980’s when he received his first computer, the Commodore 64. He has had a personal as well as a professional interest in technology ever since.

Michael graduated from Sacramento’s MTI College of Business and Technology in 2003 with a degree in Web Development and Business Office Management.

Since then, Michael has worked independently and as a contractor building and designing websites and custom intranet business solutions. He has worked for major companies such as Outback Steakhouse Incorporated as an independent webmaster for their high-end restaurant chains Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine. He has also worked on many solo projects designing and implementing websites.

Michael currently runs his own computer repair business and freelances as a web developer and photographer in his spare time.

His hobbies include camping, playing video games, photography and writing music.

Michael Janes lives in Costa Mesa, CA.

top ^


Eduardo De La Puente

Director of Finance

Eduardo De La Puente, a native of Santiago, Chile, serves as the California English Homestay Director of Finance. He is a California Board Certified tax preparer and has been providing his expertise in financial services to Orange County’s large Spanish-speaking community since immigrating to California from Chile in 2003.

In Chile, Eduardo worked for the Ministry of Interior as an analyst specializing in political and economic development. His responsibilities included tracking and accounting for national financial support to all thirteen states in Chile for health, education, social development, transportation, other government services.

Prior to his position at the Ministry of Interior, Eduardo worked for the Ministry of Education as a documentary librarian responsible for the examination of bibliographic material in the area of language and communication, reading materials for children and adolescents, and the MECE Program.

Eduardo was also the Documentary Librarian at the Tabancura Catholic School in. Santiago, Chile, from 1991-1997. As the library manager at Tabancura, he was also the guide teacher for a successful literature workshop for children.

top ^


Dr. Ronald M. Barasch Ph.D

Special ESL Advisor

Dr. Ronald M. Barasch earned a Ph.D in Romance Linguistics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He also graduated from UCLA with a BA in Spanish and a MA in Spanish and English. Dr. Barasch offers a diverse and successful background in the development of linguistics and ESL teaching concepts, and the range of his experiences include publishing, marketing/sales, educational administration, and curricula development. He is the author of “Beyond the Monitor Model: Comments on Current Theory and Practice in Second Language Acquisition” which was published by Heinle & Heinle in 1994.

Dr. Barasch is currently an Educational Specialist for Oxford University Press. He began his long and distinguished career in 1980 as an Asst. Professor/Dean at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. In 1989, he joined the Ronkin Educational Group as a Director in California and in 1990 he was named the Ronkin Educational Group Director of International. From 1993 to 1998, Dr. Barasch was Center Director for ELS Language Centers. Dr Barasch is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and has a working knowledge of French and Italian

In recognition for his outstanding work in teaching and linguistics, Dr. Barasch is the recipient of the Latin American Teaching Fellowship from Tufts University, a private research university in Medford/Summerville, near Boston, Massachusetts. He is also a member of Phi Beta Delta: International Scholars, Alpha Mu Gamma: Language Honorary Society and a member of TESOL, CATESOL.

Dr. Barasch will serve as a special advisor to CEH company president, Mary Makena and the Board of Directors on all matters related to the continued development of ESL teaching techniques and programs for California English Homestay. He will also be a strong influence in the maintenance of integrity and the highest standards of English-teaching excellence for all CEH English-immersion teaching programs and related services.

top ^


Mike Coffey

Technology Advisor

Mike has been programming professionally for 15 years. His specialties include web application development and Linux/UNIX server administration. Mike has also performed a great deal of work in embedded systems and networking.

Before joining California English Homestay as an advisor, Mike worked for Pileum Corporation as a Systems Engineer. Pileum is a management consultancy company that offers expertise and experience in a wide range of areas including technology, security, computer room architecture, disaster recovery, and financial consulting.

He has formerly worked for organizations such as Internet2 and NASA, and wrote software used in the Spirit and Opportunity Mars Rover missions.  He was an employee of the University of Tennessee, where he was one of a handful of people responsible for maintaining a wireless network with over 20,000 users.

He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee in 2004, and is a National Merit Scholar.

Mike is an amateur scientist and “star gazer.” He is currently tinkering with a radio telescope built by his friend Carl Lyster, and hopes to complete a radio map of the northern hemisphere sky within 3 years. Mike is also an amateur radio operator, and was a founder and core member of the Spirit of Knoxville autonomous balloon project, which currently holds the world distance record for an unmanned private balloon flight (3350 miles). Other interests include paleontology, geology and botany, as well as history.

In his spare time, Mike enjoys plotting to take over the world.

top ^


Kingsley Sur

Marketing Advisor

Kingsley Sur is the former vice president of new business development for Saatchi Saatchi Compton Worldwide Asia-Pacific. During his nearly 20-year plus career with the company, all of it in the Asia-Pacific region, he was responsible for major multinational corporate accounts such as Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi Cola, Westin Hotels, Searle Pharmaceutical, Carlsberg Beer, and Mars.

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Kingsley began his marketing career as an advertising copywriter with the Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) agency in San Francisco, California. After two years in San Francisco, Kingsley was sent to Asia to work as a creative director with a DDB affiliate agency in Hong Kong. Years later, Saatchi Saatchi Compton Worldwide hired Kingsley as New Business Development Director to oversee marketing and business development activities for their blue chip clients in the Asia-Pacific market.

In 1999, Kingsley became vice president of Business Development/Marketing for Preference Technologies, Inc. in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kingsley was also a principal with Duncan Sur Marketing Inc in Las Vegas, Nevada. In that capacity, he developed strategic marketing and business plans for financial companies, and the hotels and casino industry.

top ^

Be Sociable, Share!