Forum began with expert educator and linguist, Dr. Susanna McPhilomy (known to her students as Dr. Susie) who developed an accelerated language training technique that she has practiced successfully worldwide.

With over 40 years of teaching experience, Dr. Susie fine-tuned a non-traditional technique of teaching English as a second and a foreign language by promoting a conversational approach to grammar and other skills. After teaching at a number of English language schools and universities as well as establishing her own language school in Utah, Susanna decided to open Forum in the Washington D.C. area with her daughter Maria McPhilomy.

She is known to cultivate a welcoming environment so that her students can effectively learn how to function in an English-speaking environment. With a number of academic degrees from American and international institutions, Susanna’s strong academic credentials and extensive experience continue to attract students from all over the world!

In 2017 Dr. Susie received the Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award from the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. She is currently the President and Academic Director of Forum where she oversees faculty and develops Forum’s curriculum.


Our approach can be explained in one word:

Through role-plays, simulations and active class discussions our students start speaking on the first day of class!

Often people learn a language and quickly forget, but at Forum we specialize in bridging the gap between knowing and using language skills in appropriate contexts by incorporating interactive techniques that work with memory structures to help students learn English faster and with greater retention.

Our communicative approach takes boring reading, writing and listening practices and turns them into exciting topics of discussion, allowing our students to actively participate in class and practice their English on a daily basis.


You and your brain get much greater learning stimulation!

Our Mission

The mission of Forum is to provide efficient and effective English language training to help culturally diverse students achieve their academic, professional and personal English language goals.

Forum is committed to helping students reach their full learning potential through a student-centered teaching approach, interactive instructional strategies and familiarizing students with American culture.


Forum’s President and Academic Director, Dr. Susie received the Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award from the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.

Forum is also a proud member of the Washington Area TESOL Association, the TESOL International Association and NAFSA.

Forum has also been featured in a number of online and print publications including the Alexandria Gazette Packet, Zebra Magazine, AlexandriaNews.org and OldTownAlexandriaPatch.com and El Pregonero.

Our Team

Maria McPhilomy
Executive Director

“Maria is the first smiling face you will see when you visit our school! She co-founded Forum with Dr. Susie, and dedicates her time to create a school that is relevant, forward-thinking and helps students achieve their English goals. Maria is always working to make the student experience at Forum personal and beneficial. You can always find her with a cup of coffee and smile, ready to answer any questions you have and welcome you to our Forum Family!”

Nathan Clarke

“Nathan keeps the conversation going! He’s one of those interesting people that you just don’t want to stop talking to. With a BA in English Literature and Linguistics and over 12 years of teaching experience he knows his grammar and how to make students use it! He’s dedicated to perfecting his lessons and making sure his students are always learning. As a man of many talents and adventures he has traveled the world, received a black belt in martial arts and he’s also quite the artist and history buff!”

Sasha Plotnikov

“Sasha is Forum’s creative queen! Equipped with original and interactive teaching activities and games, Sasha always knows how to take the most boring grammar concept and turn it into an exciting, energy-packed challenge. With a BA in Anthropology, a TEFL certificate and three years of teaching experience, Sasha understands people and their learning needs. She’s a cat lover, former scout leader and also a black belt in martial arts... oh and did we mention she has the coolest taste in music!”