Maria’s passion for teaching reflects her personal educational philosophy:
“For a student to achieve and thrive, BOTH the student and the teacher must work hard together in a safe, comfortable learning environment that fosters enjoyment of learning and an appreciation for language and culture.”
Thus, Maria’s lively, ongoing classes are popular forums in which students of every level are nurtured by her caring expertise. Maria’s teaching experience includes the high school level, adult schools, and community colleges. These institutions include Diablo Valley College, Napa Valley College, Contra Costa College, Merritt College, and UC Santa Cruz-Santa Clara Extension. She works with large classes as well as small groups, guides language immersion tours in Mexico and Portugal, and provides specialized training for business professionals, law enforcement, health care professionals and social services who need second language proficiency.
From the beginning of her teaching career more than twenty years ago, Maria recognized a real need for organized educational materials designed specifically for adult learners of Spanish, Portuguese, and English for non-native speakers. To fill that need, she developed programs that combine workbooks with audio practice so that busy professionals and other adults can enjoy immediate results in a positive and supportive environment. These courses were further developed within the stringent framework of her Master’s Degree thesis requirements. Today, they are used by teachers in classrooms and by independent learners who wish to study on their own.
Born in the Portuguese Azores Islands, Maria was educated in Portugal, Spain, and the United States. Maria was awarded a B.A. in both Spanish and Portuguese from California State University, Sacramento in 1985, and an M.A. in Spanish also from Sacramento State University in 1986. She completed her Community College Credentials in 1988. In her other areas of interest, Maria has completed courses in psychology, and also spent time in Madrid, Spain where she continued her linguistic and cultural studies. Maria wishes everyone could experience the enrichment that she has derived from education:
“Education is life itself. Acquiring knowledge through formal education has become the most important thing in my life. It has enhanced my life and made all my achievements possible.”
Because of her success as an entrepreneurial language consultant, Maria has been profiled in numerous professional publications and newspapers including O Mundo Portugues and O Tribuno, and has been interviewed on several television and radio programs. She is a life member of the Golden Key National Honor Society (CSU-Sacramento), has been a two-time recipient of the Alpha Gamma Sigma Outstanding Service Award (Solano Community College), is a member of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, and was recently honored to receive the California Adult Education Students Succeed Award.