Peace Corps Women’s Experience in Iran

Kathleen Macleod, Marie Mitchell, Sally Moskol. Moderator, Ann Johnston.

Women had unique experiences as Peace Corps volunteers in Iran. Our panelists include women who served in both the early and latter days of Peace Corps’ tenure in Iran, in both urban and rural environment. They will share their stories of what they learned, and how they adapted in such a challenging cultural environment. We’ll also learn how their experiences in Iran shaped their lives after Peace Corps, as they consider such questions as the difficulties of adapting to Persian culture, how cultural attitudes towards women affected their work and roles as Peace Corps volunteers, and ‘take-aways’ to subsequent experiences.

MacLeod, Kathleen

Kathleen was born and raised in San Diego, California where she continues to live. She graduated from San Diego State University with degrees in education and public administration. Kathleen was a TEFL volunteer in Group IV (64-66) first in Tehran for six months teaching at the UNESCO School of Social Work. She then moved to Gorgan, boarded with a midwife, and taught in a girls’ high school. Post Peace Corps, she taught fifth grade for a school term in New Orleans, returned home to San Diego and worked for a War on Poverty program contractor for four years. These experiences segued into a 26-year career in public health with the County of San Diego with stints as Family Planning Coordinator and in Tobacco Control until retirement in 2000. She now “earns her pension” as an active volunteer in the League of Women Voters, urban planning, and community building.

Mitchell, Marie

Marie was a Peace Corps volunteer along with her husband in Mahallat (Markaz-e-Iran) from 1974-75. She taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) to fifth grade girls. Following Peace Corps, she graduated from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont with an MAT in English as a Second Language. Then she and her husband returned to Iran. They taught EFL to Iranian Army Air Corps from 1976-78 in Esfahan. They left with the outbreak of the Revolution. She taught ESL/EFL, participated in special programs, and conducted teacher-training classes in the U.S. and abroad. She retired in 2013 as a senior lecturer at Arizona State University, Tempe.

Moskol, Sally

Sally grew up in Billings, Montana and attended college in Billings and at the University of Montana, Missoula. She started her teaching career in Billings and continued in Palo Alto, California, before joining the Peace Corps. She served as an English teacher at Tehran University and taught English to women in a Jewish neighborhood. After leaving the Peace Corps, Sally lived in Madison, Wisconsin where she was an ESL teacher, hired to help build the ESL program in Madison public schools with another RPCV who had served in Colombia. In 1993, she moved back to Montana to help with the care of her mother. She now lives in Big Sky where she helped start a public library and has been on its board of directors for fourteen years.

Johnston, Ann Buessing

Ann was an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in eight girl’s high schools in Shiraz from 1965-1967 as a member of the Iran VI group. She worked with Iranian ESL teachers to improve instruction, taught demonstration classes for faculty, and developed summer programs for girls. Returning from Iran, she taught English as a foreign language for a number of years until, in 1981, she began the party supply business she has owned and managed for 34 years. Ann’s experiences in Iran led her to become active in local politics, serving thirteen years on a local school board, eight years on the Stockton City Council, and four years as mayor of Stockton, California.