Sam and Mel English

Our vision is to see non-English speaking children learn to speak English like natives. 'Sam and Mel' is designed especially for children who are beginner learners of English. We want children to learn good grammar and pronunciation from native English speakers. 'Sam and Mel' is used extensively in primary schools in Europe and Asia.

Tony Gallagher (Co-founder, C.E.O.)

B.A. (U.S.A.); Maîtrise d'Anglais (France) ; Dip.Tch (N.Z.)

Tony first started teaching English in refugee camps in South-East Asia in 1981. He has since taught English and French in primary schools in Europe, the West Indies and New Zealand. In addition to managing ‘Sam and Mel’, he currently teaches Māori Studies and Business at Macleans College, one of the top high schools in New Zealand. Tony designs the lessons for 'Sam and Mel'.

"In my spare time, I enjoy reading and walking on the beach with my wife and dog Gus. I love traveling to exotic lands. I also enjoy Masters rowing ."


Sam Forde (Co-presenter)

B.A. (Political Studies, Spanish); Trinity Certificate in TESOL; BCounselling

Sam has taught English as a second language in an international school in Auckland. He is now a counsellor by profession and teaches counselling part-time at university level. He has also played a small role in a local television series. He speaks English, French and Spanish.

"I am married and have 5 young children. I enjoy coffee, books, poetry, writing, drums/guitar, playing with my kids and jogging."

Melissa Stevenson (Mel) (Co-presenter)

B.A. (Film and Media); BCounselling; Masters (Teaching/Educational Leadership)

Mel has taught French to young children at the Alliance Française in Dunedin, New Zealand. She has also featured in a TVNZ documentary and some short films. Mel is an English teacher and guidance counsellor, though at the moment she is on maternity leave with her first child. She speaks English, French and gets by in German.

"I enjoy singing, good music and outdoor adventures. I am happiest when spending quality time with family (especially baby Adam) and eating fantastic food."


Michael Stevenson (Co-presenter)

Michael (who is also Mel's husband in real life) has joined the team to replace the original Sam who is unavailable due to family commitments.  Although Michael (aka Sam) is employed in the Logistics sector, his real passion is music.  He plays the guitar and piano, and spends much of his time composing music scores for short films.  (He has developed the transitions between the scenes of Lessons 11-20).

Dennis Poole (Illustrator)

B.A. (Honours) (Philosophy), M.A. with Distinction (Philosophy), Dip. Art and Creativity (Honours) (Illustration and Design)

Dennis is an experienced illustrator whose work has been primarily focused in the educational market. He focuses on digital illustration as this enables him to produce quality work quickly and efficiently. He uses the research and analysis skills he learned from his philosophy degrees to inform his illustrative process. Dennis produces the illustrations for 'Sam and Mel' alongside his brother Alan.

"I enjoy drawing, reading, watching movies, and taking walks around the beautiful estuary and beach near my home on the Kapiti Coast."

Alan Poole (Illustrator)

B.A. (Honours) (Philosophy), M.A. (Merit) (Philosophy), Dip. Art and Creativity (Honours) (Illustration and Design)

Alan is an experienced illustrator who has worked primarily in the education market with his brother Dennis. Prior to illustration work, Alan has worked as a tutor and guest lecturer in the Philosophy department at Victoria University of Wellington, as well as an English language teacher in Japan. He works primarily in digital illustration to produce images quickly and efficiently.

"In my spare time I enjoy reading, drawing and painting in both traditional and digital media."

Happy Customers

Sam and Mel kept my 50 Second Graders focused with its fresh simplicity, and entertaining story line and characters.

Julia Nichols, Lang Qing Xuan Primary School, Guangdong Province, China

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