Willy LeBihan has over 25 years of language education experience and is the Co-Founder and Head of School of both The French American School of Tampa Bay, located in St. Petersburg, and L’Ecole Française du Maine in South Freeport, Maine.
Willy was born near Paris, but spent most of his childhood near Quimper, a medieval city in the region of Brittany. Studying geology in graduate school in Ireland, he met his future wife, Elizabeth, an American, and they eventually married and settled in Maine, pursuing careers in education. Willy and Elizabeth decided that they would raise their three children in a home where French would be the language spoken, particularly by Willy. Their children all grew up bilingual and this served as the impetus to open a French school in 2002 – L’Ecole Française du Maine, which continues to serve the population of the Greater Portland, Maine region. The school is fully accredited with the French Ministry of Education and for their educational contributions, Willy and Elizabeth were each awarded the prestigious Chevalier des Palmes Académiques, a French Knighthood Order of Chivalry presented to academics and educators. Willy has also served as President of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) Maine Chapter and on the Board of the Foreign Language Association of Maine.
After many years of visiting St. Petersburg on family vacations, Willy and Elizabeth purchased a home here and soon realized that there are no language immersion schools in the area, and that the closest French schools are in Miami and Atlanta. They founded The French American School of Tampa Bay (FASTB) in 2017, and opened the doors in the fall of 2018, drawing students from all over the Tampa Bay region. FASTB is experiencing steady growth in its second year and is on track to receive full accreditation with the French Ministry this year.