ALTO Executive Board

Governed by industry leaders since 1998, ALTO has had the privilege of being led by an engaged, knowledgeable, and driven Executive Board, elected by the membership. ALTO’s current Executive Board brings wisdom, passion, and guidance to the Association, and is representative of the global geographic diversification of ALTO members.

See the ALTO Board above (L to R):

  • Reka Lenart – ALTO Association Manager
  • Juan Manuel Elizalde – Kells College
  • Maria Castro – Linguland Sprechreisen
  • Leanne Linacre, Chair – LILA* Liverpool
  • Selim Dervish – Academia United
  • David Brown – Oxford International Education Group
  • Jonathan Quinn – Centre of English Studies

Meet Our Board

Leanne Linacre, Board member  2022-2025

While being hands-on and active in the running of LILA*, my focus is on the Sales, Marketing and Business Development aspect of the business. As well as my role as ALTO board member, I am an active member of Quality English and on the Steering Committee of English UK North because I believe in the enormous value of exchanging ideas and networking with peers and colleagues.

I have worked in the language travel industry for 20 years, either as an English language teacher or school owner. I’m keen to work with my colleagues across the industry to ensure not just survival, but growth in an increasing difficult environment.

Connect with Leanne on LinkedIn.

Juan Manuel Elizalde, Treasurer 2021-2024

I have been familiar with language courses abroad since I was 15. I studied in different countries, thanks to my family agency, Kells College, created in 1971. I studied Business Studies in Valladolid University and the State University of New York in Binghamton (SUNY).

I developed my career in Kells College, and I am currently the CEO. I have always believed, and acted accordingly, in the benefits of getting together and working in associations. I was the President of a private Language Schools Association in Castilla y Leon (a region in Spain) for 10 years. I was the President of Aseproce, Spanish Association of Agents for 16 years, and Felca president for 4 years.

I also believe that associations have to be active and have to try to carry out projects developed together, which can benefit their members. ALTO, through its present board, is going in this direction introducing initiatives beneficial to both educational agents and language schools in our industry.

Connect with Juan on LinkedIn.

David Brown 2022-2025

After leaving Study Group in 1991, David co-founded ISIS Education, now Oxford International Education Group, and has spent the past 23 years as joint CEO helping to grow and develop a range of interrelated educational programmes.

David has been involved with the ALTO Board since 2010 as Treasurer and then as Chair. He is currently a Board Member School Representative.

Connect with David on LinkedIn.

Selim Dervish 2022-2025

Selim started his career in the international education industry at a global organization in London before he partially relocated to Istanbul to join Academia United; an innovative technology firm that runs multiple online brands for international student recruitment for over a decade.

His passion lies predominantly in the language travel sector with a streak in technology and innovation. He firmly believes in the necessity of disruptive and agile characteristics in any business that strives for fast and sustainable growth in a highly competitive global market. Selim equally supports the importance of a strong standing association like ALTO to bring together the industry leaders under this rather uniquely structured roof to form a coherent strategy to be shared among all the stakeholders.

Connect with Selim on linkedIn


Jonathan Quinn 2021-2024

Jonathan joined Centre of English Studies (CES) in 1996 having previously worked in the manufacturing sector. A family run business, Jonathan and his brothers have seen CES grow from one school in Ireland to eight across Ireland, The U.K, Canada and Taiwan. Jonathan is involved in the marketing and sales areas of CES and also runs the Junior International Summer programmes.

Jonathan has been involved in ALTO for a number of years and joined the board in 2016.

Connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn.

Maria Castro 2022-2025

Maria was born in Spain, moved to Germany in 2000 and has been living there ever since. She has been a Managing Partner at Linguland / Studyadvisor Education since 2003 (CEO, co-owner). Linguland started as an online booking platform, founded by Tobias Fries in 2003, and it evolved to become one of the leading study abroad agencies in Germany, serving the German, Italian, Spanish and French markets… with more to follow!

As a great platform to exchange ideas, learn from the best, grow together, and introduce and spread best practices, Maria believes that ALTO is a source of inspiration for everyone in the industry. Maria actively helps ALTO by recruiting new members and by bringing in the agent perspective, which helps schools and agencies work well together.

Connect with Maria on LinkedIn.

Reka Lenart Association Manager

Reka manages the affairs of the Association, and executes the strategies and decisions of the Board and the AGM. She is your main contact at ALTO.

Reka has been involved with the international education industry for over 20 years. She worked as an educational agent in Budapest and as Marketing Director at a language school in London before joining ALTO in 2010.

Connect with Reka on LinkedIn.

Have any questions?

Contact Us